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Books Harry Potter Harry Potter and the Dragon's Tear Author: Master Eldryn PG-13 - English - Action/Adventure/Romance

ce - Reviews: 300 - Publish date: 08-27-03 - Updated: 10-10-03

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story id: 1495912

Dear Reader, Before I get started I want to give you a bit of background about this. The basis for this piece of fiction is taken from a story I wrote for a contest a while back. It has been adapted for Harry Potter, simply because I had the urge to try it out. Any coincidental similarities between this and other stories are exactly that. With this many people writing stories about the same characters, such things are bound to happen so, dont flame me for stealing an idea that we had in common and I wont flame you for it, either. ;) This is the first piece of fan fiction that I have ever written, and am doing so simply because I am bored out of my skull and need a way to release my pent up creativity, and Ive gotten bored with drawing for the time being. I dont claim to be a good writer by any stretch of the imagination, but I like to think Im not terrible. About this story, I want to give you a bit of warning in advance about some of what is to come, in case it might not be your cup of tea. Ive tried to keep the characters true to their roots, but Ive decided to really shake things up here. We find out some humbling news about Dumbledore (that comes up a bit later), as well as some things about Sirius that we never knew (nothing to tarnish his memory maybe). If youre expecting a happy-go-lucky Harry who falls into Ginnys arms and everything turns out for the best, you will most likely not like the ending I have prepared. In fact, I would be willing to venture that youd probably hate it. But, I wont tell you not to read. If you want to continue reading, or what Ive said has captured your interest good. Im glad. And now, if youre still reading, for my story I hope you enjoy it. :) -Master Eldryn

Disclaimer: I do not own the rights to Harry Potter. If I did, Id be rich, happy, and probably doing something more constructive than writing this pathetic story. I simply hope I do a decent job with the characters Ive borrowed (this disclaimer applies to all

forthcoming chapters).

"Petunia, where is that infernal creature we call a nephew? Ever since he came back from that that place he's been giving me the screaming abdabs!" Without looking up from her obsessive-compulsive cleaning, Vernon's wife responded to his inquiry, "Hes out of our hair." She increased the pace of her frantic cleaning while thinking about her nephew, a young man known as Harry Potter. "Thank God for that," she then added under her breath. "Yes, I suppose youre right. As long as he's not doing that" he paused, mouthing the word magic to his wife when she looked up to see why he stopped talking. "Vernon!" she shouted quite loudly. "Someone might see you!" Vernon clapped his hand over his mouth, before he realized that the shades were drawn and the only way someone could have seen him is if they were in the same room. A wave of relief slid over him. "Well, at least he isn't following us around wanting to watch the news, like he did last year," Vernon said, his large mustache puffing up under each word, as a red flush crept slowly over his face. Harry, however, was sitting in his room staring out the window at the world outside. Harry was not what you would call a normal boy, by any means. Throughout his short life he had suffered more than anyone should be required to. Not long ago he yet again renewed his intimate relationship with pain and her sadistic sister, suffering. Harry James Potter watched his godfather die, and he was responsible even if only indirectly. Harry had spent most of his summer simply staring out his window, waiting on himself to wake up. He knew he wasnt going to, but it was the only hope he had. Sirius Black, a convicted murderer and so-called second-hand to the Dark Lord himself, was the closest thing to a true family that Harry had ever had. It seemed to him that anyone who cared about him would be forever doomed to death. Unless, of course, they were like the Dursleys, and they despised him. Sitting in front of Harry, on his desk, was a pile of letters from his friends. Hed not refused to open the letters, they simply didnt seem important now. In his mind he kept playing over his attempts with the Cruciatus Curse on Bellatrix Lestrange. Her explanation of how it had to be done with the intention of causing pain rang in his ears. He would make her wish shed never given her that piece of information. Balled into a fist, Harry let his hand smash through the glass of his window. He wanted fresh air, and the thought of simply opening the window never occurred to him. He pulled back his bloody hand and relished the distraction from the scenes in his mind. How he wished he had a pensieve to remove those memories for the time being, so he could work through it. But, then hed have to worry about the fact that he was still underage and

couldnt use it, even if he had it. "HARRY POTTER!" came the shout from his so-called uncle. Rather than deal with his shouting uncle, Harry walked silently downstairs. Vernon Dursley was waiting at the foot of the stairs for him when he got there. "What was that noise, boy? You better not have --" "I broke the window," he said, as he shoved past his uncle. "If you dont mind, I need to bandage my hand." "You you you," stammered the purple-faced man as he tried to suppress his rage. "How did you manage to break the window?! You better not have --" Again Harry simply cut him off. He was in no mood to be dealing with the house rules. "I wanted some fresh air, so I opened the window." "Then how did it get broken?! Such a bumbling fool you couldnt even open it properly?! How?!" He casually lifted his bloody hand, letting the blood drip on the new, white carpet theyd just had put in. If his uncle wished to be a prat about it, he would bleed all over their carpet, it made no difference to him. "Thats how. Now, do you mind if I stop bleeding on the carpet, or do you have more questions for me?" Vernon Dursleys face stood in stark contrast to the white walls, having turned an even deeper shade of purple as what Harry said finally sunk in. Then he remembered the carpet. "Get that hand bandaged, and then you can get out the blood stains!" "Get them out yourself you bloody sod! Im busy." With that, Harry marched into the downstairs bathroom to fix his hand, leaving a great imitation of a stammering eggplant with a puffy mustache standing where his uncle was minutes before. His uncle didnt bother him for the next few days, aside from proclaiming that he would pay for the window out of his allowance, and until then it could simply remain broken. Harry would have thought that to be a joke, if not for the fact that he knew the Dursleys didnt know what a joke was, since his uncle presumably knew that hed never given him an allowance of any kind in his entire life. Then again, as far as Harry was concerned, his uncle was also a bloody idiot who thought that his treatment of him was lavish and saintly. There were no repercussions to Harrys outburst at his uncle, though. His uncle still hadnt forgotten the talking to he had received from Mad-Eye Moody. He had been talked to by the others there at the end of the last school year, but his uncle was most afraid of Mad-Eye. So, most of the time, no one bothered him aside from what you could call common sense parenting. The next few days passed without incident, for which Harry was thoroughly thankful. The less time he had to put up with his family, the better. He needed to think. In fact,

thats all hed been doing all summer. Thinking about the prophecy, how he was supposed to kill Voldemort, and about Sirius. But, it was not to last. Exactly one week from Harry sticking his hand through the window a piercing shriek filled the house, along with the loud crack of someone apparating into the living room. He had been expecting this visit, for the past few days. Hed been getting them regularly since he left Hogwarts. He got up and went downstairs to the awaiting face of Mad-Eye Moody, whose magical eye was spinning wildly about. He took a sip from his hip flask before speaking. "Potter what happened to your hand? That git Dursley didnt do that, did he?" "No, I opened the window without moving anything but the pane." "I see. Taken to doing things the hard way, have you?" "Something like that. Before I continue, what did you ask me for, for your eye, when you came to pick me up for the Order?" As he finished the question, his hand went to his wand, which was placed inside his belt behind his back. Alastor Mad-Eye Moody smiled at this question. "Very good, Potter. Constant vigilance is the key," he said, his smile still plastered on his face. "I asked you for a glass of water. I still have a bit of trouble with it, every now and then. But, I have to mention when you pick a question like that it should be something no one else will know. Everyone there saw me ask you for a glass of water." "If you say so. Are we done with the small talk, now?" At this, Moody sighed. "I was hoping youd managed to start working past this, by now. So much for wishful thinking, eh?" Harry continued to glare at Moody, who returned the glare in kind. "Your friends said youd not been writing to them and were a bit worried something had happened to you. They asked me to check in on you, again." "As you can see, Im fine." "Im glad to hear it. Did you receive their owls?" "Yes." "And?" "And what?" "Arent you going to respond?" "I hadnt planned on it." "Why?" "Doesnt seem important."

Moody sighed again. This wasnt going how he planned, obviously. "Did he," he indicated Harrys uncle with a nod of his head, "stop you from sending owls?" "No. Hes quite scared of you, you know." He cracked a sadistic smirk towards his uncle, who was trying rather vehemently to revive his wife who had obviously fainted at the sudden appearance of Mad-Eye in her living room. "Well, its at least good to see you smile." This reminded Harry all to clearly of why hed done so little smiling over his summer. The tiny smile that managed to creep onto his face quickly evaporated. "What do you want, Mad-Eye?" "I was just coming to check up on you for your friends. Theyre worried about you, and frankly so is the rest of the Order." "Im fine. You can tell the rest of the Order that, as well." "Have it your way, then, Potter," and with that he pulled out two envelopes. One from Ginny and the Weasleys which was quite large, and one from Albus Dumbledore which was the average size. "Albus and Ginny asked me to give these to you." Harry reached out and took the envelopes, adding "Is that all?" "Aye, Potter, thats all. I need to get going, anyway. Keep an eye out for yourself," and then he was gone with the accompanying crack of disapparation. "It was awful! That hideous creature of a man just just well, you know!" Harrys aunt Petunia had obviously woken up. Not really caring to hear anything from either of them about his guest he trudged back up to his room, and tossed the letters onto the pile and resumed his study of the outside world. .oOo. Dear Mr. Potter, Harry, I, as well as our mutual friends, feel it would be best if you spend the rest of your summer at The Burrow with the Weasleys. I have already spoken with Arthur and Molly about this. Both were quite happy with the prospect of seeing you again, and have informed me that you are welcome at their home any time. As such, I have arranged for a portkey to bring you to a pre-arranged destination at six oclock on the morning of August first. Arthur will be waiting for you when you arrive. The portkey, as you may notice, is the Quidditch captains badge. Professor McGonogall asked that I send it to you. As you may have guessed, I have lifted the ban on you, as well as Fred and George Weasley. Should you have any questions about your new captaincy, Im sure Professor McGonogall will be happy to answer them for you.

I will also be paying you a visit the day you arrive at The Burrow, as I have some matters of the utmost importance to discuss with you. Please do not mention this when you arrive. My visit is to be a surprise to the Weasleys. Worry not about your belongings. Arthur has assured me that he will pick them up for you. Simply pack what you wish to bring with you and they will be brought to The Burrow shortly after you arrive. Also, I would like to wish you a happy sixteenth birthday, Mr. Potter. Sincerely, Albus Dumbledore As Harry scanned over the letter once again he wondered if Dumbledores wish of a happy birthday was simply that, or if somehow the old wizard knew that hed not open it until that day. "Sometimes I wonder if hes not a bloody Seer himself," Harry thought to himself. "I wonder what he wants to discuss with me. Probably why Ive not been sending owls. Why cant everyone get it through their heads that I just want to be left alone." Then he began to study the metallic fabric that made up the Quidditch Captains badge. The fabric was a thin patch, but every time he tried to use the scissors on it they had refused to cut. Trying to set it on fire didnt work, either. He tried tossing it out the window, but a breeze had blown it back in every time. Finally he resorted to tossing it into the rubbish bin. Thankfully, in Harrys opinion, his friends had taken the hint and not sent him any birthday gifts or cards. After Mad-Eyes visit they hadnt sent anything else. If he stayed out of the Wizarding world, maybe he could avoid getting anyone else killed. Hed managed to read almost everything he was sent over the summer, so far. Mainly letters from Ron and Hermione trying to keep him up to date, since hed blown up at them so thoroughly last year. Hed gotten a few from the members of the Order who hed come to know rather well, as well. Nymphadora Tonks had, in no certain terms, threatened to tie him to a tree and wandwhip him if he didnt quit acting like such a bloody git and respond to her, in her last letter. She also threatened to make herself look like Dudley and snog him senseless in front of everyone, which only appeared as he started to close the letter with no intention of a reply. That threat was one he didnt want to see her go through with, and was quite sure she would, so he fired off a reply to her. Harry made sure to add at the end, hoping to embarrass her a bit, "If you really want to snog me senseless, there are better ways to entice me, Nymph." He tacked on to that sentence a smiley face with the tongue sticking out. After sending off the letter, with Hedwig, he realized it might have sounded as if he were flirting with Tonks. That idea turned his face red, and started a spot of worry in the back

of his mind, but it was quickly forgotten when he noticed where his next letter was from. The letter was from the Office of Deceased Witches and Wizards, addressed to Mister Harry Potter. Harry eyed the letter he had never noticed, before. It must have come after hed quit looking at who the letters were from, he figured. He broke the seal, and a light passed over him carrying with it a warming sensation that started at the core of his being and expanded outward. Slowly he opened the parchment and began to read. Last Testament of Sirius Black: Dear Harry, First I want to apologize to you, for putting you through this. It is most likely because Id gone off and done something stupid, that you have to deal with my death. If youre reading this, then Im most likely gone, leaving you with no one you can officially call family, again. I am truly sorry for that. I made this out shortly after I joined the Order, as I knew it was a possibility this may happen, and I wanted you to know how I felt. I truly do think of you as my son, Harry. In so many ways you remind me of your father and mother. You seem to have a more level head than your father, Remus, or I ever had. In that way, you remind me of your mother. You also have an adventurous spirit, willing to do anything you think you need to. In that way, you remind me of your father. I know, at times, I treat you like I think you are James, and its hard not to think of you that way. You look so much like him. Im sure that bothers you a bit. I can see it on your face when I do it. But, Im working on it. On to the important things, though. Ive named you as my one and only heir. You are my closest living relative; though some would claim it is only a designation, theyre wrong. To me, you are my son and I hope that I am able to tell you that before you end up reading it in this. If not, Im sorry for that, as well. As my heir you are entitled to a number of things, all of which has been taken care of. I am, however, listing those for you here so that you will know what it entails, and can keep track of it. Black Manor is now yours to do with as you please. My only request about the house is if the Order still needs to use it that you allow them to do so. I believe in what the Order is doing, and if Im not wrong so do you. You are also entitled to what some would dub as my fortune. I never wanted it, so I never used it or paid much attention to it. Maybe you can make better use of it than I have. The sum of my fortune is approximately five hundred thousand galleons, give or take a few thousand. A rather large sum in muggle money, Im told. The goblins said it was somewhere in the millions I forget the exact number. I wanted to give you a rough estimate since it might be important, but the goblins said that with that much it wouldnt really matter, which I found an odd thing for a goblin to say you know. Next there is the matter of Potter Place. Your parents, as youve most likely noticed from

your vault, did very well for themselves. They owned a rather large home near Hogwarts, about twice the size of Black Manor. The house elves take care of the house, headed by Master Keltori. That, as well, is now yours. Your parents left it in my custody until such time as you were old enough. Lily and James also have left your inheritance. Youve seen your school fund, of course and Im sure you assumed that was your inheritance, but that it is not. As part of my will, the contents of my vault have been added to Lily and James vault at Gringotts. Your inheritance is roughly one and one half million galleons. As well as one Golden Snitch from Hogwarts that your father pinched. There are some other items in there, but as far as I know they were never that important to anyone. As you can see, youre what most would call a very rich man. Im just sorry at how you had to come by it. Lily and James vault is number four-hundred seventy-eight. And Harry, please always remember that your family is who loves you, not the people you share blood with. I know James and Lily loved you, your friends love you, the Weasleys love you, and most of the Order of the Phoenix love you. Goodbye, and good luck, Harry. I love you, Sirius P.S. - Free Kreacher. Bloody elf is driving me mad, but I feel responsible for him. P.S. - Thank Albus for taking care of this for me. P.S. - As you may have noticed, Im forgetful. There is a gemstone in your vault in a wooden box, wrapped in a white cloth. Dont touch it. Its called the Dragons Tear. I learned why the hard way. It burns anyone it touches stings quite a bit, too. Harry wiped the tears on his face as he finished the letter. He had loved Sirius very much, and this simply removed all hope in his mind that Sirius hadnt died. There was little there, already, but this simply closed all the doors. Sirius words, though, burned in his mind. He had true family. He hadnt noticed how or when it had really happened, but a family simply crept its way into his life one day when he wasnt watching and hasnt left him since. For Harry that cinched it. While he wasnt anywhere near the point of working through everything he felt, Sirius letter did clarify one point in his mind. He had a family, and he was going to visit them his real family. As he reached into the rubbish bin to get the badge, he noticed it was gone. Looking more thoroughly, there was no trace of it. Frantically, he began to search the room for the portkey badge, but there was no trace of it. A voice in the back of his mind said quite clearly, "Good man, bit of an idiot, though." Slowly he retraced the room, but could find no trace of the badge.

Just as he gave up on the idea of looking for it, assuming hed lost it, the portkey floated in through the broken pane of glass and landed on the sill. Harry was so very thankful that the portkey was back that he didnt think anything of the fact that it floated back in through the window. "Next time, avoid trying to destroy me. Id prefer to remain in one piece, you know," the voice in the back of his mind said. "Sorry," Harry said aloud thinking he was simply talking to himself. "Not a problem, you were frustrated. Woody got frustrated over much less important things, like Fred and George. Those two drove him nuts. Speaking of nuts, I could really tell you a story about when they thought it would be funny to put an itching charm on his uniform." It was at the last thought that he realized these werent his thoughts, but more accurately they were things the badge was, in a manner, telling him. "Am I losing my mind, or is the Quidditch badge talking to me?" "I am talking to you, though I dont know about your mental health." "Are you in my head? You know constantly?" "Well, first off you dont have to say everything when you are trying to convey something to me. I pick up on what you want me to know, as well as things that are troubling you. Im not an eavesdropper, but in a way I do share your mind." "This is going to take some getting used to, you know," Harry thought to the badge. "No worries, Im patient. I wouldnt have come back if I werent. By the way, tell Dumbledore that Im not a Knightbus, find something else to use as a portkey, next time." "Uh will do." And, with that, the badge went silent. .oOo. As midnight approached Harry decided, finally, to open the letter from Ginny and the Weasleys. He had been trying to ignore it since he was sure they would be put out with his lack of replies to them. "Well, it hasnt exploded yet," Harry thought to himself. "That has to be a good sign. Not howlers, then." "They obviously care about you, and youre more than likely worrying them by not replying," the badge offered. "For someone who has been a family to you, you really have treated them rather badly." "I know. I still find it strangely disconcerting to be having a conversation with an

inanimate object, though." "Inanimate? Inanimate?! Well, I never I am not inanimate! If you need proof, I can fly out the window again and leave you stranded here!!" "Erm, no, Im sorry. Ive never talked to a badge before," Harry quickly added. "Not a problem, mboy. As I mentioned, Im patient. Now open up your letters." And he did. The large letter he received was actually a grouping of letters from the entire Weasley family even Percy. Dear Harry, Youve got us all quite worried, dear. Ron and Ginny, along with Fred and Georges help, were planning to mount a war party to come and rescue you. They believed those terrible muggles of yours might have done something to stop you from contacting anyone. The only way I could convince them not to go through with it was to have Alastor check with you, and he said youre fine. Im sorry to say that I dont believe that. I know you may not want to hear this, and might be angry with me for telling you, but I think you need to know it. We all have to deal with these losses eventually, and sometimes the circumstances behind them are less than ideal if there is any such thing as an ideal way for someone to die. What Im trying to tell you, Harry, is that you dont have to deal with it alone. Were all here for you, if you ever need anything. Over the time youve spent with us, youve become one of the family, and I know youre hurting. I can feel it, like I can with the rest of my children. If you ever want to talk, Im here. Well see you when you arrive, dear, and please think about what Ive said. Love, Molly Having finished the first letter, and quite frankly on the verge of tears, Harry decided that it would be easier for him to simply write a letter to each of them instead of trying to explain why he didnt respond in person. He opened his desk and pulled out a quill, an inkbottle, and a roll of parchment. Preparing his thoughts, he composed his letter to Mrs. Weasley. Mrs. Weasley, Im not angry about what you said. If anything, it helped me to realize just how stupid I was being. It just seems like those that I get close to, in any way, end up getting hurt or, even worse, killed. It happened to my parents, Cedric Diggory, and then Sirius. Im just not sure how much more I can take of it, to be honest with you. Ive tried to limit my contact with people I care about to keep them safe, which is why I

didnt write to anyone over the summer. Ive even considered leaving the Dursleys. They may have been horrible to me, but the idea of someone else being hurt because of me, even them In any case, Im not angry with you. Thank you, Mrs. Weasley, for everything. Love, Harry Upon finishing that letter, the chime announcing midnight wafted its way through the otherwise silent house of number four, Privet Drive. The gong-sound drifting through the house was strangely comforting to Harry, all things considered. Finally, the twelfth chime sounded. As Harry reached for the parchment the chime sounded once more. With the thirteenth chime, a letter appeared on Harrys bed in a swirl of glittering, gold dust. Harry eyed the letter. He was used to magic, for the most part, but a letter appearing out of nowhere was a neat trick, even with all hed seen. The letter was simply addressed to Harry. He looked over the letter. There was no distinguishing marks on the seal, or any information about who sent it. The seal was simply a solid white lump of wax. Breaking the seal, Harry looked over the letter to see just what it was about. Mr. Potter: Congratulations, young sir, and happy birthday to you. It is most unfortunate, however I must hide my identity for the time being. However, one day, I think you shall understand why I have gone to such great measures to do so. I have spent the past several years locating the information Ive enclosed. A venture I can say was worth my time, without any regrets. I have included my information sources as Im sure youll wish to verify the truth of my claims, once you know what those are. Today, August first, marks your first day as a legal adult as recognized by ancient wizarding law. As such, you are no longer under any age restraints as placed on you by any governmental body. To be more specific, the Ministry of Magic. The Ministry of Magic prohibits the use of magic to underage wizards until the age of seventeen. This, however, no longer applies to you. I have used a number of sources to verify the information, but the most comprehensive source I found was Laws of Ancient Wizards: Fact or Fiction by Litigus Legaos. LAW is a comprehensive list of laws applied to wizards that no government can choose to ignore. I hope that this helps you, and Im sure youll want to verify the truth of my statement before tempting fate by trying magic. Good luck, Mr. Potter. You will most definitely need it. Respectfully, A Friend

To say the least, Harry was quite curious about who sent him the letter and why. Why would anyone care about him being able to perform magic outside of school. Harry prepared a note for himself to remind him to go into Diagon Alley and pick up a copy of LAW as soon as he could. "Just under six hours to go. Might as well put off sleeping, tonight. Not that Ill be able to, anyway," Harry mused. "Oh well. At least Ill be able to see my friends, again." Remembering his friends, Harry went back to reading and responding to the letters they sent to him. Harry, You really are an arse, you know that?! Were sitting here worried about you, and you just decide not to respond to us, for Merlin only knows what reason. You made us think the muggles were stopping you from responding! For all we knew, theyd killed you and stuffed you in that cupboard of theirs! Ginny, Fred, George, and me almost mounted an attack on your house, man do you have any idea what that would have resulted in?!?! Were gonna definitely have a talk, when you get here, about consideration of others! Ron Harry winced at the emphasized word talk in his letter from Ron. That more than likely meant Ron, with the famous Weasley temper, would attempt to knock some sense into him for his behavior literally. Harry glanced at the digital clock by his bed before he started the letter to Ron. "12:45, with just over five hours to go," thought Harry, as he considered what to say to Ron. Ron, Im sorry I worried you, I really am. That wasnt my intention. This summer hasnt been particularly easy on me. The muggles havent bothered me, but my thoughts and memories have. The thought of me bringing harm to any of you is one that I simply cant live with, but Sirius and your mother have helped me to understand one thing. I have a family, and I have responsibilities to them. Im still worried about bringing harm to your doorstep, but I also owe you my consideration. Hopefully this will help you to understand, at least a little, why I havent written. Sincerely, Harry "1:03." Oi Harry! Me too!

Whats the big idea?! When Ron and Ginny told us you hadnt been responding to them either, we devised a whole plan to come and rescue you! It was a good plan, too. Only problem is our ickle Ronniekins left the bloody plan out for mum to find. We would have made sure to teach him a lesson, but it resulted in us not doing something stupid. Would? I still plan to he may have stopped us from doing something stupid, but he still got us yelled at. Anyway, we couldnt let our financial backer go disappearing on us, now could we? Of course we couldnt. We wont go into the details, but it involved some explosives. And probably some kidnapping. And a few other things. You really shouldnt do that to us, of all people. You know how we can be, Harry. On the bright side, it did result in a few new treats. Im especially proud of the Tricky Hickey Taffy. Indeed one bite and you end up with love bites all over your body. We could use that on Ron, soon as he gets a girlfriend. The taffy wasnt what we originally had in mind. Yeah, we were trying to create a rash that would send someone into an itching fit. The taffy just came out of that. But, we digress. We gotta get back to the shop, Harry, we just thought wed let you know were not mad. Yeah, we know how you feel, sort of. When our grams died, we locked ourselves in our room for two weeks. Would have been longer, but we blew the door off and ended up in St. Mungos for a week. Sorry, getting distracted. What were trying to say is that were not mad at you for taking your time. Yeah, if anyone deserves some patience, its you. Right you are, dear brother. If you want to have a laugh on that porcine cousin of yours, weve included some Tricky Hickey Taffy in a muggle taffy wrapper. From what you said about her, were pretty sure his mother will blow a gaksut about it. Just leave it lying about somewhere that only he will find it. Yeah, maybe trip and accidentally drop it outside his bedroom door. Sincerely, Fred Sincerely, George Harry chuckled at the letter, and pulled out a piece of the taffy, planning to drop it right before he left. Since the twins didnt seem angry in their letter, Harry decided to talk to them when he arrived at The Burrow, instead of writing them a thank you note. "1:22. Feels like it is taking me forever to read these letters." Dear Harry, How are you? Everyones worried about you. Ive tried to explain to them that you simply need some time. Even Molly is quite worried, but I think Im starting to get her to understand.

I know how you feel. When I was about your age my father died in a fire. I was young, and didnt know how to use an extinguishing spell. I blamed myself for it, for a long time. By the time Id gotten help, hed already died from breathing in the smoke. I blamed myself for a long time. It wasnt my fault, I know that now but it took me a long time to realize it. Do you understand what I mean, Harry? What Im getting at is dont blame yourself for things you cant control. You couldnt control your visions any more than I could control the fire. If you ever need to talk about it, Im always willing. Love, Arthur P.S. - Ive enclosed some muggle money, do you think you perhaps buy me some barreties? Id love to be able to see how they work! "1:42." Dear Mr. Weasley, First off, I want to thank you. I appreciate your advice and I know youre probably right, but right now its just so hard to think it isnt my fault. I know I didnt kill Sirius, but it feels like its my fault for causing him to be where he was when it happened. The thought that I might bring that on someone else that I care about just makes it worse, and it is why I have been avoiding everyone. As for your offer to talk, I might take you up on that, sir. Maybe itll help to talk about it, and you might be one of the few people who can really understand how I feel right now. Thanks, Mr. Weasley. Love, Harry "2:34." Dear Harry, When my family mentioned writing you since youd more or less dropped off the face of the earth, I felt like I really didnt I know you that well. The more I thought about it, though, I realized you really have become one of our family. You just showed up one day and we just integrated you right in, and never thought much about it. I suppose it is just the way you are. Not The-Boy-Who-Lived, not the famous Harry Potter, not any of that. Youre just you. A good kid who tries to do the right thing, and doesnt have a big head about who he is. In reality, I guess I still dont know you extremely well, but youre like a new little brother, really. Weve talked and I know a little about you, but I feel like I dont know

you. But, I didnt know much about any of my other brothers, when I first met them, and I still cared for and loved each of them. Dont tell Percy I said that, though he often makes me want to strangle him, especially over the last year. But, I cant say I know how you feel, because I really dont I do know how the rest of my family feels, though. Theyre worried about you. Youre the only little brother Ive never wanted to choke, and that includes Ron. The more I thought about it, the more I realized I would like to get to know you better. I mean, at the very least, Percy didnt have a high opinion of you, so you have to be a great guy. If you ever need any advice, let me know. I like to think that being the oldest child in the family, I have a bit of experience with things. Plus, I never mind sharing with my family. Be good, little brother, and hopefully well get a chance to know each other a bit better, soon. We can talk when you get to The Burrow. Take care, Bill "Little brother I could get used to that," Harry thought to himself. "2:57." Dear Harry, Bill let me have a look at his letter before he sent it. I put mine behind his so that youll have an idea of what Im talking about when I say that I more or less feel the same way as he. Bill and I are going to steal you away from The Burrow for a few hours, when you get in. Im on my vacation and will be at The Burrow, when you arrive. Were going to get to know our new little brother. Until later, Charlie "Well, this could get interesting. 3:12." Harry, I need to apologize to you. I turned into a real arsehole when I got my job with the Ministry. Once Minister Fudge told me you had been right all along, I knew Id made a mistake with you, and my family. That fact was reiterated to me by Bill and Charlies fists once they found out what I told Ron, which I hope youll never know what I said, they decided I needed straightening out. I dont expect you to forgive me, Harry. Everyone keeps telling me you will, but after the way I acted I wont blame you if that proves to be false. I just wanted you to know that Im truly sorry for not believing you. Most sincerely,

Percival Weasley "Amazing. Truly amazing. 3:45." Dear Percy, Youre right. You did turn into an arsehole. Of that there is no doubt. But, this isnt really about me. Im more worried about how you treated the rest of your family. They deserved better than how you acted towards them. Seeing as how Ive been unofficially adopted into the Weasley family, I think I have I right to say that. Mr. and Mrs. Weasley, Bill, Charlie, Fred, George, Ron and Ginny have all been great to me. I never had what most people could call a family, and they filled those roles for me. I can forgive you for myself, that I have no trouble with. Its what you did to them that I find hard to forgive. Im not saying I cant or that I wont, only that it will be hard and it will take time. Bill and Charlie are planning to get to know me better. I think you and I should plan something similar. We can work on me forgiving you, and you earning the forgiveness of your family. Sincerely, The Unbalanced and Violent Harry Potter "Maybe hell like that," chuckled Harry. "4:12, and one last letter damn, its a big one, too. Are these tear-stains?" Dear Harry, Harry James Potter, we planned a bloody raid on your muggles house! Ive written to you several times this summer, something I would have been far too embarrassed to do once upon a time. At first I thought you just didnt want to talk to me, but then everyone else started mentioning that you hadnt been responding to them, either. So, you go and scare the daylights outta me by not responding! Im going to give you a piece of my mind when I get hold of you! Why on earth would you ever even do something like that to me us?! I We were worried about you! I never thought you could be so inconsiderate of other people! I was tempted not even to write to you, this time. Just waitll I get my hands on you! Itll make what Tom has planned for you seem like a day in the park! Now that Im more or less done with the angry part of my letter, Ill try to stay calm. Ive seen the size of most of the other letters, and they dont seem to be filling you in on much of whats happened lately. I know how much you hated that, so Im going to try to correct that now. In the past few weeks, Percys come around. He apologized to mum and dad for how he acted. Theyve accepted the apology, but the rest of us havent. Right after he finished apologizing, Bill and Charlie drug him outside and beat him senseless. He refused to

fight back, which was the oddest thing. Normally when they get in a fight of any kind, verbal or physical, he fights back this time he just took every ounce of punishment they dished out! Once it was over, he just said that he deserved it, and then apologized to Bill and Charlie. I couldnt believe what I saw. Hermione owled earlier. Shes going to come by the day you get in. She said she could stay a few days, but then she had to go home. Her family planned a vacation to go see Viktor Krum, at Dumbledores urging. Ron is furious about that, by the way. Bill and Charlie keep muttering about getting to know their littlest brother. Im not quite sure what theyre talking about with that, though. They know Ron rather well, or so I thought, anyway. Mum and Dad are running around trying to get everything ready for when you get here. Theyre not saying why, and theyve been very secretive about it. I think they might be planning you a big birthday party or something. Im not sure, though. Ive been avoiding Ron quite a bit, lately. He keeps on dropping what he thinks are subtle hints about well he wants me to date you. He figures he can trust you more than anyone else. Its a bit annoying really not that Im against the idea or anything, because Im not. I mean I dont want to go out with you. Wait, that sounds bad. Its not that I dont want to go out with Im going to stop now, I can only make this worse, and after I beat you senseless Im going to be quite red. God this is embarrassing. Harry, Im not mad at you for not wanting to talk about it. I dont want you to think that. Living in a house with five other people (eight when Bill, Charlie, and Percy are here), I know as well as anyone else that sometimes you just want to be alone with your thoughts. But you made us worry about you. You made me worry about you. Thats why Im mad. You were safe, fine, and you didnt even seem to care that we didnt know if you were ok. You had us prepared to come torture those muggles you live with, just to make sure youre ok. George and Fred even invented a new treat called Pigtail Pop to give that Dudley boy a pigs tail. You should at least have sent me us a message to let us know you were ok, but just needed some time alone. We would have understood. It hurt that you felt like you couldnt trust us enough to ask us for some time for yourself. When you get here, were definitely going to have a talk. Once I knock some sense into that thick head of yours. Take care of yourself, and well see you when you get here. Love, always, Ginny Wiping his eyes to try to stop the stinging the tears building in his eyes would cause, Harry just looked at the tear-stained letter. It hadnt really struck him how much hed hurt a family that he cherished until he read Ginnys letter.

"Tomorrow is most definitely going to hurt, but maybe my letters will help them understand," Harry thought, as he prepared to write the last letter before he would leave number 4, Privet Drive. "4:43." Dear Ginny, I know this doesnt fix how Ive acted, but Im sorry. You and your family are almost all I have left, now. I never really knew my parents, and with losing Sirius, well it hurt a lot. I still blame myself for what happened, and I couldnt bear the thought of you, or any of your family, being hurt because of me. Im telling you this in confidence. I dont want anyone else to know anything Ive put here, so please keep it that way? I know Im asking a lot, but you wanted me to confide in you, so I am. I had plans to leave. Not the Dursleys Ive already mentioned that in my letter to your mother. Im talking about vanishing. I have enough money that disappearing would be easy enough to accomplish. Ive spent most of the summer thinking about it. It wasnt until I got a letter from Sirius that I made up my mind to stay. His last will and testament was actually more of a letter, to me. In it he told me that family are those who love you. That means I have a family. It was surprising how much sense that statement made to me, and still does. Having a family, well that means a lot to me. I dare say that because of how I grew up, family is one of the most important things in the world, to me. It was just so hard. I didnt mean to worry anyone. Ive known what friendship was, and that you worry about your friends, but I guess it never really hit me that there are people who would care. Especially after all that business about how I was a deranged fameseeker. To answer your question, Bill and Charlie are talking about me. Seems Ive been adopted as their littlest brother. Not that I mind, mind you. Im kind of excited about it, really. As for dating me, I didnt know that it would be so bad for you. I guess Ill have to change my plans for if we have another ball this year. Pity, the times we could have had. Dancing until were out of breath, having dinner, and then snogging into the night. Maybe if I beg. Yes, begging might do. Thats it, Ill drop onto my knees and beg your forgiveness. Then youll accept me! Ah, who am I kidding. Youd never accept a cad like me! Woe is me, I am lost. If Im not mistaken, youre probably quite red by now, and Im watching you with a large smile on my face. Love, Harry "Well, 5:45. Fifteen minutes to go, then Im off to the Burrow."

Harry checked over the letters, sealing them all and properly addressing each one, and putting them into his pocket. Finally, he came to Ginnys letter, which he sealed and stuffed into his shirt pocket. "Ill give her this personally," chuckled Harry, "I love watching her blush." "I bet thats not all you love watching her do," the badge laughed. "Oh, grow up." Grabbing a piece of the taffy, Harry accidentally fell into the wall separating his and Dudleys room. Running out, he again accidentally tripped and fell in front of Dudleys door, leaving the candy near it. As Harry slowly walked to his uncle and aunts room, to let them know he was leaving, he smiled to himself. Dudleys door had just opened, and the boy must have saw the candy and picked it up. Harry lightly tapped on the door to his guardians room, but received no answer. So, he tapped a bit louder, but still no reply. Finally, he gave up and pounded on the door, to which the reply was a rather audible whump, as someone crashed to the floor. "What the bloody hell?! Whats going on?! Petunia, wake up I think someone has broken into the house!" "Uncle Vernon, its just me," Harry called through the closed door. "Potter?! What the hell is the matter with you?! You nearly scared me out of my wits!" "Im just letting you know that Ive been invited to stay with the Weasleys for the rest of the summer, and that someone will be by later to pick up my things." "Those people are not coming into this house! No, no, no," bellowed the oversized man as he slammed open the door. "Theyre not. Ill be going there, on my own. You can go back to sleep. I just wanted to let you know," Harry explained. "And to be awake when Dudley notices all the love bites," he thought to himself. "MUMMY!" screamed the oversized boy. "Im covered in purple spots!" Having heard her son cry for her, Petunia shot out of her bed like a bottle rocket and headed straight for her son. As soon as she saw him, she screamed and nearly fainted. "Oh my God! Dudley, you youre covered in hi-hi-hic youre covered in love bites!" "My son is a manly man!" Vernon smiled as he glanced at his splotched son. Chuckling to himself, Harry went back to his room and picked up the portkey. It would be activating in the next two minutes. While he waited, Harry listened to Vernon and Petunia arguing back and forth about how proud he was and how improper she thought it was. No one was listening to Dudley who kept saying, "I think it was the candy! No girls

have ever shown me any interest!" The last thing Harry heard, as he felt the familiar jerk at his navel of a portkey was Vernon shouting, "Wait, you go to an all bloody boys school! Dudley --" then Harry was standing outside The Burrow, with Dumbledore walking towards him.

Dear Reader, First off I would like to thank those of you who so graciously reviewed my first chapter. I appreciate your interest and your kind words, very much. :) Some of you were very interested that I hurry up with the next chapter, so I thought I'd go ahead and give you the second chapter today, though I won't be releasing a chapter a day very often, I'm sure. I currently have the first five chapters completed (aside from the perfection period), and about one third to one half of the sixth sitting in another window. It takes me, on average, two days to write a chapter. But, it takes me another day or two to go over it, while I'm already working on the next chapter, to get it to where everything is how I really want it. I won't try to set a schedule for myself, though, for the simple fact that a schedule will decrease the quality of the work. It will feel more like a job than something I am doing because I enjoy it. As such, I will mainly post when I am happy with how a chapter has turned out, not before. I have, in actuality, spent more than four days on the first few chapters. I was waiting on a beta reader, however I got impatient and just posted it regardless. If you notice any mistakes, they are entirely my fault for being impatient which, I'm doing it again in posting this chapter. ;) I am, to be quite honest with you, not as familiar with Harry Potter as some of you probably are. I've only read the last three books, though I am reading the first and second now, as well, in an effort to familiarize myself with the story a bit better, since I only saw the movies of those. I would also like to address something mentioned by lan1. Lan1 brought up the subject of dating Ginny. As you will see, that is a possibility, but unlike some of the other stories I've read, if they do get together it will not be an easy road for them, and you'll find out why in later stories. Lady Pyra, I'm glad you liked that line, as I enjoyed it as well. Sadly, I don't have very much of a sense of humor, so I can't interject humor like I've read in many stories. Things such as that are the best I can do, really. :) In any case, I've wasted enough time blabbering about the reviews and all that. On to the story! -Master Eldryn

Harry was standing atop a small, grassy hill a short walk from The Burrow, and Dumbledore was walking directly towards him. Harry couldnt help but smile. His prank on Dudley went even better than expected, and he was finally away from that place. "Good morning, Harry," Dumbledore welcomed as he approached, a smile on his face. "How was your trip?" "Fine, sir. I dont particularly like portkeys, but it wasnt as bad as the floo." "Tell him!" the badge barked. "Oh, and before it tries to drive me crazy, the badge," Harry indicated the Quidditch captains badge in his hand, "told me to tell you that it isnt a Knightbus." "Ah, yes. Im quite sure it did. It can be rather quirky at times, if I do say so myself," stated Dumbledore, the familiar twinkle lighting his eyes. "I resemble that remark," the badge mocked. "Walk with me, Harry. We have a while before the Weasleys are expecting you, and I need to speak with you about a few things of importance." Harry nodded, and the two walked towards the lake not far from The Burrow in silence, Harry considering his prank and Dumbledore considering what to say to Harry. They walked quickly, Harry taking larger strides to keep up with Dumbledores pace. Upon reaching the lake, Harry sat down by the edge and waited patiently while Dumbledore seemed to gather his thoughts. Harry just sat watching the ripples traveling along the surface, thinking how much he was like that ripple, how everything he did seemed to affect everyone around him, more often than not in a bad way. "Harry, I thought you would wish to know that Sirius has been cleared of all charges levied against him. He will be given a proper ceremonial service, as well as several commendations from the Ministry. His criminal record will be expunged, and several public statements are to be made about the grievous error that was his imprisonment." Harry nodded mutely, unable to speak over the lump that appeared in his throat the moment Sirius name was mentioned. Immediately his eyes glossed over, brimming with unshed tears that he tried to hold back. He had cried enough that summer and didnt feel like breaking down again. "They are also providing with those commendations a sum of money as reparations for his improper imprisonment, for those twelve years, and the time he was in hiding equal to what he could have earned. The sum is three hundred thousand galleons, as well as fifty thousand galleons for services to the public. All of which is now yours." Again Harry nodded, not yet trusting his ability to speak; now more so because of rage than the lump in his throat. His godfather was dead, it was his fault, and they were trying

to give him money for causing it. "It was not your fault, Harry. Never think that," Dumbledore stated, seeming to have read his mind. "The recompense will be placed into your vault at Gringotts this afternoon, with your approval of course." At this Harry finally decided to try speaking over the rage and the lump still filling his throat. "Sir can can it be placed into vault number four-hundred seventy-eight? That is my vault, now." Dumbledore nodded, "I expected as much, and have already made that adjustment for you." "Sir, does the Order have any financial requirements," he trailed off sheepishly, realizing how stupid his question really was. "I what I meant was, I know the Order has financial requirements can I help with any of them?" Harry thought he saw a flicker of surprise wash over Dumbledores face, but before he could get a second look it was gone. "Thank you, Harry, however the Orders financial situation is quite stable, I assure you." Dumbledore smiled warmly at Harry, "Should we ever be in monetary need, though, I will keep your offer in mind. I highly doubt that should ever be the case, though, Harry." "Is this what you needed to speak with me about," Harry asked, finally managing to get his emotions under control. "I am guessing this was a way to break the ice for something." "Indeed you are correct, Harry. I have asked you here to see how you are coping with Sirius death." "Fine," Harry answered, far too quickly for it to have been a thoughtful answer. After a short silence he spoke again, "I still blame myself for it, but something he put into his letter reminded me that even though I blame myself, I cant sulk about it. Which reminds me, he requested that I thank you for taking care of his letter for him." Dumbledore nodded his head somberly as he looked at the young man before him. "He also requested that I allow the Order to use Black Manor for as long as they need. I dont think I could spend much time there right now, anyway. Oh, and he wanted me to free Kreacher. Is it safe to do that, now?" Dumbledore nodded again, apparently having expected this. "Most of what Kreacher could divulge, we assume has already been shared and have taken the proper precautions. You can free him with no adverse affects to the Order. Since we found out what he did we have kept from Kreacher everything weve done," explained Dumbledore. "Good. I want to carry out Sirius last wishes to the best of my abilities." Dumbledore nodded, as he again went silent to gather his thoughts. He smiled as he looked out over the small lake, watching the wind push small ripples across the surface

and listening to the rustle of the trees. The indignant twitter of a small group of birds carried through the leaves, as a strong wind rustled their nest a bit more roughly than theyd have liked. "This is such a peaceful place, Harry. Im glad you can find some measure of comfort here." "What do" he trailed off. After a time, he asked, "How did you know? Even I really didnt know." "It shows in everything you do. Every breath, every move, every whisper they speak profoundly of just how truly at peace you are here. The only other place Ive seen you relax in such a manner is at Hogwarts." "I never knew I was that transparent." "Oh I doubt many others would notice you have nothing to worry about in that regard. It has been my responsibility to keep you safe for so long that it seems I have come to recognize your spirits through your actions. Im sure youve often wondered if I could peer into your mind. I can not, at least not in the way you think. I can, however, watch your expressions, your actions, the shifting of your breathing. It all speaks volumes, my dear boy." "Sort of like being able to recognize a friend is upset due to a subtle shift in behavior," ventured Harry. "Indeed. But, I suppose we really should get back to the point. The Weasleys will be expecting you soon." "The point?" asked Harry. He was very curious what Dumbledore could want. Harry waited patiently, while Dumbledore gathered his thoughts again, watching the lake coursing into the small river by The Burrow. "I was hoping to find a more subtle way of asking this, however the best course of action seems to be a direct attack. Harry, would you be willing to teach Defense Against the Dark Arts, this year?" Harrys eyes widened as the realization of what Dumbledore just asked fully set in. "YY-You want me to teach?! Why?!" "The students coming to Hogwarts are not prepared for what is to come. They have no idea what is happening in the world. Cornelius finally acknowledged that Voldemort has returned, as well as announcing it to the public. However, he still asserts that Voldemort is of no consequence, out of fear that it will cause panic if he does not. "Cornelius has agreed to work with the Order, but he still greatly fears the loss of his position as Minister. An admission of his blatant ignorance of the truth would likely result in exactly that. "Thus, the students coming to Hogwarts will be unable to perceive the threat ahead. You

can correct that problem and prepare them for the dark times ahead. You proved yourself when you organized Dumbledores Army" he trailed off, a hint of a smile on his face, "Now I would like for you to extend and spread that training." As an afterthought he added, that twinkle again dancing in his eyes, "And it would be a terrible shame to destroy the record all the previous professors have worked so hard to create." Harry was still too shocked to notice the joke Dumbledore had just made about the curse surrounding the Dark Arts position. "But, how Im going into my sixth year, now. I dont know enough to teach!" Dumbledore smiled knowingly, "Harry, I reviewed the O.W.L. results this morning before I arrived. If you had to venture a guess, who would you think received the highest marks in Defense Against the Dark Arts?" Harry looked confused for a moment then spoke his answer, "Someone that was in the DA." Almost as an afterthought he added, "Hermione, probably." Again the twinkle danced throughout Dumbledores eyes, madly this time, as if looking for a way out. "The highest marks for the Defense Against the Dark Arts O.W.L. was received by you." Harry let that information sink in before responding. "Even so, its only because Umbridge refused to teach us anything!" Dumbledore gave Harry a knowing smile before he spoke again, "You misunderstand, Harry. You received the highest marks in the history of Hogwarts. Harry," he stopped a moment to check if Harry was still paying attention, because Harry was staring right through him into oblivion. "Harry?" "I did?" was all Harry could think of, so that was what he asked. He was far too surprised, happy, confused, and shocked to think clearly, any longer. "Indeed. The DA, I believe you called it, had varying scores, but they all did particularly well, also. I do not believe my faith in your ability to handle this burden is misplaced." "But that still doesnt change the fact that Im just a sixth year. There is no way I could possibly teach N.E.W.T. level classes!" "I have considered that as well. Should you decide to accept my offer, I will privately prepare you for the next two years of classes. That gives us exactly one month. Just enough time, I do believe." "Is this a joke, sir? It has to be a joke. One month to prepare for two years of classes? Me teaching? I just" "This is far from a joke, Harry. I am quite serious." Harry realized the truth of this when he glanced at Dumbledore and noticed the smile that was on his face mere moments ago was entirely gone. The twinkle that was dancing in his eyes had also utterly vanished. Regardless of his change in attitude, Dumbledores soft and calming presence was still

filling the area. "I have never made such an offer to a student. I have never known a student who could handle such a burden. You have proven your ability, and now it is needed." Dumbledore was almost pleading with Harry to accept. Harry let out a resigned sigh. "Do I get all the perks of being a professor," he asked smiling weakly. .oOo. Talking as they walked back to The Burrow, Harry got an idea of what the rest of his summer would be like. He was a bit irritated to find that he would need at least four hours of training per day to be able to learn everything needed over the next two years of Defense Against the Dark Arts classes, not to mention the studying required to learn the theoretical side. He would be teaching one class per day during his normal free period, and then seven classes on Sunday so that he could get in two classes per week without interfering with his own school schedule. It was upon hearing this that Harry began to think he might have made a mistake in accepting. He couldnt even fathom how he would be able to manage homework. "Who would you have gotten to teach the class, if I didnt accept," Harry asked. Dumbledore paused a moment. It was obvious that he hoped he wouldnt have to answer this question. "Remus Lupin agreed." "Wait, we could have had Professor Lupin back?!" "Well, yes. He agreed, however it was with reluctance. Both he and I felt it would be better to have him continue in his current capacity with the Order." "Oh, I see. Well, what about those perks?" The twinkle in Dumbledores eyes was back. "Perks?" he asked with a slight smile on his face. "Well, yeah. Since Im technically going to be a professor now, do I get all the perks that goes along with it? You know, private quarters, house points, detentions, pay?" "Ah, yes. I wondered if you would ask about that. I must admit, though, you asked sooner than I expected." The bearded old man considered the questions thoroughly, and finally continued, "The answer to your question is yes. You are a professor and as such you can do the same as any of the staff. However, I do expect you to be responsible with these perks. I also expect you to be civil with the rest of the staff." The emphasis put on the word rest made it clear to Harry that Dumbledore was meaning he had to be civil with that greasy git Snape. Harry happily nodded, though, enjoying the fantasy of sending Malfoy to detention on a daily basis, and removing house points from

Slytherin much like Snape chose to do to Gryffindor. "Sir, about my pay. What will it be?" The old man regarded Harry over his half-moon spectacles for a moment, before responding to his inquiry. "Along with room and board, as well as food, you receive one years pay at five hundred galleons per month. Your will be exempted from tuition as you will be considered staff." "I see. Could I make certain arrangements for my pay, then? I really dont need it." "Certainly, Harry. How would you like for me to explain why Hogwarts is providing the Weasleys with staff pay for a year?" Harry again wondered if Dumbledore could read his mind, as he peered at the old mans half-smile. "As I mentioned, Harry, I can not." "You know thats almost creepy, right, sir," chuckled Harry. "But, Ill explain it to them. I think Im going to have to explain a lot to them." Dumbledore smiled and nodded as they continued the walk by the river up to the main area where The Burrow was situated. "Sir, have you told anyone else about this?" "Not yet," he said cautiously, seeming to sense what Harry was going to say. "Can you keep it a secret, then? I know you said you wanted me to be civil to the staff, but I really want to see the look on Professor Snapes face when he hears." A small frown appeared on Dumbledores face at this, however he couldnt hide the mischievous twinkle dancing swiftly through his eyes. "If that is your wish, Harry." "It is." And thus ended their return walk. As they arrived at The Burrow both noticed something was not normal. The Burrow seemed to be a frantic collection of shouts and running. At two minutes after seven, The Burrow was in a frantic fit. The entirety of the Weasley family looked as if it was preparing for a war, and most of them disapparated out without even noticing him. Harry spotted Ron who was frantically looking through a trunk for something, and walked over to him and asked his friend, "Hey, Ron, whats going on?" "Weve gotta save Harry! Those muggles of his must have done something to him, because hes not here," replied the redheaded, lanky boy to whom Harrys question was directed. "Really? Wow, mind if we help, then," Harry asked with no trace of humor in his voice,

however the look on his face said it all. Harry was grinning from ear-to-ear and Dumbledores eyes were again twinkling madly with suppressed laughter. "Sure, Harry, just get whatever you can find to do damage!" "Great, Im read --" "Harry!" Ginnys ecstatic shout overrode Harrys voice, as the fiery redhead streaked across the room, bowling him over in the process. The hug into which Harry was pulled was rather strong considering Ginnys small size, which, when he considered it, was not that small compared to his own similar size. All the breath was knocked out of him and he couldnt seem to draw another. Ginnys grip on his middle wasnt loosening, though. "Cant breathe help," was all Harrys breathless and struggling frame could manage, as his face began to turn a violet color from the lack of oxygen. "Harry?" Ron was looking at him, just now realizing to whom he was talking just a moment before. "Help," Harry squeaked again. "Air good!" "Separatus!" called Mr. Weasley from the door. As soon as the intonation left Mr. Weasleys mouth Ginny was removed from Harry, who was absolutely giddy about being able to breathe again, by a pair of invisible arms. "You nearly choked the poor boy, Ginny!" "Thank you Mr. Weasley," gasped Harry who was beginning to return to his normal color, as he watched Ginny who was beginning to turn a very fetching shade of red. "Im glad to see you, too Ginny," he gasped out between breaths. "Msorry," she quickly stated, looking down between her feet in embarrassment, while Ron was trying to help Harry up into a chair. Dumbledore, who no one else seemed to notice yet, was stifling a chuckle at everything that had occurred. "Marvelous," was all he said, before saying hello to Mr. Weasley. "Hello, Albus. What are you doing here," Mr. Weasley asked the older man, a smile on his face. "Actually, I came to speak with Harry. I must be leaving, in a moment, but I also wanted to give him his birthday gift, before I had to return to Hogwarts," the Headmaster said as he pulled out a tiny package and waved his wand over it, causing it to expand. Harry looked at the gift once it had expanded, curious as to what it could be. The gift was exceptionally neatly wrapped. Navy blue paper of a starscape with clouds gently sliding over it, neatly tied over with silver ribbon, and topped with a sparkling silver and gold bow faced him. "Harry, if you dont mind, I would like to see you open it before I leave," Dumbledore said as he smiled warmly at Harry.

Harry nodded as he carefully removed the wrapping on the gift, trying not to damage the paper. He wasnt sure why, but he really wanted to keep that paper. There was something soothing to him about what it displayed, and he made plans to place it beside his bed later. Finally, he finished opening the paper and he pulled open the box. Inside the box he found a silver dish inscribed with various runes around the rim that seemed familiar to him. Then realization struck him, and with it came its friend shock. Harry couldnt believe it. He glanced at Dumbledore, then back into the box. Hed been given a pensieve. Harry stared at the gift in shock a moment more, then quickly pulled the Headmaster into a hug. "Thank you, sir. I dont think youll ever know how much that means to me." Dumbledore simply smiled his knowing smile, and patted Harry on his back. "The instructions for its use are in the box, as well," he said. "Im sure youll make good use of it, Harry. And, now I must be going." "Thank you again, sir," Harry added, as Dumbledore said his good-byes and left to return to Hogwarts. "While Im thinking about it, where was everyone going when I got here," Harry asked, once he remembered everyone apparating out as he arrived. "Oh fu err fudge! They apparated out as soon as you didnt show! Theyre all at the Dursleys trying to rescue you," Ron exclaimed. Harry went wide-eyed at this piece of information. Mr. Weasley, however, having recognized the problem, immediately disapparated to bring them back before any irreparable damage was done. About ten minutes later he returned with a frantic Mrs. Weasley, a cackling set of twins, and their two very angry looking older brothers. Bill was the first of them to speak. "That no-necked, mustached, purple-faced bugger was a real arsehole!" he growled eliciting a laugh from Harry, Ron and Ginny. "William Weasley, you watch your language," snapped Mrs. Weasley who had been jerked back to reality for a moment by the particular choice of language her son used. "He may not have said it nicely, mum, but hes still right," Charlie stated in his brothers defense. "Yeah, mum --" "theyre just being --" "honest about it," said the twins, bounding between each other what they were saying. Mrs. Weasley sighed, then, finally noticing Harry and pulled him into a very tight hug to which she seemed shed never let him out of. "Were so glad youre all right, dear," she said as she choked the air out of him. "Air... help," was all Harry could muster, having been hugged out of breath for the

second time in less than an hour. "Separatus!" called Mr. Weasley, again saving Harry from being choked to death by a hug. Mrs. Weasley, unlike Ginny, wasnt going to give up so quickly. She fought the spell for a moment before realizing that she was being pulled away because she was choking Harry. Harry thought to himself that itd be a really embarrassing way to go hed faced down Death Eaters and even Voldemort, only to be killed by a rogue hug. He chuckled to himself, which Mrs. Weasley misunderstood as him laughing at her. "Im sorry, dear. We were just so worried," she said, seeming to gather her wits about her. Everyone around nodded, and happily greeted him. As they all started to talk with him, though, he pulled out the stack of letters hed written, as well as the batteries hed taken from his clock for Mr. Weasley, since he didnt have time to buy any. He walked over to each of them, giving them their letter, and asking them to read them in private, before they decided to talk to him any further. Mrs. Weasley nodded and walked into the kitchen, the twins apparated up to their room and Ron bounded up the stairs to his. When hed given Mr. Weasley his letter, which also contained the money hed sent for batteries, he also handed him the batteries. The look on Mr. Weasleys face was much like that you would see on a child on Christmas. He immediately ran outside to tinker with the batteries and read his letter, after thanking Harry. As he approached Bill and Charlie he told them, with a smile on his face, that hed be happy to take them up on their offer, whenever theyd like, as long as theyd let him sleep some first. They grinned, and happily agreed, before Harry thought about their other brother. "Where is Percy," Harry asked, wondering where their younger brother was. Bill and Charlie both went into a bit of a scowl, before Charlie said, "Hes at work." Harry nodded, not missing the looks on their faces. "Is he supposed to be by here, today? I have a letter for him, as well. He wrote to me apologizing for his behavior." At hearing this, their scowls faltered. Apparently theyd not been expecting this sudden change in behavior from their younger brother. "He did?" Bill asked cautiously, as if expecting to hear that this was a joke of some kind prepared by the twins. Harry simply nodded in reply. "Good," the two brothers said in unison. "He doesnt get to stop by often. Since Fudge found out Voldemort," Bill twitched at the

mention of the name, but Charlie continued without pause, "was really back, hes had to work overtime a lot." "He also hasnt wanted to see us, for a while," Bill added casually, "we werent very nice the last time we saw him." Harry chuckled at the understatement. "Well, I need to give Ginny her letter, Ill talk to you guys later?" They nodded and glanced over at Ginny, and Bill spoke up. "Youd better hurry, then," Bill said as he put his hand on Harrys shoulder and turned him to face where Ginny was. "She looks like shes about ready to hex you something fierce, mate." Harry winced at this. He had seen her put her famous Bat Bogey Hex to use on the twins, and quickly excused himself to go talk to her before she decided to use it on him, as well. "Yeah, I better get over there." As Harry made his way to Ginny, he could see the daggers she was shooting at him from her eyes. If looks could kill, hed have been dead many times over. As he approached he made sure to keep his head down as a sign that he was apologetic, in hopes that she would wait to hex him until she had at least read his letter and thought about it first. "Hi, Ginny," Harry tried as he got close. "Hello," she said, and there was no mistaking the coldness in her tone. "I wrote you a letter, Id like you to read it before you decide to," he gulped once, "hex me." Her glare faltered at his admission to her, and he then realized why she was mad. She thought he hadnt written to her, she had been too worried to remember her promise to knock some sense into him. He was slightly thankful for that fact. "You did?" "Of course," he said, as if it should have been completely obvious. He pulled the letter out of his pocket, as proof. As she reached for it, he tucked it back into his pocket and said simply, "Cmon." He then turned and walked out the door. Ginny, confused for a moment about what he said, quickly caught up with him. As she stalked beside him, he walked back to the lake hed been at with Dumbledore, and leaned up against a tree. Once settled, he pulled out the letter hed written to her, and handed it over, as he studied the shape of the lake. It was then that he realized the lake was shaped much like a human heart, pumping water into the river much like a heart pumps blood. "Have a seat," he requested, and she sat down on the grass. She grinned and broke the seal to the letter, and began reading. Almost immediately, tears formed in her eyes, and slowly rolled down her face. "I knew it was hard on you, but I never knew it was that hard. Ive always had family that

cared about me, so I guess I just took it for granted. Did you really consider just vanishing?" Harry nodded. Ginny frowned, but she went back to reading. "Theyre really calling you little brother, now," she asked suddenly, interrupting his thoughts about the lakes odd shape. Again, Harry nodded, and again she went back to reading. After a few minutes, Harry glanced up and saw a pink flush slowly overtake her, starting at the ears and working its way down. A smile crept onto Harrys face, and he began watching her more intently. As each second passed she turned even deeper shades of red. Finally, she read the last sentence, looked up at him in with her face a mixture of anger, shock, and humor and groaned as she fell over and tried to hide her face from him. Harry could no longer hold back his laughter and began rolling around on the ground holding his sides. "Youre mean!" she shouted, however Ginny wasnt angry, or at least she didnt seem to be, Harry thought. "I cant believe youd do me that way!" Harry put on his best puppy dog impression and just looked at her innocently, letting his lower lip tremble just slightly enough to make him seem hurt. He then asked in a shaky voice, "You think Im mean?" Ginny looked at him completely mortified. Never before had he acted like this, with her, so the thought that it was a joke never even occurred to her. Her heart almost shattered at the thought that shed hurt him. In response she did the only thing she could think of to prove to him she didnt think he was mean she pulled him in and kissed him, with everything she could muster. She released the years of devotion shed had for him into that one earth-shattering kiss. Harrys eyes instantaneously went wide with surprise. He had only been joking with her, and the look of horror on her face had shocked him into silence. He hadnt even noticed as she pulled him into the kiss, and then there he was being kissed. Her soft lips pressed into his, welcoming him to join. Her arms snaked around to cradle his neck and her scent teased his nose as she pushed him back against the ground. It felt like she was pouring everything she felt for him into that one kiss, and so he gave in to it, enjoyed it joined it. "Harry," shouted Ron from a distance. "Oi, Harry, where are you?!" Ginnys mind tingled with excitement. Shed always had a crush on Harry, but had never been able to tell him. She thought she was over him when shed started going out with Michael Corner, but now she was lying on top of him by the lake, kissing him with everything she had and he was kissing her back. Everything she felt before came rushing back, even stronger. Then Rons voice broke through the barrier in her mind, and she immediately broke off the kiss in wide-eyed horror. She mumbled an apology then jumped up and ran off, before Harry even had a chance to consider what just happened, let alone trying to stop her. He simply continued lying on the ground, staring at the sky.

As he continued to lie there, he wondered when the sky had turned so blue and the clouds so white. A moment later Ron came over to where he was, though Harry didnt even notice his presence until he spoke, rather loudly. "You alright, mate? You look like someone just snogged you senseless." "Mfine," mumbled Harry, as he continued to marvel at the blueness of the sky. "Jusfine." "Ginny didnt hex you, did she? Wouldnt be surprised if she did. Whatd you do that made her so mad? She was storming toward the house, else I might not have found you." "Idnthnso. Hattawaitunsee." "Are you sure youre alright? Youre not making much sense there, Harry." "Great, isnt it?" Ron shook his head at his friend, then added, "Right then. Mum wants you to come on in, now." "Ok." .oOo. Arriving back at The Burrow, Harry was still in a somewhat amused and bemused state from Ginnys kiss. Mrs. Weasley took one look at him, and proceeded to question him very thoroughly on if he were all right, if he was not feeling well, and various other questions to all of which Harry just nodded his head repeatedly. Finally managing to get his senses back, he asked Mrs. Weasley, who insisted that hed known her long enough to call her Molly, if he could speak with her and Mr. Weasley in private. She agreed, and went to pull her muggle-obsessed husband out of his shed, and returned to the kitchen with him in tow. As they were sitting down, Bill and Charlie came in to see what was going on, but Mrs. Weasley shooed them out of the kitchen and told everyone to stay away until they came out. She was about to take her seat again, but she then set about casting silencing charms all over the room, muttering about the twins and their extendable ears. "Ok, dear," she said, as she sat back down. "What did you want to talk to us about?" "Well, Im not quite sure how to put this, and Im not quite sure how youll take it." "Just spit it out, Im sure youre not going to tell us anything weve never heard. Seven children can do that, to you, dear," she smiled at him, but the worry was evident on her face. "Well, ok. Dumbledore just offered me a job as a professor at Hogwarts." The two Weasley parents gaped at him, their jaws having dropped open.

"Ok, I get the feeling I just told you something that none of the others have ever told you." Harry grinned. "But, that wasnt exactly what I wanted to tell you." "That was a nice little pallet of bricks that you just dropped on us, right there," stated Mr. Weasley, the awe clear in his voice. "Well, I told them to give my pay to my family, because I really dont need it. I just found out between last night and this morning that Ive got nearly two and a half million galleons in my vault, not to mention treasures, and also my school funds." Mrs. Weasley gasped at the amount of money Harry stated that he had, but Mr. Weasley took it in stride. "Well, that was very nice of you dear, Im sure they will appreciate the gesture, even if they dont appreciate you," said Mrs. Weasley, who obviously thought he was talking about the Dursleys and disliked them very much. "Well, I wasnt talking about the Dursleys. My pay from Hogwarts will be placed into the Weasley family vault on a monthly basis for one year, starting come September first," Harry said. Mr. and Mrs. Weasley immediately began to protest his statement. "Dear, thats very thoughtful of you, but we cant take that," said Mrs. Weasley who seemed to have not picked up that he called them family. Whether she was intentionally ignoring it or she thought he might not have been serious, Harry could not tell. "I must agree with Molly, Harry. We cant accept it, its too much." Mr. Weasley smiled, but his statement was quite firm. "Yes, you can," Harry argued, "its already been arranged, anyway. Please, just hear me out. Youve all given me so much much more than I ever could have hoped for. Youve treated me like family. But, its not that I feel like I owe you something, thats not why Im doing this. Im doing it because I want to. "Something Sirius said in his letter to me made this very clear to me I have a family. Its not one I was born with, but one I was welcomed into. I want to help my family, and that means all of you." Harrys heartfelt statement was not lost on the two, as they both accepted, however reluctantly, and pulled him into a crushing hug. It was the first time he told them he considered them family, and the significance of that was too important to let pass unnoticed. Previously, when Harry received a hug from Mrs. Weasley he accepted it uncomfortably, having never received any emotional contact from the Dursleys. This time, however, with both Arthur and Molly Weasley crushing him in the middle of their kitchen, he gladly accepted and reciprocated their hug. They continued to talk for a while about why Harry was becoming a teacher and his wish to keep it secret, before Harry remembered he needed to make a trip into Diagon Alley to see about the book his anonymous friend mentioned to him.

"While Im thinking about it, is it all right if I go into Diagon Alley for a little while, today? I need to pick up a book," Harry asked. "Its rather important." "Of course, dear. We can make a trip of it and get some of the school things out of the way," Mrs. Weasley said happily. "I can normally never get the children to avoid the school rush." Harry smiled, then muttered something about taking a shower. "Oh my!" exclaimed Mr. Weasley. "I was supposed to pick up your things. In all the commotion I forgot all about it. Excuse me, Ill be back soon," said Mr. Weasley, as he ran outside to the new car the Ministry granted him. Mrs. Weasley simply shook her head, as her husband ran out of the house. "Poor man would forget his head if it werent firmly attached to his neck. Anyway, dear, you just wait about ten minutes, then you can go ahead and shower. As long as you spend in the shower, he should be back with your things by the time you get out." Harry blushed then nodded, and made his way upstairs. As he was passing Ginnys door, she opened it and walked out, not noticing Harry. As soon as she set eyes on him, she turned into a veritable rainbow of red and started stuttering apologies. Harry could only smile as she did, though, as he really enjoyed watching her blush. "Its ok, Ginny," he said to mollify her discomfort. "I promise, Im not mad." "A-A-Are you s-sure? Im just soooooo embarrassed." "Yes, Ginny, Im sure. And there is no need to be embarrassed." "Thanks, Harry. I really am sorry, though." At his soothing words she seemed to relax, and the red shade shed turned started to lighten. "Oh no, cant have that now," Harry thought to himself. "No problem, Ginny. I rather enjoyed it, actually." He grinned, and winked at her. As soon as he saw the red coming back, he started off up the stairs. "Well have to talk more later, Gin, I really need a shower a cold one." She stammered for a moment, at his pronouncement, then she turned the deepest shade of red hed ever seen on her face. She immediately spun on her heel and ran back into her room slamming the door. "Ohmigod! Was he flirting with me?! It seemed like it, but I dunno. I mean, the remark about him needing a cold shower definitely seemed like flirting. Maybe hes just hot," Ginny thought, as she wondered about what just happened. "Is he ever," her inner dialogue responded mockingly. "Stop that," she admonished herself. "Im over him now. I like him as a friend, thats all." "Thats right, you keep telling yourself that. It wont help, but maybe you can fool

yourself a bit longer." Finally she fell on the bed and screamed into her pillow in frustration. "Every time I think Im over him, he does something to make me want him even more. Damn him!" "You think hed mind if we joined him in the shower?" Ginny groaned at that thought, and began to pound her fist into her pillow. .oOo. Harry walked into Rons room, with a giant grin on his face. He was thoroughly enjoying watching Ginny blush, knowing that he caused it. Though, he couldnt tell you why was enjoying it, because even he didnt know the answer. He waited a few minutes, then grabbed a towel and washcloth, and went to shower. After hed showered, he scratched at his face, which already had stubble on it from the last time hed shaved a few days before. Unlike most teenage wizards who could ask one of their parents to magic away the stubble, Harry had to shave it off. Mrs. Weasley had already come and asked for his clothes, as she was doing laundry, so he didnt have anything to put back on. Harry knocked on the door to the bathroom, and waited until he heard Mrs. Weasley respond from the steps. "Yes, dear?" "Is Mr. Weasley back with my things, yet?" "Im afraid not. If Id known he wouldnt have been back, yet, Id not have taken your clothes." "Its not your fault, Im sure the Dursleys are being stubborn about it, somehow. Theyre not exactly the nicest of people." "Well, Harry, I think your bathrobe is still in Rons closet from your last visit. You can wear that until Arthur gets back, Ill just go ge -- Oh dear, I think something is burning," she gasped, then Harry heard her running away from the steps. Harry wrapped the towel firmly around his waste then walked swiftly back to the room hed be sharing with Ron and pulled his robe out of Rons closet. He looked it over and realized with a bit of sadness that he was the same size as he was on his last visit to The Burrow. At that very instant Ginny walked into the room saying something directed at Ron, who was nowhere to be seen. The instant she spotted a shocked Harry, who had on nothing but a towel, she immediately turned a red so bright she reminded Harry of a muggle stoplight. As Harry whipped the robe around and tied it about his waist, he couldnt help but laugh at the horrified look on Ginnys face. She began to apologize profusely while backing out of the room with Harry laughing the entire time. "She looks so cute when shes blushing," he thought, before admonishing himself for

thinking such a thing about Rons little sister. .oOo. "Four times in a few short hours, and Harry has managed to completely embarrass me. Im not going to survive the rest of the summer," Ginny thought to herself. "Oh, but what a summer it is shaping up to be," that inner voice mocked, once again infuriating her with herself. Ginny fell onto her bed as she considered that thought. The summer really was shaping up quite well, in a way. Harry had been open with her, shed kissed him, hed flirted with her, and shed seen him more of him than normal in more ways than one. "If the day continues at this pace, well be married and on our honeymoon by dinnertime." She winced as she realized she was starting to yet again think of Harry as a romantic interest. "So he has nice eyes, so what?" "Yes, and Hermione is just a bit more studious than most. And lets not forget that body. Slobs dont become seekers, you know." "Shut up, Im trying to stop thinking of him like that." "Im just you, being devils advocate for yourself." "This cant be healthy." "Its probably not, but who cares. Lets get back to his body. Did you see that stubble? Mmm." Ginny groaned into her pillow again, "This summer is going to kill me." "Probably but what a way to go." .oOo. "Harry, Ive got your things. Im sorry it took so long I stopped at an eckeltronics store to have a look around," said Mr. Weasley as he settled Harrys trunk on the floor, near his bed. "Not a problem, sir. You mean an electronics store?" "Yes, yes, thats the place." Harry nodded. "They have the most fascinating things there! They even had these fellytones that played music! But, Im sure you know all about that. Ill leave you to get dressed, I want to tell Molly about some of the things I saw," Mr. Weasley said, and then he was bounding down the stairs. Harry chuckled at the mans excitement, while he pulled out some of his clothes. He

locked the door, having decided not to take a chance on Ginny walking in this time. Being seen in a towel is one thing, but hed really rather her not see him entirely naked. Once he was dressed Harry went downstairs to find out where the twins were, but theyd already left. Harry was curious about some of the new inventions theyd mentioned. Mrs. Weasley informed him that they had to tend their shop in Diagon Alley, but asked her to make sure Harry stopped in on their visit today. They went in early to interview some new applicants, to help out Mrs. Weasley while she ran the shop during the school year. Mrs. Weasley had made it quite clear that they were going to go back to school and finish their seventh year, or she would make them regret it. Harry could almost hear the twins saying, "And she could do it, too. A howlers got nothin on mum." "I spoke to Albus and he agreed to let them retake their seventh year over, since they only quit because of that troll of a woman," said Mrs. Weasley, fuming at who he could only guess was Umbridge. "It took them a bit of convincing, but the boys knew what was best for them," said Mrs. Weasley matter-of-factly. "Where is Mr. Weasley? He said he was going to tell you about some of the things he saw at the electronics store." "Oh, he had to go into the office for a few hours on urgent business, but hell be back in time for your par- err hell be back in time for supper, dear." Harry smiled inwardly at the motherly womans slip up. He had been prepared for the possibility of a party, but her words confirmed his belief. "Hello, Harry, Mrs. Weasley," called someone from behind him. He looked around to see who it was, and was pleasantly surprised to see Hermione standing in the doorway. She seemed positively apprehensive, though. "Hello, Hermione. Howve you been?" "Good," she said, as if waiting for him to slap her. "Are you all right, Hermione? You look like someones going to try to take your head off!" "Well, you never wrote to me, I thought you might be mad at me about something" she trailed off. "Oh about that, Im sorry. Its been rough. Ive not really written to anyone aside from Tonks, but she threatened me if I didnt." "Its ok, I understand," she said, but her tone made it clear she wished he would open up to her. He simply didn't feel like doing that, though. "So, what have you been studying," asked Harry, jokingly. "Oh! I picked up some new books before the summer and have been studying some new

material. Very interesting stuff about the different types of innate abilities certain wizards and witches could have. If youre interested, I can let you borrow it. Its a great --" "Hermione, I was joking!" "Oh," she said, blushing furiously. "Sorry." "You two run along, Im sure Ron and Ginny would like to know Hermione is here, and Ive got a few more things to do before we go to Diagon Alley," said Mrs. Weasley, going back to her chores. Harry and Hermione walked upstairs to get Ginny, who was still hiding from Harry in her room. Harry bounced up the steps, and knocked on Ginnys door. As she opened it, and saw Harry, she immediately started stammering and turned a light red, much like that of ripening strawberries. Hermione, not expecting this, asked her what was wrong without even thinking. It was Harry who answered. "Oh, she walked in on me this morning when I was nearly naked and has been blushing about it ever since," said Harry in a way that made it seem like an every day occurrence. As the realization of what Harry said struck her, Hermione also turned a bright shade of pink to match that Ginny had turned. "Oh, youre going to blush now, too? Ginny, I think youre catching." Harrys joke question only made it worse for the two girls, as they started to stammer apologies. He finally gave up on his fun and asked Ginny where Ron was. She tried to explain that he was in his favorite hiding spot, but Hermione made it quite clear that she was coming with them, regardless. Harry fell behind and allowed the two girls to talk, catching a giggle here or a snicker there. He was enjoying the outdoors as they walked near the lake to a small circle of bushes and trees. Harry couldnt explain why, but his eyes kept being drawn to Ginny, who had obviously grown since hed last paid much attention to her. Standing at about five and a half feet, her flaming red hair was laying lazily on her shoulders. She had filled out in all the right places, and Harry was definitely enjoying the view far too much, he thought, considering that she was Rons little sister. His lack of concentration proved to be a problem when he tripped over a stump and fell directly into Ginny, landing on top of her causing Hermione to let out a startled squeal. Ginny, who had been blushing nearly all day, decided not to let this chance pass her by. As Harry pushed up and off of her, she rolled over under him. She then gave him her most innocent expression, and asked in the most serious tone she could muster, "So, you just couldnt keep your hands off me, hrm?" It was Harrys turn to blush, she thought happily, as the red flush replaced his normal color. Hermione and Ginny both began to laugh raucously. Hermione had only been teased once by him, but revenge was still sweet. Harry, decided he would at least not be

the only one blushing, though. "Well, can you blame me," he asked, eyeing her from head to toe somewhat hungrily with a grin on his face, which had the desired result. Ginny went wide-eyed, then turned a red that matched her hair. Harry was a bit surprised when Hermione changed colors as well, though. "Harry! Im surprised at you. Last year you couldnt even talk to a girl without sounding like an idiot, and now youre almost a Don Juan," said Hermione, who was rather impressed, though it sounded like she was mocking him. Harry turned a bit of a deeper red at this, and decided to cut his game short before he said something stupid. "Cmon, lets find Ron." And so they continued to his secret hiding places. As they entered the clearing inside the circle of bushes and trees, Ron was sitting up against a tree staring dreamily at a picture. He obviously hadnt heard them enter his hiding place, because he nearly jumped out of his skin when Harry spoke directly to him. "Hey, Ron, whatcha looking at," Harry asked, his curiosity getting the better of him. "Hm? Oh, nothing," Ron replied while he quickly tried to put the picture away. He was, however, not quick enough for the reflexes of a seeker. In an instant Harry was looking at the picture Ron was just holding. "Interesting," Harry said, and then smiled wickedly. "Very interesting, indeed." Harry then handed the picture back to Ron, without another word about it. "So, what was it," asked Ginny who was so curious that she was ready to try to snatch the picture herself. "He was staring at a picture of his save at the Quidditch game, where they carried him out singing Weasley is our King. He showed it to me earlier. Hes been utterly fascinated with it ever since." "Thanks, mate," whispered Ron, as he hid the picture. "Of course." As everyone joined Ron sitting on the ground, he asked the obvious question, "Whats up?" "Well, I just got here, and we came looking for you because were going to be going to Diagon Alley in a little while," answered Hermione. "Oh, really? What are we going there for," Ron asked, having not heard anything about Harry needing to go. "Well, there is a book that I need to pick up. When I mentioned going to Diagon Alley, your mother said she wanted to get some of the school shopping out of the way."

