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  1. #1
    ` dragon dance Ehres's Avatar
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    Default CHIMAERA (Harry Potter) [CHAPTER 6 OUT NOW!]

    CHIMAERA
    a Harry Potter fanfiction

    "Maybe he could change Sirius's fate once again." Harry thinks a time-turner will bring his godfather back but things go horribly wrong; he looks down and wonders why he is sporting green and silver house colours. No pairings, mature. Multi-chapter.

    --x--

    Content warning for language, themes, etc. Any mention of the word "fuck" has been replaced by the forums' "bonk" or "kupo" as you will have realised by now. (Apologies in advance for bypassing the forum filter; I needed to do so to make my point. Thanks.)

    I'll update this as I go along, but if I forget, visit my FF.Net page to read further chapters of the story. You'll also find my other work on there, too.

    Shout-out to my boy Steve, Lucius Malfoy Appreciator.

    Last edited by Ehres; August 1, 2012 at 04:39 PM.

  2. #2
    ` dragon dance Ehres's Avatar
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    Default Re: CHIMAERA (a Harry Potter fanfic)

    i: as soldiers we fell

    --x--

    The laugh lines in Sirius's face were still deep. He wore his schoolboy grin as Bellatrix's curse hit him squarely in the chest.

    The world around Harry froze: he watched Sirius look down at himself. Flashes of bright light and snarls of tornados of darkness stopped whirling around him; the Aurors and Hogwarts children stopped along with the haggard-looking Death Eaters to see Sirius fall. From the corner of his eye Harry saw someone moving—but nothing commanded his attention more than the sorry look in Sirius's eyes.

    Harry's heart went still as the man stumbled and fell backwards into the veil with glassy eyes.

    Then his thoughts kicked in double-time and he heard himself screaming, the force of it almost like vomit in his throat as he threw himself forwards to stick his hand into the veil and perhaps pull Sirius back out—he'd saved him once before, back with the dementors at the lake; he could do it again, all it took was a happy thought, a, "Expecto Patronum!"

    His fingers grazed the arch's rough surface and the air went out of him as a pair of strong arms yanked him back. He fought against the iron lock and continued to scream, his voice high and rasping in his throat; tears stung at the corner of his eyes and his glasses became useless. Everything around him was silent for the longest time—and then Bellatrix laughed.

    A cold, girlish, insane cackle: and it was like a scream. The horrible screeching scraped at the inside of Harry's ears and head and as if he'd been triggered he slammed himself out of the iron grip and almost fell over as he charged after her.

    She was already running.

    Her curly black hair flew out behind her like a funeral veil, and her hand-sewn bodice like a casket that Harry wanted to bury her in—so small and compact that she'd bleed on the inside and scream and never have the peace of falling behind a veil.

    "I killed Sirius Black, I killed Sirius Black!"

    Her manic screams pounded the walls of Harry's head and made his scar tingle, only worsened by the wide open space of the Ministry lobby. She skipped over the fountain, splashing water all over herself like a child, and then hopped out the other side and skidded in her big black boots over the slick black floor. Her laugh grew higher as she struggled to find her balance but she ran like Devil's Snare from sunlight and shot for the nearest fireplace that wasn't locked.

    Stop, Harry thought, come back here and finish me too!

    His wand was gripped tight in his hand like a knife and he raised it above his head like he could plunge it down into her black veins and slash all the life out of her; as she ran she looked like the reaper, her ugly black clothes and gnashing teeth and wicked eyes and evil magic no better than any killer. No proper spell came to Harry's mind as he pointed his wand at her back: but the one he screamed out made the woman stop and turn and cackle even louder as she saw the faint wisps of a stag billow out into cold air.

    "Expecto—Expect…"

    "A patronus, 'Arry?" Bellatrix's eyes were crazed as she clasped at her breast and teased her chest with the end of her wand. "Think of the 'appiest times you 'ad with your dearest Sirius! Come on, think!"

    Vomit coursed up Harry's throat and he almost curled over and let his body do the talking, but he gritted his teeth and pointed his wand straight at her. Now a spell came to mind, one he really wanted to use and throw back in her ugly, dirty face, but the words wouldn't come out of his mouth: instead of the bright flash of green light—the exact shade of his mother's eyes—there was a whimper of air as a spell finally snaked out from behind his teeth.

    "Crucio!"

    Its invisible rope seemed to strike Bellatrix right over the heart, and she fell to the floor and screamed, still that gleeful look in her eyes. Harry withdrew his wand, fire coursing through his body like his own blood, and as her breast heaved the fire grew and he could feel it consuming him from the inside. He lashed out with the torture spell out again, this time screaming at her, and she gave a heart-stopping shriek and writhed around like a worm being stamped on. Her wand skittered off to the side, filthy fingernails clawing at the floor, her laughter now beset with her pain.

    Harry's face cracked into a grin and he released his hold on her, only to let her breathe for a second before he cut at her face with a slashing spell.

    Blood began pouring everywhere. There were three deep gashes right across her face to match Lupin's—she could take Greyback's payback for him, and she could be even uglier and even more unwanted and uncared for until the end of her sorry life. She could run back to Voldemort and have him lick at her wounds and then serve him until he found no further use for her and then she could die in her own blood and filth like the soul-sucking scum she was.

    Behind the anger raging inside his brain Harry saw that he had cut her deep into her cheekbone. She was covering herself with her hands now, quite scared but not trembling, and she was feeling for her wand with her feet. The stick was long, dark and twisted like Bellatrix herself, and Harry was about to set it on fire when a sudden sick feeling overcame him.

    It was quite like fire cusped inside ice and it trickled through him like hot, scalding water from the top of his head right to his toes. The fury and fire in his veins was gone, his blood replaced by the hissing of snake tongues, evil and forgotten Parseltongue words. His heart was so stunted and repulsed by it that it seemed to try and jump out of his chest, and Harry, suffering, stumbled to the floor and dropped his wand.

    Sickness enveloped him, and then headache and earache: cold wind whistled through his ears and into his brain and it made him dizzy, made him feel like he was going to bend over and wretch his guts out on the Ministry floor. But it wasn't vomit or dizziness that floored him; it was the words themselves, spoken as if Nagini had gotten her horrible fangs in his ear and was sticking her disgusting tongue inside his brain.

    "Saasa-sasheethhh—" Harry's brain quickly translated "—Go on, Harry, you know the words… She killed your only family—she took Sirius away from you…"

    It was obvious to Harry who it was talking to him—but somehow he didn't care. He wasn't terrified as he had been last year with Cedric in the graveyard. This was different: this was the only reminder of his parents and now that effigy was gone. He found peace in Sirius, in writing to him and talking to him at Christmastime; he enjoyed cleaning Grimmauld Place of doxies at his godfather's side; he enjoyed cooking and eating with him, and most of all he enjoyed listening to tales about his parents during their time at Hogwarts. Sirius had been Harry's automatic go-to, his confidant, his beacon in dark times.

    Now that was gone and there was no family left for him.

    Harry gave a great sob and scrabbled for his wand; when his shaking fingers found it, he pointed it at Bellatrix. She was the only point in his world now. Everything else swirled around her in sickening blacks and greens.

    "Go on, do it—feel the rage, Harry, let it out on her. Say it, use it…" His hand was shaking as his chest heaved. "Let me guide you, Harry… Say it… Avada… Avada…" Harry's eyebrows came together and he aimed for Bellatrix's chest. Sirius would've laughed at the irony. Sirius would've goaded him on.

    "Av…" Harry panted. Bellatrix saw his struggle and his pain; it fanned her amusement and she showed her ugly rotting teeth as she cackled. She was challenging Harry—challenging him to kill her because she was a bonking psychopath. But Sirius would encourage Harry, right his aim for him, help him pronounce the Latin of the spell more accurately.

    "Avada…" A wispy green snake floated from the end of his wand but dissipated quickly. This one hissed as well; Sirius would've asked him what it was saying.

    "Avada…" But it made Harry no better than Bellatrix, and Sirius would never have killed in anybody's name. He would never have sullied honour for the sake of revenge. He was a better man—Azkaban had taught him that.

    "Avada… Kedav…"

    "No."

    Harry lowered his wand, and then there was a roar of fury and a great mass of noxious gas larger than those of the Death Eaters materialised between him and Bellatrix. Harry braced himself; he knew who this was. Time to face him again. Time to die again.

    Time to live for Sirius.

    Bellatrix crowed wildly. Her tongue wagged between her teeth and—getting to her feet just as Harry did—she pressed her ugly gown as if to present herself for someone of high importance. Harry felt bile rise in his throat as she almost curtseyed as a tall figure stepped from the gas.

    Yes, he still looked the same: same flat, noseless face; same slate-coloured eyes devoid of anything but hatred; same pallid, waxy skin with a network of veins like a roadmap viewed from overhead. He drifted forwards, almost gliding in that black shawl of his, and twisted his arm around in a strange circle with his clawed ivory wand lodged between his long, nailed fingers.

    "Harry."

    Pain exploded in Harry's forehead and he crippled under its force; the floor winded him as he hit it, and his wand almost skittered away but he kept it tight to himself at the last second, hugging it like a lifebelt. It went through him like waves, the agony, washing over the desolate shore of hope. The buoy that was Sirius was gone: no light, no guidance—Harry was left utterly alone. And there were two psychopaths before him who would kill him in a heartbeat. One of them had already tried four times.

    He lurched to the side, instinct kicking in, and jumped to his feet to make for the nearest point of cover: a pillar sticking out from the wall. Harry slammed against it, heart thudding rapidly, and he felt the whisper of a green lasso just miss the drawstrings of his cardigan by the fraction of an inch. Sucking in a deep breath, Harry darted his head around the corner and shot out with a, "Expelliarmus!" The red cord of his spell collided with another green thread, locking Harry and Voldemort's wands together; Harry felt the jet veering to the right and he pulled it back towards the centre so as not to be disarmed by Voldemort for a split second, in which Voldemort would be able to jab at him with more killing curses.

    Bellatrix, on the other hand, was hooting with laughter yet Harry didn't dare watch her as she scampered away, her Victorian boots going clicker-clack, clicker-clack, clicker-clack as she went; Voldemort would make use of his moment of distraction and finish him off, and even Harry with his hot-headedness and pain of Sirius's death knew that it was not the right time to go after her purely because it was not yet the time to die.

    "Should've killed her, Harry," Voldemort mocked, "should've gotten your revenge!" Bellatrix laughed with her girlish scream once more like punctuation to Voldemort's sentences. It made Harry's blood boil because he knew it was a game—and the worst insult was that they knew he knew it was a game. Harry wasn't here to play games; Harry was here to get a look at that prophecy. He'd done that. And Voldemort had come—using Sirius's death and Harry's chase as context—and now there was this.

    Harry didn't know if he was going to win, but he had to say something. Anger parted his lips and made a hiss out of his words: "I'm not a killer like you, Riddle—" Voldemort pulled an ugly face "—I don't kill because I can."

    Voldemort went to raise the beam up into the air but Harry yanked it back down. This was turning into banter now, but Harry was well on his guard: Voldemort was as unpredictable as a lightning strike. It didn't surprise him when he barked a laugh.

    "Evil is a point of view," he said simply, and then knocked the spells into the air where they fizzled out violently; Harry was twisted by the force of it and in his openness he realised that he was completely vulnerable. Yet he couldn't stop himself from stumbling and he rolled to the floor and went to cast a poorly-aimed, "Protego!" when something hit Voldemort from the side and sent him flying backwards.

    Harry heard Bellatrix gasp atop his own thudding heart; and then Voldemort reformed with a yell, using his black smoke to cushion the collision with a nearby wall. Harry blinked wildly, not seeing much behind his skewwhiff glasses—but then there was a tall, blurry frame in shades of blue and white and it had an arm outstretched. His stomach flipped, wondering what on Earth was going on, and went to scramble to his feet to hide when he was pushed back down behind the pillar. His eyes swerved to Bellatrix's face for a split second and he saw a horrified look there; then she disappeared into the green flames behind the gate with a smug smirk and Harry's chances at revenge were gone.

    It wounded him more than it should have given his new predicament, sent weak tremors through him like little crackles of lightning, disabled him for a moment—and then Harry sucked in a razor-sharp breath and twisted his head to see Dumbledore—where had he come from? How could he have possibly known where they were?—advancing on a snarling Voldemort. Both had their wands pointed at one another, formalities gone. Dumbledore mustn't have given Voldemort the usual niceties, must've been because of his attack on Harry.

    He was on the defensive, never quite striking with his spells. Whether it was because he didn't have it in his heart to lash out, Harry didn't know—or perhaps it was because Dumbledore too knew the prophecy. Perhaps he wasn't going to waste his time when the prophecy clearly stated that Voldemort had to be killed by Harry himself. This must've been an attempt at fending him off but no matter what it was Dumbledore was doing rather well. He had a great shield around him as Voldemort sent out a round of Fiendfyre in the form of a terrible snake; then he replaced the shield with a quick whip of his wand, and water rose from the fountain through which Bellatrix had splashed, and doused the flames.

    He twisted his hand as Voldemort faltered and made a choking noise; the water swilled around like a whirlpool, twisting over the ground and rising into the air like a galaxy; it became a sphere as Dumbledore threw it at Voldemort, and Voldemort was caught by it. He disappeared into the black waves.

