Author's Notes: Thank you to my Betas Katie and Marley, this chapter is dedicated to Katie because she is just so awesome and has helped me through this, and I will always love out little slash discussions. To you, babe! And thank you to all my wonderful reviewers for all the wonderful comments. They make me grin. *Grins.*
Warnings: past-Harry Sirius, Harry/Draco, Harry/MOC, Pansy/female!Blaise, Seamus/Justin, Harry/Hermione/Ron implied, Terry/Ginny, Moon/Nott implied, (eventual) Harry/Justin, OotP spoilers, fantasy, action, adventure, cross-generation, underage sex, violence, language, romance, angst
DISCLAIMER: This story is based on characters and situations created and owned by JK Rowling, various publishers including but not limited to Bloomsbury Books, Scholastic Books and Raincoast Books, and Warner Bros., Inc. No money is being made and no copyright or trademark infringement is intended. Lyrics and quotes belong to their respective owners. Lyrics within are by Enigma.
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Part 1 - Blood Magic
Chapter Five – Enter the Dragon
In my field of paper flowers
And candy clouds of lullaby
I lie inside myself for hours
- Imaginary (Evanescence)
She's taking her time making up the reasons to justify all the hurt inside
Guess she knows from the smiles and the look in their eyes
Everyone's got a theory about the Bitter One
They're saying, "Mama never loved her much"
And, "Daddy never keeps in touch
“That's why she shies away from human affection"
But somewhere in a private place she packs her bags for outer space
And now she's waiting for the right kind of pilot to come
She can't remember a time when she felt needed
If love was red then she was colour blind
All her friends they've been tried for treason
And crimes that were never defined
She's saying, "Love is like a barren place,
“And reaching out for human faith
“Is like a journey I just don't have a map for"
Send a signal that she's hanging all her hopes on the stars
What a pleasant dream
- Moon and Back (Savage Garden)
Makes me that much stronger, makes me work a little bit harder
Makes me that much wiser
Thanks for making me a fighter
- Fighter (Christina Aguilera)
Just before Harry would go to Dreamland, he would play a little game with himself.
If it were not for Snape, who had taught Harry this Little Trick, he may have appreciated it more. But it was really all about the reward-punishment system that Hermione would often insist worked.
Namely, if Harry was able to achieve Occlumency before he fell asleep, he would promise himself extra food for breakfast in the morning. If he dreamt too much that night, he would punish himself by doing a horribly good deed, such as help Hermione out with SPEW or have a boring conversation with Lavender for half an hour. A bad dream involving Voldemort insured much punishment the next day.
This night was one of the bad nights. Harry had fallen asleep during the four-way conversation on his bed, and so had not had time to do his usual Occlumency. The other factor was that he had not eaten very much at all during the day because his mind and emotions were buzzing around his body like a loose fireball. And when his stomach is practically empty and there is too much going on in his head, sleep would always be a great adventure.
The first dream was one that Harry had had before, and not one he particularly liked because it involved an agitated Sirius.
Sirius in his tight leather trousers had been sitting on his motorcycle that night, scowling at Harry.
“You’re not getting on,” Sirius had said.
“Bugger that.” Harry had been clambering on the big ugly metallic thing. It was getting a bit more in focus, now that he remembered the scene properly.
Sirius’ hair was long and shiny in the moonlight, his face was unshaven and he looked extremely grumpy. “I’m in a bad mood,” he stated unnecessarily.
“Mmm,” said Harry as he adjusted himself on the long leather seat.
“And you’re not helping.”
“And I want to go for a ride.”
Harry, who had been maneuvering his legs over Sirius’ thighs, stopped, looked up at his Godfather and grinned.
“Not like that.”
A smug look.
“I meant I want to ride my… um, my motor - stop that.”
Sirius had given Harry one of his sternest looks then, which Harry of course, had ignored.
He ran his hands up the thick thighs, then when he reached the angle, curled his fingers around sharp hips. Harry leaned forward and gave Sirius one of his best sultry-yet-cute puppy looks.
Sirius closed his eyes, and Harry frowned. “I really just want to go for a flight tonight, Harry.”
Harry’s palm and fingers found a rough cheek. Sirius was forced to look back. Harry murmured, “Kiss me and I might consider it.”
“If Moony only knew…” Sirius had muttered before moving in, but Harry had moved away, shocked.
He was so angry then, he could even remember it now, in his dreams and in sleep, that horrible jealousy like a hot fever.
Harry tried to get off the bike, stumbling. “Well if it’s really him you want to ride tonight, I’m going!”
Sirius had grabbed his arm. “It’s not what I meant!”
A bitter snort, followed by a sob and the swirling of dark colours. A firm grip on his arm.
Harry had stared up at Sirius then. They were standing some ways off from the bike, Harry having run away and Sirius having run after him. “You’re still in love with him,” Harry accused.
“I don’t know what I want, I’m confused.”
“You’re always confused!”
“Harry…” And here Sirius looked sad and helpless, this much Harry did remember. To see a grown man so bent out of shape was to see the world suddenly weak and collapsing. Harry had almost stumbled again.
“I love you -“ Harry started.
“Stop saying that!”
“ - And you keep looking at him! As if - as if you want to kiss him or something!”
Sirius narrowed his eyes. “Don’t be hypocritical, Harry.” It had been said like a father would have said it: scolding and mock-wise.
