"No more" Blaise groaned as she flopped down on a couch in the corner of the Slytherin Common room that was undisputedly theirs "I don't think I can take anymore."
Harry grinned tiredly at his friend "that was the last test Blaise, no worries for the next week until we find out how we've done. All I want to do right now is get dinner."
Things went fine until after dinner when Harry and Blaise found themselves once again sitting in the Slytherin Common room, bored.
"Want to pull a prank" Harry asked Blaise quietly but the girl shook her head.
"We still need to lay low after that last one. Who would have guessed Professor Sinistra would get so mad when the bewitched food ended up going down her robes; I swear she must be part harpy."
"Well I'm not reading anymore books from the library and neither of us want to study, so what do we do?"
Blaise mused for a second "I don't want to train either so I guess that basically leaves us with games or wandering around the school and evading the prefect patrols."
Harry shrugged before his eyes lit up and he leaned in to whisper conspiratorially to Blaise "let's go see what the three-headed dog guards!"
~~ ~~ ~*~
"Harry you bastard, why did I let you talk me into this" Blaise yelled as she dodged one of the three snapping heads.
Somehow the damn thing had managed to get between them and the door leading out and neither wanted to go any further down the corridor into the darkness and possibly trap themselves even more. A split moment of distraction when Peeves came zooming through the wall cursing a suit of armor found Harry trapped between two gigantic paws.
"Bloody hell" Harry whispered softly and seeing no way out of the predicament he closed his eyes and waited to be mauled.
A moment later and Harry was cracking his eyes open again to find Peeves blowing an annoying tune on a kazoo he had taken from a muggleborn that morning and the three-headed dog snoring slightly. Peeves stopped playing and let out a cackle. The three-headed dog growled and started to stir until Peeves began playing again. Harry wasted no time moving away from the demon dog.
"Thanks Peeves" Harry panted, trying to regain his composure even as he drug Blaise to the trap door and flung it open "hurry Blaise, let's go while it's still sleeping."
Blaise looked at Harry as if he was insane but both leapt blindly down the hole, contorting their bodies as they dropped to help cushion the landing and wondering when they would hit.
~~ ~~ ~*~
The kazoo fell from Peeves' mouth and down the trap door as his jaw dropped open and he lost his mischievously malicious demeanor. They had just jumped down the hole, the forbidden hole that even he hadn't dared go through. For a moment the poltergeist made as if to follow and join in on the fun before the swipe of a huge paw knocked him backwards. Cursing Peeves zoomed back through the wall he had come through earlier, passing over the helmet-less suit of armor that was still banging on the wall trying to get through to him. Had to find the Headmaster he did, and quickly.
A sinister "Peeves" sounded from next to him and the poltergeist whirled to face the Bloody Baron "what have you been told about harassing the students and destroying school property."
Cowed and somewhat frightened Peeves tried to explain about the ickle firsties going down the forbidden hole but the Bloody Baron kept advancing on him and with a shrieking curse Peeves fled, the imposing Slytherin ghost chasing after him.
~~ ~~ ~*~
"Oof" the air rushed out of their lungs as they landed on a pile of some plant matter.
Grateful for the cushioned landing Harry and Blaise rested for a moment to catch their breath before trying to wade free of the plant.
"Light your wand Blaise" Harry instructed "so we can find out way out."
Blaise nodded into the darkness even though Harry couldn't see, but turned panicky after a moment.
"I can't reach my wand" she cried "I'm trapped."
Horror dawned as Harry realized vines had wrapped around him as well and he struggled harder, ignoring the tightening lianas as he sought his knife. Air was getting scarce when he finally touched the cool metal of his knife. Moments later his arm was free and he slashed wildly until he could breathe again. He continued to slash at the attacking plant while using his wandless magic to create a ball of light so he could find Blaise. What he saw frightened him. Blaise was firmly wrapped in the vines, her weak struggles told him she was still alive, and she was being drug towards a vivid looking flower bud that was gaping open with sharp protrusions lining the blossom that was ready to eat his friend.
Harry threw himself forward, evading the seeking vines and began to hack until he managed to get Blaise free. Futilely he tried to tug them both away from the plant but they were being overwhelmed again. Not thinking of what he was doing Harry forced his light ball to shoot at the man-eating blossom that was huddled in its darkened corner, salivating. With a shriek the plant recoiled it's more active vines only to slash them back towards Harry and Blaise, the impact throwing them free of the deadly plant and towards the chamber's exit. They wasted no time getting through the door, slamming it shut behind them and leaning heavily against the door as they tried to calm their rapid breathing.
