in which Harry nears the end of adolescence and starts becoming… something else. Harry leaves the castle for something of an adventure while attempting to consciously avoid foolish things and fa...
A/N2: in which Harry nears the end of adolescence and starts becoming… something else. Harry leaves the castle for something of an adventure while attempting to consciously avoid foolish things and fails miserably. A visitor comes to Hogwarts, and neither Voldemort nor Draco Malfoy are happy campers.
Harry Potter and the Sun Source
Chapter 7: Profit Motive
Harry woke suddenly from his normally sound, if watchful sleep.
How very odd, he thought as he concentrated for a moment on what time it was. His internal rhythms told him it was 4:27 a.m., Only two hours after he had gotten to bed given Susan’s fixation on the entire concept of a ‘new’ year. Harry personally hadn’t noticed anything different about the turning of the calendar, but it made the girl happy, so he went along.
He was alone in the dorm room, his body compensating for the January chill of the castle without his having to consciously think about it. But…
His mouth tasted of salt. Little Father had predicted that one day he would wake from a sound sleep and that his mouth would taste of salt.
Harry rose from the bed and went to the dormitory’s shower room. At the sink he opened the spigot and let the water run for a few moments, and then stuck his mouth to the tap and filled it.
Sloshing the water around his mouth, he returned to his darkened dorm room as he contemplated what was happening to his body. Chiun had warned him…
Eight months earlier, Harry had woken from a sound sleep in his father’s home. Something was wrong; something had caused him to wake almost four minutes early. Harry made his way to his father’s sleeping quarters. There he found, reclined on his favorite mat, Chiun, the Master of Sinanju, his father’s black robes reaching from his toes to the wisps of white hair that crowned his head.
One did not wake the Master of Sinanju without reason, especially not his apprentice, so Harry silently knelt next to his father’s sleeping mat to wait for the chance to report this feeling of oddness.
Truth be told, Harry was never really quite sure when Chiun was actually sleeping or in one of his fifty-nine stages of relaxation, sleep only being the fifty-second. Someday, Chiun had promised, Harry would achieve these same stages, even though he was only a white.
“What is the problem my son?” Chiun asked having given no indication that he was awake.
“I am sorry for disturbing you Master. I woke suddenly with a feeling of… of absence,” Harry reported dutifully. Yes, a feeling of absence. That described what he was feeling.
“That is wonderful news. It means that you are coming of age. Sometime in the next year you will finish your progression to adulthood and will finally be ready for your true training.”
Harry had been allowed to read from the Book of Sinanju since he learned the art of the written word. Now that Chiun had made the suggestion, Harry made the association of how he was feeling with the progression of apprentices from the past. “Do you truly believe that I can become a true practitioner of Sinanju Master? So many apprentices of the past have failed to make this progression before.”
“Ah my son, it is true that many have failed to complete this step of their lives, but you, young Harry have an advantage that none of those failed apprentices ever had. Your advantage is that you are being trained by me, because the Master of Sinanju can work wonders with nothing, the nothing being you.
"Thank you for your confidence, Little Father," Harry had said with a smile.
That was when Chiun had warned him of the coming Night of the Salt. On that night, Chiun had said, Harry would doubt himself and his abilities and would be likely to attempt to do something foolish to prove to himself that his skills and training were valid. This was both dangerous and a sign of growth. "But in your case, there will be a problem."
"What problem, Master?"
"How will you be able to tell when you do something foolish, since much like your brother, almost everything else you do is foolish," Chiun had said, and thought that this was amazingly funny, so funny he repeated it for days and attributed the fact that Harry did not appreciate the witticism to Harry's typical white man's lack of a sense of humor.
Despite being more than ninety years old, Chiun told Harry that he clearly remembered his own night of the salt when he was sixteen years old, almost a final rite of puberty. It was another sign of the body becoming something else, he explained.
"What will I become?" Harry asked.
But Chiun did not answer his pupil, for as he pointed out, a young man who lacked a sense of humor also surely lacked wisdom.
So, just as Chiun had foretold, despite his mouth still being filled with water, he tasted the salt as if someone had emptied a shaker of it into his mouth. Harry went back to the bathroom and spat out the water. His entire life he had been changing. Harry had realized very early that he was different, that he could do more than any of his playmates, either in the alleys of Sinanju or in the classrooms of Kumsilu, he was always the odd one out. And always his elders expected that he would be capable of even more. He had accepted this as what his life would be, and look forward to the day when he would take his place as a provider for both his villages.
So he was becoming what Chiun predicted he would become. In the way of Sinanju, an assassin was not something you did, but something you were.
Now there was salt in his mouth.
From everything he had been told, this made him the second white man ever to achieve that stage. Not that Harry really knew what it meant to be ‘white’, other than as a rule, Chiun wasn’t fond of them. Of course Chiun wasn’t overly fond of Blacks, Amerinds, Asians other than Koreans, South Koreans, and most North Koreans either. In fact, if one wasn’t from Sinanju, Remo, Harry himself, or one of the ladies that Chiun associated with on the boardwalk of Miami Beach, Chiun wasn’t particularly fond of pretty much anyone.
Harry smiled to himself as he recalled the look on Chiun’s face when at the age of nine Harry had repeated the rumor he had learned from his playmate Yeon-ul while working in the village plots and asked if it was true that the vagina of a white women opened side to side instead of front to back like a proper Korean woman and if they truly did have teeth down there.
This brought about the most clinical explanation of human female anatomy ever given to any apprentice of Sinanju.
Harry gulped another mouthful of water from the still running tap and sloshed it around. True to Chiun’s word, Harry found himself wondering if he had actually changed in any way at all. That was when he realized that Chiun had been right, again. To hell with it he decided. He was going outside.
He spat the water into the sink and exited the shower room. Harry dressed quickly and exited the dorm, pausing for a moment to leave a note for Susan in the common room, before leaving the castle heading for the ward line. As soon as he crossed the wards, he apparated with a soft pop.
Harry felt the need to go out into the world and do… something. But, he swore to himself, however he spent his day, he wasn’t going to be doing something foolish.
It was noon before Harry found anything that sparked his interest. After discovering that there was very little to do in the early morning hours of New Years day, he had taken to opening his senses to the world and apparating to population centers in the hope of finding something interesting, and preferably not too terribly foolish, to do.
For the longest time it appeared to be very unlikely that he was going to find anything. The principle function of people out and about before 9 am seemed to be waiting in line for stores to open in the hopes of scoring a ‘bargain’.
