Categories > Books > Harry Potter > I, Alone
Chapter 21 – Subtle Hands
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Harry staggered into the empty music room and closed the door behind him. Tears ran down his youthful cheeks and he hurt like he never had before. The past few days had been among the most miserable of his entire life, which was saying something. Isolating himself from his friends hurt as much, if not more so, than one of uncle Vernon's beatings. It was that fact and his conversation with Professor Sinistra which had led him to the confrontation with his friends in the hall from which he had just fled.
Sliding down the wall just inside the door till he was seated upon the floor, Harry hugged his knees to his chest and rested his forehead against them as he cried. The look of hurt Hermione's face had worn when he had vanished danced behind his closed eyes. The wizard's mind wandered back to where it all had started going so very wrong.
Two days had passed since he had awoken in the hospital wing of Hogwarts after being asleep for five days. It's already been a week, Harry thought to himself as he lay in bed, still rather drained from the ordeal with Professor Quirrell. The young wizard raised his hands and stared at them for a long moment, recalling what exactly they had done to the Defense Against the Dark Arts Professor. I killed him, he told himself not for the first time or the last. Professor Dumbledore may believe it was the merciful thing to do but it certainly wasn't for mercy's sake that I did it.
All it took was a touch, he thought as he recalled grasping the man's wrists in an effort to defend himself. Harry could see the shocked expression on the professor's face which quickly changed to pain as his limbs turned to ash and crumbled away. The dying man's screams still echoed within the boy's head, returning to haunt him whenever he closed his eyes to sleep. Madam Pomfrey had been required to resort to dreamless slumber potions to get the boy to sleep at all. Harry turned his hands over looking at the back of them before inspecting their palms once again as if there was something there that would explain everything to him. Something that would let him know that what he had done was alright.
The Flamels were an entirely different story. While he might be able to eventually convince himself that Professor Quirrell's death was self-defense the young boy knew such was not the case with the stone. The mirror had glowed with a brilliant light, infused with his magic, before it had exploded into countless pieces. The once pristine glass which showed the hopes and dreams of countless observers over the centuries reduced to nothing more than sand. Much like the stone was, Harry lamented to himself silently, remorseful for what his actions had forced upon the Flamels.
"Oh good, you're awake, Mr. Potter," the school's mediwitch said as she bustled into the screened off area which was Harry's."I think it would be best if you got up and moved around a bit this morning as it will do you good. You've been laying in that bed for a week already and your muscles could use the exercise," Madam Pomfrey told her charge in her usual business-like manner.
"I wouldn't mind being able to get up and walk around a bit," answered Harry. Truthfully he needed to use the loo and the past two days of bedpan usage had left him both embarrassed as well as uncomfortable in the older witch's presence. "Just for a bit."
"Well, if you feel up to it then," Madam Pomfrey assured him, staying near enough to be of use should he require her assistance. She had more than once seen a person stand only to fall forward onto their faces and she was determined to make certain that didn't happen with Harry.
Harry threw his covers off before sitting up and swinging his legs over the side of the bed. Pausing for a long moment he stood up only to feel dizzy. Reaching out he grasped the edge of the nightstand next to the bed to steady himself only to have it turn to ash and crumble away at his touch. Harry yanked his hand away as if he'd been burnt, a look of horror spreading across his face as he stood there swaying back and forth slightly before plopping back down onto the bed.
"Oh dear, that can't be good," the mediwitch stated as she wiped out her wand and started running tests on the boy. Several minutes passed with Harry only growing more and more anxious as Madam Pomfrey ran test after test. "Nabby," the witch finally called out as she tucked her wand away, "please inform the Headmaster that I request his presence. Let him know it is an urgent matter concerning Harry Potter."
Harry wasn't certain just who she was talking to as he couldn't see anyone else with them. "Madam Pomfrey, how bad is it?" he finally managed to ask. What had happened to the corner of the nightstand was very similar to what had happen when he had touched Professor Quirrell. The young wizard feared that he would never be able to touch anything again. Faced with that fear he suddenly found that he no longer needed to use the loo as badly as he'd thought he had.
"I am not certain, Mr. Potter," Pomfrey replied honestly. "I cannot find anything wrong with you, at least nothing the normal detection spells can see," she tsked in frustration. The woman had been the school's mediwitch for some time and prior to that had been a Chief Healer at St. Mungo's for nearly three decades. Poppy seldom was unable to diagnose an ailment, especially when it came to her children at Hogwarts. Nothing is ever simple for this child is it? she growled disapprovingly to herself.
It wasn't long before the Headmaster arrived with Harry's Head of House, Severus Snape. The aged wizard gave the young boy a reassuring smile in way of greeting. "Feeling better are we, Harry?" Albus enquired after the boy.
"I was, Sir," Harry said forlornly from his seat upon his bed as he stared at the man hopefully. If there was anyone who could help Harry from his current situation it had to be Albus Dumbledore, the arguably most power wizard since Merlin himself, or so the boy believed. Harry hoped the Headmaster could help as he really hadn't a clue as to how to manage going through life without touching anything at all.
The Headmaster eyed the boy, noting nothing of importance that seemed to be wrong with him. The darkened and partially dissolved nightstand though did give him pause. "Madam Pomfrey," Albus greeted the mediwitch as he turned and regarded her. "You mentioned that it was a matter of some urgency?" Albus asked with an arched brow.
"Yes, Headmaster," Poppy replied, still slightly lost in thought as she tried to figure out exactly what the issue with her charge was."Mr. Potter has developed a rather startling…affliction," she called it with only a slight pause. "Can you please show them?" she asked of the boy seated on the hospital bed.
Harry nodded hesitantly, eyeing the three adults briefly before he reached out and laid his hand on the nightstand beside his bed. Just as before the surface darkened and then started to flake away just as ash would. As the two learned wizards watched in astonishment Harry's hand passed through the furniture, rending the parts he touched into a pile of ash on the floor.
