In which Harry confronts the world famous cusine of Hogwarts, Snape’s past comes to the fore, Susan takes control of her sex life, the Women of Hufflepuff house ask just what was going on with th...
A/N2: In which Harry confronts the world famous cusine of Hogwarts, Snape’s past comes to the fore, Susan takes control of her sex life, the Women of Hufflepuff house ask just what was going on with the Potter boy, and Hermione happens upon Harry training.
Harry Potter and the Sun Source
Chapter 3: Hogwarts Happenings
The Hat quit whispering in Harry’s ear and shouted to the room. “It had better be… Hufflepuff!”
Harry turned to Professor McGonagall and raised an eyebrow in question. She gestured toward the Hufflepuff table. Harry noted Susan Bones was sitting at this ‘Hufflepuff’ table and was busily making room for him with a radiant smile on her face. Harry returned her smile and took the seat at the table that she offered..
His ‘sorting’ into Hufflepuff house seemed to generate a bit of surprise among both the staff and students. Good. Keep them guessing. Dumbledore rose to speak to the assembled students, and while Harry attempted to follow what the old man was saying, what he said made little sense. Harry wondered for a moment if he was missing some cultural clues vital to understanding the British magical society, but glancing around at the students around him told Harry that the man was evidently speaking nonsense, further that no one seemed all that surprised by this.
Dumbledore finished his remarks and the serving platters on the tables were filled with many foods, most alien to his eyes and none that he could eat. Beef permeated almost everything, excepting those dishes that were pork or chicken based. Harry fought back the bile in his throat from the smell of the cooked meats. Immediately in front of Harry was a platter of some unidentifiable salt water fish, covered in some bread based coating that was orange for some reason and fried in beef fat, then slathered in beef butter. Even the available drinks were horrid concoctions high in unnecessary sugars.
All around Harry the students were eating and talking, though several had noticed Harry not eating. Evidently, Dumbledore had noticed as well. The Headmaster had approached from behind Harry and spoke quietly.
“Is there a problem with the meal Mr. Potter?”
“Only that I cannot eat this… food Headmaster.”
“Nonsense my boy, the Elves of the Hogwarts kitchens are renowned for the quality of their meals.” the old man said dismissively.
“Perhaps they are Headmaster; I however will not be eating this. I will require access to supplies so that I might prepare my own meals.”
The old man was surprised by Harry’s request, and once again attempted to probe the boy’s thoughts. Nothing. It wasn’t like attempting to look into an occluded mind, rather like the boy’s mind just wasn’t there.
“Coopa?” Dumbledore called.
There was a pop and a House Elf was standing next to the ancient wizard. “Yes Headmaster?”
“Coopa, Mr. Potter here has specific meal requirements, could you see to his needs?”
“Of course Headmaster.”
Dumbledore turned to return to the staff table, before he had taken two steps he stopped. “Mr. Potter?”
“Do not forget, I need to speak with you in my office after the feast.”
It took Harry only a few moments to outline his dietary requirements to the House Elf. The Elf effusively assured him that Harry would always sit down to an appropriate meal in the future, and popped away to prepare Harry’s rice, cod and water.
Harry turned back to the table to find he had attracted a fair amount of attention.
“You’re on a special diet?” Susan asked.
“Is it… Kosher?” The tall boy with sandy hair sitting across the table asked.
“Yes, a ‘special diet’, and no, it’s not religious. It’s more of a way of life.” Harry smiled at the Bones girl, wondering if she would be interested in a bit of practice of the thirty seven steps so soon after almost being assaulted. Her hand was suddenly on his thigh and squeezing lightly answering the unasked question. “Please, don’t let my diet keep you from your meal.”
Conversation at the table was light as the Hufflepuffs resumed their meals. After fifteen minutes, Coopa Elf returned with Harry’s dinner, which again attracted the attention of those sitting around him, though they seemed to be disappointed by his steamed rice and fish.
Harry consumed his meal at what was for him a leisurely pace. He then asked Susan where the Headmaster’s office was, and then waited until Susan resumed speaking with her friend Hannah, before he ghosted from the Great Hall. After a few moments Susan turned back to find that Harry was gone.
How had he done that? She looked about the Great Hall trying to spot Harry. Her hand had been on his thigh… That was when she caught a glimpse of motion near one of the exits. Or she thought she did. She wondered again how he could he move like that. Thinking of how he could move, her thoughts drifted... Did she dare?
Dumbledore had been one of the first outside of his tablemates to notice that Harry had left the Great Hall, but the traditions of the Welcoming Feast had to be observed. It was another twenty minutes before he managed to dismiss the students and led his deputy and Professor Sprout, the Hufflepuff Head of House to his office.
The gargoyle moved smoothly out of Dumbledore’s way without the need of a password. The Headmaster headed up the moving staircase wondering why Harry Potter wasn’t waiting for them at the Gargoyle, the young man certainly had had the time needed to find the office. The door opened to Dumbledore’s touch and he found Harry Potter sitting in the chair in front of the Headmaster’s desk, a book of Greek magic on his lap and the boy’s feet on the desk.
“Mr. Potter!” The Headmaster exclaimed. “How did you get into my office?”
“You said you wanted to see me in your office Headmaster. Your sentry wouldn’t let me in, I thought about pressing the issue, but decided that I would just use the window rather than damage the gargoyle.”
“You used the window?” Professor Sprout asked. “This office is on the seventh floor of this tower.”
“Yes it is.” Harry agreed turning a page in the book. “And the window has a particularly shoddy lock.”
“Mr. Potter, get your feet off the Headmaster’s desk.” McGonagall snapped.
The young man seemed to notice the position he was in. “Oh, sorry.” He raised his feet until they hung in space an inch above the desktop.
The Deputy Headmistress glared at the new student. She knew that he would either put his feet back on the desk or lower them to the floor. Even a professional dancer would be stressing their legs to keep them suspended like that for any length of time.
“Mr. Potter.” The Headmaster began, “I cannot have you assaulting the Staff and Students here.”
“Perhaps you should be having this conversation with your Death Eater on Staff Headmaster. I was minding my own business in the company of Professor McGonagall and Prefect Granger when he stepped out of the shadows with his wand drawn and cast a stunning spell at me. I reacted to his attack and to his Dark Mark.”
“Someone on staff has a Dark Mark?” Professor Sprout breathed.
“Severus.” McGonagall confirmed still staring at Potter’s feet. They hadn’t moved since the boy had raised them off the desk.
“And you allow him around children?” The Hufflepuff Head of House hissed.
“Severus has my complete trust…”
“He doesn’t have mine Headmaster.” Harry interrupted. “Do you have any other Death Eaters on staff? If so, you should tell them that the only warning I’m giving them is what happened to this ‘Severus’.”
“That still doesn’t excuse your attack on Draco Malfoy.” Dumbledore was getting angry. “I’m afraid that I will be placing you in detention for that.”
“What do you mean ‘no’?”
