During the train ride before third year Harry has a close encounter with a dementor that causes him to absorb the soul fragment within him, granting both knowledge and power. Features Harry with a ...
I I I
Normal Day was quite a letdown after their recent activities on the others. Of course, it was ALSO the only one among their three-times-repeating day schedule they could afford to spend inside Hogwarts itself, as duplicating themselves inside those halls was just asking for trouble of a sort they didn't want.
Naturally, as there were things to do within those halls they couldn't do outside of them, they got a bit of Resource Day and Attack Day mixed in, just to cover things they couldn't do on alternate days.
However, to do that required a certain amount of privacy, just odd moments stolen here or there. But still, that's one of those things where to avoid getting caught, you want to cut down on as many variables as possible, just so you can concentrate on avoiding real trouble.
Surprises are not welcome in that environment.
There came a flash and Harry was blinking spots out of his eyes.
Surprises like, oh, say, getting stalked by a couple of Creevey brothers with their cameras, trying to flash pictures at odd moments.
Hermione's lips firmed up and she walked over to the camera-wielding boys with a determined expression on her face. She talked to them for almost a minute, before turning around to come back with a smug look on her face.
"What was that about?" Luna asked. Harry was still blinking. They'd used more flash powder on that one than he was used to.
The bushy haired bookworm shook her long hair out confidently. "Oh, it just struck me that the Creevey brothers could be distracted from following Harry around or asking for autographs if we introduced them to the idea of making yearbooks and promised to sign theirs at the end of the year."She directed a hard gaze to her best friend. "You will sign them, won't you?"
Harry was still blinking spots, but that didn't stop him from answering."To get rid of the random ambushes throughout the year? Absolutely!"
Pivoting smoothly to face the Creeveys, she called out, "He said yes!"
The two blond boys looked overjoyed, and scurried away.
"What's to stop them from turning this into 'A Year In The Life of Harry Potter' like last year?" Harry finally managed to stop blinking.
"Simple," the bookworm answered smugly. "I gave them a set of standards to live up to: pictures of all of the students out of all of the Houses, plus all of the clubs and team members, and so on. If they don't fit those standards you don't sign the book. That should keep them so busy with work they'll have no time for pestering us, except by appointment."
"And," she finished with a smirk, "give it a week and they'll probably go broke from having to buy all that film. Then they CAN'T follow you around, stalking you with a camera!"
I I I
Normal day truly felt strange sometimes. It was odd to go from fighting hard to save the world to writing three feet of parchment on the backrub charm. The mind just doesn't manage switches that big so easily.
It seemed like a small eternity since Harry had last attended Potions class. Luckily, it would be even longer before he had to go to one again.
Harry had devised a very simple strategy for dealing with Potions: non-attendance. He could effectively earn his House thirty points on average just by not showing up for Snape to bully him and take them away. More than that, he didn't even have to break any rules to do so on a continuing basis.
No, he just needed a bit of cleverness.
First he arranged official permission from Professor McGonagall to form a student-only study club; a mutual assistance society covering any subjects they might need, getting an unused classroom set aside for their use.
Harry then went to the day's scheduled Potions class and waited until the next time a Slytherin student did a bit of mischief, spiking someone else's cauldron. Sadly, it didn't take long, only about halfway into the first hour of their lesson. Looking angry, Harry turned to glare at Snape and challenge, as if in ire over the Slytherin's misbehavior, "Professor McGonagall told us that if she caught anyone not taking her class seriously they would be evicted and told never to return. Are you any less strict than her?"
Snape's gaze turned stormy as he glared at his most hated student. It was clear to everyone that he was offended that Harry was obviously trying to get him to discipline one of his Slytherins. "Are you volunteering, Mr. Potter? Because anytime you feel that way you are free to go and not darken my class again."
Standing up, Harry sneered at his professor and giving a fierce nod, declared, "Since I can't ever picture NOT feeling that way, because I can't respect a subject taught by a childish bully like yourself, I think I'll take advantage of that 'leave and not come back' rule you just said you share with McGonagall."