"A book," asked Hermione, her curiosity piqued by the mention of reading material. "Which one?" "Laws of Ancient Wizards," he replied. "Sounds absobloodylutely fascinating, if you ask me," Ron said sarcastically. Harry just rolled his eyes, and explained the events of the last night to the group. Hermione was overtaken with an obsessive need to research this law, and started making plans to do exactly that. Ron rolled his eyes at Hermione, whom he kept glancing at every few seconds when he thought no one was looking. What most interested all of them, though, is who would notify Harry about such a loophole, and why. Harry shrugged, then. "I dont know, really. But, Im curious enough to find out." "It might be one of those sods at the Ministry trying to get you convicted again," Ron said, trying to put forth some logic. "It wouldnt be the first time, dont forget about Umbridge." "I agree, Harry. Be careful with this," added Hermione seriously. .oOo. Upon arriving in Diagon Alley, they all needed to go to the bank. Hermione only had muggle money with her, and Harry didnt have any money at all with him. Mrs. Weasley wanted to get some out of her vault as well, but Harry adamantly refused this idea. He explained that hed need some help sorting out what was in his vault, and that for their help hed take care of anything they needed today, since it was, after all, his idea. The group walked slowly down to Gringotts, enjoying the hustle and bustle of everyone running around getting their errands done. The chatter around them was soft, and they could only pick out bits and pieces here and there. "Unicorn horns at eight galleons a piece?! Theyre mad!" "What do you mean my broom wasnt ready? They promised itd be ready today!" "Yes, well she gave her boy what for. Turned him into a ferret and bounced him off the walls like she heard happened up at Hogwarts!" Harry, Ron, Hermione, and Ginny couldnt help but laugh loudly at hearing that, because they were almost absolutely sure it pertained to Draco Malfoy. When Mrs. Weasley asked what they were laughing at, Ginny explained with added comments from Ron. After they finished their story, Mrs. Weasley was wide-eyed that the professors would be allowed to do such a thing. "Oh, dont worry, mum. It wasnt the real Moody, it was that sod Bartemius Crouch junior," Ron said, earning him a very quick reprimand as well as a couple of threats involving mucking out a pig pen and the absence of a wand. Once they reached the walls of Gringotts and made their way inside, Harry went to the

nicest looking goblin he could find, which isnt saying much, where he collected the key to his new vault. He also requested the contents of his old vault be transferred into his new one. When they arrived at his vault, Hermione looking very green from the ride, the goblin unlocked Harrys vault, and allowed the small group entrance. If Harry had any notions of trying to hide the gold, they were immediately tossed out the window. His new vault was the size of an entire house and was filled with gold, silver, bronze, and various treasures. All the treasure in the vault had an odd effect. It caused the small lantern they had to light up the entire room by reflecting the light all around. Hermione, Ron, Ginny and Mrs. Weasley stood behind him with their jaws almost touching the floor. Hermione tried to say something but her stammering simply trailed off into simply opening and closing her mouth as if talking without sound, as she looked over everything in the vault. Ron said the first thing that came to mind, which for him was a bad course of action. "Bloody hell, Harry, your vaults as big as The Burrow!" "Ronald Weasley, you watch your language," Mrs. Weasley said though she didnt sound angry. She seemed more as if she agreed but was acting the parent because it was expected. Harry, however, wasnt paying any attention to them. His eyes were immediately drawn to an ornate wooden pedestal, atop which was a gold and scarlet pillow surrounded by a glass dome. Various runes were carved into the pedestals mahogany finish. Just above the center of the pillow was a floating, golden snitch. Harry assumed it was the one his father had in the memories hed seen in Snapes pensieve. He let his hand rest on the dome, as his eyes glazed over with hot tears that began to streak down his face. It was Mrs. Weasleys hand on his shoulder that brought him back to reality. He looked back at her, and she smiled softly at him. A pang of guilt shot through him as he looked at her. The Weasleys had always been great to him, but he couldnt help wondering what could have been if not for Voldemort. At precisely that moment his scar began to throb. As he hissed in pain, everyone began crowding him to see if he was all right. It was Mrs. Weasley who finally managed to get him some room to breathe. He began to rub the scar, trying to get the pain to stop, but it wouldnt. So he did the only thing he could think of. He fell to the floor. Hermione was the one to first voice their common fear, "This means You-Know-Who is near!" "No," growled Harry, "Its not him. Its different this time. Somethings calling me. It keeps telling me to touch the egg." Everyone looked around the room for anything out of the ordinary, but no one heard anything. Again Hermione was the first to voice their concerns, "Harry, no one is saying anything."

"Shut up!" "Im sorry," muttered Hermione as she screwed up her face sourly. "Not you, this voice. It keeps telling me to touch the egg! It says there -ARRRRGHHHHHHH," screamed Harry as pain knifed through his scar. It was then that he realized his scar was cold. "The scar, its not burning. Its freezing. So cold." Suddenly, from Harrys mouth but in an entirely different voice came what Harry had been hearing, "He must touch me, I am the egg. If he does not touch me, the pain will kill him. Free me from my prison of cloth and wood, and give me to the Dragonmaster. He is near, I can feel him." Harry let forth a piercing scream that filled the chamber, as Mrs. Weasley tried to comfort him. Convulsions wracked his body. "Dont know want" he gasped, trying to understand. Finally the voice began to show him images of its prison, but each one knifed through his mind like a hot knife through butter. "Box wooden trimmed in gold has a," he trailed off and let loose yet another pain-filled scream. Mrs. Weasley was doing the best she could to hold herself, and the others, together. She could not bear to see this young boy in such pain. "Look for a box! See if you can find it," she shouted. As the others began to search, she started using a heating charm on Harrys scar to see if that would lessen his pain. To her great relief, it did. "Thank you," gasped Harry. "The box it has a jewel in it its called the Dragons Tear its wrapped in cloth. That it has to be egg. The box locked solid black lock." "It has a solid black lock," Mrs. Weasley shouted, to make sure everyone heard. When she turned around, the goblin was still standing outside the vault, watching calmly. "Go get help," she bellowed at the tiny goblin, who blanched and disappeared, presumably to get help. "Mum, I found it," Ron shouted as he ran up. "But I couldnt find a key." As Ron got closer, Harrys scar renewed its torture of him. He let out a howl of pain and nearly blacked out, before Mrs. Weasley put it together and yelled for Ron to get the box away. "Harry, we cant find the key. Were going to try to find some help, just hold on," Ginny said. She was kneeling on the opposite side of her mother trying to cradle his head as she wiped away a few tears that managed to escape her eyes. "Open my prison," the voice said, again using Harrys mouth. "We cant," said a frantic Mrs. Weasley, "theres no key!" "Break the damned thing," Harry shouted as pain once again surged through his body. "Break it, Ron!" Mrs. Weasley shouted.

But, before his mother even started to voice her command, Ron was already hurling the box at the wall with all of his might. The box slammed into the wall so hard that the box splintered, showering the room in pieces of oak. The only thing unscathed was the lock and the jewel inside. The Dragons Tear rolled out of the protective cloth, and onto the floor of the vault. Ron was dazed from the boxs destruction. He was hit by most of the shards of wood, and had pieces of them embedded into his skin. Hermione was trying to help him remove them, because Ginny had already moved to get the jewel. As Ginny tried to grab the Tear to get it to Harry she recoiled with a howl of pain, and began to sob. Mrs. Weasley, however, was already helping Harry on his way to the transparent blue jewel lying on the floor of his vault. The closer he came, the more pain it seemed to give him, until finally he collapsed to the floor, his hand falling on the jewel. Then his mind and body exploded with pain, and he blacked out. .oOo. As Harry began to regain consciousness, he could hear people speaking near him. He couldnt make out the voices, though. They were muffled, like he had wax in his ears. He just continued to lie there with his eyes closed. "-- still cant believe what he did." "You cant believe it, try being me." "Im surprised were not all preparing for a trial, right now." "I just want to know how he did it." An itch made Harry reach up to scratch his ears, and it was then that he realized why everything seemed muffled. He really did have wax in his ears. As he pulled out the wax, the voices came into focus. They also sounded like very calm explosions of sound. "Stop yelling," Harry said softly. "Ive got a terrible headache, you know." The voices, which he had identified as Mrs. Weasley, Ron, Hermione, and Ginny continued at the same volume. "Seriously, stop yelling," Harry requested again. "Heads killing me." The voices still continued in that calm shout, despite his request. "Stop shouting," yelled Harry as loud as he could manage, which almost caused him to black out from the ringing it set off in his ears. The other voices stopped, except for Mrs. Weasley telling the others to wait. As he heard the door open, Harry opened his eyes and realized he was alone in what appeared to be a hospital room. He glanced around and noticed a couple of chairs by his bed, a nightstand-like table, and a large window with the curtains pulled tightly shut. There was also a closed door in the corner, which Harry could only assume was the toilet. He looked up towards the door and

saw a bit of red hair coming in. "Harry, dear, are you ok?" Mrs. Weasley shouted into the room, again setting his ears to ringing. Harry put the wax back into his ears, hoping to dull the sound. "I would be if everyone would stop shouting. Did the twins set this up? Sonorus Suckers, or something like that?" "What are you talking about, Harry?" She was now standing beside his bed, and every word she said set off an explosion in his head. "Do you remember what happened?" "No, but could you please whisper? My ears seem to be rather sensitive at the moment." "I am whispering, dear. You dont remember anything?" "Not really. The last thing I remember was touching the egg." "Well, a good bit happened after that, Harry. Ill tell it to you as best as I can remember it not that Id ever forget anything like what you did." Harry screwed up his face in confusion as he looked at her. "When you touched the jewel, you let out a yell that rattled the entire vault, and Im not joking about this. "Then you started to pound your fist on the ground and from what weve been told, most of Diagon Alley thought it was an earthquake. Then you just stopped, and stood up as if everything was fine. "Your eyes turned the same color as the jewel and began to let off a smoke the same color. From what the Aurors told us, you were emanating raw magical power like a dam had burst. You had blue lightning bouncing over your body, and then you said, What will be, will be. Then you turned and healed Ginny and Ron both. "Then you said for us to make sure to put some wax in your ears before you woke up, and then you passed out on the floor of the vault." "Imagine that," Harry said. For some reason he simply couldnt muster the emotion required to be shocked by it. "Is that all you have to say about it," Mrs. Weasley asked incredulously. "At the moment, yes." He then pulled the wax out of his ears, as he concentrated on weakening his hearing to get it to a tolerable level. He sighed contentedly once his hearing was at a level where he could hear without it feeling like someone just tried to drop a bomb on his eardrums. "So, am I going on trial for underage magic, again?" Mrs. Weasley stammered something about how he could hear her, but then she nodded mutely. She knew that this time he didnt have a worthy defense that would protect him,

because no ones life had been in danger. "No worries, Mrs. Weasley. Ill be fine. When is the trial?" "In fifteen minutes." "Oh, good. We can be done with this business today, then. I need to get to work on a lesson plan for my new students. Im really going to enjoy the looks on their faces when they find out Im Professor Potter." Mrs. Weasley became frantic at hearing this. Here was a boy under her care who had nearly died, set off an earthquake in Diagon Alley with just his fists, and broken the underage magic law again. He was likely going to be stripped of his wand, and he didnt even seem to care! "Is that all you have to say for yourself," she asked angrier than she intended. "No, maam. I also plan to say that Ive broken no laws and can prove it without a doubt." She could not make Harry explain any further, though, because the aurors walked in and rushed her out, as they took him into custody for his trial. He smiled pleasantly to them, especially Kingsley Shacklebolt, one of the aurors he knew from the Order. .oOo. At the trial, Fudge again presided over everything. Even though he was working with the Order of the Phoenix, now, he still seemed to have some kind of personal grudge against Harry, for whatever reason. Harry simply smiled and sat down in the chair, and waited for his trial to begin. Dumbledore came to Harrys defense yet again, and almost fell on his face the instant he saw him. "Harry?" "Yes, sir?" "Are you all right?" "Oh, yes sir." Dumbledore eyed the young man a moment, before he brought his attention back to the matter at hand. "Im afraid I cant do very much this time, as I see no extenuating circumstances. The most I can do is request they are lenient in your sentencing. It would have been different if Ron and Virginias life had been in danger, but that was not the case." "I understand, sir. Its quite all right." As the trial started everyone grew quiet. "Disciplinary trial of the first of August," Fudge announced in a clear voice, the clerk taking note immediately, "into offences committed under the Decree for the Reasonable

Restriction of Underage Sorcery by Harry James Potter, resident at number four, Privet Drive, Little Whinging, Surrey." "If I may, sir, I no longer reside there," Harry interrupted. "Ill more than likely be moving to Potter Place when I finish my sixth year at Hogwarts. Im not quite sure of the exact address, but Im sure you can find that out." Fudge glared at Harry, obviously disliking the interruption. "You mean if you finish your sixth year," Fudge said snidely, enjoying the position he had Harry in. "So, thats how he wants it then, eh?" Harry thought to himself. In a deadly calm voice, Harry replied, "I said exactly what I meant, Cornelius." Dumbledore closed his eyes in a resigned fashion when he heard Harry refer to the Minister by his first name. To him it appeared that Harry was attempting to make things worse on himself. Luckily for him, however, he did not know that Harry was trying to do exactly that. Fudge was dumbstruck for a moment, but decided to ignore it and continue with the trial. "Interrogators: Cornelius Oswald Fudge, Minister of Magic; Amelia Susan Bones, Head of the Department of Magical Law Enforcement; Atticus Veritas Snape, Senior Undersecretary to the Minister. Court Scribe, James Matthew Eriset." Then, remembering what happened the last time, he added, before Dumbledore could speak, "Witness for the defense, Albus Percival Wulfric Brian Dumbledore." "Before we continue, I would like to greet Madam Bones," Harry said, as he stood and bowed. "It is a pleasure to see you once again, my dear lady." Madam Bones smiled happily at him and Harry again took his seat. Glaring once more at Harry, Fudge pulled out the parchment containing the charges against him, and cleared his throat. "The charges against Mr. Potter are as follows," boomed Fudge. "That he did knowingly, deliberately, and in full awareness of the illegality of his actions invoke a healing charm twice on this first day of August at thirtyseven minutes past three, which constitutes an offence under Paragraph C of the Decree for the Reasonable Restriction of Underage Sorcery, 1875. As proof that he knew the full extent of the illegality of these actions, the court submits that he has on previous occasion received warnings for similar charges, as well as being called here nearly one year ago for a disciplinary hearing. "You are Harry James Potter, of number four, Privet Drive, Little Whinging, Surrey?" Fudge asked, glaring at Harry in the same manner as he did at Harrys last trial. "I believe weve already discussed this, Cornelius. I am no longer a resident there. I already stated my new residence. Im sure Mr. Eriset has it on record if you need it repeated." Eriset simply gaped at Harry for a moment before he went back to taking notes. He had never seen anyone show such blatant contempt for the Minister of Magic. He knew from personal experience that the Minister was a bit of a prat, so he was getting a nice chuckle

out of this. "You will address your superiors properly, Mr. Potter, or you will find yourself in very deep waters." "I always address my superiors properly, Cornelius," Harry said with a smirk on his face. "Can we get on with this? Id like to finish my shopping, if its not too late, yet." Fudges eyes nearly popped out of his head in indignation at the implied insult in Harrys proclamation. "Yes, lets do, Mr. Potter. I will enjoy this." "As will I, Cornelius." Dumbledore groaned. Harry had never acted this way before, and he could not explain this sudden change in his behavior. It made no sense to him. He simply resigned himself to watching, and hoping Harry had a better plan in store than trying to anger the Minister. "You received an official warning from the Ministry for using illegal magic four years ago, did you not?" "Yes, I did," Harry replied pleasantly. "A very nice warning it was, too." Fudge glared again, before continuing. "You had a disciplinary hearing last year, did you not?" "Yes." "And yet you invoked a healing charm not just once, but twice, today?" Fudge asked smugly. "Yes." "You did so knowing that those you healed were in no danger of death, did you not?" "Of course." "And you did all this knowing that you are not permitted by British Wizarding Law to use magic outside of school while you are under the age of seventeen?" Fudge asked as he smiled triumphantly. "Indeed." "Then you admit your guilt?" "Absolutely not." "Good, then -- WHAT?!" shouted Fudge. "You admitted to all of the charges, but still maintain that youre innocent?" "That is correct." "And how so," Fudge asked incredulously.

"It is quite simple, Cornelius. That law does not apply to me." Harry smiled happily. "Are we done, now?" Fudge began to laugh, as did many of the others in the court. "The famous Harry Potter now believes that laws no longer apply to him! Marvelous!" "Minister, if I may," Madam Bones interrupted, "he said that particular law does not apply to him." "Thank you, Madam Bones, I am glad to see not everyone here is ignorant of the English language," Harry said, smiling at her, before he returned his attention to the Minister. "I never said no laws apply to me, Cornelius, I said that law does not apply to me. According to the laws of old laid down by the first Confederation of Wizards, right here in merry old London as a matter of fact, I am legally an adult. "I state for the court, Any wizard or witch who loses a guardian to intentional death by another wizard or witch shall be granted full use of their magical abilities at the age of sixteen years in order to seek out justice on the offending wizard or witch, if they so choose. Eye for an eye shall be the law, let justice reign. So, as you can see, I am now legally of age." Dumbledores eyes went wide with Harrys announcement. "Not only does he know the old law, but hes invoking it. Heaven help us," he thought to himself. "Those laws havent been widely known for over three hundred years!" Fudge, however, knew nothing of the old laws and simply believed this to be a joke, as did the rest of the court, aside from Madam Bones and Atticus Snape who were watching with obvious interest after having noticed Dumbledores reaction. "That was a nice bit of fiction, Mr. Potter, but stories wont help you," spat Fudge. "Stories," snorted Harry, "are for children. But, I suppose I will have to prove myself." As he finished his statement, Harry rose to his feet and began to utter in a language long dead as he traced an intricate patter in the air in front of him with his wand. The Minister shouted quite loudly, "How does he still have his wand?! You incompetent fools!" As Harry finished the invocation, he looked up at Fudge and stated in a clear voice, "Let those who are of age be shown!" Harrys voice echoed off the walls, and nothing seemed to happen, to which Fudge gave out a very snide belly laugh. Then everyone in the room began to glow softly. "If you would like to verify the purpose of the spell, you may bring in the Weasleys and Miss Granger. The only one of them who will glow is Mrs. Molly Weasley." "Do it," said Fudge, and a guard opened the door to usher them in. As the four entered, none of them glowed at all. Fudge laughed triumphantly, but mid-laugh, Mrs. Weasley began to glow softly. "Whats going on?" Mrs. Weasley asked, as she was obviously a bit confused. "Why is

everyone glowing?" Hermione, Ron, and Ginny looked as if they wanted to ask Harry what was happening, but the look on his face froze them in place. Harry was staring directly at Fudge, with no emotion visible on his face. The only trace of emotion in his whole being was in his eyes, which flickered between rage and irritation. Harry explained, his eyes never moving from Fudge. "It is showing who in this room is of legal age to perform magic, without restriction." "But but, youre glowing too, Harry," Ron said, more of a question than a statement. Harry nodded, keeping his eyes on Fudge the whole time. "So, Cornelius, are we done now?" "No," spat Fudge as his nostrils flared, and his eyes flashed with anger, "We most certainly are not! You have violated British Wizarding Law! Regardless of any other laws, ancient or otherwise!" "I take it then that you are refusing to acknowledge my status as being of legal age?" "Of course I am!" "I will give you this one warning then, Cornelius. I am of legal age. By denying my rights as laid down by the first Confederation of Wizards you are violating those rights. Should you continue to deny my rights, I will be forced to take action." "Are you threatening me," asked the outraged Fudge. "How dare you, you arrogant little whe --" "Cornelius," Atticus said softly while placing his hand on the Ministers shoulder, "we should vote on whether or not such a law could be recognized. It obviously has some basis in --" "NO! I am overruling this council. I will not be threatened by an arrogant little bas --" "I am threatening no one, Cornelius," interrupted Harry. "I am protecting my rights. Should I be required to take action, no one in this room, save those who are not of legal age or who have acknowledged my rights, will be happy when Im done. And," Harry added in a deadly hiss, "I will thank you not to tarnish the memory of my parents, Cornelius." "Oh, and what action would that be, Mr. Potter," Fudge asked in a snide tone of voice, ignoring Harrys last statement. "Are you going to strike us down?!" "Of course not. I am not a murderer, Cornelius. We have Voldemort for that job, or have you forgotten so soon?" Most of the people in the room flinched at the mention of Voldemorts name. "What I will do is drain every iota of your magic permanently from your body, for my own use, turning you into a muggle. I submit to the court, Those who act under false laws in an attempt to deny a wizard or witch of their rights shall forfeit

their magic to said wizard or witch. Understand, now?" "You cant," Madam Bones said, more curious than afraid. "Such a thing cant be done!" "Are you sure youd like to tempt me on that, my dear lady? Im absolutely certain that I can, and even more certain that I will. Ill do it to everyone in this room sitting on those benches with you. "You see these laws are quite marvelous. Theyre what you might call smart laws. They gauge the intent of the person. Cornelius reasons are malicious and pointless, as he obviously has some kind of grudge against me. Most of the people here do not even have a valid reason for attempting to enforce this law upon me. It takes a specific set of circumstances to be circumvented, but I have met those requirements, much to my dismay, so I assert that my rights shall be recognized. "Make your choice. I walk out of here a free man or a guilty man, but either way I will walk out a man." Fudge had fallen back onto his bench, visibly shaken by the prospect that he may lose his magic. His anger, however, outweighed his fear and he steeled himself, and gave his verdict without even asking for a vote. "I find you gu --" Dumbledore leaped to his feet, about to voice his objection, but Harry was once again standing. Muttering in that long dead language, his eyes locked on Fudges and his wand again tracing another intricate pattern. As he approached the final verse, the fear was visible on Fudges face. The final verse invoked, Harry looked to all on the benches, then intoned his words clearly for all to hear. "Let Fudges loss be an example to all!" Fudge immediately began to glow in a bright blue light that connected him to Harry. The connection remained for several minutes with no one moving, until finally Fudge fell to the floor muttering about bad cheeses. Once he managed to get his bearings and get back to his feet, Fudge pulled out his wand and attempted the full body bind on Harry, who was smiling knowingly at him. Nothing happened. He tried several more spells, yet no matter how hard he tried nothing happened. Finally, Fudge fell to his bench and in a clear voice said six words that would forever change his life. "I no longer have any magic."

Dear Reader, First off, I would again like to thank all of those who have reviewed my work. I must say that I am somewhat overwhelmed by your reviews. Ive never before considered myself to be a good writer; I just write what Id like to read. Im glad you all enjoy it so much. I wanted to go ahead and post the third installment. I will, more than likely, not post any more until I can finish at least the tenth chapter. Well, unless I become impatient again, of course in which case, youll get a new chapter earlier. ;)

I dont really have much to say here, but I want to address some issues mentioned in the reviews. Exodus5 believes that my portrayal of Harry is grossly inaccurate. I appreciate the criticism, as it does give me something to look at when writing. I do, however, disagree. Exodus5 is correct about one thing. Sirius did not consider the Weasleys as Harrys family; that was his job. When he was alive. Sirius knew that if he died, Harry would need a family to help him through it. The closest thing Sirius knew of was the Weasleys, and he knew they cared about him. What about Lupin, you might say. Lupin is a werewolf who once a month turns into a mindless beast intent on killing or changing anyone he may meet, if he misses his potion. Sirius also knew that Lupin would be dealing with his death in his own way (he may have gotten a letter as well ;). Finally, the point about Harry not crying over a letter if you remember Harry did not cry in front of Dumbledore. They never addressed what he did alone. Harry is a tough kid, around others. When he is alone, though, that is another matter entirely. In front of Dumbledore, he didnt want to appear weak so he let his anger control him, at least in my opinion. In his room, with no one around, he had no reason to stop himself from crying. In any case, my ramblings are through. On to the story! -Master Eldryn

Everyone in the chamber was openly gaping at Harry James Potter, an unassuming young man who had just done the impossible. He ripped the magic from an adult wizard. Furthermore, he was entirely unaffected by having done so. Harry simply sat in his chair and watched with his fingers steepled in front of his face, a grim smile gracing his otherwise boyish face. Mrs. Weasley and Hermione were watching him in absolute horror, because of two irrefutable facts. The first fact, Harry just made a muggle out of the Minister of Magic, the leader of the British Wizarding community. The second, he was openly flaunting that he could and would do it again. Both Ron and Ginny, who were still standing right beside Hermione and Mrs. Weasley, were performing their best impressions of a goldfish. Dumbledore, his half-moon spectacles about to fall from his long nose, was regarding the young man beside him, as if he had just grown horns and caught on fire. In all his years he had never seen a lone wizard do what the man of sixteen years sitting beside him just did. Nor had he see such a drastic change in a wizards behavior in a matter of hours. "Sir, if you continue to stare at me like that, youll burn a hole in the side of my head," Harry joked. The whole time, however, he never took his eyes off of Fudge, who was

weeping uncontrollably. Finally his grim smile turned into a slow and good-natured grin and he called out in a loud, booming voice, "Cornelius!" The room fell completely silent. No one wished to tempt the young man, who had just ripped the magic directly out of the Minister, into making him or her Harrys next target. Madam Bones realized someone needed to take charge, and so she was the first to respond to the silence that had fallen over the court. "Mr. Potter, what have you done to the Minister," she asked him gently, attempting to avoid provocation. "I have meted out retribution for the denial of my rights, and I will continue to do so each time someone attempts to give forth a verdict of guilty," Harry stated in a calm and matter-of-fact voice. James Eriset, the clerk, was frantically taking note of everything said. The mumbling in the room was not making it easy on him, however, and he looked as if he were about to faint from the stress. Madam Bones balked at Harrys statement. "Mr. Potter, that is blackmail!" "I do believe you are correct, my dear lady. But, it is effective none the less, is it not," he asked while smiling pleasantly up at her. Madam Bones, a Slytherin in her own day, could not help but smile at the devious nature of the young man sitting so confidently before her. "You have a mind befitting a Slytherin," she said admiringly. "I am impressed." Harry stood and bowed to her at her obvious compliment. "Why thank you, Madam Bones. The Sorting Hat actually considered placing me there, but I requested Gryffindor." Madam Bones grinned at the boy before her, then said loud enough for all to hear, "All in favor of a verdict of guilty?" Harry arched an eyebrow as if daring someone anyone to speak. Everyone in the room stopped breathing for a moment, as they waited for someone to tempt fate. No one did. "All in favor of a verdict of innocent, and granting this young man his rights as being of legal age," she asked. Everyone in the hall, including the clerk, shouted a collective vote of yes, to which Madam Bones smiled at Harry. "I believe that your rights have been acknowledged, Mr. Potter. Congratulations." "Thank you, milady," he said as he stood. "Cornelius, can I assume that if I give back your magic you will be a good little boy, and not trouble me any longer," Harry asked the weeping man, openly mocking his childish behavior. "Y-yes," the Minister sputtered between sobs as he continued to sprawl on the floor. "Im so s-s-sorry. For everything!" "Indeed," Harry said and proceeded to mutter in that long dead language once more,

tracing figures once more in the air with his wand. As he invoked the final verse he once again locked eyes with Fudge, and said in a ringing voice, "I grant you my forgiveness, let what was once yours be yet again." The Minister immediately gripped his wand in a shaky hand and attempted to levitate the piece of parchment containing the charges against Harry. When nothing happened, Fudge fell to the floor wailing once again about his lost magic. "Cornelius," bellowed Harry, causing the older man to fall silent. "It will take time for your magic to return. I confiscated all of it. With it restored you still need to rest. Within a month you should be returned to your original state." "Th-thank you, sir!" the Minister breathed ecstatically, "Thank you so much!" "Cornelius, you may call me Harry," he said as he smiled pleasantly at the sniveling wizard before him. "Now, if you will all excuse me, I must be going." No sooner had the last word left his mouth before Harry blacked out once more for the second time that day. .oOo. When Harry finally awoke he was in his bed in The Burrow. Sitting beside him in an uncomfortable looking wooden chair, holding his hand no less, was Ginny. Her head was lying on the bed beside his stomach, where she was sleeping rather uncomfortably, Harry thought. As he gazed at her she whimpered slightly, and the corners of his lips twitched into a smile. "Hello," he said while lightly caressing her face. "Wake up." She shifted uncomfortably and tightened her grip on his hand. "No, Tom, I wont do it," she cried out, and the smile forming on his face quickly vanished. Harry realized she was having a nightmare and he gently shook her awake. She groaned at him to let her alone before blearily opening her eyes. When she finally saw him, she smiled softly. "Hello, there," he said, again, as the veil of sleep retreated from her mind. "Whats going on?" She yawned then and muttered a sleep-filled good morning. When she noticed she had been gripping his hand, she quickly let it go and began apologizing to him. The red flush shed been sporting since he came to The Burrow sneaked its way back onto her face, and Harry again found a smile twitching onto his face. "Hey," Harry exclaimed in mock indignation. "Either you give that back," he said motioning towards her hand, "or well see just how many shades of red you have in you." Ginny groaned inwardly. He couldnt have any idea what he was doing to her, she thought. She couldnt have been more wrong, though. He knew exactly what he was doing to her. Reluctantly, yet not unwillingly, she took his hand back into hers, fearing he would do exactly as he had threatened. "Thats better. Now, could you explain just how you came to be by my side, holding my

hand," he asked of her. Trying to ignore that she was holding the hand of the boy she had been crushing on since before her first year at Hogwarts began, she gave him the most straightforward answer she could. "You asked me to." "I see," he said, his emotions unreadable. "Would you explain to me exactly what happened after I said I had to leave?" She looked puzzled by his request, but answered his question to the best of her ability. "Well, after you said you had to go, you looked directly at me with glowing blue eyes and asked me to stay with you until you woke up. Then you fell to the floor, and mum almost went to pieces. "Professor Dumbledore checked you over and said that youd be fine. Then he told mum that we should get you home where you could rest on something more comfortable than the hard floor of a courtroom. "So, we brought you home and put you in the bed," she finished, looking at him to see if her explanation was suitable. "I see," he said again, no hint of emotion in his voice. "Interesting. And you did as I asked?" "That she did, Harry. She has been with you for the past two days, much to her mothers dismay," the soft voice of Professor Dumbledore stated, a twinkle in his eye. "I see you are yourself, again." "What do you mean, sir," Harry asked, the puzzled look on his face matching that of Ginnys. "It was not you, per se, that was at your hearing, young Harry. As I told you just a short time ago, your actions are to me an open book. Whoever was at that trial was not you." Ginny looked between the two, her confusion written on her face. "It was Harry, I saw him!" "It looked like him, Miss Weasley, and it was his body. But his mind was not his own," Dumbledore said in his calm and collected voice. "I believe I can explain that," said an ethereal voice from within Harry, who looked utterly startled that he was speaking. "I am preparing my master for what is to come. What you saw was in truth him, but without restraint. "What he does in that state is what he most desires. It is a side-affect of his limited exposure to what you call the Dragons Tear." Both Dumbledore and Ginny listened intently, the latter of the two not really comprehending what she was hearing. "When he came into contact with me for the first time, my master gleaned only that

which he wanted to know most. What Master wanted to know most was how to heal his brother and his mate," it said. Ginnys eyes nearly leaped out of her head when she heard this, as this she understood perfectly. The red flush that had just started to fade from her face came back in full force and threatened to make her glow. Her mind began to race endlessly through scenarios shed only dreamed of. Dumbledore, however, was not nearly as surprised. There was a twitch of a smile on his face, and then it was gone, and he resumed waiting patiently for whatever was speaking through Harry to continue. "He also wanted to know the ancient law, how to verify it, and how to enforce it. Once he had these things, he separated his contact with me, before I could finish giving him his gift. I have never gifted a human before, and so I was unprepared for this possibility. Until the transfer is completed, he will continue to act without restraint and without much control." "I see. What is this gift you mentioned," Dumbledore asked of the voice. "His gift is that of his station knowledge and power," the voice said as if it were the most obvious thing in the world. In Dumbledores long life he had seen so much that he had come to believe that he could no longer be surprised by anything that happened. The young man before him was proving how utterly and incomprehensibly false that belief truly was. Ginny, though still sitting with them, clutching Harrys hand, had heard nothing after the she had been called Harrys mate. "Ohmigod, ohmigod, ohmigod!" kept running through her mind at a frantic pace. "My master must complete the transfer by midnight before the fire rises in the sky once again, or he shall forfeit his gift," the voice added. "Im afraid that may be the course of action we decide to take. Young Harry is in no position to make such a decision for himself," Dumbledore stated decisively, "if he is indeed acting without constraint." "That is most unfortunate, Masters grandfather. Master will receive his death by the next rise of the fire in the sky, if the transfer is not completed. It is quite clear in Masters mind that he would like a modest ceremony consisting of those closest to him. "His decline will be most painful, and I would dislike that very much. My intention was not to cause him pain. Please try to make him as comfortable as possible," it said, sadly. The word death hit Ginny like a punch to the stomach. She looked up at Harry, whose eyes had rolled back in his head, and gasped. "No," she shouted, "He cant die! I wont let him!" Dumbledore, now scowling quite visibly, stroked his index finger and thumb over his

white beard before speaking. "I quite agree, Miss Weasley. I will personally see if an alternative can be found. We know nothing about this Dragons Tear, or the dangers it may pose. "I will retrieve the Dragons Tear from his vault, immediately. If I can find no further information before eleven, we will simply have to take our chances with letting him receive his gift," Dumbledore said as he rose to his feet and proceeded out the door. "Dont touch it," Ginny managed to say through the lump that had risen into her throat. "It has some kind of protective magic. It burned me. Dont touch it," she reiterated and Dumbledore nodded to her. "Goodbye, Dragonmasters grandfather," the voice said to Dumbledore. "My master must rest now." With that proclamation, Harrys head fell back to his pillow and he once lost consciousness. Ginny began weeping at the thought of losing Harry, and she clutched his hand even tighter. She just had, moments before, the hope of him finally recognizing that she was more than just a girl who had a crush on him, more than just her brothers little sister. Now she was facing the possibility that she might lose him forever, without ever actually telling him how she felt about him. Dumbledore laid a comforting hand on her shoulder, which caused her to weep even harder. He squeezed her shoulder slightly, then turned and left quickly. .oOo. The next several hours passed in a haze. Ginny remembered something about her mother trying to get her to eat. Harry was in an out of consciousness most of the day, more often out than in. As the time approached closer to half of eleven, she began to worry that Dumbledore wouldnt arrive in time until finally he stepped quietly into the room. Ginny was almost ecstatic, until she noticed that Dumbledore was empty-handed. "Did you find anything," she asked hurriedly. "I am afraid not. There are no records that I can find of anything called the Dragons Tear," he said quietly, his tiredness etched into his normally jovial face. "Youre not just going to let him die," she screamed at the older man, her frustration and panic releasing itself in the form of anger. "You cant!" "Calm yourself, Miss Weasley. You are quite right. I can not allow harm to come to Harry while I have an option available to me, no matter how untested that option may be. I left the jewel with your mother, would you kindly go and retrieve it, Miss Weasley?" Ginny gave him a relieved, grateful look, then ran out of the room. As soon as she was gone, Dumbledore had a seat by Harry and gave him an appraising once over. "Hello, Masters grandfather. I am glad to see that you have reconsidered. I have waited many years for Master. We have bonded, and I would not like to lose him, now. He has

had much hardship in his life, and I do not wish to cause him more." Dumbledore simply looked at Harry. Harry was not looking well. Since Dumbledore had left earlier, dark circles appeared under Harrys eyes. He was sweating profusely, and he was as pale as Nearly Headless Nick. He was apparently freezing, as well; his body being wracked by shivers though he was covered in three duvets. "How long will it be, before Harry is as we knew him," the old man asked, his voice very weary. "Master will never be as you once knew. Master will have his gift. He can never be what he once was." "I see. Will he still be Harry?" "I can not know that. I have never shared my gift with a human or with someone so close to adulthood. Every bond before has always been with a newborn. He will be who he will be, that is all I can promise." Dumbledore shook his head slightly, finally understanding. The Dragons Tear was giving Harry knowledge and power no human ever had. How that might affect him, no one could even begin to fathom. Ginny came running into the room, with the jewel tightly wrapped in a new cloth. She handed it to Dumbledore, and was about to return to Harrys side. "Miss Weasley, it would be safer if you would wait outside." "No," she shouted adamantly. "Im not leaving him until hes better. He asked me to stay, and Im going to!" Dumbledore frowned at her, then nodded, and then turned to Ginnys mother, who was now standing in the doorway, worry etched into her tired face. "Molly, it would be best if everyone waited outside. I have no way to determine how dangerous this will be. I would move Harry outside, however in his current condition I fear that would not be safe." Mrs. Weasley nodded her head and went to get everyone out of the house, after trying once more to convince Ginny to come with her. Ginny, of course, adamantly refused to leave Harrys side. Once Dumbledore saw that everyone was outside and safe, he again sat by Harrys side. "What must be done?" "Lay me by Masters side. Remove the spell holding the cloth, and then step away. I will take care of the rest. Fear not, Masters grandfather. Master cares much for both of you, and will not allow harm to come to you," the disconnected voice said from Harrys lips. Dumbledore did as the voice said, and pulled a reluctant Ginny, to one side of the room. Slowly Harrys hand lifted from the bed, and laid itself onto the Dragons Tear. Immediately his eyes flew open, his backed arched at an almost impossible angle, and he began to howl in pain. His eyes werent the green jewels that Ginny so admired, any

longer. They were cobalt blue orbs, lacking any whites at all. A blue light was coming out of his eyes, illuminating the entire room as the unearthly howl filled her ears. Ginny buried her face into Dumbledores robes, unable to watch Harry in so much pain. She began to weep and Dumbledore wrapped his arms protectively around her, allowing her to do just that. He, however, kept his eyes fixed on Harry for any sign of danger, consciously ignoring the pain the young man before him was obviously experiencing in great quantities. After nearly ten minutes of Harry howling, the air around him began to crackle with raw magical power. Approaching fifteen minutes, arcs of magical lightning, in a swirl of blue, black, and white, began to bounce around the room. Each time one came near Dumbledore and Ginny it seemed to hit an invisible barrier and moved on. This continued for what seemed like eternity with Harry screaming the entire time. Several times Ginny tried to break away from Dumbledore and go to Harry, but Dumbledore held her tightly. She kept screaming at him to help Harry, but he never did. What she did not know was that he wished he could. He would have given anything, even his own life, to take this pain from Harry, but it would do no good. Dumbledore simply stood strong, and waited. After almost an hour, the lightning weakened. Harrys screaming had stopped what seemed like hours ago; his voice had completely given out. It was then that Dumbledore felt a familiar tingle. Harry was drawing all the surrounding magic into himself. Realizing, having seen something very similar once before in his life, what was about to occur, Dumbledore whipped out his wand and threw up the strongest shield he could manage. Then Harrys body exploded, and The Burrow was destroyed. .oOo. Nearly an hour passed before the light from Harrys explosion died down enough that, from inside the shield, Dumbledore could see what was happening. Shards of wood, metal, paper, and the Weasleys belongings were being scattered in a torrential downpour of magical energy. Dumbledore was unable to mourn the loss of the young man hed grown to love, as it required every bit of concentration he had to maintain the shield around them. Ginny, who had earlier fallen to the bottom of the bubble-like shield screaming to be let out had mercifully fainted less than twenty minutes after it happened. Dumbledore looked at her and realized, with a pang of regret, that she was now in a nightmare-filled sleep, more than likely replaying what shed seen nearly an hour before. Dumbledore slowly collapsed to his knees, as he drained every ounce of magic he had into his shield. It took every iota of power he could draw on to maintain it against the fury of the magical explosion once known as Harry James Potter. Once he had no energy left, Dumbledores shield fell, as did he. The debris, however, continued to be thrown around them as if hitting a solid wall. Then, just as suddenly as the storm had begun, it

ended. Floating several feet above the ground was a man glowing in the same blue that had been emitted from Harry earlier. His hair standing in the air, much like it would if hanging upside down, was a tall, muscular man, his arms raised toward them. Slowly they floated to the ground outside the remains of The Burrow. As Dumbledore was about to lose consciousness the figure raised his hand and a line of blue light connected them. Mere moments later Dumbledore was completely refreshed. Ginny slowly regained consciousness, looking around immediately for Harry. She, however, could not find him. Then she remembered the explosion and she began to sob uncontrollably, pounding her fist into the ground under her knees. The rest of the Weasley family looked as if theyd just been struck by lightning. Their home was just destroyed, Harry was nowhere to be seen, and there was a glowing naked man floating around over the remains of The Burrow. The figure looked at them and smiled at them happily, each of them looking to the other in complete and utter confusion. As he saw this he began to laugh uncontrollably. Ginny was the first to react to his laughing. She leaped to her feet and stormed over the remains and tackled the floating man. She began to pound against his chest, slamming her fists against him in a fury. The man, however, did not fight back. He simply lay on the ground where shed knocked him, and waited until she wore herself out. Slowly her blows weakened, and she stopped hitting him. Once she stopped he looked up at her and asked in a gratingly calm voice, "Are you done, now?" This was the wrong thing to say to her, the man realized, because she renewed her assault. All the while she was yelling, "Whyd you kill Harry?!" When she had again tired herself out, he looked at her and smiled softly. He reached up, and using his thumb, he pushed away the tears that were streaking her face. "Ginny, Im right here," the man said to her, as if that was supposed to make her understand. "Im not blind," she screamed at the man laying on the ground under her. "Whyd you kill Harry?!" The man under her, in response to her shouts, slowly began to change. His hair remained the same but he became shorter, and his face took on a more boyish appearance. The last to change were his eyes, which changed from the solid blue orbs into the emerald green that she so admired and recognized so well. Finally, he resembled the boy she knew as Harry Potter. Ginny, happy beyond words that he was alive, just grabbed him and pulled him into a bone-crushing hug. Harry returned her hug, then smiled and asked, "Now, would you mind getting off of me?" As an afterthought he added, "Not that I mind, but I am quite naked, and I dont think your family would approve."

Ginny, realizing that Harry was right, immediately turned the color of fresh raspberries, jumped off of him and ran towards the lake. Harry started to call after her, but decided he would need to explain what was going on to the rest of the Weasleys, first. As he stood, he tried to collect his thoughts. Harry dusted himself off, then, completely ignoring the shocked looks from the entire Weasley family. Dumbledore, however, seemed extremely amused as well as happy to see Harry alive and well. As Harry looked down over his naked body, he decided the first thing he needed was some clothes. Walking quickly over to Dumbledore, Harry asked in a calm voice, "Sir, if you wouldnt mind, Im a bit tired could you whip me up some clothes, please?" Dumbledore nodded, and a moment later he handed Harry some underclothes, a pair of black trousers, and a black T-shirt to which Harry smiled, and began putting them on, while adding to everyone around that he was sure they would like an explanation. "Well, that explosion was the egg," he held up the Dragons Tear, which was considerably smaller than before, "doing what it needed to save my life. Im quite sorry about The Burrow, by the way." The Weasleys just stood there gaping at Harry, as he continued. "Ill be happy to answer the rest of your questions later, but for now I think we all need a good nights rest. Im going to try to calm down Ginny. When we return, Ill have you as my guests until The Burrow can be rebuilt. "Now, if youll excuse me, Ill be right back," and Harry strode off toward the lake, where Ginny had ran off just a few moments earlier, leaving behind eight bemused Weasleys and one slightly amused Hogwarts Headmaster. .oOo. As Harry approached he could see Ginny was wading in the lake, splashing about madly and raving about how much of an inconsiderate prat Harry Potter was. He could not help but smile at this, as she was entirely soaked, her red hair whipping about in the moonlight. A small group of birds were giving out an indignant twitter at having been disturbed so late in the night. "I cant believe hed do that! He went and blew up the house, blew up himself, made me worry about him, tricks me into attacking him, and then embarrasses me in front of my entire family by being naked," she shouted. She had obviously not seen him approach, and sit down by the edge of the lake, pulling his knees up and resting his arms on them. "Are you about done, yet," he asked in an amused tone, shocking her out of her tantrum. "No," she bellowed at him, stalking towards him with angry intent written on her face, her fists clenched so tight her knuckles were white. "Im going to hurt you until I feel better!" "So I come out of this safe, and youre mad at me for it," he asked, again doing his best impression of a puppy dog. "And here I thought youd be happy."

She was taken aback only for an instant before she growled at him, then huffily sat down beside him. "You scared me, you know," she told him, as if far away. "I know, and Im sorry." "I was really worried." "I know, and Im sorry." "Then you embarrassed me." At this he grinned and said, "It was fun, too." He smiled as he pulled her head into his shoulder. "Dont you agree?" "No," she muttered under her breath. She then looked at him and appraised him. "You seem different." "I am different. Knowing what I know, now, would make anyone act differently. Its odd, you know" He frowned as he stared off over the lake. "A week ago, I was a fifteen year old boy who was worried about how to deal with the guilt of getting his godfather killed and an annoying family. Now, Im a sixteen year old man who knows more than he ever wanted to." "What do you mean," Ginny asked, looking up at him as if for the first time. "I know he looks the same, but he seems older somehow," she thought to herself. "Its not important, right now. Tonight, we all need some rest. Come on, milady," he said, as he stood and reached out for her hand with a flourished bow. "I believe we should get back. After that earlier scene, they might start to worry about your purity." He grinned, as she again turned red. "Stop that," she chided. "Your wish is my command, milady." "If only," she thought to herself. They returned to the others in silence. Mr. Weasley was attempting to console Mrs. Weasley who was visibly shaken by the ordeal theyd witnessed. Their home of many years was nothing more than a pile of debris, now. The twins were in awe, trying to figure out how to recreate such a storm, while Bill and Charlie were attempting valiantly to find out any information they could from Dumbledore, who was patiently explaining that he knew about as much as they did. As they noticed Harry come into view, Mrs. Weasley bolted away from Mr. Weasley and pulled him up into a rough embrace, crying the entire time. Harry just smiled and returned her hug, all the while whispering assurances that everything would be fine. As she started to calm down, Harry gave her an assuring squeeze of a hug and turned her back to Mr. Weasley who gave Harry a grateful look for helping to calm her down. "As Im sure youll all want an explanation, we will wait until tomorrow when Hermione

and the rest of the Order can be there as well. I would prefer not to explain this more than once, you see." Everyone nodded, however reluctantly. It was Bill who finally broke the silence that had come over them as soon as Harry and Ginny had returned. "Where exactly is there," he asked. "My family home, of course. Potter Place." "I thought your family home was Godrics Hollow," Charlie said. It was Dumbledore who answered this question for Harry, "Im afraid not, Charles. Godrics Hollow is actually my own family home. As I was at Hogwarts most of the year, I felt it would be the safest place for Harry and his parents. I am sad to say I was mistaken." "Wait, Godrics Hollow are you descended from Godric Gryffindor," Ron asked in awe. Dumbledore smiled at the inquisitiveness of the young man before him, then said, "That I am, Ronald." "Well, this is all very exciting, but Im quite tired. Im sure the rest of you are as well. So, I think we should be going now. Sir, could you possibly provide us with a makeshift floo," Harry asked, addressing Dumbledore. Dumbledore nodded. He pulled out his wand and made a cross shape in the air, before intoning clearly, "Eriflacep!" The fireplace inside the remains of The Burrow reformed, immediately. He pulled a small jar of floo powder from inside his robes, and slowly each of them took enough for a trip. Harry was the first to step in. He smiled and then called out clearly for them all to hear, "Potter Place!" He was immediately lifted up and on his way to his family home, for the first time in his life, that he could remember. .oOo. Once everyone had arrived to find Harry sitting happily inside a large kitchen, Harry walked quickly over to a bell-pull, and gave it a sharp tug. Everyone looked around the kitchen silently, taking in what they saw. Harry returned to sitting at a large table, surrounded with simple wooden chairs. Off to one side was a long counter with various knives and cutting boards. Behind Harry was a sink with two compartments, where a brush was happily scrubbing away at a few plates and glasses, while humming an off-key tune. Lining the walls were shelves loaded with pans and pots, and just above them were cabinets with open glass windows, full of plates, glasses, bowls, and the like. Under the counter were several drawers where they could only guess they utensils were stored.

After about five minutes of complete silence, a tall, slender man strode swiftly into the kitchen with a look of shock plastered on his handsome face. The man immediately greeted Dumbledore. "Salutations, sir. It is excellent to see you again after these many long years," the man said, his hands held behind his back. "Salutations, Connor," Dumbledore said, nodding his head to the man in greeting. Everyone else, aside from Harry, was simply too caught up in gaping at the man known simply as Connor to do or say anything. The young man stood before them in a forest green tunic, loose black trousers, and forest green, dragon-hide boots. That, however, wasnt what was so unusual about him the young man before them had long, shining, silver hair that complimented his pale skin quite well. As he turned to face the group standing in the kitchen, he pushed the hair on one side of his head behind his ear. As he did so, everyone in the room, again aside from Harry and Dumbledore, gasped. His ears were quite pointed, or at least the one they could see was. Smiling happily, he looked over the group before him with a pair of shocking emerald eyes that fit in with his softly masculine features too well for words to describe. As he finally laid eyes on Harry, his extremely white smile grew quite large, and he immediately pulled Harry into a rough hug. "It is good to see you again, young Master Potter!" After the embrace was broken, Harry smiled warmly at the young man before him. "Salutations, Master Keltori. It is nice to meet you, as well," Harry said to the young man before him, leaving everyone in the room stunned. The young man before them blushed a moment, before regaining his composure. "Please, forgive my manners, young sir. It has been so long since I have seen you I simply forgot myself. Salutations, Master Potter." "Please, call me Harry," he said and the man nodded his head to Harry. "You know him, Harry," Ron whispered, to which Harry just nodded. "I suppose greetings are in order. I would like to introduce you all to Master Connor Keltori. He is the groundskeeper of Potter Place, and a close family friend," Harry said, addressing the Weasleys. He then turned to Master Keltori, and introduced the Weasleys to Master Keltori. "Please, call me Connor. My people are staunch on formality, however I am not as rigid as they," he said to the group before him. "So then, youre not human," Fred or maybe it was George asked, to which Mrs. Weasley immediately screeched at him to mind his manners. "It is quite alright, madam. I do not mind," he said, flashing Mrs. Weasley a big toothy smile. He then turned to George or maybe it was Fred and addressed his question. "No, I am of elven blood, young sir." "Elven," the other twin asked, "But, you dont look anything like a house elf!" As soon as

he finished, Mrs. Weasley screeched then at him about his manners. Master Keltori flashed her another smile, and she seemed to calm down instantly. "Indeed, young sir. House elves are a relation of true elves, but theyre not full-blooded elves. Most of wizarding kind seems to have forgotten about true elves. House elves are actually a separate breed of elves that mated with goblins," he said, shaking his head, "if you can believe that, young sirs. "Im not a purist by any means, but I have no great like of goblins. Had a fairly nasty run in with them about thirty years ago. They tried to cheat me out of some gold, you see, and Ive never gotten along with them very well, since." "Thirty years," gasped Ginny. "How old are you?!" "Ginny Weasley! Im so sorry, Master Kel --" "Please, call me Connor, madam, and it is quite alright. Ive been dealing with children for centuries, and their questions never change," he said flashing that placating smile once again. "To answer your question, young miss, Ill be one thousand five hundred seven years old this September." Ginnys eyes grew as wide as saucers, at hearing this. The rest of the group was shocked silent, aside from Fred and George who were whispering something back and forth, between them. Harry was simply sitting on the kitchen table with his feet propped up on one of the chairs, watching with glee. "Indeed I have, young sirs," Master Keltori said, addressing the twins. "Id be happy to tell you all about them, once we have some time." Fred and George looked up at the elven man in shock. "Elves have very good hearing, young sirs," he said with a grin as he pointed at his pointed ears. "Youll need to be careful with those two, Connor, or they might even run you ragged," Harry said with a chuckle. "I see you picked up some of your fathers bad habits, Master Potter. He used to try to drive me mad by sitting on the table as well," the elven man said. "Please, call me Harry, Connor, and yes, I may have picked up a few of them somewhere down the road. I have a few things we need to discuss, and as it involves my guests they might as well hear it." Master Keltori nodded his head, and waited patiently as Harry began to explain. "The Weasleys and I will be staying here indefinitely. About half of us will be leaving for Hogwarts on the first of September. In case youre curious as to why theyll be staying, I accidentally destroyed their home tonight, and as such I will be having them as my guests, until I can have The Burrow rebuilt." Master Keltoris face brightened upon hearing this, however he remained quiet. "We will discuss that in more detail tomorrow, as Im sure youll be most interested.

"Please get them all situated, as each will need a room, for the time being. The twins will more than likely wish to stay together, so if you could give them Eliza and Elicias old room. Im sure theyll enjoy some of the more interesting features in it. "They will also all need clothes, so if you could have the family tailor stop in, it would be most appreciated. Have anything they need billed to the house account. They will also need their school items, which Im sure the lists will be sent here as well. Please bill those to the houses account, as well its the least I can do, considering. "Oh, Mrs. Weasley loves to cook, so please tell the house elves to accommodate her however they can, as Im most sure she will enjoy the main kitchen. Mr. Weasley is quite fascinated with muggle artifacts, so please provide him access to storage room four. Finally, I would quite like to try one of your famous blueberry and ice cream pancakes, in the morning, if you wouldnt mind," finished Harry, a smile on his face. Everyone in the room, including Master Keltori and Dumbledore, were staring at him in stunned silence. For all they knew, hed never known about his family home, and here he seemed to know everything about it. Dumbledore was the first to recover, followed shortly by Master Keltori. "I will indeed have their supplies lists delivered here. Im sure the owls will be most grateful for a shorter trip," Dumbledore said. Master Keltori bowed to Harry, and smiled happily. "It will be marvelous to have a family within these walls once more," he said excitedly, "It will be as you request. I will have the rooms prepared at once, and see to it personally. I will return once the rooms are ready," and with that Master Keltori left to see to the arrangements, humming happily as he left. "Speaking of owls, sir, Hedwig is delivering a message to Tonks. She will go to Hogwarts once she realizes The Burrow has been destroyed. Please send the lists with her, as I would like to personally show her new home to her," Harry smiled. Dumbledore nodded his understanding and prepared to leave. "I am afraid I must be going. It is quite late, and I have many preparations left before the beginning of the first term. If you will excuse me," he said, and moved toward the fireplace. The others, who had already seated themselves at the table chattering excitedly, did not notice as Harry moved over and stopped Dumbledore. "We need to talk, sir. Soon," he said in a quiet, yet deadly voice. "I think its long overdue." Dumbledore regarded Harry for a moment, taking note of the flash of anger in his eyes, before he nodded. "When," was his monosyllabic response. "I dont know just yet," he growled. "But, Im going to tell them the truth. Theyve treated me like family, and they deserve to know. I deserved to know, damn it!" "I know. Im sorry, Harry, but I felt it was in your best interest. Hopefully, some day, you can forgive me that. I will come back tomorrow, and we can talk in private. Once you

hear my reasons, you might be able to understand," Dumbledore said, and he disapparated. .oOo. When Bill woke up in the morning, he found his clothes freshly cleaned and pressed lying neatly over a chair facing his bed. He got up, and quickly stepped into his private bath to take a shower. He made sure to wake up Charlie first, though, as they were going to get to know their littlest brother today. Once both were dressed they headed down the mahogany stairs. They managed to get a bit lost, but were directed by one of the paintings, of Harrys father, no less, to the main dining area. James explained how to get there and told them that is where Harry was, with Master Keltori. They both arrived in the large, elegant dining room to find Harry sitting with Master Keltori, laughing quite happily. As they approached, Master Keltori stood and bowed to them. "Good morning, sirs. Would you like some breakfast? I make a smashing blueberry and ice cream pancake, if I do say so myself," the elven man added. "He does, indeed," Harry chimed in, a smile of satisfaction plastered on his face. "Sounds great," Bill said, smiling. "Ill try anything once," agreed Charlie. Master Keltori left quickly for the kitchen, to prepare the breakfasts, while Bill and Charlie seated themselves at the enormous table. Moments later a house elf appeared carrying a silver tray holding utensils, a bottle of milk, a pot of coffee, a carafe of orange juice, cream and sugar, and mugs for Bill and Charlie. The house elf placed the tray in the center of the table before asking if they needed anything. "No, Loretta, I do believe that will be fine. Thank you," Harry replied warmly. "Sir is too kind," the house elf replied, positively beaming as she left. "It almost seems like youve been here for years, Harry," Bill said, grabbing a mug and pouring some coffee into it. "Yeah, a bit creepy, really," agreed Charlie as he did the same, but adding a bit of sugar to his. Harry chuckled, then promised to explain once everyone else had arrived. He continued to drink his apple juice, while grimacing at the coffee the two eldest Weasley children were consuming. Coffee reminded him too much of his uncle Vernon who always had a cup first thing in the morning, complaining that he couldnt think clearly otherwise. Charlie noticed his grimace and asked, "Coffee not your thing, eh?" Harry just shook his head, as he took another sip of his apple juice.

"His father had a particular distaste for it as well," Master Keltori said as he returned with two plates, stacked high with hot, blueberry pancakes topped with ice cream that was already starting to melt. "His mother, however, loved it. She always added Irish cream and a bit of hazel nut, though." "Actually, we just met his father. Well, the painting of him, anyway," Bill said. "As first I thought it was Harry, but then I noticed the eyes. Harry looks almost exactly like him." Master Keltori nodded. "That is how I recognized him when you first arrived. It was quite a shock, really. But, please, eat before it melts," he smiled. Both of the brothers began to eat, Charlie stopping after the first bite to give Master Keltori a thumbs up, before adding, "These are great!" While the others ate, Master Keltori and Harry continued their conversation. Harry didnt want to disturb the two who had not eaten since the previous afternoon, having to go on a mission for the Order. "So youve been here for the last fifteen years, with just you and the house elves," Harry asked in a surprised tone. "Indeed I have. Its not as bad as you might think. The house elves kept me company, as did the paintings. I must say, though, it is good to finally have a family in the house again. Since your father and mother have been," he trailed off a moment, a catch in his throat. "Since they have been gone, Ive not had to order repairs to the house, and it just seems so bizarre." Harry let out a loud laugh at this. "I can see how that might be the case how has the house vault held up over the years?" "The interest accrued is still much higher than any expenses, especially with the house having been more or less empty for the last half-again decade. The balance at last check was approximately forty million galleons, give or take a million or so." Hearing this Bill and Charlie both began to choke on their breakfast. Master Keltori, noticing the problem, waved his glowing hands over their throats causing their throats to relax. Finally able to breathe again, Charlie and Bill looked up at Harry with wide eyes. "Harry, youre a bloody millionaire," Charlie said in awe as Bill began to laugh. "Actually, thats the house account. My personal allowance isnt nearly that much," Harry said. "Not that I could ever use it all anyway." Bill, having moved beyond the issue of the money, was now addressing Master Keltori, "By the way, Master Kel --" "Call me Connor," he interrupted. "Master Keltori just seems so rigid." "Ok, Mas -- Connor. I noticed you used magic a moment ago, without a wand. How?" Connor chuckled at that, "Well, there are many types and ways of using magic. Magic,

technically, is just power. Anything with a connection to magic can use it, really." "So you mean that what we do using a wand is just tapping into the same thing you tapped into when you cleared our throats," Bill asked, becoming thoroughly interested in this conversation. "Exactly, young sir, exactly," he said. "So even muggles could do magic," Charlie asked doubtfully, not sure he could believe such a thing. "Some of the greatest wizards and witches in history started their lives as muggles, young sir. They simply learned how to do what non-muggles could innately do, which is to tap that power. Most of the teachings of it were lost around a thousand years ago." Connor then added, "Shortly after, Merlin decided that most humans were too stupid to have magic, as a matter of fact." "You knew Merlin," Charlie and Bill asked in unison. "Thats so cool!" "So, wait, there were muggle witches and wizards? Freaky," Bill said. "I just dont think I can believe that." "Oh there still are, young sir. Just not to the degree they once were. During the last year James and Lily stayed here, I spent a bit of time in the muggle world. I had to change my hair color, but otherwise I looked more or less human. During my time there, I read up on what they now call magic. Its not even close to what it used to be, but theyre starting to put it back together," he said, smiling. "I would guess that within the next millennium, muggles will rediscover what they once knew and re-insert themselves into the world of magic. "It is one of the reasons all of elven-kind scoff at the idea that there is such a thing as a pureblood wizard or witch. What most humans have failed to realize is that non-muggles can simply tap into magic as an instinct. Muggles have to learn it, but they can do it. "And I almost hope Voldemort does achieve immortality, just so I can laugh in his face when he finally realizes how futile his actions have truly been," Connor added with a grim chuckle, as Bill and Charlie flinched involuntarily at the mention of Voldemorts name. Harry, who had remained quiet throughout the conversation, laughed quite hard at that sentiment, before addressing an issue hed been thinking about all morning. "Connor, is the Quidditch pitch still in good shape?" "Of course, Harry, it has been kept in prime condition. Would you like to examine it?" "Not quite yet. Well all need replacement brooms, first. I managed to annihilate ours in the mayhem at The Burrow. Would you like to run some errands, Connor? I think it would do you some good to get out and see the world, again." Connor smiled happily at this, and said in an excited voice, "Id love to."

"Excellent. Well need one broom for each of us, as well as one for Hermione who will be arriving later. If you would, please test them out, and pick that which you believe is best over all. I trust your judgment," Harry said to the immediate protests of Bill and Charlie. "Listen, Harry, we dont really need new brooms," exclaimed Charlie. "Of course we dont," Bill added. "I insist. I want a good game of Quidditch to get in shape for the new season, and for that we need brooms," he chuckled happily. "Is there anything else youll need, sir," Connor asked, as he rose. "Actually, yes. Id like for you to have the brooms delivered, and take the rest of the day for yourself. Bill anything you need to the house account, and enjoy yourself. Take as long as youd like. After fifteen years, you deserve a vacation." Connor frowned a bit at the word vacation, then nodded. "Anything else sir?" Harry thought about it a moment, then added, "Actually, yes. I would like for all the house elves to be given proper clothes." A mortified look appeared on Connors face upon hearing this. "My word, sir. Youre freeing them? What did they do to upset you? Im sure it can be corrected, just tell me what it is and Ill take care of it," he said, speaking very quickly. "You misunderstand, Connor. During my second year at Hogwarts my life was saved by a house elf with very good intentions. He again helped me in my fourth year. The house elves are technically in my service. Until they learn that freedom is not a punishment I would never dream of freeing them. "Since you will be the one giving them clothes, they will all be kept in service here if they wish to stay, of course. I am not sending them away, Connor. I am rewarding them for their loyalty to my family. I want them to be given a uniform and clothes of their own. I also want them to be given a fair wage, as set by the elf who saved my life one gold galleon per week." "I see, Harry. I apologize," Connor said, a smile on his face. "You are indeed as great a wizard as your parents. They were one of few families who did not force the house elves to work unnoticed. Most wizards look down upon house elves. I am pleased to see that you are willing to treat them with respect as your parents did." Harry smiled, and then said, "You may take them in rotating shifts, using his or her off time to get their clothes, which I want charged to the house account. Rework the schedule if necessary, but see to it that each gets at least one day off a month. If they would like more, grant them up to two days per week." Connor grinned happily upon hearing this. "It will be as you say, though Im not sure how they will take the suggestion, at first."

