Monday May 25th, 1992; six days until Burning
An extremely depressed Hermione walked into the Great Hall, flanked on either side by two of her friends Ron Weasley and Neville Longbottom. Hermione was depressed because she hadn’t seen her brother, Harry, in over six months. Not only that but she hadn’t had so much as had an owl from him in all that time, either. He had temporarily shut off their twin link so she couldn’t even talk to him telepathically. Hermione was afraid that Harry wasn’t going to come back. Maybe it was better that way, she thought. Still she wanted to see him at least one more time before the ‘Burning’ which was due to happen within the next six days. Life at Hogwarts had been nearly unbearable once Harry had left. Dumbledore had told the entire school the morning after Harry’s midnight departure that Harry had left for medical reasons, but would be back before the end of term.
The air of mystery surrounding Harry’s disappearance started series of rumors about where he was and why he left. Each story was crazier and unlikely as the next. Every time a theory was retold, it became distorted to the point where its creators didn’t even recognized it. To make matters worse, Malfoy had taken it upon himself to go around declaring that Harry was dead and that the ‘senile Muggle loving old fool’ was just trying to cover it up ‘Potter’s’ death. He would loudly gloat whenever he passed the Gryffindor’s; whether in the halls, classes, or in at lunch; that he wished he had been able to see Potter’s last moments alive and that he couldn’t wait to find out where Potter was buried so he could go dance on his grave. After one such comment like that, Hermione had blasted Malfoy clear off his feet, half-way across the hall, and down three flights of stairs. ALL WITH ONE CURSE! This had resulted in Malfoy spending a month in the Hospital Wing and Hermione three months of detention in which she proudly served and, much to the schools amazement and the twins delight, said that she would do it all again. That it had been worth every minute of detention. After that incident, the twins declared that they could ‘make a troublemaker out of Hermione yet.’ That she wasn’t ‘too far gone along the path to being a Prefect’ and could ‘still be saved’. Malfoy, however, did not seem to have gained an once of intelligence form his experience because the minute he was out of the infirmary, he was once again gloating about his ‘defeat of the Boy-Who-Lived’.
To keep Hermione from doing anything stupid enough to get herself expelled, the twins saw it their duty to declare an all out prank war against Malfoy to which he had no prior warning to. The so called ‘Prince of Slytherin’ was subjected to so many various pranks that he made it a habit to curse anyone who so much as looked at him for too long. This of course led to trouble when he accidentally caused four rows of bookcases in the library to topple over. Spewing there contents all over the library floor. Madam Pince had been so furious that she initially gave him a life long ban from the library on the spot following the minute he had cleaned up the mess and all books were resorted. This, however, was repealed due to the necessity that library’s materials had on the students, fifth and seventh year’s especially. The sentence was reduced to a ban for the rest of the year. The twins kept up with the pranking even after that because they thought quote ‘Being banned from the library is no punishment at all’ to which Hermione was horrified by.
Malfoy had mellowed out a little bit after that incident, but he never passed up an opportunity to gloat in front of the Gryffindor’s; especially Hermione, Ron, and Neville. Today, unfortunately, happened to be one of those days.
“I mean really.” Malfoy was saying loudly. “It’s been six months already. Either he’s dead or he’s run away like a coward and is not coming back. If he is dead then point me to the cemetery, father had me take dancing lessons over the break. I would like to test my skills out on Potter’s grave. Course I’ll have to plug my noise. After all, burnt flesh smells something horrid.” The Slytherin’s all cackled evilly.
In one fluid motion, Hermione whirled around, drew her wand, and prodded it two inches into Malfoy’s neck. Shocked by her quickness, Malfoy cowered for a moment before risking a glance up to the staff table and upon seeing Professor’s Dumbledore, McGonagall, and Snape making their way to intercept them, he sneered. “You don’t have the guts, Granger.” Hermione stowed her wand away and the professor’s slowed their pace down a bit. This only made Malfoy bolder and more arrogant.
“See I-” what ever Malfoy was about to say was cut off by Hermione’s fist slamming into his jaw. The Great Hall erupted in cheers and applause, particularly from the Gryffindor’s; Fred and George were hooting in approval. Even Percy, the duteous, rule abiding Prefect seemed pleased with her. Her action caused the professor’s sped up again.
Ron and Neville smiled and congratulated Hermione, who was wincing and massaging her sore knuckles. While Malfoy, with the help of Crabbe and Goyle, staggered to his feet, Ron began to give Hermione pointers on how to hit someone harder with less pain for the puncher. Malfoy looked like he was close to tears when he finally got up, rubbing his aching jaw. When it apparently didn’t hurt so much, he started to advance towards the Gryffindor’s.