"Most remarkable!" Albus exclaimed with a touch of excitement. At his great age there was very little in life that surprised him these days, yet every so often life tossed him for a loop with something completely unexpected. Such was this latest development with Harry. After the incident in the library and then with the troll, Albus was beginning to believe that such feats of incredible magic were the boy's trademark. Could this in fact be 'the power he knows not'? Albus wondered to himself, realizing he would have to give it further thought.
"I'm sorry," Harry hastily stammered, staring at the damaged furniture, afraid he'd get in trouble even though he had been instructed to demonstrate what was happening. The boy was still in a bit of shock over this latest turn of events. Why am I surprised? Nothing has ever been normal or simple where my life is concerned, he mused silently to himself. Just one more thing to set me apart from everyone else.
"I take it that this is a relatively new development?" Albus enquired looking back and forth between Harry and Madam Pomfrey only to see them both give a nod of agreement. Why now? Why not when he first awoke? His clothes seem unaffected as is the floor where his feet rest upon it. "Harry, what were you doing just prior to it happening the first time?"
"I was lying in bed, Sir," Harry was quick to answer. Seeing the elder wizard waiting for him to continue he did. "Madam Pomfrey came in and said that I should probably get up and walk around a bit. I had to use the loo," Harry admitted, his cheeks blushing in embarrassment a bit at the admission, "so I stood up and was a bit dizzy, Sir. When I reached out to steady myself, well Bob's your uncle," Harry stated with a gesture to the now nearly completely dissolved nightstand.
"Most remarkable, indeed," Albus said as he stroked his beard thoughtfully, pondering what to do next.
"What of his other hand?" Snape asked into the silence, drawing everyone's gaze. "The damage was done with his left hand, assuming he stood normally, the nightstand to his left. Have you touched anything with your right hand?"
Harry looked down at his hands, resting against his thighs, palms upward and not touching anything. "No, Sir," he finally answered after a long moment. Upon receiving a slight nod of approval from the Headmaster, Harry reached over with his right hand and laid it against a portion of the stand that was still intact only to witness it darken and ash away as well. The stand, unable to retain its upright position any longer, crashed rather loudly to the stone floor.
"Would I be correct in assuming that you have been unable to find the reason for this as yet, Madam Pomfrey?" Albus enquired, looking toward the concerned mediwitch.
"The usual detection spells come back with nothing, Headmaster," Poppy confirmed. "I would like to discuss the matter with a few colleagues from St. Mungo who are experts in different fields of magic and hence might know something that can help us."
"Understandable," Albus agreed after a few moments of thought. "I would however caution against revealing that the patient you are concerned about is Harry here. I fear that should news of this get out to the media there would be all manner of problems for us as well as Harry," he added, with a grandfatherly smile towards the seated wizard.
"Headmaster, what are we to do about the boy in the mean time?" Severus asked. "We can't have him walking about the school, turning half of it to ash in the process!"
"I believe Professor Snape is correct, Harry," Albus directed at the boy. "I think it would be best for you to remain here under the watchful eyes of Madam Pomfrey for the time being."
"Yes, Sir," Harry acknowledged, thankful that it was the holidays still and that most of the school was gone. Having been a resident of the Hospital wing during normal school days he well knew that there was a steady stream of witches and wizards in and out of the place. Students attempting to learn new spell and brew new potions were oft likely to injure themselves. The last thing Harry wanted was a bunch of people staring at him as had happened before.
"If we haven't determined a cure within the remaining time before the students return you may have to remain here for their safety," Albus added, knowing what the forced exile would mean for the boy. "Your meals shall be brought to you here as I am sure you'll prefer that to eating in the great hall."
"I'll see that his personal effects are move here, Headmaster," Poppy offered. "I believe it would be best to move him into one of the private rooms that are usually reserved for the more critically injured," she offered, believing that it would also keep the boy from gawking eyes that were certain to show up once Harry's absence was noticed by the other students, if it hadn't already been.
"I will leave that up to your discretion, Madam," Albus told the mediwitch. "Harry," the Headmaster said stepping to the boy and reaching out to pat him on the shoulder only to see Harry flinch away from the touch.
"You probably shouldn't, Sir," Harry cautioned as he eyed the Headmaster. "I would feel terrible if you were to get injured because you touched me." Harry wasn't certain just what was wrong with him and was afraid that whatever he had might hurt someone. The young wizard realized at that moment that he would have to stay away from the other Outsiders as well. The last thing he wanted to do was to be the cause of one of them being hurt or worse, killed like Professor Quirrell.
"Rest assured, Harry, you shall not have to go through life without the touch of another," Albus told the boy as he reached out and grasped his shoulder only to hear the boy gasp in surprise. "See, nothing has happened," Albus said after a few moments. Beneath his hands he could feel the boy relax slightly.
"H…how did you know?" Harry asked hesitantly, both curious as well as relieved.
Albus gave his best grandfatherly smile. "Your feet were resting upon the flagstones of the floor without ill effect and your clothes had not as yet crumbled away to embarrass both you as well as us," he added with a small chuckle. "From these observations I deduced that the aliment seemed to be localized to your hands alone, or so I hoped," he admitted with a merry twinkle in his eyes.
"And if you had been wrong?" Poppy snapped, not at all pleased with the risk the Headmaster had taken. The old fool! Truth be told the Mediwitch respected the venerable wizard both as a friend and a mentor, however she had lost friends over the years from them doing such foolish things without a thought as to the consequences of their actions.
"Well, I am an old wizard and have lived a long and bountiful life," Albus replied in a humorous tone. "Perhaps it would be best if we were to allow Mr. Potter to get some rest," Albus continued with before the mediwitch could say anything further. "I seem to remember there was something mentioned about using the loo, as I recall." Harry blushed furiously, realizing that he would need assistance to relieve himself.