"There's no way we're getting back out through there" Blaise panted "I guess we'll have to go on."
Harry swallowed and hoarsely agreed, creating a witchlight to proceed them down the hall they had found themselves in "I don't think I want to know what is down here as bad anymore."
The hall ended in another door. The length of the hall had merely been stone wall until the end where this wooden door awaited them. Harry and Blaise looked nervously at each other, neither really wanted to go through the door but they also knew they couldn't go back the way they came.
"Come on" Harry said, bolstering his courage "we've come this far and if we work together and don't let ourselves be taken by surprise we can handle anything we come across. We've been in bad situations before and now that I think of it the plant wasn't all that bad."
Blaise gave him a look as if to ask if he was completely crazy, but the determination was back in her eyes and her posture indicated she was ready. Without hesitation Blaise reached out and pushed on the door handle, which gave with a click, allowing the door to swing slowly open.
Cautiously they stepped into this new room. At first they saw nothing until a stirring of noise from above them drew their attention. Glittering birds flew along the ceiling above them, but besides that and a few brooms leaning against the far wall next to the other door the room was empty. Using hand signals Harry motioned to Blaise to edge along the wall with him to the other door as both of them kept an eye on the glittering birds, wary of any other obstacles that might be hidden from their sight. Nothing happened until they reached the other door and Harry tried the handle. Two things happened then, Harry discovered the door was locked and the glittering birds that turned out to be winged keys dive bombed them.
"Get the door" Blaise yelled above the rush of wings "I got your back."
She had snatched up a broom and was frantically swiping the keys away while Harry futilely tried the unlocking charms he knew.
'Alohomora' proved useless as well as a few of the stronger ones he had read about.
"I need another minute" Harry called to Blaise, already setting to work "I'm going to have to do this the usual way."
A few careful manipulations of the ancient tumblers left Harry hearing a satisfying snick and he prepared to throw the door open and bolt through.
"Next dive give them all you have and twist through. Three...two...one...now!"
Blaise swung hard at the glittering winged keys with the broom she held, letting the broom fly at the end of her swing before throwing herself backwards and twisting to get through the opening Harry had left for her. For the second time that day Harry and Blaise slammed a door, and they imagined that they could hear the sound of the old fashion keys pounding into the door as they tried to follow after them.
This time they had not ended up in another hallway, but a room in which torches flared all around them to reveal a giant chess set made up of imposing pieces chiseled out of black and white stone. One could almost swear they were alive but then a closer look was taken and you knew they were alive. Harry and Blaise discovered that out the hard way though when they tried to pass through to the other side of the room and found their way barred. It suddenly became clear that they would have to take their places among the ranks of the pieces and play their way through the game, unfortunately neither of them was particularly good at chess. But even though chess was not one of their strong points Harry and Blaise knew strategy and were going to use every bit of cunning they had to win this game, especially when it became apparent that any player taken would be mauled.
Yet their strategy seemed to be winning out and they came closer to their goal of beating the imposing white chess pieces. That was until Blaise made a move, stepping further into the white territory. Her attention had been taken by the danger posed by a rook and a knight so that she had not noticed the queen lying in wait. Harry's concentration on the visible threat to Blaise had also kept him preoccupied until he saw the heavy arm of the queen lift for the blow. Harry gave up his position on the board, no longer caring for the rules of the game as he leapt to defend his childhood friend. Some instinct inside him told him to forego his wand and use his gun; so Harry went with his instinct, shooting off three well placed bullets. Upon impact the bullets exploded, cracking through the enchanted stone to leave the queen as a pile of rubble. For a moment Harry hesitated before taking the rest of the white pieces out, he started with the king and didn't spare even the lowly pawns. He did spare the black pieces, for they had fallen dormant with no one to command them once he had abandoned his position. Quickly Harry followed Blaise in scrambling over the rubble to the door, thankful that it wasn't locked. The door led them to a short hallway where Harry and Blaise thankfully paused and looked uncertainly back at the door they had just gone through. They could hear the sound of rubble shifting on the other side of the door and they could practically see the white stone mending itself back into the deadly chess pieces. There was another door they weren't in any hurry to go back through anytime soon.