"Im sure theyll understand. If they dont, simply have them come speak with me," Harry said smiling. Bill and Charlie, who had remained silent until now, began to laugh very hard. Charlie almost fell out of his chair. "I think Hermione got to you with that spew, thing, didnt she," Bill asked, chortling the whole time. "Spew?" Connor asked in a bemused tone of voice. "Yes, its something Hermione was going on about," Harry said rolling his eyes. "In any case, how long should it take for the brooms to arrive, Connor?" "I will be on my way now, unless you need anything else, and you should have them before the morning is through," Connor said, his green eyes twinkling merrily. "Excellent. Please have Loretta stop in once an hour until the others are up. They will most likely want breakfast, as well," Harry added thoughtfully. "Of course, sir. Ill be on my way, then." Connor bowed and swept quickly out of the room. "Harry, mind if I ask you something," Bill asked quietly. "Ask away," Harry said cheerily. "I thought pureblooded elves were extinct so how do you have one working for you?" "My thoughts exactly," Charlie added. Harry laughed then, a happy, carefree laugh. "Elves arent extinct, theyre hiding. The human magical community looks down on non-humans as creatures. Elves are far from being creatures. Most pureblood elves are hiding in the muggle world. As you heard Connor admit, they dont have to do much to fit in. "So, theyre hiding out there until the magical community recognizes them for what they are. People, just like anyone else. My family has always acknowledged their rights, which is why Connor has been such a good friend to my family. He has worked for my family for centuries." Harry couldnt help but laugh at the shocked looks on Bill and Charlies faces. "You mean they just hide in plain sight," Charlie asked incredulously. "Of course. Thats the best way," Harry responded merrily. "Wow. Here I thought they were extinct. Id love to learn some elven magic, that stuff is said to be some of the most powerful ever to exist and they dont even need a wand," Bill grinned excitedly. "Maybe you can talk him into teaching you. For now, I think its time we got to know each other, as you both asked of me." Harry stood, grinning, and walked into the lounge,

followed by both Bill and Charlie. They spent the next couple of hours telling each other about their times at Hogwarts, the best pranks, and their adventures; which Harry had them both beat in. Bill and Charlie gawked at Harry as he told them how he saved the Sorcerers Stone, and Harry almost choked on his tomato juice when Bill and Charlie told him how they set off a dungbomb explosion in Snapes dungeon. "He came running down the hall, absolutely livid yelling about how Weasleys are a disgrace to the name of wizard," chortled Charlie. "Yeah, and it was about then that he slipped up in the Bubotuber pus I accidentally dropped," Bill grinned, a twinkle in his eye. "He spent the next three hours in the infirmary under Madam Blimleys care, ranting and raving about how hed have our expulsion then hed have our heads," gasped out Charlie, holding a stitch in his side. Harry enjoyed his time with the two oldest Weasley children, as they did theirs with him. At about fifteen past nine the house elf Loretta came to tell them that Headmaster Albus Dumbledore wished to speak with Bill and Charlie. They excused themselves, and when they returned they explained to Harry that they needed to go on another trip. "Well be back in a bit. This shouldnt take long, just a routine run. When we get back, well see about that game of Quidditch, aright little brother," Charlie said, with Bill nodding his agreement. "Sounds good," Harry agreed. "Be careful." "We always do, little brother, we always do," Bill said, as they disapparated out of the room. .oOo. The next few hours passed very slowly for Harry. Everyone seemed to be waking up late, leaving Harry to explore his new home. Potter Place, which would best be described as a mansion, contained numerous rooms full of ancient artifacts. After having looked through most of the house, Harry ended up in the library. Around half past noon, Loretta poked her tiny head into the library. "Sirs guests is just coming downstairs, sir. Would sir like Loretta to direct them in, sir?" "No need, Loretta," Harry said as he stood and stretched. "I think Ill join them for lunch. If you would, please direct them to the dining room." When Loretta nodded, Harry added, "Thank you." The house elf again walked off with a positively ecstatic smile plastered on her tiny little face. When Harry joined the others in the dining room, they all looked happy and rested. As he sat, he called in Loretta again and asked her what were the choices for lunch. She grinned happily, and repeated the choices to them. Once everyone had a plate of food and drink,

Mrs. Weasley finally broke the ice on the question everyone wanted to hear the answer to. "Harry, what happened last night," she asked, ignoring her food. "Seventeen minutes," Harry frowned. "Well, I lost that bet." Everyone looked at him confused. "I had a bet with Connor. I figured youd ask within the first fifteen minutes. He said you wouldnt. I lost," Harry explained. "By only two minutes, too." The twins were grinning excitedly. Betting was one of their favorite activities just under Pranks and Quidditch. "So Harry --" "whatd you --" "lose, then --" "to Master --" "Keltori," the grinning twins bounced between each other. "He wanted one of the rooms of the house blown up, within the week, if he won. If I won, he would have to take a months vacation." The confusion on everyones faces deepened as they heard this. To them this seemed backwards, as well as a little psychotic. "Harry, I think youve mixed up the bets," Ron said, trying to get Harry to think about it. Harry thought about it a second, then said, "No. I said it right. He wants a room of the house blown up so that he can fix it. I want him to take a vacation, because he hasnt had one in nearly fifteen years." Mr. Weasley looked at Harry dumbfounded, "Why does he want a room of the house destroyed?" "Oh, that. Hes a carpenter. He likes to build things. All the previous residents of the house would accidentally blow up a room while experimenting or training. No one has done that in nearly fifteen years, now, and hes bored." Harry smiled as realization dawned on everyone. "I think I satisfied his urge to build by offering to let him rebuild The Burrow, though, and he even agreed to take a small vacation this morning," Harry said smiling. "I dont know what to do about the bet now, though." "This is all very interesting," interrupted Mrs. Weasley, "But, I would very much like to know what happened to The Burrow." The rest of the Weasley family nodded in agreement to their mothers question.

Harry smiled, "I promise I will explain everything soon. Hermione should be here within the hour, as will Professor Dumbledore. Bill and Charlie should be back by then, as well. I will explain everything once theyre all here." Ginny, through all this, remained silent, thinking to herself. "Why did the jewel call Dumbledore Harrys grandfather?" "Well, it also called Ron his brother. Oh, and what did it call you, again?" her inner voice mocked once more, causing her to blush very much. "Ginny, stop that," Harry grinned. "I didnt even say anything yet!" The entire Weasley family turned to stare at Ginny who seemed to be blushing for no apparent reason, then at Harry, then back at Ginny trying to figure out what was going on. "Mr. Weasley, I have a gift for you. I think you will enjoy it very much," Harry said, pulling out a small, black, box-shaped object and effectively changing the subject. "My father called it a recepticon. He made them for my mother. She was muggle-born, and missed certain things occasionally like radio and television. They accept plugs from muggle things that run off of electricity so you can run them. "Id like for you to have one. It should allow you to test any of the muggle devices you get that use electricity," he said as he tossed the little black box to Mr. Weasley, who looked like this was the happiest day of his life. "Thank you, Harry. I-I-I dont know what to say," he grinned happily. "No need. Just enjoy it," Harry said, smiling. .oOo. At a quarter after one, Hermione arrived. She was frowning quite sternly as Lorette, Lorettas sister, lead her into the room. Lorette was smiling happily, as were all the house elves since they had someone to serve again, the entire time. "Hello, Harry," Hermione said in an accusing tone, throwing a glance at Lorette. "I see youre enjoying the finer things in life." "Thank you, Lorette," Harry said, ignoring the accusation. "Have my packages arrived, yet?" "Sir, your packages is waiting for you. Would you like Lorette to get them for Master Potter," the house elf asked in her squeaky little voice. "No, that wont be necessary. Thank you, Lorette," he said, beaming a smile at her, which caused her, like her sister, to trot away grinning happily. Once the house elf was gone, Harry rounded on Hermione angrily. "Now, Hermione, I will thank you not to offend my house elves. They are quite happy, and I would like to keep them that way," Harry shot back.

Hermiones eyes flashed in indignation, and she huffed irritably. "I can see you never took S.P.E.W. seriously." Harry simply sighed and pointed Hermione to the library where the Weasleys were waiting. Once she joined them, she began huffily telling Ron and Ginny how Harry was contributing to the enslavement of house elves. Ron, of course, rolled his eyes at this and said nothing. Ginny couldnt help but laugh at her friends vehement support of house elf liberation. "Once those in the Order who know me fairly well have arrived, I will explain everything. Until then, I ask you all to wait patiently," Harry said over the hum of the room. A few nods here and there, as well as a bit of grumbling from the Ron and Ginny, made it clear that they would wait. Bill and Charlie had returned about fifteen minutes before Hermione arrived and both were in an expressive conversation with both Arthur and Molly Weasley. The twins were trying to test out one of their new treats on Hermione, but she kept adamantly refusing anything they offered her, much to their chagrin. About ten minutes later the members of the Order that Harry had the most contact with started to enter the room. The first to arrive was Tonks, who Harry kept referring to as Nymph. Each time she would scowl and her hair would change color with an audible pop. The third time he called her Nymph she turned into a great impression of Dudley and began chasing Harry about the room making kissing noises. Remus Lupin was the next to arrive, pulling Harry into a hug before asking him if he was doing all right, to which Harry could honestly answer that he was doing much better. They talked for a few minutes, before a crash resounded through the room. Tonks had tripped over one of the rugs and fell into the twins, sending them careening into one of the bookshelves along with the treats they kept trying to trick Hermione with. Mad-Eye Moody arrived and was, if possible, even more edgy than normal. His magical eye kept falling directly to Harry and then stopping entirely. Every time he addressed Harry, his eye would stop, as if it wasnt sure what it was seeing, and what seemed almost like fear combined with curiosity would flicker across his face for a split-second, then his mask of gruffness would return. The last of the Order to arrive was Dumbledore, who kept his greetings short, immediately falling into one of the plush chairs sitting around the library. "I am afraid that Mr. Shacklebolt and Hagrid will not be here, Harry. They had work of the utmost importance." "That is fine, one of you can fill them in. For those of you here, what I am about to say is to be kept private, for the time being, with the exception of Kingsley and Hagrid, of course. I have invited you all here to fill you in on some changes that have come to my attention," Harry said to those assembled. "A few short days ago I came into contact with a jewel known as the Dragons Tear. I came into contact with that jewel again last night. The result was the utter destruction of

The Burrow," Harry said followed by a loud gasp from Hermione whos wide-eyes stared at him in complete horror, before she began to offer her sympathies to the Weasleys. "Now, Im sure you all have questions. Ill go ahead and answer what I know will be asked. Then, if you have any more questions, Ill answer them as best I can. What happened at The Burrow, I think is the first and foremost on everyones mind. The simplest answer is that I lost control. I managed to contain the destruction, but that is the best I could do once the chain reaction began. "What did the Dragons Tear do to me, is the next question. The simplest answer is that the Dragons Tear laid on my shoulders the responsibility of what is known most simply as the Dragonmaster. In all honesty, I wish it had chosen someone else. I have enough to worry about as it is," he said an uncomfortable grin lighting his face. "What is a Dragonmaster well, I suppose it would be best to explain in detail. Dragons are highly intelligent creatures," Harry said to which Charlie nodded enthusiastically, "The Dragons Tear is an egg containing the collective knowledge of the race of dragons. It was stolen nearly seven hundred years ago. The thiefs name was Mundungus Fletcher. I believe you all may know a relative of his," said Harry as he smirked. "About two hundred years ago a relative of mine purchased the Tear, believing it had healing abilities. She studied the Tear for two decades, before giving up on it. It has been passed down in my family ever since, until it came to me. "Due to my aunt a few generations back being exposed to the jewel for so long, its magic began to," he paused a moment while considering his words, then continued, "leak, I suppose is the best word, into her. A few generations later, I was born. My parents were killed, so I never saw the Tear. When I finally get near it, it sees in me the potential to restore all of dragon-kind to their former glory and it chooses me for that responsibility. Yay me. "The Tear, when it sensed me, called out and that first call nearly shattered my mind. When I touched it the second time it passed to me everything it passed to the dragons. Which is essentially, everything that any creature who ever touched it knew." Upon hearing this Ginnys head snapped up. Harry noticed this, and had been expecting it, so when she looked up she did so directly into his eyes, and he gave an almost imperceptible nod. "So, I have quite a bit swimming around up here now," Harry said while tapping his forehead and giving a small laugh. "Now, Ill answer whatever you want to ask." Hermione, ever the student, immediately raised her hand. Harry chuckled before reminding her they were not in school, and she did not need to raise her hand to ask a question. She indignantly tossed out, "I just thought it would be more orderly." She then blushed and asked her question. "You mentioned new abilities. What can you do?" "Honestly, I dont know. It would be better to ask me if I can do something specific. I know everything the Tear put into my head, but until I want or need it, I really dont know that I know. I hope that makes sense.

"But, as an example can I apparate," he said and with a loud crack he disappeared and then reappeared behind Hermione, who nearly jumped out of her seat when he laid his hand on her shoulder. "Thats a yes, by the way." Mrs. Weasley was the next to speak up. "How did you switch places with that naked man, last night." Her question was met with a bevy of odd looks from the Order members, as well as Hermione, since no one had mentioned this odd little piece of information. "Ah, yes. I forgot about that. The floating man you saw," Harry said as his body slowly shifted into the taller and more muscular figure, his voice becoming a bit deeper as he did so, "was me." He grinned at the shocked faces in the room. The man before them was indeed Harry, but he was older in his early-twenties it appeared. It was obviously him, because he still had the same untidy hair, and the brilliant green eyes, as well as his scar, though it was lit with a blue light making it seem as if he had a piece of lightning embedded in his forehead. Tonks squealed as she asked him delightedly, "Are you a morphmagus?!" Harry pondered the question for a moment, then answered as best he could. "Well, let me first answer your question how you meant it. No, the reason I can change appearance is not because I am a morphmagus. This is my new body. "The Harry Potter you knew before was a moderately powerful wizard, I will grant you that, but that body was nearly torn apart under the strain of what was required. Thats the reason for the explosion. The Tear had to remake my body from the ground up so that I could survive the stress. "Now on to your actual question. Am I a morphmagus. No. I am, however, a shapeshifter. As Im sure you know, my dear Nymph," he grinned and dodged away as she swatted at him, "that means I am not restricted in many of the ways you are." Tonks nodded admiringly. "Lucky bugger," she muttered under her breath. "What ways are you not restricted that she is," Bill asked. "Nymph, would you like to answer this one?" Harry again ducked away as she tried to smack him. "Youre going to make me hurt you, you know. But, sure," she said growling at him. "Well, lets see where to start. A shapeshifter can become anything you can imagine a dragon, a hippogriff, a lamppost, or even me. I cant work with just imagination, though. I can change my appearance of course, bloody easy, that. The stronger the morphmagus, the more they can do. The strongest morphmagus Ive known was almost like a shapeshifter. "See, we can become other creatures, but we have to touch them first so we can remember them. If I want to become a dog, I have to touch a dog first. Im a fairly strong morphmagus. Most can hold a memory for about two days. I can hold it for about two

weeks. The strongest, that Ive met holds onto his memories indefinitely. He still has memories from his childhood and hes close to ninety, now. "I cant do objects, though, you see. Cant get a memory off them, so there is no way I can become one. A shapeshifter, though, could turn into a rock right in front of you." "Better explanation than I could have given," smiled Harry. "Thanks much, Nymph." "Stop bloody calling me Nymph!" she exclaimed. "Sirius used to call me that, and it drove me batty!" "I know," Harry said. "He touched the egg, too," he said sadly. "Oh oh" Tonks said, knowingly. "Wait, you know everything Sirius knew?" "Up to the time he touched it, yes. That was just before my parents deaths." Tonks blanched when she heard this. "So you know what I --" "What you look like in your natural state?" he interrupted. "Yes," he smiled deviously then. "Oh no," she said as her hand went to her mouth, her pale face standing out in stark contrast to her blood-red hair. Remus was the first to ask, "Well, what does she look like in her natural state?" "Should I tell them, Nymph," Harry asked, looking her directly in the eye. "Or better yet, show them?" "You wouldnt!" she muttered wide-eyed. "You wouldnt dare!" Bill and Charlie immediately started chanting, "Show us!" A few seconds later Remus joined in, followed by the twins. Tonks was looking around, a look of pure horror plastered on her face. "Harry, Ill do anything you want for as long as you want, just please do not show them. Im begging you." It was then that Hermione spoke up, as the voice of reason. "Tonks, there is no reason to believe he could show them if he wanted to. He claimed to be a shapeshifter, but weve not seen him do anything, yet." Tonks immediately latched onto this bit of hope. "Hey, shes right. How do know you even can show them," she asked doubtfully. Harrys response was to grow his hair longer, changing it silver as he did. After a moment his hair stopped growing and his skin paled to a pasty color, as if he hadnt seen the sun in years. Immediately following that he changed the green of his eyes into a deep ruby. Finally, he grew his ears to a point. One thing Tonks hadnt mentioned is that whenever a morphmagus changes, they make an audible pop, however slight. A

shapeshifter makes no sound, whatsoever. The entire room, aside from Dumbledore, began to gawk at the pureblood elf standing before them. Harry smiled widely, and in a soft Scottish accent asked, "What be the problem? Yeh all look like yeh seen a ghost!" As he slowly returned to normal, Tonks redoubled her efforts to avoid everyone seeing her natural state. "As I said, anything you want for as long as you want. Anything at all, I swear!" "If I werent such a gentleman," he grinned, as everyone in the room gaped at his unHarry-like joke. "What? It was just a joke." Ginny, however, didnt think it funny. She was sitting in her seat, fuming at him. "Here he is, knowing exactly how I feel about him, and now hes flirting with Tonks. I worried about him, and I stayed with him, and now hes flirting with her!" "I wouldnt go that far, anyway," she scoffed. Then she looked him over, and said, "Well, maybe" Harrys face turned bright red. His game was fun, but only when he wasnt on the receiving end of it. "No, I know youre not going to like this, but Sirius believed you needed to quit hiding. If you really want me not to show them, I wont but I agree with Sirius." Tonks began to stare at the floor in silence. After about five minutes, she finally nodded to him, to go ahead. At her nod, Harry slowly began to assume Nymphadora Tonks natural state. Slowly his face transformed into one matching Tonks current look, then it proceeded to soften. When he was finally done, standing before all present, was a stunning young woman in her mid to late-twenties. Her shoulder-length hair was a lightly-curled, deep brown that hugged her pleasantly soft face. Her eyes, a light hazel rimmed with violet flecks, simply accentuated the elegance of her face. As everyones eyes took in the sight before them, they glanced back and forth between Tonks and Harry. Everyone in the room, even Dumbledore, was dumbfounded. "You look more like a Nymphadora, than a Tonks," Hermione said after the shock had worn off. "Sirius told me the same thing," she said, still not having looked up. She was completely unaware that every male in the room, Dumbledore and Moody excluded, was staring at her in admiration. Mrs. Weasley glanced at her husband then punched him in the arm before saying, "Trying to catch flies, Arthur?" He immediately snapped his mouth shut, before apologizing profusely to her. "So thats why he was flirting with her," Ginny thought to herself. "I cant blame him, shes beautiful Im gonna kill him." As Harry returned to his new taller, more muscular version of his old self, Moody decided to bring the conversation back on topic. "That explains a good bit, Potter. To be

specific, it explains why youve been giving my eye the screaming abdabs. So we get that you can shapeshift. You mentioned it rebuilt your body," he said, to which Harry simply nodded. "So, what can this new body of yours do?" Harry frowned as this question was asked. "I was hoping no one would ask that, to be honest. But, since it has been asked, lets go ahead and address it." Harry disapparated and a moment later he returned with a pile of rocks in his arms, which he promptly placed in the center of the room. "Finite Incatatem!" he said, and the rocks expanded to be the size of small boulders. "What can this new body do," he said aloud. Harry reached down and picked up one of the small boulders with one hand, embedding his fingers into the rock with a cracking noise. He lifted the rock in front of them, and then swung his other arm toward it in a lightning-fast motion. When his fist connected with the rock there was a loud crack, and the room was showered in dust from the pulverized rock. "Im a little stronger than before," Harry laughed uncomfortably as everyone in the room opened and closed their mouths repeatedly, unable to speak. "My reflexes are a bit faster, too," he said. A second thunderous crack reverberated through the room as another rock exploded without being touched. Everyone in the library looked at each other, as if asking what happened. As they looked at Harry, he was frowning, his hand held before his face. In it was a chunk of rock that wasnt there before. "Bloody hell," Fred whispered to George. "Remind me not to piss him off!" Harry laughed. "Fred, George, my hearing is a bit better, too. Actually, all of my senses are more powerful." Ron growled at all of this. "The famous Harry Potter becomes a bloody super man! Just perfect, really. I thought it was bad before, its going to be horrible now!" Ron tossed in his angry question here, but no one except Ginny noticed the hint of anger, "So youre bigger, you can break boulders, youre fast as lightning, and you can hear what someone is saying from another country?! That about sum it up?" "Not exactly. I am stronger, but Im not exactly faster. I am, but its all relative to how much stronger I am. What you saw were my reflexes. I couldnt outrun someone on a Firebolt, or anything like that but I could snatch them off of one as they passed by at top speed." Ginny punched Ron hard on the arm. He looked at her angry, but the look she returned snapped his mouth shut. "I also have some posts that I have to distribute. Theyve not been delegated to anyone in well over a thousand years and it is about time the world once again saw them," Harry added, grinning from ear-to-ear. "Posts? What posts might these be, Harry?" Dumbledore looked excited. It wasnt often in his life that he could find something new in the wizarding world, and when it occurred, he was quite happy to patiently listen.

"Those I will need to speak with the potentials about. Once they have accepted, I will then allow them to explain it to you themselves," Harry said, becoming quite tight-lipped about the subject. "In the meantime, I do believe we need to make another introduction," Harry said, as he walked to stand behind Dumbledore who instantly knew what was coming, and braced himself. "I would like you all to meet, Albus Percival Wulfric Brian Dumbledore. Descendent of Godric Gryffindor, descendent of Salazar Slytherin, and father of James Wulfric Potter my father. Everyone, say hello to my grandfather," Harry smiled to the room.

Dear Reader, Again, I want to thank you all for the wonderful reviews. So far Ive received thirty-six reviews on this story (only one on my other, though but I suppose it balances out), and all of them have been good save for one which I addressed with my comments in chapter two. I appreciate greatly your support. :) Now, to address why Im updating so soon. I started a new story, as some of you may have noticed. I had a severe case of writers block on this one story. Very irritating it was, too. But, it has been solved, for now. ;) Some people have commented on my sneakiness or my plot. I am not being sneaky. I simply dont know what Im going to write until I write it. I have the ending firmly in mind, and as I mentioned I think youll all hate me when you see it, but everything else I am simply writing what comes to me at the time. There was also a bit of irritation that I gave Fudge back his magic. Well, if I remember correctly I address that in this chapter as well. I think you'll like the implied insult... though I won't begrudge anyone who misses it, it is rather subtle. Will Harry end up with Ginny? Well, I really dont know... Im on chapter seven right now, and by that point shes more or less not talking to him. But, it really depends on whether a certain Slytherin manages to capture Harrys heart. What? Malfoy? What the hell are you talking about?! Erm, in case you missed the joke, Malfoy is not the Slytherin Im talking about. Youll get to see her next chapter, though, so remain patient. ;) Someone mentioned how is it possible that Dumbledore is a descendant of Gryffindor and Slytherin. Well, you see, when two people meet and fall in love erm sorry. Im in a bit of a good mood since I finished chapter six, so Im joking around a bit. Anyway, the Gryffindor/Slytherin issue will be addressed at a later date, and it will be a major issue. But, I will say no more. Mainly because I may change my mind and relegate it into nothingness, as just an explanation of why the Sorting Hat had trouble sorting him. If not, though, I think youll like what Ive got planned.

Someone also mentioned the super Harry issue. Yes, Harry is a bit of a badass in this story (something someone else mentioned), but that was hinted at in the Order of the Phoenix. He did, after all, whip out his wand and told Snape quite calmly that he was considering what curse to use on Malfoy. But, the super problem gets addressed here, a bit further down, at least the start of it, anyway. Harry never gets it easy, and Im not going to be the first to go soft on him! ;) Anyway, yes, I know I said I wouldnt update until I had ten chapters or I got impatient. Well, I got impatient. I was so happy when I finished chapter six, and even got started on chapter seven, that I decided to post another piece. :) So, on to the story! -Master Eldryn

All eyes immediately fell on Dumbledore, their owners shocked into a disbelieving silence. The old mans eyes were twinkling merrily, a small smile curling his lips. Regardless of what was to come when Harry got him alone, he was happy to finally have the secret off his chest. After a moment of a silence, he realized the silence was becoming oppressive. "Surprise?" "Bloody hell, Harry, the most powerful wizard alive is your grandfather?" Ron exclaimed. It was a tribute to the all-encompassing shock that had fallen over the room that Mrs. Weasley had not immediately shouted for him to watch his language. In fact, she never did. The room remained quiet a while longer, while Harry moved toward the only available chair in the circle and seated himself. He then steepled his fingers as if he were summing them up for an attack. "I guess, Ron, that is one way to put it." Silence again fell as it all began to sink in. While everyone else was trying to process everything Mrs. Weasley broke the silence, her face a picture of utter rage. "Youre his grandfather, and you sent him to live with those those muggles," she spat the last word as if it were dirty. "How could you, Albus?!" "I am afraid, Mrs. Weasley, that I know the answer to that question all too well," Harry said, pressing down on the bridge of his nose as he closed his eyes. Dumbledore turned to Harry; sadness had come over his old face. He simply watched and waited to hear what would come next. "My grandfather, as Ron so succinctly put it, is one of the most powerful men alive. But, he did not know how to handle being a father. Not that I can particularly blame him for that I dont know how I would take being a father, either. "But, that is why my fathers last name, and my own, is Potter not Dumbledore. My father was given his mothers name. My grandfather knew so much and held so much power, but yet fatherhood frightened the daylights out of him. I know this, because he admitted it to my father.

"At this point I venture into the realm of guesses. Im sure if Im wrong he will correct me. When my parents died, he knew I needed to be with a blood relative so that I could be protected in case Voldemort were not truly dead, or his Death Eaters sought vengeance. My mothers parents died long ago, as did my fathers mother. My grandfather had to decide if I would be better off with my aunt Petunia, or with him. "He was still far too afraid of the role of fatherhood to consider raising me, so he left me with them. It really is rather ironic when you consider that he has worked with children most of his life. In all honesty, I think he would be an excellent parent. "But, the rest Im sure you all know, by now," he finished. Dumbledore had tears streaming down his face. The only other person in the room whose emotions were plainly visible was Mrs. Weasley, who was absolutely livid by this point. She could not fathom how a grandparent could do such a thing to his only grandchild, especially when he has proven so well that he knows how to care for children. "Albus," she said as she walked up to him, "I am ashamed to know you." No one, save Dumbledore, expected her to do what she did next. She drew back and slapped Dumbledore hard across the face, and a deafening silence settled over the room. Dumbledore, however, did not flinch, nor did he speak. In his heart he believed he deserved what shed done. Mr. Weasley walked over, and pulled his wife across the room. No one said a word, the entire time as Harry simply continued to watch them all like bugs in a box. "My father forgave him," he said, nodding in Dumbledores direction. "It took him many years to do so, and to accept my grandfathers reasons. But, he finally acknowledged my grandfather as his father and grew to love him. I know all this because my father touched the Tear, just as Sirius did." Dumbledore was sitting back in the chair, the stream of tears still flowing down his face as he thought over all the mistakes hed made in his life. "I will understand, Harry," he said through the catch in his throat, "if you wish for me to leave." "Well, I hadnt planned on doing this with everyone here. I expected everyone to be happy for me, so I am a bit surprised by the reaction. But, Im afraid I cant let you do that. I cant forget what I suffered in that house that will be forever burned into my memory. But, I can forgive your mistakes and your flaws, as you have mine. You are a part of my family, now, and I will not let that go," he finished as he rose and pulled his newly acknowledged grandfather into a hug. "We still have a long way to go, old man," he whispered into Dumbledores ear, "and youd better be there this time." Dumbledore simply nodded as he returned his grandsons hug. The rest of the meeting passed rather well, with everyone congratulating him on finding out about his grandfather. Even Mrs. Weasley calmed down, and apologized to Dumbledore, who assured her that he understood. From that point onward, everyone looked at Dumbledore in a new light. Before, he was the great Dumbledore, a wizard who knew more about magic than almost anyone alive. Now he was just Dumbledore, still a great wizard, but it was obvious that under the wizard was still just a man.

Harry was a bit disappointed, though, because due to all the excitement they didnt get to try out their new brooms or have their game of Quidditch. He enjoyed the rest of the day, though, assuring himself that they would do so the next day. .oOo. Hermione woke up early the next morning, having chosen to stay the night at Potter Place, to find her clothes freshly cleaned and ready to be worn again. She scowled at the clean garments, the labor of oppressed house elves she thought to herself. Irritated by Harrys lack of care for house elves, she took a long soak in the bath, trying to wash away some of her tension. About fifteen minutes in, a tiny house elf tapped on the door and stuck her head into the bathroom. "Is miss finding her bath good? Miss need anything?" the house elf squeaked. "Im fine, thank you," Hermione said warmly after shed managed to calm her racing pulse. The house elf, though Hermione never mentioned it, had frightened her more than the twins with their bloody-nose inducing candies. From what she had heard and seen, most house elves were expected to work unnoticed, yet here was one who just came right out and spoke to her directly. "Arent you supposed to work unnoticed," she asked. "Work unnoticed, miss? Why would Lorette do that?" "I thought that was the purpose of a house elf," she said dumbly. Lorette looked at her as if she had three heads. "Master Potter would never make us hide, miss," she said happily. "Master Potter is wonderful, just like his father and mother." "But, dont you want to be free, Lorette?" "Why would Lorette want to be free, miss? Lorette is happy right here." "But, you deserve to be free!" Hermione exclaimed indignantly. "Why, miss?" "So you can" she sputtered off at a loss for words. "Well, isnt there anything you want to do?" "Oh yes, miss." "What is it," Hermione asked triumphantly, knowing she had found a way to make the poor house elf want freedom. "Loretted like to see Master Potter in a game of Quidditch. His father played, but since well" she began to weep. Her sobs, a very squeaky noise indeed, echoed off the surrounding walls of the bathroom. "There has been no Quidditch since!" she cried out, still sobbing pitifully. Hermione, however, finally realized what Hagrid had been trying to explain to her about it being cruel to demand freedom for house elves. "So you really are happy here,

Lorette?" "Yes, miss," she said, perking up immediately. "Dobby was right, miss, Harry Potter is the greatest wizard to ever live," she smiled happily, as she closed the door. Hermione just stared at the door, thinking over what the small house elf had said, as she continued to soak in the warm water. Why was she trying so hard to secure freedom for house elves if theyre happy where they are, she wondered. Its the ones who are treated badly that she should be trying to help, she admitted to herself. With that, Hermione found a new cause to support. No longer would she try to force through S.P.E.W. on a world that was not ready. That morning Hermione found a new cause. "The Creatures Rights Attainment Party," she thought to herself, "will be great!" .oOo. A thunderous sigh escaped Rons lips, as he lay in his bed staring at the ceiling. He spent the night thinking about everything hed learned over the last week. His best friend was increasingly wracking his nerves by taking all the attention. Ron was being jealous; he knew that without a doubt. It was just so hard for him to handle. His brothers all had something he didnt have. Bill and Charlie were cool as ice and tough as nails, working for the Order. Percy, prat that he was, was still moving his way up through the Ministry quickly. The twins were making themselves rich running their joke shop. His sister had, as depraved as this sounded to him, been special because she was chosen by Tom Riddle to open the Chamber of Secrets. Even his best friends had things on him. Hermione was bloody brilliant, of course. Bit of a stickler for the rules, though. But, then again, thats one of the things he loved about her. Ron smacked himself hard at that thought. He couldnt stand the idea that he could be in love, because he didnt have anything to define him yet. He didnt want to be defined by that one thing. "Oh yes, thats bloody brilliant. Then I wont be Ron Weasley, the man who is no one, Ill be that guy who is in love with the smart girl." Then, of course, there was Harry Potter. Ron growled as he thought of everything Harry had that he didnt, most of which was just handed to him. He had money, power, and now he might even know more than Hermione. And, Ron had to admit, his new body, though it was still obviously Harry, would get him any girl he chose. "Hes got it easy," Ron thought to himself. "Yes, he has everything," his inner voice replied sarcastically. "Pain, death, loneliness. Hes got the whole ball of wax, that one." "Oh, shut up." "Quit being a complete git. He may have looks, money, power, and fame but you know he hates every bit of it."

Ron sighed, then as he stared at the ceiling, contemplating what to do about his jealousy of his family and friends. "I need to let it go," he said explosively. "I just dont know how." .oOo. Harry stood in the center of his large, padded gymnasium, lost in thought. He hadnt been asleep since he had been reborn, yet he wasnt tired. Finally he broke himself out of his thoughts and cleared his mind, taking note of everything in the room. He eyed the thirteen wooden, man-shaped figures he set up around him as targets, before he burst into action. His mind went pleasantly blank, he thought to himself, as he prepared to destroy the figures standing in a circle around him much like the Death Eaters had after the TriWizard Tournament. As he approached the first figure, images flashed through his mind of the night hed watched Cedric Diggory die for no other reason than he was there. As the anger flooded through him, the figure before him took shape in his mind as Wormtail, and with a reflexive stab of his arm, the head of the figure exploded. In his mind it was the head of Peter Pettigrew. He proceeded through the next few figures without such violent imagery, until the thought of Hagrid in such distress over Buckbeak appeared in his mind, again filling him with a rage that demanded blood. As he rolled to his feet from the attack on the last figure, he leaped from his crouching position and his foot exploded through the next figures chest. In his mind he exulted as MacNairs bloody corpse fell to the ground, as he landed beside it. He tore through the next two figures with blinding speed and accuracy, his mind again clear of the bloody imagery assaulting him. As the shattered wood flew around him, he simply enjoyed the peace flowing through his mind as he moved in and out of the figures with effortless ease, not stopping to dwell on the gore filling his mind. When he eyed the next figure, his mind was immediately filled with the images of Dobby protecting him from Malfoy as he backhanded the head off the figure. The head bouncing and rolling across the ground was of course that of Lucius Malfoy. The following figure put him in an even bigger rage, as he saw Sirius fall back behind the veil once again. "Youll pay," he shouted to the empty room, "in pain!" The ensuing scene was gruesome, if seen from his mind, to say the least. Bellatrix Lestrange was standing before him as he methodically tore the wooden figure in front of him to pieces. A sharp kick to the left knee left her leg at an impossible angle as a scream of pain left her lips, putting a very dark smile onto Harrys face. A swift roundhouse sweep ripped the other leg off entirely, as if it were nothing more than paper. Before the wooden figure could fall to the ground, though, an animalistic howl tore from his lips and his arms shattered through the wood at the waist severing the lower body. Bellatrixs eyes were staring at him in horror, still not having fallen to the ground. He shouted for her to die, and with one last spin his elbow connected with the figures head as it exploded into a powder of wood and nothingness.

Finally Harry turned to the last figure. The last image that assaulted him was that of Ginnys near lifeless body in the Chamber of Secrets, and a growl of primal rage erupted from his throat. Standing before him in his mind was the Dark Lord himself, Voldemort. A malicious grin of pure joy marred Harrys normally pleasant face. With a single punch to the chest of the figure the entire body was obliterated. Harry howled in triumph. "Im coming for you," he whispered in a deadly hiss, "and nothing can stop me." Voldemort bolted upright in his bed clutching at his forehead as a burning pain surged through it, vaguely in the shape of a lightning. He was sweating profusely, having been unable to wake up throughout that entire nightmare. He replayed everything hed seen in his mind unwillingly, unable to remove the images. What Voldemort had witnessed was exactly what Harry saw in his mind. The Dark Lord slept no more that day. For the first time in his new life he experienced an emotion he had long ago forgotten. Fear. Complete, all encompassing fear. .oOo. When she woke up, Ginny was angry. Very angry. She finally realized that she didnt have a crush on Harry any longer. She was deeply and madly in love with him. Ever since shed kissed him, shed been willing to do anything for him. She slammed her fist on to the nightstand by her bed. She stood up and looked at herself in the mirror. She wasnt unattractive, she thought as she looked at herself. She would much rather have different color eyes, she admitted, but otherwise she was quite comely. She wondered, as she looked at herself, why she couldnt seem to catch Harrys attention. "It has to be because Im just Rons little sister," she thought to herself as she analyzed her appearance in the mirror. "Did you ever think maybe its you?" "Hes trying to kill me. That has to be it. Hes trying to kill me." "You know, he may just not see you that way." "Shut up, you." "Fine." .oOo. As Harry left the gym, a pure adrenaline rush coursing through him, he saw two identical redheaded blurs fly by the corridor. Realizing it was the twins, and they had to be up to some kind of mischief, Harry broke into a run and trailed behind them. Once they noticed Harry behind them, they slowed a bit. "Oi, Harry!" Fred grinned, wearing a shockingly freakish Hawaiian style shirt. "What the hell are you wearing, George?!" Harry asked.

"Hey, you dolt! Id never wear anything that hideous!" George exclaimed indignantly, pointing to Freds shirt. "Just because some of us have style is no reason to be jealous, dear brother." "Oh, sorry George," Harry said chuckling. "So, whats going on?" "Not much. We found out what you meant by interesting features, mainly," Fred said, grinning impishly. "Yeah, mate, George grinned, "those interactive prank guides are magnificent!" "I thought you might like those," Harry smiled. "Which reminds me, I have a new item for your shop --" Harry was interrupted mid-sentence as Ron screamed out his intent to kill Fred and George from far down the hall. Each time he bellowed, they could tell he was slowly getting closer. "Sorry, Harry, but we --" "really have to go now --" "catch you later, right --" "after Rons calmed down?" they asked, bouncing the phrase between themselves, about to break into a full run. "Sure. Go!" Less than ten seconds after the twins had rounded the corner at the end of the hall Ron trotted up. This would have been otherwise unremarkable except for the fact that he had a very fetching set of horns on his head, as well as the legs of a goat. "Im gonna kill them. Really, I am," Ron said as anger flashed in his eyes. "I see they managed to brew up some of Syrias Satyr Swirls," Harry said grinning at Rons temporary change in appearance. "Looks good on you, Ron. You know Pan was supposedly very good with the ladies might want to find Hermione and test it out, eh?" He winked at Ron before nudging him a couple of times in the ribs. Rons cheeks turned pink, as did his ears. "Oh, shove off," he said as he stomped away a very loud thing for a Satyr to do, really. .oOo. Remus Lupin, a member of the Order of the Phoenix, stared at the letter in his hands. Hed still not had the nerve to read the letter. It was from Sirius, but he simply didnt have it in him to open it yet. He wondered if he ever would, as he stared at it. His three greatest friends in the world were dead to him. James, also known as Prongs,

died trying to protect his wife and son. It was Peter, also known as Wormtail, who was at fault for that. Peter betrayed them to Voldemort, because he was nothing but a bloody coward. Sirius, the last of his friends, who had gone by the moniker of Padfoot, had died just a few months before, trying to protect his godson Harry. Remus, though, did not blame Harry for Sirius death. Nor did he blame Bellatrix Lestrange, Sirius killer. He didnt even blame Wormtail, who brought back Voldemort and started this whole cycle. He blamed himself. Dumbledore implored him to make sure that Sirius stayed in Black Manor. Had he forced Sirius to stay, as Dumbledore had impressed upon him, Sirius would be alive. He might have hated Remus for it, but his friend would be alive and well. Guilt, however, is no stranger to Remus Lupin, for you see he is also a werewolf, and he hates himself because of that. Once a month he has to consume a potion and live through the pain of his body trying to force him to release a beast upon the world. He has to wage a battle of wills between himself and his inner demon, his only weapon being that vile potion. There is no cure for him, no matter how much he wishes there were. Tonight is the next full moon that he has to survive, hoping that he does not harm anyone in the process. His bite, as he understands all too well, will result in whoever is unfortunate enough to be on the other end becoming a werewolf. A fate he would never wish on anyone, nor could he live with the thought that it was his fault. As he pulled on his clothes after his early shower, he prepared his things and made to say his good-byes. As he tried to open the door, to his complete shock, he found it locked from the outside. After his shock wore off, he began firing off every unlocking spell he knew; Lupins knowledge of such things was formidable to say the least. None of the spells so much as made the lock twitch. Lupin had only one thought coursing through his mind. He had to get out before nightfall, because he needed his potion. He began trying to destroy the door, the windows, anything he tried both physical and magical attacks, yet nothing made so much as a scratch. He was trapped. Completely and utterly trapped. Lupin made a desperate attempt to apparate out. With a loud crack his body disappeared only to slam into an invisible wall and be forced back into his room. Without his potion the wolf lurking within him would be freed this night, and he would have to endure the pain of that transformation once again. Remus Lupin fell to his knees and began to weep. .oOo. "Blue," George called softly to the room, and the walls quickly transformed into a nice shade of blue. "Hawaiian!" Fred shouted, and the room turned into a freakish assortment of color much like his shirt. "Damnit, Fred," George growled from his bed. "Stop it."

"Oh, fine." "Blue," George said again and the room changed back into his favorite shade of blue. "Did you read that note Harry left for us," Fred asked as he lounged lazily in a bean bag chair near the window. "No, I thought you were going to read it," George replied irritably. "Its your turn!" "Is not!" "Is too," Georges reflection called from the mirror. "Yeah, he read the last one," Freds reflection said, as they returned to their positions. "Oh, fine," George muttered as he looked at the letter. Gred and Forge, Tap this letter with your wand and repeat the phrase for the Marauder Map. Ive put in two of them for you to try, two of the antidote, and then one more of each for you to use to figure out how they work. Do not take them at the same time. Youll need your brother to snap you out of it They should be a nice addition for your skiving snackboxes. If anyone asks, you dont know me. Its that simple. Harry As George read the letter out loud, Fred looked at him excitedly. "Do it, George. I want to see what he put in it." George nodded and said the magic phrase as he tapped the parchment. "I solemnly swear Im up to no good." No sooner had the phrase left his mouth than six small pieces of candy flew out and smacked him in the face. George dropped the letter and Fred picked it up. The letter had vanished to be replaced by the words: Potters Peppermint Psychosis. After a moment, that too faded. "Potters Peppermint Psychosis?" Fred asked as George popped one of the candies into his mouth. "Well, it tastes socks! I want some woolen socks," George shouted as he began to jump and dance around the room. "A good pair of woolen socks. Can never have enough socks, you know!" "George?" "Yes, my little porcupine?" George said as he drooled on the bed, and began trying to

pull a sock over his head. "Wow," Fred said as he stared at his brother in awe. "Harry Potter, youre a bloody genius. George, would you like a piece of candy?" "OOH! CANDY!" George shouted as he leaped directly at his brother, teeth first, who gave a shout and apparated across the room from him. "Good lord," Fred muttered as he placed the candy on the bed. "Its on the bed George." "BED!" George shouted as he jumped on the bed and began whooping like a monkey. "Candy good, fire bad!" "Yes, George," Fred said as he watched his brother bite into the candy, wrapper and all. After about two more minutes of bouncing psychosis, George calmed down and rubbed his head. "Did I try to eat the candy starting at your hand?" George asked as the temporary headache passed. "Yes, dear brother. Had I been expecting that, I would have had a camera with me." "Thanks, Fred. Youre so helpful. Your turn." "No thanks," Fred said as he handed the candy to his brother. "Ive seen enough." "Oh no," George said maniacally, "you dont get out of it that easily." "Oh yes I --" Fred was cut off as the candy was shoved into his mouth, and he reluctantly swallowed it to avoid choking. "Time to die little man," Fred shouted as a maniacal glint appeared in his eye. "Fred, are you ok?" his brother asked as he backed away. "Oh, Im great. Better than youll be when I tear out your spleen!" Fred shouted as he leaped over the beds, arms out. George whipped out his wand, "Petrificus Totalus!" Fred was hit by the full body bind and fell limply to the floor, where George opened his mouth and shoved the antidote in. He massaged his brothers throat until he felt the candy go down. Once the crazy gleam disappeared from his eye, he released his brother. "Ok," George said as he glanced at Fred. "I think these arent exactly safe." "No, you think?!" Fred exclaimed as he glared at his brother. "Well, it was worth a try," George said as he eyed the candy. "It seems to capitalize on whatever youre feeling at the time and expands it until you do well, whatever you want." "I would have to agree," Fred said as he eyed the candy. "If we can key it to a few

random emotions, the safer ones, mind, then it might be a good addition." "Sounds good to me." "Lets get to work, then." .oOo. Ron and Hermione walked slowly around the small lake outside Potter Place. Hermione had asked to talk to him about her new venture. Ron, who was completely taken with her, couldnt object. They walked about looking around, but neither of them had spoken since theyd walked outside and Hermione gasped at the beauty of Harrys home. His house looked a lot like a combination of a mansion and a castle. The small, gray bricks that formed the wall were impeccably clean, and matched well with the black shutters around the windows. The doors to the home were all painted black and had silver hinges and knockers that would yell and try to bite you if you touched them, something Ron found out the hard way. Hermione smiled as she saw a small owlery with various varieties of owls swooping in and out of an open entrance, presumably to look for food. A few moments later she noticed a group of pegasi fluttering about the stables, and gasped. "Ron! A group of pegasi! Harry has pegasi!" she exclaimed pointing frantically toward the stable, "Thats amazing!" "Yeah, amazing," he muttered without even looking. "Whatd you want to talk to me about?" "Oh, well I" she trailed off as she lost her courage. She wanted to tell him she liked him, but she just couldnt, so she went back to staring at the pegasi. "Yes?" "Well, Ive given up on S.P.E.W.," she said softly, once the pegasi fascination had passed. "I have a new goal in mind. The Creatures Rights Attainment Party!" Ron groaned loudly. "So you went from spew to crap? You really need to think these things through, better, Mione!" Hermione huffed at him and stalked off towards the stables where shed seen the pegasi earlier, without a word. "Hermione! Im sorry, I didnt mean it that way!" Ron called after her, but she didnt stop. "Great. Just bloody brilliant. I might as well have told her homework is for idiots." "Ron, Harry wants to see us in the library," Ginny said as she walked up to him. "Where is Hermione? Connor said she was with you." Ron groaned once again, and just pointed toward the stables.

"Ooh! Ooh! Pegasi," Ginny shouted. "Thats amazing!" As Ginny hurried off to the stables she didnt hear the strangled noises her brother was making, nor did she see him slap his hand over his face. .oOo. Ron, Ginny, and Hermione sat in the library waiting as Harry gathered his thoughts of what he was going to tell them. He seemed to be having trouble finding a good way to phrase it. "Hey, I need some help wanna become a freak like me," he thought to himself just didnt sound very good. As he paced around the library all of them waited in silence, occasionally exchanging curious looks. Ron kept rubbing his forehead where the horns had been earlier, muttering about the damned itchy things, which increased the curious looks from Ginny and Hermione. Apparently hed hidden in his room until Satyr Swirl wore off. Harry used his index finger and thumb to put pressure on the bridge of his nose, before finally speaking. "What would you be willing to do to stop Voldemort," he asked quietly. Ron and Hermione flinched at the mention of the name, but began considering the question. The first to answer was Ginny who answered almost before Harry had finished his question. "Anything," she said. "Are you sure about that, Ginny," Harry asked, looking directly at her, now. "Would you really be willing to do anything?" He already knew her answer, but he wanted her to confirm it for him once more. "Absolutely," she responded without hesitation. "Anything." Hermione and Ron, heartened by Ginnys answer, agreed as well. The three then sat in wait again while Harry stared out over the grounds of his new home. The silence was strangling as they watched Harry just looking out over the grounds for several minutes. "So be it. I give you twenty-four hours to consider my offer. I do no want you to discuss it with each other, nor mention it to anyone else. I want your answers to be your own. What I offer will change your life forever, and I dont want you to be able to blame anyone else for whatever decision you make," Harry said, still looking out the window. "Before I tell you what I am offering, first let me tell you what will be required of you. You will train with me and Connor to learn to control what this entails. There have been none like what you will be in nearly a thousand years. If you accept, what we say goes, end of story. I wont hesitate to do to any of you what I did to Fudge if I think you cant handle what I bestow upon you." Hermione interrupted him to ask something shed been wondering about since the first of August. "Harry, did you really steal his magic?" Harry grinned impishly for a moment, and answered quietly. "No. I simply made him believe I did. The spell that connected us was to make him believe that I drained his magic, which is why he couldnt do anything."

"So you cant take magic from someone?" Ron asked, his eyebrow arched. Harry shrugged. "I could, but it would be a lot more painful and quite a bit more permanent. But, back to the subject at hand," he said, becoming perfectly serious once again. "What am I offering. I am offering you power and I am offering you pain. Lots of both. That is what it will take to go through with this. There are several types of magi that havent existed, as I said, in nearly a thousand years. Youve heard of the Animagus and the Morphmagus. Well, what I am offering to you is the Psimagus, Elemental, and Shade. "I am offering each of you the chance to become one of those, and no you dont get a choice. Each of you is specifically suited to one of these types, and would not be able to handle the others. Ron, Shade. Hermione, Psimagus. Ginny, Elemental. "The books on that table explain. Each one has information about what you would be able to do, and what it means. Get them, read them. I need your answer by noon tomorrow. Think long and hard about what Ive said. The balance to the power is the pain it takes to have it granted," Harry said solemnly. "Now, get out. I need time to think." Each one looked at the other curiously before picking up their respective books and leaving Harry alone. Harry grimaced as the door closed. "Maybe they wont hate me for the pain." .oOo. Molly and Arthur Weasley rummaged through their destroyed home for anything they could salvage. Most of their important family items were in their vault at Gringotts, but there were a lot of memories in their old home. So far they had recovered a number of unharmed pictures, a few of Arthurs muggle things, and her favorite hairpins her children had given her several years before for Christmas. Finally, with tear-filled eyes they looked over the remnants of The Burrow, their home for many years, and said their good-byes to it for the last time. They turned their backs on it and returned to their new, temporary home of Potter Place. .oOo. Remus stared at the window in surrendered horror. The sun had set, and the moon was rising. He could feel the wolf in him trying to fight its way to the surface, and he surrendered to it. At least he couldnt hurt anyone. If he couldnt get out it was safe to assume that most likely no one else could get in. He wondered one last time who locked him in, and why, then fell to his knees. He growled in pain as he felt his bones crack and begin to reform. His hair had already started lengthening and was already starting to turn gray. It was about that time that his reforming ears heard someone opening the door. He spun in horror as Harry walked into the room with him. "Harry, you have to get out," he growled, fighting to stop himself from attacking, "its not

safe." "Nonsense," Harry said smiling happily, "we need to talk." Remus Lupin simply stared at the son of one of his best friends, the godson of his other, in horror. .oOo. The next day as Harry stared out the window, he began to worry. Noon came far too soon as far as he was concerned. He knew his friends would be arriving any moment to give him their answers. He almost hoped they would tell him theyve chosen not to accept. Almost. Harry moved to his chair, watching the door. At one minute until noon, all three walked through the door. Harry could tell from the looks on their faces what theyd decided. Each one had a look of grim determination set firmly in place as they said in unison, "I accept." Harry frowned a moment, then beckoned them to follow him. They walked out to the Quidditch pitch, each of them in silence as they did so. Harry ran through his mind, bracing himself for the pain he was about to cause each of them, hoping that one day they would be able to forgive him the entire time. He took Ron first, knowing that he wouldnt back down from this at any cost. He was determined to help his friends, to protect them. He was also determined to become more than just Ronald Weasley. His determination seemed to radiate from him. Harry told him to sit, and they did. Face to face they sat, their legs crossed the entire time. Harry asked him before he began, "Are you sure? This is your choice?" "It is," Ron responded without the slightest hesitation. "So be it." With that Harry waved his hand in front of him, and a fire appeared between the two, a small dish full of a silver liquid floating above it. Harrys body glowed for nearly an hour. Throughout that time the liquid in the dish slowly changed, its bubbling surface turning from a bright silver to a void of darkness, with a tiny speck of gold in the center. Once the glow had subsided, Harry looked at Ron. The young man before him appeared calm, however Harry knew that inside he was a torrent of worry. "Drink it," Harry said quietly. Ron looked startled for a moment, but then reached out and took the burning metal dish into his hands with a grimace of pain. Harry stood and walked away knowing what was to come. As Ron poured the boiling liquid into his throat his body began to shake from the pain of holding the scalding dish, as well as drinking the lightly boiling liquid. Hermione and Ginny, tears streaking down their faces, watched, refusing to look a way. They did so as proof of their own conviction to see this through. Harry had hoped that seeing this would change their minds, but they watched in silence as Ron completed the ritual. Seeing this, he knew there would be no talking them out of it.

Ron finished the liquid, and the burns on his hands healed almost immediately, as did those in his throat. He immediately began to scream in pain, as tears streaked down his face. "Make it stop, make it stop, make it stop," Ron cried out as loudly as possible. "God, it hurts!" After nearly an hour of his screaming for it to stop the shadows from the hoops making up the goals on the Quidditch pitch slid across the ground and covered Rons body in a blanket of shadow. As it did, Rons screaming began to subside. Once Rons entire body was covered in his blanket, he smiled weakly up at Hermione and Ginny. "Its not so bad, really," he choked out to them before he lost consciousness. "He needs to rest now. Im sending him to his room," Harry said. With a gesture of Harrys wand Rons body melted into the shadows and slid across the ground to the house. "I need to know now. Do you still want to do this?" "Yes," both girls replied determinedly. "What do I need to do," Hermione asked. "Sit," Harry said, and the cycle began again. The only difference between Hermiones ritual and Rons was the liquid. It began in a clear white and slowly transformed into a hazy purple swirl. After his body stopped glowing, Harry again told a friend to drink a substance he knew would cause great pain. Hermione, like Ron, grabbed the bowl and drank the substance down. Harry again left his friend to their pain. Hermiones screams were worse by far than were Rons. Her shrill cries echoed around the pitch. Ginny simply watched in resignation as her friend suffered. Unlike Ron, though, Hermione did not request it to stop. She suffered the pain without a word. Finally, as the end of her trial approached a thick purple fog appeared about Hermione. Once it was over she laid on the ground unconscious, as well, breathing weakly. "Its done. Home," Harry said with a gesture of his wand and her body disappeared. He looked at Ginny, then walked over to her. "Gin, please just tell me no. Just tell me you wont do it," he pleaded with her. "You know I cant do that," she said to him solemnly. "You know what he did to me. If I can help stop him, I will." Harry nodded and pulled her into a soft, warm embrace, which she returned. Once theyd separated he motioned for Ginny to sit, as the others did. The procedure was again the same. The liquid in the dish was clear, like water. Harry again assumed the familiar glow. As he finished he conjured first earth, then water, then fire, then air forcing each into the liquid. Once he finished, he simply stood and walked away. Ginny already knew what to do. She, like the others, grabbed the dish and drank the swirling substance in the dish. Once she was finished she too fell to her side on the ground, but throughout the entire trial she never made a sound. As her trial finished, her

body went through each stage of her new abilities. She was absorbed into the ground, came back out as a puddle, burst into flames, then evaporated into the air. When her body finally reformed, it did so directly in front of Harry who was sitting far from where her trial had happened. He smiled weakly at her, and she stumbled over to him, to which he seemed utterly shocked. "Its not as bad as I thought it would be," she said to Harry earnestly. "I thought from watching the others that mine would be just as painful, but it didnt feel like it." "Im surprised you can still walk," Harry said looking her right in the eye. "Every time this was done before the recipients couldnt do anything for nearly twenty-four hours." Ginny frowned at him. "Anyway, when do we start training? Im a bit anxious about it." "When the others are able to join us, well begin. I need to get you all into the basics before the start of the first term," Harry said after a moment. "If you all dont learn to control yourselves, you could cause some serious damage, but for now you need to rest. I want you to get up to your room and I dont want to see you out for at least ten hours, but I would prefer fifteen." She mockingly frowned at him. "You dont want to see me?" she asked, pouting at him, mocking his puppy dog impression from just a few days earlier. "You know thats not what I meant." "It isnt?" "Of course not," he said, pulling her into friendly hug. "I just want you to be safe." Ginny nodded. "It feels different, you know?" "I know. Ive already experienced it," he said. "Welcome to my world, Ginny Weasley." .oOo. Remus woke up this fine morning with an urge, a primal and animalistic urge. He wanted the hunt, and he wanted it badly. He wanted the exultation that came with the hunt, the freedom it allowed. Remus Lupin felt alive for the first time since he was bitten. He enjoyed this feeling, and he made a decision. He wanted no, he deserved to live! Lupin found Harry out by the Quidditch pitch where he was sitting, staring up above it as if there was a game happening in his mind. "Hello," he said as he took a seat next to Harry. "Interesting game?" "You could say that," he chuckled, watching the area above the pitch. "You see them?" "The falcons? Yes. Why do they keep dropping that mouse?" "Its a game, as you said. They let it almost hit the ground and speed down as fast as possible to catch it. Theyve been doing it for the past hour," he grinned.

"Sounds a bit cruel, dont you think?" "I suppose. I think its a way of settling their food dispute without fighting." "Odd." "Maybe, but so far neither of them have let it hit yet. I assume the first to miss is the loser and will have to find a new hunting ground," Harry said as he continued to watch the morbid game playing out in the air far above them. "Oops. Looks like you jinxed it. Seems we have a winner." Harry chuckled as he continued to watch the beautiful birds. "Are you angry with me, about last night?" Remus considered it for a moment, then smiled, his gray eyes twinkling. "Not at all." "You ready?" "Thought youd never ask," Remus grinned wolfishly. The two proceeded to the gym in silence, simply enjoying the company. When they arrived in the large padded room Connor was waiting on them, patiently. "Salutations, sirs," Connor said, smiling. "Shall we begin?" Connors face shifted into one of stone as he watched the two young men before him. Harry and Remus stood facing each other before bowing to each other, keeping their eyes on the other the entire time. "Begin," called out Connor. Both Remus and Harry began to circle the other like a wolf on the prowl. Harry and Remus both were brimming with excitement. Remus was the first to strike. He leaped into an arcing jump over Harrys head kicking out behind him before landing in a roll and quickly returning to his feet. Harry took the blow to the back, rolling with it and coming to his feet at the same time as his former teacher. Both of them lunged to the center and began raining blows on the other. The blur of movement was barely visible as they expertly countered each other and immediately returned an attack of their own. Connor continued to circle outside them, watching with hidden glee. Remus let out an exultant howl as he renewed his assault. Harry happily rose to the battle, quickly sweeping his werewolf-friends legs out from under him. With a growl of triumph Harry leapt atop his former professor and slammed his fist into his shoulder. A howl of pain erupted from Lupins throat and he flipped Harry over him onto the ground. Both quickly hopped directly to their feet from a lying position, before turning to grin at the other. Lupins eyes had already shifted from their familiar gray into the dark gold of his werewolf form. His wolfish grin lit his face again as they continued the sparring match. The longer it went on the more wolfish Lupin became in an attempt to best Harry. Soon Lupin was a complete mesh of human and wolf.

His fur-covered body bounded around the room as excited snarls escaped his half-snout. His pointed ears listened for every sign of movement as he and Harry continued to trade blows. Connor continued to watch the exciting match before him with a carefree happiness that could only be attributed to an elf, considering the situation he was witnessing. Lupin sat back on his haunches before leaping across the enormous room towards Harry. He never had a chance of finishing his pounce. "Wingardium Leviosa!" someone shouted from behind Harry, stopping Lupin in mid-air. An angry growl erupted from the half-man, half-wolf at having his hunt interrupted. Harry whipped around angrily to see who had interrupted his fun to find a very frightened looking Mrs. Weasley. His face softened immediately, as he remember no one knew about what happened the previous night. "Harry dear, are you alright?" she asked shakily. "Im fine, Mrs. Weasley. Could you let Moony down, though? Wolves arent particularly fond of flying," Harry said softly. "M-Mo-Moony? W-W-Who is M-M-Moony?" "Oh, sorry. Remus Lupins nickname is Moony rather fitting, dont you think?" Harry was grinning at her. "Molly, I assure you I would never harm Harry," the wolf-man said in a growling voice. "We were just having some fun." Mrs. Weasley looked up at the wolf-man in shock. She had obviously not been expecting him to speak. After a moment she snapped into her familiar sabertooth mode, "Fun?! You call that fun?! That was the most vicious thing Ive ever seen! One of you could have been hurt, or worse!" Slowly Remus began to resume his human form. Once he was fully human again, Mrs. Weasley lowered him to the ground. "H-h-how?" "Hes a werewolf," Harry said, as if that explained everything, however Mrs. Weasleys confused look was evidence that it didnt. "Harry came to my room last night as I was changing. Nearly caused me to have a heart attack, too," he growled at Harry. "Basically, he helped me understand the nature of the magic that resulted in werewolves." "What do you mean," she asked curiously. "I though that you just turned into a beast once a month." "Well, that was a result of it," Harry said. "The magic was intended as a bonding between beast and man. The problem is that the nature of the man fights the nature of the beast. The beast fights to get out, the man fights to control it. Most of the time the mans will is stronger, but the full moon makes the beast stronger," he said as they all had a seat on one of the benches.

"Sir, if youll excuse me, since this is over I need to work on that task you set for me with the house elves," Connor said, smiling. "Thats fine, Connor. Ill see you at dinner?" Harry asked. "Of course," he said, smiling at Harry before directing his attention to Mrs. Weasley. "If youll excuse me, Madam," he said, and left the gym. "As I was saying," Harry continued, "once a month the beast manages to fight its way out. Since both spirits share the same body, they both can exert some measure of control. The man forces the beast to try to expunge the curse by biting people, since thats how they got it. It doesnt work of course just passes it on. "But, I digress. Werewolves were an attempt to create better warriors, and it worked. The problem is that the person has to be willing for the merger to occur. Most people who get bitten werent willing and dont know how to control it. I simply showed Moony how to control it. Now he is a true werewolf." Remus grinned happily. "In all honesty I would have chosen not to have this occur in the first place, but I cant believe I tortured myself all those years by fighting it. All I had to do was truly give in and the pain stopped. Its not nearly as bad if you can control it." Mrs. Weasley took it all rather well, really. She fainted dead away, but once she woke up later that day she seemed much more at ease with the situation. .oOo. The next few days passed without any trouble or really any noteworthy events at all. Hermione and Ron were still too tired to work on learning to use their new abilities, most of the time not even leaving their rooms to eat. They just stayed locked up in their rooms depending on the house elves to bring them food. Dumbledore hadnt visited since everyone found out that he was Harrys grandfather. He was still trying to prepare everything for the beginning of the first term, but he made sure to floo Harry at least once a day to ensure everything was still all right. Now that everyone knew, he wanted to spend as much time with his grandson as possible, but life wasnt making it easy on him. Tonks also wanted to visit, but she was busy with missions for the Order, which Remus joined her for. Once hed mastered the control of his transformation, the wolf in him was intent on getting back into the action. The prankster he was made him swear Harry, Mrs. Weasley, and Connor not to tell his new secret, since he could conceivably get some laughs out of it. The end of August quickly approached. Harrys Birthday had been quickly forgotten in the midst of everything that had happened over the past few weeks. With only one week left before the beginning of the first term Harry finally decided that it was time for the new magi to learn to control their powers. Two weeks, after all, was enough time to rest with no one seeing you the entire time, in Harrys opinion.

.oOo. Harry knocked on Rons door, as he went over training plans in his head. There was no answer to his knocking, so he knocked again. "Ron, time to come out. You and Hermione have rested enough. Its time for basic training." "Leave me alone," Ron called back in a raspy voice, as if he hadnt used it for two weeks straight. "Ron, were running out of time. Get out here. Now." "Leave me alone," Ron repeated more forcefully. "Ron, get out here now," Harry said, losing his patience with his friend. "Piss off!" Ron shouted through the door. "Youve got no right to give me orders! You did this to me!" His friends accusation, however, was the end of Harrys patience. Everything in Rons room began to rumble and shake. His door rattled horribly until the hinge-pins came out, and without warning it burst off the hinges flying into the room. Ron stared in horror at Harry. Harrys whole body was covered in blue, white, and black lightning, his scar was glowing, and his eyes had become two very deep blue orbs. "I did this to you," Harry raged angrily. "I did this to you?! I asked you if you were sure. I told you what it meant. I told you there would be pain and training. And you have the audacity to claim that I did this to you!" he roared as he floated into the room. "I didnt do a damned thing to you, Ronald. Your jealousy, your need to be somebody did this to you. I just gave you the means to do it. Now quit acting like a bloody child, you stupid sod, and lets get to work!" Rons eyed became wide with fear as he stared at Harry, his shadow-covered body stretched out over his bed lazily. "Oh bloody hell, I think I pissed him off." .oOo. Harry and Ron stood in silence outside of Hermiones door. They hadnt said a word to each other since Harry had blown Rons door off into his room. Ron was scared he might have ruined their friendship. He didnt know his thoughts were so obvious. "Go away, Ron!" Hermione shouted. "Please, just go away!" Ron quirked his eyebrow at Harry, wondering how Hermione knew he was outside since theyd not knocked or said anything. "Ron, go to the Quidditch pitch and wait for me there. Hermione and I will meet you there in about half an hour," Harry said. Ron was still curious, but he nodded at Harrys instruction and walked away in silence. "Hermione, can I come in?" "Harry?" She asked the question as if she couldnt believe he was really there. "Is it really you?"

"Yes, Hermione, can I come in," he asked softly. "Please?" She hesitated for a few minutes, then finally agreed. As he opened the door he noticed Hermiones room was in shambles. Her clothes, pillows, and just about everything else had been trashed about the room. Worse yet, Hermione was still glowing, a sign that she was still tapping into her new abilities unintentionally. Harry walked quietly over to her large bed and sat down on the edge. Hermione was huddled up in the corner, covering her ears, crammed in between a nightstand and the bathroom wall as if it were a fortress protecting her. "So loud cant think people near closer are the louder," she said softly, not making very much sense. "You cant stop it, can you," he said more as a statement, than a question. She shook her head curtly. "I tried to find it again, but I couldnt focus enough," she laughed wryly. "First time youve known of Hermione the bookworm not to be able to read, huh?" Harry chuckled at her weak joke, "Yes, I guess it is a first." His tone sobered almost immediately. "Im going to help you, Hermione. You just have to focus. Concentrate on my voice and let everything else go." He continued to drone on like that for several minutes, slipping in instruction here and there. After ten minutes he smiled and said, "Done. Now, we need to get down to the Quidditch pitch before Ron falls into depression again." "Thank you, Harry," she said as she hugged him tightly. "Now, why is Ron depressed?" she asked as she pulled back and regarded him. "He blames me because hes a living shadow, now," Harry said simply, ignoring the shock on Hermiones face. "Shall we?" He then turned and strode from the room without another word. .oOo. As Hermione and Harry approached the Quidditch pitch, the former of the two jogging intermittently to keep up, they were greeted with the site of a man-shaped shadow sitting against one of the posts holding up the rings, covering his eyes in shame. Ginny was running around the pitch in circles with her arms spread like the wings of an airplane, with a giant smile on her face. "Oi, Harry, I think Ginnys lost her damned mind," said Ron in a mocking voice as Harry approached. "Shes been doing this since I got out here." "No, shes fine, Ron. Shes enjoying herself. Something youll learn to do as you learn some control. I gave up on waiting on you two and taught her some of the basics," Harry said in a reprimanding tone. "Just wait until you see what you can do when you really put your mind to it."

"Great. I get to be a freak with power," Ron muttered bitterly. Harry grinned at Ron, "Welcome to my world, Ron. Lets get started shall we? I need to test your instincts first." "Oh? And how do we do that," Hermione asked, falling into her natural role as a student. "Like this," Harry said as he launched a ball of flame at her. Her eyes grew wide in shock and she threw up her hands as if to block the attack. Rons angry shout at Harry was abruptly cut off as the flame arced around Hermione, leaving her unharmed. "Brilliant," Ron said in awe. "Bloody brilliant." Hermione looked up and around her, as if expecting to see that she was on fire. "Harry! How could you?! You scared the daylights out of me!" "That was the intention, Miss Granger," Harry said in a mock serious voice. "I needed to ensure that you could use your new abilities instinctively." "What if it had hit me?!" She was shaking with anger as she said this. The ground around her was tearing loose and floating up around her idly as she started to gather her new power about her. "What if it had?" Harry asked looking at her in confusion. "Did you really think I would have thrown real fire at you?" A sheepish look overtook Hermione as she realized her mistake. "Oh," she said as the clumps of grass and dirt fell to the ground. "Msorry." Harry rolled his eyes at her, then turned to Ron. "Your turn." "Yeah, but I know itll be an illusion," Ron said, as if he would be wasting his time, now. "Illusion? Who said anything about an illusion? Youve already stressed me out today, and if I dont try to hurt you, I might just do it." Harry said, disapparating as soon as he finished his statement, causing him to miss the look of fear on Rons face. When Harry returned he had a boulder in his hands, which he hurled directly at Ron without a second thought. Ron stared in shock at the rock flying towards him. At the last instant his body dissolved into shadow and slid across the ground where he reformed beside Hermione. "Very good, Ron. Now, would you care to work on how to return yourself to your natural state, or do you plan to remain a shade for the rest of your life," Harry asked peevishly. .oOo. Unlike Hermione, Ron was very thickheaded about getting control of himself. That irrefutable fact made teaching Ron to resume his human form a time consuming process. After two hours of Harry working with him nonstop on it, Ron managed to work himself back into his human shape. Once he could consistently shift between his shade and human forms Ron spent the next hour trying to beat down his pride so that he could apologize to Harry for blaming him.

It was about that time Ron felt a tug on the back of his trousers. Looking down he was shocked to see a small puppy made of solid ice trying to get him to play with it. He looked up at Harry who just shrugged at him. "Harry taught me how to do it," Ginny squealed. "Isnt he cute?!" "Um yeah, Ginny, I guess he is," Ron said frowning at it. "How did you do it?" Harry smiled at Ron in a smug manner. "Its a combination of her elemental magic and her normal magic. Air and water to create ice, then an animation charm to get him to act like his form. Unlike you and Hermione she didnt hide in her room for two weeks straight." Hermione and Ron both stared at their feet for a few minutes before muttering apologies for being pigheaded. Hermione made sure to add, though, that unlike Ron she was in pain around others so her excuse was at least partially valid. Ron didnt feel like arguing, so he just rolled his eyes. "Ginny, I think these two slackers need an example. I want you to continue what we worked on yesterday," Harry said to her. Ginny nodded and almost immediately ice began to form in her hands and slowly shaped itself into a very deadly-looking longsword. Hermione and Ron stared in awe at the girl in front of them, and they seemed to notice for the first time that shed changed. Two weeks prior Ginny was a soft, beautiful young woman. Now she was still a beautiful young woman, but the softness was gone, replaced by an athletically toned body. Her muscles flexed as she began to spin the long-sword in her hands menacingly. Once she had a handle on the swords balance, the ground let forth three men formed from tightly packed earth. Without a moments hesitation she tore into the earth-creatures before her. Within two minutes shed managed to destroy two of the three, only halting on the last long enough to reform her sword into an axe. She then hacked the earth-creature to pieces, grinning the entire time. Hermione and Ron gazed in awe at her proficiency with the new weapons, before Hermione finally asked, "Will we be able to do that?" Harry laughed softly, "No. Your abilities are all quite different, though you can all do some of the same things in different ways." "Like what?" Ron asked dumbly. He was still too surprised to think properly. "Well, for example, each of you can move objects in some way. Hermione can latch directly onto the object and move it. You can latch onto its shadow and force it to move by moving its shadow. Ginny can harden the air around it and float it. Same result different cause," Harry grinned. "We would actually already be to that point by now, if you two hadnt --" "Ok, we get it!" Ron and Hermione shouted in unison.

"Good, lets get started shall we?" .oOo. After three hours of training, the last fifteen minutes of which Ginny kept having her icepuppy bite all of their ankles playfully, Hermione finally asked the question Harry had been expecting someone to ask for the past few weeks. "Harry, most wizards have to use a wand for most things, right?" "Yes, Hermione." "You did magic without a wand when you removed the shrinking spell on those boulders the day I got here, didnt you?" "Yes, Hermione." "Geroff! Damnit, Ginny, get this pup off me," Ron shouted in the background. Frost, the name Ginny had chosen for him, was playfully tripping Ron up every time hed try to take a step. Ginny was rolling around on the ground, laughing wildly. "How," Hermione finally asked, after watching, with mild interest, Ron falling as Frost tripped him again. Ron tried kicking at the dog, but that didnt work as well as expected. Unlike most dogs Frost didnt shy away from his foot and when Rons foot connected with the ice-dog it nearly broke all of his toes. "With great precision," Harry chuckled at his own joke. "You know what I mean, Harry," she chided. "Of course I do," he smiled. "Once you have the basics under control, well work on the more advanced things. The sooner we finish that, the sooner we can start your advanced training." "Ok, Harry, but Im holding you to that," she said. "Im sure you will," agreed Harry. .oOo. Having finished training only fifteen minutes before, Harry sat quietly in the library with Hedwig sitting on his shoulder. She occasionally would nip his ear to remind him she was still put out with him for not spending time with her since hed left the Dursleys. It was the first time in the past few weeks that hed had a chance to acknowledge her presence and he was trying to let her know he appreciated her. Each time shed nip his ear hed apologize again, and give her one of the owl treats she liked so much. Harry looked around the room and admired the dcor. He knew his father didnt make the layout. The only thing his father really changed about the library were some of the books, and adding a safe-like compartment behind one of the pictures. There were three large tables in the room, each one a light tan in color with a deep shine.

