Pyromaniac Harry's third year at Hogwarts.
"Ron, could you please shut that rat up?" Harry asked dryly, eying the disgusting creature in the youngest Weasley male's hands as they slowly headed back towards the castle. Ron was about to reply when the voices behind them went silent and the three of them heard the unmistakable swish and thud of an axe. Buckbeak was no more...
"Pity... I actually liked the creature." Harry murmured to himself. Hermione seemed to sway on her feet, looking as if she was about to faint.
"They did it!" She whispered to Harry. "I d-don't believe it - they did it!" Harry rolled his eyes in annoyance.
"Of course they did it." He snapped. "What do you think they were going to do? Just stand around and watch it?" His eye twitched as Scabbers, Ron's rat, started screeching loudly. "Ron, shut it up before I do!"
"Scabbers, keep still," Ron hissed, clamping his hand over his chest. The rat was wriggling madly. Ron came to a sudden halt, trying to force Scabbers deeper into his pocket. "What's the matter with you, you stupid rat? Stay still - OUCH! He bit me!"
"Ron, be quiet!" Hermione whispered urgently. "Fudge'll be out here in a minute-"
"You think?" Harry muttered sarcastically.
"But he won't - stay - still-"
Scabbers was plainly terrified. He was writhing with all his might, trying to break Ron's grip. Harry's irritation faded and turned to amusement when he saw what was causing the rat so much distress. Crookshanks was slinking towards them, his body low to the ground, wide yellow eyes glinting eerily in the darkness. Whether it was following them or following the sounds of Scabbers squeaks, he couldn't tell.
"Here kitty, kitty, kitty..." Harry cooed softly, grinning evilly at Ron's horrified face. The red haired boy hated the cat with a passion.
"Crookshanks!" Hermione moaned, which Harry found strangely erotic. "No, go away, Crookshanks! Go away!"
"Here kitty, kitty-"
"Stop encouraging him Harry!" She snapped in anger, rounding on him. Harry shrugged innocently, smirking at her. His eyebrow arched when she broke out in a blush.
"Scabbers - NO!" Ron cried.
The rat had slipped through his clutching fingers, hit the ground and scampered away. In one bound, Crookshanks sprang after him, and before Hermione could stop him, Ron pelted away into the darkness of the night.
"Ron!" She moaned. "Come on Harry."
"What?" He asked, turning towards the castle. "Leave him on his own, he'll be fine."
"Hurry up you big jerk." She grabbed a fistful of his shirt and started pulling him off in the direction Ron had went. He couldn't be bothered arguing so he went peacefully, taking out his new Zippo lighter, flicking its lid open and shut with loud metal clicks. He'd been doing this all year, getting on the nerves of many students and professors, but mainly Hermione's.
She started running as fast as she could, pulling Harry along like a dog on a leash. They could hear Ron's footfalls ahead of them as he shouted at Hermione's cat. Harry wondered if Ron would actually strangle the fur ball if it got his stinky rat.
"Get away from him - get away - Scabbers, come here-" This was followed by a loud thump, the sound of a person hitting the deck. "Gotcha! Get off, you stinking cat-"
Hermione nearly fell over Ron, pulling Harry along with her as they skidded to a halt right in front of him. However he was able to keep them both on their feet with a loud grunt of effort. Ron was sprawled out on the ground, but Scabbers was back in his pocket; he had both hands held tightly over the quivering lump.
"Ron - come on - we have to go-" Hermione panted. "Dumbledore - the Minister - they'll be coming back out in a minute-"
But before Ron could even get to his feet, before Ron and Hermione could even catch their breath, they heard the soft pounding of gigantic paws. Something was bounding towards them out of the dark - an enormous, bear-like, pale-eyed, jet-black dog. A dog Harry was very familiar with having seen it after he left the Dursley's before the school year began.
Harry knew he couldn't reach his wand in time so instead flexed his hands into fists, the two erupting in bright, red-hot flames. Hermione nearly screamed when she saw what he had done, never having seen anything like it. Ron gaped at him like a goldfish.
Flinging his arms out in front of him, it was too late as the dog launched itself at him with an enormous leap, its front paws pounding against his chest. He keeled over backwards in a whirl of hair, the fire on his hands rocketing out into the sky like fireworks having lost his aim, exploding with a bright flash similar to that of a muggle flare. He snarled in irritation as he felt its hot breath on his face, saw inch long teeth glinting in the moon light centimeters away.