Harry quickly snatched up his bookbag and left.
Snape's mouth was not yet open to declare the boy's punishment for this bit of cheek before Hermione had also popped up out of her chair. "I think I'll take advantage of that as well, as there isn't anything I'd care to learn from a man as beastly and unfair as yourself!"
To Snape's shock, the entire Gryffindor House pushed back their chairs and rose, grabbing at their books to hurry out. Ron was the only exception, as he was too stunned by this to rise.
Harry and Hermione hadn't planned it that way, but they were glad at this show of House loyalty. Snape, on the other hand, found he was staring at a half-empty classroom before his wits had recovered enough to let him speak.
And he hadn't even punished the cheeky blighters on their way out!
Luna had to fight to keep a smile off her face as she led the next group of students into the Potions classroom. It was just luck that her year's class followed Harry's, but it was a stroke of luck she intended to capitalize on.
Raising her hand to gain her flustered and angry teacher's attention(almost guaranteed to lose forty points for her House right there) she asked in a distracted tone of voice, "Professor Snape, I just heard a story told that Harry and his classmates found a rule that made you throw them out of your classes for good. Is that right?"
"Yes," the greasy haired man bit off angrily. "What of it?"
"Oh." Luna nodded brightly, standing up and picking up her books (which were few, having anticipated this). "Well, in that case, I'd like to take advantage of it myself. Harry's holding a marvelous study group for those who choose not to attend your classes anymore."
And as soon as that, she was out the door.
There came a slight, stunned pause, but before Snape could open his mouth to speak a flood of Ravenclaw and Hufflepuff students followed her out, leaving the man staring at an empty classroom.
I I I
As a direct result of the 'Great Potions Exodus' (that would leave Snape, at the end of the week, wondering how Albus could let him keep his job- seeing as how he had almost NO non-Slytherin students, and that was abit much for the Headmaster to hide on his monthly reports to the school board) Potions became a major subject in the Harry and Hermione study club.
All the ones to walk out of Snape's class were invited, and between the two geniuses instruction was so superior that first lesson, held the evening after just having walked out of Snape's class, as to cast out all doubt that those club members were going to get the best grades in that course the subject had seen in years.
And, seeing the possibility to tweak the Headmaster's nose a bit (seeing how he'd backed Snape so firmly for those many years), Harry'd already arranged with McGonagall to have 'any reasonable supplies' delivered as part of their club. Since the school maintained a student supply cupboard of ingredients for Potions, they made a successful case about those being reasonable, and got their own supply cupboard, carefully monitored by McGonagall.
Harry's draw on those resources alone, all perfectly above-board, taking only needed ingredients for perfectly relevant projects for his potions education, was enough to convince the Deputy Headmistress that her proud group of Gryffindors was going to surpass Snape's Slytherins when it came to OWL grades, and the woman could hardly be happier.
And, of course, there were also Luna and Hermione doing their very level best to catch up to their boy-toy on that subject, and also intending, as he did, to carry a full emergency store of useful potions about.
And their enthusiasm was contagious to the other students in their club.
This was not without a little bit of deliberate help on their part, as it was in all of their best interests for the study club to succeed. As part of his plan to excite the students for learning, Harry approached Eloise Midgen, who set the standard by which really bad acne can be measured, in front of the class, offering her a bottle filled with a familiar potion.
"It's really quite simple," Harry suggested, holding out the bottle."They teach us to make things, but they never teach us WHY we're making them, or what they could be used for. This is a boil-curing potion. That was our first lesson, and all it did was blow up and cause problems. The only thing it taught us was to hate potions class. Even now I think we should've waited on a later session to mix it, when we could've developed more ability to do something dangerous safely. But even so, if you know what you're making can be used for, it is a lot easier to want to learn how to make it."
He bent down to put the potion into Eloise's unresisting hands, smiling widely all the while. "Because a boil is just another name for acne. They're the same thing, just convenient words for tying them to different parts of the body."
