Categories > Books > Harry Potter > Harry Hibiki and the Philosopher's Stone

Chapter 16

by USA_Tiger 1 review

n/a

Category: Harry Potter - Rating: PG - Genres: Crossover - Characters: Harry,Hermione,Ron - Warnings: [!!] - Published: 2016-03-08 - 8901 words

3Original
Harry Hibiki and the Philosopher's Stone

Disclaimer: Harry Potter © J. K. Rowling and Ranma 1/2 © Rumiko Takahashi

Chapter 16

Saturday morning dawned and Harry yawned as he stood outside with his fellow Gryffindors on the school’s Quidditch pitch for team tryouts. The pitch was booked all day, the Gryffindors were allowed to use it in the morning for tryouts and the Hufflepuffs would have it in the afternoon. Sunday morning Ravenclaws would control the pitch. Slytherin on the other hand were not holding tryouts, the team captain of the Snakes had a complete team and did not see any reason to hold tryouts.

This had made Draco Malfoy quite angry as he had hoped to try out for the Seeker position and had thrown a bit of a fit when Marcus Flint, the team captain and one of the Chasers, had told him there was to be no tryouts for the Slytherin’s. Malfoy had even gone as far as the threaten telling his father, who was on the board of School Governors. Flint had just laughed and told Malfoy to sit his arse down, he was captain and what he said goes on his team. Flint had placated Malfoy a bit; the current team Seeker was a seventh year, Malfoy would be more than welcome to try out for the team next year.

Oliver read over the signup sheet, separating everyone into the position they wanted to try out for. There wasn’t many positions to fill out, he was Keeper, the Weasley twins were the team Beaters, and Angelina Johnson filled one of the three Chaser spots. He had already considered just having Alicia Spinnet, who played Chaser reserve the year before, move up as an active Chaser as she had worked very well with Angelina and the two seventh years that had been Chasers the year before. This left only the third Chaser and the Seeker positions to fill.

But, instead of turning away everyone that hoped to try out for the other positions, Oliver hoped to fill up the reserve team. Having a reserve team was not a normal practice but at the same time it wasn’t against the school rules. Quidditch was a dangerous sport, while no one had been killed in a very long time players were could be hurt to the point that they had to be taken out of the game. Sadly, unless it was a case of both teams’ Seekers having to be taken out, the game would continue even if no one was playing a certain position.

That could be disastrous if say the Keeper had been taken out, and Oliver had been taken out of the game before because of injuries that left him unable to play. That left the three goals unguarded against the other team’s Chasers. That was not acceptable. So Oliver was allowing the try outs for all positions, wanting to fill in a few reserve spots.

The person he was looking forward to the most of course was Harry Pot-… He meant Hibiki-Potter. He hoped the first year really was up to snuff to be a Seeker because they really needed a good Seeker.

“Alright everyone, we’ll start with the Chasers, and then the Beaters followed by the Seekers then lastly the Keepers,” Oliver called after he had gotten everyone to be quiet. “Everyone but the Chaser hopefuls go sit in the stands.”

Try outs started after the announcement, Angelina and Alicia helped him judge the students trying out for Chaser. Fred and George helped him gauge the Beater hopefuls. For the Seekers, Oliver had them come up one by one, only three trying out including Harry, and try to catch golf balls that Oliver tossed in different directions. Oliver had a grin so large on his face it hurt as Harry caught every single ball out of the air, swooping back and forth on the school broom like a hawk snatching pray out of the air. Neither of the other two hopefuls came anywhere close to Harry’s skill and they knew it, both of them watching the first year with wide eyes.

When it came to the Keepers, Oliver eyed all of them with a critical eye. Just like with the Seekers there were only three people trying out for the reserve; a sixth year girl, second year Cormac McLaggen and first year Ron Weasley. (1)

The girl, last name Taylor, did decently well but not all that great. She missed over half the shots that Angelina tossed her way, the Quaffle sail through one of the goal hoops easily.

Cormac and Ron did a little better than the girl, but only but a few shots. Oliver felt either of the two boys were his best bets but with one? Cormac McLaggen had managed to block a couple more hits that Ron Weasley, but Ron had blocked a hard and tricky pass or two that McLaggen had missed. The fact that neither were all that great, though better than the girl that had tried out, could be blamed on both their age and that they hadn’t had much of a chance to play other than maybe pickup games with family members. Both were trainable, so which one should Oliver pick for the team?

Cormac had no team spirit, he constantly tried to tell the others how they should play and Oliver had heard plenty of nasty remarks from the second year in the common room. Ron on the other hand had played very well with the rest of the Hogwarts students during that muggle game from the other day and had done will defending the goal post. On top of that Ron was a Weasley, every Weasley Oliver had know except for Percy were or had been very good Quidditch players. Charlie had been one of the best Seekers the team had in years and the twins were demons with their bats against the Bludgers. Percy, Oliver’s year mate, didn’t play as far as Oliver knew.

So while Ron didn’t have the grace or experience needed, he could train to the point where he did. And it wasn’t as if Ron was going to play in the games, unless Oliver was hurt to the point where he couldn’t play, and that didn’t happen very often. As a reserve all Ron would have to do was train with the team and by the time Oliver left Ron would be able to replace him with plenty of experience under his belt. Oliver decided to talk it over with the girls and the twins to see what they thought.