The force of its leap was too much however, carrying it too far, its momentum rolling it off him, dazed. Feeling as if his ribs were broken, Harry tried to get to his feet; he could hear its growling as it skirted around for its next attack.
Ron was now on his feet, trying to produce his wand while keeping Scabbers in his pocket. As the dog sprang toward them for its second go, Harry's hands blazed as well as his eyes. He was pissed off.
"Fuck you!" He roared, bringing his two hands together and firing a large, bright red fireball. The dog evaded it mostly; the better part of the attack smashing into a large rock a few meters away and exploding in hellish fury, but the flames clipped its tail end, burning the hair straight off its body and attacking the skin, making it blister. It yelped loudly in pain but continued coming, slamming Harry out of the way with the force of a truck. His head snapped back as he fell, grunting in pain as the dog leapt at Ron.
Its jaws latched onto the boy's outstretched arm and started pulling him away like a rag doll. Harry went to go after the creature when he was smacked in the face with something hard, catching him off guard and flinging him back a few feet. He heard Hermione scream in pain as she fell to the ground, too. Blinking the blood out of his eyes, he looked up, being able to see the outline of the Whomping Willow.
Narrowing his eyes, he saw Ron being pulled down a hole at the base of its trunk. They were out of sight in a second.
"Harry - we've got to go for help-" Hermione cried; she was bleeding too. The willow had cut her across the shoulder, it didn't look deep.
"We don't need help." Harry said calmly, getting to his feet.
"We're never going to get through without help!" A branch whipped down at him, its twigs clenched like a knuckle. It missed Harry's face by inches but he didn't as much as flinch.
"Yes we will." He said with a strange gleam in his eyes. Looking down at his right hand he found that his Zippo lighter was ruined. Throwing it to the side, he looked up at the willow and smirked dangerously. Hermione shivered upon seeing the look he was giving the tree. Aiming his right hand at the swaying animated tree, he turned his arm, palm facing up, and positioned his fingers as if he was about to click them.
"Burn!" He snarled, clicking his fingers together with a loud snap. A bolt of fire lanced furiously from his hand and struck the willow with immense force, nearly blowing the thing out of the ground. The tree whipped around franticly as the fire covered its entire surface. Harry was sure it'd shriek if it could. The fire was quickly turning the smaller branches to charred pieces of useless wood.
"Mwuahahahahahahahaha!" He started laughing hysterically, putting even more power into the flames streaming from his outstretched hand. Hermione stared at him in horror. His eyes were glowing eerily in the firelight, his pale skin no longer holding that sickly tinge it normally held. It was like he was in his element, at his happiest when he was destroying things with fire. "You like that?" He cried insanely, finally lowering his hand. The tree continued to frail madly as it continued to burn, lighting the area as if it were daylight hours. "Yeah, take that bitch."
"H-H-Harry?" Hermione asked timidly, staring at her friend uncertainly, never having seen something like that before. He eyed her out the corner of his eyes and smirked at her as his laughter died down. The scared look she was giving him made him feel powerful and he loved it.
"Ladies first." He said, gesturing towards the hole under the burning trunk. Even if he didn't think she was a particularly attractive female, she was nevertheless one... unless she was hiding a lot more than expected under those robes.
"The tree's on fire!" She yelled, pointing at it. Harry just smirked wider.
"Oh, you noticed?" She stared at him incredulously. "Well, as you can see there is no fire near the base... so move it!" Nodding numbly, she slowly made her way over the burning tree, lowering herself into the hole and out of sight. Pulling out his wand, he aimed it at the trunk and cast his strongest exploding curse. The tree shuddered as the pale blue beam struck it before exploding viciously, the wood splintering and flying all around the clearing. The top half of the tree swayed for a few moments from the shockwaves before toppling over backwards, crashing to the ground with an echoing boom.
Satisfied with his work, he quickly followed Hermione's example and went down the hole. He met her half way down; she looked to be coming back up the slope.
"What are you doing?" He asked in annoyance.
"What was that noise?" She asked him, her voice trembling, ignoring his question completely.