"Three-headed dogs, man-eating plants, attack keys, and deadly chess pieces" Blaise moaned "what next? What if this turns out to be a dead end with no way out except to go back? We've pissed off the guardians too much to be allowed to walk back out without repercussion and what the hell was up with the explosions back there?"
The last bit came out in a growl and Harry winced inwardly. Blaise was really getting pissed off and he really didn't want that anger directed at him. She wouldn't hurt him of course, but it wasn't a good thing to have your best friend and confidant upset at you.
"Well" Harry began...
They had been up early that morning to walk the Path but had decided to forego training that morning in order to prepare for the exams they would be taking that day. But he had been unable to concentrate and had pulled out his gun and the spare clips and began to fool with them. On a whim he remembered an enchantment spell he had read that was used on inanimate objects and decided to use the bullets to practice on, he intended to take the spells off once he was done. He didn't want to test the results that came from mixing magic with muggle technology, but doubted it would hurt to use the bullets for practice and they were the only thing near at hand in the training room besides the blades and staffs. He could have enchanted his books of course but they were already seeped with magic and he didn't want to combine the spells and possibly end up with volatile results.
"Enchaneta Reducto" Harry twirled his wand around a bullet before stabbing it forward.
The bullet glowed slightly but it was more of a pale shine than the red it was supposed to turn briefly. After a few more frustrating tries Harry practically shouted the spell and poured more power into the invocation than before, not realizing at first that he had encompassed all the bullets he had taken out from the first clip as well as the other two clips with his wand motion. This time he achieved the mentioned red glow and nodded in satisfaction even though he realized he had enchanted more bullets than he had intended to.
"Come on Harry" Blaise suddenly poked her head into the training room, she had went back to the common room earlier to look for a book she had forgotten to bring with her that morning "unless you don't want to eat before the exams?"
Harry had scowled briefly before shoving the bullets back into their clips and reloading his gun; he would disenchant them later when he had more time.
"...I never did get around to disenchanting the blasting hex on them, good thing too. I'm glad that I got the spare clips with the spell as well. There's no way the first clip would have gotten us through."
Blaise didn't get on his case for fooling around with magic they knew next to nothing about, but she did ask for one of his guns and Harry gave her the one with the last of the enchanted bullets, keeping the normal one for himself. They didn't have time or patience to fool with enchanting the bullets for Blaise's gun.
"I think the rumors were true" Harry choked as they entered yet another chamber.
Blaise nodded with wide eyes. In front of them was a dragon, it was still young yet but that didn't keep it from exuding danger. With a roar the dragon made as if to attack Harry and Blaise who found themselves frozen. They knew dragons were magic resistant and doubted their muggle weaponry would do much to pierce the hide of such a magical creature. They could go for the eyes of course but in that instant neither could bring themselves to harm the young dragon.
"This is one obstacle I can see no way past" Harry said and began to back through the still open door "I'd rather take my luck trying to get back out the way we came."
Harry made it no further for he suddenly realized that the dragon had not attacked and Blaise was staring at him, or more precisely the dragon pendant that hung around his neck glowing softly. It was this which made the dragon back off and return to its bed, curling up peacefully to let them pass. Neither knew that the young dragon had felt draconian magic in the pendant and that no respectable dragon would harm one who wore the pendant, all Harry and Blaise knew was that the pendant was sending off magical waves and that they were being allowed to pass through. They were not about to look a gift horse in the mouth.
Fire sprung up behind them as they entered yet another of the seemingly endless rooms filled with guardians that tested their abilities. It wasn't ordinary fire either; the fire blocking the way behind them was purple while black flames shot up in the doorway leading onward. With a groan they realized who had set up this obstacle, the row of potion vials were a dead give away. Whatever they found here would either be very straight forward to the point that they would miss the obvious or so sneaky and complicated that they would still miss the answer. They did not expect what they found.
"A logic puzzle" Blaise exclaimed "I don't know whether to call him a crafty Slytherin or just plain brilliant. This would stump most witches or wizards because it has nothing to do with magic and that's all they really ever learn, they really rely too heavily on magic."
Harry took the scroll from Blaise who had picked it up off the table next to the row of vials.
Danger lies before you, while safety lies behind,
Two of us will help you, whichever you would find,
One among us seven will let you move ahead,
Another will transport the drinker back instead,
Two among our number hold only nettle wine,
Three of us are killers, waiting hidden in line.
