Ron and Tammy were packing up their stuff at the end of DADA when Professor Quirrell called to them.
"E-E-Excuse me, M-Miss R-R-Riddle, I was w-wondering if I could have a q-q-quick word with you. mm?"
Ron looked at Tammy, who shrugged.
"Go on ahead, I'll catch up to you soon," she suggested.
Ron nodded and exited the classroom, heading down the hallway to where he was fairly sure the library was. He'd continually tried to ask Tammy what had happened to make her react like that before class, but she'd refused to talk about it. He was certain Potter had done something to her…no good snake, er.. boy-who-lived, er….
He hurried through the castle and soon found himself in front of the large double doors to the entrance of the single largest library in magical Britain, and possibly, the world.
The aspiring broom maker cautiously opened the door and peeked around it. The space beyond led to a central circular clearing, which he all but tiptoed to. Desks surrounded the space, and behind the desks, bookshelves stretched out in every direction, like spokes on the wheel of a giant carthorse. Every so often, he would glimpse a nook containing a few armchairs and a low table. It was all… so… big and alien.
Ron Weasley felt like those times he'd gone clothes shopping with Ginny and they'd entered the girl's section. Every fixture, every item on display, every look given by the people already there, it all screamed 'You-don't-know-what-the-hell-you're-doing-and-you-don't-belong-here!-Get-out!'.
He looked around, as though to find a clue on where he should start. Perhaps a sign that would say, "Broom Making Section: This way —," but there was nothing.
He walked to the first random shelf on the random right hand side and pulled out a random book.
'Advanced Theories of Didactic Transfiguration: An Applied Approach."
Ron shook his head, put the book back, and tried another.
'A History of Transfiguration: From Duclaides to Dumbledore'
Again, not what he was looking for. After pulling out a few more random books, Ron started to realize something; all the books on this shelf were about transfiguration.
'OK,' he thought, 'I guess that makes sense. So, I need to find the section that does have what I need…' He remembered Tammy mentioning they'd need to use Runes. 'So, I guess I'll start by finding that section.'
Thirty minutes later, head feeling full from skimming book titles, he finally found the runes section.
The first few books he pulled out made him want to shrivel up and die. They all looked… so… complicated. Hundreds of pages of runes and complex geometric diagrams, interspersed with dozens of arithmancy equations full of symbols he'd no clue the meaning of.
Desperate, he reached out for the thinnest book on the shelf and found himself looking at '101 projects for the young rune master'.
Ron flipped open the book to the first page and ran his eyes down the list of chapters. And there, in the middle of the page, was a line that made his eye's light up like a fairy at Christmas.
How to Rune a Children's Toy Broomstick from Scratch
Tammy had talked about finding good early game moves… This, looked like a really good early game move.
He flipped to the chapter and read.
This chapter is best read in conjunction with a standard beginner's runes textbook.
Ron looked along the long line of books and realized he didn't have a clue what the Hogwart's standard runes textbook was. Who would know? Well… The librarian probably would, if he could find her.
Clutching his new prize, he wandered the library for another few minutes until he spotted a pair of adult witches sitting in a far away corner, having tea and chatting, although he couldn't hear a thing being said.
He edged up towards them behind another row of shelves, not wanting to disturb if they turned out not to be who he was looking for. As he got closer the sound suddenly turned on as he walked through whatever silencing charm they'd put up.
One of the witches was Madam Pince, talking to another witch Ron had never seen before, with large, black-rimmed, thick glasses and wild, light-brown, wavy hair.
Before Ron could interrupt the two though, the wild haired witch suddenly sat bolt upright in her chair, stiff as a board. Her voice, when it emerged, had become fuller, deeper, and louder, with a certainty you could forge goblin silver on.
"The Master of Death comes, from the light the Master will be.
The Master of Death comes, from the dark the Master will be.
And the soul will bind, or the world will end.
The Beacon of Light comes, from the mundane the Beacon will be.
The Beacon of Dark comes, from the pure the Beacon will be.
And the beacons will fight, or the world will end.
The Master of Death must destroy the hope of the world.
The Master of Death must destroy the wealth of the world.
The Beacon of Light must destroy the truth of the world.
The Beacon of Dark must destroy the arms of the world.
Then, from the ashes, a new world can rise."
Madam Pince stared at her colleague, open-mouthed.
"Oh," said Professor Trelawney, "I'm sorry Irma, what was I saying?"
"I think, Sybil," said the librarian, placing a calming hand on hers, "that you've said quite enough today."
Ron shuffled back towards the center of the library, as fast as he could, all thoughts of runes forgotten. He'd just heard a prophecy. A true one, too. He had to tell Tammy. This was so cool.