"Nothing, now move. Do you want to see what that dog is up to or not?" Nodding, she slid back down, Harry following. At the bottom they both lit their wands so they could see. They looked to be in a small, rocky tunnel.
"Where's Ron?" Hermione asked in a terrified voice.
"This way; now come on." He muttered, setting off, bent backed. The tunnel wasn't very high, as if was made for a bloody dwarf.
"Where does this tunnel come out?" She sounded breathless and was now holding his left hand, startling him. He frowned at the contact and clenched his fist slightly, causing it to flare for a second, lightly scorching her hand. She hissed, drawing back quickly, cradling her burnt palm. She glared at him but he continued on as if nothing happened.
"The Shrieking Shack." He answered after a few minutes silence as the tunnel began to rise after a long walk. Moments later it twisted and Harry could see a patch of dim light through a small opening. They both paused for a second before edging forward, their wands out in front of them, his no longer shining wand light, to see what lay beyond.
It was a room, a very disordered, dusty - and to Harry's glee - flammable room. Paper was peeling from the walls; there were stains all over the floor; every piece of furniture was broken as though somebody, or something, had smashed it. The windows were all boarded up like a fort.
Harry pulled himself out of the hole, staring around. The room was completely deserted, but a door on his right stood open, leading to a shadowy hallway. The door was barely hanging on by its hinges, looking as if it was going to fall at any moment. Hermione followed him out and immediately latched onto his arm again to his irritation, her wide eyes scanning the boarded windows.
Harry eyes landed on a wooden chair near them. Large chunks were torn out of it; one of its legs being ripped of entirely. His eyebrow arched and she gave him an inquisitive look.
"Ghosts didn't do that..." He said slowly, quickly returning his eyes to the door.
At that moment, there was a creak overhead. Something, or more specifically someone, had moved upstairs. Both of them looked up at the ceiling, Hermione warily, Harry with curiosity. Hermione's grip on his arm was so great he was starting to loose feeling in his fingers. He raised his eyebrows at her in question.
"Hermione..." He said softly, his breath brushing over her cheeks. She turned towards him and blushed a bright shade of pink.
"Yes?" She asked, just as softly. Harry's eyes widened in shock at the look in her eyes that were boring into his own, feeling a little disgusted. The twit... she... he felt as if he was going to faint at the horror of it all. She had a...
"Let go." He said, pulling his arm away quickly, turning towards the hallway. She blushed even harder, thinking his obvious disgust was only him being shy.
Quietly as they could, they crept out into the hall and up the crumbling staircase. Everything was covered in a thick layer of dust except the floor, where a wide, shiny stripe had been made by something being dragged upstairs. They quickly reached a dark landing.
Hermione extinguished her wand light as they both crept towards the only open door. As they neared, they heard movement behind it and a low moan of pain. Wand held lazily between his fingers, he kicked the door open before Hermione could stop him, calmly striding into the room, his female acquaintance following in his wake.
On a magnificent four-poster bed with dusty hangings lay Ron, clutching his bloody arm as well as trying to keep Scabbers still. Hermione dashed across to him immediately while Harry watched in boredom.
"Ron, are you okay?" Hermione asked, concerned at the amount of blood coming from his arm, drenching the old bed sheets. Harry, however, felt that was unimportant and asked a different question.
"Where's the dog?"
"Not a dog," He moaned, clutching his arm tighter. Scabbers was still trying to bolt as he grit his teeth. "Harry, it's a trap-"
"He's the dog... /he's an animagus/..."
Ron was staring behind Harry, over his shoulder. Harry wheeled around as the door snapped shut, revealing a human lurking in the shadows.
A mass of filthy, matted hair hung to his elbows. If eyes hadn't been shining out of the deep, dark sockets, he might have been mistaken for a corpse. The waxy skin stretched so tightly over the bones of his face that it looked like a skull. His yellow and somewhat uneven teeth were bared in a grin. The man's left hip was badly burnt, the skin red and blistered from Harry's attack. It was Sirius Black.
"Expelliarmus." He croaked, pointing Ron's wand at them. Harry's and Hermione's wands shot out of their hands, high in the air, and Black caught them. Then he took a step closer, his filthy tattered robes barely hanging from his thin frame. His eyes were fixed on Harry.