Things began to look up around noon when Harry happened across an amateur boxing tournament in the oddly named village of Little Whinging in the county of Surrey. Harry paid the four pounds for his ticket and entered the exhibit hall to watch the bouts.
Harry had always found the method of combat employed by people not of Sinanju to be interesting. He had to concentrate on ignoring the flaws in the technique shown, it was fun to watch the amateurs flailing away at each other, completely unaware of their inadequacies.
Just before the third bout started a thin woman and a massively fat man took their places in the seats next to Harry. The man’s breath stank of beef and alcohol so Harry modified his breathing to minimize his exposure to the toxins.
“My boy Dudley is in the next fight,” the man said. “We’re in for a hell of a fight.”
The boxers entered the ring while Harry was wondering just why the fat man felt the need to tell him that his son was one of the fighters, when the boy’s resemblance to the man was more than evident.
This ‘Dudley’ was a large kid in white trunks with closely cropped blond hair. His opponent was a shorter boy in blue trunks who appeared to be fighting up a weight class and was now beginning to regret it. The pair met at the center of the ring for the referee’s instructions, and then tapped gloves and returned to their respective corners to await the signal to begin.
“Kick his ass Dudley!” the fat man screamed before turning to Harry and continuing in a conversational tone of voice. “My Dudley could box every fighter here, one after another, and come out the uncontested winner.”
Harry watched as Dudley’s opponent moved to press his first attack, throwing a series of jabs testing the larger kid’s defenses. It turned out that this ‘Dudley’ didn’t really have much in the way of actual defenses. He just used his bulk to absorb the other fighter’s blows. In doing so he allowed the other boy to get close enough so that he could make his own move.
Dudley suddenly leaned forward and head butted his opponent, following that move with a powerful, if slow, right hook. The smaller fighter was laid out on the canvass.
“That’s it Dudley! Give him the old ‘One, Two’!” The fat man screamed as his son was roughly pushed into his corner and the referee issued a warning prior to slowly beginning the fallen boxer’s ten count.
Harry’s mouth formed a thin line. He didn’t like cheaters. In actual combat there were no rules, survival being the key objective, but in a stylized match with rules and technique? Taking a cheap shot was worse than unforgivable.
The fallen fighter struggled to his feet by the count of seven, shaking his head to clear it, and then nodded when the referee seemingly asked if he was able to continue.
This set the tone for the bout. The smaller boxer went down two more times in the first round, and five times in the second. Harry found himself rooting for the underdog in the face of the fact that the kid was slow and clumsy, noticeably more so than his competitor, but he steadfastly refused to quit getting up off the mat time after time. The fact that ‘Dudley’ seemingly couldn’t resist taking dirty shots when he thought he could get away with it didn’t endear the larger fighter to Harry, nor did the loud mouth connected to the fat man.
Harry could clearly see this ‘Dudley’s’ weaknesses, and it almost hurt to watch the pummeling the smaller boy was taking. When the smaller fighter was sitting in his corner before the third and final round of his bout, Harry rose from his seat and approached the boy.
The boy’s trainer was furiously working on the boxer trying to close a cut over the boy’s left eye. “You’ve got to keep your guard up. You’re getting killed out there. I should just throw the towel in.”
“No!” the boxer said. “I’m seeing this through.”
“Hey bud,” Harry said softly. “You’re getting your ass beat out there.”
The boxer slowly turned his battered face to look at Harry. “Really?” he said sarcastically, “here I thought I was wearing him down.”
“If you don’t mind a little advice?”
Both the trainer and the boxer turned to stare at the young man with the dancer’s build. What was this kid up to?
“Pop him twice in the left shoulder. Your gloves are pretty wide, so hitting the exact point shouldn’t be a problem, just hit him twice in the left shoulder inside of a second and a half, then a jab to the solar plexus.”
“Because he’s a cheap shot artist, and his loud mouthed old man is annoying the hell out of me,” Harry explained. “Remember two taps on the left shoulder, then a jab to the solar plexus. You’ll enjoy what happens then.”
Harry returned to his seat as the bell signaling the next round sounded.
“What did you say to him?” the fat man asked, no longer paying attention to the fight.
Harry raised an eyebrow, “what business is it of yours what I say to anyone?”
The fat man’s face turned a very odd shade of red. “I asked you a question boy, what did you say to him?”
“I might have suggested that he should be careful in the ring,” Harry said as the fight restarted and the smaller boxer landed a punch to Dudley’s left shoulder, followed quickly by another.
“Why?” the fat man demanded totally missing the soft blow landed to his son’s belly.
“I simply mentioned the possibility that Dudley was likely to ask him home for a threesome with you.” Harry answered as Dudley sank to his knees and began vomiting everything that was in his upper digestive tract while simultaneously everything in his lower digestive tract exited through the other orifice. It turned out that the white trunks he wore had been a poor choice.
The fat man had yet to notice his son’s predicament and swung a meaty arm toward Harry’s face. Harry ducked under the fleshy mass and with his left hand, tapped the front of the fat man’s left shoulder twice, and followed by Harry’s right thumb plunging into the man’s corpulent belly.
The audience was awarded with the sight of Dudley’s father on the floor outside the ring emulating his son’s digestive system problems.
Harry caught the eye of the distraught wife and mother sitting on the other side of the heaving man and smiled. “It might be something they ate.”
It was just after two in the afternoon when Harry happened upon a small air show. This offered him a chance to see some amazingly restored WWII aircraft close up. Chiun had shown Harry the wonder of Western aircraft, their elegance, and the near perfection of their design for passing through the air. The better models cut through the air so very well… they were almost Sinanju in their precision.
The planes he was paying homage to today, of course, did not approach the perfection of present day aircraft, but they were the source of what flew today, and perhaps most importantly most of them were British.
Harry smiled to himself as he moved effortlessly through the crowd garnering odd looks on occasion when it was noticed that despite the temperature hovering just under freezing he was clad in denim jeans and a black tee-shirt. He really had no memories linking him to Britain, but still, the idea that his ancestors rode these fragile things in defense of their homes and families stirred a bit of pride in the second apprentice of Sinanju.
The highlight of the show was a Skydiving demonstration. The announcement drew the attention of the crowd from the crazy teen that didn’t seem to feel the need to dress appropriately for the weather and didn’t seem to care to the sky. From a plane high above the airfield fifteen tiny dots fell.
