Chapter 5- Reflections and a New Friend
It had been a few weeks since Harry's meeting with Daphne, a meeting that resulted in him storming out of the kitchens, leaving behind a stunned room of elves and a gasping blonde, and he now found himself wandering the castle once more, in the general area of the school's library, an area of the castle that contained a multitude of unused classrooms, mixed with a number of classrooms reserved for NEWT and OWL student use in both studies and tests.
He slowly strode down the corridor he was in, hand trailing along the wall, running across the stone of the castle and the wood of the occasional door, before he eventually came to a stop at a door that was open by the tiniest of margins, and upon pushing it open further, he was able to see the room it led to.
It appeared to be a standard unused classroom, one of many that littered the halls of the old castle. It's furniture stacked by the walls, a slight layer of dust covering everything except for a small circle in the center of the room, the dust free area encircled a large mirror, its frame a stunning gold, engraved with some strange words, and clawed feet that held it off the floor slightly. Harry stepped into the classroom, walking along dust covered stones until he reached the mirror, taking in its unnatural beauty.
"Erised stra ehru oyt ube cafru oyt on wohsi" he muttered, fingers tracing the strange words as he read them aloud, before stepping back and looking into the mirror, gasping out in shock as he did.
In it he saw the man he saw in his visions, and older version of himself, he realised, but this one was not cackling in madness, his clothes immaculate as normal, his hair framing his face in waves of red, slightly longer than his hair now, topped by a crown of gold leaves. His face was covered in a slight layer of stubble, not a beard, but just enough to darken his lower face a fraction.
His features were still pale, unlike the tanned man that stood behind him, the bald man had a hand on his shoulder, a small smile on his ancient features, and with a start, Harry realised just who was in the mirror with him.
His whispered words caused the ethereal reflection to nod his head, pointed beard moving with his head, drawing the student's attention to the locket that hung on a chain around his neck, emblazoned with a snake in the form of a stylised S. Continuing his examination of his older self, he took in the sight of a strange sword, that looked to be made of crystal, in the grip of his reflection, point embedded in the floor, hands resting atop it, and the slight colouration around his wrists, a strange combination of emerald and silver, a tattoo perhaps?
He noticed a ring on the reflections hand, a silver band, that looked to be a snake, wrapped around a finger, its jaws opened wide to hold an emerald. He couldn't place where he knew the items from, just that they felt familiar to him, as if they were a part of him, they called for him to come to them, and even through the barrier of the mirror, he could feel the power that radiated off the items.
He reached a hand out to touch the mirror, it's pull too strong for him to resist, the tantalising whispers of the promise of power drawing him in. Tendrils of energy slithering towards him as he got closer to the mirror, but as he was but seconds away from making contact with the artifact, a wrinkled hand grabbed his wrist in a firm grip. Spinning towards the person that held him, fist raised, Harry was stunned to see the headmaster standing beside him and peering into his eyes as if seeing through him, looking past his slate irises and into his very soul. Shuddering at the odd feeling, Harry broke eye contact with the venerable wizard, and the feeling retreated instantly, whatever link had been forming was shattered as he did so.
"Harry my boy, out for another adventure I see."
"Yes sir, sorry sir."
"Fear not Harry, no points shall be taken today, nor any detentions awarded, it was my oversight that allowed this to happen after all."
"What do you mean sir?"
"Ahh, I have been studying this mirror, curious as it is, in order to change how it works somewhat, and in a slight oversight I appear to have left the door unlocked as I left for lunch and a small break from my studies."
The headmaster's bright blue eyes twinkled in the perpetual joy that he seemed to radiate, and Harry averted his eyes, a small part of his mind urging him away from maintaining eye contact.
"May I ask what it is you see Harry?"
Harry was silent for a long moment at the question, thinking about what he should say to the headmaster, a dull throb in his head sharpening with every thought of speaking the truth.