Choose, unless you wish to stay here forevermore,
To help you in your choice, we give you these clues four:
First, however slyly the poison tries to hide
You will always find some on nettle wine's left side;
Second, different are those who stand at either end,
But if you would move onward, neither is your friend;
Third, as you see clearly, all are different size,
Neither dwarf nor giant holds death in their insides;
Fourth, the second left and the second on the right
Are twins once you taste them, though different at first sight.
The puzzle was written in the familiar scrawl of their potions professor and Harry admired the man's cunning brilliance though why he had left clues at all when he surely knew which bottle held which stumped Harry completely. Why aid someone in getting past the fire when it was obviously there to deter people. At first Harry suspected the clues to be false but knew the potions master had too much pride in his craft to do such a thing and perhaps end up feeding someone who might be innocent a deadly poison. Harry stared intently at the bottles and running through the clues again moved two bottles slightly away from the rest. The one furthest on the right would be their key to going back should they need it but the other one he had set forth would allow them to continue on this insane lark they had embarked on. Blaise had done her own calculations and agreed with Harry's findings.
Harry took a deep breath, an uneasy feeling in the pit of his stomach "I think we're getting near the end since we've been given a choice like this. So do we go on or do we take the potion that will allow us to go back?"
Blaise seemed to struggle for a moment "we can't stop now; it would be like admitting defeat even though we have been taught that tactical retreats are one of the best strategies to employ."
Harry nodded and took a small sip of the potion that would allow them to go onward before passing it to Blaise who also took a sip, for some reason he suddenly felt that there was now a greater threat behind them instead of in front of them. Before leaving they placed the almost empty potion vial back on the table, watching as the bottle magically refilled, looking undisturbed for the next fool who managed to get far enough to face the riddle. Squeezing each others hands for reassurance Harry and Blaise stepped through the black flames.
~~ ~~ ~*~
"Your Headshipness" Peeves cried "down the hole they went."
He had finally escaped the Bloody Baron and had come upon Albus Dumbledore talking to Severus Snape. A good thing Peeves thought, the dark man guarded his ickle snakes well. Peeves had the satisfaction of seeing the Headmaster's head jerk up sharply.
The Headmaster's voice was sharp and urgent and Peeves flipped himself before hovering closer; perhaps he should have went to just the dark man instead of the Headship, he didn't want to get the young snakes in trouble. Those two were fun, like the lion twins.
"The Potter one and friend" Peeves blew a raspberry at the Headship, maintaining his childish faÃ§ade.
Everything seemed to still for a moment before Albus Dumbledore was moving quickly toward the Forbidden Corridor, Severus Snape a few paces behind. Peeves was tempted to follow but decided it would be safer to annoy Filch, couldn't let the young snake's gifts go to waste now could he?
~~ ~~ ~*~
Harry and Blaise found themselves in a room larger than all the others, it boasted of wide stairs that spanned across half the room in a gentle arc to open upon an open space where one could almost imagine a professor pacing while delivering a blistering lecture. There was no other way out except the way they had come in and the room proved empty except for an ornate mirror standing in the middle of the floor. Glancing at each other Harry and Blaise moved until they stood in front of the mirror etched with the words 'Erised stra ehru oyt ube cafru oyt on wohsi.'
"I show you not your face but your hearts desire" Harry spoke softly, quickly deciphering the encrypted message.
He looked into the mirror yet he did not see anything remotely close to his hearts desire, nor did he see himself reflected there as the happiest man alive would. What he saw was a pulsing blood red stone that meant nothing to him; he felt no desire for the stone, merely a vague curiosity about it.
Abruptly the stone disappeared to be replaced by a scene of him surrounded by his father, Trevor, and the guards as well as other people he did not recognize. Blaise stood at his side, their arms thrown companionably around each other. He was older, they all were, and everyone was smiling. He went to examine the scene further to determine the cause of their happiness when the black fire flaring behind them ripped both his and Blaise's attention from the mirror.
"Quick" Harry dragged Blaise up the stairs and behind one of the stone pillars at the edge of the room, the dread he had felt earlier had come back full force.
It was Quirrell that stepped through the fire, but gone was the stuttering and incompetent professor that had taught them all year; this man was sneering at how easy the obstacles guarding the Sorcerer's Stone were. Harry held back a gasp. Quirrell was now standing in front of the mirror seeking the Sorcerer's Stone, the stone that Harry knew now resided in his pocket. He had felt the weight appear right as the stone had disappeared from the mirror and knew what had happened.