“Why you insolent, filthy little…” Malfoy seemed to be winding up to hit Hermione back when he was suddenly blasted off his feet and thrown twenty feet through the air, before he harshly slammed into the floor. The hall went silent as Malfoy stiffly picked himself up off of the ground. He drew his wand, and wildly looked around for his assailant. “Who dares attack me? Who dares attack a Malfoy!” he spat as the other Slytherin’s, led by Crabbe and Goyle, quickly headed over towards their fallen ‘Prince’.
“I do,” said a calm voice over by the large oak doors. All eyes turned to the new voice. Leaning against the doorframe was a young boy, who could be no older than a pre-teen, with a faded, light blue backpack slung over his right shoulder. He had very tan skin with electric blue eyes and dirty blonde hair. He was wearing a baggy pair of tan, almost silk like, khaki’s and an orange button up Hawaiian t-shirt (which was completely unbuttoned) with a plain black undershirt beneath it. Something struck Hermione about the boy. He seemed familiar to her, but she couldn’t place him. Due to his accent, Hermione figured he was of American decent. She couldn’t remember meeting any American before. Still, he seemed so familiar. She studied him carefully, trying to place him. He was twirling his wand in his right hand, almost lazily, and had a clearly bored expression on his face.
Enraged by the newcomer’s cockiness, Malfoy launched a volley of hexes that were all easily deflected or dodged by the new comer. Malfoy then let loose a series of curses that could have easily have been deadly if they had hit their mark, but none managed to get within ten feet of their target. In his state of shock and anger he pointed his wand at his unknown foe and bellowed, “Aquilus Avis Ignigena Ignipotens!” The entire hall held it’s breath… but nothing happened. The newcomer smirked, stowed his wand away into a wand-holder attached to his forearm, and began to advance on the confused and scared Malfoy.
As he continued to get closer, Malfoy tried to cast the curse again, “Aquilus Avis Ignigena Ignipotens!” Nothing. He tried three more times, but to no avail.
“W-who are you?” Malfoy yelled in desperation. “Why isn’t this working?” Malfoy pathetically whined. He dropped his wand out of sheer fear as the kid got within two feet of him.
“It ain’t working,” replied the kid with the American accent “cause you can’t cast that spell on those who have already been ‘Marked’, dog.” He lifted his arm to display the tattoo on his wrist. “And as for who I am, well… for the last six months, been going by the name of James Evans. You, however, are probably going to know me better as Harry Potter.” In the blink of an eye, the blonde hair blue eyed boy disappeared and was replaced by a raven haired, green eyed boy; though his skin was still tanned, above his forehead was a lighting bolt shaped scar that had caused the birth of a legend.
The hall erupted in murmuring.
“Is that Potter?”
“Nah, it can’t be!”
“I think it is.”
“He’s really grown a lot.”
“And I thought he was cute before.”
“What’s with the accent?”
“Who cares? Check out that tan!”
“You! You’re dead!” Malfoy exclaimed stupidly.
“And yet here I stand before you having deflected every curse you’ve sent my way.” Harry stated with a smirk. Then he frowned and became serious. “You throw around a dangerous and deadly curse like it was nothing. I think it would best for you not to remember that incantation. Obliviate!”
With out his wand, Malfoy stood no chance against the memory charm rocketing towards him. The incantation for the Black Phoenix Curse was lost to the Malfoy heir forever. Harry took one last disgusted look at the quivering Slytherin. Malfoy was so pale, that he could have been mistaken for a ghost. Harry began to smirk when he distinctively smelled urine in the air. After having successfully dealt with Malfoy, Harry proceeded to walk towards Dumbledore.
“Good afternoon, Mr. Potter. I trust you enjoyed your trip?” asked Dumbledore, his eyes twinkling brighter than usual.
“M’eh.” He said shrugging his shoulders. “With the exception of the run in I had with a couple of rogue mercenaries down in Zimbabwe, twasn’t too bad.” Harry replied with a smile. He reached into his backpack and pulled out a large stack of papers. “Oh, by the way here’s my homework fer the rest of the year. Now, I know I ain’t too late for breakfast, right?” He asked hopefully.
“You are correct, breakfast just started. Go on and help yourself. I’ll give these to your respective teachers. Oh and by the way, exams begin in two days. You will still have to take those,” said McGonagall with a smirk.
“Ah man…come on doesn’t the fact that I was done with an entire years worth of homework by New Years count fer anything?” Harry asked.
“I’m afraid not, Mr. Potter.” Said Professor McGonagall with a thin grin.
Harry snorted. “Had I known that, I’d of waited and done all the work at the last minute. Man this blows, dog.”
“I beg your pardon.” Asked Dumbledore in confusion.
“Sorry, bro, just some slang I picked up in the NYC. Or was it L.A.? Might’ve been Chicago now that I think about it…aw the hell with it…actually it was probably from all three.” Harry said scratching his chin. He shrugged his shoulders giving up, “Oh, well if yah ain’t got nuthin more ter say, me thinks it’s time I got some grub. Peace out, yo.” He said giving them a two finger salute.