"I see my parents behind me, they're proud of me, and I'm wearing the Head Boy badge sir."
The old wizard smiled benevolently at the young Slytherin, blue eyes crinkling as he did so.
"A happy sight indeed my boy, and I hope that it becomes reality, now, off you trot, I must be back to working on it, and I must ask that you do not come looking for the mirror again, it will soon be moved, and it does not do to dwell on dreams."
"Of course sir, but may I ask, what do you see when you look in the mirror?"
Having turned to leave, Harry was unable to see the brief flash of pain that crossed Dumbledore's face, and he waited at the door for a reply.
"I myself see a thick pair of woolly socks."
"Woolly socks sir?"
"Indeed my boy, one can never have enough thick socks, don't you agree?"
"Of course sir, goodbye sir."
With that, Harry exited the room, the image of what the mirror had shown him burned into his mind as he pondered the meaning of what he had seen.
'What does it all mean?'
He was bathed in darkness, no light to illuminate the area around him, and muted voices spoke around him, but no matter how hard he tried he couldn't make out what they were saying. His body was cramped, aches and pains covered him from head to toe and he could feel something pressing in on his body and on his mind, the pressure was uncomfortable but not to the point of pain. He wasn't sure how long he was in the darkness, but it seemed to go on for an age, and as light flooded the darkness, he gasped out, breathing deeply, and then he woke up.
His body was drenched in sweat, the covers soaked as a result, fumbling for his wand, Harry mumbled out the word tempus as he gave a lazy wave of his focus, and a weak glimmer arranged itself into the time, and Harry groaned in a rare display of irritation at what it showed.
He grumbled under his breath as he stumbled out of bed and into the adjoining shower and toilet, emerald flames flaring into a dim existence as he gave his wand another wave, the room being illuminated enough to see, but not enough to irritate his eyes as most bright lights did after sleeping, and provided a slight relief against the suddenly constricting darkness.
Shuffling over to the shower, Harry undressed before stepping under the showerhead and running the water, fingers scrubbing at his face as the cool liquid drenched his body in its chill, the cool weather not helping the temperature, but it provided a sharp wake up for the still tired child. After a few minutes the water warmed, the heating charms coming into effect as he started to wash off the sweat after the nights dream. Few dreams that he had were as intense as that, and not even a fraction as draining mentally. He often dreamt of fantastical adventures, and large creatures that would plague the nightmares of many an adult, but they always held a barrier between him and the events, this was startling in its clarity, and he still felt echoes of the pressure that had ensconced his mind and body.
Letting the warm water wash the soap from him, Harry sighed out as he braced his arms against the stone wall of the castle for a minute before turning the water off and drying himself off. Wrapping the towel around his waist, he thought for a moment before calling out.
A pop sounded in the bathroom as the tiny elf appeared in the usual fashion of house elves.
"What can Dipsys be doing for you Mister Potty?"
Her already large eyes widened further as she took in the sight before her, the half naked student chuckling at both her reaction and the name she had given him, Daphne was right about the whole name issue if nothing else.
"I was just wondering if you could start to prepare a meal for me in the kitchens please? I'll be down as soon as I'm dressed."
"Of course Mister Potty! Dipsy is happy to serve, but Mister Potty should really be getting dressed before calling Dipsy."
"My apologies Dipsy, I wasn't thinking, I won't do it again, I promise."
His soft smile was returned with a glare and the diminutive creature's scowling face.
"That be what you said last time, and the time before that!"
He simply smiled harder at her when she said that, and gave a small shrug.
The elf popped away without a word, and Harry gave another chuckle at her action.
§You're an idiot§
After a fairly lengthy breakfast down in the Hogwarts kitchens, Harry continued to search for Rowena's room, which, according to a footnote in the book, had been coined the Room of Requirement, due to its unique properties of being able to conjure items the user needs, as well as resize itself. While it noted that things could not be taken from the room if they were made in it, they could if they already existed. What the book did not have, however, was the location of the room, which infuriated the young Slytherin to no end.