- W:PSBPnIoFP -
History of Magic passed by in an ecstatic blur. Harry barely had the presence of mind to give Neville the thumbs up at the start of class, before his now overactive mind wandered to what had happened in Defense against the Dark Arts.
He and Tammy had had a soul bind reaction. Not an actual binding, she'd broken off before that had happened, but their souls had definitely tried to bind.
Harry had recognized what was happening the moment their fingers touched. He'd been soul bound before after all. Seventeen times in fact, and every time had been one of the happiest and most fulfilling lives of his existence. He could still feel the faint tendrils, the barest of connections, even now, reaching out across space and time. But each beautiful life was still only one every eight thousand-odd years.
But… Every time he'd been soul bound in the past, it had been almost instant. Harry frowned. He'd never had a… failed… soul bind… Oh, whatever. The frown vanished. In his experience, soul binds were almost as inescapable as prophecies. In time, it was bound—haha—to happen.
Harry grinned. That feeling of sharing everything with someone; every emotion, every thought, every spell, patronous forms, animagus forms… it was the closest the Master of Death would ever come to equal company.
And Tammy's reaction had been amazing. Confused and shocked, yes, but also almost insulted. And the way she'd run away and then deliberately avoided his path when Quirrellmort had called on her after class. Hah… and he still didn't really know who she even was.
His classmates were still packing away their stuff at the end of class when Harry all but danced out of the classroom and down the hall.
Soul bind! soul bind! soul bind!
Harry was so wrapped up in his thoughts, he didn't even notice the wand leveled at his back, until the stunner hit.
- W:PSBPnIoFP -
'Where did Ron go?'
Insane'o'mort hadn't wanted much, just to ask her about her plans for study and the future, while not so subtly drilling her for information about her past. But it had taken quite long enough…
Tammy wandered the library's stacks of books looking for her wayward friend. Trying to find anyone in the mass of shelves, alcoves, hidden nooks, and secret rooms was nigh on impossible. They'd have to have a standard meeting point in the future, or possibly a protean charm linked communication device.
After twenty minutes of fruitless searching, Tammy gave up and briefly considered researching what the hell had happened in DADA between her and Potter, but decided against it. She'd already read every single book in the Hogwarts library to do with soul magic in her last world. There might be differences of course, but… any books that advanced would probably be in the restricted section; it wasn't as though soul magic had a monthly journal the way potions and transfiguration did.
Anyway, Ron could well be in the common room by now. Best to check there before dinner.
- W:PSBPnIoFP -
Harry returned to the world of the waking to find himself tied to a chair by ropes in an empty, poorly-lit, classroom. The wand holster he'd bought from Ollivander's before school was on a desk by the door, the straps that secured it to his arm, cut. Next to it, sat his dragonskin pouch.
In front of him, sitting or leaning on several chairs and desks, were Theodore Nott, Millicent Bullstrode, Blaise Zabini, Crabbe, Goyle, Pansy, and a slightly reluctant looking Draco.
"Well, well, well, look what we have here… a little mudblood, blood traitor, rebel," a voice from behind Harry spat.
Cole Spenser, walking stiffly after his night of skele-gro, paced around to the center of the group, he towered over the first year, looking triumphant, eager, and very angry.
"Mudblood and blood traitor?" Harry asked, tilting his head slightly sideways.
"SHUT UP POTTER!"
"You know," Harry's voice was as calm as an inland sea, "I do have stuff to do right now. Slytherin houses don't overthrow themselves."
Spenser growled. Potter had completely humiliated him last night and he'd had to endure the snickers and catcalls, all day, from his less than sympathetic peers. To add to that, Reginald Carter had been very unhappy. He'd summoned him to the King's couch and called him out in front of the entire common room on his many 'disgraceful errors', as Carter had put it. Well, no longer.
With the source of his anger and frustration sitting, helplessly bound, in front of him, Spenser drew his beaters bat from within his robes, stepped forward and brought it down heavily on Harry's head… which it then passed straight through. The bat smashed into the chair seat and jarred in Spenser's hand, causing him to drop it, loudly, on the floor.
Harry, now by the door, plucked his wand holster and pouch from the desk before flashing a grin and a wink to the several of his classmates who'd whirled around, shocked. Half a second later and the only evidence he'd ever been in the room were the loose ropes still hanging from the back of the center chair.
"I told you we should have broken his legs before we woke him up!" Nott started yelling, "but, oh no. 'He can't apparate inside Hogwarts,' you said, 'that's completely impossible,' you said."
"Shut up," Spenser growled.
