HP/FoR crossover, Harry raised by Mikagami. Join in as we deal with a much more keyed up first book!
Chapter 5: Learning is Everywhere
09th January 2006
"Harry, it is good to see you again. How have your lessons been?" Harry settled himself into a rather large chair across from the aged Headmaster and appeared thoughtful, "Lessons, for the most part, have been interesting. The books assigned provide adequate material but do not give the insight of an actual teacher. I personally find it very different from any previous reading I did, since most advanced books I've seen are somewhat more impersonally written."
Dumbledore chuckled lightly, "Indeed Harry, indeed. I wonder though, how you have been dealing with Potions class? Severus has been by several times to complain about your threats which according to him are becoming more and more vocal?" Harry sighed, "I do not make verbal threats, headmaster. I find them to be ultimately ineffective, I do advocate the visible defense though. I now carry two swords around at all times. One as you know is my prerogative, but I find having a concealed weapon is always an advantage. Something you'd know of, wouldn't you, headmaster?"
Dumbledore beamed, "I wondered when a student would realize the real reason for such long robes. Though I must say bright pink and purple do not quite go so well with white and silver don't you think?" Not listening for an answer, Dumbledore swished his wand in a circular fashion and his robes changed from bright purple with bright pink fairies to dark purple and sky blue fairies. Much easier on the eyes, in Harry's opinion, and commented as much. Dumbledore only smiled and nodded to it, "I've been doing some thinking, Harry, and I had a rather interesting idea. I myself have little to no skills apart from magic, in which I am singularly powerful, if you'll pardon the lack of humility.
"I noticed, the last time I watched you, that your skills reside mainly in the muggle world of martial arts. While this is commendable and in your case incredible, I believe you are also similarly powerful in magic, and that you shouldn't let this go to waste. The ages of 11 through 14, and 16 through 19 are times of the greatest growth in magical potential. It would be a shame to waste yours much as mine was partially wasted. As such, I was wondering if you would agree to a duel, say, every fortnight till the fortnight before your exams and the same thereafter." Harry considered and bounced the idea around with his training schedule and nodded, "It sounds educational. Tell me Headmaster, what else would we do in these dueling times?"
Albus smiled his twinkling smile, "Duel of course, what better way to exercise your magical muscle?" Harry raised an eyebrow and snorted slightly, and Dumbledore chuckled, "I will, of course, be teaching you other spells and techniques. Reading books, while good, is not the only or even best way to learn. For some people though, I will concede it is the only way." Harry chuckled, thinking of Hermione, "Indeed? I agree actually. What I wanted to ask about, though, is the idea of Animagi." Dumbledore raised an eyebrow and evil eyed Fawks, "Animag Harry? Well, it is a most interesting subject, and I will attempt to cover as completely as possible to you."
The night sky was beautiful, and Harry in his Dire Wolf form was very much taken with it, deciding that the full moon only enhanced its beauty. He chuckled, almost impossible in wolf form so it came out a snort, cut off when he heard a distant howl. His ears pricked up and twitched, the distinct sound of something not-quite right reaching his sensitive hearing. Tensing his muscles he launched his large frame into the Forest towards the yowl.
Remus had had a bad week. His werewolf side coming out led to passing Demon Hunters chasing him. Fortunately his lycanthropy gave him greatly enhanced speed and strength, so he'd made it to the relative safety of the Forbidden Forest near Hogwarts. Exhausted, his transformation had been even more painful than usual, though thankfully he was safely away from humans, free as he was meant to be. He bounded through the dense undergrowth, reveling in the feel of flight, or as close as he'd get.
He was far from pure, but that wasn't important. Unicorns, he decided, were greatly misunderstood. They worked on intentions, if you had impure motives then they'd elude you to the ends to the earth. Barring Voldemort, Remus didn't think any could catch a unicorn. His musings were cut short by the appearance of another canine. He didn't recognize what it was, but it was large. Very large, with fangs large enough to deter any creature, and piercing green eyes that would have stopped a bloodlust fuelled frenzy. His eyes narrowed and he snarled a challenge, canine instincts taking over with another canine encroaching on his territory.
Harry responded with a growl of his own, letting his own instincts come through. He hadn't figured out how to channel ki in this form yet, or he'd use it. The best he could do was let the wolf take over and accustom himself to the feel of fighting as a wolf. His own mind quickly assessed his opponent, a werewolf. He gauged them to be roughly equal in strength, perhaps the werewolf winning slightly, but he gave up perhaps a foot in height for a few kilos in weight. Both had claws, but the werewolf's were more humanoid-like while his exposed his flanks.