After an hour and a half of pointless searching, Harry realised it was time for his first class of the day, and with a muttered curse at his inability to find the room, he trudged off to Defence Against the Dark Arts, and his utterly incompetent teacher.
Upon reaching the classroom, Harry was accosted by his brother, whose hand had grabbed the front of his robes and dragged him closer.
"What do you want Charlus?"
Harry's bored tone seemed to only irritate his older sibling, who pushed him back with a disgusted look on his face.
"I don't want anything, our mother does however."
"Mum? What about her?"
"She's worried about you, being stuck with all those snakes, and all the other death eaters in training. She told me to keep an eye on you, god only knows what she would do if something happened to her favourite child."
The last sentence had almost been spat out, and Harry could see the anger in his brother's eyes.
"Well brother, thank you for your care, but I'm fine, and I will let our mother know as such, but in the meantime, do keep your hands off me."
And with that he brushed off the hand that still lightly held his robes and continued into the classroom, but his brother had to get the last word in, as always.
"I knew you'd be a Slytherin, just waiting to go bad aren't you? You disgust me Harry!"
Quirrell's lesson for the day involved an extreme focus on the characteristics of trolls, their physiology and defence against them, this confused a fair few of the students as trolls weren't to be covered until the end of the year, but they shrugged it off as just another quirk of their defence teacher, and Harry was inclined to agree with them.
"A-a-and as yo-you can s-s-see, trolls are par-particularly r-r-resistant to magic o-of a-a-all t-types, this i-i-is due t-t-to their s-s-skin. W-when f-f-fighting a t-troll, if you c-c-can't esc-escape, it is b-b-best to u-use a ph-ph-physical weapon c-c-capable of cut-cutting th-th-through the troll's s-s-skin, or c-c-causing in-internal d-d-damage. Your h-h-homework will b-b-be f-five in-inches on th-th-the char-characteristics of a t-t-troll, and an-another five o-on how to esc-escape one, d-due next l-lesson. C-c-class dismissed."
With his lecture finished, the class scrambled to leave, but as he was about to walk through the door he was stopped by his teacher.
"Ah, M-mister P-p-potter, a w-word please?"
Looking around to see that Charlus had already left and that Quirrell could only have been talking to him he turned to face the turban wearing professor.
"Ah, I man-managed t-t-to over-overhear you an-and your b-b-brother before class. I w-w-was w-wondering if ev-everything was o-okay?"
"Oh, yes sir, it's quite fine, Charlus and I have never quite gotten on is all."
"I s-see, well i-if th-there's anything I can d-d-do, d-don't h-hesitate to a-ask Mister P-potter."
"Of course sir, thank you for the offer, I'll be sure to take you up on it if need be. I'd best be off, I have a class to get to after all."
"O-of c-c-course Mister P-potter, g-g-good d-day."
And with a small wave goodbye, which the professor returned, Harry turned and left the room, followed by Quirell's sharp eyes.
The next day was extreme in its colouring, the normal black, silver and green of the Slytherin common room and dorms was replaced by bright orange, flames, banners and decorations were all replaced in colour. Halloween. Harry groaned, he would no doubt be interrupted in his search for the Room of Requirement once again to partake in the festivities of a day that meant nothing to him. Harry held no doubts however, that Charlus would be soaking up all the worship from the student body like it was what sustained him.
After quickly showering and getting dressing, Harry picked up the letter he had written for his mother and sister, which he realised with a substantial amount of guilt, that was the first he would send back home after arriving at Hogwarts, so it was a fairly lengthy letter. Exiting the common room in order to head to the owlery, Harry passed the Malfoy heir, giving him a small nod of acknowledgement which the blonde returned.
