Blinded at the age of four, Harry Potter only wants to lead a normal life with his family. On his eleventh birthday, he finds out that he can have anything but...
The weeks leading up to Halloween seemed to rush by for Harry. When he'd awakened later the morning after his return from the forest, all his friends made him retell the story, this time leaving nothing out. Hermione was furious at him for leaving without a word, regardless of the fact that he had no control over it, while Neville and Draco, after their initial excitement at his return, pretended that they really hadn't been all that concerned.
"I mean, really, Harry," the blond said, "if you're going to do something like this every other day, people are going to get bored with it."
School seemed to get better after that day as well. The professors had shuffled his schedule around to accommodate his healing classes with Madame Pomfrey. He only had half periods of Charms, Transfiguration and Defence, and even Professor Snape had learned to bite his tongue rather than snipe at the boy unnecessarily. Also, he was getting top marks in his other classes, History of Magic and Herbology.
The morning of Halloween, they all woke up to find the delicious smell of baking pumpkin wafting through the corridors. In Charms, the tiny professor had decided that they were ready to attempt making things fly. Everyone had been partnered already and Harry found himself with Seamus Finnigan from Gryffindor while Draco was with Neville and Hermione with Ron Weasley.
"Now remember the swish and flick movements we've practiced so carefully," said Professor Flitwick. "And remember the wizard Barrufio, who used an 's' instead of an 'f' and ended up with a buffalo on his chest."
At first, Harry and Seamus had no luck. The Gryffindor boy had become so frustrated that he began poking at his feather, only to have it burst into flame. Both boys were hard pressed to put it out with their hats before it set the entire table caught Looking over to Draco and Neville, the raven-haired boy watched with his inner eye, as they appeared to be having no better luck.
"Really, Longbottom," said the blond in irritation, "if you keep moving the wand like that your feather will never move. Watch me." Draco went into a series of movements that in no way resembled a swish or a flick Turning his attention to his other friends, Harry sensed Ron and Hermione in some kind of intense argument.
"Really, Ron, if you keep doing it like that you'll put someone's eye out," she said, referring to his wild wand waving.
As Harry studied the magical weave of the attempted spells, he let his mind wander back to his potions practical. An idea popping into his head, he said, "Hold on Seamus, lets try something." Taking the other boy's wand hand in his own he guided him through the proper movements, pulled his hand back so it rested on Seamus' shoulder then had him cast the spell again.
Just as when he had previously watched the other boy cast the spell, he saw Seamus' own magic rush down his arm and mix with what his wand had pulled out of the air around them. With spoken words and movements the raw magic was woven into a pattern and cast at the feather. Unfortunately, although it was better, Seamus was still making far too many mistakes in the casting to get it right.
Tightening his grip on the Gryffindor's shoulder, Harry urged, "One more time." This time, when he felt the rush of Seamus' magic he sent his own along with it, though he was surprised that he felt such a heavy pull when doing so. Their combined magic blended and flowed into the boy's wand where Harry was able to direct the weave of magic as the spell was cast. The feather, rather than simply rising, leapt off the table and soared across the room to do loops around Hermione's levitated feather before lapping the room twice and coming to rest on it's tip before the two boys.
"Err..." said Seamus with a blank look of amazement, "I think that's got it."
He was far from 'getting it,' however. Harry had to spend the rest of the period coaching the other boy until he was able to levitate the feather on his own and with nearly as much skill as they had together. Seeing the boy's magic helped a lot in finding where the spell went wrong and how to fix it, though he still couldn't see the feather himself until the spell was already cast.
At the end of class, Draco stayed back to help get Harry away from Flitwick's questions. "Excuse me, sir. Harry and I have an appointment with Madame Pomfrey in just a few minutes...Have a good day, sir!" Turning to the raven-haired boy, he grabbed his elbow, pulled him towards the door, and hissed, "Really, Potter, if this is how you plan on keeping secrets, remind me not to tell you any of mine! What was that anyway? I thought you couldn't cast spells on non-magic objects."
"I can't," he replied. "I was just helping Seamus"
"Bloody right you were helping!" exclaimed the blond as they left the classroom. They both stopped just past the door and Harry, who'd already closed his inner eye, asked, "What's wrong Draco?"
"I'm not sure, but it looks like Longbottom decked the Weasel."
In accordance with what Draco had suggested, Ron Weasley was sitting on the ground, nursing what looked to be a black eye, while a furious Neville stood over him with fists clenched.