“Alright,” Oliver said clapping his hands together. “Thank you all for coming and I’ll post who made the team and the reserves on the board in the next couple of days!”

*****

Harry, in his cursed Nekomata form, silently slipped out of the Gryffindor tower and into the dark hallways. His black fur helped him to blend in with the shadows as he ran down the hallway toward the third floor corridor.

Earlier that evening Harry had overheard a couple of the fifth years mention that they had braved going up to the corridor and found a locked door part way down. They didn’t get the chance to unlock it before they were caught by Filch and Mrs. Norris. One of the boys did mention that they thought they heard growling behind the door before being led away by the castle’s caretaker.

Harry had already been curious about the corridor since Dumbledore mentioned it at the opening feast at the start of the school year but left off exploring it himself until the school year was good and underway. Plus he was so tired from his lessons with Cologne that Harry usually felt asleep as soon as he returned to the dorm. But he hadn’t had lessons with the Elder Amazon that day leaving Harry well rested to explore.

Harry slid down the banisters of the stairs with a kittenish ‘Meewwww!’ of joy as he did. When he finally reached the third floor, Harry had to quickly hide behind a statue lining the hallway. Snape was patrolling the area, looking for anyone that might be foolish enough to come to the forbidden corridor. If it had been anyone else, Harry would have chanced walking past in his current form, except for Minerva, the Kuno siblings and Hermione no one in the school knew about his cursed form. In the near darkness he could have easily being mistaken for a normal back cat, blending in with the shadows easily to hide his twin tails. But according to his Slytherin year mates, and to Uncle Remus, Snape was smart. Very smart and sharp, he could very well notice that Harry wasn’t a normal cat.

Snape paused for just a moment, his dark eyes casting looks around the corridor as he if could sense someone there but could not see them. Harry hid himself deep in the shadows behind the statue when his teacher’s eyes drifted his way. Finally Snape seemed satisfied that no one seemed to be there, walking off while muttering “Bloody poltergeist” under his breath as he left the hallway. Harry listened to the man’s fading footsteps, the rustling of his billowy robes, until he could no longer hear Snape. The man’s scent, an odd mixture of various potions ingredients, parchment and oddly enough lilies, lingered in the hallway mixed with other scents from those who walked the hallways and a scent that could only be the castle itself.

Harry tilted his head to the side and listened for anyone else that might by in the hallway, but except for something that sounded like muffled heavy breathing from further down the corridor, Harry heard nothing. Deciding he was alone once again Harry slipped out from behind the statue and continued down the hallway.

The further down the hallway Harry got, the louder the breathing seemed to get. He could now make out what sounded like more than one breathing pattern, on the other side of the wooden door about midway down the hall. Harry sat on his haunches and looked up at the door, his fluffy twin tails wrapping around his feet from either side.

“Mew?” He said in a chirping like mewing sound. What was on the other side of the door? What could be making those heavy breathing sounds? He remembered that his house mates had said they heard ‘growling’ behind the door. Reaching out with his senses like Cologne and his dad taught him, Harry tried to sense the chi on the other side of the door. Every living thing had chi, or ki depending on who you asked but it was the same thing, and those who were trained in it could sense the chi all things living or even learn the harness their own chi into an energy attack. His father and uncle Ranma were very famous for this.

Harry wasn’t very good at channeling chi yet, he had just started to learn how to use the Iron Cloth technique, a move that had the user push a small amount of chi into a piece of cloth to make it as strong as iron and razor sharp. It was one of his dad’s signature moves, Ryoga mostly using it on his bandannas. Harry sometimes pushed too much chi into a piece of cloth, making it shatter like glass, or not enough. It was a learning process but Harry didn’t feel bad about how slow it was taking. His dad told him it took him over a year to master the technique but once Harry learned to channel chi properly, Harry would have an easier time learning other chi techniques. But Harry wasn’t allowed to practice the Iron Cloth without adult supervision, meaning either Cologne, his dad or his uncle Ranma had to be with him. So it made learning slow going.

Sensing chi on the other hand was very different, every living thing chi was different and everyone’s chi signature was different from each other. It took time to understand how human’s chi was different from a dog or a cat’s chi. Someone’s chi could tell a lot about a person, someone who was very good at reading a chi signature could tell a person’s age, gender and even if they were sick or not. Harry’s teachers had encouraged him to practice every chance he got, opening his senses to the world around him. Sometimes it could be over whelming when surrounded by so many people and he had to shut the senses off for a while. He was getting better, but not as quickly as he would have liked. He had discovered that non magical human’s chi was different from those who had magic.

As for right now, Harry slowly opened his sense to the chi around him, trying to figure out what was behind the door. Whatever it was, it was big. Very big. As in it would be bigger than him even if he was in human form. And oddly he could only sense one life form in the room and yet he could hear more than one thing breathing.

‘Okay, so there is something big in there and sounds like more than one something’s but only has one chi signature,’ Harry thought to himself, solid green eyes narrowed at the wooden door and the tip of one of his tails flicking back and forth. This only deepened the mystery making Harry even more curious. /‘Let’s see what’s behind door number one.’ /The space under the door was just big enough for something small to fit under. And luckily for Harry, his cursed form was quite small. He pushed his head under the door, finding that it fitted, and slinked the rest of the way under.