    Harry watched with baited breath as Dumbledore guided the ball around the room, containing the Dark Lord. Maybe the intention was to drown him—could Voldemort even drown?—or to simply make him dizzy. His face kept appearing at the surface and his cheeks were puffed on either side of his snake nostrils like he'd taken in a sudden breath of air to save himself. But something twitched in Dumbledore's hand and the spell broke and Voldemort went crashing to the floor for a moment before he righted himself. The water washed over the area, collected back into the fountain as Dumbledore struggled with something unseen—and Harry's heart almost stopped.

    Voldemort was sucking in a great breath of air it seemed, his shining eyes trained on Dumbledore. It was almost as if he saw the headmaster as Harry's armour or great wall of defence with the way his glare seemed to burn around the old man's form; and then he yelled and released a blast of black energy which rippled through the air like a sailing knife, and Harry and Dumbledore went crashing back.

    "Professor!" Harry heard the old man's back give a nasty crack against the black tile of the wall, and instantly he went rushing forwards to help him up. The professor took his help for a few seconds before shoving him back around the corner just as the glass of thousands of cases stacked up against the wall smashed and went flying to the floor. Dumbledore cast a shield spell to avoid splinters, but he was distracted as Voldemort hissed through his split tongue and held his hands above the air to summon up the shattered glass.

    A feeling of dread rushed through Harry as he realised that all the bits of glass were joining together form great, thick ropes above Voldemort's head: how to save Dumbledore, Dumbledore who was extremely important in everything, went through his mind. But he couldn't think of a single way and reverted in his panic to jumping to his feet once more to knock the old man out of the way when the ropes of glass turned into a spear and went careering towards them.

    Dumbledore made a noise of struggle, and then a great white wall went up around the both of them as soon as the glass went to slice through them; it turned into a snowy powder and Harry could only marvel as it collected in thick heaps on the floor. It was like light magic against evil magic, if such a thing as good magic even existed.

    Voldemort's face fell. And then he screamed and rushed forwards and Harry made a sound like a trapped animal and skittered to the side to see Dumbledore's blackened hand smack forwards to hit the other man across the face and send him bouncing to the floor. As Voldemort collided with the ground he sent out another green jet, this time intended to arrow into Dumbledore's chest, but missed from the turmoil of the slap.

    There was the stink of burning hair; Harry looked to see several strands of Dumbledore's great white beard sizzling ominously. He'd been that close to losing his head teacher.

    As Voldemort righted himself, Dumbledore circled his wand above his head to form a white wall of protection—stronger than the one previous—just as Voldemort vaulted out with a crack of golden lightning. "Oof!" went the old man as it sizzled angrily through his defences: he recoiled with his own strike of lightning intended to catch Voldemort as he danced backwards. When he missed, his face became grave with resolve and he muttered something inaudibly to himself. Harry watched in absolute awe as another lick of lightning erupted from his knobbly wand and twisted high into the sky to take the form of a great, screeching phoenix.

    The noise was like poison to Voldemort's ears. He gasped inwardly sharply like he'd been hit in the stomach quite hard; and then he raised his hands to block out the noise, but the bird was descending on him with wicked eyes and he had to send up a black shroud of smoke to defend himself. The phoenix blasted through it yet fizzled away as it went to zap at Voldemort's skin. The effect was like a meteor zipping through Earth's atmosphere.

    And it occurred to Harry that he was utterly useless: here were the two most powerful, revered wizards in the entire world, and Harry was cowering in the corner as his other friends and comrades were attacked.

    He was useless. That was how Sirius had died. If he carried on, this was how Dumbledore would die. The realisation and sting of loss burned at the edges of the great hole in his heart and was so painful it was almost physical. His throat tightened, choking. He couldn't breathe; he knew he was going to cry, and he had to leave and do something.

    He zipped to his feet quickly, behind the pillar out of Voldemort's sight, and pressed his eyes shut as he thought of something—of anything. Dumbledore could hold his own for a long while, but he wasn't sure if Voldemort's recklessness would stay at bay for much longer. He had to run and find the others and strike down the Death Eaters with them; then they could come to Dumbledore's aid and defeat Voldemort once and for all.

    His parents could be avenged, and so could Sirius. So could the entire Potter family; so would the entire wizarding world.

    Harry gritted his teeth and broke out into a sprint. Voldemort did not seem to notice him at first but then he bellowed from a place deep in his chest, and sent another green javelin towards him. It missed, such was his anger and instability, and Harry's heart picked up double-time as he went vaulting through the arches that walled the lobby. Voldemort went to turn, but Dumbledore had conjured another phoenix—this time out of ice—and was sending it swooning down on the Dark Lord's pale head; he turned, threw up yet another defence, but was distracted long enough by Dumbledore's sudden rise in onslaught that Harry careened straight back down the corridor whence he'd come.

    Noises of Dumbledore's fight faded and were replaced by high-pitched yelps and gruelling laughter. There were expletives here and there—an extreme one from Ron in particular as he missed a, "Stupefy!"—which covered Harry's pounding footsteps. He paused on the lip of the room, not daring to look inside. He knew his eyes would be drawn to that terrible arch in the middle and there was a more important mission on hand: saving Dumbledore.

    He bent over to catch his breath; stitches cracked through his ribs—inhaling was painful because it seemed like he'd splintered a bone or strained a muscle—and yet he could go on purely because he had to. A few seconds passed to allow himself to steady himself on his feet, and then he poked his head around the corner and saw Lucius Malfoy's savage face merely inches from his own. Almost instinctively Harry pulled his fist back to lay a sickening punch into the man's face, and glee overcame him when Malfoy cried out and clutched at his beaky nose to stop the waterfall of blood.

    That was one for Sirius.

    And again his heart swelled and his mind went numb. He just had to act. Had to get Dumbledore out. That was the main priority—

    "Bonk!"

    Harry swerved around to see Ginny's collarbone gashed wide open by a, "Diffindo!" from a Death Eater whose mask had fallen off. Harry recognised the stocky build and the stupid yet vagrant expression that reminded him of a caveman: thick black curls were like those of Goyle. Harry advanced on him as he raised his hand to send another spell Ginny's way, and just as Goyle had been about to hiss, "Crucio!" the words exploded behind Harry's lips instead and Goyle went toppling to the ground.

    "Crucio!"

    This one was much more powerful than the one he'd cast at Bellatrix—it seemed to overcome Goyle's whole body like a tidal wave, and Harry imagined him choking on water. Goyle reached for his throat, sucking in air like a fish because he couldn't breathe, and then Harry twisted that image around to force the pain of mutilation of the fingers through Goyle's hands.

    "No, please—!"

    But Harry couldn't stop. Behind Goyle's convulsing form he could see the outline of the veil. It spurred him on further, made tears sting at the corners of his eyes as he blasted that energy into the Death Eater's body. Sirius wouldn't have stood for this normally but Sirius wasn't here now—and wouldn't Sirius have turned to these extreme spells to protect others just as Harry was doing for Ginny now?

    And Ginny, she really needed some Essence of Dittany. Hermione should have some; Hermione had all the answers…

    But Hermione could not construct a spell or a device to reach beyond the filmy veil and bring Sirius back to him. For that Harry almost hated her, but it was no use. This was the way of magic. Dumbledore would've told him that death was a beautiful end to everything. Dumbledore wouldn't have realised that death was the constant plague Harry carried around with him.

    Everyone around him died. What had Sirius been but another addition to that list?

    Even if Dumbledore were saved, Harry would still be alone. Harry would find the most peace with Neville, and even then Neville could visit his parents at the hospital and take flowers to them. Maybe he'd accompany Harry to leave a handful of those same flowers at the grave. They could grow old together as friends and now Harry wasn't thinking straight because the agony of it all was too much.

    He sent another volley of torture curses Goyle's way, angry and frustrated and hurt—bonk you, Goyle, bonk you and bonk your son and bonk every one of these Death Eaters, bonk all of them and bonk Voldemort—and grinned with twisted satisfaction as the man cried out as his jaw came loose. He clasped onto himself, free from Harry's tormenting for a minute, and let out a wail of agony before crashing to the floor.

    Roll around all you like, Harry thought, still won't bring Sirius back.

    He looked up from the screaming figure, and in the centre of his vision stood the arch. The filmy veil flapped weakly, stirred by no apparent air, and taunted him. And yet it was innocent and childlike, a sort of supernatural Stonehenge that the Druids had forgotten to put away for safety.

    Or maybe the Ministry had placed it here. Perhaps this room was a place where people went to die.

    He was walking forwards without realising it. He stumbled rather weakly, not caring that Death Eaters around him were suffering from all sorts of wounds, and then stood before the thing for what seemed like hours. It became a focal point. The people around it were meaningless; almost like The Scream, this piece of history, ugly but beautiful. A magical Van Gogh.

    Suppose he could reach Sirius like reaching to pick up the telephone. Suppose he could dip his hand inside and part the ghostly cloth fluttering there to find Sirius's hand outstretched and ready to be pulled back. It didn't seem like such a bad idea. It wasn't that impossible, was it?

    Harry.

    Sirius's voice whispering like Parseltongue. A breath to push out the first syllable, a rounding of the lips to sound out the second.

    Harry. Simple. Ha-rry.

    The ghostlike quality to it astounded him. Change was quick, wasn't it? Hadn't even been a full fifteen minutes and already Sirius seemed to be decomposing into a shell on the other side. Maybe it was a white shell made up out of twisting words to fit the spiritual realm beyond.

    And if Harry pulled Sirius back through, surely he'd adapt to the material plain and get his body back? The worst that could happen was that he'd end up like Professor Binns, which wasn't that bad at all if you thought about it—

    No. Stay.

    Stay where? Harry thought.

    There, it replied.

    But is there nothing, he thought quickly, is there really nothing? I can put my hand through and I'll grab onto you and then I'll pull you back here with me and Ron and Hermione and your good friend Lupin—Dumbledore's back there and he's struggling with Voldemort. We could use your firework spells, Sirius, to kill him off once and for all. You know all those flashy spells, we could work together and finish him—

    No.

    Harry's heart swelled up. His brows knitted together. He turned away. Didn't want to hear anymore. Had to get back to the main mission which he told himself he'd prioritise—and yet it stung, this truth. He wanted to drop down and curl into a corner and cry. Really, painfully cry until he was so exhausted he fell into a dreamless sleep.

    But people were dying around him and if Dumbledore fell then Voldemort would win, and nobody would stand any chance at all. Harry had to concentrate on that and push the irrelevant things behind him. They could be dealt with later, like errors on an important paper. He would try to correct them when things were safe.

    He turned around to see Tonks stumbling backwards into the wall with a large, beefy Death Eater advancing on her. She was in some kind of pain, as it was written on her face, but her drawn brows and hard eyes showed absolute determination and with lightning-quick movements she swatted the predator in the fact with a, "Impedimenta!" which sent him twirling backwards like a limp ballerina performing a scissor-kick in the air. Harry was about to grin, but then her eyes met his and they rolled up to reveal the whites as she slumped down to the floor.

    Harry yelled out a, "No!"; Lupin whipped around, was hit squarely in the chest by a disarming spell and smashed his head on the floor as his wand skittered away. And here was Harry, trapped, with only Kingsley Shacklebolt the remaining adult and a group of his poorly-trained Hogwarts friends as an army. He twisted around, thinking of the attacks and defences he'd taught his friends during the DA sessions and yet coming up with nothing, nothing

    "Finite Incantatem!" The spell erupted stupidly from his mouth and his wand at the same time, and a Death Eater somewhere laughed, and Luna gave him a funny look before she made a moaning sound as she was gutted by a tall woman's fist, and Harry stared at her, too—and he seemed to be doing nothing right.

    Kingsley looked at him with grave eyes, twirling his wand quietly and sending his attacker smashing into the wall. Harry had disarmed two of the Death Eaters, Tonks one as had Kingsley, and Bellatrix had escaped—but there were six more Death Eaters, one for Ginny, Ron, Hermione, Neville and Kingsley—and then the dazed Luna and the injured Lupin, and the dying Tonks—and Harry turned again, battles recommencing, and he wished he could summon Fawkes to drip his tears onto the injured.

    Even the sword of Gryffindor would have done at this point, but all Harry had was his lousy magic. Nothing else to protect himself or the others with, just a handful of lousy, mismatched spells: Point Me, Lumos Maxima, Prior Incantato, Avifors, Waddiwasi…

    Harry saw Lupin raise his bloody head, the Death Eater raise his wand, and then from his lips the first spell that came to mind, "Tarantallegra!" and then he watched with absolute relief as the Death Eaters's legs began to jerk about uncontrollably, knocking to him onto his side, at which point Harry cried, "Petrificus Totalus!" and the Death Eater came to a sudden still, his legs bent at horrible angles.

    Harry went to suck in a breath of relief, but Lupin's face lit up and he went to scream his name when Harry heard Hermione's shriek of, "Bombarda!" and there was the horrifying sound of blood and flesh splattering everywhere; he turned his head, saw his friend drenched from head to toe in the gore of the Death Eater she'd just blown the leg off of, and felt sick—but then Hermione turned to him, hobbled over and helped him bring Lupin to his feet.

    "Could do with some Dittany," Lupin said, looking over at Ginny as well, "and a bit of chocolate." He gave Harry a thankful look, and then Harry remembered something very important and he almost screamed at his ex-teacher: "Dumbledore! Lupin, Voldemort—he's back!"