"Come Severus," Albus instructed, feeling it would be best to give Harry as much privacy as they could. "I shall return later, Harry. Do try and get some rest." The Headmaster, followed by his Potions Master, turned and exited the curtained off area. Harry watched them leave with some relief only to turn back to see Madam Pomfrey holding a bedpan.
"The sooner we get this over with the better for the both of us, Mr. Potter." Poppy wasn't certain how the boy managed it but he seemed to get even redder.
The few remaining days of the Yule holidays passed rather uneventfully for the young wizard. True to her word, Madam Pomfrey moved him into a private room that was the size of a normal bedroom. One of the added advantages of the new room was that it came with several chairs so that Harry didn't have to remain in bed all the time. He quickly learned though that he had to be careful when a casually placed hand accidentally dissolved half a chair, dumping him rather painfully upon the hard floor.
The morning of the day the remaining student were scheduled to arrive back at Hogwarts found the young wizard seated in a chair eating his morning meal. A charmed spoon saved him from the embarrassment of having to be feed by Madam Pomfrey. As was the habit ever since he had discovered his newest oddity, Harry's thoughts were on his new friends and just what this meant to the Outsiders.
Whatever shall I do without them? he mused as he chewed his way through the porridge. I'm certain they won't understand in the least. Harry had hopes, at least at first, that he might be able to be around the three witches and one wizard that made up their group. Several occurrences of reaching out and touching things reflexively had shown him the error of his thoughts. I wouldn't be able to live with myself should I accidentally touch one of them. What if they stumbled and I reached out to steady them only to remove an arm or worse?
The thought of once again going back to not having friends was something Harry really didn't want to contemplate but as more time passed he didn't see where there was really any other option. Madam Pomfrey had not discovered anything new, even after discussing the matter with her colleagues. I was probably better off never making friends in the first place, he thought as the sadness welled up in his chest and caused it to hurt. No sooner had he thought that than he realized that it was a lie. "My life has been so much better since meeting them," he admitted aloud just before accepting the next spoonful of his meal.
"I'm glad to see you eating. It is important to keep one's health up during such trying times, Harry," the Headmaster's voice stated from the door to Harry's room. "May I come in?" the aged wizard asked as the boy hastily swallowed the last of his meal.
"Please," Harry answered after clearing his mouth of food. "I would offer you something to drink but…," his words trailed off as he raised his hands and gave them a little shake to indicate they were the reason for his lack of hospitality.
"Then allow me," Albus replied with a twinkle in his eyes as a tea service appeared on a small table. The Headmaster served them both and then with an added wave of his wand, enchanted Harry's tea cup to rise and allow him to drink from it without having to touch it with his hands. Once done the man pulled up a chair and took a seat near the boy.
"Thank you, Sir," Harry said gratefully after savoring a sip of the hot beverage. The warm liquid slipped down his throat and dropped into his stomach, its warmth slowly seeping throughout his body in a relaxing manner. Harry was rather curious as to why the Headmaster was there. He knew the busy man couldn't have come just to see how he was doing. People just didn't do that with him, however the man's opening words seemed to indicate that was exactly why he was there.
"How are you fairing, Harry?" asked Albus before taking a slow sip from his own cup. The venerable wizard regarded the youth over the rim of his cup. For all that Harry had faced a near death on Boxing Day and then been afflicted with the ailment in his hands, Albus had to admit that the boy looked to be doing rather well. Poppy had informed him though that the boy suffered from nightmares and was still required to use dreamless slumber droughts in order to sleep at all. It was a troubling matter to say the least for one so young.
"Well enough, Sir," Harry replied with a small shrug of his shoulders. "A bit board I suppose," Harry added. There wasn't much he could do without the use of his hands. While he would have liked to have read his school books he was afraid of turning them to ash. Merlin forbid I should accidentally touch a library book, he thought with a shudder, certain Madam Pince would have his hide for sure.
"I imagine you are rather looking forward to the return to your studies," Albus proposed with a small grin. He had been informed by his professors that Harry was a very intelligent as well as studious young man. Even Severus had given the boy praise for his potions work which was a bit of a welcomed surprise. Albus wasn't certain just how much of it was the due to boy's hard work or the influence of the three witches that seemed to be with him every waking moment.
"Not really," Harry confessed sadly as his eyes dropped to his hands in his lap. The young wizard wasn't looking forward to classes for several reasons actually, chiefly among those being the fact that he was fearful of hurting his friends or someone else. The other issue was that he wasn't even certain he could continue his classes. "Professor, I don't think I can sit my classes as I probably can't even grasp my wand, Sir."
Albus eyed the upset boy for a long thoughtful moment before asking, "Have you tried, Harry?" Albus Dumbledore was a well learned wizard. One of the few advantages to living a long time. Over the course of the last several days he had given the matter of Harry Potter some considerable thought. He had several theories but no real way to test them without placing someone in harm's way.
The Headmaster's leading theory was that Harry's mother had done something at the time of her death to safeguard her only child. While he had as yet been able to tell what spell or ritual the deceased witch had used Albus was fairly certain that there had been one. Perhaps it is her sacrifice which is protecting young Harry, he had speculated several times over the past few days.
It is probable that Harry's own magic has, in some manner, altered the protection Lily bestowed upon him that night. Albus had no real other theory in which to explain why Harry's mere touch had killed Quirrell unless he was willing to admit that the boy's magic had lashed out and did it all on its own. The thought that Harry had that kind of power and was unable to control was enough to scare the aged wizard greatly. This latest issue with the boy's touch seemed to indicate just that.
"No, Sir," Harry was quick to reply. "I've been afraid to touch anything less it turn to ash or soot or whatever that stuff is."
"A wise choice, Harry," Albus assured him, bringing a small smile from the boy at the unexpected praise. "I may have something, however, that will help in this matter." The aged wizard reached into his robes and extracted a pair of gloves, setting them upon the small table the tea service rested on.