Harry had always wanted to try that… at least until his father had shown him the proper way to do it. The Sinanju method was one of skill and precision. The Sinanju method was faster and far stealthier, negating the need for the huge colorful canopy.
That being said, the hanging from a parachute looked to be a whole lot more fun.
The sky filled with colorful rectangles as the multiple canopies bloomed, slowing the descent of the divers… all but one. A single red speck continued to fall, and was quite clearly growing larger. The crowd realized what was happening and silence spread among them.
"Maybe it’s a special display,” a woman offered. It was clear from the sound of her voice that she didn’t really believe that. As the falling form plummeted downward, Harry concentrated and it began to take on a more human shape, arms and legs spread, attempting to slow himself as much as possible, the falling man knew that he was dead.
A thin stream of what looked like fluid snaked out of the skydiver’s back and streamed above him for long seconds as the man fell.
"Open it," a man in the crowd shouted. "Open the parachute!"
"He may have thought of that himself," Harry suggested dryly, drawing the crowds attention back to his presence and earning a few nasty looks for his trouble. Why did people always seem to make stupid suggestions?
It didn’t matter. Harry reflected. This person was going to die. If Chiun was there then he might be able… But Harry couldn’t… He wasn’t good enough… Harry didn’t have the skills…
“The Night of the Salt will cause you to doubt yourself and your skills,” Chiun’s words came unbidden to Harry’s mind. “This doubt will resolve its self in one of three ways Young One. You will either be correct to doubt your skills and your journey to become one with Sinanju will be over, or you will find yourself deciding to test yourself some foolish way and die. The third possibility is that you will find yourself deciding to test yourself in some foolish way and survive, perhaps even triumph. It is this possibility that leads to the purity of Sinanju.”
Harry continued to track the falling skydiver while considering what his father had told him. Was this the point where he needed to make his choice? Had he travelled down the path to Sinanju as far as he could go?
Was he done?
Harry made his decision. He had never shied away from taking chances. His father had put most of a decade and a half into training him and shaping him into what he was. It was time to see if he had what it took. The Book of Sinanju was full of stories of Apprentices who failed to take the final step. Harry would take that step.
If it killed him, so be it.
Harry forced himself into peak, calculating if there was any way that he might help the falling man… no, falling woman he realized as he focused his eyes on the falling form. Perhaps he could cast a cushioning charm? No. The woman had by now reached her terminal velocity; over 55 meters per second, landing on any surface at such a speed would reduce her internal organs to mush. A massive wind? No, that would only change the angle at which the woman would hit something solid. The falling woman was still too far away to levitate, and even if she wasn’t the effect of the spell on her body would be similar to hitting the ground.
Magic had its limitations. That only left direct intervention. That left Sinanju.
Harry broke from the crowd and ran instinctively with the woman, following her trajectory. The falling woman was close enough to hear now. She had removed her helmet and was screaming. In her panic she had abandoned her attempt toward slowing herself and was falling end over end.
"Find your center," Chiun’s voice said quietly, inside Harry’s mind. His father’s criticism of Harry was for practice, for the endless exercises Harry was expected to perform. If he did them perfectly, Chiun still found something to criticize because Sinanju taught that perfection did not grow from praise. And perfection one time was not enough. Through the fifteen years of Harry's training, his father had made him repeat the exercises again and again, until they were perfect, after they were perfect, and after they had been perfect every time, because he knew that when it became necessary for Harry to use his skills, perfection was required. The first time.
Harry was balanced on the balls of his feet, shifting his weight as his eyes followed the falling body. Then, when the skydiver was a hundred feet above ground, Harry closed his eyes.
Chiun had taught him that the way of Sinanju was to make one's body one with its surroundings, to feel the space around objects rather than see those objects. It was how the Masters of Sinanju had been able to move, silently, through the ages of man's civilization, without disturbing even the dry leaves beneath their feet, and how they controlled their senses and involuntary functions. They were their environment.
And now Harry, behind his eyes, became the air parting for the panicked figure that fell through it, became the woman herself, with her jerking muscles and the terror that tore through her, making her balance erratic, pushing his senses to their very limits he even became the crowd, horrified at what they were witnessing, yet still oddly excited by the prospect of watching another’s violent death. Harry was all of these things, and so when he began his slow, crouching spin upward, preparing for the spring that would propel him off the ground and bring him back again, his eyes were closed, his muscles relaxed, his mind unthinking, fully concentrating, open yet filled. He sprang out of the coil in perfect balance, seeming to lift off the ground spinning like a top. Intercepting the skydiver a full fifteen feet above the ground, Harry encircled her with both arms and carried her into his spin, breaking her downward momentum into a rotation. Still revolving, Harry settled them both softly on the tarmac, leaving only two circles where his feet had touched.
Not bothering with the buckles and releases Harry tore the woman’s parachute from her body by shearing the straps with one swift incision from the fingernail of his index finger. In less than a second the parachute was in Harry’s hands and the woman lay on the ground staring up in amazement. Her underwear was soiled, but her body was whole without even any broken bones.
"I… I can't believe it," she said from where she lay on the ground.
"Hey,” Harry said with a crooked grin, “Here’s your problem… The drogue got hung up on the release pin. Weird, wouldn’t have thought that would happen. That’ll show you I guess, always have your reserve chute when you jump.”
"You…you saved my life."
“Don't worry about it. We both got lucky.” Harry glanced at the crowd that was just then starting to react to what they had seen, “I’ve gotta go.”
The woman watched as the good looking young man in a Tee-shirt moved away from her without appearing to move. There was nothing exceptional about him except for how he wasn’t dressed for the weather and for his wrists, which were unusually thick. "Wait!” She called. “How can I thank you?”
Harry turned back to face her and winked. “No need. I had my Night of the Salt last night, and I really needed to do something foolish. Tradition, you know?”
The woman watched as the man in the Tee-shirt vanished without a sound, before laying back to stare at the sky as the rescue services finally arrived. As the paramedic began checking her for injury the woman came to the only reasonable explanation for what she had just experienced.
She had been saved from certain death by an Angel.
“A sky diver was saved from certain death today,” the news presenter informed the nation in his most serious tones.
“If this hadn’t happened in front of so many witnesses, I would have thought it to be a hoax” his perky female associate interjected.
Damned Yank influences. Ozzie Granger groused to himself as he turned the page of his newspaper. Time was when a news presenter presented the news and there weren’t any phony forced banter involved.