"Next time," Nott continued, totally ignoring him, "could you at least use your wand? You're supposed to be a bloody fourth year! If we wanted to beat on him with bats we have Crabbe and Goyle for that!"
"Shut up," Spenser said again, barely holding back his rage, "if we go down to the great hall now, we can catch him on the way to dinner."
Grumbling, Nott and the other first years followed behind Spenser, who lead the group down a corridor and up a side passage, leading in the general direction of the hall.
They'd just rounded a second corner when Pansy called out, "Hey look. That's the Gryffindor girl Potter was trying to cozy up to."
Draco froze. Walking towards the group, alone, was the definite parslemouth and probable Dark Lord's daughter, Tammy Riddle.
"Oh it is, is it?" Spenser sneered.
"Err—Wait, this isn't a good idea," Draco started, but the Slytheirns had already blocked off the hallway and Riddle had been forced to slow down as she approached.
"Well hello there little girl," Spenser started, in his best Slytherin drawl, "what are you doing wondering around all on your lonesome?"
"Seriously, we really shouldn't be doing this." Draco tried again.
Nott glared at him, "Shut up, remember rule one," he hissed, loudly enough for only Draco to hear him.
Meanwhile, Riddle had answered, "I'm going to my common room," her voice was pleasant and unconcerned.
"What's the hurry?" Spenser drawled, "Why don't you spend some time to play with us?"
The girl glanced at each of her eight interloculars, all but one of whom, now had their wands drawn, before finishing on Draco. Her slate grey eyes held his gaze for a few moments before turning back to Spenser.
Riddle smiled, "I'd like that."
Before he could think rationally about what he was doing, he'd stepped forward, turned to his classmates and held his arms out, shielding Riddle from them.
"Malfoy. What the HELL?!" Nott shouted. The Slytherins all looked shocked and angry at this betrayal. Pansy, in particular, looked like he'd just crucio'd her.
"Stop! You don't understand what you're doing!" he sounded almost hysterical.
"Do you understand what you're doing?" Spenser shot back.
"Look," Malfoy pleaded, "we can go beat-up someone else, anyone else. We can go find that Ravenclaw mudblood he likes. But we really should leave this one alone."
Spenser looked confused, but Nott was grinning, killer intent shining in his eyes, dreams of Slytherin kingship playing through his head.
"No, I don't think that's it," Nott started, "I think that you've just gotten far too close with him these last few days, Malfoy… I think you sympathize with him."
"What? No I don't!"
"I think you're just hiding your true colors, and that you intend to spy on us for his pathetic little rebellion."
Behind Draco, Tammy was listening, fascinated. Someone had started a rebellion in Slytherin house?… Someone had declared King's Coup?! Unseen by all, her holly and phoenix feather wand slid into her hand.
"No! That's got nothing to do with this."
"Oh, I think it does… Rebel!" Nott's accusation hung in the air, a challenge to the others around him. When no one complained he looked back to Draco, victory dancing in his eyes.
Nott's leg-locker curse fired straight at Malfoy, who flinched, but didn't feel it hit. Instead, a large transparent blue shield was hovering in front of him. A wand to his right was pointing towards the group, and Draco, with a jolt of adrenaline, realized it was Riddle's.
Spenser narrowed his eyes before firing a shield breaker at the shimmering blue visage. There was a flash of light, but when it dimmed the shield was still there.
"Open fire!" Spenser called, shooting off another shield breaker. A stream of curses, hexes and jinxes rained down on the two students. Draco was half crouched behind the shield, hands protecting his face, waiting for it to break. But, incredibly, it didn't.
Instead, in a one second break, when all seven attackers were breathing in, the shield dropped and Riddle stepped to Draco's side.
#Depulso# #Accio wands#
The sweep of her wand was firm and powerful and all seven Slytherins were banished away, their wands shooting through the air and clattering around her and Draco. They hit the ground hard, some landing on top of each other, groaning as they fought to get up. But before any could get to their feet, seven stunners, powerful enough to light the hallway red, had found each of the assailants and silenced them all.
From the moment the girl had started her attack to the last enemy stunned, had lasted less then four seconds.
Draco stared at the carnage in front of him, open mouthed; then at the witch standing next to him, calm and collected, and oh so very powerful. Potter had defeated a fourth year single-handed, but Riddle, had defeated the same fourth year, and six other first years, at the same time, and with the same going-to-breakfast attitude.
"Are you… are you my cousin?" he asked, dumbfounded.
She turned, surprised, and looked puzzled for a few moments before realization seemed to dawn.
"Oh, is that what your father told you? Trust Lucius to make that connection."