Harry waited till the Headmaster had retracted his hands from the gloves before reaching out and hesitantly picking them up. When the gloves didn't suddenly dissolve in his grasp he took a closer look at them, realizing they were scaled. "What are they, Sir?" the awed boy asked as he turned the gloves over in his hands, admiring how supple they were.
"Gloves of course," Albus replied only to see the boy grin at the obvious answer. "They are made from the skin of the Basilisk, Harry. Do you know what that is?" Seeing the boy before him give a shake of his head, the Headmaster continued to explain. "The Basilisk is of the serpent family, however, it is very dangerous. If you were to look at one directly it would kill you instantly. The venom of the basilisk is also poisonous and a bite is near to be certain death."
"The ICW, International Confederation of Wizards," the Headmaster went one, "Do you know who they are?"
"They're much like the United Nations," Harry offered in way of a response. He had read about them in his History of Magic book."It was the ICW who first resolved that the magicals should withdraw from society, back in the late 1600's, developing the International Statue of Secrecy."
"Very good," Albus praised with a warm smile. "Five points for Slytherin for such an astute answer. The ICW has heavy restrictions on who can breed and raise Basilisk. Their size is strictly controlled so that they do not get out of hand. They are not allowed to live past being six feet in length. One of the benefits to the Basilisk though is that it is incredibly resistant to magic. This makes its skin very sought after for such items as these gloves," Albus said with a gesture towards the items in Harry possession. "Please, try them on," he suggested.
Harry only hesitated a moment before slipping the gloves on. The inside of the gloves were cool and the material seemed to mold itself to his hands, fitting as if it were a second skin. "They fit perfectly!" Harry exclaimed in wonder, unable to believe that the gloves were not dissolving like everything else he touched.
Albus chuckled softly at the boy's reaction to the gloves."That is one of the characteristics of the gloves, Harry. I dare say that were Hagrid to put them on they would fit him exactly as well." The aged wizard watched as the boy marveled at the gloves which came almost all the way to his elbows. "Give them a try," Albus suggested after a moment.
Looking up from his hands with a grin upon his face the boy gawked at the Headmaster in disbelief for a long moment. "Do you really think I can?" Harry enquired softly, fearful of even hoping.
"As with many things in life, there is only one way to know for certain," Albus told him, "and that is to try."
After another nod of encouragement from the Headmaster, Harry reached out and lifted his own tea cup. The young wizard grinned like a loon when nothing untold happened. "These are brilliant, Sir!" Harry exclaimed as he set the cup back down and regarded the gloves on his hands, turning the appendages about to see both sides. "I'll be able to be around my friends with these!"
Albus' smile at seeing the joyous youth slid from his face upon hearing Harry's words. As much as he hated to be the bearer of bad news he knew that he must. "I would strongly discourage you from such actions, Harry. It might be best for now if you remain apart from the others," Albus told him, saddening further as he saw the boy's face fall.
"B...but why?" Harry asked. "Can't I hang out with them now that I have these?" he begged, lifting his glove encased hands and wiggling his fingers slightly.
"Alas, I fear it would be for the best not to endanger them needlessly, Harry," said the Headmaster. Seeing the questioning look upon the boy's face Albus explained his reasoning. "Harry, you must understand, even though a Basilisk is very resistant to magic, it can be used to kill them. Just as spells were applied to those gloves to allow them to fit whomever wore them. A powerful enough wizard could get past the creature's own innate ability to resist magic. Your magic might possibly seep past the protection of the gloves. The results would be, dare I say, rather devastating I fear."
"But I'm just a first year!" Harry exclaimed in his own defense. He was certain that there was no way he could be as strong as the people the Headmaster was indicating, especially as he hardly knew anything about magic to begin with. I'm just a kid. How could I possibly be as strong as an adult? It just didn't make sense to his eleven year old mind. Harry desperately wanted to see his friends.
"Normally I would agree, however there is the matter of the incident within the library as well as the troll you dealt with," Albus reminded Harry. "You have also more recently destroyed an ancient enchanted artifact, layered with numerous protective spells, as well as defeated the Dark Lord Voldemort's bid for the Stone." Albus watched the young boy deflate before his eyes as Harry realized the truth of the man's words. Wishing he did not have to, Albus asked the one question he knew would close the matter for good. "Harry, is it really worth the risk that your magic might actually be strong enough to break free and accidentally injure one of your friends? Is your need so great to see them that you'd endanger one of them for it?"
Harry didn't even have to think to know the answer to the Headmaster's questions. "No, Sir," the young boy answered firmly, squaring his shoulders a bit and sitting up straighter in his chair. Nothing would be worth that, he affirmed to himself. "Will I at least be able to sit classes, Sir?" Harry asked in a hopeful tone.
"I believe that would be for the best both for your education as well as for halting the rumor mill," Albus agreed. "However, I do caution you about getting close to anyone, Harry. If you should notice any changed in your touch at all you are to come directly to Madam Pomfrey, who will then contact me. Is that understood?"
"Yes, Sir," Harry assured him.
"In the mean time you will continue to remain here away from everyone else while we attempt to determine a more long term permanent solution to the current issue." The Headmaster looked about the room quickly, noting the absence of any other furnishings besides the bed and the chairs."I'll see that a desk is added so that you can work on your school work here. If you should have need to use the library I would suggest the use of a certain item that once belonged to your father."
The Headmaster sighed and got to his feet to leave. "I realize this is not easy for you, Harry. Friends are very important when we are young and growing up. I dare say they are just as important when we are grown and continuing to get older," he imparted to the boy, eliciting a small smile in return. "We must sometime protect that which is most precious to us," Albus continued in a more serious tone. "Often at the expense of our own happiness."
"I understand," Harry replied, willing to go to any length to protect his friends. "Thank you, Professor, for the gloves." The Headmaster gave a small nod with a caring smile before turning and letting himself out the room. Harry waited several minutes before dashing from the room and heading toward the boy's loo at a run.