“Indeed,” the male have of the news team agreed. “Mavis Phillips, twenty nine, of Leeds, was participating in a skydiving demonstration when her parachute didn’t open. For her explanation for her survival we go to Martin Frasier.”
“Her parachute didn’t open?” Sharon Granger asked the room. “How could anyone possibly survive that?”
“I can think of a few ways using magic,” her daughter Hermione answered, “but…”
“Thank you David,” the new voice on the television rang out, “I’m with Mavis Phillips who survived her four thousand foot fall unharmed. Mavis, why don’t you explain what happened?”
“We were going to do a formation and I was going to film it,” the woman said. “What’s why I wasn’t wearing my reserve chute. When my main didn’t open, I knew I was dead.” The woman with the short black hair paused for a moment to collect her thoughts.
Ozzie Granger lowered his paper and exchanged a look with his wife. The woman seemed awfully healthy for someone whose parachute had failed four thousand feet above the ground.
“I screamed and prayed the whole way down, and just before I hit the ground, an Angel saved me.”
“Yes an Angel,” the reporter interrupted. “Unfortunately our ITN cameras were out of position to record the incident but we have obtained several instances of amateur videos of the event.”
The screen resolved to show a single dot among a field of colorful canopies. A single dot that was obviously falling faster than those connected to the rectangular parachutes. It was clear that the pilot chute had deployed but had not pulled the main canopy from the pack.
"Open it," a voice could be clearly heard on the recording. "Open the parachute!"
"He may have thought of that himself," another voice answered him, causing Hermione to suddenly lean forward and pay closer attention.
“That’s Harry’s voice.” She whispered, barely able to contain herself.
“Harry?” Sharon asked. “The boy you said jumped off one of the castle’s towers? Well, now we know how she survived.”
“How much trouble will your friend get into with the Statute of Secrecy people for magicing up a rescue? With it being broadcast and on who knows how many video cameras I can’t imagine they’ll be able to hush this up,” Ozzie agreed.
They watched as the camera’s perspective shifted from the falling sky diver to a muscular young man breaking away from the crowd, running out onto the tarmac, seemingly tracking the falling figure with his eyes.
“What’s that fool doing?” a voice from the crowd asked.
The camera operator’s attention shifted again to the falling figure in red, and then back down to the young man on the runway, who was now pulling his body into a tight crouch. The view of the camera expanded as the operator worked his zoom function; suddenly both the falling sky diver and the crouching boy were in frame at the same time.
And the young man launched himself upwards spinning like a child’s toy top. The Grangers (and the rest of the nation) watched in open mouthed amazement as the pair met and the man pulled the falling figure into his twirling rotation before landing lightly on his feet, still holding the sky diver.
Hermione Granger’s mouth went dry. She cursed her own body as it betrayed her by responding physically to the sheer presence of the man, even when she was watching him on a television screen. Seeking to hide her reaction from her parents, she sprang to her feet pointing at the screen of the television set. “He can’t do that. That’s not possible.”
“Hermione,” Sharon said pulling her eyes from the replay of Harry Potter’s amazing rescue of the sky diver to look at her daughter. “Why are you so upset? You said you could think of a few magical ways to save someone falling like that.”
“No Mum, you don’t understand. That wasn’t magic… Magic won’t let you fly, not like that, and even if it did, any wizard that tried to do that would still have to overcome the momentum the falling person had build up, which would probably end up killing them both. No that was Harry Bloody Potter doing the impossible AGAIN.” She returned her attention to the midair rescue being shown from another angle. “He can’t do that! No one can run on wet tissue paper without marking it, no one can apparate on Hogwarts grounds, no one can leap off the Astronomy Tower and walk away from it like nothing happened, and no one can do THAT!” she pointed at the screen which showed Harry Potter landing lightly on his feet holding a terrified sky diver from yet another angle.
The elder Grangers exchanged a look. What had gotten into Hermione?
Harry entered the castle to find a commotion coming from the Great Hall. Having just returned from his New Years Day tour of Britain, Harry had intended to go directly to the Hufflepuff dorms to write a letter to his father reporting the passing of his Night of the Salt, but the shrieks of terror heard from the Great Hall caught his attention.
“Calm down everyone!” Dumbledore’s voice drifted through the open door. “There is no danger.”
“That’s Sirius Black!” Professor Sprout all but screamed.
“This is indeed Sirius Black,” Dumbledore agreed. “He was wrongly convicted and has been cleared of all wrong doing in the deaths of James and Lily Potter. He is a free man.”
His interest mildly piqued by the mention of his birth parents, Harry entered the Great Hall to find the Headmaster facing a majority of the staff defending a well dressed, if somewhat disheveled man.
“Mr. Black was freed from Azkaban due to evidence uncovered by his Godson,” Dumbledore continued not yet noticing that Harry had entered the room. “Obviously, he would like to meet young Harry. I haven’t been able to find him, have any of you seen Mr. Potter today?”
“I’m right here Headmaster,” Harry said from the man’s immediate left. “Did you need something?”
Not for the first time Dumbledore experienced a feeling of dread not unlike the one Chiun of Sinanju inspired when he would just appear next to someone. “Harry,” he said trying to hide his discomfort with the boy, “I’d like you to meet Sirius Black, your godfather.”
“Harry?” the emaciated man said pleadingly.
“How you doing?” Harry asked, wonder just who this man was and what a godfather might be.
“It is due to your efforts that Sirius is free from prison, Harry.” Dumbledore interjected.
“Really?” Harry asked, wondering now what the point of this meeting might be. “What did I do? Did Shacklebolt manage to get one of the Death Eaters I gave to him for questioning to give up evidence that cleared him? Good thing I didn’t kill them then I guess. Will dinner be at the normal time?”
“Harry,” Sirius said plaintively. “It’s me, Padfoot.”
Harry cocked his head at the phrase ‘Padfoot’. That was familiar somehow…
“Harry, Sirius is your Godfather,” the Headmaster explained.
“You said that Headmaster, but I don’t know what a ‘godfather’ is beyond a couple of movies I’ve seen, and Mr. Black doesn’t look anything like Brando.”
“Harry,” Dumbledore said quietly while Black looked even more stricken than before, “Your Godfather is the person your parents appointed to look out for you if anything was to happen to you.”
“Ah,” Harry nodded. “My father tells me he found me abandoned on a doorstep on a cold November night.”
“Your father?” Black asked faintly.