“I mean no. I will not be doing a detention for that or anything else. You forget Headmaster; I am not a student here, that the whole ‘Potter’s a student’ fiction is simply a cover you insisted upon. Draco Malfoy was starting a sexual assault on Susan Bones when I injured him. I allowed him to live because he runs at the mouth about his connection to ‘the Dark Lord’. I can use him to bait Voldemort.”
“Not a student?” McGonagall asked. This was getting ridiculous. No one could keep their legs elevated like that.
“Sexual assault?” Sprout echoed.
“Yes. Malfoy was telling Susan that Voldemort had promised Susan and her friend Hannah to Malfoy, and then he placed his hands on her. That may be acceptable to you Headmaster; however it is not acceptable to me. I gave him a chance to walk away and he drew his wand on me. I’m afraid to say that my actions would cause my father to be ashamed of me.”
“In what way?” Professor Sprout asked.
“I let the little bastard live. The Master of Sinanju takes a dim view of rapists.”
“Mr. Potter.” The old man said angrily. “You will learn to control yourself, or…”
“Headmaster, I am utterly in control. If you have problems with how I perform while under our contract, I would suggest you take it up with my father. I believe the cause of our problems is that you believe yourself to be my employer. This belief is incorrect Headmaster. I am a contractor, not an employee. You have no say in precisely how I fulfill the contract as long as the target is taken out. You contracted with the House of Sinanju that I perform a job under conditions that you laid out. That you were less than forthcoming with details, such as having one of the minions of my target in your employ, is your problem, not mine. If your pet Death Eater draws his wand on me again, I will kill him. If Draco Malfoy or any other student draws a wand on me in anger I will respond.”
“Severus Snape is no more a Death Eater than I am.”
“Headmaster that is one of them most mind-numbingly stupid thing I’ve ever heard anyone say. He wears the Dark Mark. Do you have any idea just how one goes about getting one of those things?”
That question surprised Dumbledore. “It is a mark of servitude. Severus joined them as a young man, but left to come back to the light.”
“You couldn’t be more wrong Headmaster.” Harry shook his head. “Yesterday I had an opportunity to commune with a Dark Mark.”
“That was you? The one that killed ten Death Eaters in Diagon Alley?” Professor McGonagall asked refusing to ask him how he was keeping his legs in mid air like that.
“Four Death Eaters Professor, not ten.” Harry corrected. “I came into physical contact with the Dark Mark. Do you know how that particular variant of the protean charm is sealed?”
“A protean charm is sealed in blood.” Dumbledore said dismissively.
“Oh very good Headmaster.” Sarcasm dripped from Harry’s voice. “You’ve never examined your staff Death Eater’s Mark then? Sealing the Dark Mark does in fact require blood. The blood of an innocent. To get his Mark, your Severus murdered a virgin, and if the mark I contacted is representative, raped her first. The innocent’s soul is used to bind the Mark, as her blood is used to seal it. No one stops being a Death Eater; they just transition to being a Dead Death Eater.”
The door to the Headmaster’s office burst open revealing Severus Snape who was trailed by Narcissa Malfoy.
“Headmaster, I see you have apprehended the animal that attacked my son.”
“Oh, good,” Harry said smiling, rising to his feet in a fluid motion. “The Death Eater returns for round two.”
Snape, his shoulder immobilized and right arm in a sling, fumbled for his wand with his left hand, until the Headmaster placed his hand on the Potion Master’s uninjured shoulder. “Severus…”
“I assume you have called the Aurors Dumbledore?” Narcissa asked eying Harry and his attire with an unusual level of attention.
“Good idea Headmaster.” Harry agreed. “After all, we wouldn’t want Death Eaters to be allowed to roam the castle at will, protecting the degenerate rapist offspring of other Death Eaters, would we?”
“Are you calling me a Death Eater?” the woman sniffed.
“Not at all, Draco did however identify his father as a follower of Voldemort, threatened that ‘the Dark Lord would kill my family’” Harry smiled when everyone in the room save Dumbledore flinched at the mention of the Dark Lord’s nom de guerre. “I notice that you haven’t disputed that your son is a degenerate. He was attempting to molest a young woman when I stopped him.”
The woman’s eyes narrowed. “You cannot get away with lying about my son! My Husband was never a Death Eater, that Mark was put on him while he was under the Imperius!”
“We were just discussing the Dark Mark before you came in Madam Malfoy.” The boy had an infuriating smile, and lovely eyes... “I’m sure you would be amazed to learn that among the requirements for the Mark to function is that it must be taken willingly. As far as your son goes, I’m willing to tell my story under Veritaserum, I suspect that Susan Bones would be as well. Is Draco? Or your husband for that matter?” Harry turned his attention to the glowering Potions Master. “How about you Death Eater? Are you willing to go three drops?”
“Mr. Potter.” The Headmaster said, “You cannot speak to the staff like that.”
Narcissa Malfoy stormed from the office wishing that she had truly been shocked by the revelation of what her son had attempted to do. How had the boy she gave birth to become someone who would force himself on a woman and on Susan Bones no less? Despite her words to the contrary, she had believed the raven haired boy… no man, as soon as he had spoken. Draco had succeeded far too well in becoming his father.
But it was the dynamic in the office that was the most confusing. What was going on? Potter wasn’t reacting like a student; he didn’t seem intimidated in the slightest by being in the Headmasters Office.
Narcissa had been able to read Severus’ body language since they were in school. As much as Severus had hated James Potter, the man was frightened of Potter’s son. Severus Snape, the scourge of students since he arrived at Hogwarts was afraid of a sixteen year old boy…
What was going on? And why was she imagining what that boy would look like out of those horrid Muggle clothes?
Hannah Abbott exited the dormitory’s bath trying to pull a brush through her hair while simultaneously pulling her bathrobe tighter around her. As far north as the School was, the nights of September were more than a little chilly.
This was why the young woman was so surprised to find her best friend in a very short, very tight night shirt.
“Susan? You’re going to freeze in that”
Susan looked to the other girls in the dorm preparing for bed, then took hold of Hannah’s hand and pulled her out the dormitory into the hall.
“I’ve scheduled the couple’s room for tonight.”
“What? With who?”
“Susan!” Hannah was aghast. What had happened to her demure friend? “I know you think he saved you from Malfoy, but…”
“Hannah, I’m not trying to reward him for what he did to Malfoy. It’s just I… I want to be in control, alright? I want to be in charge of my sex life.”
“Ok, fine. I can see that I guess.” Hannah said feeling a bit jealous. She and Neville hadn’t gone that far yet. “But why Potter? Why not Justin? You and he had a good relationship last year. Or Ernie?”
“Justin and I are over. He would see making love as resurrecting our relationship. And Ernie? Hannah, he’s bent. I love him like a brother, but he has absolutely no interest in me or any other woman.” The redhead paused. “Why Harry? You’ve seen him; do I really need a better reason than that?”
“Susan…” Hannah was at a loss for something to say. “Susan, just be careful, ok?”
“I’m not sure I’m comfortable with your pretending to be a student Mr. Potter.”
The young man shrugged. “It wasn’t my idea Professor.” Harry followed his new Head of House through the maze that made up the interior of the castle. “Headmaster Dumbledore insisted. He seems to feel that I need to be here.”