"Professor Flitwick?" Harry voiced as soon as class was over. "I was wondering if I might have a moment of your time," he asked of the small man. Yesterday it had been easy enough to avoid his friends. A late arrival to Transfiguration allowed him to take a seat in the back of the room. He had used his time of isolation to practice the spell they were to do and hence was able to perform it on his first try and leave class early. After a hasty lunch in his new room he sat the afternoon class, History of Magic, by spending the entire time under his father's cloak in a seat nearest the door. While it had been easy it had also been painful, even more so as he knew that his avoidance was hurting the others as well as himself.
He had arrived early to Charms class this morning and seated himself closest to the Professor's desk. Harry had kept his invisibility cloak on as its long length covered him as well as the chair he sat in. Arriving students, seeing no chair, didn't bother to try and sit at the desk. Bending below the desk as if retrieving a dropped item he had hastily pulled off his cloak before sitting up again just as class was starting. A quick discreet glance showed him that the Outsiders were all seated nearest the door with an empty seat between Tracey and Hermione, presumably for him.
Filius Flitwick turned at the sound of his name being called and smiled upon hearing the young boy's request. "Perhaps in my office, Mr. Potter?" he suggested, well aware of the many staring eyes that were watching them. Harry gave a nod and a small thankful smile before preceding the wizard into offered sanctuary. "What can I do for you, Mr. Potter?" Filius asked once the door had been closed and he had taken his seat behind his desk. "The Headmaster has informed us not to ask you any questions but that doesn't mean that you can't ask us some," the small professor added with a welcoming smile.
"Yes, Sir," replied Harry a bit nervously. He hadn't realized that the Headmaster had asked the staff members to leave him be."I was curious if there was a way to disenchant things?" Harry asked, getting right to the point.
"There are counter spells, assuming you know which enchantment you're attempting to remove," the professor answered as he ran one hand absently through his beard. "I hope you're not referring to the Basilisk gloves you're wearing. Their quite expensive and very hard to enchant due to the Basilisk's nature of resisting magic. It would be a shame to damage such a lovely pair," he said as he eyed the gloves on Harry's hands.
"No, Sir," Harry assured him, slipping his gloved hands into the sleeves of his robe in an attempt to hide them from sight. "But if you didn't know what enchantment was used? If you wanted to make an object so that it was incapable of having any magic, is that possible?" Harry enquired.
"That is an exceptionally intelligent question, Mr. Potter," Filius praised the boy. The small man once again had the feeling that Harry should have been sorted into his House instead of Slytherin. "I won't say that it can't be done," he mused aloud. "I have heard tell of an area in Australia where neither magic nor Muggle electricity work at all. According to local legend it is the result of some magical battle that took place long ago, if you're inclined to believe what the locals say," he finished with a disarming smile.
"So then it is possible," Harry pressed. In attempting to figure a way he could spend time with his friends he had latched on to the idea that if he could just dispel the magic in his hands then he wouldn't pose a threat to them. Things could go back to how they were before all of this started.
"Am I correct in assuming you have a reason for asking this?" Filius asked, fixing the young wizard with a shrewd stare."Something to do with your hands, perhaps?" Seeing Harry's eyes grow large in shock at having been found out the man chuckled. "Come now, it wasn't all that difficult to discern. Why else would you be wearing Basilisk gloves?" the Heads of Ravenclaw asked.
For some reason he wasn't certain of, Harry asked his next question. "Would you like to see?" Perhaps the young wizard, feeling shut off from everyone else just desired to share his secret with someone else. Since obtaining the gloves Harry had become a bit more accustom to the affliction. It helped that he could once again touch things and lead a somewhat normal life. Also, just as with all small boys, there was a strong sense of curiosity to see what exactly he could do with it. A suit of armor, a corner of a tapestry and the stone railing to a stairway could already attest to his experimentation.
"Oh yes! Most certainly!" Filius exclaimed excitedly, always happy to see or discover something new.
"I'll need something you'll not miss," Harry told the expectant professor. "I'm afraid that it won't be much good to you when I'm done with it.
Filius rummaged around in a desk drawer for a long moment. "I know it's in here someplace," the man mumbled to himself as he shifted the drawer's contents about. "Ah! Here it is!" he exclaimed triumphantly before sitting back up and setting a crystal ball before the boy. Seeing Harry's quizzical look the professor explained. "Professor Trelawney, she teaches Divination, gave this to me. I haven't got a use for it. If my inner-eye hasn't opened by now it probably never will," he confessed.
Harry had no clue who Professor Trelawney was or what an inner-eye was so he simply gave a short nod and said nothing. Slipping the Basilisk glove from his right hand Harry reached out and laid it atop the glass ball. In a matter of seconds it had disintegrated into a pile of black ash like everything else he had touched had done. Harry looked up with a grin from his handy work only to see the Professor staring at him in disbelief. "Professor?" Harry hesitantly voiced.
"When Sybill gave me that," Filius started with only to pause and swallow heavily, "she told me that it probably wouldn't amount to more than a pile of ashes," he confessed. "Quite remarkable," the stunned professor added as his eyes dropped to the pile of ashes on his desk.
"About my question, Professor," Harry prodded gently as he slipped his glove back on.
"What? Oh yes," Filius spoke as he mentally shook off his surprise. The small man wasn't the Head of Ravenclaw just because they needed someone to be. The professor had an intelligence that was vastly higher than average. He needed it to keep up with the students placed within his House after all. "If it were possible to disenchant your hands I fear it might actually be detrimental to you being a wizard, Mr. Potter."
Harry didn't even wonder how the man had figured out what his questioning was in regards to. He was a professor after all and hence had to be smart. "How so, Professor?"
"Well, it is widely believed," Filius opened with, dropping into lecture mode, "that the magic we use is held within us. When we cast a spell, the magic flows through our bodies, down our arm and out through our wands. Much like water from a spigot. If your hands were made so that they couldn't hold magic at all then it is conceivably possible that you wouldn't be able to use your magic any longer."