His relationship with his fellow Slytherin was an odd one, they certainly weren't friends by any stretch of the imagination, but they had an odd sort of agreement. The I won't bother you if you don't bother me sort. And they managed to get on well enough as a result. Harry did, however, pointedly ignore Daphne as he swept past her, her mouth opening slightly before she shut it with an audible click, and Harry managed to catch Draco speaking as he left the common room.
"What's with you and Potter, Greengrass?"
He was unable to hear her response as the door closed behind him, and he shook the thought from his head as he continued on his way up to the owlery.
It was after that day's lesson of Transfiguration that something truly odd happened to Harry. He was making his way from McGonagall's classroom to the kitchens for a light snack before heading to the library to study when he was bowled over and tangled with another person while turning the corner, his usually graceful form being thrown out the window as he dropped under the weight of another person, arms flailing in a failed attempt to stave off the inevitable fall.
The pair of students fell to the floor with a loud thud, followed closely by a pair of pained groans, and a very feminine gasp of surprise. Blinking in surprise, Harry looked at the individual who had run headfirst into him only to see a bushy head of hair that looked extremely familiar, but he couldn't put his finger on where exactly. After another moment, Harry realised the girl was sobbing into his robe and repeatedly apologising.
"I get that you're sorry and all, but could you please let me up, the stones aren't exactly comfortable."
"Oh! I'm so sorry!"
The girl scrambled off of him, her bushy hair flying around as she almost fell again in her hurry to get off Harry. Groaning in effort as he rose, Harry steadied himself on the wall and looked at the human cannonball that had charged headfirst into him.
"You're Hermione right? Hermione Granger?"
The young Gryffindor looked at him closely, eyes squinting in concentration, before shaking her head.
"Yes I am, I'm sorry, have we met before?"
"We have. I'm Harry Potter, we met on the Hogwarts Express."
Her mouth transformed into an oh shape as a look of recognition flashed across her face before she let out a small sniffle and wiped the tear tracks off her face and her slightly puffed up eyes.
"Is everything okay Miss Granger?"
She managed to sob out the two words before collapsing into a fresh round of tears, flinging herself into the gobsmacked Slytherin's arms and letting the waterworks soak into his cloak.
"You want to talk about it?"
The only response he got was a slight shake of her head and the shedding of even more tears, giving an internal sigh, Harry led her towards the nearest bathroom, intent on letting her clean up a little while also trying to pry just what happened out of the young muggleborn.
Harry's eye had developed a twitch over the course of the past few hours listening to a sobbing girl who managed to get about a word out every minute because she was too busy crying. Luckily for him, a seventh year Hufflepuff with bright pink hair had walked into the bathroom and forced him to leave, some Tonks or something rather.
"-made her go running off crying like a baby!"
Rounding the corner to the main entrance only to hear his brother boasting about making a girl cry to a group of giggling girls and chuckling boys, Harry schooled his features before confronting the group.
"And who would this most deserving person be, oh brother of mine?"
"That uppity know it all Granger of course. Who does she think she is, trying to outdo the real wizards and witches in this school?"
"Ahh I see, trying to maintain the status quo are you? How positively...Slytherin of you."
Harry almost lost his composure at the mix of emotions that played out on his brother's face, the rage mixed with indignation was an extremely amusing combo, and not a very attractive one at that. He did, however, pause as he took in just who his brother was surrounding himself with. It was a group of students ranging from first years all the way to third years, and Harry cursed himself for missing that fact, he was completely outmatched if it came to a wizard style of confrontation.
"How dare you?! You-you slimy git of a brother!"
Charlus' strangled words were immediately followed by the drawing of wands, first by the Boy-Who-Lived, and then by those who stood behind him, and then finally by Harry, who was starting to sweat slightly at what he was facing, not that he gave any outward sign of what he was thinking. That wouldn't be very Slytherin of him after all.
Readying his wand as the Gryffindors opposite him did the same, Harry's mind raced, the tactic he had used against the Malfoy heir on the Express wouldn't work in his favour here, there was too many people and only one of him. His palms moistened as he realised how desperate his situation was, he had jumped headfirst into a confrontation he had no chance of coming out on top of. With a small mental chuckle Harry realised something.