“You’re going to cost Hufflepuff house points, aren’t you?”
“I have no idea.” Harry said. “What are house points?”
“House points are a scoring system used to track the achievements of a house in comparison to the others.” Sprout explained.
“Oh. Well, my teachers tell me that I’m mostly adequate in my studies, so on that basis, I guess I wouldn’t be costing you anything, unless Hogwarts has higher standards that what I’m used to.” The young man seemed to think for a moment. “In fairness, perhaps you should petition the Headmaster to have me removed from the house point competition, since I’m not really a student.”
“I’ll consider that.” The woman said as she led him down the stairs to the entrance to the Hufflepuff Common room. She paused at the entrance. “Mr. Potter?”
“I would like to thank you for how you defended Ms. Bones. The last few months have been hard on her.” The woman seemed like she was going to say something else, but appeared to change her mind. “Your dormitory assignment is on the notice board inside the common room. The password for this door changes periodically, and is currently ‘trust me’. The prefects will notify you of any changes. My office hours are posted on the notice board and my office is the next door down this passage on the left. Your class assignments will be handed out tomorrow at breakfast. Do you have any questions for me before I say good night?”
“No Professor, I’ll be alright.”
“I’ll be saying good night to you.”
Harry watched as the older woman walked away, then he turned to the door and said “Trust me.”
Entering the Common Room, Harry was surprised to find it almost empty. It was almost midnight, but his experience at the Kumsilu School had led him to expect that there would be something of a ‘start of term’ party going on.
Well he was in a different country after all, perhaps the British were just different, though truly he hadn’t seen all that much in the way of difference earlier, it was as Chiun had always told him, ‘People are all pretty much the same. Stupid.’
Almost empty. He caught a hint of a familiar perfume in the air. There she was. Susan Bones, dozing on the sofa. Waiting for him?
Harry knelt beside the sofa and lightly touched the redhead on her shoulder. “Susan?”
Her eyes opened sleepily. “Hey Harry. I waited for you. To welcome you to the house.”
“Thank you.” Harry smiled “Don’t you think you should get to your bed? This old couch can’t be all that comfortable.
The girl stretched, she had evidently grown a bit recently, or she was trying to send him a message by intentionally wearing some fairly tight sleepwear. Some very nice flesh was exposed by her stretching and some very nice curves were emphasized by the tight material.
“I also wanted to thank you for your help on the train today.”
“Like I told you at the time,” Harry brushed a bit of her hair from Susan’s eyes. “Abusing idiots is its own reward.”
The girl took his face in her hands and pulled him into a kiss. “Maybe it is, but I want to offer my own reward for your efforts.”
The girl stood up from the sofa and pulled Harry to his feet. “We in Hufflepuff maintain a suite just for special rewards.” She said linking her arm with his and guiding Harry toward a door. “Officially it’s a guest suite, but unofficially it’s a couple’s room.”
“But we’re not a couple.”
“We are tonight.”
Step four. Harry thought as he rippled the fingertips of his left hand in a figure eight pattern in the small of Susan’s back. The girl cooed and bit down on his left shoulder. So far, so good.
Step five. Harry pushed his thumb into the inside of her left knee, and then he used both hands to manipulate the nerve clusters in her armpits simultaneously. The girl moved into an intense orgasm. Back off… back off…
Step eight and nine. He started massaging the insides of both of her thighs
“HARRY! OH MERLIN HARRRY! LOVE ME LOVE ME LOVE ME!” The redhead shouted as she thrashed underneath him in her second orgasm in less than twenty seconds.
Oh hell. Harry thought as his left hand moved from her thigh to her right breast. Step ten. Maybe it was his rhythm. Maybe slowing down would make the difference… Harry lightly pinched the girl’s nipple
Susan stopped her thrashing and arched her back in yet another orgasm. Harry recognized this as signaling that the session was now over.
“oh Harry.” She moaned as she clung to him, “oh. So good. So good. Oh Harry.”
Crap! Harry thought as he rolled over on to his back, pulling the girl with him. Step ten. What was he doing wrong?
Hannah Abbott crept into the Common Room.
The room was lit only by the banked fire in the hearth, but her eyes were sufficiently adapted to the dark that she could clearly see that Susan was not on her normal sofa. So, Susan had actually done it. Actually taken a man she had only met today to bed.
The loss of her Aunt Amelia had affected Susan more than Hannah had suspected. It must be the pressure of being the last of the Bones, the last of her family. The only thing that had kept Susan from being placed into an adopted home was the fact that her 17th birthday was a few weeks away and school had been about to start..
“HARRY! OH MERLIN HARRRY! LOVE ME LOVE ME LOVE ME!” Susan’s voice rang out from the couple’s room.
What was he doing to Susan?
Hannah stared at the door to the Hufflepuff couple’s room for a moment, wondering if Harry might be convinced to teach Neville to do it to her…
Hannah woke to find Susan’s bed surrounded by the other Hufflepuff sixth year girls as well as most of the seventh years and a smattering of the fifth. Susan was sitting on the bed swinging her feet with a goofy grin plastered across her face.
“Good morning?” Hannah said. The crowd of girls turned to look at the blond for a moment then returned their attention to Susan.
“Alright Sue. Tell us about him.” Kira Peakes, a seventh year, said. “You woke up half the house last night. You owe it to us to spill the details.”
“She woke all of you up as well?” Hannah asked as she pulled on her dressing gown.
“Four bloody times,” Megan Jones noted.
“After the noises you made, I’m surprised you managed to make down to your bed.” Morag McKenzie, another 7th year, added.
“Actually I don’t remember coming back to here at all.” Susan said, still smiling. “All I remember is Wow!”
“Bloody hell.” Morag breathed.
“What did he do to you Sue?” Hannah asked.
“Sue!” Morag all but shouted.
“I think he called it a Number Ten.” Susan giggled some more. “Harry kept muttering and counting up to ten. I just call it wow.”
“Orgasms by the numbers?” Kira said incredulously. “I’ve got to get me some of that!”
“Wow!” Susan agreed giggling as she rolled over onto her side.
Remo opened his mail drop box and retrieved the pair of envelopes inside, with a smile to the girl behind the counter, exited the post office.
The first envelope smelled of the chemically treated paper that Smitty had taken to using, once opened Remo would have less than twenty minutes to get the information contained within before it all dissolved to nothing. Of course the contents were already moot given that Smitty had called this morning and canceled the job detailed in the letter due to the target having attracted the attention of some competitors.
Another smile crossed his lips. The other envelope bore international postage from the UK. Harry. Remo recalled Chiun mentioning that the kid had taken his first commission in the UK… Harry had grown up so fast. With a flick of his wrist the envelope was shredded and Harry’s letter unfolded in his hand.
Have arrived in Scotland for my first solo contract.
Now the boring part starts, waiting for the target to show himself. The Client has insisted that I be inserted in his school masquerading as a student rather than going looking for this Voldemort character. This sounded simple while sitting in on Little Father’s negotiations with the client, but it has turned out to be a pain in the ass.