At that point Harry had been staring, taken completely aback. Firstly, being scolded like that had sent a jolt of arousal through him that was accompanied by the revolted churning of his stomach. Secondly, how did he know, and thirdly -
Sirius was like his father and that had felt so good in the most disgusting way possible. It was like cutting: a wonderful bolt of adrenalin, or the sweet center of a ball made of stinging pain. And then at some point Professor Lupin had come in, beautiful and living in a deceptive veil of youth, there, watching, a part of everything.
But something was shifting in the dream, because Sirius was frozen, and Harry was in the dream as himself, not as his fifteen year old self, staring and standing in this frozen three-dimensional land. Even Sirius’s hair, which had been blowing in the wind, was frozen with it.
There was a shudder within himself as he experimentally made his fingers move. I could kiss him again!
But something was distracting him. The was the faint noise of breaking twigs, the kind of serene sound a fire makes when it is burning wood. From the corner of his eye, Harry could see the tell-tale flickering yellow and orange light. He turned his head.
And instantly Sirius and the motorcycle were gone. He was alone in a grassy field, and in the distance a small village was burning.
He started to walk towards it in even strides, not of his own accord.
Someone came up from the side. The person, swathed in all black and faceless, kneeled and Harry stopped so the man could kiss the bottom hem of his robes.
“My Lord - I am sorry, My Lord… but they are unhappy with the sacrifice.”
Harry inhaled through his nostrils and scowled. The breath came out in a high pitched hiss. “What is it they want?”
“They say, My Lord, that they wish - “
Harry kicked him. “Get up, Moon, and stop mumbling!”
Moon did as he was told. “My Lord, sir, they wish for a Queen.”
Harry felt intrigued and triumphant suddenly. “And they shall have her, am I correct?”
Moon’s face was covered in a white mask but his feelings were evident. The last statement seemed to him to be greatly upsetting news. “But - but My Lord…”
“You will send for her tomorrow.”
The rest of the conversation was lost as the sound faded, and Harry felt arms encircle his shoulders as he was hugged from behind.
There was a feeling of weightlessness as Harry was pulled back, and the two entwined and naked bodies were lying on a bed.
Harry liked this dream.
It was of one of those nights in Grimmauld Place with Sirius, where there was a lot of rubbing, kissing and sweat.
Harry snaked an arm around Sirius’s waist and snuggled in, bucking up a bit against the other’s flesh. There was one irritating problem though: he was waking up, and Sirius seemed a little too small to be real.
Harry’s face was buried in someone else’s hair. Some else’s blonde hair.
“Having fun there, you two?” chuckled Seamus from somewhere in the room.
Harry, who had been pressing his hardness against this other person, decided it was time to wake up properly.
“Mmmph, sorry,” said The Blonde Person, who turned out to be Ernie, “Must’ve fallen asleep on your bed.”
“Um, yes,” mumbled Harry as he stumbled off. His hand shot up to his hair to smooth it over self-consciously.
Ernie got out too. He was ignoring Seamus and Lavender, who were standing at the foot of the bed, sniggering, and the fact that Harry had probably spent the last half hour dry-humping him. But Ernie had always been the most mature of them all; it was if he were a grown man stuck in a skinny teenaged body.
After the four had gotten quite over it, they made their way to breakfast. There were still some quiet mutterings from Lavender that consisted mainly of, “that’s so cute,” and Seamus would have said more had he not been sick of being teased about Justin Finch-Fletchley.
The night before, Harry, Hermione, Ron and Ernie had stayed up late talking. There was a lot about Ron’s family, about how Ron was sure his mum did not know about Percy and, should he write to her and tell her? Sympathy all around. Perhaps he should, Harry had considered, but she will find out eventually through Order dealings.
Harry found out about the Dragon League’s alibi. Zabini’s uncle organized magical camps in the summers for children who wanted extra magical learning. The Slytherins often went there anyway, but this time Zabini captured her uncle and used him for the Haemato Transferin, and then they sent fake letters to their families about how they were having a wonderful time and learning new things. It allowed them to leave for Death Eater meetings when summoned.
As soon as Harry entered the Canteen, hush descended. People were staring. Lavender, Seamus and Ernie sat down.
Harry slowly did the same. Silence, and eyes were on him, and some on Ernie.
With a jolt Harry realized they had been talking about how he and the Hufflepuff had slept together. He dared not look at Quan or Malfoy.
Instead, he looked at Ernie. He was unfazed and talking quietly with Susan.
“So?” Parvati barked suddenly. “Is it true?”
“No,” Harry snapped back at her, “of course not!”
“We were talking,” began Ernie quietly, “very platonically, mind you, and I fell asleep.” Then he went back to his breakfast.
There were sighs of relief from many, as if it were one large, collective breath. Then there was noise as everyone started to eat again.
“You must be really stuck on interesting gossip,” remarked Harry angrily.
Boot mustered a wry grin. “Yeah,” he said, “we are a bit. You chucked us juicy morsel.”
Lavender, next to Boot, said, “Nah, Harry always has something going on with him. I heard a rumour…”
Boot frowned and muttered something in her ear.
She pushed him away. “Oh no, but I have to know!
“It’s about your godfather. Is it true that you and he - ?”
“Shut up, Lavender,” Ron growled as Harry’s insides jolted painfully.
She widened her eyes and blinked stupidly. “But I bet it’s not even true - “
“No, really,” cut Hermione, “you should be quiet now.”
Harry bit his lip and stared angrily at his plate. He tried to swallow, tried to push the hard suffocating heat that was anger away, but the damage was done.
“So it is true!”