“Potter would you please cut out that pathetically fake accent?” drawled Snape.
“Accent?” questioned Harry. “What the f- oh yeah right I…forgot bout that.” Harry coughed several time and pounded on his chest. “Right this better, mate?” he said, now speaking with a British accent again.
“Indeed.” Replied McGonagall.
“Sorry bout that. Some American’s are intolerant of the British accent. A bloke could get his arse kicked for talking like this in some places.”
Harry turned around and had barely taken two steps before Hermione plowed into him, throwing him off balanced.
“Whoa there, Mione,” Harry said trying to steady them both. The moment she let go of him, she slapped across the face.
“Oi!” Harry shouted indignantly rubbing his cheek where she had slapped him. “What was that for?”
“That was for being a bloody, damn prat! Where the hell have you been?” shouted Hermione, glaring at him, her hands on her hip and tapping one foot on the ground.
“Hey, Ron.” Harry called over her shoulder. “I think you and Nev are a bad influence on her. She wasn’t swearing when I left.”
“Mate, if anyone is a bad influence on her, it’s been you. Hell, I’ve even learned a few new words from you.” Said Neville.
“You’re probably right.” Harry said, smirking before he turned serious. He shook Neville’s and Ron’s hands.
“It’s good to have you back, mate.” Said Ron while Neville nodded in agreement.
Harry sighed, “It’s good to be back.” He replied.
Harry turned back to Hermione who was still glaring at him.
“Well are you going to answer my question? Where the hell have you been?” Hermione asked again as they sat down at the table.
“Where haven’t I been?” was Harry’s reply as he started piling his plate with food.
“Let’s start off with where you got that tan.” Said Lavender, eyeing him hungrily.
“Huh? Oh! The tan. Well, that’s a side-affect of spending a couple weeks in Cancun.” Harry said before taking a bite out of a strip of bacon.
“You went to Cancun!” gaped Parvati.
“Alright mate, spill. Where have you been?” asked Dean.
And so Harry told them everything. It took him until eight o’clock that night to complete his story. All day, no matter which class they had; everyone, even Hermione, ignored the teachers and listened to Harry tell his tale. Most teachers gave up trying to teach after a few minutes, except Binn’s but he was used to no one listening to him anyway. In fact, Harry didn’t even think Binn’s noticed that everyone was crowded around Harry. Listening to Harry’s story rather then the lesson on why the goblin known as Snarglefang the Impaler was so despised, even among his own clansmen.
By the end of his story, everyone was thoroughly impressed with what he had done and seen.
“Wow!” said Neville in awe, speaking for everyone, when Harry had finished.
“Wow is right. Bloody hell mate, you did all that in six months!” asked Ron who was completely flabbergast.
“Yep. So… what’s been going on here?” Harry asked, stretching out in front of the fire.
“Well for one thing, Malfoy has been being a pompous arse as you saw earlier.” Started Hermione.
“We found out why that hellhound is on the third floor.” Neville quietly said. “It’s guarding something.”
“Guarding something? Do you have any idea what it is?” asked Harry, slightly interested.
Ron looked over his shoulder to make sure they weren’t being overheard before saying, “We: myself, Mione, and Nev; that is, think it is guarding the Sorcerer’s Stone which was created by-”
“…Nicholas Flamel for the purpose of brewing the Elixir of Life. It is also used in the field of Alchemy to change ordinary metals into gold. The stone is a priceless artifact, one of a kind.” Harry finished.
Neville, Ron, and Hermione were all gapping at him.
“It took us month’s to figure that out!” spluttered Neville. “How do you know that?”
“I did a little research on Nicholas while we had unlimited accesses to the Restricted Section in the library.”
“Why were you researching him? Where did you learn of him.” asked Hermione.
“Cause he helped to create this for me.” Harry said lifting his arm up and showing them the delicately crafted bracelet.
“He made that for you?” Hermione asked. When Harry nodded, she carefully touched the bracelet. “It has some sort of bird engraved into it.” She said, running her fingers along the perfectly carved grooves.
As Hermione was admiring the bracelet, something Harry had said clicked to Neville.
“Wait, wait, wait, wait, wait; time out.” Neville said, making a ‘T’ with his hands. “You are in possession of a one of a kind, hand made, solid crystal bracelet that was partially made by an Alchemy master who has been the leading sage on the subject for the last six centuries.” asked Neville, his eyes bulging.
Harry raised an eyebrow and said simply, “Yeah.”
For the first time Harry had known her, Hermione was speechless. If he was honest with himself, it was actually quite funny.
“Anyway,” said Neville shaking his head. “We believe that Snape is trying to steal.”