The werewolf charged first, going for a head-on approach which Harry barely sidestepped. He mentally berated himself for forgetting the extra speed a werewolf had as he twisted round and jumped to slash the werewolf. The Lycanthrope turned round in time to raise a paw and avoid getting more seriously hurt, but still suffered several gashes on his arm. A Direwolf! Remus finally found the small tidbit in his whirring mind, back when he was trying to complete an essay on magical animal parts. Apparently the Direwolf was almost extinct, but existing parts were known to be highly magical, admittedly not to the extent of the basilisk, for example. This one didn't seem very old, perhaps ten or so years, but then he could be wrong.
The werewolf faked right and slashed Harry on his right, but the Direwolf reacted instantly and violently, planting two rear paws into the lycanthrope's face. They distanced themselves quickly before circling each other warily and attacking. This continued for several hours before the moon set and the sun began to peak through. Remus slowly untransformed, panting like he'd just run a marathon. Harry untransformed too and pulled out his wand, conjuring a bottle of water, not wanting to surprise the werewolf by doing it wandlessly.
Remus's shock didn't register till after he finished the water and realized that the Dire Wolf he'd been fighting was in fact an animagus. When it did, his eyes locked with Harry and tears sprang into his exhausted eyes, "Harry? Is that you?" Harry frowned, "Yes I'm Harry. Who're are you?" Remus, a relieved smile spreading across his face, began his tale, "My name is Remus Lupin, Harry, I was one of your parents' best friends when we were at school."
"Arr, the Hogs Head. Not the best place to be, mind you, but doesn't prejudice against other species, and has the more alcoholic drinks that Rosmerta wouldn't serve. That'd be the Three Broomsticks to you lot. But this guy was real nice, said he din wanna have the poor creature die young in a reserve o' nuttin. So he jezz gave 'im to me." Harry's eyes narrowed, "Hagrid, don't you think it's strange that the one thing you want is a Dragon, and someone shows up with just the thing?" Hagrid grunted and dismissed Harry's concerns while poking the fire heating the dragon egg.
Hermione frowned, "What exactly did you two talk about anyway?" Hagrid was much more enthusiastic this time, "Oh, well I said I worked at Hogwarts, and he was most interested. I mean, not many people work here anyway, do they? He wanted ta know what sorta creatures we had, so I told 'im abou' Fluffy, right interested 'e was. I mean, how many cerebi do you see anywhere else?" Harry snorted, "If you know where to look, quite a few places." Hagrid shrugged, "He probably just didn't know."
Padma had picked it up though, "When you told him about Fluffy, what exactly did you tell him?" Hagrid frowned here apparently deep in thought, "well I don't remember quite proper, but he asked if I knew wa' I was gettin inta, so I said after Fluffy, a Dragon'd be easy. Just play 'im a lil music and 'e goes righta sleep." He froze, "No, I didn't say that, I didn't say that!" But Harry and his friends had already started on the run back to the castle. They stopped outside Flitwick's door out of breath and Harry pushed it open, "Professor! Something bad has happened." The miniature professor floated himself over to them, "Indeed? What is it?"
Harry gasped for breath, "Hagrid told someone how to get past Fluffy, and someone already knows how to get past the other traps!" Flitwick bit his lip, "I see. I'm afraid I can't actually do anything about it as things stand. To enhance the security I would have to enter the traps and obstacles, which would defeat its original purpose. I will, however, speak with the heads of houses about this breach." He ushered them out and closed the door, "In the meantime, why don't you four go outside and enjoy the sun? It's a lovely day." Harry sighed heavily, "The problem with that is that we're almost absolutely sure someone's going to steal it some time soon!"
Flitwick frowned, "Again, I shall have to speak with the rest of the house heads. I will, however, send the Headmaster an owl, as he has been called away to an urgent meeting of the Wizengamot. Please leave, I must start contacting the heads." Harry nodded with a frown and left, Su Li grimacing on her way out. They stopped outside and turned to Harry, who frowned in return, "Tonight, with Dumbledore away the Stone is the least protected." He bit his lip, "Tonight we go after it. If we have it nobody else will."