    Ron twitched at the sound of the name; his Death Eater grinned madly, whipped him around the face with his wand, and sent him stumbling backwards. Harry watched, along with Lupin and Hermione, as Ron tripped over his long shoelaces and toppled backwards, collapsing on top of Luna, and bit the end of his tongue off when he went to scream out more expletives. Blood went everywhere; Harry's stomach flipped and Hermione leaped forwards to his rescue, but the Death Eater latched onto her, twisted her small body against his chest, and stuck his wand to her throat like he was going to slit it as though he had a knife.

    Harry, horrified, stared wildly.

    Himself, Neville, Lupin—who was bleeding from the head, Ginny—who was bleeding profusely from the collarbone—and Kingsley were left. Hermione was captured; Tonks was slumped against the wall; Luna was slumped on the floor; Ron was sprawled on top of her; Dumbledore was apprehended by Voldemort; and Sirius was dead.

    Harry's gut tightened, and then he turned away from the arch and Hermione being held by the Death Eater and the corridor that lead back to Dumbledore fending off Voldemort, and he ran down a wide passage, deeper into the heart of the Ministry. The echoes of Death Eater laughter followed him like those ghosts on Dudley's Super Mario game—but he wasn't running away. He was looking for a cure.

    They were in the Department of Mysteries. Surely there had to be some sort of cure here? St. Mungo's would be the best place, but Harry and his friends didn't have such medical liberties and people were dying around him left, right and centre. Harry had to do something, anything: and they would have been better off without him on the battlefield. He had distracted Ron, Luna and Lupin and all had been injured because of that; had he not distracted Ron, he wouldn't have caused Hermione's capture. And had he not been standing near Sirius when Lucius Malfoy had been attacking—desperate to get to Harry and the prophecy—then Sirius would not have died.

    Harry swallowed hard, and turned into a circular room with black slate and glass for walls, and he came to a standstill.

    Brains in tanks lined along the walls, each of them tumbling endlessly: the brains sank down the long tanks, growing as they went, and as soon as they hit the bottom they were zipped backwards, small once more. It was like an endless cycle of growth and decay. He took his eyes from them, sickened by the changing of colour from healthy pink to dead grey, and noticed a black desk with gold trimmings.

    When he went over to it, he was caught off guard. There was a tray sticking out from it that did not look like it belonged to the desk at all, and inside was absolutely nothing. He frowned, inspected it curiously, and then touched it with his wand.

    Schruuuccch.

    He spun around to see a small section of the back wall sliding back. His wand came to his chest defensively, ready to cast Hermione's exploding spell—Oh, Hermione—but paused, with a frown, when he saw another tray sticking out from the hidden compartment. It was grey, made from cheap plastic, and matched the one attached to the desk.

    He went over and looked into it, not really knowing what he'd find. Small, dangerous creatures, perhaps? A boggart locked away ready to spring out at him in the form of Sirius's last expression? Harry's lip quivered, and he peered inside, and paused when he saw what the tray contained.

    Time-turners.

    A hollow laugh made its way out of his lips. Images of himself and Hermione escaping the hospital wing during the third year came back to him—but when he remembered that they had done all of that for Sirius, his throat became sore and his heart pounded weakly. When he had been looking for a cure, any cure, he hadn't been meaning this—but he couldn't be a chooser. Everyone was dying and it was his fault; and here it was, the best cure of them all, and he could change everything with a simple manoeuvre of his hands. Maybe he could change Sirius's fate once again.

    Yes, perhaps he could.

    He picked one of them up, feeling its weight and its coldness as if it hadn't been touched in a long time, and raised his eyes to the ceiling. His vision was blurry with tears: a part of him told him this was stupid and useless, but another part within him realised there was nothing else he could do.

    He went to look down, seeing his pale reflection in its golden surface. Tiny Roman numerals winked up at him lifelessly, and he put both his hands at either end, ready to twist, and then the thing dropped from his shaking fingers and clanged horribly loudly against the hard floor and rolled somewhere out of sight.

    Shit.

    He dived into the stock of time-turners again, picked one up, and then gave a jolted scream as it pinged out of his grip like a wonky magnet and hit him on the leg; he turned to catch it, felt it fly out of his grip once again, and then he yelled in frustration, stamped his foot, and turned to take yet another device from the tray, and twisted its ends violently.

    He lost count of how many times he did it. Three turns last time had given him an afternoon. His infinity of turns would give him God knew how long—and he regretted it, almost, and the thing hung heavily in his hands—and he began to feel sick as the world twisted around him, and he wished that he could make it stop just to catch his breath.

    But it wouldn't, and backwards he kept zooming.

    He saw Voldemort's fury in the Ministry lobby with Dumbledore; Sirius's dead face mixing in with that of Cedric; the piece of parchment initiating Harry into the Triwizard Tournament; Sirius escaping on Buckbeak, aptly renamed to Witherwings; Sir Cadogan showing him, Ron and Hermione to their first Divination lesson of the year; Tom Riddle's mirthful face as Harry found Ginny lying weakly on the floor; Colin Creevey's horrified expression as he was almost smacked in the face with the rogue Bludger possessed by Dobby; Voldemort's mouth smeared with unicorn blood in the forest; the Sorting Hat ceremony; his Hogwarts letter; his horrid sixth birthday; his mother, twisting away from him as the spell battered her body; and then her words of love:

    "Harry, Harry, you are so loved, so loved… Harry, Mamma loves you… Dadda loves you… Harry, be safe, be strong…"

    Harry's throat constricted, and then he saw a glimpse of a young boy with oily black hair lying in a field with a young redhead, admiring spinning jennies, and then…

    And then…

    A swirl of green, a hiss of a snake, and the Slytherin common room.

    --x--

    Author's notes: I hope you enjoyed—so, yes, c&c? I really have no idea where I'm going with this but after having read other Potter fanfictions and listened to podcasts with Jo herself, I have a few interesting concepts in my mind. First draft of the second chapter is done, but I think I'm going to combine it with the first part of chapter three once I go over the whole thing and sort out some canonical issues—as well as some issues with the writing, grammar and punctuation themselves.

    As always, you can read the fanfiction on its respective FF.Net page where there is a guide at the top for maximum viewing experience; you can also drop onto my FF.Net profile to see what other works I've got going on, etc.
    Last edited by Ehres; January 10, 2012 at 09:00 PM.

  3. #3
    Digidork for life. DMrayZ's Avatar
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    Default Re: CHIMAERA (a Harry Potter fanfic)

    .... Moreplease! This thing is bonking awesome, I can't wait for the next chapter!
    Last edited by Ehres; January 10, 2012 at 08:58 PM.

  4. #4
    Umbran Finland's Avatar
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    Default Re: CHIMAERA (a Harry Potter fanfic)

    holy hell this is amazing
    this is really amazing

    it's so long but somehow i just couldn't stop reading, you've morphed the story into something i think i really love
    more, please
    Last edited by Ehres; January 10, 2012 at 08:58 PM.

  5. #5
    Prepared To Die Orion's Avatar
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    Default Re: CHIMAERA (a Harry Potter fanfic)

    asddcheesejksfgsafa

    how do you make this read both so lengthy and so enjoyable girlfriend-chan i must know your secrets

    you really felt like you outdid yourself when emotions needed to be shown, some of the writing felt absolutely venomous where it needed to

  6. #6
    *screams internally Lord Chill's Avatar
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    Default Re: CHIMAERA (a Harry Potter fanfic)

    Well done, this is great. I'll be sure to be reading more when it arrives

  7. #7
    ` dragon dance Ehres's Avatar
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    Default Re: CHIMAERA (a Harry Potter fanfic)

    ii: as a snake i awoke

    --x--

    "—Gryffindors think they can handle, but it's a long shot. I haven't seen anything as miserable as Weasley's Keeping in the whole year—" Malfoy was saying when Harry blinked and realised that he was staring at a dim room. His eyes took in the long, sweeping tapestries woven together with every manner of green and silver, forming a divine snake with a forked tongue flicking at the air—it did this every few seconds with a low hiss; and then the button-pinched leather sofas and armchairs in the same dark shades which were pressed together in small groups huddled by the tall stain-glassed windows, against which water lapped quietly from outside…

    Harry jumped a mile in the air like he'd been struck by lightning: he shot to his feet, whirling around like someone was casting Bat Bogey Hexes at him, and got to his hands and knees to pick up the tumbling time-turner which must have clattered to the ground and rolled off under the couch by now. He poked his eye underneath, saw nothing in the warm light of the hearth and the lamps, and clambered back to his feet.

    He went to push his spectacles back up his nose as he peered over the back of the sofa but hesitated when he felt nothing on his face. He frowned, went quite still, and looked at his hands; his eyes roamed around to spot the familiar round circles of his frames in the periphery of his vision. But they weren't there.

    And he was seeing perfectly.

    His heart gave a funny shudder. He turned slowly, remembering hearing Malfoy's sneering tone, and looked at the room around him. He almost fainted.

    Nobody had been in the Slytherin common room for over seven hundred years.

    He gawked at the setting around him: Angular unlike the soft curves of the Gryffindor walls; lush greens and striking platinum as opposed to the warm tones of the Gryffindor reds and golds; polished leather and metal in contrast with the sanded wood and plucked fabric of the Gryffindor furniture; old instruments stacked atop ancient, priceless tables and cabinets instead of the rounded edges of the Gryffindor bookshelves; the quiet shl, shl, shl of the Great Lake rather than the far-reaching caws of owls in the Gryffindor sky.

    He was in the Slytherin common room. With Malfoy. And other Slytherins. And they weren't telling him to get out.

    "Are you all right, mate?" Harry wheeled around to find Blaise Zabini regarding him cautiously. Harry's eyes widened incredulously; he'd been sat next to Zabini—and across from him was Malfoy with his arm slung around Pansy Parkinson's squat little shoulders. Both of them were looking at him curiously too, except Malfoy was more disbelieving rather than anything and Pansy looked as if she wanted to be as far away from Harry as possible.

    "I—what?" Harry said stupidly. What at what the hell was going on: what at what the hell he was doing in the Slytherin common room, sat on a leather couch next to Blaise Zabini and having what looked like iced teacakes with Malfoy and his girlfriend? Pansy leaned into Malfoy and whispered something to him. She looked uncomfortable and her body language was very rigid: What on Earth had Harry ever done to make Pansy Parkinson—Queen of All Things Snobby—uneasy around him? Hadn't she always given him her signature confidant sneer, followed by some sarcastic remark about his outdated glasses or his unruly hair?

    And why the hell was he in the Slytherin common room, and where the living bonk was that time-turner, and where had the Ministry gone and what about Voldemort and Hermione and Sirius?

    Ah. Sirius. Sirius.

    Harry's heart gave a painful jolt and he had to sit down. The leather of the couch squeaked underneath him awkwardly, just another noise to add to the silence Harry had created in the common room as small groups of friends from lower years looked at him, startled. Well, this was all very new and it was all very painful. Harry had to turn his face away and stare into the fire with a trembling lip to stop himself from bawling his eyes out.

    "Harry—" that was Malfoy "—are you all right? You're not crying, are you? Listen, I know you're gutted about your granddad and everything but I think it's time you sort of moved on—"

    Granddad? Was Malfoy playing some sort of sick joke? Sirius hadn't been his granddad—Sirius had been his godfather. Sirius had protected Harry by lending Hagrid his motorbike and taking him to the wretched Dursley house. Sirius had taken the fall for Peter Pettigrew's betrayal and had endured twelve years in Azkaban—Sirius had escaped from Azkaban and had devoted himself to Harry once again, Harry Potter who was the son of Sirius's best friend James. And now Sirius was dead—killed by that bitch Bellatrix Lestrange—and only moments ago…

    Voldemort.

    Harry jumped up once more.

    Where was Voldemort? He was fighting with Dumbledore: His magic was strong and dark, and Harry could've sworn Dumbledore had looked strained from conjuring up that ice phoenix before Harry had run off… He had to get to him, get back to the Ministry and get Dumbledore and the others out of there. There were Death Eaters running around the place like nobody's business and Ron and Hermione and Ginny and Neville and Luna—they were all there with Tonks and Lupin and the others. And Malfoy's father.

    Did Malfoy know what his father was doing at this very moment? Did Malfoy know his father was running an errand for the Dark Lord himself that would see the ruin of the entire wizarding world? Of course he did; Malfoy was running up to be a Death Eater too, just like his good old dad.

    A good old dad who'd fought Sirius—and distracted him. A good old dad who'd given Bellatrix the opportunity to sink her killing curse into Sirius's chest.

    Harry's face went hot and his chest went very tight; he lunged forwards for Malfoy, grabbed him by the collar after elbowing Pansy out of the way, and began laying punches into his ferrety face. People started shrieking and yelling, and Harry had barely lifted his fist for a third strike when he was yanked backwards by Zabini who wrestled him into submission on the floor.

    "What the bloody hell's got into you?" Malfoy was stunned, his nose very obviously broken with a nasty nosebleed. His voice was muffled as he covered his face with his hands, his shirt—covered by his jumper—now stained red. Harry hissed at him and went for him again, but Zabini must've been a regular at the gym or something because his grip on Harry was like a vice. Malfoy started towards him with venom in his eyes, but Crabbe had muscled his way down the stairs and was holding him against the couch by his shoulders.