Harry was instantaneously alert. “Snape? Steal the stone? How do you figure that?”
“I saw him threatening Quirrell, asking if he knew how to get past the dog. By the way, you’ll never guess it’s name.” said Ron.
“That thing has a name?” asked Harry, questioningly.
“That’s precisely what I said,” smiled Hermione. “It’s named Fluffy.”
“Who would name a hellhound Fluffy?” asked Harry, completely floored.
“Hagrid.” Simultaneously replied Hermione, Ron, and Neville.
Harry shook his head, “I should have known.” He said. “Why, though, is Snape trying to steal the stone?”
Hermione looked uncertain, but grim. Harry knew it had to be bad. “We think,” Hermione began. “that he is trying to steal it… to bring back… V-v-voldemort.”
“Don’t say his name!” hissed Ron.
“Voldemort.” Harry said. “Are you sure? Dumbledore wouldn’t allow someone to teach hear if he thought they were a threat. Are you sure it’s Snape and not someone else?”
“From the way he was threatening Quirrell, I’d say yes.” Replied Neville.
“Well there’s nothing to worry about.” Said Harry.
“What?” asked Ron, thinking he surely had heard Harry wrong. Hermione and Neville seemed to think the same thing.
“If Snape is trying to steal the stone, for Voldemort or not, he won’t try anything so long as Dumbledore is here. Plus, I doubt Fluffy is the only thing guarding the stone. So there is nothing to worry about.” Harry said, so sure of himself. He soon realized how wrong he was.
-- (Friday, May 29, 1992; one day until ‘Burning’) --
“Thank Merlin exams are over!” exclaimed Ron as the group walked out of their last exam.
“Yeah,” croaked Harry, absently. He was breathing heavily and sweating a lot. It was the day before the ‘Burning’ and Harry was really feeling it’s affect.
“You alright, mate?” asked a concerned Neville.
“Not at all. The pain is beyond description.” Harry wheezed.
“I thought the bracelet was to dull the pain?” asked Hermione.
“It won’t dull this much. Nicholas had warned me of this. I might as well not even wear the bracelet at this point.” He winced as a sharp pain shot through him. “That and my scar has constantly been burning for the last couple of days.”
Harry suddenly stopped. “How could I’d have been so stupid?” he exclaimed as he took off at a dead sprint.
“What are you talking about, mate?” asked Neville, trying to keep up with Harry.
“Isn’t it strange that the one thing Hagrid wants more than anything else in the world is a dragon and someone just happens to show up with one? I mean really, who walks around with a dragon egg in their pocket?” Harry explained. The others seemed to understand, because they increased their speed to keep up with Harry.
Hagrid was outside on his front step playing flute when the group reached him.
“Well ‘ello there Harry. Twas wondering when you would-“ started Hagrid but he was cut off.
“Sorry Hagrid but this is an emergency. The person who gave you Norbert’s egg, what did he look like.” asked Harry, quickly.
Hagrid furrowed his brow trying to remember. “Don’t know. He had a hood pulled over his face. That and he kept buying me o’ lotta drinks. Anyway, he told me he wasn’t going to allow just anyone take the egg. He wanted to know that I could to care of a dragon, so I told him about Fluffy. I said that after Fluffy, taking care of a dragon would be a piece o’ cake.”
“Did he seem interested in Fluffy.” asked Hermione as she caught on to Harry’s concern.
“Of course he was. Tis’ not often you come across a three-headed dog, even if you’re in the trade.” asked Hagrid. “But I said ‘the key with any animal is knowing how to calm it. Take Fluffy for example. All you got to do is play him a little music and he’ll fall right asleep.” Harry, Ron, Hermione, and Neville instantly paled. “You told him how to get past Fluffy!” shrieked Hermione. She turned towards Harry, but he was already sprinting up to the castle.
Harry made a straight line path towards the Headmaster’s office, but was stopped short by McGonagall.
Neville, Ron, and Hermione reached him just in time to hear Harry finish up. “But professor, it’s an emergency! You have to get him back right now!”
“I’m sorry, but Professor Dumbledore is currently out of contact. He is meet with the Minister.”
“Who gives a rip about the bloody minister! Someone is going to steal the Sorcerer’s Stone!” Harry shouted.
Hermione, Ron, and Neville were gaping at him for yelling at McGonagall. McGonagall was stunned by what Harry had said. “Mr. Potter, I don’t know how you came across that information, but rest assured, the stone is heavily guarded.” She tried to tell him.
“But professor-” Hermione tried to argue.
“No buts, now go outside you four. It’s a nice day, and you should be enjoying it.”
Once outside, Ron asked. “Know what do we do?”
“There’s only one thing we can do.” Said Hermione.
“We get the stone before he can steal it.” Continued Harry.
“Tonight.” They completed simultaneously, while Ron and Neville just stared at them.
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