The first thing that hit him was the smell of /dog/, so strong that it overwhelmed Harry’s much stronger senses in his cursed form and nearly made him gag. Putting a paw over his nose, Harry wondered how he didn’t smell the dog before now. A ward maybe? But why a ward to block any scents from coming out of the room but not sounds? After thinking about it, Harry thought it might be because of Mrs. Norris, if she smelt dog all the time her natural instincts might be to keep far away from the corridor and that would keep her from her duty of patrolling the hallway with her human.

Second thing Harry noticed was the very large hulking form sleeping in the middle of the room. Very, very large, just looking at the creature’s chi signature hadn’t prepared Harry for how huge the thing was. It had three heads, all currently sleeping at the moment, all attached to one body. That accounted for the one chi signature and for the sounds of more than one breathing pattern.

Harry quickly racked his brain for what sort of creature this was and finally came upon the answer, a Cerberus. A magical breed of dog named after the famous hell hound guardian of the underworld in Greek and Roman mythology, known for having three and sometimes even just two heads.

“What in the name of Kami-sama is a Cerberus doing here?” Harry whispered to himself, green eyes narrowed. It seemed like a very odd, and dangerous, thing to do in a school full of children. And how did they even get the thing in here, it was larger than the door! One of the heads made a snuffling sound in its sleep making Harry freeze for a moment, eyeing the very large teeth in all three heads. Teeth that could easily snap his tiny body in half and even give him problems in his saber tooth form if the creature got a hold of him. When the dog didn’t wake Harry slowly relaxed and took in the rest of the room.

It was large, just big enough for the Cerberus to move around some. Not enough to get any real exercise, an animal that big needed wide open spaces or at least a cave much larger than this room. Harry eyed the pile of bones throughout the room, left over remains of the dog’s supper no doubt.

For the life of him Harry couldn’t understand why the Cerberus was in the room when he spotted it. He honestly almost missed it at first, the dark wood blending in with the darkness and mostly hidden under a very large paw. It was a trap door, leading down the floor below this one? That seemed… odd.

Deciding he had seen enough and not wanting to stick around just in case the Cerberus woke up and smelt him, Harry wiggled his way back under the door again. As soon as he was on the other side of the door the scent of dog disappeared, lingering only in his fur. Harry glanced at the door one final time then bolted down the corridor, his twin tails trailing behind him like flags.

****

“Harry! Wake up!” Harry grunted and grumbled as Ron’s voice filled his ears and a body landed on the bed with him. Diego hissed in annoyance the snake nearly knocked off the bed by the force of Ron’s jump. “Come on get up!”

“Ron go away,” Harry said as he took a pillow and pulled it over his head. “I’m trying to sleep.”

“How can you sleep right now?” Ron asked as he reached out and ripped the pillow away. “Wood’s just put out the team rosters! Come on, let’s see if we made it.” Harry sighed deeply as Ron bounced again in excitement.

“Alright alright, I’m up,” he said in defeat as he sat up rubbing the sleep out of his eyes. Ron grinned and slid off the bed.

~That boy issss crazy, it is too early and cold to be moving around,~ Diego hissed grumbled as he moved into the warm spot Harry left behind. Harry had to fight to keep the twitch of amusement off his face as he listened to the snake grumble a bit more before falling back asleep. Diego was just too entertaining sometimes. Harry was also glad to see Ron hadn’t even given Diego a second look when the snake started hissing, everyone in the dorm room was getting use to the snake even Seamus. The rest of the house was coming around as well with only a few hold outs from those either from pure blood families that believed all snakes were evil or from those who were just plain afraid of snakes.

Around the room Harry could see the others getting up as well, Ron’s excitement wasn’t letting any of them sleep.

“Bloody hell Ron,” Dean said with a yawn as he pulled a robe on. “Some of us were trying to sleep.” Ron’s ears pinking a bit in embarrassment.

“He’s just excited,” Seamus said behind his hand as he yawned.

“Come on, let’s see this list,” Harry said as he slipped a pair of slippers on. Down in the common room over half the house seemed to be awake, mostly the older years. Harry say Hermione sitting in a chair by the fire place reading and gave her a wave when she looked their way. Hermione smiled and nodded back then went back to her book. In a corner of the room Harry saw Oliver and McLaggen, they appeared to be arguing but either they were speaking really low or someone had tossed up a silencing spell around them as they couldn’t be heard. Harry was betting on the latter.

On the board by the door were two lists. One for the main team and one for the reserve. Harry glanced down the main team list to Seeker and wasn’t surprised to see his name there.

“I knew you would make it,” Ron said with a grin as he clapped his hand on Harry’s shoulder. “You were the best out there.” Harry gave a small laugh and rubbed the back of his neck.

“What can I say? I enjoy Quidditch,” he said.

“Best sport ever,” Ron agreed then took a deep breath as he turned to the reserves list. He slowly dragged his eyes down the list putting off seeing if his name was there or not. He noticed that Dean had made one of the reserved Chasers, and then stopped right above the word Keeper. What if his name wasn’t there? Merlin! What if it was?! Gulping, Ron’s blue eyes finally slid down to the reserved Keeper position and let out a whoosh of air as he read it.