Riddle seemed to be thinking.
Eventually she said, "You can tell your father that he's almost right."
Draco gasped and was about to speak before Riddle interrupted him.
"—I'm sure you understand that I don't want information about my… bloodline… to be revealed to anyone."
"Y-yes, I understand."
"Good." She smiled, before looking back towards the fallen Slytherins and frowning.
"Are you going to be OK? I could arrange for you to sleep in the Gryffindor common room for a night if necessary."
Draco was now looking miserable. "No, its OK. I'm going to have to sort something more permanent out anyway and I'd never hear the last of it if I accepted shelter from a Gryffindor, no offense," he quickly added.
"Well, if you're sure. Your father might be able to get you a private room in a pinch. Being on the Hogwarts board has got to be good for something."
Draco perked up a little. "Yeah, that might work. I was going to send him a letter tonight anyway." Then he sunk down again, "Doesn't help being hunted by the whole house though."
"What about the rebel leader? Can't he offer you protection?"
He looked up, surprised the Gryffindor knew Slytherin customs, before he remembered just who he was talking to. His eyes turned to steel. "Oh, don't talk to me about him," Draco half spat, "he's the reason I'm in this mess to start with."
"Well, perhaps, but you might want to seek him out sooner rather than later anyway. You'll find that pride makes a very poor shield."
"Hey, look," Riddle continued, "I've really got to head off now, but if you need back up for anything, feel free to call on me. I really appreciate your sticking your neck out for me like that. And if you ever wonder if you did the right thing from a purely Machiavellian stand point, then I can assure you, you did."
And with that, the midnight-black haired girl turned, and walked off down the hallway, carefully stepping over the prone bodies that littered the floor.
- W:PSBPnIoFP -
"I swear Hannah, that matchstick is going to burst into flames soon the way he's glaring at it."
Hannah and Susan were sitting at a low table in the Hufflepuff common room, talking in low voices, and watching their friend, a few tables away, still attempting to turn his matchstick into a needle.
"He managed it yesterday," replied Hannah.
"Yeah, but he's been trying again for hours… again. It can't be good for him."
"Oh, I don't know. No pain, no gain. That's what muggles say about exercise. Why can't it be true with casting spells too?"
"Hannah. Yesterday he went so hard, he fainted."
"I see nothing wrong with a guy going hard. There aren't nearly enough of them willing to put in the effort."
Susan looked at her friend, who was trying, and failing, to keep a straight face.
"Hannah, I'm serious here!"
"OK, OK. We'll get him to take a break." She turned to their friend, only to find him now face down on the desk, matchstick still unchanged.
- W:PSBPnIoFP -
"I swear you two are the most pathetic, 'orrible pair of trouble makers I've ever seen… and yer can't even clean worth a damn!"
Filch was standing in the doorway of the trophy room, glaring at Fred and George, while the troublesome twosome did their best to clean, polish, and buff trophies and placards with hands that had literally zero friction.
The aged caretaker flinched as one of the twins dropped his bottle of soapy stuff into his steaming hot water bucket.
"Hey Fred," said George.
"Yes George?" said Fred.
George was panting with the effort of gripping his cleaning rag, while buffing the 1700's duelling trophy gripped in his armpit. The whole day had been like this… frustrating. "What. Exactly. Are we going to do. To. Get. Our Dear Miss Riddle. Back for this?"
"Never fear oh brother of mine. This was merely the opening salvo. We shall lie low for a while, let her feel like she's won… and then… when she's least expecting it. We strike!"
"Like a cobra in the night," George intoned.
"Like an arrow from the darkness," Fred agreed.
"Like a bludger in the fog."
"Like a …Boggart from the …closet?" Fred sighed and stood up to apply creamy stuff to a wooden and silver placard. He stopped and stared at it.
"Hey George." said Fred.
"Yes Fred?" said George.
"I think I've just found something interesting."
"What oh brother of mine?"
"So Quirrell is doing it?"
"With a 65 year old?"
The twins grinned.
"Like a cobra in the night?"
"Like a cobra in the night."
- W:PSBPnIoFP -
Later that night, Harry was kneeling on the stone floor of the chamber of secrets, carving runes along the circumference of a circle he'd already outlined in chalk. This was to be the keystone for the fidelius charm that would hide the chamber.
With two possible Voldemorts running around, he wasn't going to take any chances, even if one of them was fated to be soul bound with him.
Next to the chamber's fidelius keystone lay another circle, ready for the runes for another, different, fidelius charm.
Merlin he loved the fidelius charm. It was one of the single most overpowered spells known to wizard kind. At least, it was when the correct person was casting it. Harry smiled.