At each table were three plush dragon-hide chairs. The carpet seemed to be enchanted because everyone that had stepped on it commented on how it felt, each one saying something different about it. Whoever designed the library did an excellent job, as far as Harry was concerned. Hedwig returned Harry from his thoughts with a particularly nasty bite on his ear. Finally she hopped down to his leg and looked at him for a moment as if telling him that she doesnt like being ignored then she playfully nipped his finger to let him know she had forgiven him. She hopped back up to his shoulder then nuzzled his neck softly while they waited. Connor had told him earlier that he had a visitor, and Harry wondered what was taking so long. "Good afternoon, Mr. Potter," a tall, thin man said as he appeared in the door of the library. His longish, black hair fell lightly around his pointed face, standing in a deep contrast with his pale skin. "It is good to see you again," he said with a pleasant smile. He was dressed in a mixture of black, white and green. His shirt was a baggy, black, silk, tunic-like thing. His shirt was covered by a soft white vest, which seemed to blend into his white trousers. Over his clothes he was wearing a dark green robe trimmed in silver. Harry couldnt help but think he looked familiar, until he realized this man was at his trial at the beginning of the month. "Thank you, and welcome to my home, Mr. Snape," Harry said in reply. "Oh, please, call me Atticus," the main said smiling. He politely remained standing until he was asked to sit, which Harry noted. "As you wish, Atticus," Harry said, nodding his head for the man to have a seat. "How may I help you?" "Actually, Im here on a social visit. Ive heard so much about you from my nephew and, well, after your trial I thought I must see if the rest was true," he chuckled. "Your nephew? Are you by any chance related to Severus Snape?" The man grinned as he replied, "That would be the nephew in question, yes." Harry smiled at the man before him. The resemblance was there, but, unlike Severus, Atticus didnt seem to be a greasy git, though Harry kept that thought to himself. He seemed normal, friendly even. "You mentioned that Professor Snape spoke of me. Only good things, I hope?" Atticus Snape laughed loudly at this; a friendly laugh almost like Sirius would give off when he was enjoying a particular prank. "In a manner of speaking," he said cryptically. "Oh?" Harry asked in genuine surprise. The idea that Severus Snape may have said something good about Harry was a truly amazing thing. The only thing Harry believed that Severus Snape would ever say was good about him was that he was a perfect example of a waste of space.

Atticus laughed uncomfortably for a moment before answering. "Well, in my opinion they were good things. He mainly flung out insults about how you waste his time." "And these are good things, in your opinion?" Harry asked, the confusion evident on his face. "Sevvie and I, well we never really agree on much. My brother was a bit of a prat, too. Sevvie takes after him." "Sevvie?" Harry had to stifle a chuckle at hearing this. He was already beginning to like Atticus, and hed rather not ruin that by insulting him in the first few minutes of their conversation. "Oh, yes, my pet name for him. Orpheus, my brother, was so serious about the name that I picked Sevvie to irritate him. It worked, of course, so it sort of stuck. Sevvie hates it as well, but hes never been able to tell me that. I figure once he manages to work up the courage to tell me, Ill call him by his full name until then Ill enjoy my fun," he said, a smile playing on his lips. "You know, I think my father and godfather would have liked you," Harry said earnestly. "Would you like a drink?" "What would you recommend?" "How about some Elven Brandy? My grounds keeper makes it himself." "Sounds delightful, Mr. Potter," Atticus said smiling. "Please, call me Harry," he said as he rose and pulled open a small picture of a blue and silver phoenix. Portas, the phoenix, trilled out beautifully in indignation at being disturbed. Behind the picture was a small opening, much like a safe, in which was housed a large square bottle full of a dark, red, transparent liquid and four glasses. Harry pulled out two of the glasses and the bottle, and returned to his seat. "This is amazing," Atticus said as he eyed his almost full glass after drawing a sip. "It tastes faintly of cherries, I believe." "If there is one benefit to having Connor as a grounds keeper, I believe this is it," Harry said in agreement, a smile twitching his lips. .oOo. Harry and Atticus continued their chat for a few hours until they walked into the dining room, singing the entire time. Harry had invited Atticus to dinner, and he had happily accepted. Both men were acting quite cheerful, and had anyone paid close enough they would have noticed that Atticus was slurring his speech slightly. Atticus was delighted to meet the Weasleys, as well. He mentioned that Sevvie had mentioned them as well. He also mentioned one incident that his nephew kept constantly returning to having something to do with Bubotuber Pus, a William, and a Charles to

which both Bill and Charlie began to cough loudly. When Connor entered for dinner his hair was entirely black, but no one mentioned it. He eyed Atticus for a moment before asking Harry quite clearly, "How much Elven Brandy did this man have?" Harry chuckled guiltily at the question. "Well, we finished off the bottle in the library." Connors eyes went wide as he asked in a scandalous tone, "He had half a bottle?!" Harry immediately became serious, "Of course not, Connor. I wouldnt even do that to his nephew!" Atticus let out a hefty chuckle at hearing this, as did Ron, Bill, and Charlie. "No, he had about a quarter of a bottle, I drank the rest." Connor began to open and close his mouth repeatedly, but words had failed him completely. Elven Brandy, Connor knew, was some of the strongest alcohol on the planet. The fact that Atticus was only slightly drunk after a quarter of a bottle was amazing unto itself, but the fact that Harry had finished the rest and was unfazed was a miracle. "How," asked Connor, which, should he be quite honest about it later, was all he could manage to put into words. "Slowly and with great pleasure?" Harry said guiltily, again. "It was delightful, Connor," he said truthfully. "Harry Potter, I cant believe you!" Mrs. Weasley had realized exactly what hed said. "I can understand a small drink here and there, but a whole bottle?!" "Madam, I dont think you understand the implications of what hes done," Connor said seriously. "Elven Brandy would make Fire Whiskey seem like water." Bill and Charlies eyes went wide simultaneously as they stared first at Harry then at Atticus, the latter of whom was smiling like the cat that ate the canary. "Damn, son," exclaimed Charlie admiringly to Harry. "Good show!" "Charles Weasley, do not encourage him!" admonished Mrs. Weasley. Harry chuckled softly. "It was not that big a deal really. It just has a very nice flavor. In all honesty, the alcohol didnt do very much for me. I believe Atticus enjoyed that part a great deal more than I did." "Indeed," Atticus said, not realizing the serious nature of the conversation around him. "A slight little sip, a bite then a nip. Good as good can be, its Elven Brandy for me," he said happily. "He doesnt seem anything like Snape, does he," Ron whispered to Ginny. "I wonder if they dropped Sevvie on his head as a babe." Ginny chuckled softly, before her mother shot her an icy glare that silenced her immediately. "Mrs. Weasley, how about I make you a promise," Harry said softly. "If Connor can find a way to replicate the taste of the Elven Brandy without the alcohol, I will save the

brandy for special occasions." Mrs. Weasley stared Harry in the eye a moment as if appraising whether to believe him. "Connor," she said, without taking her eyes away from Harry, "can it be done?" "I cant make a non-alcoholic Elven Brandy," he said without even thinking about it. When Harry began to object, he held his hands up to halt him. "However, I can make it as tame as butterbeer, possibly," he said after a moments consideration. "Though Im sure it will take me some experimentation." "Well, I suggest we have a party the night before the beginning of term, Bill said as he pulled his hair back into a loose ponytail. I want to try some of this brandy," he grinned at Harry. "William Weasley!" Mrs. Weasley exclaimed in shock. "Indeed, Im a bit curious myself, really," Mr. Weasley said by accident. "Arthur!" Mrs. Weasley swatted her husbands arm. "Oh, right. I forgot my manners. Well have to ask our host if thats all right with him," Arthur said after a moments thought. "ARTHUR WEASLEY!" Mrs. Weasleys face had turned pink and she was positively fuming. The chuckles from the twins, Ron, and Ginny werent helping very much, either. "Molly," Harry said to Mrs. Weasley, which immediately snapped her attention to him. Hed never called her Molly before, that she could remember. "I promise not to corrupt my family," he said smiling softly at her. "Very well, dear," she said after a moment. "So long as you keep them in line." "Now, Connor if youd have a seat, I think dinner should be waiting," Harry said smiling. Now that the commotion had passed the only above average noise was Atticus who was huddled with the twins, laughing maniacally. Only Harry and Connor could hear what they were saying, and he was very glad about that. "So, about this party," Harry said with a grin. "Harry!"

Dear Reader, First off, I appreciate all the suggestions for how the romance should go, however Ive made my decision. Youll not find out until chapter seven, though. Does Harry end up with Ginny, or will he end up with the girl you meet in this chapter, or for that matter will he end up alone? Only I know, and Im not telling. :) Someone has asked why Dumbledore didnt give Harry his training. I thought that was rather clear, but Ill go ahead and state it. Harrys gift from the egg was knowledge

and power. Why would he need training from Dumbledore, when he now knows everything he needs for his new position? And, to be quite honest, he knows at least as much, if not more, than his grandfather knows. Someone mentioned I should explain more about the new abilities. Well, that has already been taken care of (also starting in chapter seven). I cant explain everything at once, because theyre still learning. Well, I could, but itd be a rather boring chapter. ;) Now, all I will say about the romance, since that seems to be a key point, is this. What will be, will be. As youll see in this chapter, whoever he ends up with (if either of them) may have their work cut out for them. And, Im sure some of you are wondering why Im posting again so soon. Im quite bored, really. I have most of chapter seven down now, so I am releasing another chapter to see if I can spur my ideas along. If not I may take a break from this story and work on another story Ive been considering, for a while. -Master Eldryn P.S. - Thanks to David305 for pointing out that I for some odd reason said that Seamus had a Scottish accent. I know hes Irish (I remember the scene from Prisoner of Azkaban, I think it was). Just me typing too fast to think, I believe. :)

"I have such a headache," Ron muttered hiding his eyes from the sun streaming into their compartment. "If you ever offer me another glass of Elven Brandy, Harry, so help me Ill kill you." "You may be like --" "family, Harry, but --" "we agree with --" "ickle Ronniekins," Fred and George said, finishing each others sentence while the other groaned in agony. "He didnt force you to drink it," Hermione said huffily to the three Weasley brothers. "If I remember correctly, he told you it was probably too strong for you." She was also speaking rather loudly, Harry thought. More than likely teaching the three redheaded brothers a lesson. Harry simply laughed at his friends and continued looking out the window of the train. He was quite happy, now that he thought about it. He was going to Hogwarts, he was going to teach, and he was definitely going to be pulling some pranks. Knowing everything he knew, he thought to himself, was worthless if you couldnt have a bit of fun with it once in a while. "Harry, not that Im defending my brothers Im not but how much of that stuff did

you give them?" Ginny was looking at him like he had poisoned her brothers, but she was also getting a bit of a laugh out of it, too. "Half a glass." Hermione and Ginny both snapped their attention back on Harry at the same time. Harry wondered what was running through their minds, as he again stared out the window. If he could hear what they were thinking, hed have heard Hermione wondering how he could have drank three quarters of a bottle alone and hed have heard Ginny thinking about how much of a wimp all of her brothers were. "Harry Potter?" a soft, siren-like voice asked from the door of their compartment. Harry had been so intently staring out the window that he hadnt heard the girl standing in the opening to their compartment. Everyone else had, though. Ron looked up and his eyes went wide as he took in the sight before him. He began slapping at Fred, who was siting beside him. Fred and George had been planning something, and were rummaging through a bag at their feet. Fred looked up, finally, to see what Ron was slapping him for, to notice the girl standing in the doorway to their compartment. With a gaping jaw he began to slap at George who was still digging through the bag at his feet. "What Fred?" he asked as his brother continued to slap at him while he was looking for whatever had his attention in the bag. "Damnit, Fred, what?!" he asked as he looked up and began imitating his brothers. All three of them sat there with their mouths opening and closing like a fish out of water. But, who could blame them, really. Standing in the doorway was what could best be described as a goddess. The girl, Ginny noticed, was about three or four inches taller than her, lightly tanned, with platinum blonde hair, and green eyes to match Harrys. What had captured the boys attention so well, though, was how she was dressed, no doubt. Her hair was pulled into a loose ponytail, and she was wearing very short, cut-off blue jeans and a tight, sky-blue shirt showing most of her stomach, which just happened to be very toned, and accentuating her other assets. The girl, however, took no notice to the Weasley brothers. She was looking at Harry, who was still staring obliviously out the window. She turned to Ginny and asked, "Is that Harry Potter?" Ginny wanted to ask her, "What business is it of yours?" Instead she decided to just answer the question. "Yes, thats Harry." "Oh, good," the girl said with obvious relief. "Ive checked most of the compartments and no one looked like the pictures Id seen. Or for that matter how he was described. This was the last compartment, and he is the closest I found." The girl explained, smiling nervously. "Could you prod him for me? I would try but I wouldnt want to seem rude," she asked Ginny.

"Sure," Ginny said and poked Harry roughly in the ribs. "Ow!" Harry frowned at Ginny, then noticed the girl in the door. "Whyd you poke me and who is our visitor?" "She asked me to, and she hasnt introduced herself yet," Ginny said angrily, but trying to hide it. She didnt do a very good job, though. "Oh, Im sorry," the girl said softly. "I forgot to introduce myself, Im Blaise Zabini." "Ah. Well, hello Blaise." Harry smiled. "So, why do I have a new bruise, now?" Harry asked, taking note out of the corner of his eye that Ginny turned slightly pink at his question. "Could I speak to you privately for a moment?" Harry glanced around and noticed that the Weasley brothers were green with envy, so as he got up he whispered into Rons ear, "Ron, close your mouth and pay attention to Hermione before she hurts you." Then he and Blaise disappeared. Hermione and Ginny simply scowled at the remaining three boys and began fuming about boys, as well as instantly deciding they didnt like the girl who had been standing in the doorway. .oOo. "Im sorry if Ive gotten you into trouble with your girlfriend," Blaise said apologetically. "I didnt mean to uh can I call you Harry?" "Well, shes not my girlfriend, and be my guest. How can I help you?" "Oh," Blaise smiled at hearing this. "You know, you dont look like the pictures I saw." Harry chuckled softly. "Growth spurt then again, those pictures in the paper are usually horrible anyway." "Well, thats why I wanted to talk to you. The pictures I saw werent in the paper. Um uncle Sirius showed them to me." Harry couldnt hide his shock at hearing this, but he looked the girl over lightly. "My word, are you Jenny Paddingtons daughter?" "I how you know my mother?" she stammered out, clearly not expecting Harry to know who she was. "In a manner of speaking, yes." "When we heard what happened with Sirius, we couldnt believe it. He visited us often after he broke out of Azkaban, and" she choked back a sob. "I know I know how much he cared about you, and I I just wanted to offer my condolences."

Harry pulled the girl in front of him into a hug, and let her use his shoulder for comfort. "Thank you. He was a good man," he said softly. "Im glad you got to know him." "Me too," she said, drawing comfort from his sympathetic shoulder. "So," Harry said, trying to lighten the mood. "How did the daughter of the ultimate Gryffindor get sorted into Slytherin house? More to the point, how did your mother take it?" Blaise began to laugh between her sobs, until her laughter slowly replaced it. "Well, as for how, my mother blames my dad. And she took it about as well as could be expected. I got a howler." Harry laughed merrily, "Yes, that sounds like something shed do, all right." "Zabini, who is your friend," a drawling voice called from the door. Harry recognized the voice immediately and looked up to see the face of Draco Malfoy, whom Blaise seemed to dislike as much as he did. When she opened her mouth to tell Malfoy who he was, she glanced over and saw Harry shake his head no. He figured if Malfoy wanted to be a git, hed have some fun. "Its a family friend," she said cryptically. "Now piss off, Malfoy." "Probably a mudblood," Malfoy said to the snickers of Crabbe and Goyle. "What more could be expected of a half-breed like her." "Mudblood?" Harry asked quizzically to Malfoy. "Just what is a mudblood?" Draco scoffed at Harry, still not recognizing who he was. "What more can we expect from a muggle-born piece of trash." Crabbe and Goyle again snickered. "Malfoy, pi--" Zabini started but was interrupted by Harry. "Malfoy, leave before I hurt you." Harry said and then he turned back to face Blaise to continue their conversation. He glanced up and noticed that all three boys were staring at him in shock. "What? Did I turn into a ferret and start bouncing off the walls?" Blaise snickered softly, remembering the stories she heard about the fake Moody. "Youre tempting --" Malfoy was saying before Harry interrupted him. "Yes, yes. Im tempting fate because Daddy Death Eater is going to break out of Azkaban and teach me a lesson. Blah blah blah, yada yada. Is he enjoying the cell we put him in," Harry hissed up at Malfoy, as realization struck him. "Potter?!" Malfoy asked as he glared at Harry. "Yes, I see the resemblance now. Youll pay for what you did to my father, Potter. Your mangy little dog of a godfather was just the --" Draco Malfoy couldnt finish that sentence because Harry calmly got to his feet, his eyes

turning deep blue in the process, and he picked Malfoy up by the throat, slamming him against the wall. "Tell me," he hissed into Malfoys ear, "why I shouldnt snap your miserable little neck right now?" Crabbe and Goyle would have come to his defense but Blaise had her wand out and trained on both of them. "If you move youll wake up in the infirmary," she told them. "And you know I can do it." "Tell me," Harry growled into Malfoys ear, "tell me why I shouldnt kill you right here and now, you arrogant little bastard. Id probably be saving countless lives by ridding the world of one future Death Eater." "I for one say do it," the badge told Harry quickly. "Hes a smarmy little bastard just like his father." Malfoys eyes were bulging out of his head. He was starting to lose consciousness, because Harry had cut off his air supply. He was turning an absolutely fetching shade of violet, though. "Because youre not a killer." Malfoy gasped out. "You there! Let Mr. Malfoy go this instant," a voice called from behind him. Harry turned around and trained his flaming blue eyes on Minerva McGonogall. Upon seeing the look in his eyes she blanched with the realization that he might very well make good on his threat, then she noticed the glowing, lightning-shaped scar on his forehead. "As you wish, Professor," Harry said and he dropped Malfoys now unconscious body to the floor in a heap, "He just needed a lesson in manners." Harry smiled at them, turned, and pushed his way through the train back to his original compartment without intending to say another word. "Mr. Potter?" she asked incredulously, as Harry passed her. "Is that you?" "Yes, Professor," Harry said quickly. "Its good to see you again." He then quickly disappeared into the crowd that had surfaced around his little scuffle. .oOo. As Harry was about to enter the compartment to rejoin the Weasleys and Hermione, a streak of black with a green spot slammed into him pinning him to the ground. Sitting on top of his chest was Blaise who was grinning at him like an idiot. She quickly leaned over and planted a kiss on his cheek. She then began to spout nonsense. "Malfoy fall, bam, sweet Harry!" she said, and a perplexed expression appeared on Harrys face. "Blaise, that made absolutely no sense." "Oh, sorry," she blushed lightly. "What I meant was thank you for what you did to

Malfoy. Youre my hero, now," she said as she smiled at him, not noticing the fact that most of his friends were looking out the door at them which was good, because Ginny was glaring daggers at her. "No problem, Blaise. Could you get off me, though? I have this nasty habit called breathing" The blonde girl smiled sheepishly then climbed off of him and offered him a hand up. "Would you like to join us?" he asked, to which the Weasley brothers all began grinning like it was Christmas. They didnt notice Ginnys reaction, or Hermiones, to the idea that the girl might be staying. "I wouldnt want to intrude," she said shyly. "Oh, no intrusion at all," Ron said immediately, earning him a glare from Hermione that he never saw. "Well, if youre sure," she said with a smile and walked into their compartment. The twins, somehow, managed to maneuver it so that she was sitting right between them. Harry noticed Ginny kept glaring daggers at Blaise, who pretended not to notice. Finally, once Harry had enough, he whispered into Ginnys ear, "Youre cute when youre jealous." Her reaction was to tighten up her face to try to hide the smile that had appeared, and turn a very pretty shade of pink much like a fresh rose. .oOo. "Firs years!" Hagrids voice boomed out over the area. "All firs years follow me." "Hi, Hagrid," Harry said as he walked up to Hagrid. "Err hullo. Do I know yeh?" Harry then realized that Hagrid hadnt been told, yet, about him. This could only mean that he had just returned from his business for the Order. "Hagrid, its me Harry," he said smiling. "Harry? Well prancin pixies. Yehve grown!" Hagrid said, grinning. "Yehll have to tell me all about it later. Righ now I gotta get the the firs years up to the castle." Harry nodded, then pointed behind Hagrid. He glanced over his shoulder then spun and broke into a run. One of the first years had prodded the Thestrals one too many times, and they didnt like it. Harry chuckled to himself and walked over to where Hermione, Ginny, and Blaise were waving him over. Once the girls got past their jealousy they realized that Blaise was actually rather nice. As Harry approached a devious idea took him. If two blushing girls were fun, then three would be hilarious. He vaguely wondered where the Weasley brothers were, but that thought quickly disappeared from his mind. "Ah," he said as he approached them. "Three lovely ladies and me, alone, in a carriage.

What ever is a young man to do?" Hermione and Ginny, of course, began to blush profusely so much so, in fact, that their faces matched Ginnys flame red hair. Blaise on the other hand grinned impishly at him. "Oh bloody hell. This isnt going to turn out well at --" but Harry didnt get to finish that thought as he was abruptly cut off. Blaise quickly pulled Harry close to her and he let out a mmph as she gave him a very friendly kiss. She pushed her lightly glossed lips, tasting faintly of strawberry, against his and slowly slid her tongue out and licked his top lip before she slid it softly into his mouth, teasing his tongue to play with hers. She moaned lightly into his mouth, and he closed his eyes instinctively. He vaguely thought he heard a strangling noise, but immediately lost it to the lips pressed firmly against his own, the closeness of her warm body, and the smell of citrus on her hair. Harry would have pulled away but he was shocked witless, so he just stood there and didnt really do anything at all. He couldnt say he didnt enjoy it, though. Once Blaise separated her lips from his, he had a goofy grin on his face much like Ron whenever someone mentioned the Quidditch game he helped win for Gryffindor. Blaise smiled at him, then leaned in and whispered into his ear, "Mmm. You taste good and I definitely wouldnt mind doing that some more, but you really should remember that the blushing game works two ways." As she started to climb into the carriage she stopped long enough to say, grinning the whole time, "Well, after that little taste, Harry, I would say anything youd like." Harry turned a deep shade of red, verging on purple as he began to analyze the patch of ground between his feet. It was about that time that he realized what the strangling noise he had heard was. Hermione was trying to forcibly restrain Ginny who looked ready to strangle either him or Blaise or maybe both. .oOo. "I can not sit near him right now. If I do, Ill kill him." Ginny said to Hermione before sitting down at the table, away from Harry. "I still might!" "Ok, Ginny, but well be there if you want to join us," Hermione said softly before she squeezed the younger girls shoulder and walked over to sit down beside Ron who kept complaining that the sorting should come after the food. "Boys!" Hermione said huffily. Ron rolled his eyes before he glanced over at Harry and asked, "So, who do you think is doomed this year?" "Hrm? What are you talking about," Harry asked quizzically. "Defense Against the Dark Arts. Who do you think is doomed this year?" "Hopefully someone who can handle it. I cant handle another Umbridge," Harry said, trying not to smile. "I agree," Hermione said testily. "Im all for theoretical study, but it is useless without the practical application."

"Well," Dean said leaning over towards them, "I heard itll be a vampire this year." "Hell, weve had everything else, why not?" Seamus said in his soft Irish accent. "When it comes to that job, I wouldnt be surprised to see You-Know-Who himself," he said sending the surrounding people into laughter. "Shh!! The sorting is starting!" Hermione said giddily. "This is my favorite part!" Ron rolled his eyes again at her. "Ron, if you do that one more time, Ill hurt you," she said, glaring at him out of the corner of her eyes causing him to smile weakly. "You wouldnt hurt a sick man, would you?" "Your mental health is of no concern to me at the moment," she said then stuck out her tongue at him. "Hey --" "WATCH!" she whispered loudly. Professor McGonogall had just placed the hat on its rickety stool. After a moment the brim of the hat seemed to tear open, and the hat once again spoke to the school of Hogwarts, its voice calm and bone-chillingly clear. "Dark days are coming, heed what I say; Death and destruction, night and day. "Families will be lost, and friends will die; Heed my words, for I do not lie. "If it is your wish, then say not his name; It will do no good, for this is no game. "Hufflepuffs loyalty, Slytherins cunning; Theyll help you not, better start running. "Gryffindors courage, Ravenclaws smarts; Theyll do no good, hell tear out your hearts. "One shall stand tall, as is his destined fate; Stand with him now, before it is too late. "Hear my words, wherever youre at; I am the keeper, I am the Hogwarts Sorting Hat." Silence greeted the end of the Sorting Hats song. No one who heard what was said could mistake what was meant. The Sorting Hat had warned them that Voldemort was coming, and that one person would rise against him with or without help. Everyone in the room was looking at Harry, so he did the only thing he could think of. He jumped up as fast as he could, overturning his chair with a loud crack, and shouted, "BOO!" Everyone in the room flinched at Harrys joke, but then began to burst into laughter. Harrys joke was sorely needed after what the Sorting Hat dropped on them. Even Snape, who normally was as dark as they come, laughed at Harrys oddly executed joke. Dumbledore smiled, and raised his hand to calm everyone. "The Sorting hat makes a very

good point. We must unite and face Voldemort together, or we will all surely perish in the days to come. However, I am quite famished, so I believe we should get back to the sorting, so that we can begin the feast." Everyone twitched, gasped, flinched, and some even fainted at the mention of Voldemorts name, but, like Dumbledore, most were too hungry to really care at the time. Professor McGonogall explained how the hat worked, then began to call out names, quickly. Most of the sorting passed quickly, however a few of the first years seemed to stump the Sorting hat. One particularly bad case ("Harper, Prudence") had the hat tell her to choose her own house, because she was equally suited for all of them, something that seemed to shock Professor McGonogall. The girl then asked the hat to explain about the houses, who was the head of each house, and the like for nearly twenty minutes. Finally, she said, "I choose Gryffindor, but which house is Harry Potter in?" Harry simply started banging his head on the table, with one hand raised into the air to signal the table he was at. All his friends couldnt help but to laugh at him. Even Ginny, who was still mad at him, was laughing at him. Dumbledore again silenced the room and stood, looking out over his half-moon spectacles. "I have a few small announcements before we begin the feast. I will keep them short, because I am sure youre all just as famished as I," he said and with a wave of his wand several short looking cats appeared with a small sign on each side that said simply announcements. After a moment, and laughs from most of the students, he continued. "All first years please note that the Forbidden Forest is so named for a reason. Some of our older students," he flashed a glance to Harry, Hermione, and the Weasleys before continuing, "would do well to remember that, as well. "There is, I have been told, also a rumor going around that I have employed a vampire as a professor this year. As far as I know there are no vampires among the staff. I am, however, an adventurous man, so I make no promises about next year. "Finally, I believe our new Defense Against the Dark Arts professor would like to have a word with you." This statement piqued the curiosity of most of the students, as well as the professors, most of him were looking towards the doors and didnt notice Harry walk up to the front of the Head table. "Hello, everyone," Harry said, drawing all attention to him. "My name is Harry Potter, though most of you will come to know me as Professor Potter. I am your new Defense Against the Dark Arts instructor." Harry smiled as all eyes snapped to him. The Weasley brothers, Hermione, Ginny were in shock wondering why he hadnt told them. Malfoy and his cronies were whispering in outrage. Blaise was laughing like a madwoman. Behind him, at the Head table, he could feel Snapes eyes boring into him.

"Im looking forward to this, and I hope you are as well. This will be a fun year indeed," Harry said, grinning broadly. "But, for now, lets eat!" .oOo. "HOW COULD YOU NOT TELL US?!" Ron bellowed thunderously into the common room, as soon as theyd moved through the portrait. "Were your friends!" "I am my fathers son," Harry said simply. "It was worth the looks on your faces to keep it a secret." Harry patted Ron on the shoulder as he was opening and closing his mouth, trying to object but being completely unable to find a response to that. He walked off and left Ron standing there, opting to sit with Ginny and Hermione. Harry glanced over at the twins who kept glancing at him quickly, then going back to speaking in hushed voices. Harry tried to listen in, but the hum of the common room was making his ears useless. "So," he whispered softly into Ginnys ear, "are you still mad at me?" "Yes! I mean no! What makes you think Im mad?" she asked, scowling at him. "Well, the fact that a Manticore would be hiding from the scowl youre giving me was the first clue." He grinned at her and raked his fingers back through his already messy hair. "The other was that you almost broke Hermiones arm to try to get to me when Blaise kissed me." "Stop right there!" she whispered to him tersely. "I am not mad!" "Oh?" he asked her with a grin on his face. "Then what are you?" She mumbled something that he couldnt understand. "What was that?" he asked as a puzzled expression stole onto his face. "I said," she whispered softly, "that Im jealous." "Of what?" "Her. Shes beautiful and sweet and she obviously likes you and she even kissed you," she said, staring at the ground. "Cmon," he said, and grabbed her hand. "Were going to go for a little walk." .oOo. Harry and Ginny walked outside the castle and headed off towards the lake. The moon was half-full and shining down creating a glittering effect as the ripples drifted across the water. The giant squid was lazily moving across the lake, and every so often an owl would hoot in the Forbidden Forest. "Why are we out here, Harry," Ginny asked him.

"Well, I figured it would be better to talk in private. The twins seem to be planning something, and I dont want to be interrupted." "Oh," she said softly as she sat down by the lake where Harry joined her. He noticed she was shivering so he pulled up a blade of grass and with a wave of his wand he transfigured it into a warm cloak, which he placed around her shoulders. She smiled warmly up at him, and pulled it tighter around her. "Now, whats all this about Blaise," he asked suddenly, catching Ginny totally off-guard. She blushed softly, before she began. "Well, its like I said, shes beautiful and --" "So are you," Harry said calmly. Her eyes, which had been analyzing the grass between her feet, quickly snapped up to see Harry smiling as he stared out over the lake. "And shes sweet, and --" "So are you," he again said to her claim. "And she kissed you." "So did you," he said, a goofy grin appearing on his face. "So, whats the problem," he asked as he looked at her expectantly. "Well" she trailed off, as she began to lose her nerve. "I guess it made me a little jealous," she said. Harry frowned and looked at her as though he was disappointed at what she said. The disappointment quickly faded and he smiled at her, making her feel as if all was right in the world. Ginny couldnt really decide whether he forced the disappointed look away or it just happened, but she was glad it was gone. That disappointed look made her want to profess her undying love for him and ravage him right then and there. She mentally shook herself and thoroughly considered slapping him for making her feel this way about him. She wanted to not care about him the way she did, but she couldnt. She hated him because she loved him. A battle raged in her mind, one half of it fighting to kiss him the other to slap him. So, she did the best thing she could think of at the time. Her hand cracked like a whip as she slapped him hard across the face. His eyes opened wide as her hand connected with his face, leaving a red handprint on his left cheek. Then, before he had a chance to respond, she grabbed his shirt and pulled him forward and for the second time kissed him, again by a lake. She vaguely wondered what it was about lakes, but that thought was quickly put aside so she could focus on what she was doing. Her soft, strawberry-colored lips pressed hard against his and he instinctively parted his lips for her. She snaked her arm around his head and used her body to push him back onto the grass, as she enjoyed the softness of his lips and the warmth of his body. She heard a growl of pleasure escape his throat.

She pulled back a moment and looked into his eyes and was surprised to see a hunger a lust dancing in his eyes. She leaned forward lightly bit his lower lip, before resuming their sensuous kiss. She felt his hands slide under her shirt and a shiver exploded through her as his fingers caressed her bare back. Harry wrapped his arms around her waist and rolled her over so that he was on top, before he leaned in and bit down on her neck. Ginny yelped in pain for an instant, but it was quickly replaced by a groan of pleasure that simply spurred him on. She wanted him and she could feel that he wanted her, but he pushed away from her and she couldnt hide the hurt she felt. Harry groaned in irritation. "Damnit, Ginny, do you have any idea what youre doing to me?!" "What what do you mean?" she stammered. "What Im doing to you?" "Yes. What youre doing to me," he repeated accusingly. "What are you talking about?" she asked curiously. "Youve kissed me twice, now and I almost couldnt stop myself this time. Ive not wanted to let go. Its like Im underwater and youre my last breath of air." "Is that so bad," she asked as she inched closer to him. "YES!" he shouted angrily, causing her to jump back in fear. "No. Maybe. I dont know." Ginny reached her hand out and intertwined her fingers with his. "You know how I feel," she said softly while hoping he would look at her, but he just nodded, and continued to look away. "Do you feel the same?" she asked through a catch in her throat. He continued to look off towards the castle, trying to avoid her gaze as he thought about it. After a few long minutes, he shook his head as if clearing his mind. "I really dont know Ginny. I know so much now, even what other people think of as love. But, Ive grown up without it for my entire life. "I dont know if it is even in me to care about someone that way. Its easy to have friends to care about them and want what is best for them. Hermione, Ron, your family you you all taught me about that. "Its so much harder to love someone when the only reference you have for what love is comes from the memories of others stuffed into your head by a magic rock, or from watching friends with their families." Ginnys heart wrenched as she thought about the fact that the boy before her really was just that. He might be of age and he might have the weight of the world on his shoulders, but he was still just a boy. A boy that she loved, but who just admitted he didnt really know what love was. In that instant, she resolved to show him what love really was, no matter how long it took.

"Harry, let me ask you something," she said softly. "Do you trust me?" "Of course," he said without hesitation. "Ok, close your eyes," she said, as he glanced at her with an arched eyebrow. "Just trust me, I wont bite at least not yet, anyway." He glanced at her as if she were about to do exactly that and she couldnt help but chuckle, but he closed his eyes anyway. "If you bite me, Im going inside," he said. "Ok, fair enough," she said as she moved towards him. Harry felt her kneeling beside him, and his breath hitched in his throat as he wondered if she was going to kiss him again. Slowly, agonizingly so, he felt her press her palms gently against his chest. He started to voice his objections, but she put a finger to his lips and spoke softly into his ear. "Shh Just trust me," she breathed into his ear. He relaxed under her soft hands, and she put her palms back to his chest. She pushed softly and he fell back onto the grass once more. He felt her body press lightly against his side as she lay there on the grass beside him, and he shivered as he felt her hot breath on his neck. She pulled him to his side and rested his head on her shoulder and simply held him, and he felt safe as he fell asleep in her arms. .oOo. "Harry? Harry," he heard someone saying softly into his ear, "its time to wake up." He stirred slightly and realized there was someone very soft and warm next to him. He opened his eyes tentatively to find Ginny smiling softly at him. As she caressed his face with her soft fingers, the rising sun made her hair seem as if it were on fire. "Ginny?" he asked tentatively. "Yes?" "Are we outside?" "Yes." "Why?" "Because after you fell asleep I didnt have the heart to wake you up." "Oh thank you for staying with me, I mean." "I wouldnt leave you, Harry," she said and smiled at him again, a smile that for some reason made him feel both warm and safe. "Now, please wake up? My arm has fallen asleep" "Oh, Im sorry," he stammered, as he stood and helped her up. Her legs werent

altogether steady, though, because she fell forward and he caught her at the last minute. "Thank you," she mumbled as she began to turn a soft, rose-like color. "Hey, none of that right now," he said with a grin. "I like watching you blush, but you can at least wait a few hours we did just sleep together after all." "WE DID WHAT?!" Harry heard someone shout from behind him at the same time as Ginnys hand covered her face. He turned to see who it was, granting him just enough time to throw up a shield for the fist flying at his head to slam into. Ron apparently heard him, and misunderstood. "Thats it, Potter, time to die!" "Ron, calm down," Harry tried saying, but Ron was already swinging at him again so he dodged away leading Ron away from Ginny, so she wouldnt accidentally be hit. Harry continued to dodge and leap away from Rons blows, trying to wait until he wore himself out. It was not to be. Ron noticed that he wasnt going to be able to hit Harry the normal way, because Harry was simply too fast for him. So, he shifted into his shadow form and swung at Harry, who tried to dodge, but in Rons shade form he could stretch his arm. As Harry tried to dodge, Rons fist connected with his jaw, knocking him to the ground and placing a nice cut on his lip. Both Ron and Harry were ignoring Ginny who was shouting at them to stop. "Ron, I tried to give you a chance to liste--" Harry was cut off mid-sentence by Ron, who backhanded him hard across the face, knocking him back to the ground. As Ron swung his fist toward Harry again, he caught it and jerked it towards him. Rons shadowcovered body stumbled forward, and Harry backhanded him hard across the jaw. Rons head snapped back and he flailed as he soared through the air landing in the lake. Harry simply watched with an emotionless face as Ron trudged back out, spouting obscenities and threats at him. When Ron drew back to punch him again, something began to pull him back. Harry glanced over and saw that Ginny had put up with all she was going to from either of them. "Let me go!" Ron yelled at her, as the lake held him in place. "NO!" she shouted back. "If you would listen, instead of jumping to stupid conclusions, I wouldnt even be having to do this!" "I agree," Harry said. "Be quiet, Harry. I think my brother needs proof that I can take care of myself." She smiled grimly at her brother. The water near him began to swirl and take shape in front of his eyes. Slowly, a fluid copy of the giant squid emerged, and it swung one of its giant tentacles like a whip, knocking Ron out of the water and back onto solid ground. "Ow," he groaned as he tried to stand. She wasnt going to let that happen, though. He looked up just in time to see a very large ram, formed of solid stone no less, rise out of the ground. A second later it butted him hard in the ribs knocking his shadow-covered body spread eagle onto the ground again. He grimaced as he glanced up at the stone beast

which kept scratching at the ground with one hoof. "Ginny, Im --" he was interrupted this time by a fiery phoenix as it burned a hole through his body, causing him to scream in agony. He gasped as he tried to reform the hole the phoenix had burned through him, finding it hard to breathe. Harry watched calmly as Rons shadowy body reformed into its original state not without some small amount of pain on Rons part, though. "Ginny, please --" again he was interrupted as a sword point was pressed against his throat. He looked up to see his sister standing over him covered in a suit of crystal-clear ice-armor with spiked and dangerous looking edges. "Tell, me, Ron," she hissed at him, "do you think that if anything did happen between Harry and I that it was not willing on my part?" He glanced nervously at the sword point pressed against his throat, then back up at his obviously very perturbed sister. "No?" "Good answer. Now, apologize to Harry. Nothing happened last night, but if it ever does it wont be any of your business," she growled. "Msorry," Ron mumbled out as he shifted back into his human form. Ginny spun on her heels and all of her constructs faded away, as she stomped towards Harry. "Im sorry about this," she whispered to him before giving him a peck on the cheek. "But, I really did enjoy our time together." Harry smiled softly at her and whispered back, "So did I. Best nights sleep Ive had in months." She gave him a quick hug, glared once more at her brother and headed for the castle. Harry watched in amusement and Ron in bemusement as the fiery-tempered woman sauntered off, leaving them alone. "You know, mate," Ron said after a moment, "if anything did happen, I feel sorry for you." Harry furrowed his brow and he looked quizzically at Ron, "Whys that?" "Because, youll be stuck with her." .oOo. Harry sat back in his chair as the bell rang, and he watched as people flittered past his door, some taking a moment to glance in out of curiosity, but most continuing to pass in a hurry. He put his hands behind his head and leaned back while his class filtered in. His first class of the day would have to be with Malfoy, else it would have been a good day, he thought. He had just begun planning a good way to make Malfoy force him to turn the little arse into a ferret and bounce him off the walls when the bell sounded. Harry glanced out over first class, consisting of Slytherins and Gryffindors, and noticed

that Malfoy was absent. As he finished calling attendance, Malfoy sauntered in and sat down. "Malfoy, youre late." "Yes," he drawled confidently, but his eyes betrayed his fear. Harry decided then that he would not let Malfoy get to him, today. "Why?" "I had to speak with Professor Snape about something." "Very well," Harry said smiling. "Lets begin. Who here believes I am not qualified to teach you?" Most of the students looked apprehensive, but the Slytherins all raised their hands, except for Blaise. Harry grinned inwardly, because he was going to enjoy this. "Very well," Harry said as he smiled to them all. "Pick one person to duel me. If I win, you will accept me as your professor and do your best to pay attention in my class." "And when you lose?" a sneering voice that Harry recognized instantly asked from the door. "If I lose, professor, I will resign my position and suggest you as my replacement," Harry said with a smirk on his face. "We choose Professor Snape," Malfoy drawled, his fears put to rest with his trusted head of house with him. "I would rather not do that," Harry said quickly. "Afraid, Potter?" Snape sneered. "No," Harry said with a frown on his face. "Clear the desks away, please." There was a scraping sound as all the desks were moved away from the center of the classroom. Harrys class divided into two groups who formed a straight line as the boundary for the duel. Snape had a cocky sneer on his face as they bowed to each other, and prepared to begin. "Hermione, please decide for us when to begin," Harry asked her, and she nodded. As soon as she began to tell them to start, Snape was shouting out "Expelliarmus!" Harry simply let it hit him and his wand flew from his hand straight into Snapes open fingers. He grinned and handed both wands to Malfoy, and walked towards Harry intently. As Snape approached he turned his walk into a jog and Harry met him in the center of their arena. They began to trade blows, blocking each other in what appeared to be a well-choreographed dance. Snape would kick, Harry would jump over it, Harry would punch, and Snape would try to throw him off balance. Finally, Harry became bored with waiting on Snape to realize that he was holding back on him, so he decided to up the ante on their little game. When Snape swung at Harry

again, he snaked the meeting arm over, around, and under Snapes and levered it tightly behind his back with his fist pressed into the other mans chest. With a quick jerk he dislocated Snapes shoulder with a nasty pop. Everyone in the class groaned and screwed up their face when they heard it, but Snape refused to make a sound. He instead kicked his opposing leg up in an attempt to hit Harry in the face, but Harry noticed his movements and prepared himself. With Snapes dislocated arm still in his grip he leaned back pulling Snape off balance mid-kick. He quickly straightened and kicked Snapes legs out from under him. Snape groaned in pain Harry hadnt let go of his dislocated arm, and was holding him up by it. "Im done," Harry said quietly, but everyone in the room heard him. The quiet that had fallen over the class was so perfect you could hear each breath taken. "No -- Potter," Snape grunted as he pushed himself up with his good arm, the other hanging limply at his side. "This is not over yet." Before Harry could object Snape was again attacking him. He tried, unsuccessfully, to wait him out, but the greasy-haired, potions professor was determined not to lose. It was when Snape began blindly attacking him, almost hitting students, that Harry realized he had to end this before Snape hurt someone. When Snape attempted to backhand him Harry saw his opportunity and grabbed Snape by the robes and rammed his forehead into Snapes nose. He let the man slump to the ground unconscious. "So," Harry said menacingly as he looked up at the class, his face covered in blood, "who still thinks I am not fit to teach." No one said a word. .oOo. Voldemort was sitting atop his throne-like chair, looking out over his followers. They all were hidden behind masks, wearing dark cloaks. They all had their sleeves raised to display the Dark Mark on their left arms. Pettigrew was standing on one side of Voldemort and Bellatrix Lestrange was standing on the other, as they looked out into the darkened clearing in their forest. "The boy has changed," Voldemort hissed to his assembled Death Eaters. "After Bella," he grinned wickedly in her direction, "killed that fool Black, he became angry with the world. I could feel the sweetness of it seething from him." Voldemorts Death Eaters laughed wickedly at the Dark Lords statement. "FOOLS!" Voldemort shouted at them. "Crucio! Crucio! Crucio! Crucio!" he shouted, and continued shouting until all of them, including Pettigrew and Lestrange, were writhing on the forest floor screaming in pure agony. "Less than a month ago the idea of killing me sickened the little whelp," Voldemort hissed as he relaxed the Cruciatus Curse from each of them. "Now he relishes it!"

"B-B-But, my Lo-Lord, s-s-surely he is of no c-con-c-consequence to one of y-yo-your unlimited power," Pettigrew stuttered out. "Crucio!" he shouted. "That isnt the point, you incompetent idiot! I needed him in a certain frame of mind for him to be useful to me. How does it help me, you stuttering dolt, IF. HE. WANTS. TO. KILL. ME." As he finished he jabbed his wand at Pettigrew with each word, intensifying the pain as emphasis. "Each of you has connections," Voldemort hissed, glancing up at them as he continued to punish Pettigrew. "That is all any of you are worth to me at the moment. One week. Find the Heart of Charon. "Whoever presents me with the Heart shall be rewarded. Fail me, and you will all die very horrible deaths. Eventually. Now get out of my sight." The figures robed in black immediately disapparated, aside from Pettigrew and Lestrange. Pettigrew remained on the ground clutching his sides, trying to will the pain to stop but failing miserably. "Well, my dear," Voldemort hissed as he slid his snake-like tongue up Bellas jawbone, "I would like to experience your charms again." Bella smiled weakly at her master. "My Lord, not that I mind, but I do have a husband." "That problem can be corrected," he hissed dangerously. "No," she said defeated. "He will understand." "Very good," Voldemort hissed at her. "Let us retire." They paid no attention to Pettigrew, who was on his knees spitting up blood onto the ground, as they returned to Voldemorts private quarters. Shortly thereafter Pettigrew heard a bone-chilling scream as Voldemort satisfied his sadistic sense of pleasure on Bellatrix Lestrange, and a shiver slid down his spine. .oOo. Harry entered the common room after his first day, and the hum abruptly halted. He groaned inwardly as he noticed that all of them were looking up at him. He walked over and sat down beside Ginny on the very plush couch she was on. Every so often she would throw an angry look toward Ron, whom apparently she was still angry with. When Harry sat down beside her, Ron looked over and started to scowl, but immediately looked away when Ginny caught him. Harry chuckled to himself as he watched this continue for several minutes. Ginny would look down at her book, Ron would look up and scowl, shed catch him, and hed look away quickly. "Ginny, help me." Harry pleaded, once hed finished laughing at Rons goofy behavior. She glanced up at him worriedly, and asked, "Whats wrong?"

"Well, lets see. I woke up this morning to get pounded on by one of my best friends, I spent two hours taking my transfiguration exam, another two taking my Dark Arts exam, Snape tried to make me kill him during my first class, and everyone is looking at me like Ive got six heads and a bushy tail. Oh, and to top it all off Ive got potions tomorrow with what I assume will be one very pissed off potions master. The best part of my day was waking up in your arms. Everything else sucked." Harry looked up at her to again plead for her help, and realized that her face was a soft rose color and slowly darkening to a pretty raspberry-like shade. He grinned at her, but decided not to tease her about it. He couldnt help but stare at her face, though, he admitted to himself. Her soft face, her slightly upturned nose, and those strawberrycolored lips almost begging him to kiss her. He was snapped out of his reverie when she abruptly hit him in the head with the book she was reading. He realized it was unintentional when she jumped up and started stalking towards the table Ron was sitting at. The twins promptly vacated the premises, opting instead to sit by Harry. "Hey, Harry," Fred said. "We heard you slept with our sister," George tossed out from nowhere. Harry tried not to blush, but it was a futile effort. Hed not been expecting such a proclamation and so he simply reacted the best way he could think of. He started stammering incoherently. "Calm down," Fred said quickly. "We didnt mean it like that!" "We know better than to call Ginny a scarlet woman, especially concerning you." "HEY!" Harry shouted indignantly. "That sounds like you dont think Id have a chance!" Fred and George glanced at each other, and then began to laugh raucously. "Of course youd have a chance --" "if she wanted to let you have one --" "Harry, its just that we know --" "shed kill us for suggesting that.," they said in their odd manner. "Oh," Harry said, again blushing. "Well, yeah we fell asleep by the lake." George and Fred again glanced at each other, that grin plastered on their faces. "So, Harry," Fred said with a mischievous grin on his face, "whats up with you and that Zabini chick?" "Yeah, I was wondering that myself," piped George. "We heard she more or less propositioned you."

Harry chuckled at hearing this. Hermione must have told Ron, who must have mentioned it to the twins. Which would also explain why Ron was ready to beat him bloody earlier. He must have thought that Harry was trying to swing two girls at once, one of which is his little sister. "Blaise is the daughter Sirius ex-fiance," he said. As he noticed the looks on their faces he added, "No, shes not his daughter. He went to Azkaban right after he proposed, and she apparently met someone else. I just met her on the train here, this year." "So, you have no romantic interests in her at all?" the twins asked in unison. "You have to admit, she is hot." Harry raked his hands through his hair as he considered his answer. "I dont know. I find myself thinking about Ginny a lot now, but" he trailed off for a moment, then continued, "shes great, really but, I wont deny that there is an attraction to Blaise." It was about that time that Harry looked up to see a furious looking Ginny standing over him. He glanced at the twins who glanced first at Ginny, then at him, and promptly vacated the premises, again. "So, you have a thing for Blaise Zabini, Harry?" Ginny asked calmly. "Ginny, let me explain --" Harry tried. "No, I heard everything I need to know," she growled at him. "Let Blaise make you feel better!" "Ginny, wait," he called as she stormed out of the portrait hole. He sighed to himself. "Yep, only good thing today was waking up in her arms. Everything else sucked," he thought as he climbed the steps to his dormitory and fell into his bed. .oOo. The energy overload given to him by the Dragons Tear had finally passed, so he was once again able to sleep. Though, Harrys dreams that night were so far beyond abnormal -- at least for him -- that hed wish otherwise once he finally awoke early the next morning. His first dream of the night was of Ginny and Blaise. Actually all of them were of Ginny and Blaise, but thats beside the point. They were standing on a set of balancing scales, each one trying their best to entice him to join them on their side so that their scale would drop and they could run away with him. The next two dreams were rather indecent and Harry considered very strongly the usage of a memory charm on himself, when he awoke, so that he could avoid stammering awkwardly every time he tried to speak with them. It should be noted he had a particularly happy grin on his face during both dreams. The last dream he had before he woke up was that hed put both of them under Veritaserum and asked them if they loved him, planning to marry the one who could

truthfully answer yes. Both answered yes, and he ended up married to both of them trying to hide them from each other, with one on each end of Potter Place. .oOo. "My Lord, I have found the Heart of Charon," Lucius Malfoy said, his voice full of pride. "It is being displayed in a muggle museum in London. I have made plans to retrieve it at your order, my Lord." "Very good," hissed Lord Voldemort as he caressed Naginis head. "Take Nagini with you, and bring back the Heart. If you are correct, I will grant your wish." Lucius nodded his head and turned to leave, Nagini slithering right behind him. As he walked towards the door, he could hear Voldemort speaking in parseltongue to the snake on his heels. "Soon," he thought to himself. "Soon I will be the most feared Dark Wizard alive, besides Voldemort himself!" .oOo. "Harry? You look like crap," the young, blonde vixen said as she sat down beside him. Harry scrunched up his face into a fake smile. "Thanks, so much," he said sarcastically. Hermione and Ron hadnt come down yet, he assumed Ginny was still not speaking to him, and he was thoroughly planning on making the lives of the twins miserable when he saw them again. "Sorry, I didnt mean it like that." She forced a smile for him, but it didnt help much. "You ok?" "Oh, Im great. I have potions in half an hour," she winced as he reminded her, "so my day is about to become a living hell. Sounds like Im batting one hundred percent, now." "Ouch," she said as she winced once more. "Did Snape take badly to being humiliated?" "He was shouting for my expulsion, when I took him to Madame Pomfrey. He kept shouting about how I assaulted a professor. He seemed to forget that he challenged me and I simply defended myself." "Well, you have my sympathy. He can be a bit of a pri --" "Yes, Miss Zabini? I can be a bit of a what?" Snape had, apparently, sneaked in behind them while they werent paying attention. "A bit of a prince, sir! What else could I have meant?" she asked, a sweet and innocent smile plastered firmly on her face. "Yes, what else indeed," he said with a sneer on his face, but Harry thought for a moment that he recognized a flicker of amusement in his eyes it quickly vanished, however. "I see youve started keeping better company, Potter," he said with his trademark sneer still plastered on his face. "Though, not by much. She acts far too much like a Gryffindor, for

my tastes." "Thats one of her redeeming qualities," Harry said as he grinned at Blaise. "To what do I owe the pleasure of this visit, professor?" Harry asked quickly he didnt want to spend any more time with Snape around than necessary. "I was checking to ensure you werent trying to corrupt someone in my house with your relentless ego, Potter." "Oh, hes not corrupting me. Im corrupting him," Blaise blurted out cheekily. Harry tried to stifle a laugh, but couldnt help it. Harry laughed all the more when Snape glared at them both and promptly left. "Harry, can I ask you a personal question?" "You just did, but I can let you have one more," he said chuckling softly. "But I make no promise to answer it." She looked at him intently for a moment, then asked him her question. "Youre sweet, friendly, handsome, and all that so why dont you have a girlfriend?" "Who said I dont?" he asked, trying to avoid the question. She frowned and asked, "You do?" "Well, no, but I want to know who has been gossiping about me!" he said, laughing. A hopeful look appeared on her face for an instant and she asked, "Well, is there anyone you fancy?" It was Harrys turn to frown, at this. He really didnt know what to tell her, because he really didnt know the answer. He liked Ginny, true enough, but he also liked Blaise. With Ginny it was a long-standing friendship, with Blaise it was an almost animal magnetism drawing him to her. "Sort of," he answered, deciding to try to keep his answers as cryptic as possible. She scrunched up her face and stuck out her tongue. "I think youre just trying not to tell me," she said with a hint of irritation in her voice. "Maybe, maybe not." She then looked at him thoughtfully for a minute or so, then leaned in close to him. Whispering softly into his ear, so that her breath was teasing his face, she asked him a question that brought a slow, rosy flush rising to his cheeks and left his eyes wide in surprise. "Will you kiss me back next time or should I just give up now?" "Dear God, help me," Harry thought to himself.


Dear Reader, Ive taken a bit of a break on this story, but I wanted to go ahead and give you a new chapter. Ive still only got most of chapter seven finished. Id planned to be on chapter ten, by now, but Harry Potter and the Medallion of Seth has been taking most of my time. Im not stopping work on this story, by any means. I will likely finish up chapter seven, before I work on chapter four of the other story. Im just trying to split my time between the two so I dont grow overly bored with one or the other. In any case, I thought Id let you all know, that after the reviews involving Ginny and Blaise, Ive decided to extend the triangle a good bit longer. Closer to the end of the story, more than likely. But, I hope youll all still enjoy the story. Thanks again for all the reviews, and I hope you like Dumbledores first class. -Master Eldryn

"Just think about it," Blaise purred softly into Harrys ear. Having more or less petrified Harry completely, Blaise winked at him then collected her things. She mentioned something about getting to class early, but Harry didnt pay it much attention. He was still pondering four small, yet significant, words. "Just think about it," she told him and that he did. For the next ten minutes, anyway, and then he blocked it from his mind so he could concentrate on other matters. In five minutes he had double potions, where he could only assume that Snape would get his revenge for the previous day. Harry glanced around the Great Hall to notice that everyone was staring at him. He then realized why. Ron and Hermione were sitting in front of him waving at him frantically, trying to get his attention. They both had very worried expressions, and their mouths were moving but he didnt hear anything. "HARRY!" Rons voice finally broke through the daze in his mind. "Theres no need to shout, Ron," he said while wincing. "Im sitting right in front of you." "No need to shout?!" asked Hermione, her voice shaky. "Weve been trying to get your attention for nearly five minutes! You looked like when Crouch put you under the Imperius Curse!" "Oh, sorry. I was just thinking, and I guess I got a bit distracted." "You think?!" Ron replied sarcastically.

Once Hermione and Ron stopped acting like fish out of water, the Great Hall returned to its familiar buzz. Ron and Hermione stood with their books in hand and latched onto Harry. It seemed they were intent on making sure he went to class, as if he might skive out. "Bloody hell! Skiving off potions is a brilliant idea!" Harry thought as he was being pulled out of the doors to the Great Hall toward the dungeon. The thought of trying to trick them occurred to him, but he knew that while he might be able to convince Ron, Hermione wouldnt fall for it. Harry, Ron, and Hermione entered the potions dungeon intent on sitting as far from the front as possible. The idea was a lost cause, however, because the rest of the Gryffindors in the class had the same idea. The only available seat was directly in front of Snapes desk. "If I didnt know any better," Ron whispered irritably, "Id say Snape planned this!" Harry started to agree wholeheartedly, however Snape had just whisked into the room with his robes billowing behind him as if someone was walking behind him to hold them up. He arrived at the front of the classroom and faced the class. The first thing Snape seemed to notice was where Harry was sitting. Snape smiled maliciously at Harry, and sat on top of his desk. "It seems our Hogwarts celebrity, Potter," Snape indicated Harry with a sneer in his direction, "knows more than we could have ever guessed. "After our little duel yesterday, I am still a bit out of sorts. I will be turning the class over to Professor Potter, today." The contemptuous smirk on Snapes face was unmistakable. He was trying to embarrass Harry. "I will be but a humble observer, today." A soft chuckle broke out among the Slytherins as Snape waited on Harry to step forward. Harry knew better than to refuse. He tried to refuse the duel and all that got him was the mess he was in now. So, resignedly, he stood and walked to the front of the class. "I had planned to explain the Potis potion, however --" "Oh, thats too simple for this class, Professor," Harry interrupted, ignoring the scowls from Snape as well as the class. Snape was angry at the interruption, the class was angry because Harry seemed to be choosing something harder for them to do than Snape had originally planned. "Will you be testing the potion yourself, Professor, to insure that I have done it properly?" Another malicious grin spread over Snapes face. "Certainly, Professor. I could do no less, you understand." "Of course, Professor," Harry said, then faced the class to address them. "Today we will be preparing Veritaserum. I understand that is a N.E.W.T. level potion, however I have faith that you will all do well." Harry smiled warmly over his temporary class. Harry took a sidelong glance at Snape whose grin had been utterly annihilated by what

hed agreed to do. Harry smiled inwardly and retrieved the necessary supplies from the potions cabinet. Snape was still to horrified by his agreement to speak, so he simply glared at Harry. "Before we begin, are there any questions?" Harry asked warmly. "Oh, come now dont be shy." "Malfoy," Harry thought to himself as the familiar drawl pierced the quiet, "would have to be the first to speak up." "Potter --" "Pardon?" Harry asked as if he had not heard Malfoy. "Potter --" Malfoy said a bit more loudly, before he was interrupted again. "That will be ten points from Slytherin," Harry said as he frowned at Malfoy. Malfoys mocking smile quickly changed to shock when he saw the tiny emeralds used to keep house scores evaporating from the Slytherin tally. "When I am teaching, Malfoy, you will address me as Professor, or Professor Potter," Harry irritably told the blonde-haired Slytherin. Snape, who had been sitting in silent anger, snorted at Harrys statement. He had decided that the chances of Harry creating a working Veritaserum potion was very unlikely, and as such he returned to thinly-veiled mockery. "Sorry, Professor Potter," Malfoy said as he tried unconvincingly to hide the malice in his voice, "how are we going to make Veritaserum when it takes full moon cycle to properly mature?" Snapes ears perked up as his favorite pupil said this. He wondered why he had not remembered that fact himself. He knew the potion didnt take that long to mature, but it did take three days. The worst that Potter could do to him, he remembered, was to brew the potion. He couldnt test it! "That, Malfoy, is true only if you need full strength Veritaserum. We do not need it to be as strong to verify that it works." Harry grinned toothily at the class. "Now, lets begin. I will demonstrate, you follow. Take notes as we go, please." Harry pulled out a silver Unicorns horn, chopping it into equal portions. "You will be working in groups of two, to conserve supplies. That which is not in your potions kit will be provided for you," he said calmly as he finished with the horn. "Could I have a volunteer, please?" Hermiones hand instinctively shot up, and it was the only one in the entire class. Everyone else was too busy fretting over his or her coming potion. "Very well, Hermione," Harry said with a smile in his voice. "Please pass out the Unicorns horn. One piece of the horn to each pair, please. Oh, and five points to Gryffindor."

Hermione was positively beaming as she passed out the horn. By just raising her hand shed earned Gryffindor five points. Once shed finished she returned to her seat. "Now," Harry said as he positioned the horn below his knife, "take the horn and lay it on the flat side. Dice the horn into one eighth of an inch cubes. When finished please slam your knife point into your desk." Once Harry heard the audible whump of the knives slamming into the wood of their desks, he walked around the desks, analyzing the cubes. He gave minor comments as he passed, earning him glares from many of the Slytherins who were never criticized in the potions class. Too large, Malfoy. Wrong shape, Parkinson. Wrong ingredient, Goyle. Harry noticed that without being mocked Neville actually did quite well. Working with Blaise, Neville did the cutting while she kept snickering whenever Harry would comment on the Slytherins. As Harry passed he was a bit surprised to note that Nevilles knifework was superb. "Class, please have a look at Mr. Longbottom," Harry said as he stood over Neville who was now quivering in fear that he was about to be mocked, again. As the class surrounded Harry, Neville began to run over in his mind what hed done wrong. "Longbottom is a walking potions disaster, Professor. You should know that by now," Snape sneered behind him as tears welled up in Nevilles eyes, though he refused to cry. "His work is a prime example of the perfect way to dice a Unicorns horn," Harry said, ignoring Snapes comment. "Ten points to Gryffindor, Mr. Longbottom." Neville almost fell off of his stool as Harry made this pronouncement. A blush appeared on his face, but he couldnt hide the smile that appeared on his face behind the tears that had almost rolled down his face a moment before. Harry patted Neville on the back and walked back to the front of the class. "Next we must balance the Unicorns horn. Without the proper balance the effects of the Veritaserum could become permanent, requiring an antidote. Who can tell me what is used to balance the effects of the horn in this particular potion?" Hermiones hand again instinctively flew above her head. Harry noticed it, but decided to give someone else a try. Harry noticed Blaise had her hand above her head, as well the only Slytherin to do so, in fact. "Blaise?" he called. "Dragons blood." "Very good, ten points to Slytherin," Harry said, earning him a shocked look from everyone in the room as well as a disbelieving look from Ron who couldnt believe hed give points to Slytherin. "Now, who can tell me why?" he asked, but no one moved not even Hermione. "Very well, Dragons blood, the way it is used here, is a curative. It restores the person to their

natural state. The more blood used, the more quickly they will recover from the Veritaserum." Harry smiled and pulled out several small crystal bottles. "The blood must be contained in crystal, else it will be tainted. Glass is not a suitable container for Dragons blood. Volunteers?" Malfoys hand snapped into the air, earning him odd glances from everyone, including Snape. He volunteered hoping to gain points for his house, for those hed lost, but they didnt come. He sat back down, irked that he had volunteered for nothing. "Now, for our purposes, two drops of Dragons blood will suffice. More will destroy the horn; less will taint the potion. The lower maturation cycle means that a tainted potion would be poisonous, even after the precautions. "One person from each group please come up and collect a silver pestle. A silver pestle must be used. Anything else would be destroyed, except for gold, but we dont have any gold pestles at the moment," he said as one of each group grabbed a pestle. "Now, take two cubes of the horn and crush it into a fine powder. Grind it as fine as you can," Harry said as he mashed his horn into a fine dust. "Now, once youve got a very fine powder add two drops of blood to it. "If youve done it properly it will congeal into a thick paste in exactly forty-three seconds. Once you have a paste wipe as much of the paste as possible onto the side of your bowl, then stick your pestle quickly into the flames and remove it to burn off the excess paste. Do not let it touch your skin. "If it doesnt turn into a paste, burn your bowl immediately and start over," Harry stated, enunciating each syllable very clearly. After about a minute he saw a bit of smoke, then heard a fash and a squeak from the Slytherin area. Pansy Parkinson and her partner had to burn their mixture, and start over. Harry grinned out at the class. There was utter silence as they worked to the best of their ability to create a working Veritaserum potion. Once Parkinson and her partner, some very feminine looking boy that Harryd never really noticed, had caught up, he continued. "Now, put two cups of water into your cauldron and bring it to a boil. As soon as it is boiling, take it off the fire and pour four ounces of water into the bowl. Use the crystal stir in your kit to mix the water and paste together thoroughly." "Hes a very good teacher," Hermione whispered to Ron, whom she was working with. "Dont you think?" "Anybodyd be better than Snape," he replied. "Though, I have to admit, Ive learned more about this potion and why each part was used than I ever did from Snape and his bloody homework." Harry grinned as he heard them. "If everything has gone to plan so far," Harry said smiling, "your mix should turn a light pink."

Snape watched with veiled interest as Harry explained this potion to them. He recognized the ingredients as those of the potion Harry claimed to be brewing, but this was not the proper procedure to brew Veritaserum. He wasnt sure what the result would be, but he was almost positive that it would be either disastrous or amazing. Little did the greasy man know that it would be both. Harry walked around the room looking at the pastes his class had created. "Very good, Malfoy. Slightly too much blood, but not enough to harm the potion," he said as he passed the pest. "Crabbe, I said four ounces, not eight, that is why it is orange. Im afraid you fail. We dont have time for you to catch up. Clean up and each of you join another group and watch." Harry returned to the front of the class, and picked up his bottle of blood. "Take your bottle and pour the rest into the cauldron with the water. Place it back on the fire and let it boil until it emits a sweet vapor. When you hear a small pop, take it back off the fire." After the various pops from the blood-water filled the room, they removed the mix from the fire, and waited for instructions. The entire class, even the normally irksome Slytherins, had become eager pupils. "Heat your obsidian stir until you can feel the heat on the handle, then stir the contents of your bowl clockwise for one minute and twenty-three seconds. No more and no less. Once youve done that, heat it again and stir it counter-clockwise for the same amount of time." Harry retrieved the three final ingredients from the normally locked cabinet and returned to the front of the class to find everyone waiting patiently for the next bit of instruction. He grinned happily as he watched Snape without being seen. "In your kit you should have two lotus blossoms. Please take out two of them and pull off all the petals. Once youve done this, burn three of the petals and pour the ash into the cauldron. Place three of the unharmed petals into the bowl." There were loud yelps as the petals dropped into the bowls burst into flames. Harry chuckled as he walked around with a crystal vial full of a clear liquid. "Remove all but two of the remaining lotus petals," he instructed. He walked quickly around the room and poured a single drop of the clear liquid on each of their two remaining petals. Once he returned to the front of the class, he held up the bottle and said, "Phoenix tears." Most of the class gasped, a few whispered among themselves. "In a normal Veritaserum potion this wouldnt be done. I, however, do not wish to poison anyone. Since we are not using the proper maturation cycle, this must be done else the potion will be quite fatal. Burn one of the petals and add the ash to the cauldron. Place the other in the bowl." Again the petals caught fire, but the yelps were absent as most expected the fires this time. "Very good," Harry said happily. "Who can tell me what the nectar of Jupiter is?" Hermiones hand shot up, and Nevilles slowly rose into the air above his head.

"Mr. Longbottom?" "The nectar of J-J-Jupiter," Neville stammered since he hadnt expected to be called on, "is an herbal drug for relaxing the mind. I-I-Its mainly used for people w-wh-who need to relax, or are hysterical due to some f-fo-form of mental stress." Hermione and Ron glanced at each other as they realized why Neville knew the answer. His parents had been tortured into insanity by the Cruciatus Curse. They likely needed the nectar of Jupiter whenever they remembered what happened to them. A snort from Malfoys direction earned him a glare from the both of them, which he ignored. Harrys glare, however, caused him to turn very pale and hide his eyes behind his hand. Harry turned back to Neville and smiled warmly at the young man, and nodded his head. "Very good, Mr. Longbottom. Twenty points to Gryffindor. "Now, you will add one ounce of the nectar of Jupiter to your cauldron," Harry said as he measured out the liquid into small bottles for the class. "It isnt as necessary to be exact with this ingredient as others, because this simply relaxes the person being questioned. But, you must be careful to remain close to the proper amount. "A nervous or excitable interrogatee is useless, as is one who is so relaxed that they can not open their mouth. The closer to the proper amount, the easier your job will be when questioning them. "Now, with your silver stir, stir the concoction in the cauldron counterclockwise for one minute exactly. If done properly you will hear a sighing sound, and then a very citrus-like smell, much like that of oranges or lemons." Everyone smiled as they smelled the orange and lemon odor that pervaded the room. "Very good," Harry said as he inhaled deeply. "Smells delicious. Now, for the final ingredient," Harry said with a smile. "A pinch of plain sugar." Everyone in the room, including Snape, looked at Harry as if he were completely off his rocker. "Common sugar?!" Snape snapped from his seat. "Do you know nothing about the intricacy of the Veritaserum potion?!" "Indeed I do, Professor," Harry said with a mischievous smile on his face. "I also know that there is no need for someone to gag themselves to death every time they quaff one of your vile potions. "Now, as I was saying before I was so rudely interrupted, add a single pinch of common sugar, then combine the contents of your bowl into your cauldron. Bring it to a boil once more. Once it is boiling let it boil for precisely four minutes and eight seconds. "This will burn off any impurities in the potion, so that you get the prime effect from it. Once the time is up immediately remove the cauldron from the fire and place a lid over your cauldron. They need to mature for seventeen minutes exactly in the dark. If youve done everything properly then the lid of your cauldron will pop off after the

seventeen minutes is up. You will need to be ready to catch it. I will not be sending anyone to the infirmary due to negligence," he said with a grin so that everyone knew he was joking. After the time was up, the lids did indeed fly from their respective cauldrons. Harry went around and sniffed each of the potions, and looked at the color. Once he was done he stood at the front of the class with a grim expression on his face, and muttered the charm to empty all the cauldrons. Everyone in the class looked shocked that hed done this, and many cried out in outrage. "You all did very well," Harry said, the grim expression being replaced with one of excitement that everyone created a proper potion, except for of course Crabbe and his partner, Goyle, who failed miserably. "Full marks for everyone except Crabbe and Goyle, and twenty points to both your houses. Crabbe, Goyle, since neither of you argued with me about failing half marks to both. "And, now for the testing. Professor Snape, if you would?" Harry said a grin of pure joy lighting up his face. Snape rose and walked to the front of the class with a sneer on his face. He was fully expecting the potion to fail, having watched it being created. "You realize, Potter," Snape said through the corner of his mouth, "that you didnt create Veritaserum, right?" "Oh? Well see," Harry said, a mysterious smile on his face. He then turned and addressed the class. "One drop in eight ounces of water is enough for a test, I believe," he said as he handed Snape the glass. "Please, drink it all." Snape guzzled down the substance and felt nothing, and a smug smirk appeared on his face. A moment later he felt the first twinges of a full strength Veritaserum taking him, and he thought to himself, "Merlin as my witness, Im going to kill the little bas --" His thoughts were cut off as he felt bliss fall over him. Everyone in the class watched, with some measure of amusement, the look on Snapes face. He was smiling not the sneer, the malicious grin, or any of that, but a smile of pure joy. He looked truly happy. It looked like something he hadnt done in years, and seemed very much out of place on him. "Tell me, Professor," Harry said softly, "are you a professor at Hogwarts?" "Yes," he responded from his trance-like state. "Are you the head of one of the four houses?" "Yes, the Slytherin house." "Were you truly unable to teach today?" "No." "Why did you ask me to teach?"

"I wanted to embarrass you for what you did to me during our duel." "Do you wish you could stop yourself from responding to me?" "Absolutely." "So, class," Harry said, turning to address them, "as you can see, the potion works quite well. It should wear off in the next two hours, or thereabout. In the mean time, class is dismissed. "If anyone needs me, I am going to take Professor Snape to his room and lock him in until this wears off. I am quite sure he wouldnt wish to walk around under the influence of Veritaserum," Harry said, gaining him chuckles from the Gryffindors. Harry then led the unhappily truthful professor from the room. .oOo. "Come in, Harry," Dumbledore called. Harry opened the door and stepped into the office. Fawkes looked up at him from his perch and nearly fell off. The phoenix trilled sharply at Dumbledore, who smiled and nodded. "Amazing. Even Fawkes can read me like a book," Harry said with a bit of a frown, and Dumbledores head snapped to him. "You understood him?" Dumbledore asked quickly. Harry nodded an affirmative, gaining him a curious glance from Dumbledore. "Are you a phenixian, Harry?" Harry shook his head. "Not exactly one of the people who touched the tear was a phenixian. Its sort of the same way I became a parseltongue." Dumbledore nodded, as he began to formulate ideas. "Interesting, very interesting," he muttered before remembering that Harry came to visit him, presumably for a reason. "What can I do for you, Harry?" "Well, I came to tell you that someone will need to take Snapes classes for the next few hours. Itd be safer if they did it for the rest of the day," Harry said softly. Dumbledore shook his head trying to get the thought that Harryd beat him senseless again out of his mind. "You didnt --" "Of course not. You know as well as I do that I was only defending myself," Harry said gaining a sigh of relief from Dumbledore. "No, he wanted to embarrass me, so he forced me to teach his class, today. He agreed to test the potion himself, and I mixed a batch of Veritaserum." "It takes three days to brew Veritaserum, Harry." Dumbledore said quietly, though it was more a question than a statement.