The afflicted girl's eyes shot wider, and she grabbed at the potion, pouring it on a towel she then smeared across her face. Countless girls watched eagerly in baited breath, and when the towel lowered, the legendary landmark for really bad acne was clean - no boils in sight.
The skin on her face was clear.
Eloise shot over to a bathroom to spend half an hour (at LEAST) appreciating her new boil-free complexion, and the rest of the teenaged girls in that room spent a VERY productive day mixing boil-curing potions (absolutely NONE of which exploded, such was the care involved), and other cosmetic treatments Hermione was kind enough to have provided recipes for ahead of time.
The girls of Hogwarts were absolutely hooked.
Showing the boys how to mix a proper dung-bomb got them hooked as well(and would mark a big decline in Zonko's business in the near future).
Having this, Harry approached the Weasley twins with a bit of polyjuice, one of Percy's hairs, the boy's prefect badge, and an explanation of the mischief potentials this represented. And all he was asking in return was that they help teach any older students they might get in their private Potions club.
The twins agreed in a heartbeat, not least because having their own source of supplies was just too strong a draw for those pranksters to resist!
Normally, Snape hovered over the student supply cupboard like a bat, and only allowed out what he said was required for what he wanted to teach. With the ability to choose what they wanted to mix, and draw out any reasonable ingredients for that from school supplies, they could not only get ahead on their studies and mix things useful to them, but they also had potential to disguise a certain amount of prank mixing among the legitimate research.
The twins were not alone on this. It just had to stay well-hidden.
However Fred and George also reasoned they could supplement the standard supplies, like they always did, with more frequent trips out into the Forbidden Forest, with its cornucopia of dangerous and highly valuable magical sources of ingredients there.
Harry insisted the twins keep it down to a fairly low level, as he explained that the Headmaster would be looking for any excuse to take away this privilege."Besides," Harry explained with a grin, "Think of this whole thing as aprank against Snape."
The twins gave him some of the widest grins of their lives.
Non-Slytherin attendance of Potions classes dropped to practically nothing inside of two weeks. Although Ron was asked not to return to club meetings after interrupting this impromptu student class for the fifth time with a fairly lame request for someone else to do all of his work for him.
So Ron, alone out of all non-Slytherin Houses, went back to Snape's class - and suffered, as now he was the ONLY target for their aggressions there.
I I I
For the first time in their lives the Weasley Twins had access to all of the best, top of the line potions brewing equipment, and now finally the supplies to use those at near to full capacity.
Naturally this spurred off a slew of inventing.
One of the first new projects was to be a prank, and as usual they tested this by spiking the refreshments at a party in Gryffindor Tower. Someone's birthday party, actually.
The new invention was called Caucasian Creams. It was meant to be asilly party gag, changing skin and hair color for an evening, a harmless prank. And it did produce a fair amount of amusement. Even Harry's dark black unruly hair became as red as his mother's under the influence.
However, it turned out to be as permanent as a dose of Skele-grow -one of those things you don't know when you're experimenting, creating a product for the first time.
A certain amount of upset over that was to be expected.
What those two did NOT expect was to be confronted by the Patil twins the next morning, Parvati wanting her dose to go along with the now strawberry blonde and blue eyed Padma.
It turned out the Weasley twins were not the only identical siblings to go posing as each other around Hogwarts, and the Ravenclaw Patil had been attending the Gryffindor party under guise as her sister, while Parvati spent the evening in the Ravenclaw tower reading their private store of books.
But they couldn't do any of that anymore until they looked identical again.
"But..." Fred began.
"Don't you want," George continued.
"To wait until," Fred rambled on.
"Until Madam Pomphrey comes up with a cure?" both concluded together.
The Patils LAUGHED! drawing attention as this commotion occurred in the Gryffindor common room.
"Now why would we want that?" Padma asked mockingly. "Do you have any idea how many girls from our country would kill to have a complexion like this? Even if she does come up with a cure, I'm not letting Pomphrey get close to me with it."
"Besides," Parvati scoffed. "You both know how Purebloods are in control of all the magical governments of Europe - but what you have no experience with is how deeply, DEEPLY racist they are!"