Reserved Keeper
Ron Weasley


“See, I told you, you have just as much chance as anyone on getting on the team,” Harry said this time being the one to clap Ron on the shoulder.

“I-I can’t believe it, I really made the team?” He said half in shock half in disbelief.

“Aww Ickle Ronnie-kins made the team,” George said as he appeared on one side of Ron.
“We’re so proud,” Fred added as he appeared on the other side and wrapped his arms around Ron.

“Hey, let go!” Ron yelped struggling in his brother’s grip.

“Our little Ronnie-kins is growing up so fast,” George started to cry fake tears wiping at his eyes.
“Wait until Mum finds out, Ronnie is the youngest member of the family to ever been on the team,” Fred said. Ron stopped struggling for a moment as he thought that over, he may not be the first of his family to be on the house team and he may be only on the reserve but like his brother said, he was the /youngest/. It was nice to have some claim to something, even something as little as that.

“Yes, congratulations to you both,” Oliver said as he came over with a large grin on his face. He stood behind Harry and clasped the younger boy’s shoulder. “With Harry as our Seeker, the Quidditch Cup is ours for sure! Ron, you and the rest of the reserves will practice with the main team and play mock games so everyone can practice.”

“What about brooms?” Harry asked as he shrugged Oliver’s hands off his shoulders and turned to look up at the elder boy. “Are we going to use school brooms?”

“I asked Professor McGonagall about that,” Oliver said, “when I told her who was on the team this year. Since you’re on the team you, Ron and Dean are allowed to have brooms but can use them only during practices, the games or if you got some sort of responsible supervision. McGonagall made sure I remembered that last part.”

Ron tore out of the room up to the first year dorm to write his mum a letter to send one of the brooms from home, ignoring the laughter from the twins. They were far of the newest model of anything being a few years old but far far better than the school brooms. At least Ron could count on the brooms from home to fly right.

Meanwhile downstairs Harry walked over to Hermione’s chair, leaving Oliver and the twins discussing Quidditch, and leaned over the back of it.

“I know what’s behind the door on the third floor,” he spoke into her ear.

****

“Harry, are you crazy?!” Hermione half asked half yelled as she paced back and forth in front of the study room table. “You could have been caught! Why in the world would you even try something like that? You could have lost us so many points, you could have gotten detention, you could have-“

“Hermione-chan!” Harry said loudly to get his friend’s attention. As soon as he had told Hermione about his late night trip, the older girl had dragged him out of the Gryffindor tower to the dueling hall turned study room. Luckily no one else was in the room to see Hermione panic and chew Harry out. Hermione stopped her pacing and turned to look at the young wizard. Harry was leaning back against the table with his arms crossed over his chest. “Hermione, no one saw me. I went in my cursed form.”

“You could have still be caught,” Hermione said with a sigh as she pulled out a chair and sat down, running her hands through her fizzy hair.

“Who is going to look twice at a little black cat?” Harry asked. “It was dark enough in the hallway that no one could see I had two tails. In the school only you, Mimi, Kodachi, Tatewaki, a House Elf and Mrs. Norris even know about or seen my cursed form. And the House Elf promised not to tell anyone and who is the cat going to tell? The only other people I think I might have had to worry about are Snape, Dumbledore and maybe Flitwick, all three of them are sharp they might have noticed I wasn’t a normal cat.”

“I can’t believe you didn’t get caught,” Hermione said with a shake of her head.

“Snape was in the hallway but I hid from him. He never even saw me,” Harry said. “If he had, I’m sure he would have picked up on the fact I wasn’t a real cat. I was careful Hermione.”

“Alright fine, just don’t do something like that ever again,” Hermione said.

“I can’t promise that,” Harry pointed out. “I won’t promise that, but I can promise to be careful. And if I get caught, I’ll take my punishment like a man.” Hermione huffed softly not liking that Harry wasn’t going to stop this sort of antics.

“You are going to get in so much trouble one day,” she said. “Ok, what was behind the door?”

“A Cerberus,” Harry said. Hermione frowned and quickly ran over the knowledge of what she knew about that name.

“Like from Greek mythology? The guardian of the underworld?” she asked.

“Well… sorta. Cerberuses are a breed of magical dog named after the mythos figure that are native to Greece,” Harry explained. “They have two to three heads, three is the most common, and range from just a little bigger than a non magical big breed of dog to very very large, almost elephant size. I’ve never seen one before last night of course, but Uncle Mooney covered various magical creatures one time with me and Spice. They are, just like the one in Greek mythology, used to guard stuff.”

“So… you think this Cerberus is guarding something?” Hermione said.

“Yeah, when I was looking around there wasn’t much in the room except some bones,” Harry said. “Then I noticed a trap door under one of its paws. Whatever it’s guarding, it’s gotta be under that door.”

“So whatever Professor Dumbledore is guarding is under the floor…” Hermione said as she got up and started to pace again.

“Or the trap door leads down to the next floor,” Harry suggested. Hermione frowned and turned to Harry.

“Then anyone would have to do is just explore the 2nd floor corridor, plus there are classrooms on that floor,” Hermione pointed out.

“Ok, point,” Harry agreed and leaned his head back. “Well… maybe a subspace area? Someplace bigger on the inside?”

“What, like the T.A.R.D.I.S. from Doctor Who?” Hermione asked.