'Jumping into a situation like that, what a Gryffindor thing to do'
He was saved from his thoughts by someone he most certainly did not expect to appear.
"Well well, what do we have here?"
The slow and condescending drawl was as iconic as the owner's platinum blonde hair and aristocratic features. Harry was never happier to see Draco than at that point in time, and he very quickly realised that the Malfoy heir was not alone to support him. The blonde, flanked by his usual stooges Crabbe and Goyle, was also supported by the seven members of the Slytherin quidditch team, most notably the captain, Marcus Flint who looked like he'd had his face smacked repeatedly by a troll for being too ugly even by troll standards. The team plus Malfoy and co all had their wands drawn as they fell in behind Harry.
"Nothing to involve yourself in Malfoy" Charlus spat the blonde's name with so much venom Harry was surprised that there wasn't any actual venom flying from his mouth. "Just having a little discussion about that mudblood Granger"
Silenced reigned as everyone, Slytherin and Gryffindor students alike stared at the Wizarding World's Saviour, and he blanched when he realised what he had said.
"I didn't mean-"
"Didn't mean what, Mister Potter?"
Charlus' already paled face became even paler, if such a thing was possible, when he heard the cold Scottish voice cut through what he was about to say. He whirled around, fumbling to put his wand away as he met the stern face of his head of house, whose face looked so hard that rock could be broken on it.
"Professor McGonagall! I uh..."
Her raised eyebrow cause him to stop talking, whatever he would have said being lost to the ears of those around him. Her voice was colder than the chilly Scottish weather that the students found themselves in this time of year, and her appearance caused the Gryffindors around him to slowly edge away from the eldest Potter, their fear of the deputy headmistress outweighing their will to support the most popular boy in the school.
"That will be fifty points from Gryffindor, a weeks detention with me and a notice shall be sent to your parents. I'm sure your mother will be quite impressed with your behaviour Mister Potter."
With that, the aged witch turned and stepped into the Great Hall, robes billowing out behind her in a fashion similar to the Slytherin potions teacher. Stunned, Charlus' fellow house members abandoned him and followed their head of house into the Great Hall. As the others left, the Slytherins turned their eyes to the lone remaining Gryffindor, faces wearing wide grins, before Harry started chuckling as he strode towards his brother, putting his wand away as he did.
Clapping his brothers shoulder, Harry smiled in honest amusement before walking off to join the feast, his good mood returning with a vengeance.
"Think you might just need to reevaluate who, between the two of us, is waiting to go bad brother."
Harry sat at the Slytherin table in the Great Hall as he served himself a small amount of dessert, a normally uncommon occurrence for him, but as it was halloween he decided to treat himself a bit.
§Blood of my blood. A creature is loose in the castle.§
Harry's eyes widened at the voice's statement, almost choking on his food as he did so. Garnering a few looks from his fellow Slytherins, he hid his mouth behind his hand and hissed a response as quietly as he could.
§What?! What creature?!§
§A troll. Abominable and dimwitted creatures that they are, its wandering around the first floor now§
All of a sudden, the doors to the Great Hall burst open as the turban wearing defence professor came running in.
"TROOOLL! TROOOLL IN THE DUNGEONS! Thought you ought to know."
And with that he passed out, paving the way for chaos to follow his words, children screaming in horror, food abandoned in preference of yelling loudly. A loud booming interrupted the commotion, the Headmaster stood with his wand raised, sonorus charm already cast on himself as his voice filled the room.
"Prefects, please lead the students to their dormitories. The teachers and I will search for the creature, in the meantime do not wander off."
'Is he daft?! Our dorm is in the dungeons!'
Harry's mind raced at that thought.