    Despite the efforts to restrain Malfoy from retaliating, Harry knew that he was in a den of snakes. Literally. It made him angrier because he knew he was trapped—there had to be at least thirty people crowded around him, not to mention those coming out of the dormitories to see what was going on—and he wouldn't put it past the Slytherins to use some nasty curses on him.

    He needed to get to Professor McGonagall and tell her that Dumbledore and several of his friends and the Order were in great danger; he needed to tell her that Voldemort was duelling with the headmaster at that very moment and his Death Eaters were ribboning the rest of the students into little strips of meat. He had to tell her this immediately before somebody died. Malfoy could wait. His father couldn't.

    Harry started forwards again only to be blocked once again by Zabini. "Let me go," he barked, "I need to go. I need to see Professor McGonagall before somebody gets hurt by your stinking Death Eater parents."

    Gasps and whispers started around him: Zabini's hold faltered for a second. Harry saw Malfoy frown as if confused, and then look to Zabini and then up at Crabbe. Pansy was looking around helplessly as if lost in a choppy ocean; she really needed to get out of there because even if Harry hadn't spotted anybody at the Ministry by the name of Parkinson—whom he'd seen at Voldemort's rebirth last year—he felt like headbutting her just as hard as any of the boys. And the rest of Slytherin house for that matter.

    "What are you talking about?" Malfoy's eyes were wide as he leaned forward like he was trying to drill a very important point into Harry's head. "Everybody's fine."

    "No," spat Harry hotly, "they're really not and it's all because of your families. Sirius Black died tonight, Malfoy—and it was your bonking aunt who did it."

    Chatter started once again: Sirius's name went around the room but was quickly replaced by whispers concerning Harry's sanity. Two Creevey lookalikes in the corner were saying excitedly that they knew the incident with the mountain troll back in the first year was bound to affect him somehow. Harry didn't find that very funny—Sirius was more important than one time Professor Quirrell had dragged in a monster to try and kill him.

    "Harry," said Malfoy, "how'd you know my uncle? Nobody's killing anybody, Harry—well, not on our side, anyway."

    Harry snarled. What did Malfoy mean, on our side? Harry wasn't on the same side as Malfoy. Malfoy was a dirty rotten Death Eater in training. Harry was against everything that Death Eaters stood for. Even if Voldemort hadn't killed his parents, Harry would never see eye-to-eye with their Nazi regime. How could he openly or even privately support a group of people that discriminated and killed based on absolutely anything at all? How could he be on Malfoy's side when Malfoy's side consisted of people who'd cut so many innocent throats that they made the criminals at Guantanamo Bay look timid?

    "Don't pretend to be stupid, Malfoy. You know Sirius is—was—my godfather. You know he did twelve years in Azkaban for my parents."

    "What?"

    Malfoy now looked completely out of depth: whatever Harry had just said to him looked as if it had gone totally overhead. Harry knew Malfoy was good at pretending to get himself out of sticky situations but it occurred to him that surrounded by a room full of Slytherins who'd gladly slice Harry's head right off, Malfoy really had nothing to be scared of. And he never passed up an opportunity to gloat at James and Lily Potter's deaths.

    Something was up. This had to be a practical joke.

    But the time-turner… What had happened there? Harry remembered the whole fiasco at the Ministry as if it had happened just a minute ago—and it had. He remembered seeing Voldemort unleash magnificent dark magic upon Dumbledore, who'd given him a blast of power back. The wizards had been duelling with fire and water and darkness and shields—things Harry could only dream of performing—and then Harry had been hit hard in the chest by something much more powerful than magic… Something that was sadness and despair

    And he'd run off, dodging blasts and incantations from Voldemort who in turn was apprehended by Dumbledore and a great phoenix of ice—and then the long corridor and journey back to the room with the veil, to the place where Sirius had fallen into… And seeing that had unsettled Harry and he'd used a, "Crucio!" against Goyle's father who had been looking to perform the torture curse against Ginny to flatten her to the floor and make her dance in pain; Goyle had fallen down, his jaw horribly disfigured, but Harry wasn't healing—Sirius's shadow was thick over his heart and he'd turned, distraught, and he'd seen several of his comrades fall, and then he'd run off to that room with the weird brains…

    And the time-turners. Ministry time-turners. Harry had picked up one, dropped it on the floor; a second escaped him as it was cast across the room by a faulty anti-repellent charm; and the third—third time lucky!—had glinted dully, almost lifelessly. It had been cold and heavy: it'd felt like doom, reminded Harry of the brass of the bell at Hogwarts in which crows had made a nest for the winter… And when it bonged, it sent a thrill throughout those birds which took off to the air in the image of fleeting couriers of death.

    How many times had Harry turned that thing? Three times in the third year with Hermione. That'd given him a few hours…

    Harry hadn't stopped turning this one. He'd been so distraught that he'd been twisting it over and over and over again to put things back to a time when Sirius was alive and his parents were alive and… and…

    What if his wish had come true? What if time really had gone back? What if Sirius really was alive—unknown, but alive? And if he was alive, were his parents? His heart gave a tremendous thud which made his stomach flip. Hadn't Dumbledore said that death was inescapable? Buckbeak had escaped, after all—but that had been a time continuum within itself… Buckbeak had never died because Harry had saved it. Harry had always saved it.

    Were things unavoidable in this hypothetical reality? Was there still that something to cause his parents' death? That… that thing which Harry couldn't understand—that thing which had singled him out instead of Neville… Or were things different now? If Malfoy, who was stood in a room full of his own, was acting as if it was strange that Harry would know Sirius, did that mean Sirius was a different person? Unimportant, no longer a shame on the family?

    Oh, God. Harry's stomach dropped. Was Sirius now a scum-sucking Slytherin like the rest of the Black family? And was he in cahoots with Voldemort…?

    Oh, that was a big one. Harry hadn't even begun to think about Voldemort in this hypothetical situation. There were so many variables. If Sirius was alive, and not in Azkaban (which had gained him his infamy), and was a Slytherin, had Harry twisted that time-turner enough to relive those fateful moments of the night of his first birthday? Had Voldemort gone to his parents' place in Godric's Hollow, murdered them, yet failed to kill off Harry? Had he given Harry that lightning-shaped scar?

    He felt the world turn sideways and he felt very sick all of a sudden. It all seemed like an impossibly stupid dream. But the scar would be the easiest and most solid proof that things were different and that he wasn't supposed to be in the Gryffindor common room with Ron, skiving off a Herbology double. Harry almost didn't want to look. It was all too much, too real—and it meant things were different now, that perhaps Sirius was alive, that perhaps his parents had never died at all…

    Everyone had fallen silent in the common room as Harry pieced these things together. It was almost easy to see the stretch of emotion on his face but he was so stunned by this odd revelation that he appeared to be made of marble. Zabini relaxed, though still very much aware of Harry's movements, and rose with him as he got to his feet. Malfoy's eyes were one of the many pairs that travelled with him as he inched towards the mantelpiece and the grand mirror wreathed in silver leaves and berries that hung there.

    He observed himself quietly. The others around him became an unimportant haze as he took himself in.

    Clean, angular face; a very thin strap of dark, short hair inching from his sideburns, down both sides of his jaw and covering the edge of his chin; finely sculpted eyebrows; a fan of long, dark lashes; a pair of jewel-green eyes unhindered by spectacles; a mussed crop of short, dark brown hair that looked to be set in a very particular style that resembled a fashionable, bedhead comb-over of some sort; and his smooth forehead.

    There was no scar. And he was in a Slytherin jumper with a Slytherin logo with a Slytherin tie. And there was no scar.

    He collapsed to the floor. He didn't feel the swing of his fall, just how the polished ground greeted his side painfully. It didn't matter; it didn't register. It just was. Just…

    He had no scar. And he was in Slytherin. And Sirius Black was relatively unknown. Sirius had never been framed for murder because there never had been a murder. There was no scar because there was no rebound; there was no rebound because there was no curse; there was no curse because there was no Voldemort—and no Voldemort because… because…?

    Oh, no. Neville.

    Had Voldemort gone to Neville's house instead? And had Voldemort killed Frank Longbottom before moving onto poor Alice: and had Alice put herself between the Dark Lord and her little boy and sacrificed herself for him…? And was Neville now the Chosen One; was Neville in that prophecy; did Neville have a scar on his forehead; could Neville talk to snakes; could Neville peek into Voldemort's mind?

    Was Neville the Boy Who Lived?

    Harry groaned. He groaned out of sickness. He groaned out of despair. He groaned because he'd put his pain onto Neville. He groaned because he'd destroyed Neville's family. Sadness welled up in him, but it was far greater than that of the death of his godfather—or perhaps it was the same, only projected onto a different person. He and Neville weren't very different; they were both Gryffindor orphans tied together by the same prophecy… And Harry had cut one of his greatest friends more deeply than he would ever have wanted.

    Then it struck Harry like a sour aftertaste: If Neville was in his place, did that mean that Harry was in Neville's place? Had his parents been tortured to insanity by Bellatrix?

    He twisted his head to find the only person he really knew—Malfoy. The blond boy was staring at him, half baffled by everything Harry had done over the past five minutes and half concerned by his sudden fall. Blood was dripping freely over his shirt and jumper, and the silver streaks of his tie were dyed a sickly shade of crimson. He looked set to defend himself as Harry narrowed his eyes.

    "You, Malf—Draco—I need to know something—" Harry gulped "—It's about my parents. Bellatrix Lestrange—did she torture them?"

    "Wh…" Malfoy's eyes popped out of his head like he couldn't believe what he was hearing. "Why the bloody hell would she do that, Harry? Have you gone mad? I swear you have, mate." He went over to Harry and looked at him dolefully. "You've been fiddling with those Weasley knock-offs again, haven't you? I told you they'd give you their faulty stock if you went and bought it—you should've nicked it like I said if you wanted it that badly. Almighty God…"

    But Harry had zoned out on Malfoy. He was staring at the snake motif carved into the sloped wall hatting the fireplace. It was strange he thought rather randomly, how he could see so perfectly. He'd been sure that without his glasses everything was blurry and undefinable. Surely he hadn't worn jam jars prescribed by the NHS, though… And yet his parents weren't dead and Bellatrix Lestrange had left them well alone. They were alive and well.

    Alive and well. Alive and well.

    He had parents. He had living, breathing parents; for that he began to cry.

    It was happiness he'd never known. Nothing could feel this good. Not love, not sex, not one of those tickling charms Padma Patil had done in the crook of his arm in the fourth year. Not even a kiss with Cho Chang felt this good—not even the realisation that Sirius was alive. His heart swelled or at least felt like it: It didn't seem so bad that he was in Slytherin anymore and… and yes, it was selfish, so very selfish of him but even Neville couldn't scratch the surface of his elation.

    He buried his face into his hands and shook.

    Malfoy looked around uneasily. The other Slytherins were just as clueless as he as to what the hell was going on and why Harry had developed a curious case of bipolar disease out of the blue: but he leaned down despite his broken nose—Blaise would fix it later with an episkey charm if he didn't bother to do it himself—and rubbed Harry's back. Harry responded by curling into a ball, his crying muffled. He didn't know what to say. Even Malfoy's slimy hands on him didn't bother him.

    "They're alive," he said hoarsely, "they're bonking alive."

    "Well, yes," began Malfoy awkwardly, "what else could've happened to them?"

    Oh, nothing, thought Harry, they could've been tracked down relentlessly by a genocidal sociopath and murdered. My mother could've thrown herself between me and that killing curse and saved my life. I could've carried on as the Boy Who Lived. Something like that could've happened.

    But it made him wonder, sarcasm, grief and happiness aside, what really had happened. If they hadn't been destroyed by Voldemort and weren't tortured by Bellatrix, did that mean they were successfully in hiding? They had to have gotten away; back in… the Ministry, back when Harry had his scar, Neville's parents had received terrible treatment simply for being a part of that prophecy under Voldemort's interpretation—tortured for the whereabouts of James and Lily Potter. And they hadn't given it. Frank and Alice Longbottom had remained strong, well into Neville's fifth year and the fight at the Ministry when Harry had used the time-turner. Neville had been proud of that and so had Harry even if he'd never met the couple.

    But James and Lily Potter didn't need protection—and if they did, it was holding immeasurably well because they were alive. But why would they need the protection if Neville's parents were dead, and he transformed into the boy with the scar? Wouldn't that mean his mother and father were out of the dark? That they were free citizens of Godric's Hollow as much as the rest of the witches and wizards of that place? And Voldemort… Harry shuddered.

    Everyone here in his year group – Malfoy, Crabbe, Goyle (who was looking over the side of the stairs with a stupid, sleepy expression), Zabini, Pansy, Millicent Bullstrode with her cat perched on her shoulders with narrowed eyes – looked to be at least sixteen. Harry knew what his own face of fifteen looked like and he recognised himself in the mirror as older. Maybe it was because he was more chic and elegant in his features having adopted a meticulous beauty regime but he was definitely more refined, definitely more adoptive of that manly edge as opposed to that lingering boyish puppy fat. Yes, they were definitely fifth year at the least—and that meant that Voldemort had returned. He had to have returned last year. He'd been reborn for over a damn year.

    If Harry was a Slytherin and his parents were alive, there had to have been some sort of intervention. Harry theorised it was always his loneliness which gave him the courage he needed in order to do things he'd never normally do—like hitting back at Dudley that time at the zoo for being so rude to that snake—since nobody else ever stuck up for him, and he suspected that was why the Sorting Hat had put him into Gryffindor. He had some welly in him, as Hagrid would say.