Harry got up, and stormed out the building. He took a big breath, but it hitched. He needed some air.
When he got outside, he headed to the oval and walked quickly across. He did not know where he was going; he just needed to go out somewhere. Then he realized that Lavender and the others prayed on him because they were stuck here too, and cut out from the outside world, and they just wanted to have some fun, grasping at it, because eventually happiness will slip out their grasps like wet soap.
But that was no excuse, he thought angrily, it’s none of their business!
And now they all knew.
Harry was surprised that they knew about Sirius’ innocence in the first place. He felt a much prouder swell inside at the thought that they believed him, and he was glad that he had friends who knew the truth, but God, they did not need to know about that!
Harry slowed his random stomping through the tall weeds. And so what if they knew? The damage was done, he supposed. But that information was his and Sirius’s, and it did not belong to them.
He heard crunching of grass behind him, and knew he was being followed. He turned around and glared.
She stopped in front of him and a sheepish smile crossed her pretty tanned face.
“I’m sorry -“
“Save it.” He turned back around and continued walking. She followed and started to walk with him. He looked away and to the trees, saddened.
“I have some news that might cheer you up,” she tried.
He clenched his teeth and said nothing, so she continued.
“Letters came in, from Hogwarts. They’re a bit late, but it looks good.” She paused, and Harry knew she was trying to catch his eye, but she could not. “Ginny and Luna are prefects,” she continued, “and Katie was made Quidditch Captain.”
Harry was happy to hear it. He turned to her. She smiled at him. He smiled half-heartily back.
“You got a letter from Professor Lupin.”
Harry expected as much. He was supposed to write often to the Order of the Phoenix, but had not bothered in the past week because he was busy; the letters were supposed to be an assurance of Harry’s safety, and the Order was supposed to think he was kidnapped now.
“But,” she beamed at him, “we have something that will definitely make you feel better! But you have to come back inside.”
He stopped and gave her a look. Anything Parvati thought fun usually did not get the same reaction from Harry.
“Yes! Oh c’mon Harry, it will be fun and besides, you need to get fitted. And we’ve done some really cool adjustments in the past few days.” She grabbed his wrist and turned, dragging him towards the school.
“Lavender thought up this really cool idea,” she babbled as Harry was half-dragged along. “Apparently super heroes use watches to transform, or something, I didn’t understand it, so we thought of using a watch to transform, but then we thought of something even better. You’ll see our hard work, it’s very grand…”
Eventually they entered a large room full long wooden tables, that were covered with all sorts of different materials. Colours and textures littered the room and over the floor, walls and furniture. Harry felt as if he had entered a strange hypnotic rainbow box.
Standing and sitting around chatting and smoking, were all the members of Uniform United: Padma, Lavender, Parkinson and Zabini.
Parvati made a show of waving away cigarette smoke as she walked in. “You guys shouldn’t smoke in here; it’ll stink up the fabrics.”
“Ever heard of magic, alright?” said Zabini haughtily, and took a drag.
“Or perfume?” added Parkinson.
Parvati made a face. “I’ve had enough of your perfume, thank you.”
“So he finally got here,” murmured Padma, gesturing to Harry, who was standing behind Parvati a little awkwardly.
Lavender could not suppress her squeals. “Yay!” she exclaimed, jumping off the table. “This’ll be fun!”
Lavender grabbed his arm and dragged him over to one corner where a blackboard on wheels was propped. “Go behind here, and take off all your clothes.”
Harry blushed. “Pardon?”
“Well,” began Lavender, considering, “you could probably keep your knickers on, if you want.”
“Um, yeah, I think I will.”
Lavender looked a bit disappointed at that. Then Harry went behind the board and started to lift off his jumper. He was doing it slowly, thinking thoughts like, Why am I doing this?
“And then you have to rub this into your skin, everywhere.” Lavender’s delicate hand appeared from the other side of the board, holding a tube of cream. Harry took it, hesitating.
“And hurry up!” ordered Parkinson from somewhere in the room.
Once Harry had removed most of his clothes, he squeezed some of the thick clear cream onto his palm and started to rub it onto his arms and shoulders. It stunk like bog water, and the feeling of it made his skin crawl. “What is this stuff?” he asked.
“Liquid protego,” someone answered politely. Harry detected it was probably from Parvati.
“It feels like…” It was thickening, and he felt as if he was wearing a layer of glue. “It feels like Gladwrap.”
“What’s Gladwrap?” someone asked.
“It’s this plastic stuff my mum uses to wrap food in,” Lavender answered in her high-pitched, squeaky voice. “Okay Harry,” she continued louder, “when you’re done, put these on.” The hand appeared again with a bundle of black leather clothes in its fist. They dropped to the floor.
One item was trousers, which were black, made of thick leather. He put them on, and when he finally did up the zip at the side, they magically shrunk to his size, so they fitted tightly.
“Gah,” said Harry.
“Are you done yet?” Parkinson asked nastily.
“Uh,” Harry picked up the next item, which was a corset made of the same stuff as the trousers, “No - not yet.”
The ribbons were loosely criss-crossed at the back, and Harry slid in on, then adjusted it. It was like wearing a T-shirt with no straps, neckline or sleeves.
He apprehensively came out from behind the board.
“Ohhhh,” Lavender cooed, “you look grand!”
“Come,” Padma beckoned, “and we’ll fix you up.”