"Yeah. You're just 'blood-traitors' to their minds," Padma supported.
"While we," Parvati concluded, "Are, not to put it mildly, 'wogs'."
"Having skin like this takes me from 'foreign scum' and 'filthy pussblood'to viable marriage contract for any man in English Pureblood society!"Padma bragged. "And increases the pay I could get out of a Ministry job by a factor of four - at LEAST! Why would I want a cure for that?"
"Even should we go back to India, we'd be FAR more desirable there!"Parvati insisted, before putting her hands on hips to lean over the Weasley Twins and declare, "So where can I get my share of those candies of yours?"
Fred wordlessly produced a Caucasian Cream and the girl gobbled it down right there, soon matching her sister's color tones, identical once again.
"Perfect!" the girls declared, after carefully comparing and finding they could pass for each other again, and causing half the tower to wonder how often they'd done that before.
"Bye!" they skipped out of Gryffindor Tower together, leaving behind a room full of people lost in their thoughts over possibilities they'd missed in their earlier outrage over the skin cream prank.
Yup. Their world was controlled by racists. There was no way of denying that.
So... why not confuse them a bit for a little personal advantage?
Fred and George found themselves confronted by a line of people, Lee Jordan in the front of them, who wanted increased job prospects in Magical England.
So, quite by accident, the twins had stumbled on their first salable product. Very gradually, business would begin to build, as there was vast demand, in and out of Hogwarts, for a dodge to escape the racism of the pureblood elites in control of governments throughout Europe.
They would even eventually, on the Patils' suggestion, began to export the product to India, starting small and growing from there.
I I I
Harry had set up auto-notes quills around Binns at the time he'd bound the spirit to his chair so Myrtle could take over his classes. But at the same time he'd bound the ghost to stay there, he'd also caused him to recite, non-stop all of his lessons for all of his classes for all seven years.
Since Binns never changed anything he ever said in those lessons, they could bind those notes into books and have all seven years of his lectures in book format - where at least they didn't have to deal with his droning, monotonous voice. Stripped of that terrible delivery, they were still dry, just not as bad.
Nothing could be as bad, stripped of that factor.
Still, as reference material they made a fairly good encyclopedia of goblin wars and rebellions, and reference material was often a little dry. That didn't matter as much once it was sorted by subject and well-indexed so you could look things up by topic.
Adding a few details Binns had always left out, things like maps and a taste for the political and social climate of the time to add context for a greater understanding of the issues and ideologies involved, and the Binns Goblin Wars Encyclopedia actually became a useful tool at that point. One valuable for its wealth of historical details (most of which had to be added in order for the rest of it to make any sense).
Handing copies of the set of lecture notes off to a collection of out-of-work muggleborn Ravenclaws who had not yet emigrated to greener pastures, and hiring them to do the research and conversion project gave Harry a valuable resource without trying up his own time doing the work.
It also gave him a valuable aid for predicting goblin behavior in the upcoming wars, as the creatures were not terribly inventive. Cruel, yes. Cunning, sometimes. But if they always wanted the same kind of things (they did) and went after the same sort of targets (they did) and generally used tactics similar to what other goblins had before (they did, tradition was actually a very big deal to them on certain issues), then much of what they'd be doing in any given conflict could be predicted ahead of time by someone with that knowledge. And that gave him a vital advantage to use against them.
Since he could just about count on the goblins to be against him in the wars that were approaching, Harry was very glad to have that reference forming.
I I I
Dumbledore was getting too tired to be enraged.
The man absently pulled a bit of acromantula webbing out of his beard. It was barely stubble at this point. Hagrid, the poor fool, had been forced to shave him to get him down and out of the ropes made of his own hair.
At least he hadn't died this time, saved before the spiders could do more than nibble on him. Hagrid was naturally quite distressed. Dumbledore found himself hardly caring.
It was strange, how one could get used to dying so frequently in so many horrific ways. It continually surprised him how inventive his murderer was - and not just in killing him, but in attacking his power base.