"Veritas Erum was a brilliant man, grandfather. He released only the first working Veritaserum potion he created, since it was the safest. I gave Severus a weaker variety of one of Veritas later attempts. Though, it is still stronger than what Severus makes. That is why someone needs to teach his classes, presumably for the rest of the day I locked him into his room, so that no one can get to him. He looks far too creepy to be allowed to rambled around. Ill let him out at the end of the day." Dumbledore eyed Harry for a moment. "Harry, that was far from safe. What if one of the students had asked him --" "No worries, sir, I took the necessary precautions. I keyed the potion to my family line. Only someone related to me can make him answer their questions, which is well you." "Oh? This could be very useful," Dumbledore said as he considered what was said. Harry nodded as he pulled out four vials of the potion hed just made and handed them to his grandfather. "Youre one of the few people that could do it," Harry said with a smile. "It takes phoenix tears to brew it. "Now, each of those is keyed to our family. One drop is enough to get anything you need, and will still be more potent than what is currently referred to as Veritaserum. Im keeping one vial for my own use." Dumbledore nodded, "Well, I suppose I will take his classes for the rest of the day, then." A smile appeared on Dumbledores face. "It has been many years since I have taught a class. This could be quite entertaining." "I also wanted to talk to you about something else," Harry said quietly. "It has to do with the Order." .oOo. "Ive called you all here because Harry has something important for you all to hear," Dumbledore said quietly from behind his desk to the assembled Order of the Phoenix. Harry stood silently beside his Grandfather, watching the members assembled. "Harry?" "Do any of you know what a Runemaster is?" asked Harry softly. "I read something about them, once," Bill Weasley said while he thought about it. "They could imbue magic into a symbol, or something like that." "Close enough," Harry said as he held up a piece of parchment with a drawing of a phoenix who looked identical to Fawkes, except it was silver instead of red, on it. "This was drawn by a Runemaster. It holds several types of magic in it." Harry rolled up his sleeve and showed them a duplicate of the phoenix. It was emblazoned onto his arm. Slowly the tattoo disappeared from his arm, then reappeared. He touched the charm and disappeared and reappeared in the center of the group.

"I cant demonstrate the other abilities of it to you without you first having the Orders mark." Dumbledore stood quietly, "First of all, I would like for you all to know, this is optional. However, the majority shall rule. Do you all agree?" Everyone nodded quietly to his words. "Very well, we shall vote. Those who believe the mark should be used?" Everyone nodded. "Those who believe it should not?" No one moved. "Very well, the Phoenix mark shall be used. I shall receive the mark first so you can know what to expect," Dumbledore said with a smile. He slowly rolled up his right sleeve, displaying a bony arm. "Whenever you are ready, Harry." Harry nodded and whispered, "Bit of a sting." He placed the paper on Dumbledores arm and there was a hissing like charring meat, and the smell of burned flesh. Dumbledore grimaced, but remained silent. Harry removed the paper and a fresh tattoo, identical to the one on the paper, was sitting on Dumbledores arm. "Not so bad," Dumbledore said with a grin. "Whos next?" Harry asked, and Hagrid spoke up. "Never had yeh lead me wrong before, Harry, so Ill give it a go," he said as he lumbered up to where Harry was standing, and rolled up his sleeve. Harry nodded and placed the mark against Hagrids arm. Once it was over, Hagrid laughed. "Aint so bad." Once everyone had the mark, Harry ran through an explanation of what it could do. "Ok, there are two control marks. One is his," he said, indicating Dumbledore, "and the other is mine. "Should you be needed one of us will activate the mark. The mark will glow and become warm, to let you know you are needed. If you are available just touch the mark and youll be portkeyed wherever you are needed. "It can also be used for communication, but it draws on your magical reserves to support this. It has a natural store for this, but if it is used for a long period of time, it will begin to drain your magic to sustain it. The store will last for approximately ten hours of continuous use. "It will also work as an emergency portkey. The portkey will bring you and anyone you need to bring directly to this office. Any emergency portkey will notify the control marks immediately." "That could be dangerous," interject Moody gruffly. "If they can bring anyone they want, they could be used forced under the unforgivables."

"That has been considered," Dumbledore said with a smile. "The mark will notify us if an unforgivable is used on its wearer. It will disconnect itself if under the Imperius curse. "Finally, it will punish anyone who tries to intentionally betray the Order. If they do not want to betray us but are forced, they will simply be unable to use the mark. If they do wish to betray us, however, the mark will scorch itself into their arm, burning away its magic." There were gasps from a few of the members, but most of them were grinning at the explanation. "I have to say, then," Moody responded, "that whoever made these marks has my respect." His magical eye stopped on Harry for a split-second letting him know that Moody was directing the comment at him. "Now, if everyone will please excuse us," Dumbledore said with a smile, "I need to speak with Harry about a few matters concerning this new tool." "Ill portkey everyone to Hogsmeade," Harry said, and the marks began to glow. "Just touch the marks and youll all be in Hogsmeade in a moment." Everyone nodded, said their good-byes, then touched the marks and vanished. "This is a rather amazing piece of magic," Dumbledore said with a smile to Harry. Harry nodded with a smile. "Hopefully it will be useful. I will leave the mark with you. If you ever apply it to a new member and it leaves a scorch mark just be prepared." Dumbledore nodded and Harry walked slowly out of the office. .oOo. Harry grinned as he walked down to Hagrids hut. He had a surprise for his oldest friend and wanted to make sure he could handle it. As he crossed the grass to Hagrids hut, he looked at the contents of his pocket. He reached into his shirt and rubbed his thumb over the Dragons Tear, idly. Outside Hagrids hut, Fang was already scratching the door. "Hold on," Hagrid said. "Back, Fang. Back! Harry? Come on in! Was jes fixin a pot of tea." "Hello, Hagrid," Harry said with a smile. "And hello to you as well, Fang," Harry said to the hound that was sniffing at him like hed never met him before. Harry reached out and scratched Fang behind the ears, causing him to warm up to him again instantly. "Tea, Harry?" Hagrid asked as he was pulling out two giant-sized cups. "Sure, thanks," Harry said with a grin. "I brought you a gift, though. I missed your birthday this year what with all the well, everything." "Ah, yeh didn have to do tha, Harry," Hagrid said as he sniffed happily. "Yer one of the few who thinks about me birthday, anyway!"

"Oh, I think youll like this," Harry said with a chuckle as he pulled out a shrunken bottle. He tapped it with his wand, "Finite Incantatem!" The bottle expanded quickly and was almost as big as Harrys whole upper body. "Whas that?" Hagrid asked as he eyed the dark liquid in it. "Looks like Brandy, but I don think Ive seen any quite that color before." "Elven Brandy," Harry said with a twinkle in his eyes. "Elven Brandy?!" Hagrid roared. "Ive not had any of tha since I was goin to Hogwarts meself! Hasnt been any elven folk around to make it in, well, I don rightly know. Humans just cant get the flavor right, yeh know." "I agree. Probably because theyre too afraid of the alcohol," Harry said with a chuckle. "Harry, yeh havent been drinkin the stuff, have yeh? Not that Id be grudgin yeh if yeh did, but humans dont handle it very well." "Oh, I may have had a bottle or five," Harry said with a grin. "Sadly, I dont think I can get drunk." "Yeh had five bottles?! Jumpin dragons, Harry!" he exclaimed proudly, eyeing the bottle in front of him. "Oh, no," Harry said laughing, "they werent that big. No, I had this specially made, just for you." Hagrid glanced at Harry, then back at the bottle and grabbed Harry into a bone-crushing hug. "Thank yeh, Harry. Its the bes birthday present anybodys ever given me!" "Air, Hagrid. Air!" Harry choked out. "Oh, right. Sorry bout that," Hagrid said as he put Harry down and dusted him off, a bit of a flush creaping onto his cheeks. "Anyway, I also have a friend Id like you to meet," Harry said as he pulled Hagrid toward his front door. "I already talked to my grandfather about it and --" "Yer grandfather?!" Hagrid asked quickly, forgetting all about the friend.acegi "Oh, right, I keep forgetting that no one has told you, yet." Harry scrunched up his face into a half-frown, then quickly recounted the story of the past month or so to Hagrid, who just listened wide-eyed until he was done. "Jumpin dragons, Harry! I well wow?" Harry chuckled and nodded. "Now, come on, Zanith is waiting." They walked slowly out of Hagrids hut and over to the Forbidden Forest where Harry whistled loudly. The crack and pop of twigs sounded and Hagrid moved protectively in front of Harry.

"Its ok, Hagrid, thats just Zanith," Harry said as a small black wyrmling stumbled out of the forest towards them. "Harry, thas a dragon!" Hagrid shouted excitedly. "A baby dragon!" Harry nodded, and the wyrmling sat down beside him, looking at Hagrid as if hed never seen anything so strange. "Has the man-thing lost his mind, Master?" the wyrmling asked in its native tongue. "No," Harry hissed back in what would sound like parseltongue to anyone but a parselmouth. "Hagrid has a soft spot for dragons. He will be your new guardian, if he thinks hes up to it." "As you wish, Master. I will be pleased to have a guardian, but this Haggard --" "Hagrid." Harry corrected. "Apologies. This Hagreed seems strange, even for a man-thing." Zanith hissed in reply. Harry just nodded and smiled. He looked up to find Hagrid looking between him and Zanith, wondering what was going on. "Dragons speak parseltongue?!" "Hrm? Oh, no. That was draconian. Its close to parseltongue. Similar words here and there, but not enough that a parselmouth could hold a conversation with a dragon. Anyway," Harry said with a smile, "Hagrid, this is Zanith. His mother was killed by a rival English Black. If you consent to be his guardian, Dumbledore has granted permission for him to stay." Hagrids eyes became as large as saucers and tears welled up. "Poor boy Ill treat im like hes me very own," Hagrid choked out as he knelt down to get a good look at Zanith. "Hes a handsome little dragon, isnt he." "Why is the man-thing looking at me like that. He isnt going to try to eat me, is he?" Harry tried hard to stifle his laugh, but couldnt help it. "Whatd he say," Hagrid asked as he looked at Harry. Even though he was kneeling, he still had to look down at Harry. "Oh, he uh well, hewanted to know why you were looking at him like that. He thought you meant to eat him," Harry said again trying not to laugh, but failing miserably. "Eat im?! Id never!" Hagrid roared, appalled at the idea. "Tell im. Id never harm im!" "Hagrid told me to tell you that hed never harm you. Youre safe with him, and he with you. "Now, its time to complete the ritual. Youll be the first," Harry said as he pulled the tear from his neck and placed it directly between the center of Zaniths eyes.

Hagrid watched as Harry placed the stone, and Zaniths half-closed eyes popped open. After a moment Harry removed the stone and Zanith looked up at Hagrid, then his tongue lolled out, much like a puppy. "Well, hello dad," Zanith said. The last thing Hagrid thought before he fainted was, "A talkin dragon. Wonders never cease." .oOo. "Hagrid, are you all right?" Harry asked as Hagrids eyes fluttered open. "Hagrid?" "Harry? Oh, hullo. ad the weirdest dream, yeh know. There was a talkin dragon named Zanith. And you were there. And he called me dad." "Why wouldnt I call you dad," a voice said that he didnt recognize. "You are my guardian, now." Hagrids eyes flew open and landed on a young boy of about five years that he didnt know. "Who the blue blazes is this?!" he exclaimed as he looked the boy over. He was about the size of a normal child, he had blonde hair that stuck out much like Harrys and his blue eyes stared unblinkingly at Hagrid. "Master, I think I was right. This man-thing has lost his mind," the boy said with frown as he glanced at Harry. "Zanith, quiet," Harry snapped and Zanith scowled like a scolded child. "Hagrid, what you dont know about dragons is what most people dont know. They used to be guardians of magic, until the egg was stolen. "That boy," Harry said as he pointed at Zanith, "is Zanith Sirius Black. Though, why he chose that specific moniker you would need to ask him." "Because, Sirius was the name of your guardian, and if not for him you would not be here today. It is a show of respect. Black because I am an English Black. It also happened to coincide with your guardians last name, making it another display of respect." "Oh. Well, thank you, I think." Harry said softly. Zanith nodded his head politely. "Right then, so howd e become human?" Hagrid asked quietly, eyeing the young boy in front of him. "Dragons are shapeshifters. Or at least in a way. His natural state is the wyrmling you saw before, an English Black. He assumed this form to make it easier for you to care for him. Like all wyrmlings he is restricted, so you dont have to worry much. Until he turns sixteen he doesnt have access to anything but the most basic of abilities. He has two forms, one human and then his natural state. He has the same amount of magic as a normal human, so he cant get into too much trouble, but youll still have to keep an eye on him.

"He is, in case youre wondering, about a five years old, now. Hell age just as a normal child would. When he turns sixteen hell touch the egg again, and be granted the rest of his birthright." "Thas a lot to take in, yeh know," Hagrid said as he thought about it. "I can handle a dragon, bloody easy that. But, a boy might be beyond me." "I like this man-thing. Hes funny." "Call him dad or Hagrid. Man-thing sounds derogatory," Harry hissed with a frown. "As you wish, Master," Zanith said with a smile, then turned his attention to Hagrid. "Youll do fine, dad. If not, Ill eat you." "Now tha I can understand," Hagrid said with a grin. .oOo. "Come on, Zanith. While Hagrids adjusting to the idea of parenthood, were going to go for a run. I will lift the restriction on your shapeshifting, for now, because youll need it where were going," Harry said as he waved his wand over the young boy. "Master, why do you use a wand you must know you dont need it." Harry grinned at the wyrmling boy and chuckled. "The world isnt ready for a wandless wizard, yet. Please dont mention that, either. Wait, why dont oh. Works differently on dragons, eh?" Zanith nodded with a small smile. "We get pure knowledge and facts, nothing more unless we are the Master. Even the Master only gains knowledge and enough power to do what is necessary. Your change is most unexpected," he said as he looked at Harry. "Well, Zanith --" "Could you call me Zane, please? My mother was the only one to call me Zanith, and usually when I was in trouble," he said softly. "Oh," he then nodded and patted Zane on the shoulder. "Out of curiosity, why did you choose hair like mine?" "Youre the first man-th err human?" he asked, getting a nod in reply. "Youre the first human I ever saw. It looks normal to me. Why?" "Nevermind. Time to change. Pick a form," Harry said, and then he slowly turned into a large stag, while Zane screwed up his face in thought. "I like that one. It looks natural on you," Zane said while he was thinking. Finally an idea hit him and he slowly transformed into a black panther. With the closest thing to a grin that either could manage they bounded into the forest leaving behind humanity and the problems being part of it brought to mind.

.oOo. "Ooh! Hes so cute," Hermione squealed when she set eyes on Zane. "Who is he?" she asked as she leaned down to say hello. "Master, is this woman-thi err woman going to eat me? She has the same look dad had." "No, Zane, shes not going to eat you. And call me Harry," Harry said with a laugh. "Hermione, meet Zanith Sirius Black." Hermiones face snapped up to Harrys. "Is he?" "Is he what?" "Well is he Sirius?" "Oh," Harry said as comprehension dawned on him. "No." "Will all the humans look at me like dinner when they first see me?" Zane asked with a bit of trepidation as he looked up at Harry. "If so, I dont want to meet any more for a while." "Harry, he looks a lot like you," Hermione said tentatively. "You didnt?" "Wha -- NO!" Harry shouted, getting him glances from some of the other people walking outside the castle. "Look, Hermione, this is Zane. Hagrid adopted him today. Hes spending the day with me while Hagrid adjusts to the idea of parenthood." "Hagrid? A parent? Isnt that a bit dangerous? He might bring a dragon home, or something worse?" Hermione said cautiously. "Hey! Whats wrong with dragons," Zane growled. "Some of my best friends are dragons." Harry just stood there and laughed at her, while Zane glared at her furiously. "I dont think I like this human, Master. Can I eat her?" Between fits of laughter Harry managed to say, "No Zane, and call me Harry. But, you can kick her in the shins the next time she insults dragons." As an afterthought he added, "In your human form." Zane had a look of pure joy on his face until Harry added the last bit, then he resumed glaring at Hermione who was eyeing them both as if theyd lost their minds. "Zane, tell her how I found you," Harry said with a laugh. "Why does he keep calling you Master?" Hermione said as she glared at Harry. "Just listen, Zane, go ahead." "Yes Mast -- Harry. Harry went for a run in the Forbidden Forest yesterday. He saw my

mother killed by Gareth, and he saved me." "Oh, you poor thing. Are you alright?" Hermione asked as she pulled him into a hug. "MASTER HELP ME! SHES TRYING TO CRUSH ME!" Zane yelled in fear. Hermione fell back and looked at him with eyes wide, and Harry fell to the ground laughing at them both. "Zane shes not trying to crush you. She was hugging you." Once he managed to stop laughing he explained. "Zane, a hug is a human display of comfort, affection, love, and whatever else you want to call it." "Oh. Im sorry Her-my-ownee," he said trying to pronounce Hermiones name. "Im not used to human affection." "Harry, why does he keep saying human this and human that?" Hermione whispered to Harry. "Thats simple, Hermione," Harry said with a smile. "He isnt human." Hermione glared at Harry. "If you didnt want to tell me, thats fine but you could have at least been honest." Harry sighed exasperatedly as he rolled his eyes at the bushy-haired girl, and slowly he lead them away from the castle. "Where are Ron and Ginny?" "Theyve been hiding from me since this morning. Something about training or something, but Im not sure. Why?" "Ginnys mad at me and I think Ron might be helping her get back at me," Harry said with a frown. "Why is she mad at you?" Hermione asked quickly. "Well, Fred and George asked me if I have any romantic interest in Blaise. I told them the truth and Ginny heard me. She wouldnt let me explain, and she hasnt talked to me since." "What did she hear?" Hermione asked as she picked up the small boy and carried him in her arms, gaining laughs from him. "Well, she heard me say, from what I gather, that I was attracted to Blaise." Hermione grimaced as she heard this while Zane just looked around from his new found height. "I like it up here. You can see more," he said with a smile, causing Hermione to laugh. "Well, what she didnt hear is that Im attracted to her, too," Harry muttered. "Then she wouldnt even listen when I tried to tell her." "Well, who do you like more?"

"I dont know. Im only sixteen! Most people my age date, have fun, enjoy life. I have to save the world, fight, and try to keep my life from falling apart! Its not fair, damnit!" "Calm down, Harry. I understand, but you should know by now that Ginny cares about you, and the idea that you dont feel the same way haunts her especially since you started flirting with her." Harry scratched his head as he thought about it. "I guess, but she should understand that shoving me away like that isnt going to make me fall into her arms anytime soon. Its going to infuriate me, irritate me and make me do exactly the opposite of what she wants." "I know that. You know that. She doesnt know that. She well, you touched the stone after she did. You should know what she feels." Harry nodded mutely at this. "Well, when you feel like that, you dont act logically." "Oh, so shes being like you and Ron, now?" he asked normally. "Yes. I MEAN NO!" Hermione shouted as she noticed her mistake. "Thought so. Can you talk to her for me? Tell her that I do like her, but what I told her was the truth. I really dont know what it is." "It? What are you talking about?" Hermione asked, quite puzzled. "Shell know what I mean, Hermione. Will you? Please?" "Oh, all right. But, you cant tell Ron what I said. Deal?" "Deal. You really should tell him, though. He feels the same way." "He does?" she asked with a smile. "Errr thats nice." "Ok, Zane, time to hop down. Dont want to crush Auntie Hermione, do we?" "Yes," he said with a grin. "She insulted me." "I did not!" Hermione exclaimed indignantly. "Ok, Zane, show her," Harry said with a grin. Hermiones eyes went wide as the boy before her transformed into an English Black wyrmling. His mostly gray scales, tinted in obsidian, glinted in the light as he opened a pair of reptilian, silver eyes. His pointed snout sniffed deeply as he looked directly at Hermione. Finally, Zanes tongue lolled out like a happy puppy and he looked up at her. "Can I eat her now, Harry?" .oOo. "Keep him away from me, Harry! I mean it! He wants to eat me!" Hermione shouted as Harry and Zane clamored through the portrait hole to Gryffindor tower.

"Hes not going to eat you, Hermione," Harry said softly. "Are you, Zane?" "No. She wouldnt make a very good snack, anyway. Too bony," Zane said with a smile, now that he had reassumed his human form. "See, Hermione? Hes harmless, and in his human form he only needs as much as a normal human child to remain well-fed," Harry said with a smile. "So, youre perfectly safe." Hermione glared at Zane. "Promise?" "I give you my word as a dragon," Zane said softly, "that I will only eat you if I cant find a better meal. Which would be pretty much anything." Hermione scrunched up her face, then said, "I dont know whether to be relieved or insulted." "Relieved," Harry and Zane said simultaneously then burst into laughter. "Well, I need to get to divination," Harry said with a grin. "I believe you have Arithmancy next, right?" Hermione nodded. "And Im going to be late thanks to you," she said with a glare. "Oh no you wont." Harry rolled up his sleeve and redirected his Phoenix mark to Hagrids hut. "Touch the mark," Harry said as Hermione stared at the tattoo on his arm. "What? Oh, right forgot about that. Ill explain later. For now, touch the mark. You, too, Zane." Zane and Hermione reached out and touched the mark and Harry activated the portkey. They arrived outside Hagrids hut with Hermione looking surprised and Harry laughing. "I dont like that. It tried to remove this little hole on my stomach," Zane growled. "Anyway, Im going to go see what dad is doing," he said as he scrambled into Hagrids hut. "Ok, touch the mark again," Harry said with a grin. "One more trip, then Im on my way to Divination." After he dropped off Hermione, who was worse for wear and stammering about how he was portkeying them around, Harry portkeyed outside of the divination classroom. He walked in and seated himself by Ron who looked thoroughly more interested now that Firenze was the main professor. "Hey, Ron," Harry said as he sat down in the now grassy classroom. "Hows the plan going to get me back for being an insensitive jerk?" "Good," he answered without thinking. "Were about ready to spring the damnit." "Thanks. Want to let me in on whats going on?"

"No!" Ron whispered tersely. "Youll just have to wait and see." "Ok, fair enough." "Welcome back," Firenze said as he smoothly walked out before them. "Today will be a refresher for you." And that it was. They had an uneventful class and just went over everything they had from their fifth year. Trying to divine the future by the stars appeared to be more useful than staring into a crystal ball, but not by much, Harry thought. .oOo. While Harry was in Divination, down in the dungeons Albus Dumbledore was teaching his first class in many a year. As he walked into the class of first years, he smiled at them all. "I welcome you to potions. Professor Snape is ill today and I will be teaching your class." "Prof -- Head -- Sir?" a young Ravenclaw asked timidly. "You may call me Professor, if it will help," he said with a comforting smile. "Now, you had a question, Tonya?" "Will you be teaching potions for long?" Tonya asked hopefully. "Well, as soon as Professor Snape is better he will be returning," Dumbledore said with a soft smile, gaining frowns from the entire class composed of Hufflepuffs and Ravenclaws. "Today we will be making a Forgetfulness potion," Dumbledore said as he wrote the directions on the board. "Hopefully I havent forgotten how," he said with a chuckle. "Ok, lets begin." And that they did. They worked the entire class, and it was discovered, by most of the first years present, that Dumbledore couldnt make a potion to save his life. His first mistake was to melt his cauldron, which he repaired effortlessly. He then combined two rather explosive ingredients, which decided they would rather join the rest of the class. Finally, Dumbledore seemed to get into the swing of things and they made it through most of the potion. As they were about to add the last two ingredients, Dumbledore mixed them up. The class, having become less than vigilant since he seemed to know what he was doing after his brief stint of clumsiness, followed suit. As their potions exploded in their faces, Dumbledores singeing a part of his beard in the process, Tonya raised her hand once again. She was the first and last person to raise their hand during that class. "Yes, Tonya," Dumbledore asked with that soft small of his. "Please tell Professor Snape I hope he gets well soon," she said with a grimace as she tried to wipe the destroyed potion off of her robes. The entire class nodded in agreement,

with a few murmurs of "Me too." Dumbledore had that familiar twinkle in his eye as he thought, "So do I, child, so do I." .oOo. "Its dinner time, Professor. I believe its safe to let you out now," Harry called through the door as he unlocked it. He slowly opened the door, and the first thing he saw was a fist flying into his face. "That, Potter," Snape said with a sneer as he shook his hand a bit to relieve the sting of his punch, "is the least of what you deserve." "If you say so, Severus," Harry said as he stood up and dusted himself off. "Was nice talking with you. I have work to do, though." "Famous little Potter gets what he deserves, and his fame still drags him away," Snape taunted. Harry growled at the smirking potions professor. "Well, Severus," he said softly, "what I deserved was taken from me when I was a child by Voldemort, a man you served. I didnt ask for my fame. It was thrust on me. Id willingly give it up, if I could, for what I truly deserve. Harry glared at the man as his eyes turned once more into cobalt orbs, "But, what I deserve is gone, dead for over fifteen years, and your attempts to punish me for something I didnt ask for, for something I dont enjoy, do nothing more than PISS - ME - OFF!" Snape stepped up to Harrys statement with a growl, "You dont scare me, Potter. Youre just like your father, an egotistical little bas --" "If you try to finish that sentence Ill do more than break your nose," he hissed as the lightning began bouncing over his body. "The truth hurts, doesnt it Potter?" Snape said with a sneer. "Ill leave you with this thought, Snivellus," Harry ground out between gritted teeth. "That egotistical bastard made my mother happy. She preferred him over you, you slimy lit --" "SHUT UP!" Snape yelled as he glared at Harry. "Truth hurts, doesnt it Sevvie," Harry said as he turned and walked away. "Good evening, Professor." .oOo. Harry sat by the lake watching the giant squid as he swam around. A few first years called him over and were tickling his tentacles playfully, to which he seamed very pleased. Harry smiled at that before his thoughts intruded once more.

"Well, at least I didnt try to kill anyone this time," he thought to himself as he continue to watch the first years playing with the squid. "He made me just as mad as Malfoy did, but I managed to control it this time. "I suppose thats a good thing. I could stop with Malfoy, but I dont know if I could have stopped with him. I really might have killed him, if he pushed me too far. Just seems so hard to control myself, now that I know I can do it." "Well," the badge offered, "Im all for ridding the world of annoyances like him. But, he is also a professor. Think of all the paperwork that would require." Harry began laughing loudly, drawing the attention of the first years who had just been pulled into the lake. They glared at him, obviously assuming he was laughing at them. "Thanks, I needed that." "Any time. Your mental wellbeing is my job, you know. If youre stressed, what chance do we have of winning the Quidditch cup?" "None, I suppose," Harry thought. "Is that the only reason you helped?" "Nah. Wood was way too reserved. Johnson was too uptight. Youre the first captain since Charlie Weasley that didnt make me feel trapped in their mind." "Ah. What was Charlie like?" "A lot like you, really. Quick to anger, but he had just enough control to pull himself back from the brink, just like you did tonight. He was also brilliant when it came to Quidditch. That boy could do more on a broom than anybody Ive ever seen. Well, except maybe you." Harry grinned. "So he hasnt changed much?" "Hrm. He seems a bit tougher, now. Working with wild dragonsll do that, ya know. But, you have a visitor, now. Im sure you already knew that, though, what with those ears." "Thanks again. Do you have a name?" "You know, youre the first person to ever ask me that? Ive been around since the founders made me, nearly a thousand years, and youre the first to ask my name. You really are full of surprises, you know that? But, your question my name is Leo." "Well, thanks, Leo," Harry thought to Leo, "Youve been a great help." "Not a problem, kid. But, if you dont pay attention to her soon, I think she might throw you in the lake," Leo said and then he was gone. "Hi, Blaise." "You knew I was here?" "Yeah, I heard you breathing."

"You heard me breathing?! But I dont sound like a sex fiend, do I?" she asked after a minute. Harry laughed. "No, I just have good ears." "Oh," she said with a relieved laugh. "Have a seat." She moved in and sat beside him, glancing furtively at him every so often. "I noticed you didnt come to dinner," she said tentatively. Harry nodded quietly and continued to stare at the first years who were in a playful wrestling match with the squid. "I wasnt hungry." "Oh," she said with a frown. She pulled a piece of chicken and two rolls wrapped in a napkin out of her robes. "I guess you dont want these, then." Harry glanced over and noticed the food, then smiled. "Thanks," he said as he took one of the rolls and began to munch on it. "Not really hungry, but I suppose I should eat something." She smiled happily and wrapped the chicken and the roll back up and handed them to him. "For later, then." Harry nodded, then heard the question hed been dreading since he heard he coming. "Did you think about what I asked you this morning?" Harry nodded softly. "And?" she asked, hesitantly as if the answer would be a slap in the face. "Blaise, I --" Harry was saved from giving his answer by a childs scream from Hagrids hut. "MASTER! HELP ME! GARETH IS BACK!" Harrys eyes went wide as he leaped to his feet and headed for Hagrids hut at a dead run, shrinking quickly in Blaises view, as she stared in shock at the sight over Hagrids hut. Looming over the hut was a full-sized English Black flapping angrily as he tried to get to Zanith. "Gareth," Harry hissed, "leave the boy be. I do not wish to kill you." "Begone, man-thing. The boy is mine to do with as I please. His mother had no right to keep me from him." "You tried to kill him! She had every right to protect her child!" "Hes my child, too, man-thing!"

"That grants you no power over him. Leave or die, the choice is yours." "You can not protect him forever, man-thing." "I can, and I will, if that is what is required, Gareth. I warn you, if you attempt to harm the child again you will die." "You cant harm me, man-thing." "Oh?" Harry hissed as he whipped out his wand. "Caustucs Agonia!" he shouted and a blood red mist shot out of the end of his wand and enveloped Gareth who began roaring in pain immediately as the acidic mist ate away at his scales. "I am the Master, Gareth. Harm the boy, and you will die. Incatatem Exemptus!" Once he could move again, Gareth leaped into the air and flew away angrily. Hagrid walked out holding Zanith in his arms as the boy cried into his shoulder. "Its okay, Zane," Harry said softly as the boy looked down at him. "Hes gone, now. He wont be back, and if he does, Hagrid will protect you." "Thats right," Hagrid said quietly. "I ain gonna let nobody hurt yeh. Ever." "Promise?" Zane asked as he looked tearfully up at Hagrid. "Promise," he said as he hugged the little boy tightly. "Zane, no offense intended," Harry said with a grin, "but we have to quit meeting like this." The little boy laughed between hiccoughs at Harrys joke. .oOo. "Are you alright?!" Blaise asked as she tackled Harry when he came in the door to the castle. "Dragon fwoosh, Harry run, shhhhhh arrrrrgh, roar, whoosh, yay!" Harry looked up at her from where she was sitting on his chest. "English please?" "Oh, sorry. I saw the dragon, then you ran off, then I saw a rid mist, the dragon howled, roared then flew off. Now, are you alright?!" "Yes, Im fine," he said, and she slapped him hard across the face. "Why is it that whenever Im okay some woman slaps me," Harry wondered aloud. "Because you run off doing something stupid a lot?!" she said as she scowled at him from his chest. "I have a good mind not to move. Least then you wont run off and try to get yourself killed." Harry heard a harumph and looked up in time to see Ginny stalking up the stairs, and he groaned inwardly. "Can I stand up, now, Blaise? I promise not to run off trying to get myself killed at least for the rest of the night," he said with a grin.

"Oh, fine. But, if you do I get to chain you up in my bedroom," she said with a frown. "I thought the purpose was to get me not to try to get myself killed," he said with an impish grin, and she slowly turned a rose color. After he dusted himself off, he leaned over and whispered into her ear, "Gotcha." Her immediate reaction was to slap him again, this time on the arm. "Well, I could think of a few things to say that would turn you as red as a Chinese Fireball," she said with a grin. "But, Ill save those until you answer my question." "Question?" "Just think about it," she reminded him. "Oh," he said with a nervous smile. "Well, I really dont know, Blaise," he said honestly. "The closest Ive had to a girlfriend was Cho Chang, and that didnt go so well. I dont know if Im even ready to think about anything like that, let alone the idea of settling down with one woman." She nodded but not without some small amount of disappointment. "Ive really only known you for three days. Im not asking you to promise me marriage, especially not after that short a time. I just want the chance to get to know you. If anything more comes of that, then so be it. "I know youre attracted to me. I could feel it when I kissed you," she said with a mischievous grin. "I just want the chance to see if anything more comes of it." Harry nodded. While they were talking theyd ended up in front of the Slytherin portrait hole. Blaise grabbed Harrys hand and pulled him into a guard post where a set of armor was standing, and she kissed him once again. This time it was a soft, tender kiss though still passion-filled like the kiss from the day before. Instinctively he kissed her back, and he found he quite enjoyed it, and obviously so did she. They continued like that until the armor tapped them and pointed quietly. They both looked up to find Snape glaring at them. Blaise quickly kissed Harry on the cheek and disappeared. "Watch out, Severus," Harry said as he turned to walk away. "Your mother may not have mentioned it, but if you keep making faces it could end up stuck like that." .oOo. As Harry clamored through the portrait hole into the empty common room, he was rather surprised. Normally people were still up at this hour, but it was entirely empty, he thought. Then he noticed someone sitting in one of the chairs in front of the heatless fire. "Where is everyone," Harry asked to whoever was on the chair. "They left after I knocked out the twins," Ginny replied coolly. "You did what?!"

"I knocked out the twins," she repeated irritably. "Why?" Harry asked in genuine curiosity "They mocked me at the wrong time," she said calmly, "so I kicked them both in the head." Harry laughed as he sat down beside her, in the other chair. "Interesting way to handle it." "I suppose. I finally figured out why you like Blaise better than me," Ginny said quietly. Harry started to object, but Ginny cut him off. "Just listen. The difference is that she doesnt really know you, and I well, you know how I feel. She doesnt make you feel like you owe her a commitment. I make you feel like you owe me something, because of how I feel. "Am I close?" "Not really," Harry said with a grin, "but I can see you put a lot of thought into it. Ginny, I dont like her better as you put it. Im attracted to both of you, but I dont belong to you. You cant go off getting mad at me because you see me in an odd position. "The night we got here, she kissed me, not the other way around. When I admitted I was attracted to her, you missed when I said I fancied you as well. Tonight, she tackled me after I fought a dragon. I didnt pull her on top of me. Every time, you got mad at me for something I really couldnt control." "What about tonight," she asked softly. "The portraits were telling each other how Potter and Zabini were kissing by the armor down in the dungeons." "Well, now that you can get mad at me about, I guess," he said after a minute. "She kissed me, but I did kiss her back." "No, I cant get mad about that, either," she said as a pair of tears rolled down her face. "If I hadnt kept getting mad at you, then you might not have been there." "Maybe, but Im going to tell you the same thing I told Blaise. Im sixteen years old. Cho Chang is the closest thing to a girlfriend that Ive ever had, and that didnt go well. I dont know if Im ready to try that again," he said softly as she stared into the fire. "Harry, do I even have a chance with you," she asked after a moment. "Ginny, you have as much chance with me as she does, if thats what youre asking. I just have to know that Im ready for something before I consider it again." She nodded quietly. "Im going to head up to bed, I think. Its been a long day." As Harry passed the couch he felt a pair of soft hands spin him around, and push him down roughly onto the couch. Ginny crawled over him like a cat on the prowl, and leaned in and bit down on his neck. Harry groaned in pleasure as her mouth moved up to his, and she kissed him deeply.

"Gnight, Harry," she said and smiled softly at him, then hopped up and ran up to her room. "Knight? Where?" Harry asked dazedly as he looked around for a man in armor. .oOo. "No! Kreacher begs forgiveness, sir!" the little bat-eared creature named Kreacher screamed. "Kreacher was not meaning what he did!" "Oh, thats not a problem," Harry said as he growled at Kreacher. "Youre free, now," he hissed as he handed the little monster a sock. "My godfather requested I free you, in his will. So, youre free now." Kreacher broke down in sobs. "Kreachers not wantin to leave Mistress Black," he gasped between sobs. "Please," he said as he groveled toward Harry, "please let Kreacher stay with his Mistress." "Oh, you wont be leaving," Harry said with a dangerous glint in his eye, and out of nowhere a sword appeared in his hand. "Youll be joining your family," he cackled and brought the sword quickly down removing Kreachers head as his blue, house elf blood splattered the walls of Sirius mothers room.

Dear Reader, I appreciate all the reviews, very much. Just thought I'd mention that again, since you are taking time out of your day to tell me well whatever you tell me. :) I ask that you all read the first piece of this chapter, specifically the bit about Kreacher, before you continue reading this note. This note contains spoilers for this chapter of the story, but only about the first section and not much of that. Now, someone asked if I will ever tell who the mystery person was that sent Harry that information. The answer is yes, I will. Theyve been looking for it for five years (almost since the end of Harrys first year). Thats the only clue you get, for now mainly because the mystery person will be sending another note soon. ;) Someone else asked why Harry is still staying in the dorms. Part of the reason he likes Hogwarts so much is because of the people there. He could stay in his own room, but why would he want to? The only reason he asked about it is if he needed a place for secret meetings (our Fearless Foursome, formerly a Terrible Trio, does a good bit of skulking, you know). ;) What can I say about Kreacher? Some of you are happy that Kreacher got what was coming to him. Some seem worried about it being Harry that killed him. Further still, some seem worried that Harry killed him and Sirius might not have wanted that. Let's address all three.

For those happy that Kreacher got what was coming to him bravo! Glad I'm not the only one. ;) For those worried about Harry killing him well, as you can see the end of the last chapter was in fact a dream. I'm not saying that Kreacher won't die, nor am I saying that Harry won't be the one who does it. :) For those worried about Sirius' true wishes, I will point out two minor facts that come to mind about the whole situation of Kreachers death. One, Sirius' will was written before his death, indirectly caused by Kreacher. Sirius was a man who seemed to believe in just rewards. He, after all, wanted to kill Peter Pettigrew for what he did to James and Lily (and in turn what he did to Sirius). I don't think he'd have been too angry with Harry killing off Kreacher for, more or less, the same reason he wanted to kill Peter Pettigrew. In fact, I don't think he'd have cared in the least, because Kreacher (as Dumbledore mentioned in Order of the Phoenix) didn't really seem to matter to him at all. I expanded on this by having Harry free him he didnt want him free because he wanted him happy. He wanted him free because the house elf was driving him bonkers and didnt want Harry to have to deal with that same problem after his death. Two, Sirius just asked Harry to free Kreacher. I don't really think he cared what happened to him after he was gone, so long as he wasnt still in the house causing trouble. So, in the dream, Harry fulfilled Sirius wishes. He freed Kreacher, and then he killed him. ;) Now, someone mentioned my improper usage of certain words. I'm not specifically sure what words those are (they didn't mention any examples). I went back over the story, and the only thing I could really notice was the fact that I mix up twinge and tinge sometimes (a bad habit of mine). I didn't go over the story with a fine-toothed comb, mind (I'm not that bored). But, that is all I noticed from looking over it. If you see problems and want to report them without cluttering reviews with them, feel free to e-mail me at I dont check it often, but I do check it. Most any mistake I make, that I've noticed anyway, is because I wasn't paying attention. I would prefer they remain in e-mail, though, so that I can more easily find it if I need to look at it again. Trying to find it in the reviews would just be annoying as hell even in the review e-mails (they all have the same subject! Gah!). ;) On the subject of Gareth, Zanith and dragons in general. Some people like Zane, some dont. Hes probably going to be playing a part in the stories, in a large way. If you dont like him, the best I can say is try to read the parts involving him really quickly. ;) Gareth this character I can promise is going to become a pain in Harrys backside. I wont say how, of course, because that would be telling. No, the best Ill offer is that he doesnt much like Harry, now. :) Finally, the subject of Ginny and Blaise as Ive gotten one comment already (and probably more on it, eventually) I will go ahead and make this clear. I know many of you

dont like the Ginny/Blaise triangle. Some even seem to hate it. Those mainly come from people who either think that Harry and Ginny are the only people that should ever be paired or from people who hate the idea of Harry being with more than one girl at a time. Let me go ahead and address those two issues, before I address everything else. Harry and Ginny, first. In the books, I am almost sure Harry will end up with Ginny. It just seems like a nobrainer, to me I have a theory behind it, which all has to do with the eyes. Harry looks like his father with green eyes like his mother. I would guess that Ginny will, fully grown, look like his mother with brown eyes like his father. But, Im not Rowling whoever I pair him with, in the end, really doesnt matter except to my story and any following stories. :) I know you all have your opinions, and thats great. I, personally, and a big Harry and Ginny fan. Most of the authors on my favorites list, if you notice, have Harry and Ginny stories (or at least one that caught my eye to get them there). But, I still have to do what I think is best. Next the issue of Harry being with more than one girl. First of all, it is, to an extent, reluctant on his part. They are pursuing him, not the other way around, he is simply resigned to the fact and doing what he can to enjoy it. Many of you think it wouldnt be in his nature to do this. But, I pose this question do any of you really know what is in his nature, after the egg changed him? ;) Now, do I have any belief at all that some of you dont like the triangle I have, joking though they may be, gotten death threats over it (no, I didnt take them seriously, Im just using them as an example). I would have to be as dumb as a post not to realize that some people are agitated about it. Some want one, some want the other, some like it, some dont. I, personally, dont mind. To me, it is hard to choose which it should be. But, it is a choice I will make without influence some of you may take offense to this statement, but I cant really help it, so here it is. Im not going to do what you want. Telling me to make it one way or another doesnt much matter to me, for the simple fact that due to my experience in another field I have learned that you cant make everyone happy. So, instead, Im just going to tell my story, my way. If you like it, thats great. If not, well Im sorry. Now, I hope you take that the way I meant which is, basically, "I appreciate your comments, your support, and your criticisms. I will consider them, but when it comes down to it I have to do what I think is best." I really do appreciate your perspectives, as they give me some concepts of what I might be doing wrong but, most of the comments on that subject are not so much a matter of bad characterization as it is personal bias on the part of the reader Oh, and one other thing YES! Yes, yes, yes, yes, yes! I know I only accept signed reviews! Read my profile! I changed it so people would stop telling me that! :P Again, I thank you all for your thoughts, concerns, praise, and your criticisms. Im glad

some of you find my work enjoyable enough to come back and read it. I really am. Thanks much, and I hope you enjoy the next piece. Erm yeah, so uh long note there. Cheese and flowers, mah brotha! In any case, on to the story. :) -Master Eldryn!

"GAH!" Harry shouted as he woke up from his nightmare. "Ever since I freed him. Seems like one night could go by without me dreaming of Ginny and Blaise, or another way to kill Kreacher." "Harry?" Ron asked as he rubbed at his sleep-filled eyes. "You alright?" "Yeah, Ron, Im fine," he replied automatically. "Another nightmare?" "Yeah," Harry said as he pushed his fingers back through his sweat-filled hair. "I think Im going to take a shower." "Right then," Ron yawned. "Morpheus, Im yours," he said as he laid his head back onto his pillow. Harry took a quick shower, mainly interested in getting the sweat off of him, and stepped out. He tightly wrapped a towel around his waist and looked into the mirror. Out of boredom he began to change his appearance. He didnt think he looked right with red hair, like the Weasleys. Though a neatly trimmed goatee and mustache, he didnt mind. He also found that his hair was actually manageable, when long, like Bills. After about ten minutes he started going more outlandish. An animalistic nose, blood-red eyes, a pair of leathery bat-like wings, and two large curved horns later Harry laughed at his reflection which really did look quite monstrous. It wouldnt have been so bad had Ron not walked into the Gryffindors common bathroom in a sleepy stupor, just as Harry was growling at the mirror. As soon as Ron looked up he screamed like a scared little girl, and fell straight onto his backside scrambling backwards. He didnt stop screaming until Harry had reverted to his natural state. "Good lord, Harry! You trying to give me heart spasms?!" Ron shouted at him, as the Gryffindor boys began to clog the doorway. "Sorry, Ron," Harry said with a guilty grin. "I was bored." A minute later Hermione busted in on them. Harry, who was still in a towel, looked at her like shed lost her mind. "Is everything all right? I thought I heard a girl scream from here!" "That was just Ron," Harry said with a chuckle. "He did sound a lot like a little girl, didnt he?"

Ron turned bright red, starting at the ears and working its way down to his face. "Look, he looked like a bloody demon when I walked in," Ron whispered to her, as if that explained everything. Hermione, however, caught none of that. She was staring at the nearly naked Harry with a goofy grin on her face. "DAMN! Ginny was right, he really is hot, now," Hermione thought to herself as she continued to stare at Harry in all his statuesque splendor. Ron glared at her and started waving his hand in front of her face, but she didnt notice. Harry had turned a light shade of pink from his shower so much so, to his delight, that he wasnt blushing. If not for his shower and the stuffy bathroom, though, his embarrassment would have been quite noticeable. "Hermione!" Ron shouted at the bushy-haired girl who was on the verge of openly leering at Harry. As Rons voice penetrated the thick fog that had clouded her mind, she looked up at him. She had so much built up sexual frustration first with Ron being too thickheaded to notice her that seeing Harry like that pushed her over the edge. With a guttural growl she grabbed Ron, a maniacal expression on her face. "Mmph!" Rons voice squeaked out as Hermiones lips smashed against his own, his eyes wide with surprise. After a moment Ron figured out what was happening, dense as he was, and gave in to Hermione who was kissing him like a madwoman. Harry walked over to them with a wide smile on his face and pushed them out of the bathroom. Hermione continued to walk backward with her arms around Rons neck, and his hands firmly on her waist, all the way out of the boys dorm. They didnt seem to hear the catcalls from Seamus; Dean; Neville, who was blushing profusely; or Fred and George, who were cheering their little brother on. For that matter, they didnt hear any of the boys who were whistling, cheering, shouting, or what have you. Harry didnt know it at the time, but he wouldnt see either of them for the rest of the day, except in classes where both appeared completely out of breath and almost late. Almost. .oOo. "Hagrid, Ive got a class first thing this morning, but its nothing I cant handle. Can Zane join me? Id like to show him around the school a bit," Harry said as he smiled up at Hagrid, who was busy restringing his large crossbow, outside his hut. "Sure thing, Harry," Hagrid replied. "I got some things to be doin today, anyway." "Great," Harry said as Zane ran and jumped into his arms, with a gigantic grin on his face. "I see youre adapting to normal life rather well," Harry commented to the little boy in his arms. "Being a dragon is great, but being a human is funner!" the boy exclaimed ecstatically, as Harry carried him up to the castle with him, both waving goodbye to Hagrid. "Im glad you like it. In all honesty, though," Harry said with a soft smile, "Id choose to

be a dragon any day. Less complicated, you see." "Less complicated? Being a guardian of all magic is less complicated than being a human?" "Yep," Harry said with a frown. "See, being a guardian your task is all laid out for you. As a human you have all these things that just dont make sense. Women, for example, make no sense. Even with everything I learned from the egg, I still dont understand them. Actually, I understand them less, because I have the thoughts and memories of some of them." "Wow. Well, if I ever figure them out, Ill give you the secret," Zane said with a smile. "You do that," Harry said with a half-chuckle. .oOo. "Oh my," Professor McGonogall said as she noticed the young boy in Harrys arms. "Who is that, Mr. Potter?" "Oh, hello Professor," Harry said amiably. "This is Zane, my nephew, I suppose would be the best word to use for it." "Hello, Lady," Zane said with a smile up at her. "Are you mad?" "No," she said softly to him. "Im just curious why Harry has a young boy with him." "Oh," Zane said and laughed. "Hes taking me to his class, so I can watch." McGonogalls eyes nearly popped out of her head. "Youre taking him to a Dark Arts class?!" Harry nodded as he tickled the little boy, his hysterical giggling drawing the goofy grins of a few passing seventh year Hufflepuffs. Between giggles Harry explained, "Hagrid is busy right now, so I offered to baby sit." As a joke he added, "Hell be helpful for demonstrations during the class, anyway." The joke was made even funnier, in Harrys eyes, but the fact that Zane just smiled and nodded happily. "Demonstrations?!" McGonogall screeched as her eyes nearly bugged out of her head. "Harry Potter have you lost your mind?!" she shrieked at him. "Are you mad, now?" Zane asked, with a curious look on his face. "Indubitably," she said as she glared at Harry. As a group of passers-by began to notice that McGonogall was no longer speaking, simply glaring, they began to slow down. "Big word," Zane said with a crinkle of his face. Falling into her role as a teacher, McGonogall instinctively began to explain. "It means without a --"

Zane interrupted. "I know what it means. It just seems a bit grandiose. I dont know you very well, but it also makes you seem ostentatious," he finished with a child-like shrug, as McGonogall stared at him in shock. The students passing by didnt fail to notice the look of shock plastered across McGonogalls face. A look theyd rarely, if ever, seen. "Professor, come with me, please," Harry said softly, trying to avoid more attention, and walked into the closest empty classroom. He put Zane down, gaining him a groan of irritation. "Zane, would you like to give Professor McGonogall a demonstration?" "Ok." Zane said simply, still a bit put out that hed lost his height advantage. "How about a Patronus," Harry said with a grin as he handed his wand to Zane. Zane nodded and moved the wand, "Expecto Patronum!" A slow silver mist formed from the tip of Harrys wand. Zane looked at it irritably. "Useless piece of wood," he said as he handed Harrys wand back. McGonogall was staring in shock. She hadnt expected to see the mist come from the wand, since even that required the spell to be performed properly. She was even more shocked when Zane waved his hand in the same manner and repeated the charm. As soon as he repeated the charm a silver dragon, of a variety McGonogall had never seen before, erupted from his hand. McGonogall began stammering out the word how, as the tiny dragon flew quickly around the room before it began to fade. "Professor, Id thank you not to repeat what you saw to anyone. No one needs to know that he can do that," Harry said, trying not to startle the already surprised professor. She nodded her understanding and continued to stammer how as she walked out the door, and away from the classroom. "Well, Zane, I must say Im honored I am your Patronus," Harry said with a grin, "but, you cant go around doing magic without a wand. People think youre human, and Id like to keep it that way. But, I am proud of you for thinking so quickly to shrink it." Zane frowned, but nodded. "When do I get a wand, then?" he asked, not even thinking about the compliment. "Well see," Harry said with a shrug. "Not sure if there is much I can do about it, but I can probably work something out for you." Zane nodded. "Sounds good, Master." "How can I break you of calling me Master?" Harry asked as he began to tickle the young boy furiously. Between giggles and gasps Zane choked out, "Thats o-on-on-o-one w-way-ay!" .oOo. After Harrys class with a group of third years, in which Harry taught them about

werewolves while leaving out the information of what a werewolf truly was, he took Zane to the Great Hall for lunch. Before they reached the Gryffindor table Harry was surrounded by most of the girls from each house, except Slytherin. They kept looking at Zane that way he hated, causing him to seek reassurance that the girls didnt plan to eat him. "I promise Zane, no one is going to try to eat you," Harry said softly into the boys ear, as he kept him close to reassure him. "Ok," he said as he clutched Harrys neck tightly. They sat down at the Gryffindor table, and Zane looked at all the food. "I cant eat all this," he muttered as he looked at it. "I couldnt even eat all this normally!" "Its not all for you," Harry said with a chuckle. "You take what you want of it." "Oh," Zane said with a sheepish grin. "That makes more sense." "Whos that, Potter," Malfoy drawled from behind them. "You and the Weasley girl releasing children on the world already?!" "Malfoy, dont think that just because there are Professors here that I wont make good on my threat," Harry said without even moving to turn around. "Youll be dead before they even take the first step," Harry hissed calmly. Zane stood slowly and looked up at the Slytherin, his blue eyes staring at the older boy without emotion. "I dont like you," he said after he stared at Malfoy for a while. "Go away." As Zane began to turn back to the table he noticed Malfoy twitch and go into the first stage of casting a spell. Zanes arm snapped out and his tiny fingers grabbed hold of Harrys wand. Harry simply smiled as he watched the scene unfold in the reflection of the spoon he was holding. "Serpen --" Malfoy was interrupted mid-spell. "Expelliarmus!" Zane shouted at him and Malfoy was blown across the Great Hall where he slammed into the wall with a sickening crunch, his wand flying from his hand into Zanes. Hed slammed shoulder first into the wall, and it sounded as if something had broken when he hit. Zane turned to Harry smiling and immediately asked, while holding up Malfoys wand, "Can I keep it?" Harry chuckled. "No, but I think I might have that sorted out for you," Harry said with a grin. The entire Gryffindor section had erupted into cheers and surrounded Zane, after Harry finished his statement, clapping the young boy on the back and offering him happy smiles. The entire Head Table was clapping at the show, not paying much attention to the

very pale and seemingly unconscious form of Malfoy who was in a heap by the wall. No, they were far too surprised. A boy of five years had just sent Malfoy forty feet across the room, single-handedly. Snape, who walked in to see Malfoy sailing across the room, lifted Malfoy up. His face was even paler than normal and covered in either sweat or tears. He couldnt really tell which. "Who did this?!" Snape shouted angrily, shaking Malfoy to indicate what this was. "Did I do something wrong, uncle?" Zane asked, looking up at Harry innocently. "Well, I suppose uncle is better than Master," Harry said with a grin. "And no, you didnt do anything wrong." As Harry and Zane approached the livid professor, they glanced at Malfoy and noticed that he had in fact lost consciousness. It looked as if his collarbone was what had been broken. "He did it," Harry said pointing at Zane. "Who the bloody hell is that?" Snape demanded in a low whisper. "Well call him my nephew," Harry said quietly. "His name is Zane." "That young boy could not have done this," Snape said indicating Malfoy. "Im not stupid, Potter." "Obviously you are," Zane said as he looked up at Snape. He then quirked his face and said, "Whens the last time you washed your hair?" Snape glared at the young boy as a soft pink tint, one that made him almost look normal, appeared on his face. "You," Snape sneered at the boy, "need to learn some manners." "And you need to learn Legillimency, because you obviously cant tell when someone is telling you the truth," Zane snapped back. "Are you sure I cant keep this," he asked as he held up Malfoys wand. "He seems to like this idiot man-thing, and I think it would irk him." "Ahem," Dumbledore said with a twinkle in his eyes. "Is there a problem, Severus?" "Yes, Albus," Snape replied calmly. "Someone attacked Mr. Malfoy. Potter claims it was that child." He said child as if it were an evil and dirty word. "He would be quite correct, then," Dumbledore said quietly. "Young Mr. Malfoy was attempting to curse Harry. Serpensortia, if I am not mistaken. This young man responded quickly. Mr. Malfoys current predicament is a result of his own actions." Snape stared wide-eyed at Zane, who smirked up at him petulantly, for a moment, before he immediately returned to glaring and sneering. "What did he use on him? And from what distance was he from this wall?" "Well, he quite clearly shouted Expelliarmus," Dumbledore said with that twinkle dancing in his eyes, "and I would approximate Mr. Malfoys distance from the wall at

thirty to forty feet." Snapes response to this was to drop Malfoy, accidentally, gaining him grunts of pain in response. "Im going to get him to Poppy," Snape said as he conjured a stretcher and moved Malfoy out of the Great Hall. "Harry, might I inquire as to who your powerful young friend is?" Dumbledore asked as Snape strode swiftly from the Great Hall. "My names Zane," Zane said as he looked up at Dumbledore. "Youre tall like uncle Harry. Pick me up?" "Uncle Harry?" Dumbledore asked as he lifted Zane up onto his shoulders as an almost automatic response. Harry grinned at Dumbledore. "I saved him, and I sort of adopted him as my nephew. Hagrid is his guardian, though," Harry said as he chuckled. "You mean this is --" Harry nodded with a grin. "I told you hed blend in, and no one would be able to tell." "Amazing," Dumbledore said as he bounced the young boy on his shoulders. "I like it up here. How long until Im this tall?" Zane asked after a particularly loud laugh. "About ten more years, Zane," Harry replied off-handedly. "Humans grow too slowly," Zane muttered under his breath. "Tell me about it," Harry said with a laugh. "Ive already been through it." Dumbledore smiled fondly as he remembered his time as a child. "Grandfather, would you mind watching Zane for a while? I have potions, and Im quite sure Severus wont allow Zane into his class." Dumbledore nodded, and Harry disappeared quietly down a short hall leading to the dungeons. "So, Zane," Dumbledore asked tentatively, "what would you like to do?" "Where is the tallest place around tall man?" "Well, the tallest place around is the astronomy tower. And you can just call me grandpa," Dumbledore said with a grin. "If youre Harrys nephew, thatd make me your great grandfather." "Ok, grampa," Zane said with a smile. "To the astronomy tower!" As the two walked resolutely to the astronomy tower, Professor Sprout slowed to speak to them. With a big, wide grin, she said as she pinched Zanes cheek, "Well, if you dont just look cute enough to eat."

Zane began screaming at the top of his lungs for Harry immediately. .oOo. Harry returned from a rather uneventful potions lesson, on the Potis potion, to find Zane running around in a circle by the still form of his grandfather. When Zane spotted him he ran and leaped up into Harrys arms, wrapping his arms firmly around Harrys neck. "I like him," Zane said pointing at Dumbledore. "Hes funny." "Yes, he can be, at times," Harry said with a smile as he walked over and gently shook Dumbledore. "Im awake. Just resting my eyes," Dumbledore said quietly, without moving. "That boy has far too much energy for my own good." Harry chuckled softly. "Get some rest, sir. Were going to sneak into the dungeons and rig up a prank." Dumbledore nodded quietly, "Nothing too dangerous, please." "Of course," Harry said as he and Zane slipped out of the door to Dumbledores office. "So, did you have fun today, Zane?" Zane nodded excitedly. "Grampa is fun. He took me up to the astronomy tower and I got to see the grounds from way up high. Then we tickled a pear and met a really excited house elf who would smile like an idiot every time Grampa said Harry." "Ah, Dobby," Harry said knowingly. "You like Dobby?" Zane nodded again. "He kept trying to give me a pair of mismatched socks, though." Harry chuckled as they made their way down the hall. On the way there Harry kept getting odd looks from every girl he passed above fourth year. Peeves appeared and saw Zane, and started shouting about the wee ickle beastie-boy. "Peeves," Harry said with a grin. "Would you like to help me with a prank?" Peeves immediately became soberly. "It would be my pleasure, young sir," Peeves said seriously. "Who might I ask is the target?" "Whoever happens to be in the dungeons when it goes off," Harry said off-handedly. "Oh, the best kind," Peeves said with a maniacal grin. "What do you need me to do." Harry explained quickly and Peeves saluted and disappeared wailing down the corridor, rattling armor or student as he went. Peeves let out an exultant cackle as he went up a couple of feet, then flew down through the floor directly in front of two first year girls who immediately fell on their rumps. "Do you think he can be trusted?" Zane asked curiously.

"Not a chance," Harry said with a smile. "But, he wont give up an opportunity to prank someone, just to try to mess us up. Hell do what I asked." "Ok. So, whats my job," Zane said quietly as he looked about at the dungeon theyd just entered. "Youre going to do the transfiguration work, while I set up the charms." They set to work, preparing their prank. Once they were done they swiftly left the dungeon, but carefully enough not to trigger the prank, and moved towards the castle entrance. Just as they were about to step through the main entrance Malfoy, Crabbe, and Goyle came tearing up the main corridor, screaming as they were pelting by tiny, flaming pumpkins. They were being tailed by a group of angry miniature Snapes who were shouting for their expulsion. In the hand of each Snape was a pumpkin, which they kept throwing at the three terrified Slytherins before another appeared in hand. Just as the boys passed into the center of the Great Hall, which the Snapes had been charmed to direct them to, a large bucket of what appeared to be water splashed on all three boys. It wasnt water, though. It was magical dye. Each boys hair changed a new color, as did his robes. Malfoy was hit worst of all, with pink hair and lavender robes. Crabbe and Goyle received white hair and green hair, respectively with their robes being the converse. "What is the meaning of this?!" Snape shouted as he entered and saw the three members of his house. About that time Peeves cackled and flew away singing quite off-key, "Lavender, pink, white and green, funny, funny, but Im still clean!" Snape immediately assumed it was one of Peeves pranks, until he noticed the mini-Snapes that were standing there laughing at him with flaming pumpkins in hand. "When I find out who did this I will personally see to their expulsion!" he shouted indignantly. As he dragged Malfoy away, with Crabbe and Goyle trailing slowly behind, the mini-Snapes ran after him shouting, "Expel this," as they threw the tiny flaming pumpkins at his head. With a yelp he slapped at his hair, the bottom of which had caught on fire. He whirled angrily on the mini-Snapes. "Incendiarius!" he shouted and the mini-Snapes caught fire and died while screaming foul names at Snape. With an exultant sneer, he turned and roughly pulled Malfoy away, his two lackeys right behind them. "That --" "was --" "bloody --" "brilliant --" "Harry!" Fred and George whispered to Harry as soon as they were close enough, their

laughter causing them to finish for each other, while the other tried to regain his breath. "What?" Harry asked innocently. "Why tell me?" "Well, the fact that you have some of the dye on your hands," George said quietly, after hed regained his sense, "sort of tipped us off." "I cant," Harry said quickly. "Nice try, though." Zane pointed at them both, "They look alike. Is that normal?" "Nothing about them, Zane," Harry said with a chuckle, "is normal." "Were wounded --" "by your statement!" they exclaimed dramatically. "Though," Fred said with a grin, "you do know he is right, right dear brother?" "Of course," George said calmly, "but to be called on it in such a manner? So rude." "Indeed." Zane sniffed at them. "You smell like dung." Fred and George started at this proclamation and looked around quickly to make sure no one was around. "How?!" "Good nose," Harry said quickly. George pointed at his pocket where they had a colossal dung bomb with a short fuse, and Fred pointed at his where he had a corked vial of Bubotuber pus. "Atticus asked us to --" "perform a prank for --" "him on his favorite --" "little nephew, today," they bounced in hushed tones. Harry busted out laughing, causing both boys to look around wildly to make sure no one was looking. "Stop that!" they whispered harshly, in unison. "Sorry," Harry said quietly, "its just that Im fairly sure Snape will pin it on you two." "Of course he will," they said with a grin. "But, hell have to prove it!" They quickly excused themselves and disappeared in the direction of the dungeon. Harry decided it would be a good idea to get out of the castle. Snape being able to pin this on him or even blame him for being around would not be good. Quickly he and Zane headed towards Hagrids hut with Harry explaining to Zane what Fred and George had planned. "Hagrid, you there?" Harry called as he knocked on Hagrids door.

"Hold on," Hagrid called. "Back Fang! Back! In with you." "Hi, dad," Zane said with a smile. "Hullo, Zane. Have a fun day?" Hagrid asked with a smile, as he lifted up the young boy into a bone-crushing hug. Zane finally had to end it by turning into a dragon, right in his arms and blowing a small flame in Hagrids face. "What the blue blazes was that fer?!" Hagrid as indignantly. "Uncle Harry might be able to handle those hugs, but Im too little," Zane said as he shifted back into his human shape. "You gotta be easy on me. In this form Im easily broken, I guess." Without stopping Zane then went into an explanation of his whole day, as the moved to the table. Hagrid ended up falling off his chair with pride when he heard about Malfoy and he laughed a happy, belly laugh when he heard about the prank. "Hagrid, can I see your wand for a moment," Harry asked quietly, once everything had settled down. "I know you keep it in your umbrella." Hagrid looked guiltily around his hut for a moment, then just nodded. "Righ then. Been spectin this." He pulled out the wand and handed it to Harry, who looked closely at it, the two snapped pieces looking sadly out of place in an odd sort of way. "Connectere Wand!" Harry muttered and the sixteen-inch oaken wand, with its Unicorn hair core, glowed softly as the wood began to reach out and knit itself back together into a solid wand. Hagrid gasped as he saw his precious wand become whole again. "Duplicatus!" he muttered and the wand split into two identical wands, one he handed to Hagrid who stared at it with teary eyes. The other he looked at, as if analyzing it for flaws. "Thank yeh, Harry! Yehll never know what this means to me!" Hagrid exclaimed as quietly as a half-giant could. "Think nothing of it, Hagrid. Just hide it well. You being able to do magic could be useful, since no one expects you to have a wand," Harry said seriously, and Hagrid nodded excitedly. The copy he handed to Zane. "I told you wed see," Harry said with a smile. Zane stared at the wand. "Its too big," he said as he held it almost like a sword. Harry nodded, and told him to grasp it firmly. "Adaptare Wand!" Harry muttered and the wand shrank itself to about eleven inches, which Zane smiled at. "Much better," Zane said as he waved the wand about. "Incendiarius!" he shouted and pointed his wand at the fireplace. A roaring fire flew from his wand into the logs under Hagrids kettle" "Jumpin dragons," Hagrid exclaimed as he looked at the roaring fire. "The boys going to be a thumpin good wizard, isn he!" he said while beaming with pride.

.oOo. The next week passed far too slowly for Harry. Each of his classes paid attention, but most were too scared to speak up when they had a question. His little bout with Snape had been turned into a bloodbath where Snape had nearly been killed and had been in St. Mungos because of all the internal injuries and brain damage. Finally, his irritation with his class came to a head at the end of the week. "The next time I ask a question, I expect an answer. If I dont get one, Im tossing someone out the window," Harry growled at the second years. "Now, how do you stop Cornish Pixies from wreaking havoc?" "Immobilize them," a young Ravenclaw responded quickly. "Very good! Five points to Ravenclaw!" Having found that his tactic of a threat was enough to break them out of their shell of fear, Harry used the tactic with every class. It didnt work very well on a class of seventh year Slytherins, though. One of the boys laughed at him, believing that Harry not only didnt mean it, but couldnt do it. He woke up in the infirmary three days later with a broken leg. Harryd tossed him out the window, with a cushioning spell, but the boy flailed and managed to land on one leg snapping it in four places. Harrys love life was not becoming any simpler. In fact, it was becoming a bit more complicated. Ginny and Blaise continued their relentless pursuits of him, each trying their best to win his heart. Harry was caught several times, with Blaise and Ginny. Usually by Ron, but occasionally by Hermione, various teachers, and a few of the ghosts as well as the other girl. One particularly bad day Blaise grabbed Harry just as he was leaving potions and pulled him into an empty classroom. Sir Nicholas was the one who found them and was so shocked his head nearly fell off of his shoulders as he yelped apologies and fled from the room. Out of them all, Ron was the most irritated. He tried several times to beat Harry bloody, but it seemed like every time he tried Ginny knew. Shed appear out of nowhere and threaten to teach him another lesson. Finally, Ron resigned himself to the fact that Ginny would do as she wanted and he couldnt stop her. It was, not surprisingly, right after shed whacked him in the back of the head with a rather large ice mallet. But, Ginny seemed to hate the idea of sharing him with someone else. She went along with it for some reason Harry couldnt understand, though. She tried to tell herself that she didnt mind, but it was apparent by the scowl on her face, when she caught Harry and Blaise behind one of the larger statues, that she did. When Harry asked her why she was willing to share him with someone else, somewhat hurt by the idea that she didnt mind, she explained. "I made you a promise, Harry. I told you I wouldnt leave you, and I meant it," she said as tears welled up in her eyes. "Youre one of my best friends, and I wont abandon

you even when you hurt me," she said as the tears began to roll down her face. "I care about you, you big idiot!" she shouted, then slapped him hard across the face and ran off leaving him to stare in confusion, while rubbing his now sore face. Blaise didnt seem to mind at all that she had to share him if anything, it seemed to make her pursue him even harder. When Harry confronted her about this, she got rather upset. She didnt cry, nor did she hit him, but she did run off leaving him confused, just as Ginny had done. "I dont own you, Harry," she said as she held back tears. "I like you, a lot," she said as she caressed his face, almost in the exact place where Ginny had slapped him earlier. "I would prefer not to have to share you with anyone. But, I am a Slytherin. When I see what I want, I go for it. I want you," she said in a near whisper. "Youre the first friend Ive made, here, you know," she whispered as she looked up into his eyes. "The Slytherins treat me like dirt because Im not a pureblood. The other houses hate me just because Im a Slytherin. You, and your friends, are the only people who ever looked beyond that to me. "Youre probably the sweetest person Ive ever met," whispered Blaise as she closed her eyes to fight back her tears. "You didnt even know me, and you tried to comfort me that first day. If I knew how to get out of this with you so that I didnt have to share you, I would have already done it. But, I wont give you up, not without a fight." She then turned and ran away without another word. Neither of the girls ever got angry with Harry for his perceived infidelity, though, as long as he didnt bring it up. Hed made it clear to both of them that he just couldnt handle an actual relationship yet. Harry attempted to hold both of them at bay while he tried to work through his own feelings, but neither of them made it easy on him. Both girls, determined to have Harry, settled for snogging him senseless while trying to sway him in one direction or the other. This didnt help Harry much, though. He often found himself wondering where he was after one of them tackled him out of nowhere, shoving him into a supply closet here or an empty classroom there. "You know," he thought to himself after one such encounter, "most guys would kill to be in my position." "Yes," Leo mocked, "most guys dont have a sense of responsibility and honor that is bigger than most oceans, though." .oOo. About half way through October Harrys life became much harder, as he prepared for the first Hogsmeade trip. Ron ran up to him, breathless and shoved a copy of Witch Weekly into his hands. Harry glanced at the cover and walked to the closest wall and began to ram his head into it repeatedly while muttering obscenities under his breath, most of which hed learned from Ron, but a few that hed gained from touching the egg. On the cover of the magazine was a picture of Harry, after hed been changed by the

Dragons Tear, with the phrase Harry Potter, Sexiest Wizard of the Year? emblazoned on it in bright, flashing, yellow letters. "Oh, thats not the best part, mate," Ron chuckled as he opened the magazine and repeated the article word for word. Harry Potter, Sexiest Wizard of the Year? by Rita Skeeter Harry Potter, of Potter Place in Scotland, was nominated unanimously by Witch Weeklys council as Sexiest Wizard of the Year. At sixteen years of age, Harry Potter, also known as the Boy-Who-Lived, is one very eligible bachelor. Normally one so young wouldnt be eligible for such a placement, but young Mr. Potter was declared of age by the Ministry of Magic on August first of this year! Reportedly dating one Hermione Granger, discovered by myself, their romance ended abruptly after she met Viktor Krum, noted Bulgarian Quidditch professional. Reliable sources indicate that young Mr. Potter has been caught snogging several times with one Ginny Weasley, daughter of Arthur Weasley of the Ministry of Magic, and one Blaise Zabini. Both have been competing for his affections since the beginning of this school term, said sources indicate. Mr. Potter, who was unavailable for comment at the time of this publishing, has already wowed the magical community by becoming the youngest professor in the history of Hogwarts School of Witchcraft and Wizardry. The list of Mr. Potters impressive achievements could fill an article in itself. Not to mention that we have it on good authority that hes rich so, lock up your daughters, ladies, Mr. Potter, it seems, is on the prowl. Mr. Potters competition is none other than Viktor Krum who has continued to play professional Quidditch, after he finished his tenure at Durmstrang School of Sorcery and the Dark Arts. Voting for Sexiest Wizard of the Year will be held on Halloween. To vote simply write in your vote, and send it with your owl to the Witch Weekly main office. "Bloody hell," Harry muttered as Ron finished reading the article to him. "Ill kill her. Thats it. Ill force her to transform, then Ill feed her to something. Something that smells bad. Really bad." "Calm down, mate," Ron said with a chuckle. "Its not like anybody will take it seriously." .oOo. What Ron didnt know is that he was absolutely wrong. Every girl from the fourth year up, except for Hermione, began to flirt with Harry relentlessly. Even Pansy Parkinson, who mysteriously ended up with a black eye after she said something to Harry with

Blaise around, was flirting with him at every opportunity, which irked Draco Malfoy to no end. Harry was thankful for his two female guardians, very much over the next few weeks, as they managed to keep most of the girls away from him. "I know I have to share you with Blaise, until youre ready to make up your mind," Ginny told him curtly one afternoon. "Youre not mine, after all but the rest of them I have no objections about hurting," she explained, her hot-temper taking control. "Its ok, Ginny," Harry said with a soft smile. "If not for you and Blaise, Id probably go sleep in the Forbidden Forest. Knowing my luck Id be accosted by a female centaur, though." Ginny didnt find his joke funny, and just glared at him for it. "It was a joke, Ginny," he said, and she continued to scowl. His response was to chase her down the hall attempting to tickle her. She may have been intent on protecting him from all the other girls, but no one was protecting her from his fingers. She ran down the hall squealing back at him, "Dont you dare! Im warning you, Harry James Potter!" "Oh, a warning, is it?" he asked with an impish grin. "Sounds like fun," he said as he pinned her to the wall with one arm and nibbled her neck lightly with his teeth. Harry had finally given up on trying to stop Ginny and Blaise, and let the instincts hed inherited from Sirius, via the egg, take over. "Harry," she gasped as his teeth pinched at her neck. "We have to stop," she said pleadingly. "Ok," he said as he continued to nibble and bite her neck, with her groaning in pleasure from each sensuous movement of his mouth. "Are you going to?" she asked as a shiver of delight ran up her spine. "Ill think about it," he whispered before he planted his mouth over hers, and kissed her softly. "If you really want me to," he said when he broke away for a moment, before continuing to kiss her fervently. Ginny wrapped her arms around his neck and pulled him tighter to her. As she felt the effect their kissing was having on him she groaned loudly and shoved him back. "Ok," she gasped out. "I promised myself I wouldnt make you choose, but if you keep doing that, Im going to have to," she said after she caught her breath. Harry nodded with a small grin on his face. "Ok," he said, and kissed her lightly on the lips then turned and walked away, leaving behind a very sexually frustrated Weasley female. "Oh, ickle Ginny has been snogging with that Potter boy, again" Fred mocked from behind her as she watched Harry walk away. "Yes, we may end up with a scarlet woman in the family, yet," George replied with an evil grin.