He stood in the middle of the room, as the girls surrounded him. Padma fiddled with his trousers, strapping a knife onto his right thigh; Parvati and Zabini went off to fetch something, Lavender had something black in her hands and Parkinson went behind him. She immediately tugged on the ribbons on the corset, hard. Harry gasped.
“It has to be tight and secure,” Parkinson clarified with another forceful tug.
Zabini and Parvati came back, and stood to the side and watched. Lavender was fiddling with something, tying it to his bare left arm.
“We customized all the uniforms for everyone,” she told him softly. “These are three leather straps.” And she buckled the thick straps around his bicep. “You attach things to them - potions, darts, small knives. You should ask Ginny to give you some of her poison throwing razors; she got heaps of them in the last raid.”
“Okay,” Harry mumbled.
Parkinson grabbed a high-collared robe from a hanger. Parvati came over and started to shove on a long, black gauntlet. Lavender did his left arm. “Protection,” said Parvati, “but we weren’t sure about how to design it, as you wield a sword. You won’t be gloved on the fingers, but your palm will be covered. If it doesn’t suit, tell us and we’ll change it.”
They continued to strap them on, and Lavender began softly, “Listen, Harry…” She swallowed. “I’m sorry for this morning.”
“I didn’t mean to hurt your feelings; I just get carried away sometimes.”
He turned to her. She looked very sorry, so he gave her a soft, reassuring smile.
“Ok,” Parvati said as everyone stood back to inspect him, “how does it feel so far?”
The gauntlets went high up to his elbows. He flexed his hands experimentally, pleased at how durable it felt. “Good,” he breathed.
Padma brought up a chair, and Harry sat in it. She kneeled and played with his feet, then pushed up the trousers to his knees.
Zabini came to kneel by his ear, and was fiddling with something.
There were boots beside them, and Padma grabbed his left bare foot and started to shove it on. “Dragonhide. Is very soft, but can stand anything.” She started to buckle it up to mid-calf.
“This’ll hurt,” said Zabini suddenly.
“Wha - OW!” Harry’s right hand flew up to his right ear.
“Told you it would hurt, innit.” She smirked.
Harry looked at his fingers. There was a small smear of blood.
“Don’t let him bleed everywhere,” Parkinson demanded.
“I won’t, alright,” Zabini muttered.
Padma was still working with the boot.
“What did you do?” Harry asked Zabini as he fingered his sore ear. But then he realized: Zabini had pierced his ear in three places with studs. One at the top, one at the side and one on his lobe.
She swatted his hand away, then preceded to wipe his ear with a tissue.
Padma, satisfied with the left fitting, started on the right.
When that was done, Harry was coaxed to stand up. Parkinson came over with a robe and put it on him.
It only had a right sleeve that lengthened down to his hand. The other sleeve was completely cut off, so his shoulder was bare, and he could see the leather straps and the gauntlet. Parkinson fiddled with the collar, doing up the thick silver buckle.
Then Lavender came over with a cloak, beaming at him. “We got your Invisibility cloak, and made some adjustments,” she told him triumphantly.
“What!” Harry stared at her wide-eyed, shocked and very scared for his inheritance.
“Well, standard PL cloaks are used to magically adjust to your body temperature,” she began, “but you had an Invisibility cloak so -“
“What did you do?” Harry demanded.
“We put them both together!” Lavender sung. “So now you have both properties, see.” She held up the cloak, it looked plain, then she presented the other side, with gave off a pretty watery shimmer. “So all you have to do is swap which side you want!”
Harry was still mortified. He exhaled loudly.
Lavender put it on him, clasping it on the thick collar.
Parvati had something large in her hands. She went behind him, and started to strap it onto his right shoulder and his back. She explained to him that it was his sword holder, and the armour on his shoulder allowed him to rest the blade there whenever he wanted. She gave him his sword, and he handled it for a little while before reaching behind him and sliding it into its holder.
“So basically, right,” Zabini explained, “the first earring is your transformation, innit. Pinch either side for three seconds - that should activate your uniform, alright. Pinch it again for three seconds, and you return to wearing the clothes you were wearing before. Pinch it now.”
Harry did. He felt something thick, a magical charge that surged around him and fixed to his uniform.
“The earrings are invisible when you’re not in your normal form, alright,” Zabini continued. “The middle earring loads a sensory mask that lets you see statistics of the things around you, and the other one lets you see in the dark.”
“Are we done yet?” Parkinson whined. She pinched her right ear, and with a shudder, her clothes magically transfigured into her customized uniform. Hers was less modest than Harry’s, with gloves that reached high up her arm, knee-high boots, a short skirt, all trimmed with pink and white lace.
Harry made a face and went to go behind the board. He pinched the earring on his lobe, and then got dressed. When he pressed the earring again, he was back in his uniform.
When he came back around, the others were waiting for him, all dressed in their gear.
Everyone else was in the large hall. When Harry and Uniform United entered, he saw the blue mats, the painted collage on the far wall with everyone’s hands, names and animals on it, and then he realized that everyone was dueling with each other in their uniforms. And they were not just dueling with wands either - some were not using wands at all - but were using their weapons and what appeared to be wandless magic. Hermione and Alicia, Ron and Quan (Harry blushed when he caught his eye), Ernie and Fred, and others were dueling with each other, while some, with their bows and arrows, were getting some target practice at the back.
Malfoy and Nott saw them first. “Well, finally His Majesty has decided to join us,” drawled Malfoy loudly, waving his arms in an extravagant and sarcastic gesture.