"Nev!" called the blond boy excitedly. "What are you doing?"
The chubby boy gestured towards the redhead and said, "He made some kind of comment about Hermione that I didn't catch Whatever it was, she ran away in tears."
Draco started towards the Gryffindor boy with a look of pure rage on his face. Harry, feeling the movement and knowing the blonde's temper, stopped him. "Wait. Let's find Hermione first; we can pummel him senseless later"
They'd hoped to catch up with their friend in the next class, but Hermione wasn't there or in any other class for the rest of the day. By the time the Halloween feast was about to start, the boys were considering going to one of the professors when they heard Parvarti Patil say she'd seen their friend in the girl's bathroom crying.
"So what do we do?" asked Draco as they sat down.
"Let's eat while we can," replied Harry. "We'll make her a plate after and drag her out of there if we have to."
They settled in and a thousand bats swooped over the tables making the candles in the pumpkins shutter. Glad that Hedwig had not tried to come along, the boy shuddered himself thinking about the chaos that would have occurred if the Coatl had been in the room with all these flying snacks. Harry was just helping himself to a baked potato when the doors to the Great Hall burst open with a crash.
Professor Quirrell came sprinting into the hall, his turban askew in terror as he yelled, "Troll! Troll in the Dungeons-- I thought you should know." With that, he fell into a dead faint.
The Hall descended into pandemonium and it took several firecrackers from the end of the headmaster's wand to bring silence.
"Everyone will please remain calm!" he ordered forcefully. Changing his tone and making it seem the matter was no more important than discussing the weather, he continued, "Prefects will lead their houses back to their dormitories; teachers will follow me to the dungeons."
As the prefects went about gathering their students, Harry stiffened and grabbed Draco's arm. "Hermione," he said urgently. "She doesn't know."
"Relax, Harry," Draco said. "There's nothing to be done about it anyway. When we get back to the house we'll tell Knott and he'll go get her."
The raven-haired boy shook his head and said, "No, I'm going after her, alone if I must."
The blond took on a stricken look and glanced longingly after the rest of their house as he took Harry's arm and separated the two of them from the rest of the students outside the hall. The two boys had navigated several empty corridors when Harry's keen ears picked out approaching footsteps and he pulled Draco behind a statue.
"Someone's coming!" he whispered.
"Snape," the blond whispered after the man strode past.
"Why isn't he in the dungeons with the other professors?"
"I don't know."
Whispering to each other in the dark alcove, neither boy noticed the smaller shadow trailing after the professor. The boys had resumed the search for their friend when they both noticed a horrid odour, like a cross between old socks and the kind of public toilet that no one seems to clean.
"Aargh," came a voice behind them. "What is that smell?"
Turning, the boys saw Ron Weasley coming up the corridor to join them.
"What are you doing here, Weasel?" asked Draco heatedly.
"Same as you, I'd guess," the redhead replied, ignoring the jibe. "We've got to warn Hermione about the troll."
They all went silent as they heard low grunting and shuffling footfalls from further down the corridor. The boys crammed themselves into the shadows as the lumbering brute came into view and was exposed under a shaft of moonlight through a window.
The monster was a horrible sight to behold. At twelve feet tall, its lumpy, boulderish body barely fit inside the confines of the corridor. With grey slimy skin, an almost too-small head, and Gorilla-like arms, one of which was dragging a massive club, the complete picture of this thing was enough to make the hardiest of souls remember pressing business elsewhere. As it was, the only thing that kept the boys from running on the spot was that the were too afraid to move.
The troll stopped just outside of a doorway as if deciding on what to do, then slowly slouched into the room.
"Look, the key's in the lock," said Draco. "We can lock it in."
"Good idea," answered Ron.
Harry stayed back as Draco and Ron crept up and, with a quick leap, they slammed the door closed and turned the lock.
The three boys turned to run back down the corridor but were stopped by a high-pitched scream from inside the chamber they'd just closed off.
"Oh no," said Ron.
"It's the bloody girls bathroom!" spat Draco
"Hermione!" All three yelled at once.
The boys scrambled back to the door and, despite their hasty fumbling, they managed to get it open and run inside. They found Hermione huddled against the far wall with the troll advancing on her, smashing sinks and bathroom stalls as it went.
"Distract it!" yelled Harry to Ron as he grabbed Draco's shoulder. "I have an idea."
The redheaded boy ran up and began dancing around the troll, sending sparks up at its face. This caused the troll to turn its attention away from Hermione and towards him instead.