I really don’t know how you put up with all your undercover work, I really don’t.
Anyway I arrived in London to find that the Client had arranged a police escort for me. I kid you not. An honest to god Magical cop. It turns out that I’m some kind of celebrity here, something to do with that soul fragment that the Mages of Kumsilu pulled out of my head. Anyway they tried to put me up in a real flea bag of a hotel, but Chiun had added an expenses clause to the contract, so I backed out of the dump and took my escort to the Savoy.
Did I mention that my escort is a female type cop in her early to mid twenties? Or that the ‘overwhelming physical attraction’ thing you complain about all the time works on Witches too? I love being me.
Anyway after some exercises with the young lady, and getting Little Father a souvenir, I accidentally made contact with some of the target’s muscle. Tonks, the female cop took one out before she got hit by some of their combat magic, so I ended up killing four of the five remaining and crippled the team leader, a psychotic piece of work named Bellatrix Lestrange, before sending her back to her boss using her own ‘Portkey’ magical transportation device.
I know, I know, you’re surprised I didn’t just use the Portkey myself. Believe it or not, I’ve learned not to just bull my way into things… and it only took you and Little Father about six years to beat that into my head. I sent the crazy woman back with a message. From what I’ve read of this Voldemort clown, he won’t take taunting all that well and should be responding before very long.
That being said, I’m at the school now, and already had a run in with one of the teachers, it turns out that my Client actually knowingly employs one of the Target’s people. All of Voldemort’s minions are bound to him using a particularly horrible version of soul magic. The Client thinks that the marked teacher is a spy, and he clearly is, but I suspect for both sides. I also got to play with a couple of the local bullies.
That’s my news, but I’ve got a question for you.
My question concerns the 37 Steps to Sexual Ecstasy, as I seem to be doing something wrong. Since the lessons you provided I have had the opportunity to practice with nine women, and only one of them allowed me to get beyond step eight, and she only allowed me to get to step ten, then passed out moaning my name. I tried with her three more times, varying my rhythm, and my speed of advance, but the result was the same, she passed out, once at step eight, and twice at step nine.
I don’t understand it. I’ve gone over the notes that Little Father gave me, and the exercises you taught me, but so far my progress in this particular area has been stalemated. How am I supposed to master the technique if I can never finish the entire procedure?
I’m hoping you can offer some suggestions. I just know that Little Father isn’t going to be satisfied with my progress in this. You know what he’s like.
Anyway, that’s all that’s going on here, looking forward to finishing this job so that maybe we could hang out a bit.
Remo read the letter twice, and then started laughing. The boy was complaining because he was too successful in the sack. This was just too good; he was going to have to share it with Chiun. The big man picked up the phone while trying to remember which of his alias had the largest number of Sky Miles to use in making arrangements for a trip to South Korea.
Harry had been looking forward to this class since his encounter with Professor Death Eater the day before. To find out that someone so easily dealt with was supposed to teach a class in defense against anything amused the young man to no end. He intended to attend the various classes he had been assigned to as little as possible, but the Death Eater; well he was a special case.
The door to the instructor’s office opened and Snape swept into the room, his robes billowing about him. The man spotted Harry sitting at the table in the back of the room and stopped in his tracks.
“Potter!” the man hissed. “How did you get in here?”
“’There are no locked doors for a properly trained man’” Harry said quoting Chiun.
“That’s not an answer Potter.”
“It’s all you’re going to get Death Eater.”
“You’re an arrogant little boy aren’t you Potter?” Snape took on an evil grin. “Perhaps removing one hundred points from Hufflepuff will bring you down to Earth.”
Harry shrugged. “Make it two hundred. House points don’t mean a thing to me Death Eater, though it might sour your relationship with your fellow Head of House. I hear rumors that you’re a real bastard in the classroom Death Eater, pathetically unbalanced toward anyone who isn’t in your house. I’m not sure what is more sad, the fact that you do it, or that you are telling them that getting preferential treatment is the only way they can survive. I thought I’d come early to let you know that I won’t be putting up with it. If you pull your crap with me I’ll humiliate you.”
“You will humiliate me?” Snape scoffed.
“I’ve already done it once Death Eater.” Harry noted.
“You will address me properly boy.”
“I thought I was Death Eater. Aren’t you proud of your beliefs? The only reason you’re still breathing is that Dumbledore finds some use for you. Anyway tell me, the virgin you raped to bind your Mark, did she cry? Did killing her get you all stiff again?”
His face a mask of rage, Snape stormed to the classroom door and yanked it open; there he faced the assembled Hufflepuffs and Ravenclaws. Silence fell over the queue immediately.
“Inside,” he said.
The students filed into the room. Evidently Harry had chosen correctly when he sat down because the Ravenclaw students made for the far side of the room, while the Hufflepuffs filled in the seats on his side of the room. Justin Finch-Fletchley took the seat to Harry’s immediate right. All over the room students began pulling their books and note taking materials from their bags.
“I have not asked you to take out your books,” said Snape, closing the door and moving to face the class from behind his desk; throughout the room copies of Confronting the Faceless were dropped back into bags and stowed under chairs. “I wish to speak to you, and I want your fullest attention.”
Snape’s black eyes roved over their upturned faces, lingering for a fraction of a second longer on Harry’s than anyone else’s. Harry rewarded the man’s attention with a wide grin.
“You have had five teachers in this subject so far, I believe. Naturally, these teachers will all have had their own methods and priorities. Given this confusion I am surprised so many of you scraped an O.W.L. in this subject. I shall be even more surprised if all of you manage to keep up with the N.E.W.T. work, which will be more advanced.”
“Mr. Potter!” Snape barked, “What was your OWL score in Defense Against the Dark Arts?”
“As you are well aware Professor, the Kumsilu School does not participate in the British testing system.”
“So you admit you are not qualified to be in this class…”
“However, I have the School’s top marks in combat magic. Those classes are taught by veterans of the Wars in South East Asia that coincided with Europe’s adventures with Grindelwald.”
“Ah yes, that minor conflict.” Snape said triumphantly.
“Minor conflict? I do hope you know Defense better than you know your Recent History Professor. The Asian warlords made Grindelwald seem like an overly ambitious first year.”
Snape set off around the perimeter of the chamber, speaking now in a lower voice; the students craned their necks to keep him in view. “The Dark Arts,” said Snape, “are many, varied, ever-changing, and eternal. Fighting them is like fighting a many-headed monster, which, each time a neck is severed, sprouts a head even fiercer and cleverer than before. You are fighting that which is unfixed, mutating, indestructible.”
“You find my lecture humorous Mr. Potter?” Snape asked dangerously.
“Yes I do. Any thinking person would. The Dark Arts are eternal? Indestructible? Honestly, you make me laugh. Nothing is indestructible, nothing is eternal, every man can be killed, and every idea can die. Hell, Voldemort was destroyed by a child.”
“DO NOT SPEAK HIS NAME!” Snape screamed his eyes wide. Throughout the room people quaked at the name.