“Never really watched show, heard of it but never watched it,” Harry said with a shrug.

“The main character of the show, the Doctor, travels around in a space ship slash time machine that looks like a blue police box from the 50’s on the outside. It’s much, much larger on the inside.”

“Then yeah, same idea,” Harry agreed. “Magicals can create magical pocket spaces, from bags to tents. My family uses one. It’s called Wizarding Space here I think but in Japan we called it Subspace or Hammerspace.”

“Hammerspace?” Hermione repeated with a little laugh.

“Yeah, some people like Miss Akane can pull a giant mallet out of thin air so some people call it Hammerspace,” Harry explained. “Some mundanes can use it too, like Miss Akane.”

“That should be impossible shouldn’t it? They don’t have any magic,” Hermione said.

“Not with magic,” Harry said with a shake of his head. “Chi, or in some cases really advance technology.”

“That sounds downright sci-fi,” Hermione said. Harry shrugged his shoulder slightly.

“Maybe, but it doesn’t make it any less true,” he said. “So we’re looking it either being a subspace pocket, just being hidden under the door or the door leads down to the next floor of the castle.”

“Ohhh we shouldn’t even be talking about this,” Hermione said. “And you shouldn’t be looking for trouble either.”

“Hey, I’ve satisfied my cat curiosity to see what was on the other side of the door,” Harry said holding up his hands in defense.

“Curiosity killed the cat Harry,” Hermione said with a good natured roll of her eyes.

“And satisfaction brought it back,” Harry said with a grin. “Still… I wonder where they even got the cerberus.”

“I bet Hagrid would know,” Hermione said. “That sort of thing seems right up his ally. But Harry if you bring it up in front of the others, how will you explain how you found out about the dog? Like you said, only the Kunos know about your curse.”

Harry sighed and ran his fingers through his hair to the back of his head, rubbing it. He hadn’t told any of his new friends about his Jusenkyo curse, he was trying to keep it hidden for a long as he could. The pre-teen knew it would come out at some point, the curses always did, but Harry didn’t want to advertise he turned into a two tailed cat for a long as he could. It would take away any advantage the cursed form had for sneaking around. He knew he would have to tell them at some point but kept putting it off.

“I’ll think of something, don’t worry,” he said.

“Boys,” Hermione said with another roll of her eyes and a shake of her head making Harry laugh.

*****

“Are you sure it is alright for us to come Charlie dear?” Molly Weasley asked her second oldest son Charlie as she spoke to him through the Floo. She found the house so quiet now that all but one of her children were out of the house. And Ginny spent most of her days either playing in her room or going to play with that Lovegood girl. Molly was thankful for a bit of peace and quiet after raising so many children, all but one boys, all together for years. And her twins Fred and George were a handful all by themselves!

“Mum, it’s fine,” Charlie said from the other end of the Floo. “Heck, my boss was the one to offer it in the first place.” Charlie worked on a dragon reserve in Romania. He loved it, it was the greatest thing in the world to work with dragons. Technically, he was in an apprenticeship but Charlie was rapidly becoming one of the best handlers on the reserve. He wanted to show his parents how good he was here, especially his Mum who of course worried about him working around creatures as dangerous as dragons.

“Well… maybe. I’ll have to speak to your father about the idea,” Molly said wavering over the idea. It would be so expensive to arrange transport for her, Arthur and her younger children… But on the other hand she really did want to see Charlie and see for herself how well he was doing and if he was being treated well. “Of course that may be little while yet, your father- hmm?” Molly was interrupted as something tapped on the window and saw a school owl waiting on her. “Oh dear, what have those two done now?”

“What is it Mum?” Charlie asked as he watched his mother get up and go over to the window, letting the owl in. He grinned when he recognized one of the owls used by Hogwarts, the schools emblem on a band around the owl’s leg.

“Letter from one of your brothers,” Molly said as she removed the note, giving the owl a bit of food and water from Errols, their family’s owl, dish.

“Well can’t be from Percy, didn’t you get him an owl of his own?” Charlie asked.

“Yes…. Hmm… Oh, it’s from Ronnie,” Molly said as she sat down in front of the fire place. “Oh my… he’s made his house team?”

“Really?!” Charlie asked surprised. “He’s a first year isn’t he?”

“Well… not the main team,” Molly corrected herself. “Reserve team as a Keeper. He’s asking if I can send him one of our brooms to use.”

“Hmm, can’t blame him for that. The brooms they keep at the school suck,” Charlie said.

“Charlie, language,” Molly scolded him softly. “Well… I guess we could send him one of the brooms… It’s not like they get much use right now, Ginny is the only one here using them…” Yes, Molly knew about her daughter sneaking out to use the brooms. She had been so angry the first time she caught her little girl flying… until she remembered doing the same thing with her twin brothers’ brooms. So instead she and Arthur set up as many safety spells as they could to keep Ginny from hurting herself.

“Hey Mum,” Charlie said. “Why don’t you let me handle that?”

“What?” Molly looked up in surprise. “Charlie no, brooms are much too expensive.”

“Mum, it’ll be fine. Let me talk to Billy-boy and set something up,” Charlie said in an assuring tone. “Just leave it to us. You just work on getting Dad to agree to visit the reserve this Christmas. I’ll Floo again later, bye!” He quickly ended the connection before his mother could argue with him, grinning to himself as the words,

“Charles Weasley!” still rang through the air.