"I thought you'd come and help your friend," He said hoarsely. His voice sounded as though he had long ago lost the habit of using it. "Your father would have done the same for me. Brave of you, not to call for a teacher. I'm grateful... it will make everything so much easier..." Harry rolled his eyes.
"Yes, yes. Well, come on then." Sirius stared at him blankly. "Well? Are you going to try and kill me or what?"
"Harry, no! What are you doing?" Hermione screamed at him. He just gave her a look that clearly told her to shut her mouth now, or he'd do it for her.
Before anyone else could talk muffled footsteps echoed up through the floor from downstairs - someone was down there.
"WE'RE UP HERE!" Hermione screamed suddenly, causing Harry to snarl at her annoyance, his eyes flashing dangerously. "WE'RE UP HERE - SIRIUS BLACK - /QUICK/!"
Black looked terrified as he tried to run, his weak body tripping over a piece of wood that had been placed in the center of the room. He hit the ground hard, swearing in surprise as footsteps thundered up the staircase. The door burst open in a shower of red sparks as Professor Lupin came hurdling into the room, his face bloodless, his wand raised and ready. His eyes flickered over Ron, laying on the floor, over Hermione, who was cowering by the door, to Harry, who was standing tall, smirking at him, and over Black, who was sprawled on the floor, a small cloud of dust hovering around him.
After making sure everything was in order, he slowly turned towards Black. "Where is he, Sirius?" He asked in an odd voice, a voice that shook with suppressed emotion. Harry eyed Lupin out the corner of his eyes, wondering what was happening. Who was Lupin talking about? His eye's focused back on Black, who was slowly getting to his feet.
His face was expressionless. For a few moments he didn't move at all. Then, very slowly, he raised his empty hand and pointed it towards Ron. Harry frowned as he looked towards Ron, who was staring at Black in bewilderment.
"But then..." Lupin muttered, staring at Black so intently it was as if he was trying to read his mind. "...why hasn't he shown himself before now? Unless-" Lupin's eyes suddenly widened, as though he was seeing something beyond Black, something none of the rest could see, "- unless he was the one... unless you switched... without telling me?"
Very slowly, his gaze never leaving Lupin's face, Black nodded.
"Professor..." Harry drawled, slightly baffled at what was happening. "What is going-"
He never got to finish his sentence as he arched his eyebrows in surprise, shocked when Lupin lowered his wand. Next moment, he had walked to Black's side and embraced him like a brother. Ron made a strangled gasp of surprise as Hermione seemed to start hyperventilating.
"That was unexpected." Harry deadpanned, staring at the both of them strangely.
"I DON'T BELIEVE IT!" Hermione screeched from behind him.
Lupin let go of Black and turned to face her. She had raised herself off the floor, and was pointing at Lupin, wild-eyed. It looked quite disturbing in Harry's opinion, like a beaver with some type of mental disorder. "You - you -"
"-you and him!"
"Hermione, calm down-"
"I didn't tell anyone!" Hermione shrieked, Harry's eye twitching as his head started throbbing. "I've been covering up for you-"
"Hermione, listen to me, please!" Lupin shouted. "I can explain-"
"You've been Black's friend all this time?" Harry interjected. "Pity, you were my favorite teacher." He started rubbing his hands together gleefully, not noticing Sirius and Ron blanching. They both knew what was coming. His eyes shinned with a strange inner light, his hands gaining a faint golden hue.
"You're wrong," Lupin said. "I haven't been Sirius' friend for twelve years, but now I am... let me explain..."
"NO!" Hermione screamed again. It was really starting to annoy Harry. He felt like stuffing a firecracker in her mouth and lighting it. "Harry, don't trust him, he's been helping Black into the castle, he wants you dead too - /he's a werewolf/."
A deafening silence fell over the group as Lupin paled, but looked relatively calm despite what was just revealed. It was broken by Harry snorting, loudly, having stopped rubbing his hands together.
"Oh really Hermione, how long did it take you to figure that out?" Hermione stared at him in confusion.
"I've known since October..." He said dryly. "It's kinda hard not to miss the pattern even after only two months. He was away on both nights of the full moon." She, along with everyone else was gaping at him. "Well... come on then. Why are you hugging the man who betrayed my parents?"