“Chiun of Sinanju.” Harry nodded. “He found me and raised me to what I am now through love, patience and training.” Harry paused for a moment in reflection. “I suppose I should thank you Mr. Black. If you had been more diligent about your responsibilities as a Godfather, I would never have met my father. If you will excuse me, I would like to clean up before dinner.”
Nodding to the headmaster and the assembled professors Harry exited the Great Hall. He had almost reached the staircase when the voice of Sirius Black reached him. “Abandoned on a doorstep?” the man shouted. “I put him into Hagrid’s arms because Hagrid said that he would take Harry to you Dumbledore! What the hell was he doing on a doorstep in the middle of the night?”
Harry smiled a bit at that, and then lost his smile to contemplation. All through his life he had seen that his father had been somewhat dismissive of his employers (who Chiun tended to address as ‘Emperor’ regardless of their actual status), but Harry had found that he was starting to actively dislike Albus Dumbledore and his attempts at manipulation.
He was going to have to think about what he was going to do about that.
The train rocked in that familiar way that had almost become part of the school experience. In a shrouded private compartment, Draco Malfoy sat contemplating his lot in life while fingering his father’s cane. It had taken a considerable number of galleons to get that damned wand maker to modify Draco’s wand to accept its new place in the cane, but it was worth it.
Draco Malfoy was not a happy young man. For a year that had started with such promise, everything had fallen to shit so very quickly. The new head of the Malfoy family realized that it had all started to go wrong when he had turned around to find Harry Potter staring at him on the train on September first.
First Potter had given him that horrible nickname that the Bone’s girl had repeated to everyone she spoke with. After the death of his father, he even heard it in the Slytherin common room.
The injuries he had received at the hands of that insufferable half blood were almost too much to live with. If the bastard had at least used his wand, Draco told himself, at least there would be honor in losing to a more powerful mage, but no. Potter had used his hands, and then another time Potter had suckered Goyle and Crabbe into hitting Draco in the face with their beater’s bats.
While Draco was incapacitated, the Hufflepuff had somehow seduced Pansy away from her pledge to the Malfoy family. Then on the Hogsmeade weekend when Draco had been warned to stay away from the town, that blasted half blood had killed Draco’s father.
That was unthinkable, but true. Far too many witnesses felt the need to tell the fallen Prince of Slytherin just what they had seen, of how Lucius Malfoy could be heard pleading for the release of death.
Draco had been stricken by the loss of his father, but he had known that the Dark Lord would avenge his favorite follower, that Potter would die slowly and painfully.
That was when Draco discovered that without his Godfather and Defender, his personal power at Hogwarts had practically vanished.
But the Dark Lord seemingly ignored the deaths of Lucius Malfoy and Severus Snape and had carried on making plans that no one understood. Still, Draco knew it was only a matter of time before Potter got just what was coming to him, and Draco would return to his previous status at the school.
Then… then that Potter bastard had debased Draco’s mother in his father’s bed. And she had enjoyed what the half blood had done to her! After he had recovered from Potter’s attack on his person on Boxing Day, she had been insufferably happy; Draco had even caught her singing in her study.
The fact that she would betray his father in such a… carnal way, with his murderer, infuriated Draco to no end.
Potter had to die. He had to die at Draco’s hand.
The Dark Lord had forbid anyone from harming Potter, for the Dark Lord’s reasons. But as any British wizard knew, Hogwarts could be a dangerous place. Accidents happened all the time.
It would be terribly sad when Harry Potter had his accident. Terribly, terribly sad.
Four cars behind the one housing Draco’s private compartment, in the open car that the Outsiders had claimed as their own, the post holiday greetings and stories of time with family had finally run out. There were a few seconds of silence before Colin Creevey broke it with his question.
“Did anyone else see what happened with the skydiver New Years day? Was that Harry Potter?”
“Yes it was.” Hermione spat. “Doing something that is physically impossible. Again.”
Neville regarded his closest friend curiously. “What’s going on there Hermione? What’s a sky diver?”
“A skydiver is someone who jumps out of an airplane,” Colin explained. Noting the blank looks from the Purebloods and Wizard raised around him, he continued. “An airplane is a flying machine. They fly very fast and very high, faster and higher than any broom. A skydiver is someone who jumps from an airplane in flight with what’s called a parachute to slow their fall.”
Hermione had been rooting around in her book bag. She produced a length of string and a pencil, removing a handkerchief from her pocket she quickly tied the string to each of the corners of the handkerchief, and then tied the loose ends to the pencil. “They work like this:” she said tossing the assembly in the middle of the compartment.
“People do that?” Neville asked horrified.
Remembering Neville’s disastrous first flying lesson, Hermione fought against her smile as she retrieved her handkerchief. “They do. It’s a sort of sport for some people.”
“That’s insane!” Millicent Bulstrode said shaking her head. “What did Potter do?”
“During a group jump, one of the skydiver’s parachute didn’t open. She was four thousand feet up and in free fall…” Colin said, bouncing in his seat with excitement. The bulk of the Outcasts smiled. Colin’s greatest disappointment upon arriving at Hogwarts was the fact that Harry Potter wasn’t there. Now that he was the Muggle Born’s fanboy aspect had come to the fore.
“And Harry caught her with while flying on a broom?” Hannah asked.
“Of course not, that would at least make sense and be in some small way possible,” Hermione huffed, her arms folded across her chest. “No, that wouldn’t work for Harry Bloody Potter. He had to do something utterly impossible.”
That perked the Outsiders up. They had, after all, witnessed a bit of Potter doing the impossible more than once. “What did he do?” Neville asked.
“He got underneath her as she was falling,” Colin explained, “and just before she hit the ground, he jumped up, straight up almost twenty feet in the air, and caught her.”
“What?” Millicent asked doing the math in her head. She blinked when she got the answer and wondered if she slipped a decimal point. “She’d have been moving more than 100 miles per hour if she fell from four thousand feet! If he tried to catch her the inertia should have splattered them both. What magic did he use?”
“None,” Hermione said. “I watched the videos of the event at least a dozen times. He didn’t cast a bloody thing. He jumped more or less straight up, spinning, and when he caught the woman, he pulled her falling momentum into his spin.”
“Harry landed on his feet,” Colin nodded agreeing with Hermione, “with the woman in his arms. He laid her down on the ground, looked at her parachute for a second or two, talked to her a bit, and then just walked out of the frame of the videos. Afterwards, no one could find him and the woman was telling everyone that she had been saved by an angel.”