Harry digested that bit of news for a long moment. While it was a possible option, it wasn't a pleasant one. Still, it was far better than going through the rest of his life without ever touching anything with his own two hands ever again. The gloves were fine for now but he certainly didn't want to be wearing them for the remainder of his days. "Thank you, Sir. You've been very helpful," Harry final said.
"What of your other issue?" Filius enquired. "Still hearing you magic?"
"Yes, Sir," Harry replied softly. He really didn't like to talk about his accidental magic. Truth be told it still frightened him, though thanks to his latest aliment, it had been relegated to a back burner for the time being.
"I did a bit of research on the matter but have as yet been able to find anything," Professor Flitwick told him. "There have been a couple of cases where people have expressed the ability to see magic but none were ever proven. For the most part the people were written off as being a bit bent."
"Am I, Sir? A bit bent, I mean," Harry asked, fearful of the answer.
"I don't believe so, Mr. Potter," Professor Flitwick answered after a long thoughtful moment. "You are an exceptionally intelligent young man. Given your background it wouldn't be surprising for something unusual to happen. As I believe I mentioned once before, no one has survive a Killing Curse before you. There really is no way of knowing just what impact that could have on you. Have you noticed any changes in what you hear?Perhaps during the troll incident?"
Harry shook his head slowly. "No, Sir. It still starts out softly like a small breeze or running water and then it grows till it drowns out everything else. After that I really don't recall very much, just bits and pieces." Harry paused looking deep in thought for another long moment."It did seem to happen quicker when I was with Professor Quirrell and Voldemort appeared," the small boy confided.
"Perhaps that was because you felt your life was in danger," Filius managed to get out in a normal tone though he couldn't have been more stunned if the boy had just hit him with a bludger. In those few small words the boy had confessed to coming face to face with one of the foulest Dark Lords known in history. To make matters worse it had happened right here at Hogwarts and none of the staff had been given any of the details.
"Perhaps," Harry was quick to agree to the logical assumption. "I didn't black-out that time as well," Harry confessed, though he wished he had. Not seeing Professor Quirrell's death would have been a blessing he felt.
Filius decided to make certain that Harry had in fact been the one who had confronted Voldemort. "Did you enjoy chasing the key?" he asked with a forced smile. "For a good seeker I'd imagine it wasn't too difficult."
"Was that yours, Professor?" Harry asked only to receive a quick nod that it was from the man across the desk from him. "I'm sure that would have been loads of fun, Sir. When I got there though all the keys were on the ground, twitching a bit actually," he ended with in a perplexed tone.
Must have been a wide area stunner, Filius mused to himself. I should have thought of that even with the amount of power it would have taken to accomplish. "Still, good show on your part, Mr. Potter," the professor said aloud, certain now at least somewhat of what had happened."If anything should change with your magic or if you think of additional questions, my door is always open to you."
"Thank you, Sir," Harry replied as he grabbed his book bag and headed to his room in the hospital wing of Hogwarts. Apparently his feet had other ideas and lead him about till he was standing before a different door.
Harry reached up and knocked upon the door, waiting to open it till he had heard the voice within call for him to enter. "Excuse me, Professor. I hope I am not interrupting you?" he asked once he stepped through the door and into the office.
Aurora Sinistra's lips spread into a warm and welcoming smile."Of course not, Mr. Potter. Merely dealing with the bane of all teachers the world over," she said as she lifted an essay she was grading,"Paper work. Do come in," she instructed the first year student who had remained near the door. "What can I do for you?"
Harry didn't make any attempt to approach his favorite teacher but rather remained by the door instead. "I won't be able to make tomorrow's lesson. Is there anything specific I should revise?" the young wizard asked.
"The Headmaster did mention that you might have to forego class for a while," Aurora informed him. She knew there was something amiss in the simple fact that Harry had to miss class, however her hands were rather tied at the moment. The Headmaster had been very clear on the matter and they were not to interfere or ask questions of the boy. "I'm certain your friends will let you borrow their notes."
The first year wizard looked down at his feet before he replied."I don't think that will be possible as I can't be around them either, professor," Harry told her. It was rather clear from the tone of his voice that this fact did not sit well with him.
Aurora didn't like the at all. "Harry, is this by your choice?" she asked, wanting to make certain that he wasn't perhaps being forced into staying away from the others in his group. For the life of her she couldn't think of a reason why the Headmaster would want to isolate the boy though. He just started making friends and now he has to stay away from them?
How do I answer that? Harry wondered. It's not as if I want to be like this, he thought as he stared at his hands which were barely visible tucked just within the folds of his robes. But I also don't want to place the others at risk either, he admitted to himself. "Y…yes," he finally managed to stammer. "It is my decision," he told her, looking up at the witch seated behind the desk rather defiantly.
"How are they taking it?" Aurora enquired, guessing she already knew the answer. If she knew the three witches who were always in the boy's company Aurora was certain they were not taking it well.
Harry lost a little of his resolve as once again his eyes fell to the floor. "I don't know," he mumbled before giving a small shrug of his shoulder. "I guess not well. I haven't really spoken to them since they got back," he confessed.
"How would you feel if one of your friends suddenly stopped talking to you for no reason?" Aurora asked. She could see that the young wizard was distraught over the matter and realized that at age eleven she herself would have had no clue as to what to say or do if she had been in Harry's position.
Harry's head shot up at her words. "But it's not for no reason!" he exclaimed. "It's to protect them!" he added a bit defensively. The only thing that made his separation from the other Outsiders was the very fact that it was for their own protection.
Professor Sinistra nodded in understanding even though that was the farthest thing from where she currently was. "You still haven't answered my question, Harry. How would you feel?" she pressed in a calm and even tone, not wishing to spook the wizard in front of her.