    And now as a Slytherin, with parents alive and well, it made Harry wonder what kind of upbringing he had. Was he courageous? Or was he resourceful and cunning? Or were those attributes just different sides of the same coin? He understood that despite their historic rivalry, Gryffindors and Slytherins were very much alike. Both were quite brash, sometimes carelessly so, but Gryffindors had boyish charm whereas Slytherins seemed able to weave their way out of any situation whether by foul play or simple charisma or talent. And there were certain talents and a kind of charisma about the Gryffindor house.

    He certainly didn't feel any different. This Harry he was now, it must have been the Gryffindor Harry put into the shoes of Slytherin Harry. What was Slytherin Harry like? He supposed he'd find out… But his most important question about this topic was his parents. Were they Slytherins, too? Had the time-turner performed more than one lifetime of magic? Had it altered the Sorting Hat's decisions back when Lily and James were sorted into their houses however many years ago?

    He had so many questions and he wanted the answers. He wanted them particularly badly because something was off-key. A world in which Voldemort and the Potters existed peacefully—with no price over their head—was a world which disturbed him. It made him consider the new values he held.

    Were his parents Voldemort sympathisers? No. They couldn't be. The thought knocked him sick. This was the man who had killed them without mercy, the man who'd destroyed the rest of the family and the order to which they'd belonged. This was the man who was about as welcoming as a freight train, the man who couldn't have cared less if he'd just slit the throat of a newborn baby wailing for its mother. This man had no place in his parents' lives other than staying damn well out of it.

    Harry seethed at the thought, really quite angry; he'd just gotten them back. He couldn't lose them again, and to Voldemort of all people. He'd reset history to ensure it wouldn't repeat itself with another death of someone dear to him; history couldn't kick him with hard irony when he'd managed—God knew how—to set things into a different mould.

    Harry looked up at Malfoy spitefully before clambering to his feet. The blond followed him, patting him cautiously as if Harry were a very hot and dangerous live wire that could zap him at any moment. A toxic change looked as if it was taking place behind his smooth, pale features, twisting them from concern and quasi-embarrassment to bitterness. His nose was still broken, but he ignored it for the meantime, and gave Harry a pat on the back quite reluctantly.

    "You want to lie down?"

    Harry twisted his head, thinking he wouldn't like to lie down with any of this lot—but in truth he knew he was a new personality in an unfamiliar world, and he'd just gone through so much. The dormitory would be the safest place to be for Harry, since it at least gave him a bit more room to breathe instead of being nestled too comfortably by these Slytherin twats. He nodded decisively at Malfoy, ogled the other occupants, and then followed him when he set off up the stone steps towards the sleeping area.

    —x—

    As it turned out, the Slytherin bedrooms weren't that different from the Gryffindor dorms: Each side had one door branching out into a larger room, with seven doors in that room around a circular vent of some kind which warmed the chilly chamber; behind each of those seven doors was a long hallway leading to yet another circular room, and in that circular room there were six doors leading off to other chambers.

    Slytherin house had around just fewer than three hundred members in total, so it worked out that there were about 43 people per year—halved to roughly accommodate the boy-girl ratio at 21 boys and 21 girls per year group—with four people per bedroom. Sometimes there was an overcast of gender per year group, when they would be shifted to share rooms with other year groups of the same gender. This was the situation Harry found himself in when he followed Malfoy up the stairs and through the network of rooms.

    Four elegant four-poster beds stood in a cross formation, reminding Harry for some reason of the Knights Templar. The beds were set with green and silver threads, snake and water formations making luscious patterns which were calming rather than sickening, but the curtains were simply heavy-duty and made of black velvet to block out the light. Harry was grateful for this as the red velvet of the Gryffindor curtains always managed to piss him off when he wanted a nice long lie-in on Saturday mornings. He found that the sheets and pillows were also green, which was nice he supposed, and then the floor itself which consisted of floorboards lacquered with white paint. It all gave a very regal impression.

    He saw that his suitcase was pressed neatly at the end: Potter, it said in bright red font. The trunk was the colour and texture of mahogany, reminding him of the old battered one back in the Gryffindor dorms—which wouldn't be there he thought glumly—while Malfoy's was the very image of Slytherin royalty itself. It was large and ornate, crafted from black elder wood with cherubic designs along the hinges and lip; his name—MAL FOI, its French origin—was etched across the top. He went over to it and kicked it open (must've been used to being so inconsiderate, Harry thought) and pulled out his wand.

    For a fleeting moment Harry thought he was going to perform a nasty bit of magic on him now that he had him alone with Blaise right behind him, but he simply pointed the stick at his own nose and said, with baited breath, "Episkey!" He gave a howl as his nose righted itself and ceased to bleed. Harry stared at him, quite dumbfounded he'd have the guts to fix his own nose, but then whirled around and wondered where his own wand was.

    As if he'd called for it he felt it pressed against his breast. He realised that Slytherins had wand pockets inside their jumpers which made him snort internally: but when he pulled out his wand, his face fell.

    He should've expected it.

    It wasn't his wand. Well, it was, but it wasn't the long one with the funny ridges near the bottom. It wasn't the one which wasn't quite perfectly symmetrical like that of Malfoy. It wasn't the one with a certain charm to its antiqueness that Harry had always admired.

    It was now this thing: black, twelve inches, perfectly straight with a perfect, circular guard. There was nothing remarkable about it apart from the strange streak of brilliant red that zipped its way up along the side. It reminded Harry of a bloody fang: it also reminded him of his old lightning scar, and the Gryffindor way of doing things—that was to say, rather haphazardly.

    As an afterthought he wondered what its core was or what wood it was. He'd have to ask someone. Perhaps the Sorting Hat would know, or Professor Dumbledore… Dumbledore who was apparently as safe as a hand inside a glove.

    Harry flopped onto the side of the bed and was playing with the wand when he realised that these bedrooms, unlike their Gryffindor counterparts, had windows. They were long and paned and you could see the occasional fish swim up to it since it was half-submersed by the lake. The sound of waves lapping against the windows was calming; Harry could see it definitely fit the rest of the mood of the Slytherin common room to which he hadn't really adjusted himself yet.

    He missed the Gryffindor hangout. He often liked to look out the window on starry nights and work out which constellations were which. At least he had some new fish names to learn down here, though it was much less interesting.

    "See," said Blaise thoughtfully, "what gets me is that bit of red in your wand, Harry." He too had flopped down onto his own bed carefully and was pulling his jumper over his head. Harry looked down at the stick but was momentarily distracted by Malfoy Scourgifying his own face of blood. Malfoy gave a sharp laugh, at which Harry frowned. It wasn't that funny, what Blaise had said.

    "Oh, lighten up," said Malfoy as he began to clean his jumper, "you've been really weird, Harry. I definitely think it's that shipment of Skiving Snackboxes you wanted. You put your name on the order form, didn't you? Little pricks probably packaged Forgetful Fancies instead. I don't know why you keep ordering from them. They're really not that good."

    "They're not little pricks," Harry said sharply, "they're really funny."

    Blaise's eyebrows went into his hairline and Malfoy stopped scouring the back of his pullover: Blaise looked uneasy whereas Malfoy looked annoyed. He tsked sharply and went back to scrubbing the material. "They're not funny at all, Harry—" his face seemed to twist, and he reminded Harry of a very angry weasel, "—remember when they put those Foldable Fireworks into the Dark Arts books last year? Mother was angry when I missed a whole week of school because of that bloody hospital visit."

    Dark Arts? Why was Malfoy looking at Dark Arts books? Oh, because he was a stinking Death Eater, that was why. "Serves you right for looking at Dark Arts books, anyway," said Harry simply. He heard Blaise scoff to his right.

    "Yeah, yeah, we're not all as privileged as you, I get it." Malfoy made a dramatic gesture with his hands. "Mother would've taught me a bit of Dark magic when I was younger but of course she's very uptight about her wand. Father was completely out of the question so I had to settle for demonstrations."

    Demonstrations? What on Earth was Malfoy going on about? Oh, but Harry couldn't put it past his bloody family, showing a little boy all sorts of Dark magic. It was probably the Death Eater equivalent of teething or something. He almost snarled; he'd seen Dark magic used before. Mad-Eye Moody (though really Barty Crouch Jr. at that time, admittedly) had done that harrowing demonstration of the Unforgivable Curses last year—er, was that last year? Harry didn't know what year he was in anymore—which looked to have given Neville a funny jolt. And then the killing curse cast at his own parents, and the one that had hit Sirius in the chest—and then all sorts of Death Eater claims of being Imperiused…

    Harry shuddered. Dark magic was no laughing matter. It was a dirty art, no better than the extermination methods used during the Final Solution of Hitler's rule. And it made him angry and bitter to think that Malfoy had been shown this stuff as a child, never mind looking it up in library books.

    But why were there even books on Dark Arts in the library, anyway? Even the Restricted Section—which Harry had perused many a time at midnight during his younger years—wouldn't tell of exact spells to use. They were just horrifying accounts of murder, not the methods behind it. Or maybe Death Eater gits like Malfoy had a special pass for this material? Harry looked at his wand in frustration and ran his finger along its red streak.

    He missed being a Gryffindor. He missed the Gryffindor common room. He wanted nothing more than to go back up there right now but judging from the sky it was midnight or thereabouts and prefects and teachers would be patrolling the hallways. He could just whip out the invisibility cloak—that was if he even owned it anymore—and make his way to the seventh floor but he wasn't sure if Mrs Norris or Peeves would be hanging about and what would he do once at the Gryffindor portrait? List off random passwords? Sneak in with someone else—someone stupid enough to go wandering around at night without a cloak?

    No, it was just better to wait until morning and take Ron and Hermione to the side and explain his predicament to them. Even if this was an alternate reality they were still dear to him—not that he could be sure how he was to them. Neville was probably a part of that trio now. Ginny and Luna were probably add-ons as well. Maybe Seamus and Dean were in the group, too.

    But something Malfoy had said irked him. We're not all as privileged as you.

    What had he meant by that? That Harry knew a vast array of Dark magic? That his parents had let him practise the magic as a young child growing up in a Gryffindor community? He had to be barking mad. His parents would never let him know anything of the sort; they'd most likely practise fire charms on Dark Arts books rather than the magic scribed in the books' pages. And he sure didn't know any Dark spells other than the ones Moody had taught them.

    Harry scoffed and put his wand under his pillow. His tone was rather sharp as he pulled off his jumper and threw it into his trunk. Malfoy and Blaise looked at him in astonishment as he did this: "Aren't you going to fold them?"

    "No, why? I'm only going to wear them tomorrow."

    "Harry, it's Saturday tomorrow. We have a Quidditch match."

    Oh, did they? So he was on the Slytherin Quidditch team. Well, at least that was one thing he was familiar with, though he doubted he could get used to the Slytherins' cheap, dirty tricks such as feinting all over the place and being really nasty with the Bludgers. What position was he on? Malfoy was the Seeker or at least that was what had been. Harry always considered himself a better Seeker but that was because he was more honest and usually had a streak of luck and excellent teamwork by his Gryffindor friends. Could he be the Seeker for Slytherin?

    He didn't like the thought. He didn't like the thought of doing anything for Slytherin, but it was a breath of fresh air, something of familiarity he could grasp onto while he righted himself and got his bearings. He was already beginning to wish he was back in Gryffindor Tower with Ron and Hermione, scrawling out some last-minute Potions essay, already knowing Snape would give him a half-arsed mark for the simple reason that he didn't like his father.

    "Oh, yeah," said Harry in a deadpan tone. Of course it was Saturday tomorrow and of course he was on Slytherin's Quidditch team. He didn't even ask who they were playing but he had a funny feeling it was Gryffindor. If it was he could always play really badly, let Gryffindor's Seeker catch the Snitch if Harry was indeed a Seeker. He hoped so. He liked the feeling of flying fast.

    He tugged on his pyjamas quickly and curled up in bed, shutting the curtains tight. Even inside this warm black box he could tell that Malfoy and Blaise were exchanging looks. But he didn't bloody care. He'd wake up, have breakfast and play some Quidditch. And he'd make sure Gryffindor won. Being a nuisance on purpose to Slytherin's team members would let him blow off a bit of steam and perhaps but things in perspective. He'd be able to weigh up his new situation, drop in with Ron and Hermione and see how Neville was. Maybe they'd share some light on the life of Harry Potter, Slytherin extraordinaire.

    For now he shut his eyes, and fell into an uneasy sleep.

    --x--

    Author's notes: Wooh, second chapter done. I ended up merging the beginning of chapter three since I wanted the first Slytherin scene to be nice and compact. So, c&c/review/rate/whatever? I want to know if you guys like this or not, or what con-crit you can give.

    Quidditch will be happening in the third chapter, along with some more character/plot development! And the fourth chapter will have a nice little event which will be, ah, interesting to say the least.

    You can read the fanfiction from the start on its FF.Net page or you can hop straight to chapter two right here. Otherwise, you can look at what other fictions I have to offer on my profile.
    Last edited by Ehres; January 14, 2012 at 09:54 PM.

  8. #8
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    Default Re: CHIMAERA (a Harry Potter fanfic) [CHAPTER 2 OUT NOW]

    iii: as a traitor i played

    --x--

    Harry awoke rather suddenly when something next to him screamed a death metal rendition of Ode to Joy in his ear.