There was several seconds of silence in the compartment while those raised in the Magical world digested the story.
“And he didn’t use any magic?” Neville asked, “none at all?”
Hermione shook her head. “That’s probably the reason that none of you had heard about it. It’s been in the Muggle news since it happened on New Years day. They keep playing the video loop over and over and experts try and tell everyone that what they are seeing couldn’t possibly have happened despite the evidence in front of them. If the news is to be believed, the Muggle government even has a commission working on trying to determine the meaning of the words on Potter’s tee-shirt.”
Neville grinned. Harry’s tee-shirts had become nearly legendary at the school in the four months he had been attending. “What did it say?”
“I appear to be perfect,” Colin recited, “But deep down inside, I really am.”
Remo answered the phone on the first ring.
“Goldstein,” He said, remembering his cover name for a change. At least he thought it was his cover name. It was something-stein.
“Remo,” a lemony voice came over the handset without any preamble, “have you been watching the news?”
“You bet,” Remo answered happily. “Man those Japanese Beetles are doing a number on the local fruit trees aren’t they?”
“Japanese…” The tone of the voice told Remo that he had managed to mess with Smitty. He tallied another point on the ‘Remo vs. Smitty’ running scoreboard. “Remo, please? Have you seen what Chiun’s new apprentice has done in front of video cameras?”
“Yeah, the kid saved that girl, so what?”
“Look Smitty,” the first Apprentice of Sinanju said, “Chiun’s not part of the organization anymore, and Harry never was. I don’t control either of them and I’m not silly enough to try. You should just be glad these sort of things don’t happen more often.”
“What do you mean?”
“Chiun’s been talking about advertising in order to promote more business for years.”
Remo smiled at the choking sounds coming over the phone line and added another point to his scoreboard. “Look Smitty, the pictures of Harry doing his thing is just the latest distraction for the sheep of the world. In a week or so some idiot celebrity will do something outrageous and no one will remember the kid that saved a falling woman. Don’t panic, just wait and it will go away on its own.”
“I hope you’re right Remo. I hope you’re right.”
There was a click and the dial tone started blaring from the handset.
Remo replaced the handset on the receiver. The whole thing with Harry was a bit out of character for the kid. Not that Harry was averse to helping people, it’s just that Chiun had instilled more than a little bit of his mercenary heart into the boy. He wondered if the girl in question was in some way important to…
Wait. The boy was sixteen now… Harry had probably had his Night of the Salt, and the saving the Skydiver was the stupid thing he did to test himself. He smiled and admired his younger brother’s technique with a sense of pride as it replayed in his mind. Very nice. Of course Remo’s ‘foolish thing’ had been an open tryout with a football team.
He pulled up his mental ‘Remo vs. Harry’ score board and awarded the boy a point, and then after a bit of thought, awarded himself two. After all, his ‘foolish thing’ had been substantially cooler.
The Dark Lord Voldemort stood in the fog of potions vapors and inhaled deeply. The thrice damned host was building immunity to the affects of the mists, and the loss of Severus Snape and his skill at tweaking the potions he brewed meant that the host would eventually resist her subjugation completely, but for now he had no other way of controlling her. Time for a test.
He crossed to the mirror that hung on the wall. There. Perfect. The skin of his new face was blotchy, the hair hung in his eyes as greasy as that of Severus Snape before his death. As linked to this body as the Veela girl was, perhaps a physical disfigurement would drive her deeper into unconsciousness. A scar perhaps? He raised a cursed blade to his forehead and hissed as a long slash cut its way from there to the left cheek.
Waving his wand, he cast an imperfect healing charm, and the open wound sealed its self leaving a thick scar. He examined the results of his work in the mirror. Not quite the beauty anymore are you? He asked the unconscious host. A smile slowly crept onto his face.
Yes. The body was the key. A Veela’s magic is utterly linked to her body. As long as he bent the body to his will, the host would remain docile and subdued.
A slice at the corners of his mouth, followed by the same healing charm desecrated the formerly perfect face even more. Voldemort began laughing.
Until he realized what he was doing. The constant battle with the host coupled with the potions mist was starting to affect his mind. He needed the replacement fully human body, needed it badly… but he was Voldemort! He deserved the best. He deserved Potter’s body.
And he would have it.
Voldemort strode from his chamber to the private room at the rear of his personal chamber.
“My Lord, mercy please?” a familiar voice whispered pleadingly from the far wall.
The Dark Lord stopped to take in the sight of his greatest punishment. A smile grew on his face as he watched the conjured eagle use its beak to slice into the belly of the the Death Eater who had failed him beyond the failures of all the others. Barty Crouch hung on the wall, his arms spread in a gruesome approximation of the painting of Christ’s crucifixion that Riddle remembered hanging in the dining hall of the orphanage where his childhood was wasted.
The man screamed as the bird tore his flesh asunder searching for the liver it craved. “Master, please… Forgive your most faithful servant.”
“Most faithful? Come now Barty,” Voldemort was annoyed that despite the host being subdued, his voice was coming out of this body in a seductive breathiness. “Would my ‘most faithful’ servant have delivered a body to his master that was only partially human? Would he have delivered a female?”
Crouch’s body healed almost instantly, forcing the conjured bird to have to rip his body open for each bite. Voldemort laughed. “Prometheus only defied the gods, so his daily punishment was deemed to be enough.” He took Crouch’s face in his left hand and turned it to face his master. “You failed me Barty, so your punishment is continuous and eternal.”
“Master? Please?” Crouch pleaded weakly before the eagle ripped his belly open again, then the man screamed.
Voldemort began laughing at the plight of his former minion.
~You are sick, charogne!~ that hated voice echoed in his mind, ~taking pleasure in the pain of another, even an enculé de ta mère like him!.~ She had taken to screaming at him in English as soon as she realized that he didn’t understand her French. His vision blurred as he felt the body’s magic pulse. His hands flew to his face, searching for the scars. Not finding them he left Crouch to his torment and ran back to the mirror.
He found that his hair had returned to its silvery sheen, his skin cleared and the long slashes were completely healed as if they had never happened.
~You didn’t really think it would be that easy did you?~ the hated voice said in his mind. ~You know nothing of Veela, charogne. The magic is not tied to the body; the body is tied to the magic! Get out of my body now, or I swear by Ladon’s ninety-third fang, I will make you wish you had!~
Voldemort returned to the silvery mist, breathing deeply to restart the slumber of the host. “Rowle!” he called.