The young boy seemed to deflate right before her eyes. "Not good I suppose," he mumbled as he shuffled his feet a bit.
"I'm sure they are confused and hurt because they don't understand," Aurora stated.
"Are they?" Harry enquired, looking up with large sad eyes even as he realized that she was probably correct. It wouldn't feel very good if one of them just suddenly stopped speaking to me and avoided me. The young boy recalled what it had been like just recently when Hermione had started staying as far away from him as possible for no apparent reason. Whatever Daphne had said to the Gryffindor witch seemed to have solved the problem at the time.
"I don't know, having only just returned myself from holiday," Aurora replied truthfully. "I suspect that I'll find out at tomorrow's class. Is there anything you'd like me to pass along to them?" she offered, more than willing to play go between for the boy if that was what it took.
Harry thought for a long moment on what he could have her tell the other Outsiders that wouldn't give anything away. The Headmaster had cautioned him about revealing his affliction others. "No," he finally answered with a slow shake of his head, deciding he didn't want to risk getting them into trouble. "C...can you let me know though if they're alright?" Harry asked instead.
Aurora sighed internally. I didn't think it would be that easy, she thought upon being turned down. "Of course Mr. Potter, though I am certain they would be more than happy to tell you themselves if you would allow them."
"It is too dangerous," Harry declined once again."Thank you Professor," he told her before slipping from the room. On his way back to the hospital wing Harry pondered the professor's words and thought about just how the other Outsiders must be feeling.
The Astronomy Professor watched him go sadly, wishing there was more she could do for the boy. No kiss this time? she teased herself but even that wasn't enough to lift her spirits or bring a smile to her face.
The Supreme Mugwump of the International Confederation of Wizards was not a glamorous job, Albus thought to himself as he eyed the rather large pile of parchments on his desk. It entailed long hours of reading through boring documents submitted by pompous committees, each trying to outdo the other in the latest round of political tug of war. He couldn't help but wonder if Pierre Bonaccord, the first Supreme Mugwump, had to read as many petitions as he now did.
Slipping a lemon drop from his ever present candy dish and popping it into his mouth the elder wizard sat back in his chair, ignoring the work awaiting his for the moment. As had been happening more and more of late, his thoughts turned towards his student, Harry Potter. The Headmaster felt terrible about the boy's plight.
If this truly is the Power he knows not, I must figure out a way for Harry to control it, Albus mused as he sucked upon the tart treat. It just wouldn't do to have the Hero of the Wizarding world running about turning everything to ash. Though Tom's attempt to gain the stone had be thwarted, Albus knew that the dark wizard was far from gone. Which makes it all the more imperative that Harry gain control of his magic.
The incident with the books had been somewhat amusing, however that amusement had vanished come the night of All Hallows Eve and the incident with the troll. The sheer amount of magical energy required to accomplish that feat was staggering considering that trolls were notoriously difficult to kill.To think that one so young would be capable of such a thing, Albus thought in renewed wonder.
The glimpses of the battle with Quirrell and the specter of Voldemort that he had pulled from the boy's mind were just short of awe inspiring. Albus, in all his years of teaching, had never seen anything like it before. That fact alone both amazed as well as frightened the aged wizard."Such a powerful young wizard must be brought to the side of the Light!" Albus stated aloud.
The question wasn't how to keep Harry with the Light, that part was easy enough. Albus knew all he had to do was mention the fact that the boy's parents had fought for the Light side and he had little doubt that the boy would jump at the chance to do the same. No, the more serious problem was how to train the boy.
Harry's magic certainly doesn't seem to be of the caliber we're used to seeing in a first year student, Albus thought. Having spoken with Harry's professors he had discovered that the boy was able to learn at an alarming rate, often picking up spells on his first attempt, with the exception of the incident in the library or course. Still, Harry's accidental magic, if that was what it truly is, certainly is cause for concern.
The Headmaster sighed and turned back to the waiting work on his desk, having put it off long enough. Albus knew he wasn't going to solve the enigma that was Harry Potter today. Best to keep a watchful eye on the boy for now and see what happens next. With great reluctance the aged wizard picked up the first document and started to read it.
It was several hours later that the gargoyle at the foot of the stairs alerted him to the arrival of a visitor. Albus looked up from the ICW document he was reading and called for his Potions Master to enter upon hearing a knock upon his door. "Good evening, Severus. What can I do for you?"
"Good evening, Headmaster," Severus replied with a slight tipping of his head. "I was wondering if I might have a few moments of your time to discuss the Potter boy?"
Albus set the document down atop the pile he had slowly been working his way through. "I am always available to discuss one of our students," he replied as he gestured to the chair that appeared. The aged wizard was all too glad to take a break from the rather dry topics of political documents stacked on the desk before him. "Was there something in particular about Mister Potter you wished to discuss?"
"How long do you plan on leaving him this way," Severus asked, cutting right to the chase of the matter once he had been seated."It isn't well for the boy to be so cut-off from everyone including his friends," Severus stated, recalling all too well his own years of isolation in his youth. "He's a walking hazard and it is only a matter of time before he injures himself or someone else," he added to cover his concern for the boy.
"Madam Pomfrey is working diligently to determine just what the cause of Harry's aliment is," Albus assured Severus, seeing through the rather hasty deception. "As of yet she and her colleagues have been unable to make much progress though," the Headmaster stated a bit disappointed in that fact. He was rather surprised by the concern Severus was showing and could only hope that it meant that he was seeing Harry as more than just James's son.
"But you already have a theory as what the cause is do you not?" the shrewd Potions Master stated rather than asked. Severus knew the Headmaster well enough to know that the man had plans within plans within plans and he was loath to share any of that information with those around him. It's harder to get information from the Headmaster than it is to get to a goblin to willing part with a galleon!
"I have several," Albus admitted with a slow nod of his head. "Whatever Lily Potter used to protect Harry with that night has been altered in some manner is my leading one," he explained.