    "Where's the ketchup, Sergeant?" he said stupidly, sleep clogging his eyes, and then twisted to see a little tin box with a lid flapping animatedly like a mouth. He bashed it with his fist to shut it up and then heard a round of sleepy laughter around him; ripping open his curtains, greeted by darkness as opposed to morning light, he saw Blaise snorting at him and Malfoy sitting up with his hair sticking out at all angles.

    "Like it?" asked Blaise, yawning. "I was getting sick of Muggle songs waking us all up in the morning."

    Harry snarled at him and dived back under the covers, exhaustion in his bones. The exertion from yesterday's—neverday's?—activities at the Ministry seeped through him, or so he thought: but it was mental, not physical, and he realised it was only a lack of sleep that made him feel weary. He peeked back over the covers to see Malfoy traipsing off to use the toilet, and instead caught the quirked brows of someone he knew only very… intimately.

    It was his other roommate, a seventh year sharing the room with himself, Malfoy and Blaise. Well, at least Harry knew he was definitely in year six now because Martin Vaisey, back when Harry had been Gryffindor Seeker during his first year, was a year older than him and a Chaser for the Slytherin Quidditch team. Harry could only ever recall Vaisey giving him a mouthful of elbow or a rib-ful of foot, and on one occasion he'd whacked Harry on the back of the head with a Beater's bat (stolen from his teammate, the arsehole) which so happened to be during the same match that Marcus Flint—five years older than Harry—had sent a Bludger right into Wood's chest, sending him careering to the sandy pit of the Quidditch pitch floor. Nothing could've been more dangerous than Quirrell's attempt at knocking him off his Nimbus Two Thousand, though; Harry supposed that if he had a wall of Slytherins backing him then he'd be as safe as Gringott's.

    Vaisey flopped back down, but said, "What?" to Harry rather rudely when Harry called out his name.

    "What time is it?"

    "Time you stopped being a bloody idiot, Potter."

    "Right, thanks for that insight, Vaisey, but I'd like to know why some twit thinks it's funny to wake me up at four o'clock in the morning."

    By this time Malfoy had strolled back in, yawned widely and given Harry a curious look. "You're getting Alzheimer's," he said with a wrinkled nose, "you might want to get checked out."

    Harry didn't bloody well want to get checked out: in fact, he wanted to know the time and why he'd been woken up so early—he wasn't, after all, going to lie and fit in with his new group of friends just because this was how it was in this world. So what if it was a miracle he'd woken up perfectly intact with no cut throat? He owed nothing to these people: if anything they ought to show him a bit more lenience.

    "It's half six," said Malfoy, "the time you always wake up. You get out of bed, hog the bathroom for an hour and a half, get dressed and go down to the Great Hall and eat breakfast with the rest of us before we go to lessons at nine. In this case, we go down to the pitch at nine, warm up for an hour, and then play our match. Or, you know, is that a bit too difficult to remember?"

    "No," said Harry coolly, "thanks for that. I'll just get some more sleep. 'Night."

    He had barely sagged back down onto his pillow when Malfoy was tearing the curtains open with panicked abandon. "No," he said sternly, "come on—I don't know what the hell's gotten into you, but you've got to get up and get ready. Ever since Terry Boot snatched the Snitch out of my hand last match I've been having terrible nightmares about losing to Ravenclaw again. Losing to Gryffindor will just be mortifying."

    Ah, so they were playing Gryffindor. Harry felt a smirk rise up: he'd love to make a mess out of Slytherin's team, even if he was on it. And he couldn't wait to see who he'd be up against—Katie, Angelina? Fred and George had made their magnificent exit last year, if that was even canonical anymore. Maybe there'd be new talent up there: Ron liked to play at home, and Ginny was great on a broom, two more Weasleys to replace the last lot. Thinking about his old housemates made Harry brim with excitement, and he quickly got out of bed and strode off to the bathroom much to Malfoy's relief.

    After using the toilet he jumped in one of the two cubicles which had his and Draco's name on it. Well, that was sort of… really gay—though, admittedly, it did look like graffiti so it was probably a joke. He whipped through the catalogue of showering products from shampoos to exfoliating scrubs to yellow loofahs that smelled of curry for some reason: none of these could be his. He only kept a two-in-one shampoo and conditioner and a bar of soap in his shower. The rest of it had to be Malfoy's, which Harry didn't find too strange: he'd always thought of him as a pretty-boy prat—though he wasn't sure that the loofahs were supposed to have that curry smell.

    He whipped shampoo and conditioner into his hair, followed by some shower gel and after washing himself clean he stepped out and dried himself off with a towel. He scrubbed at his teeth—which were… fantastically straight, much to his surprise (a few of the bottom ones were usually crooked, a fault of his palate)—then looked at himself in the mirror and frowned when he saw nothing less than absolute immaculateness.

    Well, this was all too weird. His eyes glinted at him in an alien manner, but his attention was caught by someone walking past the door in the bedroom. He did a double take when he saw Pansy Parkinson stroll over to Malfoy's bed in a purple dressing gown, and watched as Malfoy gave quite a rude little slap to her behind before pulling her in for a long, noisy kiss. Harry pulled his face, feeling quite sick, yet strutted back in the room with the towel around his waist and not caring if Malfoy noticed him or not.

    But he did care about Malfoy, his new roommates and Pansy seeing him naked: he shifted behind the curtains of his bed and began to pull on his green and silver Quidditch robes, pausing when he heard Pansy make a hushed remark:

    "Draco, is there something wrong with him? Is he still being weird?"

    "Not sure," muttered Malfoy between kisses, "think he ordered some faulty sweets from Fred and George Weasley. Sent him—" smooch "—a bit funny."

    I am not a bit funny, huffed Harry, just normal compared to you, you git.

    —x—

    Being in Slytherin Quidditch robes made Harry deeply uncomfortable, he realised. They were made of the same material as Gryffindor's but there was a silent stigma stitched into the cloth and leather that nearly made his skin itch. He was irritable all the way to the Great Hall as the realisation dawned on him that this was all quite real—that he had gone back in time and he had saved Sirius. Jumping in the shower and pulling on the uniform had woken him up, and with breakfast on its way (he'd gotten to the Great Hall very early) it only allowed him to contemplate things more.

    Several ghosts trickled into the hall and sat in the teachers' chairs on either side of a very lonely Professor Trelawney. Harry had had enough of her weirdness to last him a lifetime so turned away and stared into the bright flames of the fire next to the Slytherin table. It only prompted him to think of Sirius, really, which was a dilemma in and of itself because Sirius shouldn't have carried any emotional attachment.

    And in a way, he didn't. This surprised Harry. He really thought he'd break down and cry now that he was away from the Ministry and in safe hands, but it didn't seem to be the case. He did feel sad but it was more a lingering ache than anything, like a heartbreak long passed. His fingers came to his temples as he tried to sort through his feelings, but it was no use: it was frustrating more than anything to know that he was literally incapable of caring about Sirius as much as he knew he really did.

    This Sirius was different, though: It wasn't a Sirius who'd fought with him at the Ministry. It was a Sirius who was tucked away somewhere. Maybe he changed into a different animal, a duck-billed platypus or a white tiger or a blue tit. Maybe he wasn't even an Animagus. It occurred to Harry that he really didn't know this man.

    Then it occurred to him that he really didn't know his parents, either. It appeared they were alive, which was happiness Harry couldn't describe, and yet they were alien to him in a way now that he understood Sirius wasn't really Sirius. How were they? Were they cold and cruel and haughty-taughty like the Malfoys? Not that Harry had ever known their personalities, really: but he'd always had a feeling that they were wonderful people. His mum had saved his life in return for her own, hadn't she—and his dad as well. They had to be great people. Maybe these new parents would be great people, too.

    He was excited to meet them, and he was wondering exactly when he would when plates toppling with breakfast goods suddenly appeared on the tables. Much to his surprise, Harry was famished: It wasn't the exhaustion from the Ministry that got him, since he didn't even feel it because that exhaustion had never really been in the first place, but more like a growing boy's appetite. He wolfed down several sausages, eggs and pieces of toast with a wash of pumpkin juice before a large flock of Ravenclaws entered and sat down at their table.

    Harry looked over at the Gryffindor table to find it the least full. He grinned because he knew that Gryffindors weren't very good at waking up early, were more night owls than anything else: but lo and behold, there was Lavender nestled with Romilda Vane and what looked to be Luna sporting Gryffindor colours. Was Luna a Gryffindor now, Harry wondered—no, still the Ravenclaw crest sewn into the back of her puffy blue bomber jacket. Harry strode over to them confidently and sat down next to them.

    "What the bloody hell are you doing?" screamed the pretty Romilda. She and the rest of the girls moved further down the bench, much to the annoyance of several third years, drawing the attention of the other people of the room. Harry looked around, saw that at least fifty people were watching the commotion, and then got to his feet embarrassedly.

    "I—Sorry, Romilda."

    And then he turned around and went back to the Slytherin table where Malfoy was guffawing.

    The look on Romilda's face had been terrifying—almost like Harry had been her boggart. That was strange, he thought, Romilda had never even given him the time of day before: and now he came to think of it, even Luna's usually dreamy expression appeared startled along with Lavender's look of dismay. Why were these girls afraid of him? He was on good terms with Lavender, and Luna was one of his greatest friends—Luna had been fighting with him at the Ministry, for goodness's sake!

    But, ah, this was a different plane of reality, he reminded himself. So far none of the existing history had proven true here: and Pansy was afraid of him, after all, jittery around him. Did he scare girls? Did he do things to upset them? Malfoy found it funny, whatever it was.

    "That," Malfoy said with a snort, "was good. I didn't think you'd have the gall to go back to Vane after you cockslapped her, Harry. She's not bad, though—Ow!—" Pansy scowled at him "—For buck's sake, woman!"

    "Well, I'm sick of you making comments about other girls," hissed Pansy, "especially Gryffindors. You're supposed to think about beating them, not staring at Katie Bell's arse all match!"

    "Yes," said an oily voice behind Harry. His stomach dropped as he recognised the deadpan tone. "You'd do well to keep your eyes on the Snitch, Malfoy. Potter can't knock every opposing Seeker down with a Bludger for you." Harry turned to see Snape stood before the fire, his long fingers tucked into the pockets at the front of his long black gown. Well, he was still into priest fashion, it seemed. He turned to Harry indignantly. "And you," he said, "were told quite specifically to stay away from Romilda Vane after last year's rather disreputable act. I don't know what sort of fascination you have with her, but keep it private. Slytherin's reputation has suffered enough."

    Well, that was the most civilised thing Snape had ever said to Harry: he felt a strange buzzing sensation when he realised that he was at least liked by his least favourite professor in some capacity. Perhaps his dad wasn't the git Snape had reported him to be, after all.

    "Anyway," Snape went on, "Potter, Malfoy—yourselves, Crabbe and Goyle are to report to me after the Quidditch match. Your Potions marks this week were horrendous and I don't care if you were having fun throwing my limited supply of Puffskein peel around, you need to make up unless you want to fail the module before Christmas."

    Harry groaned—as did Crabbe and Goyle, who were also decked out in Quidditch gear (God, Harry groaned, who let these buffoons on the team?)—but Malfoy had a wicked grin, and he nodded fervently before Snape strode away to the teacher's bank that stretched the width of the room with a massive Christmas tree behind it. Harry knew he'd been bad at Potions, but not as bad as Crabbe or Goyle: Crabbe and Goyle were so bad that their names should've been on the grading list, and scoring a C or a G for any subject should've been synonymous with failing.

    "But Draco," said Crabbe from Harry's side, "Snape doesn't teach us Potions this year."

    Malfoy glared at him, then punched him on the arm as if to get him to shut up. Harry, though silent, had a brain which was whirring suddenly, taking in the information. If Snape wasn't teaching Potions, then who was? And if Snape wasn't teaching Potions, what was he teaching? He had barely opened his mouth to ask when there was a great round of applause and catcalls and whistles—Harry turned to see, at the entrance to the Great Hall, the Gryffindor Quidditch team enter.

    His eyes popped open as he saw the seven individuals he'd be competing against: Ginny, Ron, and Dean were the only people he knew personally—behind them were Cormac McLaggen, a slimy blond git who'd do well to keep his pants on; Demelza Robins, a girl Harry had only ever seen out on the pitch, dodging Bludgers like it was her day job; Jimmy Peakes, a broad-chested boy who Harry had played a game of Exploding Snap with once; and Ritchie Coote, a tall mixed-race boy with a shock of dark, curly hair who was effortlessly great at almost every subject in the curriculum. Katie Bell, who in Harry's opinion indeed had a fine behind, hung around as reserve with hard grit in her eyes; he was actually very surprised to see that she'd been replaced—had Gryffindor's captain found someone better than her?

    Well, Harry mused, that lot can handle themselves well.

    He grinned wildly at Hermione who was clutching onto Ron's arm in an attempt to steer away from McLaggen. Ron, in the meantime, had a fat smile on his face. Harry suspected that it was Hermione's closeness more than anything, as he knew Ron had always said Slytherin and Quidditch was like casting, "Incendio!" at Aragog to get him to go away—that was, Ron couldn't have been very pleased to be up against Slytherin for Quidditch unless he was suddenly the world's best player on the world's best broom. What he didn't know was that he was in for a nice surprise as Harry was planning to sabotage Malfoy and the rest of the team so that Gryffindor won.