He looked very sexy in his tight black leather and thick boots. He had strapped on two extra gloves onto his existing ones, and they were strong and wound tight, with four sliver blades curving sharply from his knuckles. “Everyone shut up and gather round,” he directed to everyone in the room. “No more mucking about, time for something real. Crabbe! Goyle!” he barked, and they walked out when he gave them a look.
Everyone did gather, making a circle around Malfoy and Nott. Malfoy stood more to the side, while Nott stood haughtily in the middle, his fierce eyes scanning the circle, while he spoke in his low, dark voice. “Just because most of you need it,” he said loudly, “I’m going to explain once again, that this is war, and any rules established by any other side in any war are to be broken.” He paced.
“We have our own rules here at Pegasus Lair, and one of them is you must never go soft. We’re here to understand how to fight, how to draw blood, how to withhold any emotion for your enemies. No pity, no justice, nothing. And we have learned how to take which is not ours and to make it ours, to take what we want, whatever we want, whenever we want.”
Hermione and Ron were tense on either side of Harry. All three moved closer together.
“You’re either with us or you’re not,” Nott continued. “All here or not at all, which means you have to give your all to get the right result. So. It’s time to see real brutality, and none of you,” he pointed around, “close your eyes.”
Then he turned and gestured to Malfoy, who moved opposite him a few metres away. Harry was closest to Nott, and from where he stood Harry could see Nott’s naked shoulder and some of his neck and jaw; all of which were, Harry was shocked to see, extremely scarred. It was white and a bit red in places, a splotchy, lumpy surface that seemed to greatly disfigure Nott; very possibly a burn injury.
Nott and Malfoy got into combat positions.
Then they flew at each other. Harry had a glimpse of Nott’s right eye as he ran - his hair fell away from his face a bit - and Harry saw the completely black reflective orb that was his eye.
Then Malfoy was high-kicking Nott from the side, which Nott was blocking, and with a small battle cry Nott back-slapped Malfoy with his right hand. As Nott had the same razored gloves as Malfoy, the blades skinned Malfoy’s jaw, and blood splattered to the floor. Malfoy aimed a punch at Nott’s stomach, but Nott caught his arms, twisted him and pinned his wrists to his lower back, holding him there, both gasping.
Hermione shuddered. “You see that?” demanded Nott to his audience, showcasing Malfoy’s bloodied jaw. “This is only a small part of what all of you will go through. You’re here to rip people apart, gut them, smash them to pieces.”
Malfoy elbowed Nott hard, and as Nott doubled over, Malfoy elbowed him again between the shoulder blades, and Nott grunted. Then he groaned when Malfoy kicked up into his stomach.
When Nott tried to stand up, Malfoy kicked him in the back, and Nott fell on his knees with a grunt. There was a change in the air - everyone was tense yet excited, and Harry see spots of blood on the blue mats. Malfoy grabbed Nott’s hair, forcing him to look up. Nott’s right eye was almost visible through the curtain of his dark brown hair. It glistened while his left eye stared at Malfoy’s closed face darkly.
“This is a great example,” Malfoy said softly, “of how you should never offer your throat to the enemy.” With his free fist, he slowly slid one blade across Nott’s exposed throat.
Then he stood upright, Nott doing the same. With the duel over, people started talking amoungst themselves. Luna ran into the ring, and immediately went to Malfoy, touching his jaw. He flinched away, turning a bit, but Luna insisted, healing his face without a wand, but with her hands.
With the small turn, Harry had a view of Malfoy’s back. There were a few leather straps and the back of his corset covering it, but with some of his bare skin visible, Harry could make out a large tattoo of a dragon.
Its clawed paws gripped Malfoy’s arms just below his shoulders. The wings spread out over his shoulder blades, and its rough-looking snout curled half-way around his neck. The small black beady eyes stared at Harry malevolently.
“The Muggles are here,” Nott growled suddenly. And sure enough, a moment later, Grabbe and Goyle came back, with four others chained together by the wrists like prisoners.
Which they were, because they were the Muggles Quan had suggested using for combat training, was that not what Boot had said? And one of them was Dudley. Harry stared. They were blinking and staring around blindly, completely confused.
Harry stepped up to Nott angrily, who had recovered from his injuries, thanks to Luna. “What do you think you’re doing?” Harry hissed at him.
Calmly he answered, “Wait and see.”
Nott’s clothes were so tight that Harry had nothing to grab onto except for Nott’s hair. So he did, Nott struggled immediately, and it was an effort to hold on just because Nott was so tall, but Harry was very pissed off, and pulled harder just to cause him pain. “Send them back.”
“No.” They were being untied. “You scared?”
Harry stared him in the eye. “Hardly. But this is taking it too far.”
Malfoy came over and attempted to pry them apart. With Malfoy’s hands suddenly on him, Harry felt a bit hotter and weaker, and let go of Nott’s hair.
“I want another fight,” Malfoy told Nott.
“And you’ll get it,” said Nott, as he ran hands through his own hair and down his body.
“I mean,” Malfoy murmured dangerously, “I want to fight. With him.” For a second Harry thought Malfoy was referring to him, but then Malfoy looked past Harry and at Quan.
“Go ahead,” Harry put in hotly, “I have no objections.” He hated Quan now, for the suggestion of forcing Muggles into wizard combat.
Malfoy suddenly looked at him, his expression surprised, before it smoothed over again. “Like I need your permission, Potter,” he sneered.
“Glad to hear it,” Harry shot back. “Hate for you to be weak.”