Snape looked thoughtful for a long moment before disagreeing."I find it hard to believe, Headmaster, that Lily would have used anything that would have put her son in danger. Whatever old magic she used, assuming she used any at all, which we're not certain of, would have been for his protection. Lily would not have wanted Harry to become a killer."
"I agree, however we don't know what Harry's own magic may have done to that protection," Albus pointed out. "I'm certain it was not Lily's intention but then magic can do the most unexpected and amazing things." Seeing the Potions Master's skeptical frown he continued."The alternative is so unthinkable as to make is even less likely."
"That an eleven year old firstie is doing both wandless as well as silent magic on such a powerful scale," Snape said, completing the Headmaster's thought. He couldn't recall of ever hearing of another eleven year old doing such a thing, not even Voldemort.
"Why the sudden concern for Harry?" Albus asked out of the blue, catching the Potions Master flatfooted for a second.
Severus stared blankly back at the Headmaster for a long moment before he formulated a response. "Potter is of my house. I would be remiss in my duties if I were not concerned, Headmaster," he finally replied. Severus knew that wasn't all the truth. If not for a twist of fate the boy may have very well have been my son, he thought with some degree of anger directed towards James Potter for stealing away his Lily. It was subject of which the pain never dulled. No matter how many years passed.
Albus regarded the professor across from him for a long moment. He didn't need Legilimancy to know exactly what was going through the wizards mind. With a slight nod the Headmaster accepted the contrived answer. "Be that as it may, Severus, there is little we can do for the boy at this time. Till Poppy determines what the cause of the aliment is we are rather stuck I fear."
"I understand, Headmaster," Severus stated as he stood."Thank you for taking the time to explain it to me. You will keep me apprised of any changes to the situation?"
"Certainly," Albus confirmed. "If there is anything we can do for Harry, you'll let me know."
Severus answered with a curt nod before letting himself out of the office. "He's not telling everything he knows," the potions professor mused as he walked along the corridor. Severus snorted humorlessly at the very thought of the Headmaster divulging a single tidbit of information more than he needed to. "The old fool," he mumbled under his breath in frustration. That didn't keep the man from recalling that the Headmaster was his best bet at the revenge against Voldemort that he wanted and was willing to do just about anything to achieve.
As the wizard walked along heading to his office he couldn't help put to ponder the Headmasters words. Wandless and wordless? he mused silently. From all accounts from his friends he attacked the troll with wandless and wordless magic, Severus recalled. As there was no benefit from falsifying such information he had no choice but to believe it was factual. The fact that two of those present had been his own Snaked added credence to the account.
Let us not forget the incident in the library, he reminded himself of. While not wandless, and a rather weak transfiguration spell, it still required a great deal of energy to change so many books at once, he admitted. Too bad the Granger girl couldn't remember if Potter had said the spell or not. The more the wizard pondered these events the more realistic the unrealistic probability became.
Still, if he was performing wordless and wandless magic then he should be able to control it, Severus concluded as he descended the stairs into the dungeon and headed toward his office. Unless it's his magic acting on its own, that thought alone sent a shiver down the man's spine. Magic was not a force one let run lose as it often had devastating consequences. Others through history had become slave to their own magic and on those occasions, when it happen, it had never been a happy ending.
I guess I shall have to have a talk with Potter and see if I can determine if that is the case this time. Severus hoped that it wasn't. As he neared his office he saw one of his snakes waiting there for him."Mister Flint, is there something I can help you with?" he asked noticing rather quickly that the boy was agitated.
"We need a new Seeker, Professor," Flint said coming directly to the point.
Severus arched a brow, "I was under the impression that Potter was our Seeker?"
"He quit!" snapped Flint, forgetting for a second just who he was speaking to.
Opening the door to his office the Potion's Master motioned for the bay to proceed him through. Closing the door behind the both of them, Snape made his way around his desk and sat in his seat. "Perhaps it would be best to tell me what happened, Mister Flint."
"The little shite stopped me outside the great hall just a bit ago and told me he couldn't play anymore," Flint spat out, clearly angry at the very thought of Harry's betrayal. That was how Flint saw it anyways. They didn't even have a backup Seeker they could train without shifting a player from another position.
"You will use a proper tone and language with me, Mister Flint or I shall find myself a new team captain!" Snape scolded the boy who looked properly chastised. "Did he say why he wouldn't be able to play?"
"Just that it would be too dangerous. I think he's afraid of getting another trouncing if he were to botch the snitch again as he did last game. I tried to chase after him but he managed to get away from me," Flint stated, clearly putout that a mere first year was able to get away from him. He still wasn't certain how the boy managed to simply vanish as soon as he had stepped around the corner.
"You didn't think that you chasing after him might have scared him into running even faster?" Snape asked with a sneer. "Your incompetence as a captain is astounding, Mister Flint. Maybe we'd just be better off exceeding from the House Cup this year?" Snape asked sarcastically.
"No Sir!" Flint exclaimed. I'll be damned if we'll break our winning streak due to some snot nosed firstie! Next time I'll make certain he stays under the water, Flint thought behind his schooled expression. "We will win the House Cup!"
"Yes, yes we will," Snape finally agreed after a long pause. "Despite your inability to field a united team. You have less than six weeks till our next game against Flitwick's Claws. Now get out of here as I am certain you have more than enough to do to get ready!"
Flint knew a dismissal when he heard one and hastily made his way to the door where he paused. Turning back the Quidditch captain asked,"What about Potter, Professor?"
"Do not worry about Potter," Snape answered not even bothering to look up from the parchment he was reading, "I will deal with him."
"Yes, Sir," said Flint before beating a hasty retreat from the office. "Looks like we'll need extra practices," he said aloud, already drawing up some new plays to try. The wizard knew that Snape would get Potter to play again, one way of another. "Once he's in the air on his broom, well, accidents happen all the time," the boy grinned evilly.
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