Neither of her brothers noticed the two blocks of ice that had formed above their heads until they collided with a crash, knocking both from the realm of waking minds. They woke up six hours later with pink and yellow hair, in a polka dotted layout, courtesy of Peeves. .oOo. "Welcome to magi training one-oh-one," Harry said with a malicious grin as he walked around his enormous room. Harry really didnt have much use for teachers quarters, but took them in case he ever wanted to use them. He was, now that he was going to be teaching his three magi friends, glad hed made that choice. "Because a couple of you were severe slackers," Harry said causing Hermione and Ron to roll their eyes, "Ive asked my grandfather to allow you to take a few of your exams in advance. Well be getting you out of well, everything. I need to train you to push your new abilities to the limits, then move beyond those limits." "But what about classes, and homework, and studying?!" asked Hermione in a severe panic. Her favorite hobby was being eliminated, in one bold stroke no less. "Nope, none of that. The only homework youll be doing will be for me," Harry said with a grin that made Hermiones horrified face seem quite hilarious. "This year will be about practical application, though if it will make you feel better, Hermione, Ill give you lots of book work, too." Ron and Ginny both cracked up at Hermiones highly relieved smile, with Ron pointing and laughing like a mad man. "I knew you were a teachers pet," Ron cackled happily, "but I didnt know you enjoyed homework!" Hermiones response was to pull him into a corner and snog him senseless, so that hed shut up. It worked quite well, much to her pleasure. After about ten minutes, she came back slightly disheveled but otherwise normal. Ron on the other hand was gasping for breath and grinning like hed won the house cup single-handedly for his whole time at Hogwarts. Once Ginny and Harry finished laughing at the two, they returned to listening to what Harry had to tell them. Harry made plans to spend up to December prepping them for their exams. He had already arranged, if Ginny was willing, to have her take the sixth year exams, and she would take her O.W.L.s with everyone else. "Speaking of O.W.L.s," Hermione muttered, "why havent we gotten our results yet?" Ron shrugged, "I dont rightly know, but Im fairly sure mum didnt believe me when I told her that I still hadnt gotten them yet in my last letter. The teachers must know the results for us to be in all the classes we are, right?" Harry nodded. "Grandfather said that there was some kind of hold up. Theyre trying to train new owls, I think." Ginny, however, heard none of this. She was more interested in one specific statement.

"So I will be in the same year with you, and Ill graduate a year earlier?" she asked Harry incredulously. "That about sum it up?" Harrys simple reply was, "Yes." Ginny did a sort of jig, while chanting about one less year of dealing with Snape. Once she stopped, and Harry, Ron, and Hermione could stop laughing, Harry spoke again. "I assume that is a yes?" he asked with a smile. "Youre bloody right it is," she stated triumphantly. "One less year of dealing with Snape is worth the extra studying." She then broke out into her jig once again, and pulled Hermione into it with her. Eventually, so they wouldnt seem like spoil-sports, Ron and Harry joined into the little dance party. They spent the next several weeks with Harry just preparing them for their exams, avoiding the subject of their magus training. Hermione was completely in her element as she absorbed everything Harry threw at her. By the end of the second week, she was helping Harry prepare Ron and Ginny. "Ok, guys, we have about an hour before the Halloween feast," Harry said calmly. "Im going to head into the Forest for a run, take Zane with me. The three of you can have the rest of the evening and night to yourself." "Wait," Ginny called as he started to leave. "Youre not going to the feast?" "No," Harry said hesitantly. "Why not?" Harry tried to hedge around the question, "I I just dont feel like it." "Its because of me and Blaise, isnt it," she asked looking at the ground. "You dont want to make one of us feel bad by sitting with the other." "Something like that," Harry acknowledged. "Will be easier to just head into the Forest for a run. Zane has been begging me to take him out, again, for a while, anyway." Ginny frowned and tears welled up in her eyes. "I didnt know wed made it this hard on you," she said with a quavering voice. "Im sorry." "Gin," Harry said quickly as he slid his thumb across her face, "dont worry about it." "But I will," she said, her voice shaky. "Youre not going because of me. You said it yourself. You should be having fun, not worrying about relationships." "Gin," Harry said as he smiled at her, and hugged her tightly. "Youre sweet, you know that?" She frowned up at him. "Yes, Im just the nicest little thing," she snapped sarcastically. "I more or less latch on to you, make your life miserable, and dont realize it until you decide to avoid a party so you wont hurt my feelings. Or hers," she added quickly.

"Its ok, Gin, I promise. In a way it helps, I think. I dont think about Voldemort when one of you is giving me an oral workout," he said with a wicked grin. "Maybe, but to be honest with you, the idea of sharing you makes me want to choke someone," Ginny said trying to keep the tinge of jealousy out of her voice. "I" her voice trembled, and she stopped for a moment then closed her eyes. After a short time she looked up into Harrys eyes, her deep chocolate eyes staring into his green eyes. She tried to muster up her courage, but it was gone. "I need to go get ready for the feast," she told him quietly. "Come? Please?" Harry sighed exasperatedly. "Oh, all right," he told her with a weak grin. "But, only if you promise to sit with me and protect me from the evil girls." "Deal. So you wont feel bad, Ill," she made a strangling noise for a moment, "Ill even ask Blaise to sit with us." Harry grinned at her and gave her a peck on the cheek before he announced that he had a surprise. He then disappeared down the corridor, leaving her wondering if she would ever be able to tell him how she really felt about him. He already knew, of course, but she could almost feel that telling him would make him actually understand. "Maybe, someday," she thought to herself, "if only I werent so scared." .oOo. "Very well done, Lucius. Very well done, indeed!" Voldemort exclaimed, his high, chilling voice filling the small clearing Voldemort had been using as a base of operations. "You shall have your wish," he hissed happily. "Thank you, my Lord. I wish only to serve," Lucius replied in his calm, silky voice. He hesitated then, and Voldemort recognized what he wanted to ask. "You want to know why I wanted this seemingly worthless piece of metal," Voldemort said as his lips curled into a nasty snarl. "Why I would have you risk your life to bring it to me." Lucius nodded, trying to avoid looking directly at his master. He knew that to look directly at him would result in great pain, more than likely Cruciatus. Voldemort liked displays of fear. Looking directly at him when he was happy would simply anger him, because of the courage one had to muster to look at him directly. "FOOL! Crucio!" Voldemort shouted into the night. "This piece of metal contains an enchantment by Merlin himself!" He cackled loudly as he watched Lucius Malfoy writhe in agony on the ground. "Merlin. Half-demon Merlin. The man who opened a doorway to the demon realm, the very gates of hell. With. This. Lump. Of. METAL!" he shouted while jabbing his wand at Lucius for emphasis. "The boy is different," Voldemort stated, now more to himself than to his twitching follower, who he still hadnt relaxed on. "The blood of a demon in my ritual should be

enough, if these incompetent fools can capture one." "We will not fail you, my Lord," Pettigrew said proudly from behind the Dark Lords throne. "I will personally lead the expedition." Voldemort rolled his red, snake-like eyes. "Pettigrew, you idiot, I want to ensure success, not failure. Begone, or join Malfoy. I owe you some small debt for returning me to my own body, consider it paid," Voldemort snapped dangerously. "Y-Y-Yes, m-my Lord," Pettigrew squeaked, almost like a rat, then disappeared from the clearing. Voldemort finally relaxed his hold on the Cruciatus Curse he had placed Malfoy under. "Lucius," he hissed quietly, "once you can walk prepare a group of my strongest followers. I believe a trip is in order." Voldemorts lips curled into a bloodless snarl. Once Malfoy stopped twitching, nearly an hour later, he nodded his understanding and apparated away from the clearing, leaving Voldemort to his thoughts. "I dont know what the boy did, or how," Voldemort thought as he sat on his throne, watching the empty clearing before him, "but, I will not let a child ruin my plans!" Behind him, Voldemort heard the twitch of a broken twig, followed by a short gasp. "Peter," Voldemort said quietly, "has Bella reported in, yet?" "No, my Lord," Pettigrew said hesitantly. "She has not." "Very well," Voldemort muttered quietly. "Stand before me." Pettigrew moved quickly in front of Voldemort, going straight to his knees. "My Lord?" "I believe I instructed you to begone," Voldemort said in barely more than a whisper, the cruelty dripping from his voice. "You have disobeyed me, my little rat. Crucio!" Voldemorts high-pitched, cackling laughter could be heard from the very edges of the hidden forest for the rest of the night. .oOo. "You doubt me?!" the large English Black roared at his clan. "I saw him! He attacked me! Me, the king of the Blacks!" "You fear a human, Gareth?!" another English Black, just as large, roared back. "You are a disgrace!" "I fear no one, Jagath, least of all a man-thing! Youd do well to remember that," Gareth hissed coldly, "or you may wake up one day to find yourself dead." "Dont threaten me, you old wyrm! Im in my prime, and youre simply lucky that Ive not decided to challenge you yet." "Challenge accepted, child!" Gareth roared. The assembled clan backed into a circle

around them. Jagaths eyes opened wide as Gareth lumbered towards him. "Or do you fear for your pathetic life?" "I fear no --" Jagath didnt get a chance to finish his statement. Gareth lunged forward, his enormous jaws snapping for Jagaths jugular. With a fiery-roar Jagath leaped into the air, Gareth trailing immediately behind. They came together in the air, Jagath fighting wildly and Gareth with the practiced ease of a battle-hardened dragon. They battled in the air, tremendous wings raising dirt and felling trees with their powerful strokes. Gareth smiled grimly, in a way only a dragon can, at his opponent. "If youd waited, young one, you would have been a king. Your ambition is your death," he hissed excitedly. With a sudden jerk of his head Gareth sank his enormous teeth through the thick scales of his opponent, and son, Jagath. With a fiery breath, his dragons fire coursed into his son, killing him slowly from the inside out. As Jagaths form went limp, he dropped the hulking body and roared into the countryside. "Who else dares challenge Gareth, king of the Blacks!" When no one answered he turned a cold, reptilian eye on the gathered dragons. "I will not serve a manthing. Who will help me?" he called to his clan. "Who will help me kill the new Master?" .oOo. "Damnit Fred! Too much electrum!" George shouted at his twin brother. "Were trying to shock them, not kill them!" "Well, I wouldnt really mind either way," Fred joked. "It is the Slytherins after all." "Yes, but can you imagine all the paperwork for McGonogall," George state halfseriously, half-jokingly. Snapes statement near the end of last year had passed throughout the school, and was now a rather big joke. Fred snickered softly. "Well, dear brother, how exactly are we going to get this into their salt shakers," he said as he crushed the cubes into fine, white crystals. "Well, we could sneak it in or we could get Dobby to do it," George said as he examined a handful of the crystals. "But, if we get Dobby to do it then we have a witness to worry about." "Right then, so we sneak it in," Fred said seriously. "Same as always?" "Of course," George muttered. "Do you think we should test a bit of this, just to make sure?" "You can if you want, Im not swallowing a single crystal," Fred stated resolutely. George glared at his brother. "Its better if one of us gets a bit of a shock than we accidentally kill someone," he said firmly. "Same time?" Fred rolled his eyes. "I guess. I still dont like the idea of testing anything myself, since

that Peppermint Psychosis." "Yes, but this isnt supposed to induce a mental breakdown, its supposed to shock someones socks off." "One crystal each, then?" Fred asked and George nodded. "Right then. On three. One, two, three." On three Fred and George both tipped their heads back, but Fred kept his crystal firmly between his fingers, still remembering the candy Harryd given him he wasnt going to take one of these at the same time as his brother so that if he needed help, he could get it for him. "I didnt feel anything at all," George muttered. "I guess I was wrong. Maybe you didnt put in enough electrum extract. Go ahead and try yours," he added with a warm smile. "And thank you." "What?!" Fred tipped his head back and swallowed the crystal in his hand, ignoring that his brother knew he didnt try it already and knew why. They were very close, even for twins. "But but I put in almost half-again what you told me!" "Uh Fred why are your eyes glowing?" George asked as he looked at his brother who was frantically reading over the directions again. "What?" he asked as he glanced up and dropped the paper. "F-F-For the same reason yours are, I guess," he stammered with wide eyes. "Fred, what the bloody hell did you do?!" "How the hell should I know," Fred shouted back. "I just followed the ingredient list we made up! Youre the potions expert, not me!" George glanced at the list again. "Well, we can always ask Harry what went wrong." Freds smile brightened, "Right! Nearly forgot about that. Maybe hell be able to help us out with it." George sighed and looked at his brother. "Well at least we only got glowing eyes out of it." "That we know of. For all we know we may have made glowing eyes, sex change crystals," Fred joked, but at the frightened look from his brother, both immediately checked that everything was still in place. With a sigh of relief, George muttered, "Dont ever joke about that." Both boys packed up their new creation, whatever it was, and headed out of the borrowed classroom. They needed to get back to Gryffindor tower before anyone noticed them skulking about, so that they could get to the Halloween feast on time. They strode down the halls at a quick pace with their eyes barely open, so that no one would notice them. They were supposed to be in the common room the professors said they had a surprise. Trying to hide, if caught, would be useless as there werent any other

students with glowing eyes, that they knew of, except for Harry who could obviously hide his whenever he wanted. .oOo. The conversation and chatter all but stopped as the doors to the Great Hall crashed open. Everyone turned slowly to look at the man standing in the doorway to the Great Hall. The silence was palpable as most wondered exactly what was going on. The man stood regally, as if daring anyone to question him. His long, cobalt cape hung loosely over muscular shoulders, clenched in one hidden fist, a silver, brocade, rune pattern bordering the bottom and trailing up the side around the opening of the cowl. His other arm hung limply at his side, covered in a large silver, dragon-scale glove, the grip of a wand extending near the base of the hand. The cowl of his cape was pulled up around his head, cloaking his face in an almost solid wall of shadow. The man turned around slowly and pulled the doors to the hall closed, his cowl never moving. He turned silently back to face the assembled students and staff, where many of the staff had their hands tentatively on their wands. The man paid no notice as he tossed his cape back and straightened his vest, which was made in an identical design to the gloves that covered his hands. His black, mesh shirt looked almost like a second skin and showed off his form very well, aside from what the vest covered of it. It stopped at the very top of the mans neck, a fact only noticeable by the subtle glitter given off in its cloak of shadows, and went down inside the mans gloves. As the mystery guest began to walk towards the head table, everyone took in the rest of his attire. A pair of loose, black, dragon hide pants moved easily over his muscular legs with each long stride. They bunched up slightly just above the top a pair of matching, silver, dragon scale boots that came up to the top of his calf. Once the man stopped at the main table, he bowed to the assembled staff who inclined their heads cautiously. The only one of them not on the verge of hexing the man was Dumbledore. Dumbledore smiled and greeted the man as if hed known him all his life, "Welcome! Would you care to join us for our Halloween Feast?" Whispers broke out among the students as Dumbledore posed this question. Hermione turned to Ron, "You suppose he knows who that is?" "No, Mione, I think he just invited him to dinner to make a new friend," Ron replied sarcastically, earning him a slap on the arm from Hermione. "Just because we got us sorted out, dont think Im going to start taking lip from you," she admonished as she turned back to stare, like everyone else, at the mystery man. The man began to shake, slightly. Finally, his hands moved up and took hold of his cowl. With a swift motion, the cowl was laying behind his head. Before them, laughing about something Snape had just quietly said to McGonogall that only the mystery man and

Dumbledore overheard, was Harry Potter. Everyone was openly gaping at him, except Dumbledore, whose eyes were twinkling madly. McGonogall who was in the middle of taking a drink to calm her nerves had accidentally spit her pumpkin juice right in Snapes face at the strangers unveiling. The greasy-haired professor had just finished commenting that the stranger would even put Potters fame seeking to shame. But, even he barely noticed the pumpkin juice rolling down his face, as he too was openly gawking at Harry. His trademark sneer had combined forces with a look of utter shock and invaded his face. Harry, still laughing, turned and strode quickly to the Gryffindor table where, true to her word, Ginny and Blaise were sitting about four feet apart seeming rather rigid and cold towards each other. It was obvious they didnt really care to be near what they deemed as their competition. He sat beside them while thinking about his motivation to wear these rather odd clothes. He decided to have a bit of fun this Halloween, so hed ran back to his dorm after his chat with Ginny and transfigured some of his new clothes into an ancient Battle Wizards uniform. It took him longer than expected, but the extra work was worth it. He wanted to surprise everyone, and it seemed hed done exactly that. "Harry," Ginny said both softly and earnestly as he sat between her and Blaise, "that looks amazing." "I agree," purred Blaise into his ear. "How much longer do we have to stay here?" Ginny bit her lip so hard she almost drew blood. It was taking all her strength not to blow her top at the blonde Slytherin. Harry noticed this and groaned inwardly. This was, partly, what he wanted to avoid. He didnt want them near each other, with him around, because it would be almost like a competition to see who could maintain his attention. "Ok, before this goes any further," Harry said quickly. "This is not a fight to see who can keep me occupied. If thats what it turns into, Ill go ahead with my plans and head for the forest." Both Ginny and Blaise scowled a bit, but relented as soon as he moved to stand up. "Im not joking," he said seriously. "Im not going to stick around if you both make me regret it." The rest of dinner, for the most part, was enjoyable. The girls were reluctant to talk with each other, but did so to keep him from leaving. It was hard to miss the icy tones they used with each other, but Harry did his best to not notice. About half of the way through dinner someone pointed out that Neville had his elbow in the butter-dish, causing both Harry and Ginny to burst out laughing. Blaise, irritated that she was being left out of the joke, asked what was so funny. "Just something Ginny did a few years back," Harry replied vaguely, earning him an irritated glare from Blaise.

"Its nothing important," Ginny said, trying to head off the situation. She didnt want to be the cause of ruining Harrys night. "I just did something embarrassing when I was younger," she said with a slight blush. "Well, it was obviously important enough that you both remembered it and thought it was funny," she retorted hotly. "Look, please dont act like this," Ginny said quietly. "We dont have to like each other," she told the other girl, "but Harry wasnt even going to come tonight. I talked him into it." "Thats your fault," she stated angrily, "not mine!" Harry growled and tried to remain calm. "I knew I shouldnt have come," he stated in a strained voice. "I should have gone for a run." "Its not your fault," Blaise and Ginny said in unison, "its hers!" Harry jumped from his seat without another word. He stalked towards the entrance to the Great Hall with anger written on his face. Without a second thought he knocked one of the doors off its hinges and walked over the splintered remains, completely oblivious to the entirety of the Great Halls visitors staring at him in shock, completely oblivious to Ginny and Blaise screaming angrily at each other. .oOo. "Harry, just the bloke weve been lookin for," George said as he sat down beside Harry, Fred doing the same on the other side, in the common room. Harryd headed straight there after he left the great hall. "We need you to look at something for us, since youve got all that magical know-how, now. We were going to prank the Slytherins food tonight, but we must have messed up the ingredients." "Oh?" Harry asked with a grin. "What was the prank?" "Wed been working on shocking salt, but somehow we messed it up," Fred said glaring pointedly at George. "Damnit, Fred," George muttered quickly, "I can make a mistake! You remember your first attempt at the Headless Hats?" Fred paled a bit, then answered a bit less irritatingly, "Yes, I remember." "Whats this?" Harry asked quietly. "Freds first attempt at the Headless Hats turned only your skin invisible. Was right gruesome, it was." "Tell me about it," Fred muttered. "I was retching into the sink for nearly an hour." Harry, however, was laughing madly. "Sounds great," he said with a grin. "So, whats wrong with the shocking salt?"

"Well, were not exactly sure. Our first attempt worked, but Rons hair was stuck up for a week," Fred said with a laugh. "And, every time he touched something metal he acted like someone dropped a bomb on him," George added. "And to hell with taking a bath," Fred said with a smirk. "He couldnt even wash his hands without looking like someone had set him on fire." Harry cackled madly, for a moment. "Ok, howd you make it?" George handed him a list, and Harry looked over it. "Looks fine to me. You went exactly by the list?" "Oh," Fred said with a bit of a guilty look. "We --" "No, you," interrupted George, with a triumphant smile. "Not we. You." "Fine, I put in half-again what the list said for electrum." Harry looked up at Fred with wide eyes. "Please tell me you didnt use this on anyone," Harry asked hopefully. "Nobody," George said with a slight shrug. "Well, we tested it, but thats it." Harrys face snapped to George. "YOU DID WHAT?!" "We tried it --" "on ourselves --" "but, no one --" "else had any," they said nervously. "Youre both lucky, then," Harry said through gritted teeth. "That much electrum, by all rights, should have killed you." "What?!" Fred asked incredulously. "But we only had a two crystals!" George said quickly. "Yeah, we liked the glowing eyes," Fred said, his shoulders trembling slightly. "Wait, thats how your eyes were glowing?" Harry asked expressionlessly, as he remember the twins showing off at dinner. "That would mean no. Do you still have the crystals?" Both nodded, and pulled a small bottle out of each of their pockets. "We had more than this," George said, "but when it just made our eyes glow we got rid of the rest." Harry nodded thoughtfully. "Ok, while no one is watching," he said as he rolled up his sleeve where the mark was, "touch the mark." Both stuck their hands on the mark and were portkeyed to the Quidditch pitch. "One crystal each," Harry said quickly. "I have to

see this again." Both looked uneasy at the idea of taking more of the crystals if there was enough in them to kill someone. "Uh, Harry?" George said tentatively. "Im with George, are you sure about this?" Fred asked, the tinge of worry noticeable in his voice. "Actually," George said seriously, "I was going to ask how the hell we got outside." Fred looked around as if just now noticing where he was. "What the?!" "Oh," Harry said with a chuckling laugh. "I forgot you didnt know," he said as he tapped the mark on his arm. "Its a portkey." "Not that we --" "are against breaking --" "the rules, but --" "we could be caught!" they bounced worriedly. "Oh, that," Harry said with a grin. "My grandfather knows were out here." "He what?!" George exclaimed. "How?!" Fred asked in an identical tone. "I told him. Look, we can talk about this later. Right now, I wanted to see if what Im thinking is true. One crystal each, please if anything happens, Ill be right here." Fred and George glanced at each other. "Bottoms up," Fred said with a shrug and popped a single crystal into his mouth at the same time as his brother. Almost immediately their eyes began glowing. Harry palmed his face as he looked at them both, their eyes glowing incandescently in the night. Freds eyes, glowing an electrical cobalt, looked at him curiously. Georges, a freakish, sparkling crimson, looked the same. "Dont I have enough to do," he muttered to no one in particular. Without a second thought a fireball formed in each hand and he launched one at both of young man. Fred and George had no time to be afraid. Both threw up their arms in the shape of an x, their eyes closed tightly. Only Harry saw the full results. The illusionary fire slammed into circular, electrical shields in front of both. "What the bloody hell was that," George asked indignantly as he looked up at Harry, his eyes flashing more brightly with his anger. Fred turned and held his brother back, as George was ready to beat some sense into their friend. "George, youre usually the sensible one," Fred said with a smirk, and George calmed

down quickly, more out of shock than any desire to think. "He knew what would happen. He had to. Do you really think Harry would try to hurt us?" Harry grinned impishly at them. "Yes, George, do you?" he asked with a smile. "Well, no," George admitted. "But, you did just throw a flaming fireball at us!" "Well, fireballs usually do flame," Harry joked, "but it wasnt real. Just an illusion. If it had hit you, it wouldnt have hurt you much." "So, what happened?" Fred asked, not wanting to ponder what that much meant. "Well, you discovered actually, I should say rediscovered, how to locate Stormwalkers." "What?" George asked in complete confusion. "Stormwalkers?" "Yes," Harry said seriously as he had them sit down near him on the steps to one of the Quidditch stands. "Stormwalkers. Its a form of magus. Morphmagus/Metamorphmagus, Animagus, et cetera. One of the few that, in the magical world, can remain unnoticed." "Wait, weve got some kind of bloody magical powers that we didnt know about?!" George asked quickly. "Not possible." "No, if my guess is right," Fred said thoughtfully, "then it is extremely possible. It has something to do with weather. Based on what I saw the instant I opened my eyes, Id guess lightning." Harry reached up and touched his index finger to his nose. "It doesnt just involve lightning, but thats the majority of it," he said with a tilt of his head, before continuing his explanation. "The main way to recognize a Stormwalker is to shock them. In the magical world that only really left one option. Stand outside in the middle of a lightning storm. "If you get struck by lightning and all it did was make your eyes glow, then youre a Stormwalker. If you died well, then youre not," he said seriously, but both Fred and George let out a small chuckle. "Too many idiots stood outside and got themselves electrocuted, so they made something similar to shocking salt. It was a potion, most of the same ingredients as your shocking salt actually. "At five years old, theyd administer it to a child as a test. If a Stormwalker was found, theyd begin training. After about ten generations without a single Stormwalker, they assumed there would be no more and stopped testing." "So," George said quietly, "were Stormwalkers?" Harry nodded. "The first known Stormwalkers in half a millennium, I would guess. There have probably been others that just didnt know." "Can we get rid of it," Fred asked hesitantly. "I like the idea of this, a little but it seems like it would require being responsible, and Im not sure I can handle that kind of

pressure." "Fred," George stated firmly, "we have a duty to use this to help, if we can. We wanted to join the Order. We wanted to help people. This is our chance!" "Maybe," Fred said, but it was obvious he wasnt sure. "We put on a brave face, and we joke around a lot," Fred said in uncharacteristic seriousness, "but I dont want to be responsible for hurting someone." "Thats exactly why you need to learn to control this," Harry stated bluntly. "The reason Stormwalkers were trained from the age of discovery is because if they ever were charged, then they could really do some damage." "Charged?" Harry nodded, again. "Youve both been charged. Three times, in fact. You have no choice but to learn to control this. Even if you dont use it, you have a responsibility to master it." George, like Fred, was beginning to reconsider. "Fred might be right, Harry. Were not exactly known as the responsible types." Harry glanced at both of them. "Why did you try the crystals yourselves?" "We didnt want to hurt anybody," George and Fred said in unison, eliciting a smile from Harry. "Exactly. Youre not known as the responsible type, but you are responsible and caring people. If you hadnt tested those on yourself, first, I would actually consider removing the gift from you," Harry said seriously. "But, you did." "So you can remove it," Fred stated clearly. "If we screw up or cant handle it, you can take this out of us?" "Yes and no. I can take it from you, if I have to. But, I wont do it just because you want me to." "Why not?!" the twins asked, irritated that he refused to comply with whatever their wish may be. "Because," Harry said quietly, "it would most likely kill you." Fred and Georges eyes became wide with both surprise and fear. "Youre uh youre only joking right?" George stammered out, his question more out of hopefulness than curiosity. "Not in the slightest," Harry said without hesitation. "Drawing magic out of an object is simple. Drawing it out of a living being, where it has meshed with them become a part of them its extremely painful, even more so when theyre born with it as you were. Usually the person doesnt survive.

"In the rare cases where they do survive, the side-effects are almost as bad. The tremendous pain can do everything from destroy their mind to destroy their body. But, in every case, even those where the person is still mentally sound, theyre never the same," he finished in a near whisper. Fred and George glanced at each other simultaneously, then spoke in unison, "Bloody hell."

Dear Reader, Im sure some of you are going to wonder what happened to Blaise, in this chapter. The answer is simple. Harry isnt too thrilled with either of the girls, after that little blowout, so hes just keeping away from them unless absolutely necessary. He tries to remain civil and hide that hes angry about it, but he still avoids them both. Ive gotten most of the relationship stuff out of the way, already. What little there is, anyway, since as far as Harry is concerned there is no real relationship stuff to worry about. Hence why I am using them more sparingly. Ill probably finish up the triangle sometime after Christmas (unless I change my mind again, and I very well might) in the story, people, not in real life I dont write that slowly! This is what I like to call an explanation and expansion chapter. Youll see why when you read it, because I do a good bit of explaining mainly about magic. Ive also brought in a couple of fairly unused characters to play with. Also, Mister or should I say Miss Mysterious has sent Harry yet another message, this chapter. I am curious if any of you will be able to guess who she or maybe he might be. :) Now, as for my mistakes in the story line, if there are any and Im sure there are well, you cant really blame those on anyone but me. I dont have anyone who reads these before I post them, so I get no information about what Ive written until the reviews start coming in. I write it, go over it, and then I post. But, I hope youll still enjoy the story anyway. :) -Master Eldryn

Harry, Fred and George walked back to the steps where they resumed their seated position. Fred and Georges heads fell into their waiting hands. "So," George stated after a few minutes of silence-filled self-pity, "you mean were stuck like this, unless we dont want severe pain." Harrys face remained looking at them as his eyes moved upward in thought. After a moment, he leaned over and placed his elbows on his knees and looked out over the

Quidditch pitch. He smiled, softly at the sight before him. The Quidditch pitch was one of the places where Harry James Potter, Dragonmaster, The Boy Who Lived, Enemy to Voldemort, could actually be free. "That is exactly," Harry said seriously, not looking up at them, "what I mean." "Why us?" Fred muttered. Harry replied almost immediately, "Ive been asking that question for going on fifteen years," he said through a bitter laugh. "If you ever get the answer, let me know." Fred and George glanced at each other. They immediately knew what the other was thinking. They were worried about Harry. Ever since hed been changed, hed not been quite the same. "Well," George said to break the silence. "I guess well have to make the best of the situation. What can we do?" "Yeah," Fred said with a grin. "How can we use this to prank people?" Harry laughed then, a true, happy laugh. He rolled his eyes and looked at them. "Well, first I think you need to be filled in on whats happened over the past few years," Harry said seriously. With that, he gave Fred and George a detailed account of his first year at Hogwarts. Specifically the information about the Sorcerers Stone. Both twins remained silent as they took the information in. When finished, they asked the first question that came to mind. "Professor Quirrel had Voldemort sticking out of the back of his head?" George asked quietly, and Harry nodded in reply. "Well, no bloody wonder his turban smelled so awful!" Fred said dryly, sending all three into uncontrollable laughter. Harry smiled and then explained his second year, including what had happened in the Chamber of Secrets. Most people knew hed gone in, and that hed done something, but no one really knew exactly what had happened. As he finished, both George and Fred looked horrified that their sister had been put through that horror. Freds face went into his hands and he groaned loudly. "So thats why she hexed me!" George and Harry looked at him curiously, wondering what he was talking about. Finally George asked, "Who hexed you, and why?" "Ginny!" Fred exclaimed. "Right after her first year she was so depressed that I thought a bit of a joke would make her feel better. I put an animated toy snake on her bed," as he said this, both Harry and George winced. "She came tearing into the room, you were downstairs thats how I found out she was so good at the Bat Bogey hex." George busted out laughing at Fred. Harry was a bit shocked, but he still had enough sense to ask, "What?"

George looked up from his laughter. "I remember that day. I came back upstairs with a snack and Ginny had Fred pinned to the wall as a group of bats kept landing on him, most of them with bogies rolling out of their noses in gobs! He was screaming bloody murder!" Harry looked between the twins, one who was incredibly pale and the other laughing raucously. "So um, yeah," Harry said, not really knowing what else to say, and he started detailing what happened in his third year. It was when he explained that he knew who Moony, Padfoot, Prongs, and Wormtail were that both of them became completely silent. "You sure you want to know," Harry said with a mysterious smile. "Once you know, you can never go back." Both of them nodded without hesitation. "Remus Lupin, as you know, is a werewolf." "What does that MOONY!" George said after a moment, causing Freds eyes to snap wide open. Harry smiled and nodded. "We lived with a Marauder!" Fred and George said in a reverent whisper. "Actually," Harry said seriously, "you lived with three of them." "Who?!" Fred asked quickly. "Sirius Black was an illegal Animagus by the name of" He trailed off, letting them figure it out on their own. "PADFOOT!" exclaimed Fred and Georges eyes grew wide. "You were the godson of a Marauder?!" George asked unthinkingly. "Oh, Harry, sorry about that," he said as he winced. "I wasnt thinking." "Dont worry about it," Harry said as he smiled and waved it off. "Peter Pettigrew was an illegal Animagus who went by the name Scabbers, and" "Wormtail," Fred and George said as if spitting the name. "I cant believe that slimy bastard was a Marauder," Fred growled out. Harry just nodded. "Finally, my father James Potter," Harry said with a wide smile, "was an illegal Animagus, a stag, who went by the name" "PRONGS!" both twins shouted in unison. They glanced at each other, then jumped off the steps and began to prostrate themselves in front of Harrys feet, as he began to turn bright red. "Stop that!" Harry shouted in mock-indignation. "I can only be worshipped on Tuesdays and Fridays," he said with a grin. "We can skip the fourth and fifth year," Fred said quickly as George nodded his agreement. "We already know what that resulted in."

Harry gave an imperceptible nod in their direction. "Thanks," he said with a half-smile. "So, questions?" "Well, you still havent really told us what we are. You just called us Stormwalkers," George said calmly. "Right," Harry nodded. "Stormwalkers are called Stormwalkers because theyre attuned to the weather. You may have noticed youre not afraid of lightning, you dont mind running around in the rain, that kind of thing." When both nodded their understanding, he continued. "The majority of your power comes from raw energy in the form of lightning. I dont know how strong you are, yet, but all Stormwalkers have some degree of control over the weather. You could move a rainstorm, maybe, for example, or you might be strong enough to start a full-blown thunderstorm." "How long does it take to master these new abilities," Fred asked after a moments silence. "Well, I dont know that anyone can ever master them," Harry said after a bit of consideration. "I can teach you to control them, but beyond that it is up to you what you decide to do with them." "When do we start, Teach," George said with a grin. "Right now," Harry said as he whipped off his cape and laid it carefully on the steps. He tilted his head to one side and there was a loud crack from his neck. He did the same to the other side, and then motioned them to stand. "Youve already been charged," Harry said seriously. "So, its time to teach you to hold the power. Well worry about using it later. For now, I just want you to be able to hold it and bring it out," he said and both the redheads nodded their understanding. "Now, to give you an idea of what to do, Im going to help you feel the power." With a grin he raised his palms and two more balls of swirling fire appeared, one in each open palm. "These," Harry said as he slid the apex of the fire across the grass, scorching the tips, "are real. Now that I know you can protect yourself, if only instinctually, I have to prepare you." Both Fred and George stared wide-eyed as the flickering balls of flame hovered above his palms. The fires elemental fury reflected in the two pairs of eyes beholding them, and without a second thought Harry launched the balls at his two newest students. This time they didnt flinch, they simply watched as the balls of flame hurtled towards them and slammed into a thick barrier of energy directly in front of them. "That --" "was --" "AMAZING!" they finished in unison.

"Did you feel it," Harry asked the two excited seventh years. "Did you feel the core of power?" "I felt a little tingle when the shield appeared," George said and Fred shrugged. "I was too busy watching those wicked fireballs," Fred said with a wide grin, "to pay much attention to it." "Well," Harry said with a smile, "good. Now, pay attention to the core this time. Try to find where it is. The easiest way to learn how to grasp the power is to feel how you do it on instinct," he said and two more balls of flame appeared in his hand. He launched them without hesitation. Again they slammed into the round shields. "I sort of felt it," Fred said as he scrunched up his face, "but its hard to tell where." "Well keep trying," Harry said simply, and that they did. For the next hour, Harry launched fireball after fireball at Fred and George. Each time they seemed to get a better idea of where their core of power was. Finally, George tapped his. "Holy hell," George exclaimed as he grasped his core of power for the first time. "Its like like" he trailed off, his eyes glowing a bright, sparkling crimson. "Like trying to hold lightning?" Harry supplied. "EXACTLY!" George said. "Its amazing, exciting, and terrifying, all rolled into one." "Now," Harry said with a mischievous smile. "Let it go." "But, I just got it," George muttered in irritation. "Yes," Harry said simply. "I know. Now you need to work on being able to grasp it whenever you want, not just after spending an hour of letting instinct guide you. So, let it go completely and then summon it back. Just keep doing it until you can tap it at will. "In the mean time, Im going to work with Fred. Well work for one more hour, tonight, then pack it in. Im getting tired," he said and stifled a yawn. The two brothers nodded mutely. George released the power and his eyes stopped glowing immediately. "Harry," George said curiously, "when we tap the power, will our eyes always glow?" "Not unless you want them to," Harry said with a shrug. "It has a purpose, but youre not even really recognizing that yet. You cant really control the power right now, so youre using that ability without thinking about it. Im not teaching you how to do it, because it drains power and that is partially the point of doing all this. "I dont want you going into the dorms and roasting everyone because you had a particularly bad nightmare or an erotic dream," he said with a shrug, and both boys felt a hot flush creep onto their faces. "Oh, grow up," Harry laughed.

"We couldnt really do that, could we?" Fred asked after a few minutes of silence. "Roast someone because we had a nightmare or an exciting dream?" "Most Stormwalkers who caused major accidents were young children having nightmares without control and too much power, or teens between the ages of thirteen and nineteen. Most of them destroyed their homes, and a few unfortunate ones accidentally killed their families," Harry said seriously. "So, you tell me." Fred and George both became very serious for the rest of the night. Pranksters they may be, but the idea of hurting people who didnt deserve it was no joke, to them. Harry worked exclusively with Fred until finally he tapped into his core of power as well, with an ecstatic grin. Harry smiled, summoned his cape, and slipped it back on. He walked over and sat back by the steps while Fred and George finished up their second hour of training by simply tapping and releasing their power, repeatedly. Near the end, George collapsed to the ground completely exhausted. Shortly after, Fred joined his brother in a heap on the damp Quidditch pitch. Harry grinned, and walked over to them. He leaned down and pushed his sleeve up enough that the mark was showing. He propped the twins hands on his mark, and portkeyed directly into their dorm room. .oOo. "So," Harrys grandfather began as Harry took the seat before him, "who was giving off that spectacular light show, if you dont mind my asking?" He removed his nightcap, and placed it on the corner of his desk. Harry glanced over at it and nearly choked, as Dumbledore was pouring them both a cup of tea. The powder blue cap was covered from top to bottom in pink hearts. Dumbledore, hearing the sudden clearing of Harrys throat, looked up and noticed where his grandsons attention was. "Ah, yes," the old wizard said with a twinkle in his eyes. "It was a birthday gift from Minerva." Harry arched an eyebrow, but smiled. "The light show," Harry said, righting the conversation off of the odd sleeping clothes, "was made by none other than the Weasley twins. Theyre Stormwalkers." As Harry finished his statement he noticed his grandfathers eyes almost imperceptibly glance at him in shock. "So," Harry said with an appraising stare, "you know what a Stormwalker is?" It wasnt a question and his grandfather knew that. "Actually, yes," Dumbledore said after a short time. "What do you know about them?" Harry again gave his grandfather that appraising stare, then answered his question. "They were created nearly two thousand years ago by King Auric Stravarian to fight in the War of Lights against the Dark King of that time, Umbric Stravarian. Umbric made Voldemort look like a teddy bear, at least in deed I would guess theyre about equal in

power. Hence his title of Dark King. "The power is at its strongest when wielded by twins because they seem to charge each other, and draw from each other. They have some control over the weather, but mostly handle energy. Specifically lightning. Need I go on?" "No, I do believe you know most of it," Dumbledore said with a bit of a smile. "I have some experience with a pair of twin Stormwalkers. I did most of the research on the subject for them." "Did you ever see their training? I would like to know if they ever achieved the second or third level," Harry asked excitedly. "There are levels?" Dumbledore asked curiously, becoming a bit excited himself. Harrys excited face turned somewhat dejected. "The second level for a Stormwalker allows them to literally become energy. I know that may not sound very useful, but it is. As far as I know, only two Stormwalkers without a twin were ever able to achieve it. "They were also the only two to reach the third level, without a twin. It is believed there are only three potential levels, because that is all that has ever been achieved. The last pair of twins are believed to have reached a fourth level, but they died in the attempt." Dumbledores eyes were twinkling madly. "Well," he told Harry softly, "I can inform you that they did reach the second level. It was quite interesting to watch." Harrys excited face returned. "What color?! I have a theory about this, but I want a final test case to prove it," he said with as he listened intently. Dumbledore looked curious for a moment, but answered. "One was --" "Stop," Harry said as his eyes began to glow a deep, golden color. He focused his gaze on his grandfather. "Amazing. Were you going to tell me?" Dumbledore faltered for a moment. "Tell you what, Harry?" "One was red and one was blue," he said calmly. "I believe this is a proof for my theory, if the Weasley twins can attain the third level then I will have my definite proof." The twinkle in Dumbledores eyes dimmed slightly. "I havent told anyone," Dumbledore said softly. "For nearly one hundred and forty years, this secret has been mine and mine alone. Not even your grandmother knew." "Why?" "Would it have mattered?" the old wizard asked as he stroked his fingers through his long beard. "Would it have changed anything?" "Not really," Harry admitted after a moment. "But, you didnt have to keep this a secret. It wasnt like youd have been shunned for it."

"No," Dumbledore said softly. "I likely wouldnt have, but people would have treated me as if I were somehow special. I get enough of that as it is," he said with a smile. "Im sure you know the feeling." Harry rolled his eyes. "Oh, yes. Very much." "So, what to do with this information?" "That is your choice," Harry said seriously. "This secret really doesnt affect anyone but you, so it isnt my place to make that decision for you." He stated the last firmly. Dumbledore smiled proudly at his grandson. "Now, I do believe we need to speak about something Minerva has been on about since you arrived." "Let me guess," Harry said with a soft chuckle. "She believes that Im unbalanced, off my rocker, completely nutters." "Well," Dumbledore said with a stifled laugh, "that is one way to put it. She is worried that you really would have harmed Mr. Malfoy on the train." Dumbledore sighed. "I promised her I would speak with you about it, or Id not have even brought it up." Harry nodded. "Its perfectly fine, grandfather. I can understand her worry." Dumbledore nodded. "Im sorry, but I have to ask. Would you have made good on your threat?" Harry shrugged. "Yes. If she hadnt caught my attention, Id have snapped his neck without a second thought. Its hard," he said as he stared into his grandfathers eyes, "to keep control of myself sometimes. I have the memories of thousands of dragons, thousands of people all shoved into my head." He stopped for a moment and squeezed the bridge of his nose in deep thought. "Theyre always there. Their knowledge comes in handy, but all their memories sometimes make it hard to remember who I am. A thousand years ago, every good witch, wizard, and magus on the planet would have gathered together and hunted down someone like Voldemort with extreme prejudice. "Now we have all these rules and regulations, all these stupid moralities that killing is wrong. The only thing that keeps me in check is the fact that before all this, I held those same thoughts. So did Sirius and my father. Their opinions matter to me, and it is helping me to reconcile the rest of these memories good or bad. I even refrained from losing control when Snape hit me. "But, I warn you if anyone ever tries to truly harm someone I care about, I wont think twice about killing them. Voldemort is already on that list, as are Bellatrix Lestrange, Lucius Malfoy and Peter Pettigrew. If the youngest Malfoy find himself on that list, I will kill him." Dumbledore listened calmly to this, no display of emotion on his face. "Sometimes," he told Harry in a weary, old voice, "I agree with you. When I was a teenager, the killing

curse was used by aurors to fight back dark attacks, much like the muggles with their guns. We believed, then, that if a life could be saved the trade was considered to be worth it. "Sometimes, that line of thinking occurs to me. Usually when I read of the death of innocent people who died for no other reason than being in the wrong place at the wrong time. I wont tell you that these thoughts are wrong. Id be a hypocrite, if I did, because I still have them. The best I can suggest is that you control your emotions as they are both your best friend and your worst enemy." Harry nodded. "Did I mention that I stopped myself from killing Snape?" he asked brightly as the happy twinkle returned to his grandfathers eyes. .oOo. Harry slept well the previous night. No dreams that he could remember, and he woke up happy. He caught George and Fred and told them to meet him in his private quarters, and gave them directions. Most everyone else was in the Great Hall, so theyd arrive early enough to talk a bit before the others filtered in. Harry smiled at his two newest pupils, "Fred, George --" "Why do people always mention me last?!" George muttered. "I am the oldest, after all!" "They like me better," Fred replied as he elbowed his brother in the ribs. "Shush." Harry rolled his eyes. "As I was saying, welcome to your magus training. You will be joining three other students, today." "Yes," Ginny called as she walked into the room. "Three other students who can kick your arse if you decide to tick them off," she said with a bright grin as both Fred and George gaped in shock. "Our little sister?!" George exclaimed. "Youve gotta be kidding!" "Did no one wonder why I was spending so much time with Harry?!" she asked irritably. Fred and George grinned. "Everyone thought you finally got fed up with waiting on him, and went and snogged his brains out," Fred said with a chuckle, to which George nodded. "Hey," Harry said indignantly, "I was training her to fight!" "Thats right," Ginny added. "I didnt snog his brains out until we got to Hogwarts unless you count the time by the lake." "Hey!" Harry exclaimed. Ginny smiled sweetly. "Did I say something wrong," she asked with her most innocent voice and look. Harry rolled his eyes. "Do you see what I have to deal with," Harry asked in mock

frustration. "What the hell are they doing here?" Ron asked with a grin, as he bounded into the door with Hermione right behind him. "Ronniekins and Hermaninny, too?!" George exclaimed, and this time Fred nodded his agreement with the question. "Yep," Harry said smiling, then turned to Ron. "Theyre joining the class," Harry said with a shrug. "You made them magi, too?" Hermione asked curiously. "Made us?! Wait, you gave them their abilities?!" the twins asked in unison. "Ok. Hermione, no. Fred and George, yes." Harry shrugged. "I cant be the only one fighting against Voldemort." "What can they do?" Fred asked with a fearful look. "Nothing dangerous, I hope." "Yes, else we have to cancel many of our pranks this year," George added. "Theyll show you, when they start practicing, with you. Now, before we get started, what was the surprise all the teachers were talking about? After I left the Great Hall last night, I sort of missed it." "Oh," Ron said in an off-hand manner as Ginny hid a sad, guilty look, "Dumbledore had a group of can-can dancing, black cats. I think McGonogall trained them, but Hermione says theyre famous. Probably read about them in Hogwarts: A History." Ron quickly jumped away to avoid getting slapped. "Ah," Harry said with a sad smile. "That would have been interesting to see. Oh well." Hermione then leaped into her telling off stance, rather suddenly. "Do you know what you did?! Ill tell you what you did. You knocked the door off the hinges. Do you know who had to put it back? Ill tell you who had to put it back. The house elves had to put it back. Its not bad enough that they dont want freedom because they have no idea what it is, but then you go and make more work for them to do!" She said all of that in a single breath, without pause. Harry looked at her for a moment, then turned to Ron. "I thought you said she gave up on spew for something called crap," he said with a completely serious face. "It is not crap," she shouted at them. "Its the C.R.A.P. Creatures Rights Attainment Party!" Her face was beginning to turn bright red, much like Rons hair. "And Ill have you know Ive already mailed letters to our government about this, including the Minister of Magic!" Ginny walked up beside Hermione and laid a hand on her shoulder. "Hermione, calm down."

"I WILL NOT CALM DOWN!" Hermione shouted into Harrys quarters, the sound reverberating off the walls. "IM TIRED OF BEING THE LOGICAL ONE!" A pink glow slowly faded into existence around her and Ginny was pushed away by the sheer force of her power. The brothers Weasley just watched in shock. Harry watched her calmly. "Are you about done with this temper tantrum, Hermione?" "I AM NOT HAVING A TEMPER TANTRUM!" she roared at Harry as he prepared for what was coming. Slowly her eyes began to glow, and her power caressed her body. "Thats right. Youre throwing a hissy fit," he said calmly as he regarded he like one would a baby trying to hold their breath to get their way. She glared at Harry, her power rolling away in waves. "Harry," Ginny whispered urgently, "youre just pissing her off!" Harrys hand whipped in Ginnys direction and she flew across the room and landed safely on his couch. He did the same to the three shocked brothers. "Whats wrong, Hermione? Nothing else to say, now that someone pointed out just how much youre acting like a baby?" "Youre pushing me too far, Potter," she hissed at Harry, who watched her with detached amusement. "Oh, yes," Harry said with a shrug. "Youre angry. But, I want to see just how angry you can get," he said with a sadistic smile. "If youre going to attack someone, I might as well give you a reason to do it. "So, whats it going to be, mudblood?" he said with an evil smirk as his own power swirled about him. "You going to do something, or stand there and take that like you did from Malfoy?! Rons not coming to your defense this time!" No one in the room could believe Harry was saying these things. It seemed so out of character for him, especially when he was saying them to one of his best friends. But, that was Hermiones breaking point. She leaped at Harry, her power charging her every move. As she landed, she began to attack him. Harry dodged the first few, judging how much of her power was behind each punch and kick. Finally, he whipped his left hand up and stopped the next punch with his forearm, a grimace on his face. With a quick leap back, he glanced at his arm. "Great, a fracture," he thought to himself as he tried to flex his wrist while dodging Hermiones attacks. She jumped back, a growl escaping her throat. Harry looked up as he felt her pull her power into a ball. "Oh hell," he muttered as he saw the small ball of flames spark to life in her hand. With a dark grin, she hurled the ball at his head. Harry frowned and reached up and caught the ball. Slowly the lightning began to bounce over his body as his hair whirled around and he floated off the ground. The ball slowly disappeared as his eyes began to glow.

"Im sorry, Hermione," he told her and she looked up at him with a smirk on her face. "I tried to wear you out, but I cant waste more time," he said as he rubbed his fractured arm. "I have to do this the hard way, and Im sorry. Incendiarius!" he shouted and a blinding inferno roared up around Hermione as she began to scream in pain or rage, no one could tell which. "What the hell do you think youre doing!" Ron shouted as he realized Harry wasnt removing the fire. "Youre hurting her!" Harry simply shook his head. Ginny, seeing her friend in what appeared to be pain tried to pull the flames away from her, but they wouldnt come. "Harry! Stop it!" "No," he said firmly, as he ignored the screams Hermione was releasing into the room. Fred and George watched wide-eyed. They had no idea what to do, so they just stood there and remained quiet. Suddenly Hermiones screaming stopped, and the fire dissipated. Ron and Ginny immediately ran over to check on her. She was fine, physically, but unconscious. "Shell be fine," Harry told them calmly as he walked over to her. "She just needs some rest." Ron rounded on Harry, his body shifting into his shade form. "What the hell did you think you were doing?!" he asked as he began shoving Harry back. "You just attacked Hermione!" Already tired and in pain from his fight with Hermione, Harry backhanded Ron hard across the face. His best friend flew across the room and slammed into the wall. "No, Ron," he hissed in a deadly calm voice, "she attacked me, if you didnt notice." "Yeah, after your pushed her to do it," Ron roared as he started to stand up. "Yes, I pushed her to do it, because if I hadnt shed have probably killed the rest of you before I had a chance to stop her. "She is a Psimagus," Harry growled. "She can dip into peoples minds. She went far beyond what I expected, this early. Shes begun to pick up on emotions, even through the shields I helped her place. They were tearing her mind apart, driving her insane. You may not like how I handled it, but I had two choices, and I went with the better of the two. "I was going to try to simply wear her down, but shes already busted my arm," he said as he lifted his left arm a little, gritting his teeth a bit at the pain. "That firebomb she threw at me would have killed the rest of you. It wasnt a fireball. It would have exploded and taken with it everyone in this room except for her, myself, and maybe Ginny," Harry roared at Ron who was staring at him in shock. "So, I forced her to use up every iota of power she had to protect herself from that fire. It was either that, or kill her!" Harry shouted, then he portkeyed himself to the infirmary without another word.

"Why is it," Ron mused aloud, "that I always get made out to look like an arse after he knocks me on mine." "Because you are one most of the time, anyway," Ginny responded absently as she lifted Hermione up and placed her onto Harrys bed. "He was right," she said, "she is going to be fine. The fire seems to have just forced her to use everything she had." "Is it just us --" "or does he get--" "angry much faster --" "than before," the twins bounced between themselves. About that time, Harry returned from the infirmary. "While Hermione is resting, the rest of you are going to prepare to take whatever tests you need. Im going to test Fred and George to see how much they need to know for their N.E.W.T.s." "We have to take a test, to see if we can pass a test?" George asked. Fred smirked, "That seems somewhat cruel." "Well, I have to get you ready because you wont be going to other classes any longer." Ron walked over, rubbing his jaw, back in his human form. "I wanted to apologize," he said calmly. "I should have realized something was going on." Harry arched an eyebrow at his friend. "That was quick," he said as he placed a hand on Rons forehead. "Are you feeling alright?" Fred and George began laughing at their little brother. "Very funny," Ron muttered. "Before, when I got you mad, you didnt knock me across the room. Its a bit easier to see, when youre still a bit dazed, when you were wrong." Harry smiled at his friend and pulled him into a one-armed hug. "Good. Ill remember that," he said with a grin. "Just study what we went over yesterday, since Hermione will be sleeping for the rest of the day. Im going to test Fred and George." "Um," Fred interrupted. "We already took some newt practice tests. All our work on our pranks sort of requires us to know our stuff. We both did fine, except I sucked in potions." "And me in transfiguration," George added. "Ok, well, that narrows down what youll be working on, doesnt it?" Harry said with a smile. "So, since you know what you need Ill get Zane to help you. He seems to know his potions and transfigurations quite well." Having heard a bit about Zane, and what he knows, they simply nodded their agreement to the plan then began to dance. They were dancing a jig, similar to Ginnys, while

chanting, "No more Snape!" .oOo. The creature looked down at Voldemort with an evil, toothy grin. Horns protruded from the front of his head and curved back beside his it in a half-circle. The golden-furred creature looked a lot like a stereotypical minotaur, except the feet were paws, and the face wasnt that of a bull. No, the face looked like a combination of human and lion. "What do you want, mortal," the creature said in a dark voice that made all of Voldemorts followers shiver involuntarily. Voldemort grinned up at the twelve-foot tall beast. "I propose an alliance," Voldemort said seriously. The creature laughed in Voldemorts face as he leaned down, his putrid breath gagging the somewhat human. "You a mortal proposes an alliance with Gamesh, king of all the Daemon Realm?!" The large demons laughter roared into the room. "You entertain me, mortal. What terms?" Voldemort held his irritation in check. "Since Merlin --" "DO NOT MENTION MY WIFES BASTARD SONS NAME AROUND ME AGAIN, MORTAL," Gamesh roared in Voldemorts face, causing the relatively tiny man to shrink back. "I apologize," Voldemort stated quickly, not wanting to lose his chance at an alliance. "Since He closed the Daemon Realm from the earth, there have been no demon --" The monster snorted. "Daemon. Demon is some stupid human name. We are daemon." "There have been no daemon," Voldemort continued, becoming irritated even further, "people here. I propose that we ally ourselves. I have the ability to maintain the gateway and I need a daemons blood to finish one of my rituals." "What you are asking is that I allow you to kill one of my subjects to finish some ritual you wish, and in turn you will hold the gateway to the Daemon Realm open until your dying days." "Yes," Voldemort said seriously. "I wont be able to open them permanently until my enemy is defeated, however." "Who is this enemy?" Gamesh asked curiously. "For a mortal, you are strong. Who is this enemy that challenges you?" "Harry Potter is not a challenge, but I will not take a pointless chance. I did that many years ago, and I paid the price for my stupidity." "Harry Potter," Gamesh repeated quietly. Without warning Gamesh grabbed Voldemort by the throat and held him at eye level, before booming in a loud, thunderous voice, "YOU MORTAL FOOL! You challenge the Master of all Dragonkind?!"

Voldemorts eyes opened wide, the vertical slits of his eyes narrowing in surprise. "The what?" he asked in a near whisper, his supply of oxygen dwindling quickly. "The first human Dragonmaster, fool. We have already been visited by Gareth, asking if we would aid in his defeat," Gamesh roared in anger, as he tossed Voldemort aside as if beneath his notice. "Your answer," Voldemort asked seriously, "to this Gareth?" "Of course we will help them. It was a Dragonmaster that helped my wifes bastard son seal the Daemon Realm," he growled dangerously. "We will also help you, fool that you are. Open the gateway." Voldemort smiled happily, and did as told. Gamesh walked into the gateway and then returned a moment later dragging the dead body of one of his subjects. "Do as you wish with him. He was my wifes other bastard son. The price I pay for having a succubus as my wife," Gamesh rumbled. "Thank you," Voldemort hissed happily. "Would you care to stay, or return?" "I believe I will stay. I would like to see this ritual you wish to perform," Gamesh said, his sharp teeth grinning madly. "I would not miss the desecration of my wifes bastard son for anything." .oOo. "Why wasnt I told this long ago?!" Harry roared at the members of the Order of the Phoenix that were brought to break the news to him, particularly Remus Lupin. "Lucius Malfoy nearly kills me and my friends and the fact that someone broke him out of Azkaban didnt seem like it mattered?!" "Harry, please," Dumbledore said seriously, the twinkle in his eyes utterly annihilated. "We just found out. A new member of the Order discovered it. Fudge has been keeping secrets from us." "Who," Harry asked seriously. "Who found out?" "I did," Harry heard a voice he recognized instantly state as they stepped into the office, and closed the door behind them. "I brought the information here immediately." Harry turned around and found himself face to face with none other than Percy Weasley. "You found this?" "Yes. I told you in my letter that I was an idiot, and I meant it. As soon as I found out, I brought the information straight to Dumbledore." Harry smiled at Percy. "You may just earn back my trust, yet," he said seriously, then turned back to Dumbledore. "What is being done," Harry demanded forcefully. "Sadly, there is not much that we can do," Dumbledore said calmly as he rubbed his forehead firmly. "He can downplay anything we do."

"Not me, he cant," Harry said with a snarl. "What can you do, Potter," Snape asked with a sneer. "It isnt as if you could force feed him Veritaserum and make him answer your questions at a press conference." Harrys head snapped to Snape. "Sevvie, that has to be the best idea youve ever head. I can do exactly that," Harry said with a wide grin. "Dont call me Sevvie!" blustered Snape, his trademark sneer planted firmly on his face. "Not that I wouldnt mind that," Moody said with a half-laugh, "but how are you going to get him to take the potion?" "Put it in his first cup of coffee," Harry said with a grin. "How soon could I organize a press conference?" "I could have them there by tomorrow morning," Percy offered. "Ill arrange it myself, if you want." Dumbledore interrupted. "Not that I would mind seeing Cornelius get what is coming to him," he said, "but I dont think this is the way to do it." "Albus," Moody said gruffly, "the boy is right. Fudge is getting people killed to protect his own arse. We need to quit playing so softly, and start hitting them hard." "Do it," Harry told Percy firmly. "Tomorrow, half an hour after Fudge arrives at his office. Ill put the Veritaserum in his coffee myself." "Harry," Dumbledore said calmly, "I understand your position, but this isnt the best way to go about it. We can find another way." "We can," Harry admitted, "but in that time, how many more people will die?" he finished bluntly. "How many more people must die before we do something about this blasted idiot of a Minister?!" "Harry, while doing this is not necessarily illegal it is somewhat immoral. I must make clear I do not agree with this as the best option. However, if the majority wish to take this course, I will not go against it." Dumbledore said this seriously, and those assembled looked at the others trying to guess their opinions. The greasy-haired potions master was the first to speak. "I normally find Potters ego to be insufferable, and I am loathe to agree with any plan he finds sound," Snape said through gritted teeth, "however, I feel this might be the quickest route to avoid pointless deaths." "Im with the boy," Moody said quickly. Percy shrugged. "I have no respect for the Minister any longer, so whatever is decided I will agree with." Remus, who had remained silent since telling Harry what happened, frowned.

"Normally," he said cautiously, "I would have agreed with you Albus. This doesnt seem like a good option, and it seems almost like something Voldemort himself would do. "But," he said, interrupting Harry who was beginning to state his objection, "Ive lost my four best friends in the world to that thing. Three to death, and one because he was a weak-willed fool. I dont want to lose anyone else." Remus eyes slowly changed wolfish and a growl escaped his throat. "I say we do it. If it saves a life," he said seriously, "even if its just one life, then itll be worth the potential immorality of the action." "So be it," Dumbledore said wearily. "Mr. Weasley, if you will please make the necessary preparations. Alastor, youll likely need aurors there to take Fudge into custody, both for his own protection and the crimes I believe he will be admitting to. Harry, be careful. Remember what we talked about, about how some lines shouldnt be crossed." Harry nodded and walked from the office, Percy following shortly behind. "Harry," he called, and Harry stopped and faced Percy. "I wanted to say thank you." "For what?" Percy reached into his pocket and pulled out the letter Harryd written to him the night he found out he was going to The Burrow. "My mother mailed it to me. It was in the wreckage of the burrow. Thank you for being willing to give me a chance to make up for my mistakes." "Everyone deserves their chance, Percy," Harry said seriously. "Dont waste yours." Percy nodded. "Im trying not to. About getting to know you better," he said sincerely, "I think Id like that." Harry smiled as Percy nervously pushed his glassed up on his nose, awaiting Harrys answer. "I think I would, too," Harry said with a smile. "I need to go, though dont forget. Half an hour after he arrives," Harry said seriously as he shook Percys hand. Percy smiled and nodded, then went back to Dumbledores office. .oOo. The rest of the day passed quickly, for the most part. After a while of thinking about everything, he realized a very real problem that faced him. He returned to Dumbledores office to discuss the issue, and after a short time a decision was reached. They both portkeyed to the Granger residence to have a talk with the Mr. and Mrs. Granger. When they returned from the talk, Harry walked up to his room to find another plain white message, with a plain, wax seal. It was almost identical to the first hed received on August first. The only difference was the message. Mr. Potter: Congratulations on receiving your of age status. I am quite glad that you did not find

the need to study that god-awful book I recommended to you. It truly was a boring piece of work that you would likely have needed your studious friend to look over. You, much like myself I believe, would more than likely have dozed off many times while trying to read through it. I would also like to take a moment to warn you. Tom Marvolo Riddle has been in contact with a rather unsavory character by the name of King Gamesh. Gamesh, at their meeting, claimed to have been in contact with someone named Gareth. Gamesh also called you the Dragonmaster. I am not sure that this will mean anything to you, however I am writing in the hopes that you will be able to use this information to your advantage. Be safe, A Friend In all honesty, Harry didnt really know what to make of the letter, but he would be sure to ask Dumbledore after the press conference. At that time, though, he was very tired, and decided to sleep. With an audible whump, Harry landed in his bed face first. .oOo. Hermione remained sleeping for the rest of the previous day and most of the night. She woke up bright and early the next morning, quite cheerful aside from being a bit weak. Happily, she trotted down to the common room, in her dressing gown, where she sat and stared into the fire contently. Harry came down the stairs to the common room, a look of determination set on his face, and noticed Hermione sitting by the fire. He walked over and sat down beside her and glanced at her a bit nervously. "Harry," she said as she saw him, "are you ok?" "Fine, Hermione how about you?" "Tired. But, otherwise fine. Im sorry about attacking you." "Well, I can sort of understand it," he said guiltily. "I did call you a mudblood, after all." "Harry, dont try to turn this on yourself. I could feel it when I was attacking you. You were protecting the others from me," she said seriously. "I know you didnt mean it." She grabbed him and hugged him tightly. "Thank you," she whispered. He hugged her back. "No worries," he whispered back. "So," he said after they separated, "once you get back to normal, I have to up your training a bit." Hermione groaned. "Cant I just almost kill you, then you knock me out? Its easier." Harry chuckled. "Hermione Granger, trying to skive off learning! Wonders never cease."

Hermione rolled her eyes. "Remind me to hurt Fred and George. I remember one of them calling me Hermaninny, and its easier to just hurt them both than figure out which one." Harry nodded and laughed. "Why are you up so early," she asked him suddenly. "You rarely ever get up this early." "Um" he said as he considered what to tell her. "I dont think youll like it, Miss ILove-Rules." "Harry," she asked, drawing out his name. "What are you planning?" "To overthrow the Minister," he said in a small voice as he looked away guiltily. "But, its for a good cause," he added immediately. "Oh, is that all," she stated, her voice raising with each word. "Harry, how exactly were you planning on overthrowing the Minister?!" "By proving that he hid from the public the fact that Lucius Malfoy, along with a few other Death Eaters, was broken out of Azkaban, possibly by the Dementors he refused to remove." Hermione forgot to scold Harry when she heard this. Instead she paled. "Lucius Malfoy is out of Azkaban?" Harry nodded calmly. "It was Percy who found out and told the Order." "Pin his arse to the wall and let him rot," she said through gritted teeth, her face still pale. "Malfoy knows I was there, and that I was partially responsible for him going to Azkaban. My parents are in danger because of that idiot we call Minister." "Dont worry," Harry said seriously. "I talked with your parents last night, with my grandfather. Theyll be joining us here. Theyre going to take over and teach Muggle Studies for the rest of the year, at least." Hermiones face lit up. "Muggles teaching Muggle Studies will definitely make the class more interesting for those who arent muggleborn. And I get to see my parents!" Harry grinned. "Yes," he said with a smile, "they seemed rather excited about it as well. I may be wrong, but I think your parents are a bit disappointed that they are muggles." Hermione nodded. "Yeah," she admitted. "They both like the idea of learning magic, but when I told them that it doesnt work that way they were both crestfallen." Harry nodded. "I sort of noticed that. When I mentioned the idea of a couple of muggles teaching Muggle Studies, they both jumped at it immediately." "Wait," Hermione said curiously, "what about the old professor?" "Well," Harry said with a smile, "she really preferred the Dark Arts class. I was getting a bit strained, trying to take care of my classes and catch you all up so that we can get your magus abilities in order."

"Umbran Stravarian preferred to teach Defense Against the Dark Arts?!" Hermione asked incredulously. "I cant believe it. She seems so meek." "Well, not that I would tell anyone else about this," Harry said with a grin, "but Im glad she wanted to teach it. One of her ancestors was a rather cruel Dark King, you see, and I think shed be excellent at teaching people to defend against it." "Dark King?! Ive only ever heard of Dark Lords!" Hermione questioned swiftly. "And isnt it dangerous to trust her in such a position?" "Im descended from Salazar Slytherin, Hermione," he said seriously. "Does that mean Im going to run out and join Voldemort?" "Well no" she trailed off. "She was rather serious about making sure the students could defend themselves against dangerous magic. She was highly against Quirrel teaching, because he was so wrong for the job. When it really comes down to it, ancestry really doesnt determine anything," he said seriously, "except your temperament and looks." "Yes, and you seem to have gotten both of those in spades," she joked. Harry pulled back in a mock-shock. "Miss Granger! I am flabbergasted! Are you flirting with me?!" Hermione rolled her eyes. "Of course not. I dont think I could handle having two Weasleys chasing me down." Harry burst out laughing, and Hermione joined in. "So, what are you going to do to that idiot Minister?" "You really want to know?" he asked as he gave her an appraising stare. "If you want to know, Ill tell you." She thought about it, then answered surely. "Yes." "Im going to force feed him Veritaserum, then question him in front of a press conference," Harry said with a bit of a shrug. Hermione looked flabbergasted for a moment, then her look of amazement turned into a giant grin. "Good. He deserves it." Harry nodded. "This is one of the few times that Im not completely angry that Im well known. Itll get more reporters to the conference. "In any case, Im supposed to pick up your parents before I go. So, if you want to come down to the main hall, you can be there when they arrive." Hermione grinned. "Ill shower and then head down," she said before she hugged Harry and ran off up the girls dormitory steps. Harry rolled his eyes and portkeyed out to the Granger residence. .oOo.