“Fuck off back to your groupies, Potter, I’m busy.” He directed his attention to Quan. “Hey Chang,” Malfoy shouted across the room, “got anything original to show us or are you still a dirty slut like your sister?”
A few people gasped and, sensing a fight, moved to the side as Quan walked over the Malfoy, his expression thunderous.
He came so close to Malfoy they were nose to nose. Malfoy appeared unfazed. “Got something to say Malfoy?”
“I said,” Malfoy forced at length, “that the skank gene runs in the Chang family. Wouldn’t you agree?”
“You can say whatever you want about me, Malfoy,” Quan bit out, his voice husky with anger, “but don’t you dare say lying shit like that about my sister.”
“Not just a river in Egypt,” Malfoy murmured. Louder, and with a shove, “Get out of my face, Chang.”
Quan punched him in the face. Malfoy countered with an uppercut that ripped Quan’s chest.
Quan was Ron’s trainer in his weapon, which were double blades - shorter than swords, but much longer than daggers. Two menacing blades were strapped to Quan’s upper arms, and to extract them, Quan crossed his arms, grabbed the hilts in each hand, and when he uncrossed his arms, the blades came loose of their straps in a single slicing movement.
And then Malfoy was punching, and Quan was diverting Malfoy’s blades with swipes of his own, then Quan kicked up, Malfoy flew into the air with a grunt.
He landed on his feet, just, and in a split second he shot out his right hand, palm facing outwards, and a silver burst of magic appeared there, growing from his palm and round, glistening yet surrounded by mist.
It shot out in a crystallized blast, Quan crossed his arms to block but it still hit him and he slid backwards a few paces, still on his feet.
With Quan distracted, Malfoy ran at him, then leapt into the air, high, but Quan was ready. He walked under Malfoy, shot his arm up and suddenly there was thunder and lightning in the room, the jagged shards of light hitting Malfoy, who gasped. But Quan was not done. As Malfoy fell, he swiped his blades in a Chinese butterfly move that ripped at Malfoy’s neck, chest and armour. Malfoy hit the floor and slumped to his knees.
Keeping his eyes on Quan as Quan ran at him, he pushed his hand out and up, and when it came down again, razor-sharp icicles were thrown at Quan, and he was hit square on. Quan cried out, small pinpricks of blood ribboning down his face, neck and arms.
Malfoy got up and kicked Quan several times in the chest, each kick deliberate and paced, until Quan fell on his backside. Malfoy standing over him, raised an arm for a final blow -
But he was stopped, as a chain had shot out and had wrapped itself securely around his raised fist and wrist.
On the other end of that chain was Parkinson, looking aloof, but with an obvious excited sparkle in her eye. “I think you’ve made your point, Draco. You’re hogging all the fun for yourself.” The chain untangled from Malfoy and returned to her easily. “Nice Ice Element, by the way,” she added.
He smirked. “They don’t call me the Ice Dragon for nothing.”
Quan got up and Luna went over to heal him.
Someone was clapping. Nott came over to the middle of the circle, looking bored. “Yes yes, very nice. Can we play Kill The Muggle now?”
Parkinson stepped in, gesturing to get everyone’s attention. Most people watched her avidly, hungry for another show. But Hermione was still tense and upset, and Harry was very apprehensive.
“I’m going to demonstrate why wizards are superior to Muggles,” Parkinson explained. “Though why some people don’t believe this truth, I’ll never know.
“Muggles are weak, cannot do magic, rely on strengths given to them and cannot harness outside power.” She made a gesture to the back where Crabbe, Goyle and the Muggles stood, and the two large wizards grabbed the largest Muggle and walked him slowly over. “It’s time to show all of you what this war is really about - us, not them, they are merely obstacles which insist on getting in the way. The Dark Lord’s wish to kill them is an insult to us as a magical people,” here she stopped and sneered, glancing around. “We as a magical race should look down at them as a nuisance, a race not to bother with, as insignificant as the unmagical dog or a cat they insist on keeping as pets.
“But yet the Dark Lord thinks it is worth his time to destroy them all. Do you see the irony?” she hissed. “That by given them such attention, he is making them significant, drawing unneeded attention to them as if they are worth more than their lands we take from them whenever we want, without them so much as noticing a blade of grass out of place.”
“What about the parents who have magical children?” shouted Hermione indignantly. “Is that not worth something?”
Parkinson nodded, smiling menacingly. “Possibly all they’re really worth, but even then, there is a flaw, because Mudbloods tend to have diluted magic in their blood.”
“Shut up, Parkinson,” Harry growled, “or I’ll hit you so hard you won’t know the difference between a wizard and a potato.”
There was a murmur of agreement from many of the crowd, though some were hesitant in their disagreements.
“If you can’t handle the truth, Potter, well…” She waved her hand in a bored, dismissive motion. “This is war, anyway. Let me show you how it’s done.” With that she turned and acknowledged the bulky Muggle in faded clothes, standing near her, looking around in disgust.
He was large, with pulsing tight limbs as wide as his fat head, and muscles so grand Harry suspected he had been pumped with steroids. “Witches,” he hissed.
Pansy Parkinson was only half his height, and she was so slim compared to him it appeared as if all No-Name had to do was grab her waist in his fist and snap her in half.
No-Name growled loudly as he inhaled and exhaled. “Sinful,” he grumbled, “witches!”
Harry held onto Hermione’s hand and squeezed.
Parkinson lifted her arms up to the side and chains shot out from her wrists. She started flicking them around in unsynchronized circles, like whips.