"He didn't betray your parents." Lupin recovered. Harry nodded slowly.
"Impossible!" Ron burst out before being silenced by Harry's glare.
"So... who really betrayed my parents?" He asked, turning back towards his Defense Against the Dark Arts teacher.
"Peter Pettigrew." Sirius spoke up. Harry again nodded slowly.
"He's supposed to be dead but fair enough..."
"He's an animagus, he isn't dead." Lupin explained. "He takes the form of a rat." As soon as he finished, Harry whirled towards Ron.
"Hand over Scabbers, Ron." He commanded, having put everything together. Ron stared at him in horror. Harry was surprised; his pea sized brain had actually worked it out.
"What? Harry! You don't honestly believe-" He was cut off by the sound of Scabbers screeching as it sailed through the air towards Sirius, the Azkaban escapee having just performed a summoning charm. Lupin snatched the creature out of the air with inhuman reflexes, holding it tightly but not enough to hurt it... yet. "Scabbers, no!"
"Can I have my wand back now?" Harry asked, holding his hand out towards Sirius. The convict nodded and handed all three teens back their wands. Harry quickly flicked his towards the rat and it began to expand into something larger. Lupin dropped it in surprise and everyone watched as Ron's rat became Peter Pettigrew. Harry smirked devilishly.
"Sirius - Remus..." The man said shakily before he started screaming in agony, rolling from side to side, his tatted robes aflame. Sirius, Lupin, Ron and Hermione watched in shocked horror as Harry laughed darkly.
"Burn you stupid piece of shit!" He cackled, controlling the flames so the rest of the shack didn't catch. "I'm going to make hell seem like a tea party!"
"Potter!" A new voice from the door called. "What are you doing!?"
The man, known as Severus Snape, didn't get a chance to move as a large fireball impacted against his chest, flinging him out of the doorway and over the flimsy railing, crashing to old wooden floor beneath. He shrieked like a little girl as his robes flared with flames, painfully licking at his pale skin. It wasn't long before his greasy hair caught alight as well, incasing his head in red, hot flames. As the man rolled around on the floor, the fire from his robes started leaking off onto the old rugs and chairs.
"Harry, stop this!" Lupin yelled. Harry was in the zone, however, and didn't even hear him.
"Burn. Burn! BURN!"
"Stupefy." A red jet of light rocketed out of Remus' wand, aimed directly at Harry's chest. Noticing the incoming spell, Harry moved to his left, the spell missing him by inches and hitting Ron in the face, stunning him. Harry spun, his arms held out wide around him as fire spewed out, setting the shack ablaze, one such ball striking Sirius in the gut, blasting him through one of the weak walls surrounding the room. Hermione's screams of pain joined Snape's and Pettigrew's as her bushy main caught alight. She fumbled with her wand, trying to put her hair out but it was no good, she was in too much pain. She started rolling around on the floor as her clothes also caught.
"Harry, stop this n-" Lupin didn't get much further as he was also incased in flames, Harry having got sick and tired of the man's voice. Harry laughed uproariously as the shack burnt down around him, Snape's screams cutting off first as one of the support beams fell, giving way to the burning element of fire. It crushed the man head, splattering his brains all over the floor, putting him out of his misery.
Next was Hermione, who had been flailing around on the floor like an eel out of water. She wasn't able to take the pain, her blistering skin melting from her bones being too much to handle.
Surprising, Lupin was next, flinging himself through one of the boarded up windows and falling to his death. Harry would have though the werewolf would have known the house was perched near a cliff but the pain must have blocked out all rational thoughts.
Smirking sardonically, he looked down at the pathetic, charred form of Peter Pettigrew. Amazingly, the little shit of a rat was still alive. The man was now completely without hair, the flames having removed what little he had left, his robes were no more, completely turned to ashes though Harry spotted small fragments that had melted to his body, and his skin was grossly warped, blistered, covered in puss and blood. It was a gruesome sight to behold.
Glancing at Ron's unconscious form that had surprisingly not been harmed by the fire, he smiled as he clapped his hands together. His body started glowing orange, not just his hands like normal. "Let's go out with a bang boys."
In the town of Hogsmeade, its residents paused as a large explosion rocked the ground, followed by a large ball of fire erupting from the Shrieking Shack, destroying the old building completely.