§The creature is near the first floor bathroom. It can sense the students in their somehow, by smell or sound I cannot say.§
§One younger one with bushy hair, the other is older with pink hair. What an odd choice.§
The redhead's face paled at what the voice told him. Hermione and the Hufflepuff, Tonks, were about to meet a troll, and not in controlled circumstances either. Considering his options, he came to a quick conclusion. The teachers had left and the prefects were busy following their orders from the Headmaster, not only would telling them cause a panic, but it would also raise the question of just how he knew where the troll and children were. Swearing he turned to Draco, who was sitting next to him and looking as if he were about to wet his pants if Harry was reading the look on his face correctly.
"Cover for me!"
"Huh? What are you- Harry!"
The blonde's whispered words were lost on the younger Potter brother as he dashed off towards the bathrooms, mingling with other students to avoid suspicion before breaking off to find the two students praying that it wasn't already too late.
He arrived to a scene of disaster.
The door to the bathroom was completely off its hinges, the magically strengthened stones surrounding it were chipped and cracked, and some had even been turned to dust and ripped out of the wall. That was nothing compared to the bathroom itself though, shards of wood and porcelain lay in pools of water, and spells flew from the Hufflepuff's wand as she constantly dodged the clumsy yet powerful blows of the troll. Hermione lay under the sinks, bleeding from the head but Harry could see the small rise and fall of her chest even in her unconscious state.
"I'll distract it! Get her out of here!"
"Don't be stupid, you get her!"
"I wouldn't be able to lift her, you get her!"
"Oh for God's sa-"
The pinkette was cut off as the club of the large creature clipped her side, Harry unwittingly providing the distraction it needed. The girl was sent flying into the wall and the troll lumbered after her, club scraping across the wet stone of the bathroom. Eyes wide in horror, Harry tried to think of what he could do to distract the troll.
He started flicking stinging hexes at it and a slew of low powered jinxes and hexes to try and get its attention. Tickling, jelly legs, body binds and even a cutting curse was sent flying at the large creature in his desperation. None of them were strong enough to have any actual effect on the troll, but they did do what he wanted, that being gaining its attention. But he now had no idea what to do with it.
His left hand found its way to the coiled snake in his pocket, the flame and the void being called to his mind. And as he registered the creatures large burst of speed, allowing it to reach him in record time, the nagging in his mind changed from a small tickle to a lance of white hot pain, and he grabbed at it, but it slipped through his fingers like grains of sand.
The troll's club slammed into him, and the pain in his mind was like a candle compared to the sun, pain erupting from his side as he coughed out blood, only to cry out in pain once more when he hit the wall, damaging the other side of his chest. His left arm was broken, laying out beside him, but the eyes of the snake in his hand started glowing with an arcane light as he managed to grab onto the strange feeling in his mind.
His senses sharpened, the world exploded into deep, sharp colours that made him feel as if he were truly seeing for the first time in his life. Eyes gazing around the room, he saw Tonks looking at him in shock, the troll moving closer as tears trailed down her face, unable to move on her seemingly damaged leg. His eyes were drawn to the windows, and, seeing the flashes of lightning illuminating the nights sky, hearing the rumbling of thunder, he dropped his wand and reached for it, fingers grasping at non existent threads.
Suddenly he was filled with energy, the feeling pushing his body to the limit. He felt as if he were about to burst at the seams, eldritch energy suffusing every part of his body, and as the pain reached unbearable levels he screamed in agony. Then as suddenly as it had come, the energy vanished from his body, leaving him feeling drained beyond measure. Then in a flash of light, searing pain and a booming noise, Harry knew no more.
AN: Hey guys! Sorry for the long absence, had a fair few things happening lately which limited how much I could get done on this, but I'm back for now, and hopefully it will stay like this. However, as an apology for the time it took to come back to you guys, you get a double length chapter! Hooray! Anyways, tell me what you guys think in the comments, chuck us some constructive criticism if it suits you and I hope you enjoyed the chapter. Arhan out.