*******

Two days later it was breakfast time at Hogwarts and time for the daily chaos that was owl post. Harry and Hermione hadn’t told the others about Harry’s discovery, mostly because he still hadn’t thought of a good excuse as to how he knew.

“Incoming!” Dean warned as a couple of owls carrying long packages headed for the tables.

“Yes! She sent it,” Ron cheered as one of the owls dropped in front of him and dropped the broom-shaped package in his waiting hands. Harry grabbed the other from Shiroyuki then took the letters she was holding in her beak.

“Who’s the letters from?” Hermione asked as Harry fed his familiar a piece of bacon.

“Hmm… one from Eddie and the other from Mom,” Harry said.

“Who’s Eddie?” Ron asked as he finally looked up from his package, pausing in trying to get a letter attacked to it off.

“Eddie Munster,” Harry said.

“Munster?” Ron said.

“Hmmm… yeah one of my penpals from the U.S.” Harry explained. “Nice guy, one of Dracula’s grandkids.”

“… You’re serious aren’t you?” Hermione asked as she looked up from her book.

“Oh… bloody… hell…” Ron said as he finally got the letter off and was reading it. “It’s from Charlie, he said to open the broom up in the dorms.”

“Good idea, we need to put them up before classes anyway,” Harry said.

“Language Ronald,” Hermione added as she gathered her stuff.

“Coming Neville?” Harry asked his God-brother.

“Y-yeah, I forgot my Charms book anyway,” Neville said as he got up as well. As the small ground reached the door, Malfoy and his two minions stepped in front of them.

“You’re in big trouble now Weasley, Potter,” he gloated as he looked at the broom-shaped packages in their hands. “First years aren’t allowed brooms.”

“Is there a problem here boys?” Professor Flitwick asked as he came up behind them.

“Weasley and Potter have brooms sir,” Malfoy said almost gleefully.

“Ah yes, Professor McGonagall told me about you both being accepted onto the team,” Flitwick said with a smile. “Congratulations Misters Weasley and Hibiki.”

“Thank you sensei,” Harry said with a grin, he liked the tiny professor.

“Now run along boys, classes well be starting soon,” The half goblin said as he moved past them. Malfoy grit his teeth and glared at his two classmates as his plan to get them into trouble didn’t work.

“Think you’re special do you?” He spat. “I challenge you to a Wizard’s Duel, tonight in the trophy room.”

“Fine,” Ron said with a growl of his own. “I’m Harry’s second, who’s yours?”

“Crabbe,” Malfoy said, suddenly oozing confidence. He had been looking for a reason to challenge Potter and Weasley into a duel for days. Of course, he had no intention of showing up he wasn’t stupid after all. But the other two didn’t know that and their stupid Gryffindork pride would demand that they show up, just in time to be caught by Filch. The prissy blond turned on his heel and headed down the hallway, Crabbe and Goyle following in his wake.

Harry sighed and pinched the bridge of his nose. “Ron, did you really have to do that?”

“H-he didn’t challenge you right,” Neville blurted out before Ron could respond.

“Hmm?” Harry, Ron and Hermione turned toward Neville who blushed hotly.

“M-Malfoy, he didn’t challenge you right. I-it wasn’t a real challenge request,” He said again.

“Well… maybe he doesn’t know?” Ron said. “I mean he’s 11 like us.” Neville just shook his head slightly.

“A-a lot of pureblood families teach p-proper dueling eidetic when the heirs are young,” he pointed. “My Gran got me a tutor when I turned 9 years old… but it didn’t last very long as I’m not very good.”

“What in the world for?” Hermione asked as they started walking toward the dorms again.

“It doesn’t happen a lot but if someone is insulted they can challenge the offender to a duel,” Ron explained. “It’s different from the duels in the Dueling Circuit, those are for sport.”

“That’s barbaric,” Hermione said.

“You’d be surprised how often that can still happen in the non-magical world,” Harry said. “Uncle Ranma gets challenges from some of the weirdest sounding schools of martial arts sometimes. And the Anything-Goes school never turns down a challenge according to Uncle Ranma.” He added this with a roll of his eyes.

“Oh I doubt Malfoy is going to show up anyway,” Hermione said as they reached the Fat Lady and gave her the password. Harry thought back at the confrontation with Malfoy, he looked pleased and downright smug when Ron accepted his ‘challenge’.

“I think Hermione is right,” he said. “He looked a little too smug there at the end.”

“Maybe he just really thinks he can beat us,” Ron said as he sat his broom on his bed.

“Maybe… well we can always asked Daphne or Blaise,” Harry said as he started removing the brown paper wrapped around his broom.

“Woah!” Ron said when he saw it. “What is that?”

“A Lucky Dragon 250,” Harry said fondly. The broom handle was made out of sakura wood, or cherry wood if you will, and had an eastern dragon etched onto the handle’s side. “I’ve had it a couple of years.”

“A Japanese brand?” Ron asked as he never heard of a ‘Lucky Dragon’. When Harry nodded Ron sighed a little and looked at the still wrapped up broom on his bed, his was an old family broom and wouldn’t look anywhere near as neat. Still feeling a little depressed over it, Ron removed the wrapping then gapped slightly as he saw that it wasn’t one of the Cleansweeps from home, but a much newer model. Then he remembered that the broom came from Charlie not home and snatched the note attached to the broom.