For more than half a century he had been in complete control of the magical world. His mere suggestions could turn the tide of the community. Albus had literally been getting away with murder, and the power to do so had been handed to him on a platter, as it were, after his victory over his best friend Grindelwald. He had, during that time, been consolidating all wealth and influence under his own direct control.
Now, for the first time in fifty years, power was slipping away from him.
Albus dared not eat or drink or sit on anything without waving a unicorn horn amulet over it first to detect for all poisons - but notably on the watch for any more doses of malaclaw venom.
In the past few days he had focused his attentions (when not being slain)rather heavily on that vital substance, and at last had managed to corner the magical market on that toxin and buy up all the currently available supply, as well as newly produced stock. There was none to be had on the open market for any price, as he destroyed it almost as soon as he collected it.
The private sanctuary of his office had been robbed too frequently of late to trust a storage of this ingredient to accumulate anywhere! He did not wish to buy up vast sums of the venom, only for it then to be stolen and used on him!
And Albus was QUITE aware, thank you very much, that most of his present predicament was inescapable while he was under that venom's influence. The bad luck aura it created was too formidable to escape by mere chance, nor were his plans unaffected by the continual string of disasters it created.
Still, even though the tide had long ago turned against him, what else was he to do but try and stay ahead of things? So he managed as best he could in spite of the terrible unraveling of countless plots all around him.
If only this latest disaster had not been so serious.
His pet dark wizard had come to his office and explained how circumstances had combined to imperil his cover as Potions Professor at the school, and Albus was far from confident he could set these events straight again given how much else he had of importance that was presently crowding his plate.
Severus finished his rant at last, and was clearly waiting for an answer as to how Dumbledore was going to fix this minor problem. Sadly, it truly was a small matter. He'd protected his man from many others like it before, none quite so serious or extreme as this, but between the political climate and so many other emergencies...
The old man sighed. "Perhaps... perhaps it would be for the best, Severus."
The Potion Master drilled him with an unfriendly glance. "What do you mean?"
Dumbledore gave off a weary groan, meeting his friend's gaze with akindly one. "My influence is stretched to its limits already, my friend. I am under siege, and find I am attacked on so many fronts simultaneously that I have no safe haven in which to rally. It may be some time before I can set this situation to rights. So, perhaps, for a time, it might be better for you to pursue a mission for me while we wait for the unrest here to die down."
Snape raised his nose haughtily to stare down the length of it at the Headmaster, wordlessly demanding an explanation for why he was denying this trivial thing, always granted so easily before.
Realizing this was so, Dumbledore wearily explained, "Severus, I fear the American Dark Lord Colonel Sanders may have a broader power base than we even thought possible."
Uncomfortable with the change of topic, Severus drilled him with a steady gaze. "What is it, Headmaster?"
The old man sighed. "I fear he may have the backing of a true monarchy."
Snape sputtered indignantly, momentarily forgetting his own troubles."But that's impossible! The Americans have no king. They cast off our sane rule to replace it with this blundering democracy of theirs."
Albus nodded gravely. "That is what we were led to believe, my friend. But you and I are both familiar with secrets, even secret governments unknown to those who are not a part of them. And I have been picking up disturbing hints of a 'King Burger' and 'Queen Dairy' in connection with this Colonel Sanders. Indeed, he may be just an officer in their army. Although, I suspect due to the nature of these attacks, he would be serving in their espionage services." The old man drew in a great and heavy breath, "Indeed, we must hope that this is so, for the alternative is terrifying."
"Headmaster?" Snape's voice betrayed unusual concern.
Albus nodded gravely. "I have many feelers out, and have begun to discover some startling rumors. Most of those who claim acquaintance with Colonel Sanders have also expressed familiarity with a Captain Crunch and General Motors. Severus, I fear we may indeed face an entire Dark Muggle army. And, if rumors I hear are true, they might have a base on our very doorstep, for I hear of connections between them and the McDonald clan of Scotland."
I I I
Now THAT was just too fun not to do! There's just something so silly about someone taking the absurd so seriously.
Face it, you liked it too!