She threw out and started to whip the Muggle with the sharp silver chains, hitting him and leaving welts, as he grunted in pain.
He threw his arms in front and let and outraged cry, stomping blindly towards her. She withdrew her whipping, and instead aimed both the whips at his thick neck. They circled him instantly, and he choked, grabbing the chains, pulled at them, which jogged Parkinson, though she stayed on her feet.
“THAT’S ENOUGH!” Harry shouted. He stepped forward, dragging Hermione with him. She yelped at his hard grip. “You’re going to choke him!” he added.
“Stay back,” Parkinson gasped as No-Name stumbled around, dragging her with him.
Suddenly she jumped up and lessoned the chains, landing on the Muggle’s stomach, digging her boots into hard muscle. Now her whole body was standing horizontally parallel to the floor; the chains holding her to the wall which was the Muggle, and her feet digging into flesh. She was breathing fast and loud, her eyes squinting as if she was concentrating really hard. All her muscles were taut.
“Anytime this week would be good,” Malfoy pushed her.
“Alright.” Her whining voice was rough due to lack of breath. She let go of the left chain, putting a lot of strain on the right one. She shook her left wrist and her wand slid from another compartment in her glove, and she grabbed it as it slid into her palm.
And then there was blue magical energy circling her fists, sharp, jagged-like energy that snaked its way around the one chain and down. She took a deep breath and murmured an incantation: “Petrificus elemental.”
The slow lightning energy hit at the same time as the spell and together, Harry knew, they had fused to make an altogether stronger spell.
The Muggle froze, erect, stagnant like a stone statue, with crackling energy buzzing around him. He fell backwards with a loud thump that shook the room, Parkinson landing feet first atop him.
She withdrew her chains easily and stepped off, looking grim.
Nott and Malfoy went up to her. “Your Joint Element was delayed,” Malfoy told her scornfully, “and you took too long establishing your position. You could have really choked him to death.”
Parkinson lowered her head sadly.
“But,” Nott announced loudly so everyone could hear, “it was under two minutes, which goes to show even the unpracticed can defeat the strongest Muggles quickly.”
Ron turned away. “I think I’ve had enough,” he muttered darkly.
“It’s lunchtime anyway,” Seamus put in from nearby. “Thank God; I’m starving!”
“Who can eat after that?” asked Hermione rhetorically.
Harry watched Malfoy out the corner of his eye, and felt as if the worst was yet to come.
“Holding people hostage for the Blood Charm was one thing,” Harry said to Cho after lunch, “but that’s where I draw the line.”
“Well, if that’s how you feel,” she replied softly.
They were dueling with their swords. Cho was assigned to educate Harry with sword fighting techniques, and they often stopped so Cho could direct him properly, demonstrating, holding his hand and guiding the slicing through the air.
“It’s refreshing though,” she added as she stepped back. “This is often a good starting position, like this.”
Harry tried to copy her. “What do you mean?”
“Well,” she crouched a little, bending her knees, ready to spring, “it’s refreshing to have someone like you around here. You’re the only person who hasn’t seen the worst of it.”
Harry straightened and narrowed his eyes. “Haven’t seen the worst of it? Are you kidding? I’ve seen two of my friends murdered in the last two years!”
“Yes but - concentrate Harry - you haven’t been to any of our raids; haven’t seen Hogsmeade ruined or Diagon Alley fall down before your very eyes.” She shook her head miserably and straightened as well. “Your parents didn’t come home to tell you their office was burnt down, or hear that your uncle has gone missing…”
She sighed. “So,” she continued, glancing away, “everyone here has seen something that they want to fix, you know? It’s like, they’d give up anything to get our world back.”
Her brother may have thought up a good plan, but Harry still did not agree with it, regardless of what Quan had seen.
Harry nodded. “But for a month I was isolated, and didn’t see any of it.”
Cho bit her lip. “Yeah.”
Harry turned around. Artemis Moon, the extremely tall girl with that strange, deep monotone voice was standing a little ways off.
“Occlumency.” She had always said very little, and her expression never changed from the blank stare she kept.
Harry turned back around. “I’m busy.”
“Now,” said Moon, and Harry heard her walk away.
There was a pause and then, “Harry, you should go with her.”
He clenched his jaw, not wanted to leave his lesson with Cho, because it meant he would have to attend an extremely stressful magical session.
Finding no real excuse to stay, he reluctantly followed Moon, until she went into an empty classroom.
Moon shut the door behind Harry, and faced him. She had long, straight silver hair down to her hips, with a fringe. She was about the same build as her best friend Nott - very tall and very skinny, and a severance about her that mirrored Nott too. Her face was very pale, but in a harsh, firm way that was not delicate, and allowed no real expression to form except for perhaps the smallest of subtleties.
There was a silver-white kitten on her shoulder, and she picked it up and dropped it to the floor. Then she slowly parted her pink lips.
Her amber eyes burned into his. “I was told you were taught in the art of Occlumency and that you practice it by yourself often.” Her mouth had barely moved as she spoke.
Harry nodded, wary.
“Good.” Her arm came up and she pointed a finger at him. “Legilimens.”
Surprise hit Harry and he flicked out his wand and cast Protego as quick as he could. The spell still got through, however, and he was suddenly stunned by the flood of memories. There was the one with Aunt Marge’s bull dog, chasing him, and then there was the memory of him and Hermione flying to Sirius’s window on Buckbeak’s back. Then there was one where Dudley had locked Harry outside the house and it was a few hours before Aunt Petunia let him back inside. There were a few other images from his childhood, flicking one after the other like a slide screen.