"Potter and his friends are honor less busybodies, there is no reason we should believe the Stone has been compromised. I tell you, it's simply Potter trying to gain attention again." Flitwick's left eye twitched badly, "That's my student you're insulting, Severus, perhaps you should reign in your temper. James Potter has long since left the school, as well you know, or at least should know."
Snape snarled in return, "Like father like son, he's always trying to gain attention and admiration! This level of disrespect should not be tolerated! Not to mention the number of school rules he has to have broken in finding out about the Stone." Flitwick's fingers twitched toward his wand but Mcgonagall noticed and stepped in, "That, however, is a discussion for another time. If Mr. Potter has found out about the stone, let alone where it has been hidden, then we have to take steps to improve security. No doubt extra security never hurt anyone."
Quirrel stood, "I-I-I c-c-can't th-think of how t-t-to do that, M-M-Minerva? I-I-It is a-already a r-rather s-s-s-scary p-place, i-isn't it?" He gazed around as though surprised nobody was vehemently supporting him. Ponoma Sprout stood, "I agree it is already scary, but the entry hall to the actual corridor is rather bare. I think I could safely pledge a few Venemous Tentaculae within the next week or so." McGonagall nodded, "And I shall provide a few automated stone enchantments to complement. Alright, meeting dismissed. Flilius, please inform Mr. Potter that his concerns have been dealt with." The Charms professor nodded and left.
Safely in his own room, Quirrel became his true self, untying his turban and bowing before the mirror which portrayed a monstrosity, "Master, the securities have been increased as you know. Should I make the call?" The grotesque face smiled humorlessly, "yes, call them. Call them and tell them to come prepared." Quirrel bowed low and disappeared to the owlrey, letter in hand.
"Keep your senses open, there is nothing more dangerous than an undetected enemy. Remain calm and alert, fear impedes and anger blinds. Now, have you everything you need?" Harry swallowed the last of his soup and nodded, "Yes sir. I have my katana, the Potter blade, cloak, staff and wand. I don't think I'll need it, but better safe than sorry." Tokiya nodded, "It's not time yet, go clear your mind." He called out just before Harry disappeared, "I can come if you want?" Harry shook his head, "This is my fight."
They came upon few distractions, Mrs. Norris, Peeves, and various other non-descript ghosts were the worst of them. All were dealt with quickly and simply, and they quickly found themselves outside the third floor corridor. Opening it, they were instantly assaulted by cannonballs and tongues of fire. Flicking their respective weapons, they quickly conjured shields and barriers, halting the flow. Drawing his ki around him in an aura, Harry unsheathed his katana and swept into the room, drawing the various animated statues' attention while the other three fired curses and hexes, rapidly reducing the piles of stone to rubble.
Harry frowned, "Well, it looks like they did some remodeling. Not that it's any good if we got through them this quickly." Hermione was affronted, "There were four of us, it's natural we'd have an advantage." Harry nodded, "If we had equal power levels to him, yes. But that's not the case, collectively we probably just exceed Voldemort's power. Plus he has greater knowledge than all of us together; he'd probably have put up a titan shield and blasted the entire hall way with overpowered exploding curses." Hermione grumbled about logical gits but conceded the point.
They finally got to Fluffy, who growled at them till he sniffed out Harry, who grinned and patted him, "That's a good boy, you still like dragon meat?" The three girls goggled as Harry pulled out three large slabs of dragon meat and hand fed Fluffy. The meat gobbled up, the cerebus yawned (all three heads at once) and keeled over, quite obviously asleep. Hermione and Padma blinked, "He eats dragon meat?" Harry chuckled, "Well, most cerebi don't. In fact, they generally detest dragon meat. But being that they have lived around the world so long they've grown accustomed to eating dragon meat. At least now and then. In Fluffy's case, there was a potion accident involving dragon blood and minced dragon meat. Since then his favorite has been dragon meat, specifically the Peruvian Vipertooth." Padma looked faint so Harry opened the trapdoor and pulled out his wand, "Lumos."
They gazed down the hole a few minutes longer. Hermione sighed, "What more are you looking for? It's a plant, we can see that, but we won't be able to discern what sort of plant it is till we get down there." Su Li shook her head, "I don't know about Paddy, but Harry and I can sense ki patterns, which plants do give off, despite what some say. This, I don't think, isn't something we have studied in class. It resembles Devil's Snare and Marshman's Bog, but that's still not it." Harry frowned, "Agreed, I'd also like to add Gorgon's Avatar to that list, but that's not quite right either. It's possible it's a hybrid?" Padma interrupted, "It's not a hybrid, I think it's Gorgon's Wraith, it's a relative to the avatar, but I can't remember what it does."