It had puzzled him, in his first life, why all the books that mentioned the fidelius charm talked about it being used to hide secrets, when all anyone ever used it for was for hiding buildings. The reason became obvious when he learned to cast it.
Part of the process of casting the charm was the perfect visualization of the secret. In the case a building, this was difficult, certainly, but not so much so that it couldn't be achieved with two or three decades of occlumency training and a few weeks of becoming familiar with the space to be charmed, provided it wasn't too big.
But, in the case of an abstract secret, the process of visualizing was a lot more complex. How would you go about visualizing, in pinpoint detail, the abstract concept of Sally-loves-Robert? And, after you had spent several decades learning to achieve the feat, would the secret still be worth keeping? The larger and more abstract the secret, the more difficult the visualization would be.
For most people, it simply wasn't worth it.
Harry, however, wasn't most people. And the Master of Death had a few very important secrets to keep.
It wouldn't be ready by tonight… but soon… soon it would be.
- W:PSBPnIoFP -
Ron sat in his four-poster bed, quilling a letter home. He hadn't managed to find Tammy all evening, even at dinner, which was annoying.
Yeah, I promised to write, so here it is.
Everything is really cool here. I was sorted into Gryffindor (Thank Merlin) and I've made a bunch of new friends and classes are actually kind of interesting (I know, bet you weren't expecting me to say that). My best friend is called Tammy. She's really cool, you'll really like her. Even though she's raised by muggles she really likes quidditch, and she's really good at chess. Still not as good as your prodigy brother though, kidding.
I actually met Harry Potter in class as well. He's kind of weird. People keep saying they keep seeing him fading into shadows and disappearing even though that's not possible in Hogwarts (according to Tammy). I've never seen him do it myself but everyone can't be wrong right? But Tammy didn't seem to like him for some reason. I think he may have done something she didn't like.
Also, I was in the library, and I overheard one of the teachers (divination I think), giving a true prophecy. It was the creepiest thing ever. Her voice went all loud and cackley. Something about the Master of Death and stopping the end of the world. I bet you anything Dumbledore is putting together a super team of light wizards right now to sort it out, just like in the last war!
Maybe Harry Potter will be in it! But, then again, he is in Slytherin so maybe not.
Wow I wrote a lot.
Better get to bed now.
PS. The food here is great! Still not as good as Mum's though.
- W:PSBPnIoFP -
[Just before midnight]
It was so, so cold.
Draco shivered, miserable, and tried to pull his damp robes tighter around him.
He was lying, curled up in a ball, behind a stack of crates in the owlery, exposed to the wind and the drizzle, where he'd been writing, past curfew, to his father. The steady hooting of the owls was keeping him painfully awake, but he couldn't risk wandering the castle to find somewhere quieter, or warmer, or dryer, not if he didn't want to risk getting caught and escorted back to the Slytherin common room.
If that happened… he'd for sure wake up in the hospital wing. He didn't want that to happen.
How had Potter been looking so damn cheerful this morning?
Draco rolled over, trying and failing to get comfortable on the straw he'd gathered from around the floor. It was just so cold and he couldn't stop shivering. His normally immaculate blond hair was messed up beyond recognition.
He fought back tears, but it was hard.
He was a Malfoy, this kind of thing wasn't supposed to happen. How had things spiraled out of control so fast? He'd only been at Hogwarts two days, and already he'd been exiled from his house and forced to live in the… in the droppings and the dirt, like a… like a… oh Merlin this was how muggles lived wasn't it? In the muck and the dirt.
Draco started quietly sobbing as the realization pile-drived into him.
And the fight with his classmates… afterwards everything had been… terrifying.
Walking around the castle had felt like he was prey walking in the jungle. He kept expecting predators wearing green trimmed robes to leap out at him from around every corner.
Dinner had been a nightmare.
All the other Slytherins had been looking at him, glancing at him, whispering about him. They couldn't do anything in the public space of the great hall, but the general mood had been clear.
He'd sat at the very edge of the table, and had been the first to make a break for the exit after eating the smallest and shortest dinner he'd ever eaten in his life.
The sobbing and shivering continued, interspersed with the occasional hiccup and sniff.
"What are you doing here?"
Draco jumped, startled, his heart beating so hard he could feel it in his throat.
There, stood a lone figure, face concealed by the shadows of the owlery, holding a beautiful white snowy owl.
- W:PSBPnIoFP -
A/N: Day three will probably start uploading two weeks from now. It generally takes me quite a long time to let all the different strands of the story cook before I can weave them into a piece of work I can be sort-of-happy with, and damn, I am really mixing metaphors there.