When his vision cleared, he got up off the floor. Moon was still staring, and Harry got the feeling she was disappointed.
“They told me you had trained before,” she said.
“Either Snape was lazy or you are just bad at this branch of magic.”
“He hates me.”
She said nothing at this. Then she pointed her finger at him again. “Legilimens.”
He was prepared this time, but it still hit him. These memories were of Sirius; their arguments, mostly, and then there was the Veil, with its black curtains flowing coldly.
Harry pulled himself out quickly, and got onto his feet. He flushed a little bit, because he knew she could see the images.
Something in her expression had changed. Her face and stance had not moved, but a second later Harry noticed that her eyes were moving, just a little bit, in the smallest of movements. She was thinking.
Finally she said, “No more wands.”
He blinked. “What?”
“You’re relying on a protection spell to shield you, but at the same time it fogs your concentration. Put your wand away.”
He did, reluctantly. They stared at each other.
“Think of something solid,” she instructed, “that you know can shield you from anything. Like a brick wall or a thick fog. Now make that a symbol of great mental strength that can protect you from any intruders.”
Harry thought about it. He thought about the thick bricks that made up the Hogwarts castle, and knew that those walls protected him, so he imagined one side of the Great Hall.
The wall threw itself up in his mind. It vibrated and grated as her spell hit it, trying to get through. Then suddenly it stopped. The wall, exhausted, faded.
He looked up at her curiously. “Did you learn to do wandless Legilimency this way?”
“No,” she said instantly, unmoved by the question. “I’m a Psych Element specialist; I was born with the power. Legilimens.”
It hit him again and he blocked it, but it was exhausting work. So when she cast it again, the wall crumbled in his mind and she was able to extract his memories.
And they were very personal.
Sirius, and their love making, flashed in his mind and he hated to see it, and hated that she was seeing it. There was bare flesh and the feeling of it, and somewhere under it all he could smell it too.
His heart quenched and beat faster, and a magic from inside swelled and pumped through his blood, and out, thrusting itself right at Moon.
It got to her, and then it was her memories he was seeing.
They came and went quickly, but they were painful to watch regardless of the speed.
First there was an image of a small girl in a white robe, struggling, and held by the strong hands of many men as her wrist was cut. They drained the blood into a vial. Then it went to the memory of an older Artemis Moon, who entered a house and pointed her wand at an old man sitting in his armchair. He was killed before he could exclaim a protest. It was her again in the next memory, bowing down to Voldemort’s feet and kissing the hem of his dirt sodden robes. But the last memory was the worst of all.
She was a little girl this time, very small, topless. She struggled and cried while being forced down onto her stomach on a stone altar by men. And there, protruding from her shoulder blades were two grey feathered wings. There was the glint of silver, then they were sliced off, blood running over her back and shoulders.
Darkness filled Harry’s mind. When he came to he was lying on his back on the floor. He got up and stared at her. She stared back nonchalantly, as if Harry had seen nothing of her memories at all.
“You had wings,” Harry croaked stupidly.
“How? I mean - why?”
“I’m a Halfblood. It matters little.” She suddenly stooped and picked up her kitten, who had been scratching around the room all throughout the time they were there. It meowed. “Diana and I shall leave now.” She turned. “Same time tomorrow.”
When the door opened Malfoy was standing there. Moon passed him and disappeared.
“Well, how was it?” Malfoy’s smug smile made his usually sharp cheekbones a little softer. A strand of silver hair had fallen and it curled into one of his grey eyes.
Harry smoothed down his robe with sweaty palms. “Fine. Listen,” he came up to Malfoy, “she said she was a Halfblood. What is she, exactly?”
Malfoy clicked his tongue and walking out the room, Harry following. They walked down the corridor, Harry’s eyes watching Malfoy’s guarded profile. “She’s half harpy, half witch.”
“And her wings are part of her harpy side?”
Malfoy’s eyes darted to Harry then back in front again. “They were cut off when she was young so nobody would know that Celeste Moon isn’t her real father.”
Harry thought about his dream he had had that morning. “But Voldemort knows, doesn’t he?”
“Anyone who has studied the culture of harpies can tell she is one, even without the wings.” He sniggered and looked at Harry. “Honestly Potter, just look at her eyes.”
The inhuman amber. But there were plenty of wizards and witches with strange physical traits; did that mean they had magical creature DNA in them?
“Her mother was raped,” Malfoy continued, “by a royal harpy. Then Moon came along and married her, even though she was pregnant. He thought he could protect them by joining the Death Eaters but,” Malfoy looked away, “Artemis is in too deep for him to pull her out.”
Harry stopped and turned to Malfoy, his eyes wide. It was not that he particularly cared for the girl, but Malfoy seemed almost in the mood to talk. “What do you mean?”
Harry put his hands on Malfoy’s shoulders and turned him. “C’mon, Malfoy.”
Malfoy grabbed one of Harry’s hands from his own shoulder and linked their fingers. “She’ll be alright; she’ll just be taken to a Sector to live.”
But Malfoy had brought up his other hand, and his index finger was placed on Harry’s lips to silence him. “Why don’t you,” Malfoy murmured as he trailed his finger down over Harry’s chin and neck, moving his face in close, “stop worrying about everyone else,” the finger was trailing down his chest and Harry felt himself flush, “and just concentrate on saving the world, hmm, Gryffindor?”
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