"Come out young Mr. Potter" a chilling voice suddenly called "I know you are here, I can sense you and your pretty little friend."
Bravely Harry stepped forwards and faced Quirrell "what do you want?"
Quirrell chuckled "it's not what I want Mr. Potter, but what the master wants."
As Quirrell was speaking he had began to unwrap the turban around his head and turning revealed why he wore the hideous thing. A pale, distended head jutted from the defense professor's head and was glaring at them with hateful eyes narrowed into slits. The face was nothing short of reptilian.
"Do you know who I am" the parasite head demanded and while Harry had a suspicion he decided not to give the thing the satisfaction of admitting it.
"A disgusting freak of nature from the looks of it" Harry spat wishing he had the security of knowing his father and the Daggers would be there to rescue him soon.
A roar of anger greeted Harry's words "I am Lord Voldemort you impudent whelp, the most powerful wizard alive!"
This time it was Blaise who did the insulting "which is why you are sticking out of the back of Quirrell's head like a sick parasite."
Quirrell whirled and backhanded Blaise and the girl stumbled. Angered Harry pulled his gun, glad it wasn't the one with the exploding bullets as he didn't want to see what that would do to human flesh, and pulled the trigger. The first shot missed, shattering the mirror, the second whipped through Quirrell's flesh but before Harry could shoot off another bullet the possessed professor had grabbed his shirt and flung him across the floor.
"I will have the stone" Quirrell/Voldemort hissed "I will regain my former strength and you shall not stand in my way this time. You should have cooperated ten years ago and died."
"Too late" Harry spat bravely from his half-crouched position, perhaps he should have been a Gryffindor after all "the mirror's shattered, the magic disrupted. I doubt you can get the stone from it now."
Quirrell was facing him again with a feral grin that reflected his master's emotions, a struggling Blaise trapped in his grasp with his wand firmly pressed to her head.
"I know you have the stone" Voldemort spoke softly, dangerously "I can feel its power radiating from on you. Give it to me and I'll let her leave unharmed."
Harry was torn but knew he would give up the stone to save his friend, yet he also could see Blaise's eyes telling him not to and he trusted her ability to defend herself. He brushed his fingers lightly against one of his throwing knives, his daggers would be useless and his gun along with his wand had gone flying earlier when he was thrown. In a swift movement Blaise elbowed Quirrell in the gut and ducked as she twisted herself free. Harry had the knife flying even before Blaise was completely free and prayed that his aim would be true for once. It was. Quirrell screamed in agony and lumbered forward towards Harry like a zombie, Voldemort forcing him on. Thankfully Quirrell had lost his wand when Blaise elbowed him or Harry would be in trouble.
"Kill him" Voldemort screamed "destroy the half-blood. Kill him!"
Pain and darkness threatened as Quirrell began to choke him and Harry sent a wild punch that connected with a glancing blow to Quirrell's face.
The professor let go, his face and hands blistering as he screamed "It burns master. It burns!"
Power surged up warmly from deep inside Harry and he grabbed onto Quirrell's flesh, burning the man until they both dropped to the ground and Harry was forced to let go from his own pain. Two shots echoed loudly through the room and Harry saw Blaise standing over the new corpse, his gun still trained on the body. For a moment Harry prayed Voldemort had died with Quirrell but the black and roiling mass of malice that streamed free from Quirrell, burning the body even further, and fled shattered his hope. Shakily Harry pulled his knife from Quirrell's corpse and wiped it clean on the man's robes before putting it away followed by his gun and wand that Blaise handed to him. They were still standing over the body of Quirrell when Albus Dumbledore burst through the black fire, closely followed by Severus Snape. Both men started at the youths standing there in exhaustion, leaning against each other for support as the last of their adrenaline left then in a rush. In one of his burnt hands Harry clutched a blood red stone.
~~ ~~ ~*~
As if in a dream Harry and Blaise allowed themselves to be led to the hospital wing and fussed over by an overbearing Madam Pomfrey before having potions forced upon them. In moments they were tucked into bed, still fully clothed, and falling into a potion induced dreamless sleep.