“You want to teach Defense and you’re afraid of a name? Voldemort, Voldemort, Voldemort. It’s just a name.” Harry maintained a steady eye contact with the man as if daring him to say anything. “Somehow the monster resurrected himself, probably with the help of his cowardly Death Eaters. That’s a stupid name for a group of terrorists too frightened to show their faces, wouldn’t you agree Professor?”
“Do not say that name.” Snape hissed. “If you must refer to him at all call him the Dark Lord.”
“Dark Lord? Are you kidding me? From what peerage does he get a Lordship?” Harry laughed. “You’d really have to be pathetically stupid to think this dink is some kind of ‘Lord’.”
Snape attempted to swallow his anger and restarted his lecture.
“Your defenses against practitioners of the Dark Arts,” said Snape, a little louder, “must therefore be as flexible and creative as the arts you seek to undo. These pictures” he indicated a few of the photos on the walls of the classroom, “illustrate what happens to those who suffer, for instance, the Cruciatus Curse” he waved a hand toward a witch who was clearly screaming in agony “feel the Dementor’s Kiss” a wizard lying huddled and blank-eyed, slumped against a wall “or provoke the aggression of the Inferius” a bloody mass upon ground.
“Have Inferi been seen, then?” asked a tall girl on the Ravenclaw side of the room. “Is it definite, is he using them?”
“The Dark Lord has used Inferi in the past,” said Snape, “which means you would be well-advised to assume he might use them again. Now…”
He set off again around the other side of the classroom toward his desk, and again, they watched him as he walked, his dark robes billowing behind him.
“Mr. Potter, what is the best defense against the Cruciatus?”
“Avoid being hit by the curse. The best way to do this is to kill the caster before he finishes the incantation.”
Snape seemed taken aback at Harry’s response. “An interesting answer Mr. Potter, and if the caster was some distance away, say the distance I am from you?”
“Perhaps we should say the distance your stuffed Troll head is from me?”
“Fine. The caster is starting the incantation, how do you stop him at that distance without casting the killing curse?”
There was a loud thunk in the otherwise silent classroom, Snape turned to find a galleon coin buried between the eyes of the Troll head. He hadn’t even seen the boy move.
“That would focus the caster’s attention quite effectively.” Harry said. “I thought that the Headmaster might have taken exception to my doing that to you…”
Lucius Malfoy entered the room of his families’ ancestral home that the Dark Lord had claimed as his own.
The room had originally been a ball room, and then the Dark Lord had changed it to an ornate throne room from which he ruled his minions and plotted his conquest of the world. Those plots were foiled by the Potter boy and whatever it was the boy had done that Halloween night in 1981 prior to Potter’s disappearance.
Lucius had protected the throne room all through the years of the Dark Lord’s absence, protected it against investigations from the Ministry, the snooping of the Unspeakables, and even to the social ambitions of his wife. He knew that the Dark Lord would return, had not his master told all of the Death Eaters time and again that he was immortal?
The head of the Malfoy clan still felt shame that he had not been chosen to participate in the rebirth of the Dark Lord; he consoled himself that if he had, then the plan would not have gone so horribly wrong. Still, at least the Dark Lord had returned to them.
Once the throne had been in the center of the room, but not it sat in a darkened corner, completely in shadows and was shrouded in the mists of multiple potions designed to keep the host under control and pacified.
Lucius assumed the position of supplication that the Dark Lord demanded and waited to be recognized. Sometimes this was a long wait, but not today.
“Rise Lucius. Rise and speak.”
”I bring news My Lord.” Lucius said, keeping his eyes focused on the ground. Since his rebirth the Death Eaters were forbidden to look upon their Lord. “Our healers have been unable to find the cause of Bellatrix’s pain. They tell me that they can find nothing wrong. We obtained the cooperation of a specialist healer from St. Mungos, who also couldn’t find anything, not even while we were torturing her husband and daughters.” They had also kidnapped a muggle doctor who also found nothing, but Lucius wasn’t going to tell the Dark Lord that.
“A pity. Bellatrix was useful to me, especially considering my current needs. Kill her.” The raspy voice of the reborn Dark Lord still put Lucius on edge. “Was there anything else?”
“Yes My Lord. I have reports of Harry Potter.”
“I have confirmation that Potter is indeed at Hogwarts as an unusually powerful sixth year.”
“You hesitate Lucius?”
“He challenges you My Lord. Upon meeting my son he injured the boy for no reason and told him to send you a message through me.”
“He sent a similar message through Bellatrix.” Voldemort admitted thinking out loud. “My sources in the school tell me that a Hogsmeade weekend is coming in two weeks. Have macnair take a squad of my first line troops and capture Harry Potter. They are to kill any children not belonging to my followers. If anyone harms Potter, the fate of Bartemius Crouch Jr. will become a fond memory.”
There she was. It had taken almost half an hour to find her. Neville shook his head. Somehow it had never occurred to him to look for his fellow Gryffindor Prefect to be sitting in the courtyard between the greenhouses with a sampling of the Outcasts.
Hermione and he had formed the Outcasts quietly back in first year, out of a need they both had to have someone, anyone to talk to. Neville recalled his own painful shyness and lack of self confidence that had led him to be a complete disaster in almost every class, with the notable exception being Herbology. Hermione on the other hand was at the top of every class, even potions despite Snape actively hating her and everything about her.
The two had found each other after that horrible first Halloween at Hogwarts and Hermione’s terrifying encounter with the troll. The friendship that had blossomed back then had become the cornerstone of both of their lives with the Longbottoms introducing the Grangers to the Magical world and the Grangers returning the favor. Neville had never dreamed that he would ever have seen his staid grandmother riding a ‘roller coaster’ as she had when the Grangers had invited them to a Muggle amusement park the previous summer.
Gran had been hinting about starting up negotiations with the Grangers. Neville knew he was going to have to put a stop to that. He should probably also mention it to the women in his life, if they found out about it from anyone else, Hermione would kill him and Hannah would never forgive him.
“Luna,” Hermione was saying as Neville approached, “I’ll admit you were right about Harry Potter being raised in Korea, but that doesn’t mean he was being trained as an assassin by an ancient house of assassins.”
“Daddy had a full section on the secret life of Harry Potter three years ago Hermione,” Luna Lovegood sniffed. “He clearly demonstrated his skill in Diagon Alley on the 31st of August, and you yourself saw him deal with Snape for trying to hex him on the first.” The blond took on a self satisfied expression. “The sooner everyone realizes that my Daddies’ paper is the single source for accurate reporting in the world, the happier everyone will be.”
A smattering of laughter rippled through the other students as Hermione Granger’s mouth opened and closed several times without her managing to actually say anything. The Lovegood/Granger debates were always favorites amongst the Outcasts.
“All right Luna.” Millicent Bustrode said, a half blood shorted into Slytherin house, Millie had been one of the first to join the Outcasts and in fact named the group. “If Potter is an assassin, what’s he doing here?”
“He’s obviously here because the Goblins have decided that the Dark Lord’s continued existence would be bad for business, and a bad time in business is when Minister Fudge would be most prone to making pies from captured Goblins. So the Goblins have hired Harry Potter to finish the job he started as a toddler.”