Congratulations on making the team little brother. Making it as a first year, even just as a reserve, is impressive, no one else in the family has ever done that. So Bill and I decided to gift you with your very own broom, thinking of it as an early Christmas and birthday gift from both of us. It’s not the newest or best broom model out there but it is new and it’s the best model for Keepers. Use it well Ronnie.

Charlie

“He… he and Bill got me a new broom…” Ron said in shock. He had something new just for him, he never had that before as everything he owned from his clothing to his school things and even his wand and his pet rat were hand-me-downs.

“Nice,” Harry said as he eyed the broom. “I think a lot of professional teams are still using that model.”

“Lord, if it’s not cars then it’s brooms,” Hermione said with a laugh. “So what are you going to do about Malfoy? Just ignore him right?”

“Well… we should…” Harry said as he leaned against his bed post. “But there also the possibility that he wasn’t bluffing. Let’s talk to our Slytherin friends before deciding, ne?” Hermione huffed softly, she thought they should forget the whole thing otherwise they could get into trouble.

“Boys are so stupid sometimes,” She muttered fondly under her breath then said louder, “I’m going to grab my things and head for class. I suggest you do the same.” Hermione laughed as the other three scrambled as she headed out the door.

******

At lunch time the group of friends decided to eat in their study room, a couple of House Elves happy to drop off a platter of different sandwiches and a pitcher of pumpkin juice for them. Everyone in their group was there except their two Hufflepuff members, Tatewaki and Justin running late.

“So, Malfoy challenged me and Ron to a duel this morning,” Harry said as if this was nothing. Daphne snorted softly while Blaise looked amused.

“Oh please, that blond stuck up pony?” Tracy asked. “I can’t see him fighting anyone, he would freak if he broke a nail or if his hair got out of place.”

“Draco has had a little training,” Blaise said. “But nothing more than the spells we would learn this year.”

“How do you know?” Ron asked around a mouth full of food. Blaise gave Ron a disgusted look as did the girls, making Ron blush bright and quickly swallow what he had in his mouth only to choke a little before he could get it all down.

“My mother and Draco’s mother are friends,” Blaise finally answered. “While I wouldn’t call Draco and I friends, more like acquaintances most days as according to Draco and his father Malfoy’s don’t have ‘friends’, I still grew up knowing him.”

“So what is it going to take to get you to give up whether or not Malfoy was bluffing?” Harry asked leaning forward.

“Well…. I could use some tutoring in Herbology….” Blaise said in a bored tone, looking over at Neville. Everyone in the room knew that Neville and Kodachi were the best Herbology students of their year. “Kodachi refuses to help me.”

“That is because you are an awful student,” Kodachi said with a lady-like snort.

“S-sure… I-I guess I could h-help you,” Neville said shyly.

“Brilliant,” Blaise said with a smile. “Then yes, Draco is bluffing. He has no intention of meeting you for the duel. He plans on instead informing Professor Snape or more likely Filch that two bone headed Gryffindors will be out after hours. He’s been scheming this for days to be honest. Of course it’s very possible he does mean to duel you, he was pretty embarrassed this morning.”

“That dirty snake!” Ron yelled, followed by ‘Hey’ form the Slytherin girls.

“See, I told you,” Hermione said with a roll of her eyes. “Now can we leave off this silly thing now that we know Malfoy only tired to trick you?”

“Sorry we’re late,” Justin said as he and Tatewaki came into the study room. “Professor Flitwick held us over to discuss some extra credit that he offered. What did we miss?”

“Malfoy decided to challenge Ron and I to a duel in the trophy room tonight,” Harry said then remembered something. “Hey, isn’t Flitwick-sensei a dueling champion?”

“Y-yes,” Neville, who liked watching professional circuit duels, said. “H-he was a national champion for many years.”

“Going to ask sensei for tips on how to handle Malfoy?” Kuno asked as he put some sandwiches on a plate, not knowing that the duel wasn’t really taking place.

“Hmmm… something like that,” Harry said with a cat like grin as an idea started to form in his head. “I’ll see if he has a moment to talk after classes.”

“Well I would love to see you beat Malfoy and show him who’s better,” Justin said. “I can’t stand him, he’s always talking down at me like I am lower than dirt! I hate to sound snobby, but I’m a Flinch-Fletchley for the Queen’s sake, not some common born.”

“To the Malfoys and many other families you are worse than common born,” Daphne pointed out. “My family does not adhere to that thinking but many Dark as well as some Light and even those between believe Muggle-borns shouldn’t even be allowed into our world.”

“Sadly, she’s correct. My Mother always taught me that Muggle-borns were to be looked down on, at times I caught myself slipping into old beliefs,” Blaise agreed. “But Hibiki has pointed me in the direction of a very interesting study from the Americans.”

“Study?” Justin asked.

“What study?” Hermione asked just as curious.

“There’s a theory that has a lot of evidence backing it that Mundane-borns are descended from Wizarding families,” Harry said. “Squibs are the most likely source.”

“And what is a squib?” Justin asked.