Severus Snape swept from the hospital wing after making sure Harry and Blaise would be fine and headed directly to the Owlry. He needed to owl Trevor Zabini and inform the man on what had happened, especially after Dumbledore had been talking about placing Harry with a light oriented wizarding family for his safety. It was the old man's way of keeping the boy under his eye where he could be more easily manipulated and Severus was not going to allow it though he could not openly contest Dumbledore at this time. With satisfaction he watched his dark winged owl fly into the night, he expected Trevor and Harry's father would arrive sometime early the next afternoon.
~~ ~~ ~*~
Harry came back to consciousness feeling the warmth of sunlight bathe over him, yet he did not give away the fact that he was awake. Keeping his body relaxed and his breathing even Harry listened to the sounds around him, some sixth sense telling him that he wasn't alone and that he was being watched. He knew he was in the hospital wing, remembered taking a dreamless sleep potion along with Blaise. The tiniest rustle of cloth told Harry that someone was indeed poised next to his bed. Harry began to feign waking up; he wanted to know who was sitting there next to him and what their intentions were. His vivid green eyes revealed themselves to the light and he blinked against the brightness before focusing on a twinkling pair of blue eyes watching him, the Headmaster.
"I trust you slept well Mr. Potter" Dumbledore leaned back slightly to give Harry his space "lemon drop?"
Harry shook his head negatively, ordering his thoughts as he did so "How's Blaise?"
"Still sleeping peacefully" the Headmaster motioned to a bed on the other side of Harry.
Relieved to see that Blaise seemed uninjured Harry turned back to Dumbledore "what happened with Voldemort and the Sorcerer's stone?"
"Ah" Dumbledore's voice took on a serious air "the stone has been destroyed as even Hogwarts and Gringotts have not proven safe enough guardians. Such a thing of power that can aid evil does not belong in our turbulent times. As for Voldemort, he has been weakened considerably by being forced to leave his host, it is to be hoped that it will be some time before he gains another human body to serve him. Now I must ask you what happened in the chamber with Professor Quirrell."
Slightly hesitant Harry began to speak, his mind fervently working on how to omit the use and presence of his muggle weaponry in the fight, as well as the fact that they had been the first to the stone. If he played things right perhaps Dumbledore would think they merely got suspicious of Quirrell and followed after him, or were perhaps dragged unwillingly along.
"Blaise and I realized what the purpose of the mirror was from reading the inscription in reverse and I saw a blood red stone in the mirror, yet I felt no desire for it and wondered what was wrong with the mirror. The stone disappeared after I had that thought and I felt it settle in my pocket. Voldemort knew it too, said he could sense it. We fought, the mirror ended up shattered, and I was thrown across the room by Quirrell."
A stirring interrupted Harry's tale and he turned to see Blaise smiling at him, the look in her eyes let him know that she had feigned sleep to listen in on the conversation.
"Ms. Zabini" Dumbledore nodded in greeting as if not surprised to see her awake "Harry here was just telling me what happened with Professor Quirrell and Voldemort; please speak up if you feel you have anything to add as he tells me the rest."
Blaise nodded and Harry continued speaking "when I looked back up at Quirrell he had Blaise with his wand pointed at her head, thankfully Blaise was able to drive her elbow back into his stomach and twisted away before he had time to send off a spell. I sent an attack at Quirrell and Voldemort started screaming at Quirrell to kill me. The professor grabbed onto me before pulling back screaming that it burned, so I did the only thing I could think of since I had lost my wand by then, I grabbed onto him and held on. The next thing I knew Quirrell wasn't struggling anymore and Voldemort was fleeing his servant's body, causing the skin to bubble and burn even further."
Dumbledore nodded thoughtfully before turning to Blaise "anything to add Ms. Zabini?"
Blaise shook her head no and Dumbledore continued "your recollection has explained many things Mr. Potter. When we removed Professor Quirrell from the chamber after seeing you here to the hospital wing we noticed that his body was so scorched as to be nearly unrecognizable and we guessed the burns to have been the cause of death as no other wounds could be discovered due to the severe nature of the burn trauma. I believe that when your mother died to save you Mr. Potter she imparted a protection so pure onto you that it makes it impossible for Voldemort, or anyone he is possessing, to touch you and thus results the burns. It appears that Professor Quirrell's body was so damaged after playing host to the parasite Voldemort that when Voldemort fled the shock of it killed Professor Quirrell. Is there anything more either of you would like to know?"