“Luna, that’s absurd! In this day and age…” Once again Hermione was at a loss for words. As funny as it was, Neville decided to rescue his fellow Prefect.
“Excuse me everyone.” He said with his now trademark smile. “Hermione, Professor McGonagall would like to speak with all the Gryffindor Prefects about the first Hogsmeade Weekend.”
“Of course Neville.” Hermione gathered her things into her book bag, and then rose to her feet. “Is the meeting in her office?”
“Yes. No hurry, it’s not until 3:30, we’ve got twenty minutes yet.”
“Excuse us everyone.” Hermione said. “A Prefect’s job is never done.”
As the pair walked away, Hermione shot her friend a sidelong glance. “Saving me from Luna again?”
“No, not really.” Neville smiled. “The meeting is coming up, and besides I wanted to talk to you. As far as Luna goes, you’ve got to remember a couple of things. She’s a ‘claw. That automatically means she’s not stupid. Secondly, her paternal line has been almost exclusively ‘claws for centuries, which means her father isn’t stupid either. Weird maybe, but not stupid.”
“That’s why you will absolutely never win an argument with Luna. You are both highly intelligent, but you rely on solely on facts and she relies on facts and belief in her father. When facts and belief come into conflict, belief trumps facts every single time.”
“Besides, your exchanges are lots of fun for the rest of us, but you actually get upset.”
“I know.” Hermione sighed. “It’s just that she’s so…” The bushy haired girl shook her head. “You said you wanted to talk to me?”
“Yes, I was wondering how good a sense of humor your father has.”
“I’ve been trying to think of a way to talk to you about this since the Express. Gran has been talking about opening negotiations with your father.”
Hermione’s brow furrowed. Neville recognized her normal expression for confusion. “Negotiations for what?”
“Hermione, you have to realize that Gran is from a real traditionalist background.”
“Negotiations for what Neville?”
“A marriage contract. She told me that she couldn’t imagine me doing any better.”
Hermione was silent for a few moments. Neville knew that this was not a good sign.
“A marriage contract? Is this a joke Neville? You’ll note I’m not laughing.”
“Not a joke. She’s serious. I told her that it wouldn’t work between us, but she’s got her heart set on it.”
“I see.” Hermione said in a tone that told Neville she would soon be in the library researching this facet of Wizarding Society to within an inch of its life. “So when she told you that she couldn’t imagine you doing better was that a slap at you or a compliment toward me?”
“Definitely a compliment toward you. Gran likes you, likes that you stand up for yourself and you don’t take anything from anyone.”
“Hmm. And what has Hannah said about this?”
Neville blushed. “I haven’t exactly told her yet.”
“Do so. Soon.” Hermione ordered. “I’ll let Daddy know what your Grandmother is going to propose… Hopefully he’ll let her down gently.”
“Then again, he might think I’m a great catch and sign you up… Especially after he sees the bride price offer.”
“Neville…” Hermione growled while wondering what a bride price was and how much might be offered for her. The pair walked in silence for a few more moments. “Why did you tell your Grandmother that it wouldn’t work between us?”
“Because marrying you would be like marrying my bossy older sister.”
“Well, marrying you would be like marrying an annoying little brother.”
“We’re in agreement then?” Neville asked smiling.
The pair had arrived at the door to Professor McGonagall’s office. Hermione straightened her robes and glanced to Neville. “Ready?” Upon receiving his nod, she knocked on the door.
Hermione Granger folded the map and placed it in her book bag. The map had been a gift from the Weasley Twins when she had gotten her Prefect’s badge the previous year.
“Use it in good humor” Fred had told her.
“Don’t be a prat with it.” George agreed. “The only way you can have effective pranksters is to have an effective opposition.”
“We’re trusting you to use it to keep the kids from hurting themselves or others,” Fred said having stolen her badge and was buffing it on his sleeve.
“But remember; let them have a little fun.” George concluded as Fred pinned her newly shined badge onto Hermione’s robes. “You need to have a little fun too.”
Fred and George had befriended her following the Troll incident her first year, and then had gone as far as to more or less adopted her following the death of their younger sister her second year.
This relationship between the Twins and Hermione had infuriated both Ron and Percy Weasley, though for different reasons. Ron because he still resented her for the brotherly attitude adjustment the twins had administered to him as soon as they found out that his actions had contributed to putting Hermione into the path of the Troll. Percy, well as far as Percy was concerned, Hermione was to be held at arm’s length because of her friendship with the twins.
Hermione liked to think that she had honored the Twins in her application of Prefect justice using the map. She stopped the dangerous things that she had found using the Map, but she allowed many things to slide.
School had been in session for two weeks, and so far this year, Hermione usually patrolled alone, mostly because of the map, but also because there was something about her that alienated most of the other Prefects. Neville was a good friend, but he had been dating Hannah Abbott from Hufflepuff since the previous May, so more often than not those two patrolled together. But being alone suited Hermione just fine. It allowed her to keep a special eye on those that interested her.
One of her current subjects of interest was on the other side of the door in front of her. As quietly as she could she pushed the door open and stepped into the unused classroom. The room had been magically enlarged to the size of the Great Hall and was cleared of all furnishings. The floor was… was covered in some sort of… wet tissue paper? Looking down Hermione saw that her steps into the room had torn the paper under her feet.
“Good morning Prefect Granger.”
Hermione looked up in time to see Harry Potter cart wheeling through the center of the room, somehow leaving the damp paper unmarred. He appeared to be dressed in blue jeans, a dark blue tee-shirt with some slogan she couldn’t make out on the chest and white trainers.
“What are you doing?” She asked in amazement. “How are you doing that?”
“I am doing my morning exercises.” The raven haired man said, ending his cartwheel in a handstand. “You will have to be more specific as to what in particular you want to know how I am doing.”
Hermione watched as he moved into a one handed hand stand. She was finding it very hard to concentrate on anything beyond how his body moved, and what it might be like if he were to move his body against her own. “How are… how are you not destroying the paper on the floor?”
The young man shot her an upside down grin and raised up onto the fingertips of his left hand. “Practice. Years and years of practice. My father is of the opinion that my balance is flawed. Personally I don’t see it, but the Master of Sinanju is rarely wrong. So I practice.”
He began bouncing on his fingertips, each bounce pushing him six inches off the floor, the tissue paper under his hand remained undisturbed. Hermione’s mouth went very dry while watching him move. After the tenth bounce Harry flipped onto his feet. Now she could read the writing on his chest. In yellow letters a portion of the 23rd psalm was clearly displayed: ‘Yea, though I walk through the valley of the shadow of death, I will fear no evil:’ That seemed to Hermione to be an odd thing to have on a tee-shirt.
Harry’s wand was suddenly in his hand, the man made several precise gestures and the damp tissue was gone, the floor was dry, and the room had reverted to its original dimensions.
“Was there something you needed Prefect Granger?”
“I was…” she swallowed trying to refocus on what she was saying. “I was doing an early morning patrol and thought I heard something in here.”