The door to Voldemort’s chamber slammed open as the Death Eater responded to his master’s call. The man approached to within ten feet of Voldemort, and then threw himself to the cold stone floor, always being careful to avoid eye contact. “Yes Master?”
“Look at me Thorfinn,” the host said exercising her control for the moment. “Tell me, what do you think of this body?” she bent at the waist meeting the startled Death Eater’s eyes. “Would you like to touch me Thorfinn?” she carressed the back of his neck with their shared left hand as Voldemort fought to regain control of the body. “Would you like to taste me Thorfinn? I could be so very good to you…”
Thorfinn Rowle wet his lips and nodded, forgetting for the moment that to look upon the Dark Lord was death, forgetting what had happened to the last two Death Eaters to fall under the thrall of the host. This woman was sex, she was all he wanted, and she was all he knew. With a trembling hand he reached out daring to try and touch the dream that was Fleur Delacour.
“Avada Kedavra!” Voldemort screamed as he regained control of the body, his wand in his hand instantly. He stood panting looking down at the lifeless body of the Death Eater who forgot his place.
~ What fun! ~, the girl’s voice rang in his head. ~ That makes how many charogne? Three of your idiots I’ve made you kill? How long can you keep this up before you run out of slaves? ~
“Damn you girl! When I’m free of you I will kill you slowly!” Voldemort raged. “Avery!”
“My Lord?” the Death Eater answered from the door, not daring to enter.
“Get me another Potions Master,” Voldemort demanded. “A woman this time. Get her now. And tell Rookwood that he has two days to come up with a plan to capture Potter or he dies.”
“Yes my Lord! At once.”
~ Your idiots are terrified of being in the same room as you charogne, ~ the girl laughed in his mind. ~ Between the Potter boy and me, how many do you have left? ~
Voldemort’s scream of rage echoed throughout his lair.
Three weeks into the term, Draco Malfoy sat in the Great Hall staring at Harry Potter’s back. It had taken the entire three weeks to put his plan into action. It had also taken almost five thousand galleons. Specialized ward stones had been smuggled into the castle, and then carefully placed for maximum effect. In the time Potter had been at the school, the natural balance had been upset. The purebloods were no longer given the respect they deserved, the Mudbloods and lower classes had forgotten their places due to the interference of Potter.
Even with his diminished standing in the house, it hadn’t been that difficult to garner the aid of members of the old families. Tonight everything was in place, outside the castle a January storm raged; inside no one expected a thing. Draco had his people stationed where they needed to be, and they were ready with the charms they would need to be free to operate when the darkness came.
There were some problems, of course. Crabbe and Goyle, who could usually be counted on for a bit of mayhem, refused to act against Potter. They offered no reasons for this refusal; in fact they refused to discuss it in any way. No amount of threats or cajoling would change their minds, so Draco selected other volunteers while loudly making note of their cowardice.
Still, it wasn’t hard to find volunteers willing to show Potter the error of his ways. Draco’s volunteers came from every house, Slytherin, Ravenclaw, Gryffindor and even Hufflepuff. It seemed that far too many women had taken to making insulting comparisons of Potter’s sexual competence and that of their boyfriends.
Among the legends generated about The Boy Who Lived prior to his coming to Hogwarts was the promise that he would unite the houses. And he had, united the men of the castle against him. That thought amused Draco to no end.
The plan was utterly simple. The specialized wards would engage at Malfoy’s signal, extinguishing every source of light in the castle, from the floating candles in the Great Hall to the fires in the common rooms. In addition, the wards would inhibit all known charms and spells that would produce a constant light. The wards would only last a quarter hour at most, but that would be more than enough. Each of the volunteers would have charmed spectacles that would allow them to see, and tonight lessons would be taught, both to Potter and certain mouthy Mudbloods.
Draco did his level best not to giggle, when he touched his wand to the messenger stone and incanted the activation phrase to start the night’s festivities.
To most people in the castle, it was light, then suddenly blackness, blackness as dark as a coal mine at midnight. In the Great Hall the candles all went out. In the hallways the wall sconces extinguished. In the common rooms, the fires in the hearths died and suddenly the only lights in the castle were the few stars that shown through the storm clouds in the Great Hall’s enchanted ceiling.
"What?" asked a voice from the vicinity of the Ravenclaw table.
"The lights have gone out!" someone responded, feeling the need to state the obvious
And then frightened voices sounded throughout the castle. Someone suddenly started laughing.
The laughter did not come from Harry. He had not been plunged into sudden darkness. The lights did not go out for him in a split second.
For him there had been a flutter of light and then it died, as the candles over the Hufflepuff table in the Great Hall flared, and then it was a slowly gave up. All of this was quite obvious if your mind and body rhythms were attuned to the world around you. It was only an illusion that there was sudden darkness.
People helped this illusion, Harry knew.
They were suddenly engrossed in conversations about the darkness, tuning out other senses to concentrate on their words, and they only tuned back the senses when the conversations lagged. Or they were drinking sugar infused liquids, or had loaded their stomachs with so much red meat that their nervous systems devoted all energies to laboriously processing it in an intestine designed for fruits and grains and nuts, and in a bloodstream that had ancient memories of the sea and could absorb quite well those special nutrients that came from fish. But never hoofed meat.
So, to them, it was dark and he had seen it coming and someone shrieked because she was afraid. And someone else laughed because he was happy. This was obviously no accident, this was an ambush, a trap. It was aimed at him, but there would be other targets if opportunities presented themselves.
And only one man in the entire castle understood what was happening, because he alone had reawakened to his senses.
He knew that a pair of young men were running up behind him. It was not strange to listen for that or to know where their hands were and that one had a beater’s bat he was trying to slam down on Harry or that another had a blade. They moved their bodies that way.
How did Harry know? He just knew. Like he knew his head was on his shoulders and that the ground was down. Like he knew he could slow-catch the force of the bat and readjust the boy's momentum to send him down into the stone floor with enough force that he would crack his own ribs on collision, so he did, and was rewarded with the sound of a falling body followed by a groan of pain.
The blade was simpler. Harry decided to use force.
"You're going to hurt yourself playing with your knife like that," Harry said softly.
He clasped the young man's hand around the knife, paralyzing the muscles that controlled the hand so it could not let go and pressed it to the man’s left thigh, and feeling the blade had a sharpness to it he very slowly brought it up to where he felt the thigh muscle throb against it, carefully missing the artery.