“The opposite of a mundane-born,” Harry said. “A person born to a magical family with no magic of their own. The reasons vary from person to person as to why this happens but…”

“In many families it is a result of inbreeding,” Daphne finished. “There is no reason to sugarcoat it.”

“So you are saying that our ability to do magic is in our DNA as a recessive gene that became dormant in us?” Hermione asked. “Oh I must read this book. Harry, do you have a copy I can borrow?”

“Yes, that is more or less how the theory goes. Somewhere on your family tree, on one or maybe even both sides of your family, you have an ancestor from a Wizarding family that had no magic and ended up marring into a mundane family,” Harry said.

“Ohh, I wonder who I might be descended from,” Hermione said in wonder.

“It could be any number of families,” Daphne said with a small shrug. “There are not as many as there use to be.”

“Hey, you could even be related to some of those families that died out!” Tracy said. “Just think of how neat that would be if you ended up being some sort of long forgotten heir or something.”

“I… don’t think it works that way?” Hermione said unsure, maybe it was different in the wizarding world. The bell rung then, signaling to everyone in the school that it was time for afternoon classes. “Oh! We better go before we’re late for class.” The pre-teens scrambled to grab their things, leaving the plates and glasses for the House Elves to take care of.

“Hey Tatewaki, we should sneak out and watch the duel,” Justin whispered to his friend once they were on their way to their next class.

“That would be enjoyable,” Kuno agreed.

*******

“Flitwick-sensei!” Harry called knocking on the Charms professor’s door after classes.

“What are we doing here?” Ron asked confused, Harry had grabbed him and dragged him to their professor’s office as soon as the bell had rung.

“You’ll see,” Harry said, opening the door when Flitwick told them to come in.

“Good afternoon Mr. Hibiki, Mr. Weasley,” Flitwick greeted. “Come in and close the door behind you.” Harry quickly did so once Ron was through the door. “Now, what can I help you with? Are you having problems with the current homework assignment?”

“Iie sensei, nothing like that,” Harry said with a shake of his head. “Sensei, you’re a dueling champion right?”

“Was Mr. Hibiki, it’s been a long time since I’ve competed,” Flitwick said with a fond chuckle.

“Well Ron and I were hoping you could help us with something,” Harry said with a smile, sitting when the half goblin offered both boys a seat.

“Oh? What would that be?” Flitwick asked.

“Malfoy challenged us to duel after you left this morning Professor,” Ron said.

“And we were hoping, since you have dueling experience, that you might referee the duel,” Harry added innocently. Ron gave Harry a startled look while Flitwick blinked at the dark hair wizard then sighed and took off his glasses, rubbing the bridge of his nose.

“Mr. Hibiki, I believe you need to start at the beginning,” He said.

“What Ron said was true, Malfoy did challenge us to a duel tonight after curfew but Neville was kind enough to inform us that Malfoy didn’t issue a real challenge,” Harry said this time serious. He shrugged his shoulders slightly as he continued by saying, “Blaise told us more than likely Malfoy won’t show up but he’s counting on us to be there so we can be caught by a professor or the caretaker, getting us into trouble.”

“And you came to me because?” Flitwick asked.

“Us being out after curfew is a bad idea, we know,” Harry said. “But if we were escorted by a teacher, then no one can claim we’re outside our dorm without permission. Honestly sensei I’m with Blaise in thinking Malfoy won’t show up and he’s trying to get us into trouble. But there is a sliver of a chance he’s boneheaded enough to come and if we’re not there then he’ll spread out across the school how we’re cowards and are afraid of him or some other rubbish.”

“I see… and you hope that if young Mr. Malfoy does show up and I am there, then he is the one in trouble since you are there under my watch but if not?” Flitwick left the question hanging.

“Then you are our witness that we did show up to the duel when he didn’t,” Harry added. Flitwick said laughing as he slid his glasses back on.

“Why Mr. Hibiki, how downright Slytherin of you,” he said.

“So does this mean you’ll do it?” Harry asked.

“I should say no and firmly remind you to stay in your rooms tonight… but I can’t help but have a bit of fun with this,” Flitwick said with a bit of a goblin grin. “Yes alright, I will take you both down to the trophy room tonight and will assure you will not get into trouble. But… don’t think I am always going to do this boy. This is a onetime thing and onetime only.”

“Yes sensei, thank you,” Harry said as he stood and gave a short bow. Behind him Ron continued to gape like a fish.

“Alright, I pick you both up from the Gryffindor common room tonight then,” Flitwick said. Harry bowed again then grabbed Ron by the arm and pulled the red head out.

“What was that?!” Ron asked once they are down the hallway.

“Ron, sometimes to beat a Slytherin, you have to think like a Slytherin and beat them at their own game,” Harry said. “We now have permission to be out tonight after curfew. If Malfoy does show his face, then he will get into trouble with Flitwick as I doubt very much he would have asked Snape for permission or anyone else. If he does like Blaise said and sets Filch or Snape on us, we won’t get into trouble because we have a teacher escort and have proof we showed up when Malfoy didn’t.”

“That… that’s brilliant,” Ron said in awe. Harry shrugged his shoulders.

“Like I said, sometimes you got to play their own rules against them,” he said.

******

(1) I think McLaggen is a second year, I couldn't figure out if he was one year or two years ahead of Harry's year.
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