"Harry," Mrs. Granger said with a wide grin after hed shrunk most of their items small enough that they could fit into a single trunk, "can you possibly help me with something? I have a book case I want to take, but its somewhat large." Harry stifled a laugh that Hermiones mother would want to take a bookcase. "Well, I can see where she gets it," he thought to himself as he followed her upstairs. "Thats the one," she said, pointing at a large bookshelf that lined one wall. The bookshelf was probably ten feet tall and twice as wide, stacked with books. "Hermy told us wizards and witches have books on most everything, but things about muggles so I want to take these with us. Can you possibly ?" Harry smiled and nodded. With a wave of his hand, the large shelf folded itself into a cube then shrank small enough to fit into the palm of his hand, where he held onto it. "I can take it," Mrs. Granger said to him with a smile. "I dont think that would be a good idea," Harry said with a soft smile. "Its quite heavy." Mrs. Granger laughed. "It cant be that heavy," she said. "Youre putting a muggle on," she said with a grin. Harry shrugged and placed the cube on the floor, softly. Mrs. Granger tilted her head curiously, but reached down to pick it up. No matter how hard she tried, she couldnt lift it. "I guess youre not," she said as she straightened. "How could you hold it?" "Im a strong boy," he said with a grin. "I could have made it smaller and lighter, but it was a choice between getting it small enough that one person could handle it or making it both small and light. I could possibly have done both, but I might have put so much magic into it, that it destroyed it," he said seriously. "Im still, in some ways, learning my limits." "Fascinating," Mr. Granger said as he listened to the explanation, from the doorway. "So there are limits to what can be done with magic?" Harry nodded. "Yes. Each person has a limit to what they can perform, and it varies from person to person. Im not sure how much Hermione told you about what happened to me, but my limits were drastically increased. I can still do most things without much trouble, but shrinking objects is tricky business," he explained. "You have to put in the power to shrink the object, the power to reduce the weight, and then the power to lock the object into that state. "Any object can be shrunk, you see, but it is intricate work. Living things are simple. A potion will work on anything that can drink it. The charm, even, is easier on living things because they can adjust to excessive amounts of power almost instantaneously. Objects just well explode." "Amazing," Mrs. Granger said with a look of awe on her face. "I so wish we could do more than just observe. To practice this would be amazing." Harry smiled mysteriously. "Well, anything else?" he asked as he bounced the cube in his

hand. "No," Mrs. Granger said with a smile. "I do believe that is it." Harry nodded. "All right, then," Harry said with a smile. "Lets get you to Hogwarts." The three walked downstairs, quickly, with Harry levitating the cube while on the steps, to avoid putting that much compressed weight into one place on non-magically reinforced steps. Once at the bottom, he looked at them a moment. "Forget anything?" Both the Grangers shook their heads no. "Ok, sit on the trunk, please," Harry asked of Mrs. Granger. "Anything you want to take has to be in direct contact with you or your clothes." He slowly rolled up his sleeve, where the phoenix on his arm was stretching happily, and Mrs. Granger gasped as she saw it. "Wont that try to bring the house with us, since were inside," Mr. Granger asked curiously as Mrs. Granger continued to examine the tattoo. "It will be touching our feet, after all." "No," Harry said with a smile. "I guess you could call it smart magic. It knows what to bring, and what not to, in a sense. Just touch the mark and well be on our way." The Granger elders reached out and placed a single finger on the wings of the phoenix. Mr. Granger grunted and Mrs. Granger squeaked when they felt the jerk behind their navel. When the world came crashing back an instant later they were in the main hall of Hogwarts, where a streak of bushy-brown hair tackled them both with a giant smile on her face. "Hermione," Harry asked, stifling a laugh, "you can show your parents where my grandfathers office is?" Hermione rarely was so worried that she lost control of herself, but Harry was glad that it turned out to be for nothing. Hermione nodded frantically as her parents began to turn blue from lack of oxygen, Mrs. Granger flailing wildly. "Sure!" .oOo. At two minutes after six, the Minister of Magic, of the British magical community, walked into his office. He had a bad feeling about this day. Hed dreamed the previous night that he would be ousted from office this day, and it made him nervous. Without a word he walked over and sat down at his desk and looked over the latest problems he had to deal with. As he leafed through the papers, he noticed problem after problem. People didnt feel safe, because Voldemort was back; he looked like an idiot for not noticing sooner, while Dumbledore and Potter looked brilliant; several prisoners escaped from Azkaban, but at least he managed to hide that; the Dementors might have joined Voldemort, another thing hed managed to hide; giants have been spotted on the outskirts of some of the smaller cities, raising the fear that they also may have joined Voldemort; deaths and attacks by

werewolves increased about the same time as everything else, though hopefully they werent related to Voldemort; but, worst of all, his approval rating was receding faster than his hairline had been since all this began. No, the Minister of Magic was not very happy, today. "Here is your coffee, Minister," the new secretary hed hired the week before said sweetly as she leaned over just enough to offer him a view down her loose fitting blouse. He groaned inwardly as he stared at this magnificent display of womanhood, tempting him once more. She smiled sweetly as she noticed where he was looking. He didnt hear her mutter under her breath, as she left the room, "Stupid pig." "Damn that boy!" Fudge muttered as he looked over the papers on his desk. "If not for him, my approval rating would be so much better, right now." He grabbed his coffee and took a small sip of it. "Yes, damn me," Harry said as he stepped out from under his invisibility cloak and sat down in front of the Minister. "Damn me for trying to save lives. Damn me because I tried so hard to get you to listen. Damn me for not being a fool, like you. Damn me, for not making you look better." "How did you get in here?! Get out!" the Minister shouted indignantly. "Sit, Cornelius," Harry said commandingly. "Or Ill make you." "How dare you?!" "Did you forget our last encounter, Minister? Sit," he said again firmly as the minister blanched swiftly. "Finish your coffee, while we talk." Fudge dropped into his chair weakly and guzzled down his coffee, hoping it would soothe his frayed nerves. "What do you want, Harry?" "Call me Mr. Potter," Harry hissed though gritted teeth. "I hoped after our last encounter you would quit thinking about your precious job and would worry more about peoples lives. I see now," he said in a deadly calm voice, "that I was wrong." "B-Bu-But," he stuttered, "Ive been trying to protect people." "Yes," Harry laughed derisively, "I suppose you have been protecting people. You and those like you, who are more worried about being secure in their power than saving those they are supposed to serve." "Thats not true," he began but the Veritaserum began to take hold. Before the Veritaserum fully took hold of Cornelius Fudge, Harry smiled wickedly. "Dont worry, Cornelius. Well find the truth very soon." The last thought that ran through the Minister of Magics mind before the Veritaserum fully had him was, "Dear god, theyre going to kill me." .oOo.

Harry Potter walked onto the stage set up for his press conference, pulling the Minister of Magic behind him. With a shove, the Minister fell into a chair behind him. "Ive called you all here, today," Harry said calmly, "to give you the truth, so that you may take it back to the public. "I have, since I know for a fact that some of you can not help but embellish your articles, set up a ward around this area. Anyone with the intention of embellishing this story in the least should note that their parchment will continually burst into flames each time you try." The only person to make a noise was Rita Skeeter who indignantly demanded that they couldnt take away the press right to make the story interesting. "This is an injustice! Youre taking away our right to make this story readable!" "No, Rita," he said with a wicked smile. "I am making sure the readers get the truth. You can make the story readable any way you like, so long as you remain strictly to the facts. If, I might add, I find you writing another article like the one in Witch Weekly, that was also riddled with falsities, I will give those assembled another article that will make their eyes bug out." Rita Skeeter didnt utter another word the entire time the press conference was convened. "Minister, please step forward," Harry said, and the Minister walked forward, somewhat reluctantly. "For those wondering, the Minister of Magic is under Veritaserum." There was a collective gasp among the audience. "I will ask the questions I most think you need to know the answers to. I would thank you to remain silent while that occurs," Harry said as he stifled a laugh. Rita Skeeter was rapidly flailing her arms trying to put out her flaming parchment. "Minister, what is your name?" "Cornelius Oswald Fudge." "Are you actually the Minister of Magic?" "Yes, I am." "Did you know Voldemort was back before you finally admitted it?" The crowd shuddered as the name was mentioned. "No, but I suspected it." This was met with whispers throughout the crowd as yet again Rita Skeeters parchment burst into a flaming inferno. "Have you been hiding information from the public about Voldemort?" Again the crowd shuddered, and Harry directed his attention to the crowd as Fudge answered. "Yes," Fudge admitted calmly. Harry turned and directed his attention to the audience, and spoke clearly, "I would also ask that you all print his name. Not Lord Voldemort, not the Dark Lord, not You-KnowWho, and not He-Who-Must-Not-Be-Named. Print his name. Use Voldemort or Tom

Riddle. Preferably the latter." "Who is Tom Riddle?" one of the reporters shouted back. Harry pulled out his wand, and wrote, in golden letters, the name Tom Marvolo Riddle. With a swish of his wand the words rearranged themselves. "Tom Marvolo Riddle," stated clearly, without pause, "Heir of Salazar Slytherin, half-blood Dark Wizard, is Voldemort," Harry said as whispering broke out among the furious scratching of dozens of quills. "His father, Tom Riddle, was a muggle. His mother a witch. Rather curious," Harry said with a smirk, "that the most feared Dark Wizard this century, who proclaims that only pureblooded wizards and witches matter, isnt a pureblood dont you think? "You give him power by refusing to speak his name, either his assumed name or his real name," Harry said firmly. "But, for now let us remain on topic. "Minister, has their been an escape from Azkaban, since that of Sirius Black?" "Yes," he admitted. "Malfoy, MacNair, and Dolohov." "Did you hide this from the public?" "Yes." "Why?" "I was afraid of losing office. My position is the most important thing in this world to me," he stated for all those present. "I was already ridiculed for being friends with a known Death Eater." "Minister," Harry asked with a smirk, "do the lives of your public matter to you?" "Absolutely." "Why?" "When they begin to die off, my approval rating drops dramatically." Standing atop the large, wooden platform Harry watched as the gathered reporters scribbled furiously. Even Rita Skeeter, who had managed to stop her parchment from bursting into a fiery mess, was writing diligently. "Minister," he asked curiously, "have you hidden anything else from the public?" "Yes." "Please, list those items for us." "The Dementors may have sided with Voldemort, as Dumbledore said they would. He may also have managed to gain the help of a group of werewolves. He has recruited the help of most giants and possibly trolls, as well. There have been several attacks on

muggleborns and half-bloods since Voldemorts return that have been downplayed as random violence, regardless of the fact that the Dark Mark was found over the crime scene. "I have also recently began cheating on my wife with my new secretary, whom I hired only because she has a nice backside and firm breasts," he said simply. "She approached me with the promiscuous offer, in return for a promotion to a position as my personal secretary, and I was too weak-willed to resist." Harry stifled a laugh at that, because said secretary was in the audience and immediately hid her face and disappeared quickly back into the building. "Have you committed any crimes you would prefer not to admit to?" "Yes." "Oh, and what would those be?" Harry asked calmly, but inside he was grinning like a madman. He had, without a doubt, utterly destroyed the Minister of Magics career. "I apparated for two years before I was old enough to get my license. I have also used magic in front of muggles while drunk, and used my position to cover it up, violating Section Thirteen of the Statute of Secrecy." "Minister, after your admissions, do you think you will remain as the Minister of Magic?" "If I can somehow make it seem like you forced me to say these things, possibly by claiming you put me under the Imperius Curse," the Minister stated calmly, "then I can probably trick the fools that make up the general public into allowing me to remain in office." "Do you think youll be able to do that, after that statement?" "No." "Minister," Harry asked in a sickeningly sweet voice, "do you have anything else you would like to tell the people assembled, since I am fairly sure youll not be Minister of Magic much longer?" "Yes. I hate Harry Potter with all of my being." "Mister Moody," Harry said with a smile. "You can take him to a holding cell, now. The Veritaserum should wear off soon." Moody and his aurors stepped forward and took the Minister of Magic into custody. Harry watched with an elated smile as the Minister was led from the platform and into protective custody. "So," Harry said brightly. "Any questions?" Harry Potters question was met with absolute silence as the assembled reporters stared at him in shock.

Dear Reader, I want to apologize for taking so long to get this ready. I finally gave up on keeping ahead of the story and have, since chapter seven, been posting when I get finished. Normally it takes me about two days to write a single chapter, but the main problem is that for about a week Ive not had the urge to write. Depression sucks. Long story short, Im posting this and the Medallion of Seth chapter at the same time to make up for the long drought. This also marks the passing of the 100,000 words mark, for this story. Yay! Not much, really (for a story thats only about a month old, anyway), but Im proud of it. Hopefully, Ill be finished with this story within the next two months. Hopefully. :) Normally I dont tell you what will be in the next chapter (because I dont really know until I start writing it). I will give you this bit of information, though. I will, more than likely, address the issue of the new Minister of Magic next chapter and possibly the first class with the Grangers. I set up the Minister issue in this chapter for that specific reason. I just really wanted to do a battle, so I let that more or less interrupt the entire day. As always, I appreciate the reviews. I was hoping I would reach review number two hundred before I posted this, but I suppose it just wasnt meant to be. Now, to address a few points mentioned in reviews, starting with the issue of Percy. Why does he deserve a second chance well, the simplest answer is because Im the author and I say he does, but thats probably not the one youre looking for. ;) Percy isnt a bad guy, unlike Fudge. Hes young, nave, maybe a bit foolish but, his heart was in the right place. He thought what he was doing was right, and as they say the highway to hell is paved with good intentions. Why hasnt he apologized publicly simply put, hes more useful if people think he and his father arent on the best of terms. Do you think he could have gotten that information from Fudge if people knew he had made up with his father? I dont. So, publicly, hes the same Percy weve always seen. Privately is another matter entirely. As for everyone having powers and abilities, they dont. Magus abilities, by my standard, are something major. A parselmouth, for example, isnt a magus, they just have a special ability. A Stormwalker, however, would be considered a magus. And, to give you ample warning, I do plan on making more magi and more gifted people, but I urge you to wait and see before you pass judgment. Next, I want to address the issue of the Tear. A lot of people, I think, assumed that I would simply grant Harry loads of power and knowledge without any problems. When you have the memories of thousands of people in your head, sure you know a lot, but you also have to deal with what that does to your mind. He is literally thousands of people all rolled into one, with Harry at the helm doing his best to control the others. Some might think Ive made it seem as Harry has more political power than Fudge. I havent. I have simply demonstrated that he has fame, and a good bit of it. He simply

used that fame to accomplish a goal, in this case. Hermiones little fit wont happen to Ron and Ginny, at least not for the same reason. Her powers are related to the mind. She has to shield herself from those around her to avoid picking up on errant thoughts and feelings. Her powers grew, but her shields stayed the same. As such, she more or less was overwhelmed and lost it. Thankfully shes still not back up to full power so shes under control until Harry can help her with her shields. Next, the issue of who Harry will be joined with as far as a relationship goes. Simply put, there are no guarantees. I do have a preference for Harry and Ginny (in general, not necessarily for this story), but that is simply over certain other pairings that I really hate. I cant stand seeing Hermione with pretty much anyone except for Ron, so youll likely never see a Hermione and Harry pairing from me, and I generally refuse to read them. I can see hotheaded Ron being after the analytical bookworm, but it just doesnt work when I try to envision it with Harry. At one point, right after I saw the first two movies, I thought a Harry and Hermione relationship would be good, but now I just really dont like it. I dont like Ginny and Draco, so youll more than likely never see that from me, either. I dont mind the ones where Draco becomes her friend, but if it becomes more than that, I just cant fathom it. I also dont like Harry slash. Though I can see Draco being gay and can think of a few interesting story ideas with that concept, I just cant see it with Harry. So, thats out for me as well. As for femmeslash Im male and heterosexual of course I like it. ;) Im not as much against Ginny and Harry with others, though. Harry and Blaise (in a few of the stories Ive seen) are quite good. The idea of Harry and a Slytherin just grabs my interest quite a bit. With Ginny, I cant really picture her with anyone but Harry, but Ive tried to keep an open mind on that front. So, for those who make a prediction on it being Ginny simply because I said I like Harry and Ginny paired, you might be disappointed. ;) How powerful is Harry. Well really, no one knows. Not even Harry. He has an idea of what he can and can not do, but he has to be careful (as youll see in this chapter, when hes not careful he tends to break things like ancient magical wards). So, will he figure out how powerful he is? Eventually, yes. As youll also see in this chapter, he is still susceptible to magic and harm, though. The issue of Ginny hexing Fred, would Harry know about it? Yes, to an extent he would. Keep in mind, though, that while he has the memories and can access them, theyre not at the front of his mind all the time. He has to consciously think about it, which is why he doesnt know if he can or can not do something until he thinks about it or has a strong emotional reaction. The best explanation I can give for it is how I think of it, really. Harrys mind contains

thousands of other minds. Each mind has its own agenda. Ginnys mind, like she used to be, is simply trying to stay out of Harrys notice. There are other minds that sometimes try to fight to the surface (a lot like I explained the werewolves beast spirit). Hence why the idea of killing doesnt bother him as much as it normally would he has a lot of minds from a time when killing a criminal or ones enemy was the expected response. I hope that makes sense, but Im sure it probably doesnt. As for the offer to beta, right now Im going to try to stick with things the way they are. I kind of prefer that no one can be blamed for my mistakes but me. If, however, I change my mind, I will make sure to post it. I really do appreciate the offer. :) Now, I must say that Im a bit disappointed that people arent trying to guess who is writing the mystery letters, as that is, eventually, going to be a rather pivotal point. Unless I change my mind, of course but Ive had this in mind for quite a while now, so I doubt I will. Thanks, of course, goes out to azntgr01 for pointing out my mistake with the whole Granger/Weasley mix-up. Ive gotten so used to typing Mrs. Weasley, that it has almost become habit. ;) Also, Id like to mention, since someone was nice enough to do this (the Amulet of Time stories were quite good) I am not against people suggesting stories for me to read, as searching for them can be a bit of a pain. I prefer stories where Harry gets new abilities. If the English is bad I generally cant stomach finishing them no offense intended to those who are providing their stories in another language, I think it is commendable its just something that I personally cant read. Finally, if it goes against my pairing rules Im most likely not interested. If it fits those requirements, then feel free to suggest away, as I am always looking for something to read. E-mail your suggestions to Ill be happy to give them a look. Bit of a long note, I suppose, but I like to address as many of the concerns in my reviews as possible. Again, I appreciate the reviews, and I hope you enjoy the story. :) -Master Eldryn

"Whats going on," Harry asked as he sat down in the Great Hall for breakfast, having just returned from the press conference. Ron glanced up, grunted, and shook his head. He handed over a paper to Harry, and returned to his food, not giving it a second thought. Harry took the offered newspaper, and read over it. As he grabbed a glass of juice a smile crept onto his face. Minister Ousted from Office, Facing Criminal Charges by Rita Skeeter Earlier this morning a press conference was called outside the Ministry of Magic under

cover of Muggle Repelling Wards. The only information given to those invited was that both the Minister of Magic and Harry Potter, the Boy-Who-Lived, would be speaking. Little did we know that the Minister of Magic would incriminate himself multiple times before those assembled. The Minister, Cornelius Oswald Fudge, under the influence of Veritaserum, admitted to suspecting Tom Riddle, also known as He-Who-Must-Not-Be-Named, of returning long before he finally admitted this fact to the magical community of Britain. Rather than admit he was wrong, and risk the security of his position as Minister of Magic, he allowed the magical community of Britain to believe they were safe. Among other things he admitted were facts and possibilities he intentionally hid from the public. The possibility that the Dementors may have joined Tom Riddle; that a group of werewolves may now be working for him; that since Tom Riddles return our former Minister has downplayed several attacks on muggleborns; and the giants, as well as possibly the trolls, have sided with Riddle. While under the influence of Veritaserum, he further admitted to violating the Statute of Secrecy while drunk, acts of infidelity against his wife, and apparating without a license for over two years while still a minor. Then, after admitting to his crimes, Fudge had the audacity to admit he would have framed the Boy-Who-Lived, claiming that he had somehow forced our illustrious former Minister to say these things. While it is not normally in my nature to print opinions, I believe that immediate action should be taken to ensure that our next Minister has more important matters in mind, such as the safety of the public. Thankfully, the former Minister of Magic is being brought up on criminal charges for his actions against the magical community of Britain. Cornelius Oswald Fudge is facing, at the very least, a two-year term in Azkaban and has already lost his office as Minister of Magic. An office that he admitted was more important to him than the lives of those he is supposed to serve. The Boy-Who-Lived also took the time at the press conference to provide some interesting information about You-Know-Who. For those who are wondering why I am referring to You-Know-Who as Tom Riddle, above, that is his real name. Among the aforementioned information was also the fact that Riddle is a half-blood, something he has intentionally hidden from the public, it seems, as it would harm his stance that only purebloods are of consequence. At the request of the Boy-Who-Lived, I will be referring to You-Know-Who as Tom Riddle from this day forward. The Ministry Council will be convening in a private location, withheld for safety reasons, to nominate and elect a new Minister of Magic. He, or she, will be announced at a press conference tomorrow afternoon, at which the new Minister will take office. I think it is safe to say that we all hope our new Minister will have better intentions than the disgraceful Cornelius Oswald Fudge. Harry burst out into laughter as he finished the article. "I know," Ron muttered. "What else is she going to blame on you? I mean, making something up is one thing, but to

claim you were actually there." "Oh," Harry said with a grin, "this time shes completely right. Everything in that article is true." Rons eyes went wide with surprise, but Harry didnt pay much attention. Blaise had just sneaked up on him and pulled him off of his seat to the floor. "Hi," she said with a wide grin, ignoring the frown from Ron. "Are you still mad at me about the other day?" "Mad? No, I wasnt mad. Irritated, maybe," he said seriously, "but not mad." "Im sorry," she said, sincerely. "I didnt mean to ruin your night, its just" "I know," he said, not feeling like discussing the issue any longer. "Mr. Potter," a stern voice called as she approached. "Is there a reason youre on the floor?" "Oh," Blaise said softly, as she looked up with a guilty grin. "That was my fault, professor." "Indeed," Professor McGonogall said with an arched brow. "Mr. Potter, as you may know the Quidditch season will be starting soon. I would be most appreciative if you would prepare your team." "Indeed," Leo said with an internal chuckle. "We need to get to the air. I want to Wronski some people into the ground! Wood was great and all, but he never had a reason to Wronski anyone I miss the rush that comes as the dirt goes flying as the opponent rips through the ground." Harry nearly jumped when Leos voice sounded off in his mind, but managed to refrain. "Yes, professor," Harry said as he hopped from lying to being on his feet. "I agree." "Very good, Mr. Potter," she said with a hint of a smile. "I have booked the pitch for Saturday. A notice will be placed in the common room that you will be holding tryouts. If you prepare properly, you will still be able to attend the Hogsmeade outing, that day." Harry nodded. "Thanks professor, I appreciate it." McGonogall edged closer to him and whispered imperceptibly. "Very nice work with the Minister, Mr. Potter," and then she was walking away, leaving behind a somewhat surprised Harry Potter. Blaise poked Harry, who hadnt moved since he heard what McGonogall said, and he turned to face her. She had her face crinkled slightly. "You wont be mad at me if I join the Slytherin Quidditch team, will you?" Harry looked confused for a moment, then realized what she meant. "No," he said with a genuine smile. "If you want to play Quidditch, Im not going to be mad. If Malfoy gives you a hard time, let me know and Ill shove him in a vanishing cabinet." Blaise smiled warmly, then kissed him on the cheek and ran off without another word. Harry raised an

eyebrow, "Girls are weird." "Tell me about it," Ron muttered. "Hermione is mad at me because I" he stopped quickly the moment he realized who he was talking to. "Because you dont like whats going on with me, Gin, and Blaise, and youd like to beat some sense in to me?" Harry finished with an odd smile on his face. "Well yeah," Ron said, a tinge of pink covering his ears. "Its nothing personal, mind. Brotherly instincts, you understand?" "No," Harry said sadly, "I wish I did but, what did Hermione say?" he asked curiously. "She told me that it wasnt my business, no matter how much I may not like it. If Ginny told me to stay out of it, I should stay out of it. She did tell me that she doesnt like it either, though." Harry nodded. "Ron, let me ask you a question. If you had two beautiful young women chasing you, jerking you into a closet here, behind a stature there, and then snogging your brains out, how would you get them to stop without hurting their feelings? Keep in mind that they grab you randomly and kiss you until the only thing you can think about is why its so hard to breathe." Rons eyes narrowed in thought, a frown slipping onto his face. "I would I would" he trailed off. "I would be absolutely clueless," he said with a deep frown etched into his young, freckled face. Harry nodded. "Exactly," he said seriously. "Ive told them both Im not ready for a relationship. I tried to get them to stop snogging the hell out of me, too. The problem is that every time I tried they snogged me until I sounded like Quirrel!" Ron blinked owlishly. "Yeah, I can see how that might cause a problem." "I dont like the idea of leading either one of them on," Harry said as he collapsed into the seat next to Ron. "If I had my way, theyd give me the time to figure out what I want, before I had to deal with this. But, theyre not having any of that." "Have you tried simply asking them?" Hermione asked as she sat down opposite Ron with a scowl on her face. "Yes," Ron answered for Harry. "Thats what he just said. Every time he tried to ask them, they just snogged him out of his head." Hermione glanced at Harry, her eyes filled with disbelief. "I can see Blaise doing that," she said coolly, "but not Ginny. Shes too innocent." "Hermione, I hate to be the one to tell you this, but Ginny is a rather attractive young woman. She also knows exactly how to make my brain stop working." Ron looked appalled at the thought, and Hermione was just shocked completely. Harry shook his head weakly, and nearly leaped out of his skin when he heard someone whisper

in his ear. "Oh, I do, do I?" Ginny asked as her hands slid inside Harrys shirt and she bit down on his neck. Harry groaned. "BLOODY HELL!" Ron shouted, gaining him glances from most of the people in the Great Hall. "Get a room!" Ginny looked up at Ron and a wicked smile spread on her face, and Ron immediately regretted his statement. "I shouldnt have said that." "Really, Ron," Hermione muttered. "What was your first clue?!" Harry tried to remember that he was irritated with Ginny. "Im still irritated with you," he muttered, though he didnt sound very convincing with her hand down his shirt and his voice quite shaky. Ginny let a guilty grin slip onto her face and she dropped into the seat by Harry. "Erm sorry," she said as she laid her head on his shoulder. "Forgive me?" she said in a rather cute, innocent voice. "Pwease?" Harry rolled his eyes, then looked at Hermione. "See?" Hermione had an odd, frowning smile on her face. "Yes, it seems I owe you an apology," she muttered. "What for?" Ginny asked, and Harry glanced at her. "Nothing," Harry muttered. "You ready for Quidditch? We only have two weeks to practice before the first game." Ginny frowned and Ron muttered, "Why are they just now letting us start practice?" "They were still undecided on whether or not to have Quidditch. They assigned captains and all that, in case, but I guess they just now decided to go on with it," Harry replied. "I can handle two weeks to train, as long as I get the play." "Well," Ginny said brightly, thought it was hard to miss the tinge of sadness in her voice, "at least you still get to play." "You going to try out for chaser?" Harry asked, and Ron nodded his agreement. "Youre good, Ginny," Ron said seriously. "And we need new chasers." "Maybe," Ginny said indecisively. "When are we going to get back to learning about our magus abilities?" "Well, Hermione gets to start back today," Harry said while looking out over the Great Hall. "The rest of you need to finish up what I have you studying. Thankfully Fred and George can help you two while I get Hermione to the point that she wont run off killing people for no reason," Harry said, causing Hermione to duck her head to hide her embarrassment. "Harry," Ginny whispered into his ear once the others returned to their food. "I really am

sorry." Harry glanced over at her, and noticed just how sincere she really was. He smiled and winked at her, quickly. "I know." Suddenly, without warning, a roar rumbled through the school. A roar that Harry recognized far too well. Immediately he jumped up from his seat. "GARETH!" he bellowed, and in an instant he was outside. A moment later his friends were with him, including the twins, who had just entered the Great Hall for breakfast. "Whats going on?" George asked as he gasped for breath. "MASTER! HELP ME!" Zanith screamed from where he was. Hagrid was outside his hut, wand firmly in hand, with Zane held protectively behind him. "Itll be aright, Zane," Harry heard him say, though no one else had hearing like his. "Aint no ruddy monster like im gonna hurt yeh, I promise." Gareth roared loudly, flame billowing from his nostrils, and smacked Hagrid away. In an instant Hagrid was on his feet again, sprinting the distance back to his adopted son. He tried to shout out the Caustic Agony spell, but couldnt get the wand motion right. Finally he just tossed his wand to one side and hurled himself at the large English Black that by then had Zane in his large claw. With a furious roar Hagrid latched onto the dragons claws and began to pry them open. The man, three times the size of a normal human, wrenched open the claws, his muscles sounding as if theyd tear completely off the bone. Hagrid didnt stop though. Finally, with the last of his strength he wrenched the claws open. The only problem was that he was in mid-air. Zane went into a free fall, screaming as he approached the ground quickly. Without a second thought Hagrid let go of the dragons claw. As he fell he quickly caught up with Zane, and wrapped him protectively in his arms. With a final mid-air twist, Hagrid crashed to the ground with Zane cradled in his arms. Harry, Ron, Hermione, Ginny, Fred, and George watched the spectacle in awe. Theyd never seen Hagrid so furious. Without warning an explosion set off in their midst. Harrys eyes had turned deep cobalt, and lightning was writhing over his form like a group of wild, untamable snakes. With a thunderous crack that felt like an even larger explosion than the first Harry apparated onto the dragon, tearing through the wards like they were paper. "I WARNED YOU GARETH," Harry bellowed, his bodys lungs amplifying the words so that the entirety of Hogwarts heard Harrys statement. "I JUDGE YOU! THE SENTENCE IS DEATH!" With a thunderous punch, Harrys hand slammed into the large dragons head and a roar of pain echoed over the ground. Again Harry slammed his fist into the dragons head, as if trying to tear through its thick skull. "Master of Dragons," a dark, gritty voice called from the forest. "I challenge you. Ancient

law demands you meet my challenge, Master of Dragons!" Slowly Gamesh stepped from the shadows, a hideous and toothy grin on his face. "Who challenges me," Harry hissed, as he continued to ram his fist into Gareths thick skull. "Gamesh, King of the Daemon Realm!" "So be it," Harry growled and slammed his fist against Gareths head one final time. The dragons roaring ended abruptly and he crashed to the ground, unconscious. Harry rolled as he landed, coming to his feet immediately and stalking towards Gamesh. "I, Harry Potter, accept the challenge. Face me, Gamesh, in combat!" A grin broke across the face of the Daemon King as he stepped forward and looked down on Harry. "You are a tiny man. Breaking you shall be quite pleasurable." Harrys response was to punch the daemon hard in the stomach, launching the twelvefoot tall monster back into the forest from whence he came. A low, guttural growl pierced the air and Gamesh came running out of the forest, his golden fur glinting as he streaked across the ground like lightning from the sky. With a sickening crunch, his foot slammed into Harrys chest knocking him back a good forty feet, and tearing up the lawn as he skidded atop it. "You are strong," Gamesh said with a grim smile, "but you are no daemon!" There was a roar of approval from the forest as a host of daemons stepped forth from dark trees. "You see, child? You have no chance." Harry was helped to his feet by an inky black arm. "Alright there, Harry?" Ron asked, his shady body seeming like a void in the morning light. Harry couldnt help but grin. "Great, Ron." Ron fell in on Harrys left, with Hermiones pink-coated form beside him. To Harrys right was Ginny, her ice armor wrapped tightly around her, an ice sword in hand. Finally there was Fred and George beside her. "We uh dont really know what we can do," George said for them both, "but well help how we can." "Just tap into your power," Dumbledore said as he strode up to the group. Unlike his normal self, he radiated power. His eyes changed from their normal blue to a deep purple and his hair fanned out from the crackle of the energy in the air around him. "You may not be able to do anything with it, but it will charge your magic." "Harry," Ron muttered, "what the bloody hell is going on?!" "My grandfather, like your brothers, is a Stormwalker. If you want to know more, ask him. In the mean time, I suggest you prepare to fight. I hope you fight to kill, but if you dont then do your best to stay safe. You may not kill them, but they will try to kill you." Hearing that was enough for Fred and George. With a crackle they tapped their power,

their eyes set to glowing in the process. "Harry," Fred muttered, "you better not get yourself killed. We still have training to do." Harry smiled over at Fred. "Deal." Harry turned back to the daemons and grinned at the horde that stood at the edge of the forest. He tilted his head to one side, and a loud crack sounded from the bones in his neck. He did the same to the other side. With a wave of his hand a large broadsword appeared, twisted runes etched into it glowing deep and black. A moment later the blade of the sword burst forth with a black flame. Harry stuck the sword over his back and it floated in the air right behind him, as if sheathed in the air. With a growl Harrys clothes shifted into those hed worn at Halloween, the cowl of his cape pulled back behind him. "Gamesh," Harry called out with a smirk on his face, "you bring your daemon host to harm children? I thought better of the King of the Daemon Realm." "The children will not be harmed. I am here for you and you alone. The children are of no consequence to me." "The terms are set," Harry roared into the space that would be their battlefield. The flame on his sword exploded. A moment later Harrys hair was replaced by dark, black flames, flickering and dancing in the morning light as if trying to suck the very sun into its dark fire. His eyes turned into empty black voids, looking much like Rons shadowy form. The tips of his boots caught fire, as did the tops of his gloves. "If," Harry said quietly to those around him, "I die, make sure they go with me. There is no Merlin to get rid of them this time." "Harry," Hermione hissed, "dont talk like --" "This is no time for worrying and sentimentality," Harry growled. "Unless the daemon host attacks, you refrain from moving. If Gamesh kills me, they will be free to attack the school. If I kill him, they will attack for revenge. Until they do, though, stay out of it or he has the right to claim my soul." Harrys friends eyes snapped to him in disbelief. "Exactly. Stay out until one of us is dead, or they attack. Gamesh doesnt have to worry about that whole soul problem, since he doesnt have what we recognize as a soul." "Harry," Dumbledore said wearily, "this is absurd." "Yes, but I am required to meet his challenge by ancient law. So, I will." "Come out, Master of Dragons! FACE ME!" Gamesh roared loudly. "FACE ME OR FORFEIT!" Harry reached up and grabbed the clasp of his cape. With a flick of his wrist the cape flew up and behind him. Gamesh recognized the beginning of the battle and charged into the center, met mid-way by Harry. From mid-air Gamesh pulled out a huge double-edged waraxe, and Harrys sword, still floating behind him, flew into his open hand. The clash of metal on metal resounded over the open field, the daemon horde cheering their King on.

Ginny flinched as black sparks exploded over the fighting pair. Hermiones growing power hardened over her like armor as she glared at the demonic entities before her. Ron did much the same, gathering shadows to shield himself for the coming battle. Hagrid, who had finally regained consciousness from his fall, joined them with Zane by his side. Dumbledore looked the epitome of power as his body turned into a mass of swirling energy. Ginny, who was already prepared, simply watched the battle in fear. "D-D-Dad," Zane whimpered, his fear finally subsiding. "I need to give you something." Hagrid simply watched as Zane flicked his wand at Hagrids clothes, and slowly they changed into an outfit identical to Harrys, the only difference was that his was yellow. He flicked his hand once more and Hagrids hair and beard braided itself tightly. He looked over at Fred and George and did the same. Both Fred and Georges were purple, where Hagrids was yellow and Harrys was blue. They glanced over at Zane and winked. "Itll be alright," Fred said cheerily. Harry, who was still fighting sword to axe with Gamesh chanced a glance at his friends and noticed that Zane was preparing those without control of their power. "I knew that boy would be smart," Harry thought to himself as he whipped his free fist out and slammed the black, flaming glove into Gameshs chest. A roar of pain echoed through the forest as Gamesh fell to one knee clutching his chest. A toothy grin appeared on his face as he looked up at Harry. Harry waved his hand at Zane, releasing him from his restrictions temporarily. Quickly, before Gamesh could resume attacking he projected his thoughts at Hermione, and she was nearly knocked from her feet by the force of it. "HERMIONE! TELL ZANE HIS RESTRICTIONS ARE LIFTED! NOW!" Just as suddenly, the voice in her mind was gone. "Zane," Hermione said to the young boy. "Your restrictions are lifted." Zane looked up at her in surprise, then smiled. Slowly he began to change, and then it became more rapid. When he was done he looked to be as old as Harry. His messy blonde hair had grown to the edge of his shoulder blades and his deep blue eyes sparkled. A smirk, reminiscent of Malfoy, appeared on his face as his ears grew into slight points. He grew from a few short feet to close to six and a half feet. His muscled form looked as if it could give Hagrid a run for his money. Like Harrys before, Zanes clothes shifted into a Battle Wizards uniform. Where Harrys was blue his was black with a white shirt, an acknowledgement of his heritage. Zanes previously childish voice came out in a deep baritone. "Much better. Im not nearly as helpless like this." In the makeshift battlefield, Harry was being forced back. Gameshs dark laughter rang over the field as he backhanded Harry hard across the jaw. Dazed, Harrys half-limp body flew across the field and skidded across the ground. He stood up and shook his head, trying to shake off the dizziness. He tossed the sword over his shoulder and it floated in behind him again.

Quickly he drew his wand from the glove on his left hand and flicked it toward Gamesh. "STUPEFY!" The stunner simply hit his golden fur and bounced away. "DAMNIT! Hes stronger than the last Daemon King," Harry thought to himself. "Petrificus Totalus!" he shouted and again the curse bounced off. "INCENDIARIUS!" he shouted, but again the curse bounced away. "You waste my time, Master of Dragons!" At wits end, Harry used the only thing he could think of. "IMPERIO!" The curse slammed into Gamesh and for a moment he paused, but then he laughed and continued walking towards Harry. "Very good, Master of Dragons," Gamesh hissed. "You learn quickly. Light Magic is useless against me, but your Dark Magic wont do much either. Daemonkind has changed over the ten thousand years that passed in our realm since my wifes bastard son closed the gateway!" "CRUCIO!" Harry roared and Gamesh flinched as the curse hit him, but again he shrugged it off, laughing. "I actually felt that," Gamesh laughed. "Interesting." With a lightning-like movement Gamesh was in front of Harry. He leaned over and whispered into Harrys ear. "You should have kept with the sword, at least it could hurt me." An explosive crack resounded over the battlefield as Harry was again knocked far across the field. "YOU WILL DIE TODAY!" Gamesh roared happily. "I wouldnt count on it," Harry muttered as he shakily got to his feet, wiping the blood leaking from his mouth onto the back of his glove. "CRUCIUS INFINITUS!" Harry roared loudly and a streak of black flashed from his wand at the same time as a crack slid over the surface of it. Gameshs eyes went wide as the black pulse slammed into his body. He fell to the ground and an unearthly howl of pain roared from his huge lungs, unceasing. Harry remained completely focused on Gamesh, pouring every bit of power he had into the only curse hed managed to harm Gamesh with. "How does it feel" Harry gasped, "to know youre going to die?" Harrys assembled friends watched in stone-faced silence as he stumbled his way across the field, coughing up blood. Inwardly, though, they were all worried for his safety. It was obvious he had internal injuries. He wouldnt be spitting up blood, otherwise. Gamesh continued to writhe as his roar of pain rolled forth from his hideous lips, resounding like thunder over the battlefield. Slowly, his writhing stopped, and his breathing returned to normal. For a moment it seemed as if Harry had won the battle. Then he collapsed and Gamesh began to stand. "That was most amusing," he growled quietly, but everyone around heard the statement. "Ive not felt pain like that in many millennia." Gamesh walked over and a blue pulse flew from his hand into Harrys body, but nothing happened. Gamesh began to laugh, loudly. "THE MASTER OF DRAGONS IS DEAD!"

A roar of elation swept over the ranks of the daemon horde. "I cant believe it," Ginny gasped as she tried to hold back her tears, but failed. "I just cant believe it." "Believe it," Zane stated in his new deep baritone. "His heart stopped when he collapsed, so did his lungs. Hes dead, meaning theyre free to attack. Grandpa," he said glancing over at Dumbledore, "shock him." "What?" Dumbledore said from his stupor. "HIT HIM HARD! NOW!" Snapped from his daze by Zanes order, Dumbledore gathered his power about him. The very air sizzled with his power. Suddenly a bolt of lightning streaked from the sky and slammed into Harrys lifeless body. "AGAIN!" Zane shouted, and once more a bolt of lightning sped from the sky and slammed into Harrys lifeless body. "STOP IT!" Ginny shouted. "WHY ARE YOU DOING THIS TO HIM?!" Hermione spoke up. "Its a fact of nature," she told Ginny. "It could jumpstart his heart, and bring him back to us." "YOU WASTE YOUR TIME!" Gamesh roared with laughter. "His magic is gone, his body is dead!" Again a bolt of lightning slammed into Harrys body, only this time it was from all three Stormwalkers. Without the others notice, Fred and George walked over and stuck their hands against Dumbledores electric form. The flash from the bolt obscured all sight as the deafening sound of point blank thunder rattled the ground like an earthquake. Over the sound of the thunder, a roar sounded off making the thunder seem inconsequential by measure. When the light receded and the sound dissipated, standing over Gamesh was the biggest dragon any of them had seen. Its body was mostly black with glowing emerald eyes. The stomach and claws were brilliantly silver. The horned head let out another resounding roar as it leaned down face to face with a wide-eyed Gamesh. Without warning the large dragon collapsed on the ground. "Hes alive," Zane said happily. "But, hes too weak to do anything else. We have three choices. We can leave him to the daemons and try to protect the school, we can try to get him and leave those in the school to die, or we can protect the school and try to keep him safe in the process." "We cant leave the school without defense," Dumbledore said as he once again gathered his power, "and I will not let my grandson die." "So be it," Zane said. "I suggest you dont worry about your morals, and you do everything in your power to kill as many of these creatures as you can." "My pleasure," Ron growled as his body vanished into the ground. Without warning he resurfaced by Gamesh. With a whip of his shadowy arm, his fist engorged to half the side of his body, Gamesh was sailing across the open field. That was the beginning of their

battle. The twins pulled their wands out of their gloves and began to shout out spells, still tapped into their core of power. The spells simply bounced away, doing no damage. They glanced at each other with worried faces. George sent a stunner at one of the daemons without result, and Fred was quite worried by that time. He reached into his pocket and pulled out the bottle of shocking salt. He poured a few crystals into his hand and swallowed them down. Power rippled off him like water in a pond. "Stupefy!" he whispered and his stunner sped across the field and slammed into one of the daemons like a battering ram. "Holy hell," George muttered as the spell bounced off the daemon. The spell didnt stun the daemon but had enough force behind it to physically move him. "How many did you use, Fred?!" "About ten," his brother replied with a grin. "There is so much I can barely contain it, but if itll help Ill do it." George nodded and dumped ten of the small crystals into his hand, swallowing them back immediately. Again a ripple of power flooded over the battlefield. "STUPEFY!" George shouted and his stunner sped across the field and bounced off of one of the daemons. His aim was a bit better because the ricochet caught another of the daemons as it bounced away. Fred and George grinned at each other and started shouting out stunners, back to back with each other to provide better protection. The daemons they hit did managed to get back up, most of the time, but they still managed to keep them back while the others tore them apart. Dumbledores electric body was moving like lightning as he made his way to his grandson. Each time a daemon would approach he would move so fast he almost seemed to disappear and reappear behind them. Without warning hed shove his hand into their chest and let off a charge of power, and the daemon would fall to the ground in a heap of charred flesh. Ginny was doing her best to hold them back as Hermione tried to tear into their minds, but she wasnt able to do much aside from bat them back. Fire didnt seem to hurt them, she couldnt drown them, and pulling them into the earth only helped until they clawed their way out. Hermione was still in shock from touching one of their minds. "So evil. So dark" she muttered. Hagrid was making good time by grabbing most of them and hurling them into trees with Zane by his side, Harrys sword firmly in hand. Most of the daemon host stayed away from the sword when possible, as it was easily tearing through their thick skin. Fred, George, and Dumbledore reached Harry at the same time. "Im too weak to move him," Dumbledore told them. "Ah, we can cure that," George said with a grin.

Fred nodded. "Oh indeed." They poured some of the shocking salt into their hands and handed into Dumbledore. "Swallow it," Fred said with a grin. Dumbledore nodded and tipped it back, followed closely by an explosion of power. His electric body literally glowed with power. Fred and George watched in awe. "Normally," Dumbledore said with what could best be described as a grin, "I wouldnt do this but I have an excess of power, so" with that a bolt of lightning slammed into him and once Fred and George could see clearly, both Dumbledore and Harry were gone. "Wow," Fred muttered. "Yeah," George replied. Without warning a wolfish howl sounded over the field and a half-man, half-wolf loped into the battle tearing into the daemons without warning, his eyes glittering with the love of the hunt. Fred and George watched in awe as the wolfish man ripped his clawed hand through the stomach of one of the daemon horde. Not missing a step, the man transformed completely into a wolf and leaped at the throat of another, tearing out its jugular. "Thats just bloody brutal!" Fred said with a grim smile. "Better them than us," George replied and returned to firing off stunners. Ron faded into existence behind them. "Those are some strong spells." "Cant hurt them with the intent of the magic, get them with the force of it," George said with a grin. Ron nodded. "Did you know demons dont drown?" Fred and George glanced at each other. "They dont?" Ron frowned and nodded again. "Ive spent ten minutes in the lake, with Gamesh completely submerged he just wont die." "How did you keep him under?" Ron laughed, then. "Did? Ive still got him under. Im technically not here," he said with a grin. "This is just a shadow," he said pointing at his body. "Um Ron," Fred asked curiously, "how exactly are you breathing?" Ron blinked at him. "Um Im not, really. I only completed my transformation a few weeks ago before that, I still needed to." "COOL!" George said in awe. "Yeah, I guess. Behind you." Fred turned and directly behind him was a rather large daemon. "Um, George?"

"I see him," George said in reply. "Are you prepared for your death?" the daemon hissed at them. Fred and George glanced at each other. "Um no, but we have a present for you," Fred said with a grin. George, catching on, nodded. At the same time they fired off point blank stunners. The daemon roared as the stunners mixed and slammed into him. He was out like a light, a moment later. "Wow," Ron muttered. "Fifteen minutes, and the bastard still isnt dead." "Have you tried just tearing his head off?" George asked seriously. "Skins too thick," Ron replied casually. "The most Ive been able to do is scratch him. Its like his skin is made out of pure steel." Fred and George blinked at each other. "Um there is a wolf-man up here tearing through them like tissue paper." Ron stared at him a moment. "I think in their whatever, they go by survival of the fittest. Im going to guess since Gamesh is king, hes a bit tougher than your average demon." "Good point," George muttered. "If you cant kill him, try to keep him. He might be useful for information." Fred nodded his agreement, and Ron mockingly saluted. "Smartarse," Fred muttered as Rons body faded into their shadows. Fred and George loped quickly towards Ginny, who was still doing her best to protect Hermione. Hermione, still in shock, was babbling about how dark their minds were. Fred glanced at George, then without warning he slapped Hermione. She immediately snapped out of her shock into outrage at being slapped. "HOW DARE YOU?!" "Hermaninny," George said, his hands raised in a placating manner, "we had to snap you out of it. We need help!" Hermione looked around, sheepishly, then nodded. She focused hard and tried to remember how she felt the previous day when she got so angry, but it wasnt working. The only thing she could remember was how to form those firebombs, and that she did. Without warning she hurled one of them at a daemon. The daemon laughed and made to bat it away. As his hand hit it, it exploded around him. Moments later, all that remained was a charred heap of ash and bone. Ginny, seeing how well the firebomb worked tried to make one of her own, but she had trouble forming them and fell back on just batting the daemons back as much as possible. But, she was beginning the tire from the strain of holding back so many of them for so long. The wolf-man loped up beside them. "Well," he said with a wolfish grin, "youre all

doing rather well." "Uh who are you," Fred asked, a bit wary at the prospect of a wolf-man near him. The wolf-mans response was to shift back into Remus Lupin. Once in his fully human form, he winked at them and shifted straight back. "Surprise?" he growled, a smile in his voice. "GET AWAY FROM MY SON!" Hagrid roared as one of the daemon host advanced on Zane, who was scrambling across the ground for the sword. Hagrids yellow-clad body stormed at the daemon with his huge hands clasped into a joint fist. With a blow like an explosion the daemon whipped across the ground and into the forest, felling any tree it came into contact with. Hagrid scooped Zane up under one arm and the sword into the other hand and scrambled at a dead run over to the assembling group. From the lake there came a blast of water and Rons shadowy body landed in a heap among the group, followed closely by the rain of lake-water. A livid, soaked, daemon King trudged out of the lake, a snarl on his face. "Pathetic." As the daemons advanced on the small group, an army versus an elite squad, a trumpet sounded in the forest. A moment later another sounded, and then another. The clatter of hooves filled the forest and the daemons stopped their advance to see what the commotion was. For several minutes the daemons watched the forest, no one moving, then an army of centaurs, led by Firenze, burst forth from the forest, many carrying bows, some with spears, and still more with swords. "MARS WILL BE BRIGHT IN THE SKY TONIGHT!" Firenze roared as the centaur army charged without mercy, stabbing, cutting, impaling, and shooting any daemon that dared to attack them. Several of the centaurs fell back on simply trampling the daemon host. In a matter of minutes, the daemon host retreated, Gamesh snarling the entire time. With a crack he disapparated and reappeared by the unconscious Gareth. Laying a large, furry hand on the dragon, he growled for those assembled, "You shall all die," and he pointed at Ron, his eyes glinting dangerously, "and you shall die most painfully." Ron, who had just managed to get to his feet, smiled at Gamesh sadistically. "I look forward to it, Gammy," Ron said with a laugh. "Hugs and kisses until next time!" "Erm Ron," Fred whispered urgently, "it might not be a good idea to mock a demon king." "Yeah," George whispered just as urgently, "no pissing off gods, demons, angels, or aliens." Gamesh roared and disapparated again, taking Gareth with him. Finally, Dumbledore and Harry appeared amidst the assembled group. "That was most problematic," Dumbledore said seriously as Harrys now human form fell to the ground.

Firenze bowed his head to his centaur brethren. "I thank you," he said simply. "We didnt do this for you, traitor," Bane growled as he stamped his hooves. "We do not meddle in the affairs of man. Daemons are not men. We will fight against the daemon hordes whenever they arise, but you are not welcome in the forest otherwise." Firenze nodded his head dejectedly. "Thank you, anyway." With that the centaurs turned and left, trampling any daemon corpse they happened upon as they left the field. Dumbledore, his body back to his normal form, smiled. "Im sure you all have many questions. First we must attend to our problems, however. Those who are injured, get to the infirmary. Those who are able, check the demons. Any who are alive need to be bound and brought to the center of the anti-apparation wards, until they can be strengthened and possibly repaired." Hagrid nodded as he clutched Zane close. Zane was covered in cuts and bruises, as was Hagrid who had a deep gash down his left arm that was freely pouring blood. Fred and George were in good shape, having managed to avoid coming into direct contact with any of the daemons. Harry was exhausted and battered. Ginny had a few scratches, as did Hermione, but otherwise they were fine. Ron, after Gamesh left, fell to the ground clutching his sides with his eyes squinted shut, and hadnt changed since. Remus was unscathed. "Ill take Harry," Hagrid said as he scooped Harry up and draped him over his shoulder. "Les go, Zane. All of yeh thas hurt, cmon." Zane walked over and lifted Ron up, and joined Hagrid as they trudged towards the infirmary. "Ah, Remus," Dumbledore said as he glanced at the now fully human man. "What are you doing here?" "I got a note" he said as he reached into his jacket pocket and pulled out a plain white envelope and handed it to Dumbledore, who opened it and looked it over. Mr. Lupin: I am afraid I am unable to give you my identity at this time. I hope that you will still take my advice, though. I understand it is not in your nature to simply trust someone you do not know. Your services will be required at Hogwarts School of Witchcraft and Wizardry this day, as there will be a battle. Get there immediately, I implore you, as Mr. Potter may need your help this day. Sincerely, A Friend "You have no idea who may have sent this?" Dumbledore asked as he eyed the parchment.

Lupin shook his head. "None. It just appeared out of thin air, right in front of me in the middle of a skirmish with Lucius Malfoy. He took the opportunity to bolt. I tried to find him, but he was gone. Seeing I had no chance to find him, I apparated to Hogsmeade and ran straight here to join the battle." "It is most fortunate that you did," Dumbledore said seriously. "Whoever this person is, we owe them a debt of gratitude." Hermione glanced at it. "Did you try a tracer charm?" she asked Lupin. "It might tell you where it came from, if not who." Dumbledore nodded. "I can feel the charm on the parchment. He tried several different varieties, I would guess." Lupin nodded. "Eight different charms. It didnt do much other than make the parchment nice and crispy. I even tried sniffing it to see if I could get the scent of the person. It was devoid of smell and taste. Whoever it is has gone to great lengths to ensure we dont know who they are." Dumbledore glanced at the paper. "Well deal with this later. I want these demons under guard constantly, until we get all the information we can from them. Then well see if we can send them back through the gateway." .oOo. "MADAME POMFREY!" Hagrid roared as he busted into the infirmary with Harry over his shoulder. "MADAME POMFREY!" "Im coming, Im coming, whats all the --" she stopped abruptly when she noticed Hagrid was bleeding all over the floor, he had Harry on his shoulder, and there was an unknown man covered in cuts and bruises holding a man who seemed to be half human and half shadows. "Oh dear," she gasped as she ran back into her office. "Get them on a bed, now. Yourselves, too." "Cmon, Zane," Hagrid said and they headed for the clean, neat hospital beds. Madame Pomfrey bustled over. "Ok, Hagrid, give me your arm." "Taint nothin but a scratch," Hagrid growled. "Help them first." "Rubeus Hagrid, I will not have you bleeding all over my nice, clean infirmary! Now, give me your arm," when she noticed he wasnt complying she added, "NOW!" Hagrid frowned, but did as he was told. He stuck out his arm for the nurse and she passed her glowing wand over his head. "A few scrapes and bruises, a concussion, and a gash down your arm," she muttered irritably. "New pet?" "What?" Hagrid asked, confused. "Oh, no. Schools attacked, it was. Wes tryin ter keep everyone safe. Can yeh just close the gash and help the others? Ill be aright. Harrys in pretty bad shape."

"Harry? Harry Potter?" she glanced over her shoulders and noticed the man that Hagrid had been carrying. "My word, that boy has grown!" "Yes," Zane said calmly, having returned to his childish appearance, causing Madame Pomfrey to wonder where he came from, though she said nothing. "He already died once today, do you think you could make sure he isnt going to do it again?" Madame Pomfrey blanched. "He he he died?!" she stammered, her eyes as wide. "Yes," Ron groaned, as he slipped into consciousness for a moment. "Demons attacked the school Harry died, but got him back... help him." Madame Pomfrey who was confused, worried, and surprised handed a towel to Hagrid. "Clean your cuts thoroughly. Itll hurt, but dont miss anything or Ill have to do it again," she told him, then sprinted the short distance to Harrys bed. She quickly waved her wand over head. "His pulse is week, but h-h-his heart has stopped, at least once today." "Yes," Zane said dryly, "that tends to happen when one dies." Madame Pomfrey shook her head and sprinted to her office. After a few moments of bottles clinking she came running back with a tray of potions and a cloth. "Someone needs to hold him down. I have to clean his cuts, and with the trauma hes had he might try to fight me." "Ill hold im," Hagrid said as he moved to stand, but Zane cut him off. "No, Ill do it. Finish cleaning your cuts," the young boy said as he pulled his wand out of his now tiny version of Harrys Battle Wizard uniform. "Petrifus!" he stated calmly, and Harrys body went slack. Madame Pomfrey was too busy to worry about the fact that a near toddler, covered in cuts and bruises no less, just used magic shed never heard of. She immediately went to work cleaning the cuts, and Harrys eyes snapped open from the shock of it. A moment later she was done. "Ok, thats fine," she told Zane and he released the spell. "Harry," she said as she lifted his head and grabbed one of the several bottles, "you need to drink this." Harry opened his mouth and swallowed down the contents, a yellowish-green liquid, and immediately began to gag. "Tastes like something Snape would make," he said wryly as a shudder passed through his body. "Very astute," she told him. "Now, drink this," she said, holding a thick, black sludge up to his mouth and again he swallowed the substance. "And this," she said, holding another bottle to his mouth which he swallowed as well. "Last one," she said softly, and pressed it to his lips and he swallowed it back. "Alright," she smiled, "now this is dreamless sleep potion," she told him as she pressed a goblet to his lips and Harry guzzled it down. A moment later he was sleeping. "What was all that," Hagrid asked after Harry was asleep.

"The first was to close his cuts, then a blood restorative, then a physical restorative to deal with any internal injuries, the fourth was to strengthen his heart which was extremely weak, then finally the dreamless sleep potion," Madame Pomfrey stated matter-of-factly. "That boy never fails to surprise me." She moved over to Hagrid and inspected his cuts. "You did a very good job with cleaning these," she told him. "You must have to do this often," she chided, and Hagrid gave a rather guilty, lopsided grin. "Drink these," she said, handing him the first and second potions that Harry took. Hagrid nodded and swallowed them down. When Madame Pomfrey turned on Zane he pointed at Ron. "Him first," Zane said simply. "He probably has a few broken ribs, among other things." Madame Pomfrey eyed him a moment, then nodded and turned to Ron, whose body had finally returned to its human state. She waved her wand over his head and her eyes nearly bugged out of hers. "He his the organs in his body are literally reforming!" Zane looked surprised, then nodded. "Hes more advanced than I suspected," he said with an approving smile. "He should be fine soon, then." Ron groaned once more, "Tell that to my ribs. Hurts like hell!" "Well," Zane muttered, "thatll teach you to maintain your transformed state until the fighting is through, wont it." Madame Pomfrey listened to this in stunned silence. Finally, she shook off her surprise. "Now," she said glaring at Zane, "your turn! I am going to guess that since youre in the same clothes, youre the young man that brought Mr. Weasley in?" Zane muttered irritably, but sat down on the bed and nodded once. She passed her wand over his head once, then frowned. "A few scrapes and cuts, a concussion, two broken toes, a sprained ankle and a fracture on your wrist. Merlins staff, child!" Zane smiled guiltily. "Um sorry?" "Dont tell me, sorry," she admonished quickly, "its your body you should apologize to. Youre a tough little one," she said with a half-smile. "Drink this," she said as she handed him a bottle, "and this," she said as she handed him another. "The second will take care of that concussion and the ankle." She immediately began passing her wand over his wrist, and after a few minutes of muttering, she smiled then removed his boot and did the same to his toes. "There. I want you all to rest. If I see any of you out of bed for the next six hours, Ill sedate you properly." "Righ then," Hagrid said seriously. "I suggest we try to get some sleep," he said to Zane and Ron who was doubled up on his bed clutching his ribs. Hagrid frowned then laid back long ways across several of the beds. Six hours later, Hagrid stood up and stretched with a yawn. He walked over by Zanes bed and patted him softly on the back. "Hagrid," Ron said across the young boys bed, "what are we going to do if this happens again?"

Hagrid frowned. "I really don know," he said seriously. "Dumbledorell know," he said solemnly. "Great man, Dumbledore." Ron chewed the inside of his lip. "If Harry hadnt been there," Ron stated gravely. "I know," Hagrid said as he rested his huge hand on his adopted son. "I mighave lost Zane ere. I dont think I could andle that. I know es only bin whimme for a short time," Hagrid said as he wiped at his eyes, "but I think of im as me own lil boy." "Thanks, dad," Zane said as he stretched in the bed, a faint smile on his face. "As for what to do," he said through a yawn, "we need to strengthen the wards on the school, badly. That alone could have prevented a lot of this. Extending it to that town down below would help also." "Hes right," Harry said seriously as he sat up in his bed. "The wards on Hogwarts are weak. I proved that when I tore through them earlier, even if it was an accident." Madame Pomfrey arrived about that time. "How did you --" "Im a bit different now," Harry said with a smile. "The sleeping potion wore off about two hours ago. Ive been lying here, resting, for the past two hours." "Well," she said with a frown, "Ill just have to double the dose next time." "Next time?" Harry asked with a frown. "Oh, dont act all innocent, child," she said with a half-frown, half-smile. "Youll be in here at least two more times before the end of the school year, and you know it." "Shes got you there, Harry," Ron said with a chuckle. "I dunno," Hagrid said with no trace of humor in his voice, "hes a tough one, now. He might get out with only once more." He then burst out laughing, loudly. Zane, who didnt know Harrys relationship with the infirmary simply thought that the three older people had lost their minds. "Uncle," he hissed in his native tongue, "are you sure these humans have not been hit in the head too many times?" "Yes, Zane," Harry replied with a smile. "I tend to end up in the infirmary a lot, and theyre trying to make me feel better." "Oh. Ok. I still dont understand." "Not important, really. Just a joke." Hagrid, who had heard this before, wasnt surprised. Madame Pomfrey and Ron, however were a bit amazed. "Hes a parselmouth?!" Ron exclaimed loudly. "You can speak snake language, right?" Harry asked the young boy, to which he nodded. "Yes, Ron, he is."

"Wow," Ron muttered, and Madame Pomfrey simply shook her head. "Ok, checkup time," she said seriously, walking over to Harry. Harry nodded and she waved her wand over his head. "You youre fine. No trace of injury, at all." "So, I can go?" Harry asked happily, for clarification. "I suppose so," she said with a frown, then turned towards Rons bed. "Your turn," she told him as she passed her wand over his head. "Completely normal," she said, her curiosity overtaking her. "I just dont understand." "What about me?" Zane asked with a bright smile. "Can I go, too?" She passed her wand over his head, then shook hers. "Im just I oh, go." Ron, Harry, Hagrid, and Zane grinned widely, hopped out of bed, and disappeared out of the infirmary. "As I said, that boy never fails to surprise me." .oOo. As they walked down the hall, the four previous infirmary inhabitants were deep in thought. Hagrid noticed that his outfit was completely ruined, mostly due to the fact that it had a large rip down the arm where one of the daemons ripped through it, and that irritated him a bit since it was Zane that had made it for him. Zanes also had various rips and tears, but that wasnt the reason for his frown no, he was more irked that Harryd put his restrictions back in place. Ron was muttering about the fact that he didnt have one of the cool outfits, too. Harry was kicking himself because hed never considered making true Battle Wizards uniforms for his friends. "Well," Harry said glancing at them. "I think its time for Zane and I to make you a set of real Battle Wizard uniforms," Harry declared. Zane glanced over them, the only one of whom that didnt have a transfigured uniform was Harry, and his was also the only one that was in decent shape. "I agree," Zane said finally. "When do we start?" "Tonight," Harry said with a decisive nod. "The sooner the better. Hagrid, youll help?" "Sure," Hagrid said brightly. "Dont have a flippin clue bout what Ill be doin, but why not?" "Youll see," Harry said with a grin, and they continued down to the Great Hall for dinner. He glanced at his wand. "Cracked, great I dont feel like fixing it right this minute, so" With a wave of his hand, all their clothes were repaired. When they entered all eyes turned on them, most holding a combination of respect, fear, and awe. Harry groaned inwardly. Without warning a streak of blonde hair tackled him to the ground. "Scare me again," Blaise said in a deadly serious tone as she sat atop his chest, "and I really will tie you up in my bedroom!"

Harry smirked as all eyes turned to him, many of whom were male and grinning stupidly. "Blaise, are you trying to spread the rumor that youre a scarlet woman?" Blaise looked at him blankly for a moment then blushed furiously. "Umm sorry." She quickly climbed off of him and helped him up. He nodded at his friends to go on and eat. He needed to talk with Blaise. As his friends walked to their tables, he and Blaise stepped outside the Great Hall. "You worried me," she told him in a shaky voice. Harry nodded softly. "One thing you need to understand is that my life isnt safe," he said bluntly. "You say you want to be with me, but I really dont think you grasp that there are any number of reasons I could end up dead at any time." Blaises eyes began to tear up as she heard him state this so calmly. "I dont want to worry you," he said as he rubbed his right thumb under her left eye, wiping away the tear that was about to fall, "but Im not going to lie to you and say that Im safe. I wont tell you that I wont put myself in danger if I think I can help. Its not my nature to hide, Blaise." She nodded. "I know," she said shakily. "I just I Ive never felt about anyone like I feel about you, and the idea of losing you scares me so much. I wanted to see if anything more came of getting to know you, and it did," she whimpered softly as she rested her head on his shoulder, tears flowing freely from her eyes. "Im not saying that I love you," she stated seriously, "I dont think Im ready for that yet. But, I do care about you, more than I ever believed I could." Harry smiled warmly at her. "Dont worry. Ive done a pretty good job of staying alive, so far," he said. "Until today, anyway," he thought to himself. "Come on, lets sit down. You look like you need to eat," Harry said, grabbing her hand and leading her back into the Great Hall. "If it isnt the great Harry Potter," Malfoy drawled as Harry walked by the Slytherin table, hand in hand with Blaise, earning her glares from several of the female inhabitants of the Great Hall, "Whats next on your program?" Harry didnt notice Ginny, eyes filled with tears, as she jumped up and ran from her spot at the Gryffindor table. Shed been unable to check on him in the infirmary, since Madame Pomfrey wouldnt let anyone in even the Headmaster, and was truly worried. Seeing him with Blaise, immediately after that, made her feel wretched. Harry glanced over at Malfoy, missing Colin Creevey chasing after Ginny, and an evil glint appeared in his eyes, causing Malfoy to blanch. He turned up his empty palm to the pale-skinned boy and slowly a fireball burst into existence, hidden from every save those in the immediate vicinity. Harry grinned and whispered to him, "Malfoy flamb." With that he dropped the tiny ball of flame into Malfoys open lap, where it grew into a tiny fire. Crabbe and Goyle, trying to help, immediately began to slap and punch at his crotch. By the time they were done, the fire was out and so was Malfoy.

Dear Reader, Well, I finally finished this chapter! It took forever for me to work through this one, mainly because my mind simply doesnt seem to be in the right place, at the moment. The times when it was in the right place to work on it were few and far between (worsened by my current sickness). For those looking for information about whats going on, I took a bit of time to create a webpage. Its nothing amazing, just a place to post news about whats going on. If youre wondering where the updates are, check out that page. The link is in my profile. But, here it is. As a milestone chapter, I made this one fifty percent larger. Instead of the usual twenty, I made this chapter thirty pages. I hope that makes up for the long delay. If not well, I really dont care, because I wont rush my story. ;) As always, I thoroughly appreciate your reviews. Some of you seem to worry about the length of your reviews dont. While I dont solicit reviews (I figure if you want to review, that is your prerogative), I do enjoy them, so dont worry if you write a long review, Ill still read them. ;) Just wanted to mention, I happened to look at my listing of people who put my on their favorite authors list, today it was at exactly one hundred. Im thoroughly amazed that there are one hundred people who find my stories entertaining enough to read. Thank you, very much. As for those who wished me well, thank you, also. I still dont feel well, but Im to the point now that Im just trying to ignore it. Now, on to the review issues. There seems to be a bit of confusion about the press conference. When Harry wrote Tom Marvolo Riddle, I saw no reason to have him say what the audience could obviously read. He was explaining who Tom Riddle was, so that wasnt a mistake. :) Someone mentioned two stories that I just thought I should point out. The Order of the Phoenix and The Well of Shadows (not Darkness, though I can see where that mistake would be made) are both by Ruskbyte. For those who havent read his stories if you like mine then Im fairly sure youd love his. He is an excellent writer, in my opinion. His latest story, Divergent Paths, is absolutely hilarious. As for my humor honestly, it comes and goes. Sometimes I find myself writing something that makes me cackle madly. For example the Malfoy flamb scene I was laughing like mad when I wrote that. I really dont remember any scenes like that in this one as it is more of an advancement chapter. There is a bit of action (not much) and a prank, but it wasnt a very good one (mainly revenge). My language what can I say. I know a few Brits, and I picked up a bit of the language. Not to mention I use a good bit of the slang in my every day speech (and have for years, long before I read Harry Potter). As for American speech, Im a bit of a language prude. Certain phrases just really annoy me to no end, like ohmigawd, for example.

The battle scene. What can I say. It may have seemed anime like, but thats probably because that is how I was picturing it as I wrote it. ;) I spent a good bit of time trying to perfect that scene. I still didnt get it quite where I wanted, but it was close enough. :) As for Harrys reliance on physical combat, thats a combination of factors. First, he already knew that the Daemons were rather protected against magic. He didnt know they were as tough as they were, but he did know that magic wouldnt be as useful as physical battle. There is also all the minds floating around in his head. A lot of them are from a time when physical combat was a primary form of battle. Finally, there was the issue of the Black Flame, which was developed specifically to fight the Daemons. Hope that explains it. :) Now, I need to address the issue of Ginny is a flaming slut. This is far from accurate. This hasnt been addressed in the story, though Ill probably touch on it eventually. Ginny heard Harry and Ron talking, and decided to tease them both. Ron because, as weve seen, Ginny is an independent woman. Ron tries to treat her like a baby, so she was reminding him that shes old enough to make her own decisions. Harry well, she just likes teasing Harry. She isnt out shagging the whole Quidditch team, nor has anything happened between her and Harry, so you have no worries there. On the subject of Ginny and Colin give her to Zane? Thats bloody sick! Hes about five years old, and shes nearly sixteen! Thats just nasty. Really. :P Now, I know some of you are going to read this chapter and be upset at the ending. GOOD! That was the intention! I will, however, give you a hint. The triangle is far from over oh, this is going to be fun! ;) Thanks again for your reviews. I wonder what the guesses about who A Friend is are going to be like after this chapter. Oh well. :) On to the story. Hope you enjoy it! -Master Eldryn

"Welcome to Muggle Studies," Preston Granger stated calmly, though both he and his wife were far beyond excited about the idea of teaching in the magical world. "My name is Preston, and this is my wife Jill. To make things easier, you can simply address us by our first names. We are here today to teach you about our lives. Were muggles." "No, no, no!" Jillianka Granger exclaimed, her wavy brown her bouncing lightly. "That is just far too well, Im sorry, sweetie BAD! We need to show them something that will knock their socks off the first day, so that we can get their interest and keep it, not make ourselves seem boring in the first ten seconds." Preston blinked owlishly as he looked off to the side, deep in thought. "Well, Im not sure what to say, love." "Well figure something out," his wife continued as she lay restlessly on their bed. "I

hope." "Did Harry tell you what he wanted to meet with us about?" Preston asked as he dropped down beside his wifes limp body. "No, just that it was important we be on time." "Are you starting to reconsider? Teaching, I mean" "A bit. You?" "Same." .oOo. "Harry," Hagrid rumbled worriedly, "won this hurt yeh a right bit?" Harry nodded, the grin on his face never leaving. "Thats why youre going to collect the scales while Zane keeps the pain relieving charms in place." Nodding, Zane added, "Dont worry, dad, well be fine. Uncle Harry would never hurt us." Slowly Harry shifted into the huge dragon he had turned into during the battle with the Daemon hordes. He let off a relaxed roar in the night air, resounding like thunder over the grounds. Slowly he laid his head down on the ground where Hagrid climbed up, hefting his adopted son up with him. Harry felt the soothing warmth of the pain relief charm hit his back, where the toughest scales resided. As a bit of warning, Hagrid patted his trashcan lid sized hands on the scales softly, then began to wrench them loose. Almost immediately Zane began casting healing charms on the section of exposed hide, so that the scales grew back seconds later. Once again, Hagrid wrenched them loose. This continued for what seemed like hours, to Harry, but was really only about fifteen minutes. With four of Hagrids large pails full of scales Harry, Zane, and Hagrid made their way back to his hut. Harry rubbed his back tenderly. Being rather strong had its benefits, but pain still wasnt a picnic to deal with. "You guys can handle making the gloves and boots?" Harry asked, wincing as he sat down on the steps to Hagrids hut. Zane nodded as Hagrid smiled, mumbling for Harry to take care of himself. "Ok, then Im going to head up to the castle. I really could use some sleep. Well start the charms on the boots and gloves as soon as theyre ready. Itll take a few days to get the rest of the supplies." Zane and Hagrid nodded. Hagrid, at first, hadnt seen the need in having a Battle Wizards uniform. He wasnt even considered a wizard, really. Once Harry had explained what they did, though, he relented and agreed to wear one as well. "Righ then." Harry stumbled his way up to the castle, holding his sore back. Without warning, Hedwig swooped down on him, a letter tied to her leg. "Hello, Hedwig," Harry said softly as she

perched atop his shoulder and nipped his ear softly. "How did you get a letter?" She looked at him as if it was the stupidest question he could ever have asked. "Right, someone gave you one," Harry muttered as he took the parcel from her leg. Hedwig nuzzled his neck then soared away towards the owlery. "Hello, Harry," Jillianka said as she and Preston jaunted happily towards him. At Harrys rather confused look, she elaborated. "You said you wanted to meet us tonight. It was tonight, right?" she asked a bit of worry seeping into her voice at the possibility of having made a mistake. "Oh, right," Harry muttered as he rubbed his tired eyes. "Ok, well, first I need to wake up Ill be right back." Before the Grangers could question where he was going a pair of enormous, angelic wings sprouted from Harrys back. The powerful wings beat in a test and then he lifted into the air. Preston and Jillianka watched in awe as Harry rose higher and higher. "Amazing," Preston mumbled as he watched the spectacle in wide-eyed wonder. "That doesnt quite describe this," Jillianka mumbled back. "Not at all." A few hundred feet above the ground, Harry pointed himself at the ground. He was reveling in the feeling of the cool night air. The wind whipping through his hair and in his eyes. He snapped his wings to his back and plummeted toward the ground like a rocket. In the back of his mind he noticed Jillianka gasp as his body raced toward the ground, but he really couldnt bring himself to think about it with the exhilaration of flying pounding through him. Preston couldnt tear his eyes away from the sight, like watching a train wreck. Just as he thought Harry would be unable to pull out of the dive Harrys enormous wings flared out with an audible boom. Jillianka, who had her face pressed into Prestons shoulder, simply cringed as she heard a loud thump on the ground. "Love," Preston said soothingly, "hes fine." Jillianka glanced up to her husbands eyes, which were locked onto something behind her. Hopefully, slowly, she turned around, still afraid of what she might find. When she saw Harry, she simply grabbed him into a tight hug. It really didnt matter to her that she hardly knew him; the fact that he was fine and she was almost sure hed be splattered on the ground overwhelmed her senses. "Love," Preston said, still in that soothing tone as he tried to pry her arms off of Harry. "Love!" he said more forcefully, when she began to fight him. "He still needs to breathe!" Sheepishly she glanced at Harry who had literally begun to turn blue in the face. "Sorry, Harry," she muttered, her face tinged pink in embarrassment that not only had she nearly choked him, but also because she hardly knew him. "Not a problem, Mrs. Granger," Harry said in slight amusement as he unconsciously rubbed the back of his neck. "I just needed to wake up, and flying always does that for me. Im sorry that I scared you."