Harry cocked his head at her. “No, no you didn’t. There wasn’t any noise coming from in here. You didn’t follow me here.” Again he waved his very short wand. “I don’t seem to have any tracking charms on me, yet you knew that I was in here. That is a puzzle. I like puzzles.” Harry watched her expression change to one of guarded hostility. “Don’t worry Prefect Granger; I won’t look into your secrets. I’ve got some of my own.” Again that easy smile came to his lips. “Though I’ll probably keep wondering how you found me…”
“I… I…” why wouldn’t the words come around him? Why was she always so distracted?
“Well, I’d best get back to the dorm, I need to get my books and get some breakfast.”
“Goodbye.” Goodbye? Why had she said that? Why did he have her so out of control? As Harry passed through the doorway Hermione caught sight of the back of his shirt. ‘Because I’m the meanest son of a bitch in the valley’.
What was it about that boy?
Harry was sitting on a stone fence juggling a half dozen rocks of various sizes to the amusement of the local children as well as a few of the local mothers. So far the trip to Hogsmeade had turned out to be a colossal waste of time. If you didn’t want to eat toxic food, drink poisonous beverages or spend outrageous sums for books freely available in the Hogwarts library, there was damned little to do in this town. It didn’t even have a movie theater which was usually a saving grace of a western town.
“How do you do that?” a young boy Harry estimated as being around six asked.
“What? The juggling or the breathing properly?”
“The juggling dummy. Anyone can breathe.” The boy responded.
“Actually, very few people breathe properly, but the answer to both the breathing and the juggling is practice. You could learn to do both if you are willing to practice.”
“Ahh.” The boy shrugged. “I’d rather have my wand. Then I could make the rocks fly without using my hands.”
“Yes you could, but magic tends to make people weak. Why should they work when the magic will do it for them?”
“I dunno. It’s magic.”
“Yes it is.” Harry grinned at the boy. “But a man is more than his magic isn’t he?”
While the boy was pondering that question, Harry suddenly stiffened, catching each of the stones as they fell.
“What is it?” one of the mothers asked.
“Spell fire.” Harry said. “Someone just incanted the Cruciatus Curse! Get your children inside.”
One of the other women was dubious, “I didn’t hear anything.” She said. Then screams rent the air.
Harry transfigured his school robes (required for the visit to Hogsmeade) into a loose fitting shirt and pair of trousers while running toward the screams.
Walden Macnair released the Cruciatus on the screaming girl, and then bent down to lift the girl to her feet by grabbing a handful of hair. He spied the badge on the Asian girl’s robes.
“Dumbledore’s allowing wogs to be Heads now is he?” the big man. “Well the Dark Lord will be putting a stop to that. Where is Harry Potter girl?”
Cho Chang fought through the pain of the Cruciatus to focus on the man’s face. “I don’t know.” She gasped. “I haven’t seen him in town.”
“Well how about that?” Macnair turned to the pair of Death Eater’s behind him. “Kill a child every thirty seconds until Potter shows up.” Still holding the Head girl Macnair looked around Hogsmeade Square. “Until your savior shows up, we kill children.” The man smirked to himself. Sheep. Not one would raise a wand against a Death Eater. Six more of his men were in the square keeping the crowd properly cowed by judicious use of various curses.
Turning back to the Head girl, Macnair decided to have a little fun. After all, she wasn’t going to survive the experience.
“”Where is Harry Potter girl?” The former Ministry Official hissed as he leveled his wand to disfigure the young woman.
Something wet and horrible happened behind Macnair. He recognized the sound; he’d heard it before when he’d dispatched a large animal with his beloved axe. Sudden movement at ground level caught his attention, Macnair looked down to see the upper torsos of the pair of Death Eaters who had been guarding his back looking up at him, not yet dead, but pumping their blood to the pavement at an unstoppable rate.
“I’m right behind you Death Eater.” A voice whispered into his ear. “Is it your time to die?” Harry drove his foot into the Death Eater’s left leg, shattering the femur and knee. A shaft of ice flew from Harry’s very short black wand to the chest of one of the masked men across the square. Harry danced away from Macnair and summoned both of the man’s eyes to his left hand leaving the injured man crippled, blind, helpless, and screaming in agony on the ground.
Harry cast a sonorous on himself with a gesture. “All right gentlemen, you’ve just seen me kill three of your fellow travelers and cripple your leader in less than twenty seconds. I know what you’re thinking. There are five of us and one of him; he just has to be exhausted after doing all that. But then you think, he’s Harry Potter and he destroyed Voldemort as a toddler.” On some level, Harry was actually enjoying this. He kept moving not allowing the Death Eaters to get a steady bead on him. A minor part of his mind wondered if any of these pureblood morons had ever seen a movie. “I’ll make you a deal, drop your wands and surrender and I won’t kill you.”
“Am I tired? Or am I fresh as a daisy? You’ve got to ask yourselves,” Harry was starting to feel ashamed of himself, but if Remo could get away with ‘that’s the biz sweetheart’ then Harry could steal from a cinematic namesake. “Do you feel lucky? Well, do ya’ Punks?”
Silence reined in the square for a moment, and then it was broken by the clatter of five wands being dropped to the ground.
“Well don’t just stand there.” Harry said to the crowd as he summoned the Death Eater’s wands. These bastards were torturing children. Maybe you should make sure they’re nice and cooperative for when the Aurors show up.”
“You said we would be safe if we surrendered!” shrieked one of the masked men as the first of the hexes hit him.
“No, I said I wouldn’t kill you.” Harry said as he pulled down the Death Eater’s own Anti-apparation wards.
“Sweet Merlin, Morgana and Maeve!”
Harry looked up from massaging Cho Chang’s back. “Auror Shacklebolt, good to see you again.”
“What the hell happened here?” The bald Auror asked staring at the bisected bodies in the street.
“They were looking for Harry.” Cho said, “they were going to kill everyone until they got him.”
“Walk me through what happened Potter.”
More than a dozen Aurors were spread throughout the square taking witness statements after several of their fellows had secured the prisoners.
“I was a couple of streets over juggling for some kids when the trouble started…” Harry described in detail everything he did from his first hearing the spell fire until the Aurors had arrived.
“Why did you blind the leader after you crippled him?”
“Wanted to make sure he got at least a measure of what he was doing to others.” Harry shrugged. “Besides, I didn’t know that the others were going to surrender and you got all bitchy with me last time when I didn’t leave you anyone to question.”
Shacklebolt wanted to dispute the characterization of ‘bitchy’ but let it slide. “And the five who surrendered? Why didn’t you protect them from the crowd?”
“You mean the crowd that they had just moments before been torturing? I wasn’t aware that I should have protected the Death Eaters. You forget I’m an alien to this culture, for all I knew it was traditional to treat Death Eaters like that.”
“Smart ass.” Shacklebolt grumbled. “All right, head on back to the castle, Dumbledore will want to speak to you no doubt.”
“No doubt. If you manage to squeeze Voldemort’s location from these idiots, let me know would you? The sooner he’s dead the sooner I can go home.”
Shacklebolt walked away shaking his head. With this many witnesses, this was promising to be a long night.