    Harry jumped to his feet, startling Malfoy who was hissing wildly at Crabbe, and made his way back to the Gryffindor table. He made sure to avoid Romilda and the others, but when he approached Ron and Hermione and the rest of the team who were surrounded by a mass of other Gryffindors, everybody went silent.

    Harry looked around uneasily, and said with a shaky smile: "All right, Ron, Hermione?"

    Ron's mouth gaped before quickly shutting; he narrowed his eyes, and sneered: "Piss off, Potter. Come to taunt us? Don't even bother; we'll smash you this match." Harry was taken aback; his eyes went wide and he fumbled with his words. His default with Ron would be a scowl or something equally nasty since he and Ron often got on each other's nerves, but this was different because he understood that this was a Ron who wasn't his best friend, and this was a Hermione whose face was taut and cold towards him.

    "Right," he said weakly, and turned back around. He really wanted to sit down with them and talk things out, and explain what had happened to him and that none of this was really real at all—but it wasn't that simple. He was beginning to understand that in saving Sirius, he was sacrificing other aspects of his life. He didn't want Malfoy, he just wanted Ron and Hermione, but it looked to be an impossible dream.

    Well, even if they didn't reciprocate his feelings, they would always be his best friends: and Harry wasn't the Slytherin Harry that strutted around this alternate world. He was the old Harry who wore Gryffindor colours with pride, and had a boring old wand and scruffy hair and round spectacles. He'd get them back, and they'd all be in the common room (well, if he was even allowed in the Gryffindor common room anymore) and they'd have pumpkin juice and parties and do homework together. Things would be right as rain in no time.

    And yet Harry wondered that if he was a completely different person, were Ron and Hermione as well? Had their histories been changed, caught up in the whirlwind brewed up by the flap of the butterfly wings that Harry had set into motion? Was Ron still poor, had more siblings than you could count on one hand, a son of a father who had a bizarre obsession with Muggle bits and bobs? Was Hermione still acing classes, still had a problem with her front teeth, still had Muggle parents?

    It boggled his brain to think about.

    If Malfoy had been jubilant at Harry's approaching of Romilda Vane, then he had now died and gone to heaven. The rest of Slytherin house were looking at Harry, some gawking, some laughing, some clapping, some hooting—some even just whispering. But when Harry flopped back down next to Malfoy, there was a great furore and round of applause, followed by people trying to high-five him and patting him on the back.

    "Brilliant," Blaise was saying with hiccupped laughter, "just amazing."

    But Harry didn't feel brilliant—in fact he felt rather depressed like someone had just stuck the end of their wand in his happy little bubble created by seeing his Gryffindor friends. Sitting next to people he didn't like and couldn't stand made him realise how very lonely he was beginning to feel. He had nobody, really, nobody except Not-Really-Sirius and his parents. Should he even expect anything of his parents? He didn't want to think about it; that'd simply crush him.

    Thankfully he was soon distracted by Malfoy standing up a couple of minutes after nine: The entire Slytherin table went quiet, and the other houses stooped to low murmuring to hear what was going on by the fireplace. Several whoops later, Malfoy bowed, and then made a very grave face that looked suspiciously as if he was trying to contain his laughter.

    "Well, my good women and men—" "—my good Slytherins!" interjected a seventh year girl, much to everyone's amusement "—yes, my good Slytherins—thank you, Rachel. Today marks a very important occasion for many of us—" ("Huzzah! Hoorah!") "—but let us not forget that our opponents are cunning and wily. I don't doubt that you remember last match's foul play on Ravenclaw's part—" ("Boo!" "Get lost, Malfoy, you git!") "—now now, don't be rude—so it is with absolute sincerity that I, Draco Malfoy, Seeker for Slytherin five years in a row, announce that today's match will bring about a new era in Quidditch at Hogwarts—" You can bet on it, Harry thought "—for today we face most ruthless opponents—" ("Hiss! Boo!" "That's right, Malfoy!") "—opponents with the looks of a rat and the morals of an alley cat—opponents known as Gryffindor!"

    The way Malfoy said the house name made Harry bristle: it was a low rumble in his throat, coughed up like phlegm; the other Slytherins recognised his tone too and began to pretend to spit on the floor in the direction of Gryffindor's table. Hufflepuff, who were caught between the two rivalling houses, looked as if they were stuck in No Man's Land, and turned to one another with bewilderment and fatigue.

    Ravenclaw, on the other hand, were cheering Gryffindor on—Malfoy's ill words towards their house hadn't done Slytherin any favours. Snape's long face clearly showed his disapproval of Malfoy's speech, no doubt thinking about the further damage to the house reputation he'd just caused: McGonagall, however, looked jostled and disliking of Slytherin all together, but as she called out to her house to tell them to quieten down, her eyes glinted dangerously. She looked set to turn Malfoy back into his ferrety form.

    Malfoy rose to his feet, as did Blaise and Vaisey, and for the first time Harry saw his new Quidditch team stood together: Malfoy, the Seeker; team Captain Ishmael Urquhart, a brown-skinned Chaser with handsome features; Vaisey, a Chaser; Blaise, also a Chaser; himself and Crabbe as Beaters; and finally Goyle, the Keeper.

    They were all well-kitted in their uniforms with the exception of Crabbe, who looked like he could do with losing a pound or twenty and Blaise, whose jodhpurs were a little small for him around the ankles because he was so tall. With one more eye-rollingly typical round of applause from the rest of the house, they all strode out together—Harry traipsing behind them, of course, with a sour look on his face.

    "Don't listen to Snape," said Malfoy in Harry's ear, "knock that Bludger around at as many players as you can. I quite like looking at Katie Bell's arse."

    Oh, thought Harry darkly, I will.

    —x—

    Conditions outside were cold but sunny, giving Harry plenty of light. It felt weird, not having to slip goggles over his eyes to protect himself or his glasses from the usual winter weather, and during the hour practise he played considerably well against the reserves. Surprisingly the Beater's bat felt snug in his hand, and the muscles of his right arm were well-developed as he swung it around experimentally; resisting the temptation to thwack Malfoy around the mouth had been hard but he'd vented some of his frustration by wreaking havoc on a bag of old tennis balls which were enchanted to zoom back as if they enjoyed being beaten into submission countless times.

    "Playing well," said Vaisey, "good thing you went to the hospital wing to get patched up last match, eh? Would hate to think Ravenclaw were clever enough to break your arm forever, slippery little bastards." He took a swig of water and looked out, from the doorway of the changing room, at the stands which were almost full. "Oh, bloody hell—look at them."

    Harry indeed turned to look at them, and beamed when he saw that Ravenclaw had bewitched their quarter of the pitch to flash from blue and silver to red and gold in time with the chants of, "Go, go, Gryffindor!" Slytherin had taken the initiative to try and out-do this joined effort by Ravenclaw and Gryffindor with heavily saturated house colours that bled into Hufflepuff's area; the Hufflepuffs were elegantly indifferent to this teaming-up and feuding as they had already won against Gryffindor but lost to Ravenclaw; and yet they understood that Slytherin were dangerous opponents and could very well knock Hufflepuff out of the league later in January.

    Looking at the boards, Harry realised that Quidditch team rankings were vastly different: Gryffindor had already lost a match against Hufflepuff and were now onto their second match which was pitched against Slytherin; Slytherin had lost to Ravenclaw but were now set up against Gryffindor and, in the future, Hufflepuff; and Ravenclaw had won both their matches against Hufflepuff and Slytherin so it was really down to the outcome of this match to say who was winning the league. As it currently stood, Ravenclaw were well in the lead.

    Harry leaned against the end of his Firebolt—a welcome familiarity though he wasn't sure how he'd gotten it—that outdid all the others' brooms. Malfoy eyed his enviously, clinging onto his Nimbus, but wasn't too bothered considering Ginny was doing a round on a much-battered Comet that seemed to be as much an addition to her body as an arm or a foot. Harry wished her luck, knowing how difficult it could be in the Seeking position—against Malfoy, too. No doubt the blond little twat would resort to calling her all sorts of names as they went neck-and-neck. Harry would make sure to accidentally swing his bat the wrong way for that one.

    "Right," said Urquhart with great gusto, "Potter, Crabbe, good luck with the Bludgers. No doubt Potter's had a bit of a scare since those Ravenclaw dicks—well, you know how it went." Harry turned his eyes away, really not very interested in any comraderie they supposedly had going. "Myself, Vaisey and Zabini have been practising our rounds all month for this lot, so we're fairly well-rehearsed—" which they were "—but Weasley looks set to defend those posts. No wonder, they're worth more than his house put together." Harry's face flushed hot, but the others laughed. Urquhart turned to Blaise with a stern nod. "Make sure to wiggle your arse in his face as much as you can, yeah? After that French bit during the Tournament I'm betting Weasley'll do anything for a Veela—" Blaise was part Veela? "—even a bloke." Blaise nodded; he seemed dead-set on winning. "Goyle, you'll be okay for the posts. Gryffindor's Chasers are so awful that they had to rely on Ginny Weasley catching the Snitch to scrape them 150 points, and even then they didn't win—and that was against Hufflepuff." Goyle gave a firm jolt of the head, at which point Urquhart rounded on Malfoy and his lazy swagger. "And you," he scorned, "Vaisey said he heard you and Pansy at it this morning, so keep your cock in your pants and your eyes off Katie Bell's backside if she gets brought on, and you should be all right for the Snitch since you've got a better broom than their Seeker."

    "Well," drawled Malfoy, "it's a shame we can't delay this match until after Christmas, isn't it? I'd really be quick on my toes then, wouldn't I?"

    There was a baited silence that Harry didn't understand, followed by laughter and clapping on the back. Malfoy's gaze met Harry and he gave him a wink as if it was a secret shared between best friends. Apparently, Malfoy was best friends with the entire Quidditch team too because Harry hadn't the faintest idea what the other boy meant by his remark. He turned to Vaisey as they filed out to the Quidditch pitch, and whispered quietly.

    "What does he mean by that, until after Christmas?"

    He was surprised when Vaisey shot him a dark look with raised brows, but had no chance to question him further because the bright morning light exploded in front of Harry's eyes and pushed him into the Quidditch arena. Taking in a deep breath and whetting his lips, Harry ascended into the air.

    —x—

    Zachary Smith, whom Harry loathed quite openly, was commentating: Lee Jordan was sat next to him with a grumpy frown, being swatted at quite occasionally by McGonagall, who on more than fourteen occasions had to grab the boy to prevent him from yanking the magical microphone away from Smith to scream his undying appraisal for Gryffindor's playing. From up above, Harry laughed as McGonagall's hat tumbled onto Dumbledore's lap beside her. Dumbledore himself was holding his chest to contain himself, which made Harry quite warm inside.

    "Shit—Harry!"

    Harry swerved just quickly enough to bring his bat up in order to reflect a Bludger aimed right for the crown of his head. His heart thudded rapidly in his chest as he realised how close he'd really been to being quite painfully murdered, as the hair on top of his head was squashed down by his bat. The ball went careening off to the Hufflepuff stands, where it knocked Hannah Abbott in the chest and winded her quite violently.

    "Red card!" screamed Dean from below, Chasing Vaisey for the Quaffle. Harry remembered that Dean was a West Ham football fan, but was distracted when Malfoy zoomed past and shouted something suspiciously like: "Good one, send them all to the hospital wing so they can't play against us in January!" Harry snarled as he went past, and then went higher to look over the pitch and to get his bearings on what was going on.

    Gryffindor were winning, sixty to fifty, but both Keepers and sets of Chasers looked strong. Goyle, Harry discovered, was built like a brick house and hadn't even flinched when the Quaffle had bounced off his chest more than five times; Harry had had to pretend to buck on his broom and send a Bludger his way to get him to clear the goalposts at which point Demelza Robins had scored ten points, looped around to catch the Quaffle and sent it back for Dean to send the ball home again. Goyle, understanding a Bludger was at fault, had given Jimmy Peakes the world's most venomous glare before Harry had made another Bludger bang around the goalposts, knocking him funny with the loudness of it, allowing Gryffindor to get another two goals; this time, Ritchie Coote was incurring of the Slytherin Keeper's wrath. Harry would have to remember to warn Coote to stay well away for a good while.

    Madam Hooch, however, had hawked in on Harry's dodgy playing and had called him down during a time-out to ask him what was going on. He'd looked at her innocently, telling her his arm was still a bit rickety after last match's incident with Ravenclaw, and had then gone back up into the sky. He resolved to play it a bit more subtly this time, and even though Hufflepuff were now openly booing Slytherin for Harry's maiming of Hannah Abbott, he could say it was an honest mistake.

    "Slytherin showing their true colours once again, attacking future opponents Hufflepuff to knock us—er, them—out of the league because they can't handle the fact Gryffindor's getting its first win of the season—"

    "SMITH!"

    "Right you are, Professor, right you are! Nothing but an honest mistake on Potter's part, of that I'm sure—yes, Lee, thanks for that, Lee now openly in support of Hufflepuff—"

    "Go, go, Hufflepuff!"

    "JORDAN!"

    "Right again, Professor, back to the game it is—and Potter circling around like a hawk, who next to target I'm sure, could be Weasley and Weasley, could be Thomas who has the Quaffle firmly in possession again—OUCH! CRABBE KNOCKS THOMAS RIGHT IN THE HEAD, THOMAS DROPS THE QUAFFLE, SLYTHERIN CAPTAIN URQUHART RUSHING TO GET IT, HE HAS IT, THOMAS FALLING TO THE GROUND, URQUHART GOING FOR GOLD, KEEPER WEASLEY LOOKING A BIT SICK AFTER CRABBE'S BLUDGER—OH! Urquhart scores, draws the match!"