That sent Hermione into "bookworm mode" as Harry'd dubbed it, and got a thinking look on her face, "Well I do know it's a hotbed for snakes usually small ones, and that it tends to grow on rocks, breaking them down for food, so as long as we stay away from the roots, which is where the snakes live, we should be fine. I think it has various tentacles and spikes but I can't remember much about them." Harry nodded, "Su, on me. Paddy, 'Mione, fire charms and curses, follow us in." He gave them no room for argument, jumping down while drawing his flames around him like a cloak and bringing his staff across his shoulder and down, the head burning a fiery blue aura. Su Li came down right behind him, ki claws swinging dangerously, her aura exploding into existence.
Hermione and Padma came much more slowly and cautiously, but inferno curses and nova flames flowed from their wands like extended hands attempting to destroy the dangerous plant, or at least incapacitate it.
Unfortunately, the plant was a hybrid of some sort, because its vines, though limited, were able to swat many of their spells from the air, as well as deflect some of the attacks from Harry. Then Harry got fed up and fed his ki into his flame, boosting the burning embers to far greater levels. Su Li alone was not stopped, the Neko-ken had been an avatar's skill, wielding divine power against any and all. A bit of plant wouldn't stop it. As such, she hacked away at the monstrous plant, opposite Harry at the other end of the chamber, burning vines and leaves to nothing. Padma and Hermione had landed by now and were mostly caught up in dodging attacks of the Vine Whip sort, only getting the odd curse off.
Finally Padma got fed up and pointed her wand between her feet and roared, "Larista!" It was a very obscure spell they'd found once while searching for homework material, and actually came from a time when emotional magic was being experimented with. It came from a set of duo spells, Larista and Lorada, both of which were blasting curses. However, both had secondary attributes drawn from the emotion experienced at casting. If one were in a cold mood, the spell would not only blast, but freeze as well. If one were angry when casting, the spell would burn. The difference between the two was that Larista was primarily attributal, while Lorada was power-based. This meant that in her frustrated and generally angry state, Padma not only blasted a hulking great hole in the plant and the anaconda beneath it, but burned both really badly. Panting heavily, she hadn't the energy to dodge the vine that came her way, whipping her into the wall, knocking her out. Harry placed himself in front of her and added his magic to his flame-ki mix, focusing all three into his staff.
His eyes glowed in time with the now immense aura of his staff, and when he brought it down there was a bright flash of light, flames exploding all over the chamber. When their vision cleared, the plant was little more than a small bulb left in the middle of three large black snakes. Fortunately, one had been killed, Padma's curse blowing a hole through its head, and another had been injured, its body protecting the now-dead snake. The last one hissed dangerously and Harry snarled in return, "Back off if you wish to live." The anacondas were momentarily stunned, but as per snake law couldn't disobey a human speaker, and even then they were rather in favor of living. Harry picked up Padma and the three hurried into the next room.
They went through the next two rooms without problem. Apparently Voldemort had found ways past the first three obstacles without having to use magic, but after that had encountered problems. The room after the "mad plant" in Padma's words was filled with flying keys, one of which was apparently going to unlock the door at the end. Or it would have, if the door hadn't been blown clean away leaving just a door frame. The next room was apparently a chessboard, but then Voldemort had evidently not dallied with mental sports and blown the whole place to pieces. Harry sighed, "Well, better than having to play across I guess."
The next room was likewise taken care of, the only thing recognizable apart from blood and guts was a troll head. Padma threw up onto what must have been its stomach, or one of them anyway, while Harry examined the head and muttered about how trolls weren't supposed to be that large. Indeed, their last challenge was to unravel the mystery of...the potion. Harry took one look at it and growled, "Miserable Snape has to have the toughest task. Though the chessboard would probably have come pretty close."
All of them being muggle raised, or as muggle raised as possible with Harry and Su Li's backgrounds, the riddle was complex but not impossible for them with "more than an ounce of logic" in Hermione's words. Unfortunately there was only enough for one to use, and three of them needed it. Eye twitching at the simplistic nature of this particular obstacle, Harry waved his wand, duplicating it twice, muttering about incompetent puzzle setters. Having ice down their gullets, they proceeded through the flame door, only to be confronted by a different person from their expectations.
"Potter, I wondered if you'd be here tonight."