Harry turned to start the trek back to the castle. The carriages would be full carrying the frightened children back to the castle; it would probably be quicker to walk. Harry started to cross the street.
“Stop where you are Harry Potter.” Piped a young voice.
Harry turned to find a young girl with silvery blond hair, no more than ten years old staring at him with her hands on her hips.
“Why did you take so long with the Auror Harry Potter? How rude! You will come with me now.”
Harry found himself smiling at being ordered around by such a pretty little thing. “I’m sorry, I’d love to play with you, but I’ve got some business to take care of at the school. Maybe we can play together over the next Hogsmeade Weekend.”
The little girl stamped her foot. “I do not want to play with you fool. I am here to bring you to my mother. I warn you she will be most cross if you delay any longer.”
The possibility of a trap flickered across Harry’s mind, but truly he couldn’t imagine Voldemort having the guile to even dream of trying to pull this one off. “All right little general, lead me to your mother.”
Harry followed the young girl from the street into the Three Broomsticks, and then up the stairs to a meeting room on the first floor. There he found himself face to face with possibly the most beautiful woman he had ever seen.
“Mr. Potter.” She said gesturing for him to sit. “I am Apolline Delacour”
“Madam Delacour.” Harry nodded and continued in French. “The young lady was most insistent that I come with her to speak with you.”
The woman looked fondly at the young girl. “Gabrielle can be quite forceful in her requests. When I came to Britain to see you Mr. Potter, I never expected such a show of skill.”
Harry shrugged. “Quite honestly, I don’t understand how the Death Eaters have gotten such a reputation. They seemed to be capable of terrorizing children, but whenever someone stands up to them they seem to fall apart.”
“Mr. Potter, you are too modest. I have seen examples of your skill before, and recognize its source, although I must admit to being surprised seeing a Caucasian practicing the skills of Sinanju. My enclave in France employed Master Nuihc of Sinanju when I was but a girl. From hearing his discussions with the enclave elders I took it as an article of faith that his skills were not available to anyone not of Korean descent.”
“Master Nuihc is now known as Chiun, he is my Master and Adopted father. I am the second Apprentice of Sinanju.” Harry said with a bit of pride. “You said you came to speak with me?”
Apolline looked to her youngest daughter who was sitting quietly taking in every word. “Mr. Potter, what do you know of the Triwizard Tournament?”
“Nothing.” Harry admitted.
“Two years ago a competition was held at Hogwarts between Beauxbatons, Durmstrang, and Hogwarts, with each school being represented by a champion. My eldest daughter Fleur was the Beauxbatons champion.”
“You said ‘was’ I take it something happened?”
“There was a series of three ‘tasks’ spread over the school year. Victor Krum the Quidditch star won the first against a dragon. Cedric Diggory of Hogwarts won the second retrieving his hostage from the lake on the Hogwarts grounds.”
“I was Fleur’s hostage for that silly task.” Gabrielle said from where she sat.”
“Yes she was.” Apolline confirmed. “The final task was a hedgerow maze filled with magical traps and creatures. Fleur was the winner of this task, being the first to reach the Triwizard Cup. Some villain had made the cup into a contact portkey, and upon taking hold of her prize, my daughter vanished.”
Harry nodded. “I assume that she has not been seen again? Does your daughter share in your Veela gifts?”
Apolline stiffened. “She did. How did you know?”
“You mentioned being from an ‘enclave’. My master has had few nongovernmental contracts with the magical world. Not to mention you radiate the allure.”
“I was unaware that I was. You are sensitive indeed. It has been made known by several sources that Voldemort was reborn using Fleur’s life force and magic. My daughter’s body was never found. Originally I came to ask you to appeal to the British Ministry that they might put some effort into finding my daughter, but having seen you fight, I wish to offer you a contract.”
“I want Voldemort dead. I wish to contract the House of Sinanju to kill the bastard that killed my daughter.”
Harry hadn’t been expecting that. He searched his memory to recall if Chiun had any rules against being paid twice for a single hit.
“That might be possible.” Harry said, opening the negotiations, “of course Sinanju has never been a discount house…”
The quiet of the village of Sinanju was broken by the sound of an ancient motor bike. The villagers identified the sound as the military official who occasionally delivered mail to the Master of Sinanju. The motor bike moved through the village at as great a speed as the terrified rider could coax from the machine.
Parking the bike outside the gate to the Master’s house the man from Pyongyang made his way to the door of the house and softly knocked on the door. That door instantly swung open revealing the Master.
The messenger swallowed. “A letter for the Master of Sinanju, delivered with the respects of the Supreme Peoples Assembly.”
Chiun extended his hand. The messenger realized that he should have already taken the letter from his satchel, and fumbled for it before placing it in the hand of the old man.
“You may go.”
The messenger all but ran to his motor bike, started the machine and once again set about getting as much speed from his machine as he could so that he might put as much distance between himself and the man he knew to be death incarnate.
Chiun watched as the man left the village, then returned to his home to read his letter. Only Remo or Harry would be writing him via the address that would go through the government at Pyongyang, and the handwriting told Chiun that the letter was from his youngest son.
I hope this letter finds you well.
I continue to work on my balance using the exercises you outlined for me. I believe that you would classify my progress as satisfactory beyond the problem I have been working on with Remo.
I am writing this to report a business transaction that I have undertaken. After a minor confrontation with minions of my target during a weekend holiday in the Wizarding village of Hogsmeade I was approached by Apolline Delacour of the Nymphe en bois Veela enclave with a contract proposal. Madam Delacour witnessed my dealing with members of the Death Eater cult and recognized my approximation of the art that is Sinanju. She wishes to contract the house of Sinanju to eliminate Voldemort, my current target.
I of course did not tell Madam Delacour that I was already contracted to deal with Voldemort, and did my best in the negotiations with her. Enclosed is a receipt for deposit of her draft for 5000 galleons into the Sinanju account at Gringotts. This is half of the agreed amount, the other half to be paid upon confirmation of the death of Voldemort. The client understands that the hit will not be made with the usual dispatch Sinanju is known for due to the restrictions on my movements, placed by a prior contract. That is the reason for the partial discount.
The primary client Dumbledore still insists that I remain at the school so progress is slow on the contract. As soon as I have any news to report I will write again.
Well done. Chiun thought. Well done indeed. Nothing like getting paid twice for the same job. Perhaps paying Harry a visit might be in order in a few months.
A few thoughts:
A review for Chapter Two said that my chapters were too long. I thought that was unique, having never gotten that particular review before. Too short, yes, but never too long.
No, Harry isn’t going to get a gun. While practitioners of Sinanju can use them, they don’t like to. It pollutes the art don’t you know?
Many thanks to James over at the Caer Azkaban newsgroup. He pointed out my Adverb-fu was absurdly overdeveloped, and assisted in tightening up my excesses, as well as pointing out misspellings and generalized poor grammar. But I still say you can say things quietly without whispering or muttering. Thanks also go out to rijl_kent for his assist in fixing a couple of my scene endings and to ubereng for his help with the letter to Chiun.