    An explosion of noise came from the Slytherin stands, mixed in with Malfoy whooping obnoxiously above Harry, who was watching medics rush onto the pitch to collect Dean and his broom. The match stopped for several seconds, Ron righting himself again, and then Katie Bell joined the field. Blaise hissed somewhere below Harry but kept his temper and whipped right in to take back the Quaffle from Gryffindor possession.

    Crabbe wheeled up next to Harry, groaning because he'd inadvertently brought on Gryffindor's best Chaser (Harry wasn't surprised, considering Crabbe had never shown any signs of intelligent life). "I was aiming for his arm, not his bucking head! Oh, for God's sake!" He zoomed off again to take care of another wheeling Bludger which had been propelled by Coote to go right for Vaisey. Harry, on the other hand, thought Crabbe's mistake was brilliant: Katie would be bringing in goals until the cows came home. Spinning around, he descended a bit lower to see who else on his own team he could incapacitate when the glint of something gold caught his eye, and instinctively he screamed out:

    "The Snitch!"

    The crowd pulled in an excited gasp, drowning out Harry's loud moan as it came to him that he should've stopped himself from shouting to gain Ginny's attention; Malfoy was also streaking after the tiny ball, face like a feral cat and eyes slanted like those of a snake. His hand was outstretched though he was still half the pitch away, and then Ginny suddenly turned downwards into a steep nosedive, pressing her mouth to the wood of her broom, and she was closing in, Malfoy inches behind, and everyone had their eyes trained on the two of them as they scrapped for the ball, not noticing how Urquhart and Vaisey and Blaise were putting the Quaffle through Ron's hoops time and time again, Ron himself having been captivated by the fierce competition between Malfoy and his sister—

    She reached out her hand at the same time that Ron screamed, and the Snitch became nestled in her shaking hand, and she pulled up suddenly, followed by a raging Malfoy, and cheered along with the rest of the deafening stadium—and Harry's heart swelled with pride, thinking that Ginny had played brilliantly as well as the rest of Gryffindor team, and it was too bad that he wasn't on it because he wanted so badly to share their victory with them.

    But something broke his bubble again, and as Smith's voice boomed out around the arena, Harry's heart fell.

    "Gryffindor ends the match by Ginny Weasley's hand—but Slytherin win by a margin of ten points, thanks to Chasers Zabini, Urquhart and Vaisey."

    The stadium went quiet, and then Harry yelled, frustrated and annoyed and so bucking pissed off that he couldn't even do this thing right for his own house. He descended, letting his broom lie in the sand, and stormed off towards the changing room much to Slytherin's amazement. He really didn't want to be in Slytherin company anymore, he thought; he was just going to get changed, find some Gryffindor robes he could put on, and go and find the Room of Requirement so he could punch something into blissful oblivion while feeling like he really was a part of the losing house.

    He quickly got changed, ripping his Quidditch garments off and throwing them on the floor; and then it occurred to him he hadn't a change of clothes because the robes were what he'd put on that morning. Frustrated, he kicked a shower stall, and then turned to see an old wooden door on the other side of the room which connected to the opposing team's changing rooms. He fumed as he went through it, but lightened up as he saw a small batch of Gryffindor robes. Lady Luck was on his side today—or maybe she was simply making up for the lousy job she'd made out of the Quidditch match.

    The pants and shirt fit him all right, though the jumper with its red lining and lion crest was a bit too small; he simply rolled up the sleeves and stretched the woolly material to loosen around his neck and shoulders. He did up his Gryffindor tie haphazardly, stuffing it down his chest, and grinned at himself in the mirror. Simply put he looked like someone had taken him, Gryffindor Harry, the real Harry, and had given him a nice facial makeover. He then ran his hands through his hair, making it messy as it usually was, and patted himself on his cheeks.

    Well, that was a quick remedy, even if it wasn't permanent. He felt much better and much more comfortable in these off-sized clothes than he did in those perfect Slytherin garments. He turned back through the door to collect his shoulder bag and wand when he heard the commotion from outside. Malfoy, leading the other team members, came through the door, chatting happily and laughing with one another—and then Blaise gasped sharply, and Malfoy jumped.

    "What the…" was all Vaisey managed.

    Harry, head held high, ignored them and went to walk right past when Malfoy stuck out his arm and trapped him. There was colourful hatred in his face, which Harry couldn't care less about, and then there was pain, which Harry could care less about, as he was pushed against the hard, tiled wall.

    "What the buck do you think you're wearing?"

    "I think they're Hufflepuff Quidditch robes," said Harry dryly, "but I'm not sure. Think you could help me out?"

    Malfoy went red in the face. It wasn't a nice effect—it quite drew up the image of young Dudley, blond and red-faced, who Harry supposed was the Muggle equivalent of his housemate. Both were equally spoiled, from snotty-nosed families, extremely house-proud in some capacity, and thought too much about themselves and not enough about other people. Unlike Dudley, however, Malfoy was in possession of a wand and, by extension, a vast array of magic spells. He wondered if they were about to re-enact Lockhart's duelling club of the second year when there was a high, uninterested tone between the two of them, followed by a mass of black.

    "Well, well," said Snape, "arguing again are we, boys? While I'm sure the both of you are going to have very successful careers in the professional boxing industry, I might ask you to be so gracious as to stop beating your chests for more than ten seconds." It's him with the problem, not me, Harry thought snidely. "And yes, Mister Malfoy—" he blinked lifelessly at the seething boy "—while I acknowledge that Mister Potter is wearing Gryffindor garb, must I bring it to your attention that not even two weeks ago you were discovered in Ravenclaw uniform, complete with a skirt and stockings?"

    Harry couldn't help but snort along with everyone else, much to Malfoy's annoyance. Malfoy had to have been hexed or blackmailed into it, because Harry couldn't see him doing anything that even remotely tarnished what Malfoy thought was an immaculate reputation.

    "Doubtless, this is Potter's attempt at a joke." Malfoy smirked when Harry frowned. "Even so, it has been made clear that students must wear only the uniform of their respective houses, even if you do feel it appropriate to sneak into Hufflepuff's common room on Halloween, dressed like a badger." He rounded on Harry, who was frankly amazed that Snape had managed to keep a straight face all this time. "Professor McGonagall is tiring of your Gryffindor charade, Mister Potter, and has personally requested that I tell you to stick to your own uniform. The Fat Lady is not to be confused, of that we are all to be positive." Finally, he sucked in a breath, and paused when he realised that Malfoy very much resembled a kettle at screaming point. "Is there something the matter?"

    "Yes," hissed Malfoy, "he's been acting weird all morning—and last night as well. We were just sat on the sofa in the common room, Professor, and suddenly he jumped up like he had a stick up his arse and broke my nose. And he was being stupid with the Bludgers, and he storms off when we win, and now he's dressing up in Ron bloody Weasley's robes? He thinks he's a Gryffindor! Somebody's Imperiused him!"

    "I am surprised," drawled Snape, cutting through the quietness, "that you think it possible for Potter to be Imperiused right under my nose. None of my students are adept enough to cast such a spell, and even if they were, I would notice the symptoms. Mister Potter is not under the influence of the Imperius curse, Malfoy. He has the brash, indifferent stupidity of a Gryffindor and has been a long-time purveyor of Weasley joke products. If these are not two stock characteristics of Gryffindor, Mister Malfoy, then I shall report back to the Sorting Hat and tell it that it has been putting students into the wrong houses for thousands of years."

    Well, at least Snape still disliked him. At least something was reciprocated. Meanwhile, Malfoy's mouth gaped open, then it closed, and then it opened again before he shrank back and resigned. His eyes were narrow, shooting daggers, but Snape had turned around and was calling the two of them plus Crabbe and Goyle to the far end of the changing room while the others washed their hands and chattered.

    Oh, yes, Harry had forgotten that Snape had wanted to see them. So had Crabbe by the looks of it; his piggy eyes flew open and he said, quite stupidly: "Do you want us to grow those Puffskeins back, Professor?"

    "No," said Snape dismissively, "now listen up. All of you know why I've asked to speak to you. Let me make it clear that none of this conversation is to be repeated outside the five of us. There will be repercussions for your disobedience should you let anything slip—" Goyle looked away nervously "—as Mister Goyle has discovered. Do not take what I am about to relay to you at face value. Things change, circumstances shift, and loyalties wane. This is simply an outline of things to come."

    Outline? Harry wondered, Outline for what?

    And yet from the gleeful look on Malfoy's face he knew it couldn't be good. He was beginning to feel sick, and scared from some deep part inside him. Not even these Gryffindor robes could protect him against the horrible murky feeling he had in his stomach. He listened intently with rattling breath, wondering how on Earth the other four of the group couldn't hear or feel his heart thudding dangerously.

    "Malfoy, you and Potter are to visit the cupboard tomorrow afternoon at two o'clock. Potter will enter first, and you will lock it behind him. Then you will re-open it, once you are sure he is gone, and then you shall go through yourself. Make sure to cover your tracks. Simple charms around the Barnabas tapestry will prevent anybody not looking for it from entering it—the Room of Requirement is ample protection against the ignorant, but I shall cast more powerful enchantments around the cupboard afterwards, and erase the ones you have made so as not to arouse suspicion. When you are through—well, I'll know." He searched the boys' faces for any sign of protest. Malfoy was serenely happy; Harry was serenely lost. "You understand that you shall both have caught pneumonia according to anybody who asks, and that you will also miss out on the last two weeks of term."

    Holidays already? Harry would've normally been happy to have some free time off to celebrate Christmas at Hogwarts, but he had a feeling that this season wasn't going to be as happy and joyous and previous years had been. He had no clue what was going on, why he or Malfoy were going to this so-called cupboard and why they had to cover their tracks, but he had a feeling insofar as to the nature of the blueprint of his mission Snape was laying out.

    Next Snape rounded onto Malfoy's cronies. "You two will pass through at one o'clock, an hour earlier. I shall be there, waiting for the both of you so that I may undo and replace the enchantments. You are to report immediately to your fathers, as you've been told and then—"

    "—then we wait for Draco and Harry," finished Goyle. Whatever discipline had been enacted where he was concerned was doing its job well; that stupid, gorilla expression was replaced by astute nervousness and what looked to be a dying wish for everything to go according to plan. If Harry liked Goyle he would've pitied him, but as it stood Harry did not like Goyle so therefore did not pity him.

    Discipline and intelligent awareness were completely wasted on Crabbe, however, who cocked his head to one side and said thickly: "And if we don't go to our dads? What happens then?"

    "Then you won't finish the necessary preparations, which is a taster of your induction, and you will have marred the process which has been painstakingly organised and laid-out by many individuals thousands of times more important than yourself, and Malfoy's and Potter's parents—" Harry's heart lurched "—will be utterly humiliated, and this painstakingly organised and laid-out process will go to waste, and He won't be very pleased."

    "Who's He?" asked Crabbe.

    Snape's only response for a long time was a blink. There was a moment in which Harry thought his heart was going to palpitate because his brain had already pieced the information together and filled in the gaps, and yet he could not process it. It took Snape's cold sneer to put everything into perspective for him.

    "The Dark Lord."

    --x--

    Author's notes: I rather like Quidditch. C&C, hm?

    You can read the fanfiction from the start on its FF.Net page or you can hop straight to chapter two right here. Otherwise, you can look at what other fictions I have to offer on my profile.

  9. #9
    Killjoy Hillington
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    Default Re: CHIMAERA (a Harry Potter fanfic) [CHAPTER 3 OUT NOW]

    This is the only fanfiction on here that kept me reading.

    Good job.

  10. #10
    Digidork for life. DMrayZ's Avatar
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    Default Re: CHIMAERA (a Harry Potter fanfic) [CHAPTER 3 OUT NOW]

    Jeez, this stories amazing, honestly I've never been so mesmorized by a fan fiction before... Keep up the good work!

  11. #11
    Prepared To Die Orion's Avatar
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    Default Re: CHIMAERA (a Harry Potter fanfic) [CHAPTER 3 OUT NOW]

    asfaflkajdfsakfjdsja

    i know me currently reading the closing hp books is contributing at least slightly to HOW MUCH I LOVE THIS

    but honestly this is fantastic and i'm wanting MORE ;w;

  12. #12
    Digidork for life. DMrayZ's Avatar
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    Default Re: CHIMAERA (a Harry Potter fanfic) [CHAPTER 3 OUT NOW]

    Right? I wish the guy would hurry up! This is the best FF I've ever read!

  13. #13
    Prepared To Die Orion's Avatar
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    Default Re: CHIMAERA (a Harry Potter fanfic) [CHAPTER 3 OUT NOW]

    'Tis a she, just so you know.

  14. #14
    Digidork for life. DMrayZ's Avatar
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    Default Re: CHIMAERA (a Harry Potter fanfic) [CHAPTER 3 OUT NOW]

    ... Well then I wish She would hurry up.

  15. #15
    ` dragon dance Ehres's Avatar
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    Default Re: CHIMAERA (a Harry Potter fanfic) [CHAPTER 3 OUT NOW]

    fuq'q y'all i'm puttin nice touches on chapter FO

 

 
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