The group was still talking a while later, Blaise had moved to sit next to Harry on his bed and had her head resting on his shoulder for comfort, when the doors to the hospital wing flew open with a bang that even the cushioning charms could not prevent. Manuel strode in like an avenging angel, his black trench coat flaring out behind him as he walked much like Snape's robes tended to do. Manuel made no attempts to hide the gun slung low on his hips and anger blazed in his eyes. Trevor was at his side, and while he was no calmer than Manuel he didn't look as if he was going to kill first and ask questions later. Professor Snape stood in the shadows near the door, it seemed obvious to Harry and Blaise that he was the one to inform their fathers and lead them here as they had been as of yet unable to.
Dumbledore was already on his feet at this threatening intrusion, wand trained at Manuel and Trevor demanding "who are you and what are you doing here?"
Manuel ignored the wand pointed at him, trusting Trevor to be ready for any attacks, and brushed past the old man in ridiculous robes; he also knew he could have his gun out and fired before the wizard could get off any useful spells, dodging was always an option as well. The only thing that really mattered right this moment was his son whom he had just scooped up in his arms and was hugging tight. The letter Harry's professor had sent had been vague but had mentioned the great danger Harry and Blaise had been through the night before, it had worried him and Trevor into immediately taking a portkey to the edge of Hogwarts; he never wanted to travel by one of those things again.
"Dad" Harry cried out "can't breathe!"
Reluctantly Manuel pulled back and began checking Harry over for injuries, asking his son a list of rapid fire questions on how he was feeling yet always aware that there were other people in the room and tailoring his questions to keep suspicions from being aroused. Trevor had scooped Blaise up into a hug as well before dumping her on the next bed over and was giving his daughter the same routine, one which she was protesting just as vehemently as Harry was.
"I'm fine dad" twin protests could be heard coming from Harry and Blaise at almost the same time "stop worrying, everything's okay now."
Slightly reassured after hearing the bare detail of what had went on, he would get a full account later, Manuel turned to the eccentric man, who from Harry's description could only be the headmaster, and demanded "just what the bloody hell kind of school is being run here!? My son and goddaughter could have been killed!"
Dumbledore held up a placating hand, eyes serious yet somehow still managing to twinkle "I assure you that no harm was meant to come to any student and we did not know of Professor Quirrell's dark affiliations."
Manuel barely kept a reign on his temper "every staff member and personnel of a school should be thoroughly screened before being allowed the right to be involved in a task that brings them near children or that allows them to teach children. The safety of the children in this school was jeopardized by a laxity and such actions cannot be condoned. The Board of Directors shall be hearing from me and it is debatable whether Harry will return to this school when his safety cannot be assured."
Manuel turned to Harry, his eyes softening "come on Harry; let's go somewhere we can talk privately."
Trevor and Blaise stood as well to follow Manuel and Harry, they knew they were to be included in the talk, but Trevor paused before exiting the hospital wing and turned to Dumbledore "I have no doubt that Harry will convince his father to let him continue to study at Hogwarts if that is what Harry wishes to do, but be warned, if anything more happens to either of the children Manuel won't need to involve the School Governor's for I will gather together my old crowd. That's a promise. We may not be able to rival you in power, but we can make things difficult for you and keep you from influencing our children."
Dumbledore turned to Severus with a concealed sigh once the quartet had left to have their talk "Thank you for Owling Mr. Potter and Ms. Zabini's fathers Severus, it completely slipped my mind in the excitement of last night and they had a right to know."
Severus smirked as the Headmaster left to go back to his office; it was quite clear after that statement that Dumbledore had not wanted to inform either of his student's fathers, yet the Headmaster also knew that they should have been informed. At least Albus could not fault him for following the guidelines set for him as Head of Slytherin House, and therefore any displeasure the Headmaster might wish to aim at him would be uncalled for. He would have to remember to talk to Trevor a bit later about their Slytherin crowd; with a bodiless Voldemort out there it wouldn't be a bad idea to resurrect a few old friends.
~~ ~~ ~*~
The talk had went better than either Harry or Blaise had expected seeing as their fathers hadn't gotten too angry at them for giving into their curiosity after having been warned of the danger and for going into a situation without being better informed on the circumstances. Not that Manuel and Trevor could really fault their children, for they had acted similarly in their youth and knew how hard it was to keep up the composed act of Mafia children. The quartet had spent the time until after dinner together before Manuel and Trevor had left to go home; surprisingly Harry and Blaise weren't being taken with them and would be continuing their education at Hogwarts. What the two Slytherins didn't know was that their fathers hadn't left right away, but had taken some time to talk to Severus Snape and plot.