"That was absolutely amazing," Preston said as he nodded his head approvingly, effectively ending any discussion about the danger of it. Noticing Harrys embarrassment, he decided to change the subject, again. "So, what did you need to see us about?" "Right," Harry said, his mind now clear and ready to work. He reached into his pocket and pulled out a small hourglass. "This is a time turner. It will allow us to get the basics out of the way tonight. It will only last for approximately ten turns. That gives us about ten hours. Eleven or twelve if were lucky. Nine if were not." "For what, Harry?" Jillianka asked when she noticed he didnt exactly answer the question. "Well, Mrs. Granger," Harry began, but was immediately interrupted by Jillianka telling him to call her Jill. Nodding, Preston asked to be called by his first name, as well. "Ok, Jill, Preston," he said simply, "I have brought you here to teach you the basics of magic." Unable to hold it back, a smile crept onto his face as the look of joy appeared on the two adults faces. "I can only teach you the basics of magic. I dont really have the time to do more. Im just hoping that Hermione inherited her learning skills from the both of you. "If everything works properly, and I hope that it does, you will be able to do the most basic of magic by the time your first class comes around tomorrow morning. That is, if you want to." At their rather frantic affirmative nods, he continued, "Right then. You will, with Hagrid, be having private lessons with the other professors in the required fields of magic. By the end of the year, I hope youll be ready to take your O.W.L.s. Though, if youre anything like Hermione, Im sure youll both be taking your N.E.W.T.s by then." "When do we start?" Jill asked excitedly. "Right now?" Laughing, Harry nodded. "GOOD!" she shouted, and grabbed Harry and Preston by the hand and commenced to dragging them towards the castle. It was about that time that she realized she had no idea where she was going. Preston couldnt help but smile. He was thoroughly interested in magic, as well, but his wife simply exuded enthusiasm. "Well be studying in the Room of Requirement," Harry said as he directed for them to follow him. "I already have several types of wood in there, with which I will wright your wands." At this pronouncement there was a giddy giggle from Jill, causing Preston to smile fondly at her. Upon arriving in the room, Harry nodded for them to have a seat. "You will both need to drink this," he said holding up a thick, black potion that was glowing a faint blue color. "It will allow you to feel your magical core," he added at the questioning looks on their faces. "Muggles have a magical core, as all things do. Its like a muscle, I suppose you could say. For non-muggles its like the heart, always working. For muggles it is more like an arm or leg. You have to control it, instead of just using it. "Im afraid this will taste quite terrible, but it is a necessary evil. Once you can feel your core, its just a matter of getting you used to pulling on it. Eventually you should be able

to use it almost like any other witch or wizard." Preston reached out and took one of the vials. With a wink at his wife he tipped back the flask, letting the black goo slide down his throat. "Bloody hell," he shouted, "I think raw sewage would taste better!" He gasped as he felt a tingling sensation explode through his body. Slowly the tingle began to race towards his chest. A moment later he was glowing the same faint blue that the potion had been. "Its warm," he muttered, his eyes wide and glazed. "The potion is a ruddy nightmare, but its worth it just for this feeling." Noticing her husbands exultant expression, Jill reached up and grabbed the second vile. With a last hesitant gulp, she swallowed down the contents. She let out a string of curses that truly surprised Harry. Even Ron would have been both proud and awed at her ability. She finished it all up with a violent shudder that quickly turned into a smile as she felt the same sensation as her husband. "Now," Harry said with a slight grimace, "we teach you to do that on your own." .oOo. "Ginny," Colin said softly as he knocked on the door to the closet shed locked herself into. "You have to come out sometime." "No I dont," she yelled through the door. "Just leave me alone!" Inside, she was hunched into a ball. Her chin rested on her knees as she wondered why she was getting so upset about Harry. She knew she loved him, but hed made it clear he didnt want to think about a relationship yet. A shudder passed through her as she forced back a sob. She had no right to be angry with him he wasnt chasing her, she was chasing him. She took the risk. She had no one to be angry with except herself. "No," Colin stated back sternly, something truly out of character for the Harry-obsessed and rather excitable young man. "I will not leave you here, like this. Its obvious that youre upset." Under his breath he mumbled, "And why wouldnt you be. Harrys being an insensitive sod." "Really?! Its obvious?!" she scathingly retorted. Then in a softened tone, "Im sorry, Colin. I just want to be alone right now." Her mind was a torrent as she thought back over the time shed spent with Harry, particularly over the last year and a half. Her heart wrenched in her chest, her thoughts on the first time shed met the Boy-Who-Lived. That first day he was so nervous about how to get onto the platform that he probably didnt even remember her wishing him luck. She had noticed him, even when everyone else had just passed him by without a second glance. She didnt know why, but her eyes were drawn to him, while everyone else simply overlooked him. Even her family hadnt noticed him until he spoke up, but she had. He was so polite and almost obscenely cute, in an odd sort of way. She didnt know who he was, of course, but when she found out she just knew that fate had played a part in it.

She hadnt even planned to go to the platform the day her brothers left. She was supposed to spend the day with a friend of her mother, but the woman had gotten sick the night before. "Too bad," Colin said simply. "If you dont come out, Im coming in." Colin was a bit affronted at the almost mocking laughter that his statement caused. "Fine. Alohomora!" The laughter died abruptly as the lock on the door clicked. Colin opened the door to find a rather surprised, somewhat tear-streaked Ginny Weasley. As the light burst into the room, images flashed through her mind. Her first year passed in a blur of pain and sadness, worry and stress. She really hated even thinking about her first year. There was simply too much pain involved. Her second year wasnt much better. When Ron had dismissed her on the train during his third year, as if she werent important, it had hurt quite a bit really. But, then Harry had apologized to her later, for that. It was quick, and he probably really hadnt thought much about it, but to her it was important. He never explained what happened, but he was so sincere that she couldnt stay mad at him for it, though she had made Ron pay during the following summer. Shed gotten her hands on some of her brothers creations and used them mercilessly on Ron. He always blamed the twins, never guessing that shed been the one doing it. "Ginny, Im sorry, but you need to quit worrying about Harry. Just put him out of your mind, for a while," Colin stated strongly. "I dont think his mind is in the place you want it to be, right now." "I wish I could," she muttered as she wiped her eyes with her index finger. The day they shared their first kiss popped into her mind, followed quickly by the events around the Dragons Tear. When shed thought he was dead it felt like she had no reason to continue. Ever since that first day on the platform, her infatuation with Harry Potter had passed. The little black-haired boy whod been so sweet and polite, whod captured her attention so completely that was who she fell in love with. Shed tried to forget him, but it simply hadnt worked. Finally, the lithe redhead hopped to her feet. Ginnys mind was still racing with images of Harry, but the ones in mind now all involved the various times shed seen Harry with Blaise. Her blood was beginning to boil. The anger mixed with both sadness and a sort of hopelessness, and Ginny really didnt know what she felt, aside from a small amount of gratitude for the young man whod attempted to snap her out of her dark thoughts. "Im going to go for a walk. Thank you, Colin." She wrapped her arms around his neck in a friendly hug and gave him a quick peck on the cheek, then bounded down the hall, her thoughts once again on the young, raven-haired man she couldnt help but think about. She didnt hear the gasp that escaped from Colins lips as hers touched his face. She also didnt notice the saucers that had replaced Colins eyes, the red flush that had invaded his face, or the way he lightly touched the spot where shed kissed him. "Harry Potter is a bloody idiot!" Colin muttered to himself as he watched Ginny bounce around the corner at the end of the hall in her rush to get outside into the night air.

.oOo. Standing in the center of his forest sanctuary Voldemorts blood red eyes darted about, looking for any signs of invaders. His face was otherwise hidden behind the hood of his cloak. "I will not fail, not while that infernal child still lives," he thought, his anger overwhelming him. Suddenly one of Gameshs Daemon horde darted out of the woods toward him. Time seemed to stop as his mind rushed through the events that led up to his current predicament. Gamesh had given him the body of his wifes son, for his ritual. He rushed through the preparations, wanting to complete the ritual as quickly as possible. Most of the preparations had been made weeks in advance, so all that was really left was the blood rituals. His Death Eaters extracted the half-Daemons blood, the golden life force that coursed through his veins. It took far too long. Once the blood was out and heated to body temperature, the Dark Lord slit his hand over the cauldron, allowing his own blood to mix with it. Muttering the incantations to fuse the blood properly, he shoved his cut hand into the blood allowing it to seep into his veins. Finally, he had the immortality he had so long wanted. He would no longer need to worry about death through old age, though it was only part of what he really wanted. Suddenly time crashed back on him like a run away freight train. "DIE!" Voldemort snarled as he began hurling curses at the animalistic creature bounding towards him from the forest. The familiar green light of the Killing curse bounced away as if it were nothing more than harmless light. "Damn!" he growled as, as time once again slowed to a stop and his mind fell back on the ritual. Once hed absorbed enough of the blood into his own system, he removed his hand from the reddish-golden mixture. His pale white hand was healed, though still covered in the thick, slimy substance. "Pour it on me," he snapped at Lucius Malfoy, who was standing as far from Gamesh as possible. The Death Eater reluctantly stepped forward and hefted the cauldron, along with Goyle, and poured it over Voldemorts naked frame. The slimy mix of blood clung to his body like a cloak, then suddenly slid away. Throughout all of this, Gamesh seemed intrigued, but said nothing. "Where is the corpse?" Voldemort asked Pettigrew, who was quivering nearby, as usual. "I disposed of it, Master," he said quietly. "King Gamesh told me to get rid of it." A look of combined anger and irritation settled onto Voldemorts face. He looked at Gamesh with visible irritation, clearly wanting to know why. "Dont worry, you wont need it," Gamesh said with a laugh, then stated quite calmly to his subjects, "kill them all, except for the Rat." The result of that one statement was that all of Voldemorts Death Eaters quickly disapparated, aside from Pettigrew who was captured immediately. Presumably so that theyd have a human to use to open the portal to the Daemon Realm.

Voldemort did the only thing he could do at the time. With no Death Eaters to back him up and an army of Daemons to face he also disapparated, to another of his forest sanctuaries. Again, time crashed into him. With a roar of anger Voldemort threw off his cloak. His anger swelled and his inhuman eyes began to glow with power. The Daemon was still coming, and it would pay for its impudence. Lion-like paws thundered across the ground unerringly toward him. Voldemort put away his wand. If ever there was a time to hope his ritual had worked, this was that time. A triumphant grin spread across the Daemons face, thinking that Voldemort had given up. Voldemort unconsciously swallowed loudly. If he was going to die, he would not let it happen until hed killed the Potter boy. At the point of no return, he wondered vaguely if he should have taken his servants lead and run, again. "Too late now," he thought gravely. Moving as fast as he could he dropped into a crouch and brought his fist up hard and fast. As his fist whistled through the air like a missile towards its target, he hoped with all his being that the ritual had worked, even though the Rats incompetence and the Daemons plotting had halted the final phase. Voldemort felt his fist make contact with the thick and furry hide of the Daemons jaw. It was then that he realized hed closed his eyes, and they snapped open. He was utterly unprepared for the sight that met his slitted eyes. The Daemons head was torn completely off its huge shoulders, that hideous look of triumph still firmly in place. Its body was already falling to the ground even as its decapitated head continued to rise. Golden blood misted in the air like a cloud, shining brightly in the moonlight. Before the Daemons body could land Voldemort rammed his hand into its chest and pulled out its black heart. "You wont be needing this any longer," he spat coldly. With a resigned sigh, he bit into the black heart as it continued to drip golden blood, A smile spread on his face at the somewhat tangy taste that flooded his mouth. "Tastes like an apple, a particularly juicy one," he muttered. Slowly his body began to glow faintly red, and his eyes slammed shut. Pain ripped through his body as a pair of black, leathery wings burst forth from his back, golden veins flowing through them. The wings wrapped around him like a cloak as his skin slowly darkened to a more natural complexion, though still rather pale. A scream of agony escaped his lips as he fell to the ground clutching his chest. His long, pointed fingers grew thicker as the fingernails vanished and formed into razor-like points. He clutched at the dirt, wishing for the pain to end. Slowly, white hair sprouted from his bald head, feeling like fire burning through his skull. "AGHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHH!" he roared into the night as points of solid bone erupted from the front of his head, growing slowly into curved points. His agonizing screams continued far into the night as his body continued to change, merging its formerly snake-like appearance with that of the Daemons. There were loud pops and cracks throughout the night as the bones in his legs broke and realigned

themselves into the animalistic haunches that the Daemons walked on. A piece of the rituals explanation exploded through his mind, and he repeated it aloud, trying to take his mind off the pain through speech. "He who bathes in the demons blood shall bathe in their strength. He who shares the demons blood will share their eternal life. He who consumes the demons heart shall join their ranks as family. Beware the Nephilim, for they are both protectors and destroyers. "That fool, Pettigrew, disposed of the corpse before I could consume its heart. I must remember to kill him for his idiocy." An instinct he couldnt really place thundered through him, and he howled in triumph as the pain subsided. His mouth spread wide, long incisors glinting in the moonlight, and he bellowed at the top of his monstrous lungs, "The Nephilim has risen! Let the world tremble once more!" .oOo. Harry stumbled from the Room of Requirement in a tired stupor. Hed spent eleven hours just teaching the Grangers how to do what every other non-muggle could do naturally to touch their magic. It was a long, slow, and somewhat tedious process. Thankfully, or maybe not thankfully when Harry really thought about it, the time turner had one extra turn in it. He was exhausted. Eleven hours into their lessons the Grangers were still on shaky ground, though they were able to touch their magic with a small amount of success. Jill was able to grab her power core almost immediately, but she had a bad tendency to let it slip away in her excitement. Preston was good at holding onto it, but it took him too long to grasp it for it to really be useful in a pinch. So, eleven hours in and the main reason he was teaching them turned out to be a bit of a flop. Everyone else, he knew from the memories floating in his head, was able to grasp the concept successfully within eight hours. The longest was ten. At eleven hours they just hadnt quite made it. He wanted them to be able to protect themselves, if they had to. But, if you get jumpy and let your power slip away when youre in the middle of a spell, its useless. If you cant grasp it quick enough to do anything then that is also quite useless. About nine hours in he decided to spend the last hour wrighting their wands. If not for the extra turn in the time turner neither of them would have a wand. It seemed like forever as he tried to find the proper cores for Preston and Jill. They spent nearly an hour going through magical animals, creatures, etc. He stumbled on Prestons by accident, really, since the man had been mumbling about the creature that would produce it since the subject of magical creatures came up. As the end of the hour passed Harry noticed that the time turner didnt vanish, as expected. So, early into the eleventh hour, Preston had been mumbling about a creature from folklore called a Barghest, when Harry finally decided to ask him what it was. When he

described it, Harry nearly fell out of his chair in surprise. He had described a Grim, in almost perfect detail. Harry, to make sure they were talking about the same thing, shifted himself into one. It was then that he felt the explosive pulse from Prestons magical core that theyd been trying to find for nearly forty-five minutes, though it was far stronger than hed expected. Harry still wasnt quite sure if that was significant in any way. He promptly pulled out one of the longer hairs from his tail to use as the core of the older mans wand. As far as Harry knew Preston would be the only person in history to ever have the tail hair of a Grim as a wand core. Then again, he was also probably one of the only people to ever have seen a Grim without being scared witless by the sight. With Prestons wand core in hand, Harry turned to finding Jills wand core. She, however, was another matter entirely. After Harry had gone through every magical creature he knew of, he gave up and summoned a book from the library. Slowly he shifted into every creature in the book, hoping to feel the necessary pulse. Sighing loudly as he continued through the book, he shifted into a Thunderbird. His hopes were rapidly deflating, until he felt a faint pulse. It wasnt nearly strong enough, but it was the first lead theyd had, and it reinvigorated him. Flipping back through the book for anything related to a Thunderbird, he found another creature in a section marked extinct, and he shifted into it. He felt a thunderous pulse, much like Prestons, as Jill gasped at him. Slowly a large smile settled on her face. He was standing nearly forty feet above her. He tried to control the creatures urges, but they were just too great. His beak spread and thunder rolled forth from his throat as lightning danced in his eyes. He spread his enormous wings in the ever-expanding room, and arcs of energy literally danced around them. Suddenly one of his smaller crown feathers fell from his head and floated to the ground. He quickly shifted back into his human form, very much afraid he couldnt control that creature any longer. So, Jill and Preston had their wand cores. The tail hair of a Grim and the crown feather of a Raicho the Japanese Thunderbird, extinct since the late fifteenth century. Finding the proper wood for the wand was a lot simpler. He had already collected samples the day before, so all he had to do was see which wood would react with their magical core and their wand core. Ten minutes later Jill had come upon Matsu, or Japanese Pine, which was rather fitting considering that the Raicho made its home in that type of tree. It had a nice reddishgolden grain to it. Preston happened upon a golden colored cypress that seemed almost to call him to it. So, twenty minutes later Harry was making their wands. They had about ten minutes left to practice with their newly created wands. They werent quite ready to try casting spells, though. So, Harry simply let the wands adjust to his temporary students. As Jill grasped her wand for the first time, lightning danced over her body, before it slowly faded. When Preston grasped his, though, all that happened was he was surrounded by a faint black glow.

Before Harry knew it, he had arrived at the Gryffindor dorm. He stumbled up the steps to his bed where he fell onto it without another thought. The letter Hedwig had given him was quickly forgotten to his nightstand as he slipped into a nightmare-filled sleep, dreams of killing Kreacher and Voldemort torturing helpless people haunting his weary mind. He never noticed the plain envelope with the blank wax seal. .oOo. Atticus Veritas Snape, Senior Undersecretary to the Minister of Magic, stood before the assembled collection of reporters and average witches and wizards with a smile on his face. Today was going to be a good day for the magical community. Thanks to his new young friend, Harry Potter, there would be a new Minister of Magic to correct some of the problems that the previous idiot of a Minister caused. A good day, indeed. "I thank those of you who could make it on such short notice. We felt it best to announce the Minister at an earlier time than planned, so that there could be no mistakes. With the return of I apologize if I stutter, I spent the night practicing this name Voldemort we can never be too careful. "It is the will of the council, backed by the people, that the new Minister of Magic, sworn in this morning, is Andrew Steven Skye." The roar from the crowd was amazing. Andrew Skye was known to be a firm believer that Voldemort was back from the beginning. Hed fought long and hard, since the beginning, to force through much needed reform. He smiled benevolently at the assembled group of people from all walks of magical life. His deep-gray eyes held a sincerity and warmth that Fudge could never have hoped to accomplish. Once the crowds roar had died down to a low mumble, he began to speak, his voice magically projected. "Thank you," the new Minister of Magic stated calmly. "I would like to thank the council for the trust they have given me. I will do my best to uphold that trust, beginning with my first official act. "You see, it is my most stringent belief that we should strive to make the magical community of Britain as safe as possible for everyone," he paused until the clapping died down. "Not only from the old evil that has arisen, but from every threat to our safety. It is with that intention that my first official act is to investigate the intentions and actions of Harry Potter, beginning with his actions against the previous Minister of Magic. "Should you have any questions, please direct them to my office. Thank you." With that, the newly placed Minister of Magic turned and strode off the stage, leaving behind a thoroughly stunned collection of reporters, politicians, and potential supporters. "All in all," Rita Skeeter thought, "it is a good time to be a reporter!" At Hogwarts, Harry had just woken up and opened the letter Hedwig had delivered to him the night before.

Dear Harry, I have finally completed the repairs to The Burrow, as per your specifications. The requested portals are in place, as well as the hidden tunnels. The wards you requested are also in place and fortified. There are two anti-apparation wards, one around the house and the other around the surrounding area. This includes the paddock, which I also added a concealing charm to, to hide it from the muggles. The anti-portkey wards are also in place, surrounding the same areas as the antiapparation wards. Anyone attempting to portkey in will be rebounded to their origination point. I have looked into what you requested about anti-Animagus and anti-Polyjuice wards, but I could find no workable solutions. Much like those you mentioned, the wards I found would kill anyone using those particular forms of magic. I will, however, continue to search. Only one fireplace is connected to the floo network, as per your request, and it is behind an identification shield. The other fireplaces can be used for travel within the house and to Potter Place, but nowhere else. With the Headmasters permission, I can link them to his office, as well. The wards can be set to allow accepted parties through, for instance the Weasley family, of course. I have also added identical wards at Potter Place, keyed to the necessary parties. I am quite sure you will know of whom I speak. The house is entirely customizable, also, using a similar design to the twins room at Potter Place. The majority of the house will only accept design changes from Arthur and Molly, but the bedrooms are up to their respective owners. I know this was not requested, however I did not wish to pick a pattern that the family would not like. I hope that this is acceptable. I have yet to disclose this information to the Weasleys, as I was sure that you would wish to give them this information personally. Please let me know how you wish to proceed, as I will need to be there to open the wards the first time. I hope everything is well with you. Please give my best to Albus, Ronald, Virginia, Fred and George, and Hermione. Sincerely, Connor P.S. - Nice work with the Minister. Harry smiled to himself as he imagined the look on the Weasleys faces when he brought them to the new Burrow. He had begun running plans through his mind on how best to surprise them when he noticed the other letter on his nightstand.

He grabbed it, and read through it. When he was finished, he sighed loudly. Mr. Potter: I suggest you stay on your guard. The new Minister of Magic is going to have you investigated, as a potential threat to the magical community. It would be in your best interest not to do anything Gryffindorian. Good luck. Theyve created a new prison, using the few Dementors they found that have not sided with Voldemort. If you make yourself appear to be a threat, they will attempt to put you there. Oh, Voldemort has achieved immortality thought youd like to know. Respectfully, A Friend "Oh bloody hell," Harry muttered as Ron plopped a copy of the Daily Prophet in front of him. Across the front, the phrase Little Azkaban, Harry Potters New Home? was emblazoned in flashing red print. .oOo. "I dont give a damn if you have to get yourself expelled Goyle," Malfoy shouted in anger. "You and Crabbe owe me after what you did to me!" Goyle nodded guiltily, as did Crabbe. "Now, do it!" Malfoy slumped back into his chair by the fireplace. "Set my bloody bollocks on fire, then you sods nearly sterilize me. Oh, he deserves far more than just death. No, he deserves pain. What with this little ability Ive gotten over the summer, well, I think I can arrange both." Grinning, Crabbe and Goyle nodded again this time with more confidence. Malfoy sighed as he draped one leg over the arm of his chair. His fingers slowly turned into long, curvy, metal spikes on which he admired the sharp points. "Being a pureblood does have its advantages, I must admit more likely to have magus abilities than those blasted mudbloods." When he noticed Crabbe and Goyle grinning profusely, he added, "Not that it did you two bloody wankers any good." Their smiles quickly faded. "Though Id have preferred to have been a shifter or a morphmagus," he mutters. None of the three potential Deatheaters noticed a beautiful blonde in the shadows by the door, a worried frown on her otherwise pretty face. They continued talking, oblivious to the spy in their midst slipping out of the Slytherin dormitory with the intent of telling their intended victim what was going on. She walked down the hall in a quick stride. As she reached the entrance hall, she realized she would have to wait until Harry came down for breakfast to tell him what shed seen and heard. Fear crept into her already worried thoughts, at the possibility that Harry

might be hurt. What hed said the night before had really struck a chord deep in her heart. "You say you want to be with me, but I really dont think you grasp that there are any number of reasons I could end up dead at any time," hed stated as if it were simply another fact of life, like breathing or sleeping. It hurt her to hear him say that, because she used to be like everyone else in the magical world. Shed heard the stories of the famous Boy-Who-Lived, but she never thought hed be like he really was. He wasnt the fame-seeking uber-celebrity that he was painted as in the press. He didnt seek danger it came to him with a vengeance. A peaceful life, she knew, would be a blessing for him. Shed learned a lot about him since that day on the train, and every time she learned something else she found herself worrying more about him. She stepped outside for a breath of fresh air, her mind racing with thoughts, from worries about Harrys safety to what her feelings for him really were. She wondered vaguely if she might just be pitying him, but quickly dismissed that thought. She did feel sorry for him having to endure all the pain and suffering wrought on him by Voldemort and his followers, but more so she worried for his safety. She worried that he might not live through the next attack; that he would be gone from her life, forever. As she thought about Harry, an image of his face in her mind, her thoughts quickly turned morbid. The idea of him being dead plagued her mind, and she couldnt help but imagine how she would feel if she was told of his death. An image of Harry waving and fading slowly into a thick, gray mist by the lake appeared in her mind, and she began to weep. The feeling that she would never see him again, never walk with him by the lake again, never feel his arms around her ever again made her fall to the ground in a heap. On her knees, her shoulders shook as she let out a wracking sob, tears streaking down her face. She sniffled lightly as the tiny, wet crystals fell off her chin to the ground. "I dont think I could bear to lose him," she whispered, her body hunched. Almost as if because of her mood, the sky exploded in a torrent of thunder and rain. "I never intended to fall in love with him." .oOo. "Those fools!" Dumbledore roared as he stared at the paper on his desk, delivered by an unrecognized owl just before he would normally leave his office. "Those complete, bloody, sodding wankers!" His face was livid as his power swirled around him, crackling over his form. The rumble of thunder slammed into the castle as the clouds over the castle swirled angrily. "The new Ministers parents named him well," he growled. Itd been nearly fifty years since Dumbledores anger overcame him so strongly that he created a storm unintentionally. The last time was when Grindelwald pulled him into the war. The despicable Dark Wizard had attacked an orphanage, killing and torturing innocent children. The scene still haunted his dreams at night, and had for fifty long years as if crying out for vengeance from beyond the grave. It was the only orphanage he attacked the same one that Tom Riddle had lived at for so long. The old wizard couldnt help thinking that it was no coincidence, a belief he still

held fifty years later. Fawkes seemed to agree completely with Dumbledore, about everything. His wingtips burst into flames and he trilled a hauntingly angry song. With a piercing howl of a shriek the mythical, magical birds crown burst into flames. It was rare for a phoenix to tap into the elemental plane of fire, except in life-threatening cases or severe anger. To say Fawkes, and Dumbledore too for that matter, was pissed would be a severe understatement. The old wizard slumped into his comfortable chair, his fingers steepled in thought, as his newly created storm raged on. He paid absolutely no attention to the rumbling thunder or the streaking lightning. The downpour was the last thing on his mind, as he wondered why the Minister of Magic, whoever it may be at the time, always seemed to have a problem with his grandson. There was a tingle in the usually twinkle-eyed wizards magical core, and he felt beyond the door. His peculiar form of storm magic danced out to touch the particular flavor of magic that was outside his office door. "Come in, Severus," Dumbledore called before the man could knock. Even in his angered state he couldnt pass up continuing his tradition of using that little trick. As Snape stepped into Dumbledores office, he had an irritated look on his face. "That blasted demon is still shouting from Lupins little torture session. If I cant kill it, can I at least gag the blasted thing?" he added irritably, his lack of sleep evident in his bloodshot eyes. "No," Dumbledore replied simply, causing Snape to furrow his brow in irritation. Under normal circumstances the old wizard would have found the situation funny, but at the moment he was too distracted. "He she it may reveal something, and we need to know everything we can find out. "Voldemort has not summoned you?" he asked, summarily closing the discussion about how Snape could get some sleep. As he raised his left eyebrow in question, he motioned for Snape to sit. Taking a seat, the vampiric-looking Potions Master sighed as he responded. "No, not since the dragons first attack. The last time I was summoned, as you know, he was planning to summon the demons. We can see, obviously, that he succeeded." "Yes," Dumbledore replied absently, "obviously." "Albus, if I might ask," Snape said hesitantly, "what is bothering you? You dont quite seem yourself." Sighing, Dumbledore silently passed the Daily Prophet to him. As he took it and read it, a sneer appeared on his face. "Leave it to Potter to jump from frying pan to fire, due to his penchant for fame seeking." Lightning danced in Dumbledores eyes at this comment. "You whiny little sod," he growled as he abruptly stood up, leaning over his desk on his fists. His power, which had calmed, abruptly spiked and swirled about him making him seem quite impressive, as

well as rather imposing. His hair literally floated on the air, static crackling through it. A look of shock settled on Snapes face at the insult hed received as well as the scene hed unwittingly set into motion. "Ive given you nearly twenty years twenty years," he reiterated, "to move on with your life. "Twenty years completely and utterly wasted, because of your asinine ego. Im not saying how he acted, at times, was right. But, when it mattered he made the right decision," he growled. "The same can not be said for you, Severus." The sallow-skinned professor paled even more at this statement. "I gave you a second chance, because I believe everyone can change. Youve proven well that your intentions have changed, but I have had it with your constant berating of that boy and his father. Its because of you that he doesnt have his parents, or have you chosen to forget that little piece of information? "You gave Voldemort the prophecy that lead to the death of Harrys parents," he roared, his power crackling over him. "When I caught you and gave you the choice, I hoped that you would make good use of it even though it cost me my son," he ignored the look of shock that had utterly invaded the greasy-haired Potions Masters face. "Yet even though you cost that boy his parents, you still treat him as if he has somehow wronged you!" When he noticed the look of shock that was still on Snapes face, he nodded. "Yes, James was my son and Harry is my grandson. Like with James, I was too afraid of being a father to raise him myself. But, if not for you that would not have mattered. "Harry would have been raised at home, with parents who loved him. My son would still be alive, and my grandson might have been able to know a modicum of happiness. My son died because he saved your life, and you continue to destroy his memory this way! You pathetic little man!" Snape stood to leave. "I dont have to listen to this," he declared as he turned, his robes billowing slightly. "Sit - down," Dumbledore growled in irritation. "This is far overdue, and you are going to listen, even if I have to put you in a full body bind and make you." When Snape didnt move to sit Dumbledore sent out a small bolt of lightning that knocked Snape back into his seat. "I said sit down!" he roared angrily, and Fawkes let out another piercing shriek. Snapes face was a mixture of fear, anger, and worry. Mostly fear and worry. "Did you know that for almost the first eleven years of his life Harry lived in a cupboard under the main stairs of his aunt and uncles house? I didnt even suspect it until the Hogwarts letters were sent out. They moved him into another room when they thought we knew. I know this, because he sat down with me and shared everything that happened before he came to Hogwarts. "Did you know that until this very year, he had not once been told a simple I love you, that he could remember? No, Im sure you didnt, nor did you ever bother to care. It horrified me to find out that I was the first person to tell him that, and it felt like my heart was being ripped from my very chest as he broke down into sobs at such a simple

statement. "A young man who has faced Voldemort in battle more than anyone else alive, myself included, and lived to tell about it every time was reduced to tears by a simple statement of affection. Think about that, Severus, the next time you are jeering at him. "The things I could tell you about Harry, that you dont know, could fill volumes, Severus. Volumes. That boy doesnt look for fame." When he noticed that Snape was about to interrupt, he added, "Silence! I am afraid that if you talk right now I will hurt you quite severely. Get out of my office. Now." As Snape opened the door to leave, Dumbledore caught his attention. "The next time you push him, I will not hold him responsible for his actions. If it results in your injury, it will be no ones fault save your own." Snape left the office without another word. .oOo. Preston climbed out of bed thoroughly exhausted, but feeling exceptionally well. The previous nights activities had been mentally and physically tiring in the extreme, but gratifying as well. He would be able to surprise his daughter with the fact that he could now use magic. Not very well, and it took him quite a while to grab his power enough to use it, but he could still use magic. Hed just have to keep it to himself until he could actually do something other than make himself glow by grasping his wand. He was excited beyond belief. He picked up his new wand, examining it quietly while his wife continued to sleep quite happily in their new bed. The golden colored wood was beautiful, he felt, as he gripped it. The wand was tailored specifically for him and just felt so right in his hands. As he gripped it that black glow surrounded him again. Deep in his core he felt a faint pulse. He considered, momentarily, the idea of trying to go back to sleep, but he knew hed never wake up in time if he did. Sighing, he grabbed the book Harry had given them of rudimentary spells. The Beginners Guide to Charms Even a Child Could Weave by Miranda Goshawk. Gripping his wand, he flipped through to the first page. Illusory Butterflies. Preston began reaching for his power ahead of time. After about five minutes he had firmly grabbed hold of it. Watching the motion of the wand movement on the page, a sight that he thought hed never get used to, he decided to give it a try. Mocking the wand movement several times until he had a firm grasp on the intricacy of the movements, which were almost unbelievably simple, he said the incantation. He had, as the book instructed, the butterflies firmly pictured in his mind. "Illusio Butterfly!" There was a faint humming noise, then nothing. Sighing, Preston closed the book with a thump. The sudden noise startled his wife out of her deep sleep. Bleary eyed, she raised up and began to mumble something. Preston was

about to apologize, when he noticed his wifes wide eyes. "What?" he asked a bit worried. "Whats wrong, love?" he asked as he crossed over to her he didnt know what the humming was. He might have done something that hurt her, somehow. "Theyre beautiful, she gasped," as she looked around in wonder. "Where did they come from?" Preston glanced around their room, and didnt notice anything that hadnt been there the previous day. "Where did what come from?" he asked quickly. "The butterflies! So many butterflies! Ive never seen anything like them," she trailed off as she lifted her hand and smiled at it, as if she were looking at something. After a few minutes, Preston heard that same humming noise. His wifes smile faded a bit, but he was too busy to notice. He was reading the information on the spell. When he finished reading it he had a smile twice as big as his wifes was. "It worked!" "What worked?" she asked curiously, a frown on her face. "I cast a spell!" he shouted exultantly, a smile on his delighted face. "I thought Id failed, but when I read the description of how the spell worked I did it!" Jillianka Granger was used to her husbands peculiar study habits. He tended to glance at the instructions, not really caring how it worked so long as it worked. At university, hed been terrible in chemistry, having blown up many labs in his day. When she thought about the classes theyd have to take, she was quite horrified at the idea of him trying to make potions. "Dear," she said patiently, "would you like to explain what worked, or would you like for me to remain confused for the rest of the day?" Blinking sheepishly at his wife, he smiled his special smile, the one that had melted her heart years ago. She couldnt help but smile back at him. It was the same smile he used whenever he felt embarrassed, which was a rare thing for him. Hed been a well-known football player at university. If not for his accident during their last year, hed likely have gone on to the World Cup afterwards. "Well?" she prompted, and he grinned again like an excited child. "Right. I was reading the book Harry gave us, and decided to give it a try. I found a spell that said something about creating illusory butterflies, so I gave it a try. I thought it didnt work, but when you woke up and saw butterflies well. Anyway, this explains it better," he said as he handed the book to her. Smirking at him once more, she turned her attention to the book in hand. Illusory Butterflies

One of the simplest spells for a beginner is attempting to do nothing. The motion (Figure A) is quite simple as you can see. The most complex component of this charm is picturing the object to create. The example used is only a suggestion. In truth, this is one of the simplest, and most versatile, charms around and is great for entertaining small children. The illusions, while not real, do interact with their environment quite realistically when possible. The charm has one main flaw. The creator of the illusion can not see it, and so can not interact with it without proper planning. The only way to know that it has worked is that there is a brief humming after the charm is set into place, and another when it ends. The time limit on this spell, if not set, is approximately five minutes. Depending on the power behind it, it can last for as long as an hour if the creating party wishes. For instructions, see the caption under Figure A. Jill blinked at the page, then at her husband. "So you created those magnificent looking creatures?" When he nodded, she broke into a wide grin. "They truly were beautiful," she said, smiling. He once again gave her that smile that marked his embarrassment. "Would you try again?" He grinned and picked up his wand. After a few minutes of trying, he once again grabbed his power. "What do you want to see?" he asked with a smile. His wifes response left him speechless. Sighing, he glanced at the book again to make sure he remembered the motion. Picturing the image in his mind, firmly, he muttered the charm. "Illusio Raicho!" Once again, he heard that humming sound, and a smile appeared on his wifes face, lighting it up in that incredible way that he so loved. "Its a magnificent animal," she said a bit sadly. "It really is too bad that we hunted them into extinction." "You know," Preston said with a bit of a smirk on his face, "Ive heard that this Hagrid tends to like animals most people would consider dangerous, as well. You two would probably get along brilliantly." "Youre right," she said smiling. "Maybe I should see if hes interested," she said mockingly at her husband. "He probably wouldnt tease me so." "Maybe," Preston said as he crawled onto the bed with his wife, pushing her back and kissing her softly, "but I doubt he could smile at you the way I do." "No, probably not," she mumbled in agreement as she pulled him against her. Half an hour later the Grangers were cuddled happily under the covers, thoroughly naked, and completely content. Against his better judgment, mainly at his wifes urging, theyd fallen once more into a deep sleep, again exhausted. Preston sighed in frustration as he once again woke, but it quickly faded as his wifes naked form pressed against him. As hed expected, theyd overslept. Breakfast would wait until after their first class, it seemed. Kissing his wife lightly on the neck, she woke with a happy yawn. "Love," he said a bit sadly, "we need to get up. Were already

running late." Those last two words, as always, had the desired effect. A moment later his wife had wrenched herself free of his arms and was frantically bounding around the room grabbing clothes. A moment later she was in their private bathroom, without even a good morning to him. He couldnt help but laugh. In the seventeen years theyd been married, she hadnt changed. While he waited on his wife to come out of the shower, he laid out his clothes. She wouldnt have objected to him joining her, he knew, but he also knew that theyd probably miss the first half-hour of their class, as well. Sighing, he glanced back and flipped through the book, looking for some more interesting charms to try. An hour later, they entered their classroom, which was full of third years. The class was deathly silent as the first two muggle teachers in Hogwarts history entered their classroom. As Preston sat down on top of his desk, Jill beside him, he smiled at the class. The class remained deathly silent. "Problem?" Jill asked, still smiling. "Youre muggles, right?" asked a Hufflepuff boy. Preston nodded. "Yes. Im Preston, and this is my wife Jill," he said while indicating the thin brunette by his side. A bit of chatter broke out among the students at this new piece of information. There was silence again, then a snide laugh. "What makes you think youre good enough to teach us?" a tiny Slytherin girl asked in a derisive tone. What a Slytherin was doing in muggle studies, they could only guess. Theyd been told about the houses, by their daughter. Shed made it rather clear that Slytherins tended to dislike muggles in general. "Why wouldnt we be good enough to teach you," Jill replied hotly. "Were muggles, who better to teach you about muggles than muggles!" "Were witches and wizards! You should learn your place, muggle," the Slytherin girl mocked. "Thatll be ten points from Slytherin, Miss ?" Preston inquired, his smile never leaving. "Malfoy. Layna Malfoy," the girl replied with a smirk. "Youd best show respect to your betters." "Ill keep that in mind for when I see them," Jill muttered irritably. Preston, however, ignored the comment, and continued to smile happily. "So, youre all witches and wizards," he said, his smile growing wider. "So are we." There were a few confused looks around the room, but mostly a bit of laughter at what the students thought was a joke. "You dont believe me?" he asked, and at the chuckles, he shook his head in a mock-saddened fashion.

He was simply thankful that hed been practicing with trying to grasp his power all day. He still hadnt made any progress, but he had it ready for a little surprise. With a flourish he pulled out his wand. "This," he said, indicating the golden colored wood, "is my wand. Beautiful, isnt it?" His smile broadened at the somewhat confused looks, and he brought the image he wanted into his mind. "Illusio Grim!" he muttered, the humming noise appearing instantly. The result of his spell was the shrieks of various students at what he could only imagine they were seeing. He watched as his wife reached and rubbed her hand on the air, as if petting a dog. "As you can see, Miss Malfoy," he said with a smirk to Layna, "our being muggles is entirely inconsequential. So, shall we get started?" "Yes, I do believe we shall," Jill replied with a smile as she hopped off the desk, ignoring the still frightened children. The Grim continued to amble about the room aimlessly. .oOo. The next few days passed quickly, and Saturday arrived. Blaise seemed to be avoiding him, much to Ginnys relief, and Harry was beginning to wonder if she was alright. He gave a bit of a reluctant sigh as he slipped into his clothes. "I really dont think I can handle this," he thought to himself. "Youll do fine," Leo burst in cheerfully. "Just drive them as hard as Wood would." Harry groaned a bit at the thought. If he drove them as hard as Wood, theyd end up hating him. "Morning, Leo." "Good morning! No, GREAT morning. The sky is clear, the sun is shining its a perfect day for Quidditch! And they wont hate you." "Says the badge that doesnt have to worry about Fred and George retaliating." "You alright, mate," Rons voice cut in, a bit of a worried tone within it. "You look a bit spaced out." "Yeah," Harry muttered, "Im just a bit worried. What if I botch it, Ron?" "Youll do fine, Harry," Ron said with a smile, "and if you dont, Fred and George will kill you." "Thanks," Harry said sarcastically, "I feel much better, now." With a wave of his hand, his Firebolt was sitting in his closed fist. "Breakfast?" "Of course," Ron muttered. "You think Im going out there without food?!" Fifteen minutes later Ron and Harry were sitting in the Great Hall shoveling food into their mouths. It was a rather subdued affair, as the Great Hall was empty aside from the both of them. "Who do you think will show up?"

"Not sure," Ron mumbled as he grabbed a few sausage links. "I think Ginny wants to try out for chaser. I heard a few of the lower years talking about trying out, too." "YAY! Fresh meat!" Leo roared happily. "STOP THAT!" Harry thought frantically, his heart jumping excitedly. "Im stressed out enough!" "Fine, fine," Leo muttered a bit irritably. Breakfast continued in relative silence and half an hour later the Gryffindor Seeker and Captain, along with the Gryffindor Keeper, walked onto the Quidditch pitch, to hear the din of an excited crowd. The whole of Gryffindor, it seemed, had turned out for the tryouts as well as most of the faculty. Neither Ron nor Harry had a clue as to why. When the clapping sounded off, they noticed everyone was looking towards the center of the pitch. Following the gazes, Harry noticed a young Gryffindor flying around the pitch, oblivious to everyone watching him. There was an exultant smile firmly planted on his face as he sped around the pitch. He looked as if nothing mattered except the broom, the sky, and the exhilaration of flying "Wow," Ron muttered as he watched the boy stand up on his broom and leap forward into the open air. A moment later his broom was firmly under him and he was continuing down the pitch at breakneck speeds. Harry grinned. "I cant believe he knows someone who can perform that charm," he said with a smile. "Charm?" Ron asked a bit curiously. "Its a bonding charm," Harry said simply. "When Quidditch was first invented, Simon Magus invented a charm to link a person to their broom. It allows the person to push a broom to its absolute limit, because the broom literally becomes an extension of their person. It resulted in a lot of stunts that cant be done, any longer." "Like?" Ron asked, his eyes never leaving the boy. His long blonde hair was whipping wildly as he soared higher and higher. A moment later he leaped off his broom into a full free fall. A gasp, as well as a few shrieks, traveled through the crowd. "Like that," Harry said simply as the broom cut through the air like a rocket slipping right under the boy, just barely saving him from splattering on the ground. Excited cheers sped through the crowd. "The Leap of Faith, invented by none other than Simon Magus himself. The bonding charm is also how the Wronski Feint was invented though Wronski was the first to do it without the bonding charm. I believe it was called Planter Ploy before that. "Shall we?" Harry asked as he walked forward, leaving behind a rather stunned Weasley. "Sonorus! Welcome," Harry boomed, "to the Gryffindor Quidditch tryouts! If youre here to try out, please stick around. Otherwise, it would be most appreciated if youd leave." When no one moved, he added, "Now." Minutes later only those trying out for the

Quidditch team were still near the pitch. The boy that had been speeding around the pitch landed, hopping off his broom about three feet off the ground while still speeding forward. His broom came to a floating stop beside him, and he sighed happily. As if noticing everyone for the first time, he glanced around then smiled. "Hullo," he said in an American accent. "Whats up?" "Whered you learn to fly like that?!" one of the hopefuls blurted out. The boy glanced around again, then shrugged. "My dad taught me to fly, if thats what you mean." Harry cleared his throat. "First off, I want to thank you all for showing up. I know its early. Please put your name on the parchment along with the position youre trying out for," he said, indicating a piece of parchment on a table off to the side of the pitch. The group of hopefuls filed over, signing their name to the parchment. Once everyone had signed, he stood before the assembled group. He was surprised to note that, among the bunch, was Neville Longbottom. A few minutes later the Weasley twins stormed onto the field, followed shortly by Katie Bell. "Sorry were late," they gasped in unison. "There was an explosion, and we were cleaning up the mess." At the alarmed look from many on the field, they elaborated. "Experiment. Nothing major." "Not a problem," Harry said, laughing. "Well, let me start by saying that everyone on this team will work for the position they want." "Here here," cheered the existing members of the team, big grins on their faces. The grins faded abruptly when Harry noted that they had to work for their positions also. "No one is safe in their position. If you want it, show me you want it. You want to be a keeper then make the chasers dread coming near you. You want to be a chaser, make the keeper groan every time they see you coming. You want to be a beater, then make the opposing team eat the bludgers. If you want to be seeker, take the snitch. Its that simple," Harry said with a hunger dancing in his eyes. "First off, I want to see you all fly." Pointing at the blonde boy, he added, "Not you. Ive seen you fly." Half an hour later several hopefuls had been dismissed due to not being able to stay on their broom. Everyone but Harry was a bit shocked by the fact that Neville was not among those dismissed. Waving his wand at the bludgers, there was a groaning sound followed by several large cracks. Finally, there was a loud pop and instead of the normal two bludgers there were twelve. "During this next exercise, its quite simple. Stay on your broom. With a wave of his wand, the bludgers began trying to attack anything in sight. Harry mounted his broom and joined the group. "The rules are simple. If you hit the

ground five times, youre out! I dont care how you stay on your broom, so long as its legal!" The ensuing chaos was spectacular, to say the least. The young blonde boy seemed to be in his element as bludger after bludger missed him. Neville, too, seemed infinitely more confident than he had just a year before. A near death experience would do that for you, Harry guessed. He was shakily dodging the bludgers, but an avoided bludger is an avoided bludger. It doesnt particularly matter how good it looks so long as you get the job done, Harry acknowledged. Ron was the first to be knocked from his broom by a bludger that caught him square in the chest. The next to fall was a third year girl whom Harry barely recognized. Colin and Dennis Creevy were doing amazingly well by working with each other. They were leading the bludgers into other hopefuls, intentionally knocking them off their brooms. After a few minutes of their tactics, a few more people had been eliminated. Suddenly the Creevy brothers turned on him and led the bludgers in his direction. Colin had a malicious smile on his face that quite honestly surprised Harry, to no end. Harry dropped off his broom in a shaky Sloth Grip Roll as the bludger whizzed by where his head had been. He turned his attention back to watching the others, listening intently for the whizzing sound that indicated an approaching bludger. After his first hit, Ron seemed rather weary of getting anywhere near another of the damaging balls. The blonde boy was avoiding the bludger by literally just dropping off his broom and letting it catch him from his free fall. Taking a page out of the Creevy brothers book, he began to lead the bludgers into the other hopefuls, trying to eliminate the competition. Ginny was happily whizzing around the field, completely oblivious to the fact that the Creevy brothers had targeted everyone except for her. Harry noticed this fact, though, and made a wild guess as to the malicious grin given him by Colin. The wind whipped in his hair as he dove into a corkscrew spin to avoid an incoming bludger. The bludger didnt relent, though, and remained directly on his tail. Flying at the ground as fast as his broom would go, Harry pushed the broom to its limit. Just as he was about to slam into the ground, he jerked his broom back, causing it to turn and head straight up. The bludger on his tail slammed into the ground, sending dirt and grass flying into the air in a fountain-like manner. Ron, whod been watching him, managed to be caught by another bludger, this time in the back. Ron cried out, but held onto his broom tightly, refusing to fall again. Once hed righted himself, he let out a stream of obscenities. "Watch yourself, Ron!" Harry shouted, grinning. "Bugger off!" Ron shouted back, also grinning. The familiar whizzing sound of the bludgers caught his attention, and he glanced back to

see Dennis and Colin leading two bludgers in his direction. Colin still had that malicious grin on his face, as well as a dangerous glint in his eye. Growling inwardly, Harry pushed his broom down the pitch. Cutting the acceleration he whipped his broom around so he was facing in the opposite direction that he was going, facing Colin and Dennis. He waited a few seconds, then braced himself for the jolt he knew would come. Gripping the broom tightly, he accelerated hard causing his broom to slam to a stop before speeding directly towards the two Creevy brothers. Like a lightning bolt he sped directly between them, leaving behind two rather confused boys. "Nice!" the blonde boy shouted as Harry sped by him, whipping between people as if they werent there. Finally, he moved up high above the pitch and stopped, still listening for the sound of an impending bludger. Pride swelled in him as he watched Ginny literally jump off her broom, over a bludger, then landed back on it. It seemed that all their training had paid off. He continued to watch her, to see if Dennis and Colin were going to try to hit her, as well. They never did, because they seemed to be looking for someone. Harry didnt need to guess who it was they were looking for. He turned his attention back to the pitch, watching as Seamus and Dean worked together to try to disable the bludgers. They were speeding directly at each other, a bludger directly behind each of them, when they suddenly twisted and headed toward the ground just before colliding. The result was that the two bludgers slammed into each other before falling heavily to the ground. Again the familiar whizzing sound of a bludger caught his ear, and he glanced back to see Colin and Dennis leading two bludgers in his direction. Sighing, he turned and waited on the bludgers. They obviously werent going to be happy until theyd hit him. The brothers came to an abrupt halt as the bludgers continued directly at Harry. With a bit of an irritated growl, Harry jumped off his broom kicking one of the bludgers straight back at Colin who was knocked from his broom with a highly shocked look plastered on his face. Without a pause Harry twisted quickly and slammed his foot into the other. The result was a thunderous crack and an explosion of powder as the destroyed bludger rained down on those around them. When Harry landed on his broom, he simply watched as Colin fell. A blur of scarlet tore through the air towards Colin. A moment later he was safely on the ground thanks to none other than Ginny Weasley. "Harry Potter!" she almost shrieked at him from the ground. "You could have killed him!" The bludgers slammed to a stop in the air. Harry stared down at her, his calm, cold stare very unnerving. "There is a saying that I believe is highly appropriate to this situation," Harry said coldly, his voice loud enough for all to hear. "If you cant stand the heat, stay out of the kitchen. People have died playing Quidditch. It is a fact of the game.

"If that fact scares you, good. It should." Harry stood up on his broom a good fifty feet above the ground. With a wave to the others, he back-flipped off the handle. A moment later he landed in a crouch on the ground. "Is he alright?" Harry asked simply, a hard edge in his voice. Ginny nodded. "You could have hurt him, Harry." "Hes lucky. My first instinct was to kill him. He was trying to cause me harm. What his problem with me is, I can only guess," he said, giving Ginny a pointed glance. "Harry, listen to yourself!" Ginny cried loudly, a horrified expression on her face. "I find it hard to believe that Colin Creevy, the boy who idolizes you, was trying to hurt you I find it ever harder to believe that you just said your impulse was to kill him!" Harry waved his hand in front of her face and the malicious grin on Colins face as he flew at Harry surfaced in her mind, along with the image of Dennis and Colin looking for him. "Do you believe it now?" Harry asked simply. "Throughout the tryouts they hit everyone but you. Throughout the tryouts Im the only one he seemed excited about hitting." As he turned to the crowd, he noticed Dennis had a scowl set on his face. "Ok, Creevys are out. It wont do to have someone on the team who has a grudge against the captain. I need you to have faith in me, and I need to have faith in you. Im sorry to say that after this little episode, that will more than likely not be possible in the near future. "Dennis, take your brother to the infirmary, please. Everyone else who still wishes to try out, weve narrowed it down enough that we can have a practice game." Sighing, he thought to Leo, "Did I make the right decision?" "Yes. You need to be confident in your team, and the way those two were acting, that just seemed rather impossible. Though, with Colin it seemed to be personal. Dennis just seemed to be going along with his brother." Harry sighed, and they turned to a practice game, switching players in an out until he found the best mix of players. He grinned happily as he watched the teams worked their hardest, making the opposing team fight for every goal. Harry lazily floated over to the blonde-haired boy, who was trying out for the position of seeker. "Hello," Harry said lazily. "Hi," the boy replied, a suspicious look planted firmly on his face. "You fly well," Harry complimented. "Mind if I asked who placed the bonding charm on your broom?" A tight grin slipped onto the boys face. "My great-grandfather. It took him years to perfect it. I was the first to get it, once hed managed to perform it without mistake." "Harry Potter," he said, holding out his hand to the boy.

"Gabriel Savatus," the boy said, taking his hand. "Nice ta meetcha." "Same here. I noticed you can do the Leap of Faith. Tried the Hammer and Anvil or the Corkscrew Drop?" "Hammer and Anvil? Corkscrew Drop?" Harry grinned. "Yeah, theyre general moves. Work great against the other team, if you can pull them off properly." "How?" "Ok, the Hammer and Anvil in a game, the beaters are always going to be trying to hit you with a bludger thats the hammer. Beaters always expect you to get out of the way of the hammer. You are the anvil, since youre going to stop the bludger. You have to act fast, but you can match the bludgers speed, and catch it. Its almost impossible to pull off on a normal broom, because you usually need both hands to catch the bludger. Letting go of the handle on most brooms is a bit dangerous." "Thats legal?" Harry nodded. "It just isnt done because, as I said, you generally need both hands to catch a bludger. But, once you have it you can do some real damage to the other team. Imagine catching the bludger and tossing it to your own beaters who can easily bat it into the opponents keeper. Only problem is, there is a rule in the books that say you can only keep a bludger out of play for one minute. Any longer and the other team gets a penalty shot." "Wow. What about that Corkscrew thing?" Gabriel asked, his orange eyes sparkling at the chance for new information. "The Corkscrew Drop?" Harry asked with a grin. "Its usually a scare tactic, sort of like the Transylvanian Tackle. You get up high, dive into a corkscrew and let go of your broom, adding gravity to the mix. The spin doesnt do much except make it a bit easier to stay centered. The main use is to drop as close to an opposing team member as possible, scaring the wits out of them. It can be used a lot like the Leap of Faith, though, to catch the snitch or the quaffle." "Why not just knock them off their broom? That I know would be legal." "Well, youre sort of right. You have to be in free fall for at least five seconds before colliding with someone, if you plan to get back onto your broom. Then, if you hit someone, its legal since you were technically in a fall. But, its rather hard to hit someone when they have enough time to move. Not only that, but a scared opponent can be even more of an advantage than no opponent." When Gabriel looked at him blankly, he continued. "Think about this. If you Corkscrew a chaser and knock them off their broom, theyre down one chaser. They now have two chasers who are still quite stable. But, you can drop near them without worrying about the five-second rule. Now, there is a good chance that chaser will get a pass. If you did

your job, theyll be so shaken up they might miss the pass or if going for the goal, they might miss the goal. "By the way, are you going to get that?" Gabriel glanced at him questioningly. Harrys response was to dart out his hand and grab the snitch. "Another good tactic is the Chatterbox. Distract your opponent with talk while your team scores enough goals to win." Harry winked at Gabriel, who had a look of awe on his face. Landing swiftly on the ground, Harry grabbed everyones attention. "Thanks for coming out," Harry said with a huge smile on his face. "Ill post the new roster in the next few days. Enjoy your weekend!" Leaving behind a thoroughly confused team, along with some rather apprehensive returning players, Harry walked away. "This year is going to be great!" .oOo. There are very few places in the world where even at the suns peak the light of day can never be seen, where darkness reigns supreme. Epathian Cemetery is one such place. In the bright morning light, the cemetery was still as dark as if it were midnight on the darkest moonless night. The gothic style tombstones, moss covered and slimy, were a combination of muggle and non-muggle from centuries passed. Maleficus, Goyer, and Grindelwald lay peacefully by Weaslery, Longbottom, and Dumbledore, among others. Fog layered the ground like a gray carpet, hiding from view whatever might be crawling on damp, mushy ground. The smell of rotting leaves filled the air with the scent of death, and it was moldy death at that. A person in a thick, black cloak wearing a white, faceless mask moved swiftly through the cemetery. He moved almost as if he were floating; an appearance greatly reinforced by the fog hiding his feet and the fact that he made no sound. The caw of a murder of crows added to the gloomy atmosphere as he continued deeper into the gloom of the ancient burial ground. Wind rustled through the gnarled trees, causing the branches to stretch and sway as if reaching out for something or someone. "Turn back," it seemed to whisper, "before it is too late." The man in the black cloak continued on unerringly, deeper and deeper. The sound of skittering claws echoed off the stone mausoleums, each one marked with the name of a prominent family of years gone by. Again the crows cawed loudly, warning the man away. He walked steadily onward, the fog on the ground growing thicker with each step he took. A shuddering groan filled the air, mixing with the skittering claws and the cawing crows in a sort of perverted symphony. Still the man trudged onward through the darkness, with no light to speak of. Yet, he was unfazed by the darkness, the smells, or the sounds

around him. Finally, he arrived at an unmarked mausoleum. The door was marked with a large, hideous face that would give even the Daemons nightmares. He raised his right hand, covered by a thick, black glove, and tapped first the left eye, then the right, and finally the tongue. A moment later the door gave a loud groan and slowly opened inward. "Youre late," a voice hissed from inside. The man shook his head, and stepped inside. "I had something to take care of," he muttered softly. "Is everything still going according to plan?" "Yes," the voice hissed back. "The last letter was delivered the night before the new Minister was announced to the public, as you requested." "Good," he said as he handed over another letter, "this is the next. If they ever find out Im doing this, Im a dead man." "Youre already a dead man," the hissing voice mocked, a slight chuckled behind it. "Just be careful." "You, too," he said with a smile, though it was hidden behind his mask. "I need to get back before they notice Im missing." "Good luck." "Thanks," he replied as he stepped back outside the mausoleum and made his way back up through the darkness. .oOo. "Colin," Ginny asked from her chair beside Colins bed in the infirmary, "why did you try to attack Harry?" "Attack Harry?!" Colin growled harshly. "Im the one in the INFIRMARY!" "Colin, I saw what you did the grin on your face as you tried to hit Harry with the bludgers." Colin turned away, looking everywhere but at Ginny. "Please, tell me," she pleaded. "Why do you care, Ginny?" Colin asked suddenly, still looking away. "Its obvious that you only care about him, but he doesnt even seem to notice you." "Oh, he knows," she muttered darkly. "I know he knows." "Doesnt that make it worse, then?" Colin asked, turning his eyes to hers. "He knows how you feel, but ignores it." "It hurts," Ginny admitted. "But, that doesnt answer my question." "Because, I love you, Ginny!" he blurted out, his anger overwhelming him.

Ginny looked shocked, her brown eyes opened wide. She didnt even notice as Colin moved in and kissed her, hard. His tongue slipped into her mouth before she realized what was happening and shoved him back. "Im flattered, Colin -- HARRY!" she exclaimed, her eyes widening as she noticed the look of anger that flashed over his face before being replaced by a mask of indifference. "Hello," Harry muttered darkly, glancing at Colin. There was a triumphant grin on his face as he stared sadistically at Harry. "I didnt mean to intrude. Ill come back later," he said, quickly turning and making his way to the door. "Harry, wait!" Ginny called. The Boy-Who-Lived continued quickly out of the infirmary, causing Ginny to let out an exasperated sigh. When she saw the smirk on Colins face, she nearly tried to cram her fist down his throat. "What are you smiling at?" she asked sharply. The smirk on Colins face faltered. "You -- I -- but I thought you chose me," he said, weakly. "Colin," she growled, "the only thing keeping me from hexing you is the fact that I dont believe in attacking people confined to a bed!" "Ginny, hes Harry bloody Potter! He could have any woman he wants! Youre just Ginny Weasley! But, I love you, and Im here!" Whatever affect his words were intended to have, they didnt. "JUST - GINNY - WEASLEY?!" she shouted at him, her anger frothing inside like a tidal wave. Colin nearly slapped his hand to his forehead as he realized the mistake in his words. "To HELL with you, Colin! You dont have a bloody clue what love is, obviously!" Her face the typical Weasley red from her rage, she stormed out of the infirmary pushing passed a very harassed looking Madame Pomfrey, who was trying to complain about the noise. Colin groaned into his hand. "Damnit!" he shouted, the word echoing off the walls. "This is an infirmary, Mr. Creevy! Not a muggle bar!" Madame Pomfrey growled. "SO, PLEASE LOWER YOUR VOICE!!" Again Colin groaned, this time into his pillow as he crushed it over his face. .oOo. Harry moved swiftly through the halls. His eyes had already transformed into their familiar cobalt blue, as if daring someone -- anyone -- to get in his way. Students and faculty alike moved aside for the Dragonmaster as he stormed through the castle, toward his private quarters. "You know youre scaring the hell out of everyone who sees you, right?" Leo asked in that never-can-be-serious voice of his.

"I really dont care," Harry replied back, his thoughts like daggers. "You know, youre rather good at shielding your thoughts. Mind telling me whats got you so rumble-ready right now?" "Ginny." "What about her? Youve made it clear over and over that you arent ready for a relationship. She moved on, obviously." "Not that," Harry replied darkly. "If Ginny or Blaise either one want to date someone, thats their prerogative. No, its the fact that she goes and gets with him just after she finds out that he attacked me." "Oh." "Yes, oh." "So the fact that you walked in on them kissing has nothing to do with it?" "It has everything to do with it!" Harry nearly shouted, as much as one can shout in their mind. "If it had been anyone else, I wouldnt care --" "Even Malfoy?" "Ok, almost anyone else. But she goes and snogs him just after he attacked me!" "Maybe she likes the bad boys?" Leo chuckled. "It really might be Malfoy, next time." "Youre not helping," Harry thought back, growling as he did so. "Watch it, Potter," Harry heard someone sneer. "You dont own this castle." "Actually, I do," Harry replied absently, before he realized what he was saying. "What?" Harry turned around to notice a rather shocked looking Snape. "Nothing," he replied quickly. "What do you want?" "Many things. The first of which is to not be bowled over by a clumsy celebrity who thinks he owns the school." "Im not in the mood for this, Snape," Harry growled. "If you want to irritate someone, go pick on some first years. Theyre more your speed." "Thats right, run away," Snape said, the contemptuous sneer firmly planted on his face. "I couldnt expect much more from a fame seeker like yourself." Harry growled, loudly. A moment later, Snape was standing face to face with none other than Sirius Black. "Well, well, if it isnt our old friend Snivellus Snape. All grown up and

still as greasy as an axle-rod. I always wondered what would become of you. Doesnt surprise me that you became a Death Eater, in the least." Again Harrys appearance shifted and the now shell-shocked Snape was staring at James Potter. Harry and James, almost identical, were set apart by the fact that James was just a bit shorter than Harry, had brown eyes, and a deeper voice. "I cant believe that after I saved your life, youd treat my son this way. Youre pathetic, you know that Snivellus?" "This isnt funny, Potter," Snape sneered, in a weak attempt at his usual fearsome visage. He failed miserably. As James advanced on the pale Potions Master, who was now white as a sheet, he backed away. His eyes were wide, and a look of fear and pain replaced his contemptuous sneer. "You know, it really is a shame that Lily thought you were a decent human being. Then again, she always thought the best of everyone, didnt she?" "Yes, she was a real treasure," Sirius said, nodding his head. Snape hadnt yet noticed that hed backed himself down an empty corridor. He was focused on who he thought was Harry, but kept switching between James Potter and Sirius Black. "She even gave me the benefit of the doubt, even after all the pranks I pulled on her. Ill miss her." James replaced Sirius once more and nodded to no one in particular. "So will I, Si, so will I" he trailed off sadly. After a moment a silence, he grinned wickedly causing Snape to pale even more, if possible. "Mr. Padfoot, are you thinking what I am?" Again Sirius was facing Snape, smiling broadly. "Oh, yes indeed," he said in a sadistic manner. "Care to do the honors, Mr. Prongs?" "Indubitably, Mr. Padfoot," James growled, a wand forming in his hands. With a quick flick of his wrist, Snape was upside down, his robes billowing over his head as he was levitated into the open hall. His boxers were showing; dark blue with yellow stars and pink hearts. "Ill be watching you, Snivellus," James whispered in his ear, before growling out, "Stupefy!" The face of James potter was soon contorted into one of agony, as he slowly shifted back to Harry, who shouted in a mix of fury and agony as he forced himself to the surface. "This is my body! MINE! I have to share my mind with every bloody one of you, but I will not share my body! THIS IS MY LIFE! IF I LET YOU OUT, THATS FINE! BUT IF YOU EVER TRY TO TAKE MY BODY AGAIN I'LL OBLIVIATE EVERY DAMNED ONE OF YOU!" Harry was completely oblivious to the crowd that had surrounded him at his outburst. He seemed to be arguing with someone who wasnt there, while the Potions Master floated upside down in plain view. There were a few snickers from those nearby as they noticed his boxers. "I dont give a damn! I could have handled that fine on my own! Dont tell me to calm

down, dad, you took over my body! What do you mean?" he asked suddenly, then seemed to notice everyone around him. With a sneer on his face that could give Snape a run for his money, he barked out, "What?!" Everyone watching quickly dissipated. "Thanks a lot," Harry muttered, his already bad mood plummeting. "Now everyone thinks Im bonkers!" Sighing loudly, Harry walked away leaving behind an unconscious, floating, upsidedown Severus Snape for all to see. When he awoke half an hour later he had a massive headache to go along with a severe case of embarrassment. .oOo. "Harry, slow down," Ron called as he and Hermione trotted to catch up with him. Looking back, Harry quirked an eyebrow. "What?" "Calm down," Ron said placatingly, "whats up?" "Id just rather be alone, right now," Harry said simply. "But, Harry --" Ron began, but stopped when Hermione placed her hand on his shoulder, and shook her head. Ron, as usual, ignored her advice. "Harry, whats going on?" Harry repeated his statement more forcefully. "Why do you always think everyone is going to do everything your way?" Ron growled. He didnt notice as Hermione slapped her hand to her forehead. Harry clenched his right hand into a tight fist as he continued walking down the path to Hogsmeade, his eyes shifting into that warning cobalt blue. "Now is not the time, Ron," said Harry warningly. "Im not in the mood." "Its always about you, isnt it," Ron shouted. "You keep it all bottled up inside, expecting everyone to tiptoe around you!" A stray breeze wafted through the air, causing a whooshing sound among the trees. "Ron," Harry said in a low growl, as a stray breeze caused his messy hair to dance around his face, "leave me alone. Now." Rons response was to shift into his Shade form. "It wont be so easy, this time," Ron growled. "Ginny isnt here to stop me from knocking some sense into you!" Harry turned toward Ron and stared him down. "No, she isnt, is she. I warn you, you dont want to do this." "Oh, yes I do. Ginny isnt here to stop me, and this time Im going to knock some sense into that thick head of yours!" "Ginny didnt stop you," Harry said, growling, "she stopped me." Without warning Harry backhanded Ron hard, launching him into the air. While Ron was still arcing into the sky, Harry had already apparated above him. "I warned you to leave me alone!" he roared as he flipped in midair, slamming his right foot into Rons chest causing him to abruptly

hurtle toward the ground. Harry floated down to where Ron impacted. "But, no. You just have to have it your way. We give you time, when youre angry. We let you calm down. You just keep pushing, and pushing. Well, now Im pissed, and you volunteered to be my stress relief!" "You know, you talk too much," Ron snarled as shadow versions of him appeared all around Harry. Harry moved like lightning, tearing into the shades one by one, searching for the real Ron. "Its good to see my lessons with you havent been wasted," Harry said, smiling grimly. Hermione sat down by a large tree, her copy of Hogwarts: A History firmly in hand. She rolled her eyes at both of them as she turned to reading, a glowing pink shield around her. "I learn fast," Ron retorted, causing Hermione to snort in amusement, though he missed it entirely due to the battle with Harry. Harry continued to fight, his eyes growing brighter and brighter the longer he continued. The entire time he was fighting, he was chanting, "La Luce diffonde questo Anima Scuro!" Hermione looked positively frightened, but she didnt come out of her shield, sure that Harry would never really harm Ron. The light in Harrys eyes grew to a blinding light to rival the sun itself, and Ron began to fall back before it, trying to hide his eyes from the brilliant light threatening to steal all sight. "Esegua, Anima Chiara!" Hermione screamed, though it was lost to the sound of the explosion of light that invaded the area at Harrys final incantation. When the light cleared, Harry was standing over an exhausted looking Ron who was back in his human form. Harry, however, looked no worse for wear. "The next time you try to show me how much of a man you are, try to stay on your feet," he spat in a tone of disgust. Ron would have responded to the insult, if he hadnt been so exhausted. Leaning down, Harry whispered in Rons ear, "Remember this next time you think youll teach me a lesson. Im the teacher here. Not you." Harry stood and spun on his heel, swiftly disappearing into the trees. Ron tried to get to his feet, to go after Harry, but he was simply far too tired. Hermione walked up. "I tried to tell you, Ron," she said in her know-it-all tone of voice. "He was not in the mood to put up with you, today." Ron groaned loudly. "Whadju mean?" he slurred. "I know that he was more angry than anyone Ive ever felt, and that alone tells me all I need to know." "Unh?" "Ron, Ive never been able to read Harry. He keeps his mind guarded very well. Today,

he was radiating anger like he radiates power. Youre lucky he stopped when he did." "Mlucky," Ron mumbled. "Mthone onna groun! Hes adinck!" "Hes a dinck? Whats a dinck?" Hermione puzzled. Ron just groaned, in response. Further down the path, Harry was walking amongst the trees, trying to clear his head. If he werent so angry, hed never have defeated Ron so easily. As it was, he only had one thing in mind while fighting Ron. He would win, and he would win fast. Ron needed to be taught a lesson, and he was the one to do it. "You come out here often?" a soft voice asked from behind him. Harry turned around, prepared for a fight, but relaxed when he saw that it was Blaise. "No only when Im stressed out. The trees relax me." "Me, too. Lately, Ive wanted to come here more often." "Oh?" Harry asked, trying to push down his anger. "Well, we havent gotten a chance to talk, lately, what with Quidditch and everything," she said softly. "Malfoy is planning something, and he has some kind of ability Ive never seen." Harry sighed warily. "Great, the Junior Death Eater is following in Daddys footsteps. Do you know what hes planning?" Blaise nodded. "I overheard them a few days ago. He wants to hurt you. He has Crabbe and Goyle working on getting the password to Gryffindor tower. Im not sure why he wants them. I can only guess he wants to attack you while you sleep." "You said he had an ability?" Again, she nodded, her bright blue eyes betraying the worry she felt. "He turned his fingers into metal spikes." "Oh, bloody perfect!" Harry growled, slamming his fist into a tree, splinters arcing away from it as he did. "A Blademaster is just what I needed right now." Blaise moved closer to Harry, slowly, and enveloped him into a tight hug. Her head rested on his shoulder as her shoulders shook. Strong arms embraced her, pulling her tightly against him. "Im worried about you, Harry." Her voice shook as she continued, and she tightened her grip on him. "Promise me you wont leave me. Please, Harry, promise me." "Weve talked about this, Blaise," Harry said weakly as he felt his heart constrict. "Im not invincible. The most I can promise is that Ill do my best to stay alive." "I know," she said as she squeezed him tighter. "I just we I I love you, Harry, and I dont want to be without you."

With her head still firmly pressed against his neck, she couldnt see the expression of shock on Harrys face, his emerald-green eyes wide, like a deer caught in oncoming headlights. "Harry?" she asked worriedly. "Harry?"