While Ron was doing his level best to dodge the creature's wild swings, Harry explained to Draco exactly what he wanted to do. Taking tighter hold of the blonde's shoulder, just as he had with Seamus earlier that day, he had the blond cast Wingardium Leviosa on the troll's club. The first thing Harry noticed when it had been cast was how much more draining the club was than the feather. The spell was working, however, and Draco wasted no time in ripping the cudgel from the troll's hand.
The beast looked stupidly down at its empty hand, trying to figure out why its club had vanished. Looking up, it spotted the cudgel floating in front of its face. It seemed to wind itself up, and then swung hard across the monster's face with a resounding thwack. The troll stumbled back, obviously dazed by the blow. Draco wasn't done, however. Holding his wand like a samurai sword, he brought it around, over his head, and down. The club mirrored his movements and crashed down on the troll's head with bone crushing force. The troll swayed on the spot before falling on its face with a thud that shook the whole room.
Harry dropped to his knees beside Draco with a shuddering sigh, his skin clammy with sweat.
"You alright, Harry?" asked the blond worriedly.
The boy nodded and let Draco help him to his feet. "How's Hermione?"
"I'm fine," the girl answered as she picked her way across the rubble. "Is it... is it dead?"
"Just knocked out, I think," said Ron as he poked it with his wand.
A sudden slamming noise and loud footsteps from out in the corridor startled them all. They hadn't realized it, but all the crashing about along with the creature's roars had alerted the teachers to come investigate. A moment later, Professor McGonagall burst into the room, followed closely by Professor Snape, with Quirrell bringing up the rear. Seeing the troll, Quirrell let out a panicked squeak and sat on a toilet holding his heart.
As Professor Snape examined the troll, McGonagall was regarding the children with a fierce stare. "What on earth were you thinking of?" she growled. "You could have gotten yourselves killed! Why aren't you in your dormitories?"
There was a short, tense pause where he was sure that Snape was likely giving them all a death glare.
"Please, Professor," said Hermione. "It's all my fault. They were looking for me."
"I'd thought I could handle the troll. I've read all about them so I went looking for it."
Harry and Draco both struggled to keep neutral expressions on their faces. Hermione was lying/! And to cover for /Weasley of all people!
"If they hadn't found me, I'd be dead now," the girl continued. "Ron distracted it while Draco hit it with its own club. There wasn't time to get anyone, as it was about to finish me off when they arrived."
"And why are you here, Mr. Potter?" asked McGonagall tersely. "I don't see what role you could have played fighting the troll."
"He didn't," put it Draco quickly, "but without Harry, we'd never have found her in time."
"What do you mean?"
The blond tapped his ear "Harry hears better than we do, or at least he pays more attention to it anyway. And it's much more effective finding someone by sound in all these corridors than hoping to catch a glimpse of them."
"Well...in that case," said McGonagall, staring at the four of them, "Miss Granger, how could you think of tackling a fully grown mountain troll all on your own? Five points will be taken from Merlin House for this and I am very disappointed in you. If you're not hurt, return to your tower. The feast has been moved to the houses."
When Hermione had left, she turned to the remaining three boys and said, "You were lucky tonight Not many first years could have taken on a full-grown mountain troll. You'll each be awarded five points, and Professor Dumbledore will be informed of this. You may go."
The boys walked in silence until they parted with Ron at the Gryffindor Tower.
"About today..." the redhead said as they stood by the Fat Lady. "Tell her I'm sorry."
It was a fairly quick walk back to their own tower where they found the majority of their house, including Hermione, milling about the common room eating dinner. Draco and Harry joined in and soon were balancing heaping plates on their knees as they sat before the fire.
"Hold on," said Harry between bites of potato, "Where's Neville?"
When nobody admitted to seeing the boy since the feast in the Great Hall, he bullied Hermione, Draco, and several others into helping him search their tower from top to bottom for their friend. The raven-haired boy was back down in the common room some time later, still not having located the missing boy, when he thought he heard a noise outside the portrait hole.
"Neville?" he called uncertainly as he approached the entrance. "Nev, is that you?"
Harry pushed open the portrait only to be knocked onto his back as someone collapsed against him. It was Neville; his hair, skin, and robes were wet and sticky. A coppery smell filled Harry's nose and sent him into a near panic as he sensed waves of pain radiating off the other boy.
"Neville... oh god... HELP!"
Aint I a stinker?