~~ ~~ ~*~
Harry and Blaise made their way down to the end-of-year feast ignoring the looks and whispers they were attracting. The story of what had happened with Quirrell and the obstacles guarding the Sorcerer's Stone had spread like wildfire throughout the school, though none seemed to know of Voldemort's role in the whole fiasco and most of the tales circling the school were twisted rumors that skewered everything that had really happened completely out of proportion. The only ones that knew the whole truth of what had happened the other week were Harry, Blaise, Manuel, and Trevor. Dumbledore knew a version that he believed to be the truth, or so they hoped, and while Snape knew more of the real events than Dumbledore it still was not the complete account.
But the end-of-year feast was not the place to mull over such things. It was time to celebrate and gloat for not only had Slytherin won the Quidditch cup, they would have to make sure Manuel saw a game sometime, but the House cup as well. The hall was stunningly decorated in green and silver, with hints of black to offset the colors of the Serpent house, and a large Slytherin banner hung behind the High Table where the teachers sat; McGonagall was scowling fiercely at Snape's smug smirk. It appeared that Gryffindor losing twice over to Slytherin was a sore spot with the Transfiguration professor. Dumbledore arrived and stepped between McGonagall and Snape, blocking their sight from each other.
"Another year gone" Dumbledore said cheerfully "though I must trouble you with an old man's wheezing waffle before we sink out teeth into our delicious feast. What a year it has been! Hopefully your heads are all a little fuller than they were...you have the whole summer ahead to get them nice and empty before next year starts..."
"Sure" Harry whispered sarcastically to Blaise "like Trevor will let us forget what we've learned."
"Now, as I understand it, the house cup here needs awarding, and the points stand thus: In fourth place Hufflepuff with three hundred and twenty-six points; in third Ravenclaw with three hundred and thirty-two points; Gryffindor has four hundred and fifty-seven points; and Slytherin five hundred and fifty-seven."
They Slytherins lost any decorum they might possess and began stamping and cheering which made the Gryffindor's look even sourer. After the last Quidditch match both teams had been tied for house points, it was the points that Harry and Blaise had been awarded for their adventure that had pulled Slytherin house tantalizingly out of Gryffindor's reach much to McGonagall's disgust.
"Congratulations Slytherin" Dumbledore's eyes twinkled and he waved his hand slightly "enjoy the feast."
Of course even good things must end and before the inhabitants of Hogwarts knew it they clutched in their hands their exam results and their trunks were packed and waiting to be loaded onto the train. Harry and Blaise had passed all their classes with excellent scores though they were surprised to have done so well in History of Magic seeing that they either never stayed awake in the class or skipped it. There were also the dreaded announcements handed out about not using magic over the holidays, Fred and George could be heard complaining loudly about it, not that it really mattered to Harry and Blaise since Trevor had already ensured that they could break that particular rule without any consequences befalling them. A second boat trip across the lake for the first years brought them once again to the Hogwarts Express where they boarded and began the long journey back to King's Cross Station, everyone enjoying sweets and exchanging summer plans. Nearing night fall Muggle towns began to appear and robes were exchanged for jackets and coats, causing Harry and Blaise to exchange looks at what some wizards believed to be Muggle attire.
Platform 9 Â¾ was teeming with witches and wizards that had either arrived by magical means or helped with the luggage and oversaw the students leaving the platform in small groups so as not to attract undue attention, most muggle parents would be waiting in the main station for their children. Finally Harry and Blaise were hustled through the barrier and were hailed by their fathers not long after they stepped through, nearly being bowled over by the twins who came racing through after them.
"Harry, Blaise" Trevor called "come on. We still have a ways to go before getting home and plan on stopping for dinner before leaving London."
Blaise and Harry turned long enough to smirk at the twins who grinned back.
"Owl us" all four chimed at the same time before separating and heading towards their respective families.
Harry smiled and gave his dad a brief hug before they all headed toward the car. It had been an interesting first year at Hogwarts, and while Harry wasn't going to count down the days until they went back he knew he would be ready to go when the time came. Until then he was going to enjoy his summer with his father, and enjoy the time away from being the boy-who-lived. Instead he would just be Harry Darkov, Mafia Prince.