"Oh, God," Darius Macnair said as he suddenly came to believe that he was going to die. The youngest son of the Ministry of Magic’s Executioner of Dangerous Creatures had not expected anything like this. He had accompanied his father on more than a few revels, his knife complementing his father’s axe, and no one had ever given him trouble.
Sure, he’d been caught that one time, but then he only spent a night in a holding cell as a donation was made to the Minister’s re-election campaign and it was explained that he was under the Imperius.
After all, he hadn’t been wearing Death Eater robes, or casting unforgivable. He just appeared to be a simple student out for a night of fun who found himself controlled by a dark wizard.
So what was this great pain he felt in his leg?
He hadn’t even waited when he got Draco’s signal. He knew that Chambers the Ravenclaw was brassed off at Potter because Chamber’s girl friend had gone to the Hufflepuff and come away with a blissful expression, and that Chambers wanted to show Potter just how good he was with his Beater’s bat, because that's what Chambers was ready to do while the lights were on.
Under the cover of darkness they closed in on Potter at the same time. It was beautiful, double beautiful. Wham. Potter should have been a sitting duck, there was no way the Hufflepuff could possibly have known they were coming for him. But he had.
Potter hardly moved. Macnair felt him not move. Macnair made out that Chambers fell onto the stone floor like he had been dropped off the astronomy tower. And then Potter spoke to him very softly and Potter had Macnair’s hand in his and Macnair couldn't even let go of the knife. And the blade punctured Macnair’s leg and Macnair slammed desperately at his own right hand with his left trying to get the knife out of it so it wouldn't tear into his leg any more than it had, but it felt like someone had cast a heating charm on the knife and that heat kept getting hotter and Macnair couldn't let go.
If he could have, MacNair would have bitten his hand off at the wrist just to let go.
It hurt that bad.
Macnair’s blood flowed out of his leg, pouring out now very fast, all over the place, and he finally was able to let go of the knife because Potter suddenly stood up from the table, then it dawned on the young man, in the final clarity before his consciousness fled because of a loss of blood, that Potter, the guy he had planned to stick, had countered the sneak attack without rising from his place at the table or even turning to face his attackers.
The castle was dark and Harry moved on. There was some blood on his left thumb and he flicked it off.
The problem with the people in the castle, he knew, was the darkness. Relying on your senses instead of magical means to produce artificial light was the natural way. And suddenly people who did not even breathe properly found themselves having to use muscles they had never used before, atrophied muscles like those used to hear and see and feel. He himself had been trained with great pain and great wisdom to learn how to revive the dormant skills of man, the talents that had once made man competitive with the wild animals but now had turned this new species into walking corpses. The spear itself had made the human animal dependent on an outside thing, and not until the dawn of history in a fishing village on the west Korea bay did any man regain the pace and skill that reawakened what man could be.
The skill was called Sinanju, after the village in which it was created.
Only the Masters of Sinanju knew these techniques.
Only two white men had ever been so honored.
Harry was one of those two white men. And he was troubled.
Not because people were as people had been since before Babylon, but because he was now different.
There was a right and there was a wrong and what was Harry doing that was right?
Nothing, he told himself. He was doing nothing of any real value at all. Hearing a commotion, Harry exited the Great Hall, walking slowly and thinking. Small groups of students had begun to run about, seemingly looking for something or someone.
This was obviously a second ambush, but not one intended for him. There was at least one other intended victim this dark night.
"Get 'im. Get 'im," a young woman shouted from the midst of a small crowd of six. Someone had been backup against the wall by the group, and was struggling to maintain his footing in the dark.
"Get the Mudblood!," the girl shouted again. She had a beater’s bat in her hand.
Harry moved, edging through bodies like a bowling ball through pins, glancing his own force against the stationary mass of those in front him. The movement itself was like an unbroken, uninterrupted run and there was a wand pointing at his belly, and the man facing off the crowd shouted the incantation as Harry flipped the wand upwards and the spell flare went off above his head.
The crowd hushed for a moment. Someone up front tried to run away. But when they saw the spell had been fired harmlessly and that the man wasn't going to kill, they charged again.
But the man turned and swung a fist Harry and then the crowd.
Harry avoided the wild slow arch of punch, and then worked the edge of the crowd toward the middle, until the man realized Harry was on his side. Then Harry took the center. In a few moments, he had a small barrier made of groaning people in front of the trapped man.
“Thanks,” the man said. Harry recognized the voice of his housemate Justin somebody. “Who are you? Why did you help me?”
"Because I'm lucky," Harry answered.
"Harry?” Justin asked. “I don’t understand."
Harry shrugged in the darkness. “This is a good thing. This is a very good thing to help someone. It feels good. I'm lucky."
"That's pretty dangerous doing good," his fellow Hufflepuff said. "I almost hexed you and I almost broke your nose, and you’ve probably annoyed these blood fanatics. They're dangerous."
"Nah," said Harry. "They're garbage." He waved his hand at the groaning pile of students.
"Even garbage can kill. You can get smothered by garbage.” Finch-Fletchley pointed out. “My eyes have adjusted well enough to more or less see what you were doing, you move slowly. I’ve never seen anyone fight like that."
"No reason you should have," Harry noted.
"What’s that style called?" Justin asked. “It's not' like karate. And it’s nothing like tae kwan do either. My father taught me some of that. You were doing something like that, but it’s not the same."
"I know," Harry said. "It only looks slow but it's really faster, what I do."
"It like a dance, but you’re very still about it."
"That's a good description. It is a dance, in a way. Your target is your partner.”
In the darkness of the castle, Harry could see the confusion on the face of Justin Finch-Fletchley, and sighed. He had tried to explain Sinanju before to other people, but no one ever understood, not even his childhood friends in Sinanju, nor his classmates at the Kumsilu School. He silently left his fellow Hufflepuff to return to the Great Hall.
Well now, Harry said to himself. The common feature of all the troublemakers tonight were the charmed glasses they all wore. One thing about groups like this is that they tend to be led by individuals who fancied themselves to be Generals.
Generals don’t do the fighting, the plan and supervise the battles… so, find someone wearing the charmed glasses that wasn’t part of the attack…
Ah, Harry thought as he slid into a seat next to Draco Malfoy and slung and arm around the blonde’s shoulders, startling the boy.
“Draco, Draco, Draco,” Harry said with a sigh as the lights in the castle came back on. “Your mother and I had such high hopes for you…”