A/N: I'm back finally. It's been a ride I don't have to tell you guys but I've got this chapter finished and next chapter as well mostly. It just needs some editing and a name. I'm working on writing at least 200 words a day so I may or may not have chapter 17 out soon. I'm also working on a project of my own but that's still in the outlining stage. I digress. On with the story!
November 22nd 11:55 am
Harry was sitting with Neville in Defense Against the Dark Arts, fighting through his pounding headache from what he could only assume was from listening to Professor Quirrell's stutter. The notes he had barely filled one notebook page. He decided a month in to ask Sirius to owl him some notebooks and ballpoint pens. Harry felt the quills and parchment were outdated though he still had to turn in homework on scrolls of parchment despite his protesting.
Just then the bell rang causing his head to throb, but he pushed through it and began stuffing his things into his bag and moving to the door on autopilot. He was out the door when his headache had eased up a bit when he heard his name being called.
"Harry, wait up," Neville ran up to him. "I called you like five times. You get another headache again?"
"Yeah. It's fine now. Maybe it's my brain rebelling against being in the same room as that stuttering excuse of a teacher," Harry half joked.
Neville looked unimpressed, "You should go to Madam Pomphery anyway."
"You always say that," Harry huffed and began walking to lunch, taking various shortcuts he'd learned from the map.
Neville followed after him, "And you never listen. Please just this once and I won't ask you again."
"No. I'm fine. I'm probably just hungry," Harry reasoned.
They neared the main stairs and made their way down. The wide double doors were open and they could hear the clamor of students two flights up. As the walked through they looked at each of the tables, then made a beeline for Slytherin table where they saw their friends grouped at the end closest to the teachers table just in case some Slytherins tried anything.
They sat down and greeted their friends at the table, Fred and Tracy were sitting next to each other talking while George was sitting next to Wanye speaking but not being heard presumably because of a silencing charm. Likely talking about some prank or another. Harry was too busy with homework to be bothered with pranking. Daphne, Luna, and Hermione were all talking about something but stopped mid sentence as they sat down.
"Hello, Neville and Harry," Luna said dreamily. Daphne and Hermione echoed the greeting.
"Hey, how was transfiguration?" Neville asked. He was dreadful at it no matter how hard he tried.
"It wasn't too bad. She'll probably have you be transfiguring rats into goblets," Hermione said.
"Ugh Quirrell's class is such a drag. Harry, are you okay? I noticed you seemed out of it," Daphne asked.
"He got another headache."
"What? They're not stupid if I hadn't said it they'd have still figured it out."
"Thank you, Neville," Luna said. "Professor Quirell is infested with hummingsnatchers."
Harry looked at her inquisitively. He noticed a film on her eyes dissipating as he looked over. She caught his eye and gave a tiny shrug. It seemed she knew she was caught out.
"Um, okay. Harry you should really go to Madam Pomphery," Daphne said.
"Don't bother, he's not going to listen," Neville said.
The rest of the group had heard most of the conversation and were all staring at Harry.
"Fine. I'll go. When she finds nothing, you guys better shut up about it."
Harry pushed his half eaten lunch away and made for the doors. He went up the stairs to the 3rd Floor where the hospital wing is and pushed one of the doors open. He looked around and saw no one. He made his way to the back assuming that's where the matron of this sick bay would have an office. Sure enough he heard a door open and the witch in question came out.
"Hello, Mr. Potter. Are you hurt?"
"Not hurt so much as I keep getting headaches in DADA class. They always seem to go away after I leave so I don't see what the big deal is."
Poppy Pomphery said nothing. She pulled out her wand and did a few scans. She looked mildly concerned and did some more scans. With each scan, her worry increased. Finally she cast a spell that shot a silver falcon which flew off. A few moments pass when, Dumbledore and Mcgonagall walk in.
"This boy needs St. mungos now."
Albus and Minerva froze in their tracks.
"What's wrong with me?" Harry demanded.
Madam Pomphery hesitated and looked at Minerva, at her nod she spoke, "You show signs of being legilimized. There is also a high concentration of dark magic attached to that scar of yours."
"What's legilimized?" Harry asked.
"It is a form of mind magic only few are capable of doing. It allows one to force their way inside someone else's mind and view their memories," Dumbldore explained. "Used inappropriately, especially on the minds of the young have the potential to cause irreparable brain damage. Seeing as you seem to be in possession of your faculties I believe you should be fine but perhaps you should get looked at all the same."
"I completely forgot about it until now, but when I was sorted the Hat, Stitch, told me I should get my scar looked at by my private instructors," Harry said attempting to be subtle.
"It's okay. All the staff know about Armak and the goblins," Mcgonagall said. "However I am extremely disappointed you did not pull me aside immediately after the sorting."
"Given the situation, perhaps the lecture can wait, Minerva?" Albus said somberly.
"Yes. You're right, of course," she looked at Harry then strode over to the lit fireplace. "Lets go. Enough time has been lost on this."
Harry merely nodded and grabbed a handful of the proffered Floo powder and threw it in the fire. He announced "Gringotts", stepped into the flames, and was gone in a flash of green.
Gringotts was busy as usual when two flashes of green and roars of flame appeared one right after the other. Minerva and her ward went unnoticed for all of a minute before someone caught sight of the Boy-Who-Lived and the whispers and stares started up. Harry did his best to ignore it which he found was becoming easier the more he did it. They weren't only noticed by wizards it seemed when a goblin Harry didn't recognize walked up to them and said, "This way Lord Potter."
They walked the familiar route to Garnak's office and once they reached the door Harry and Minerva both did the customary greetings with Bogrod as he introduced himself when asked. They opened up the doors and quickly repeated the greetings with Garnak before rushing right into the explanation of why they were there and the urgency of the matter. After being told the story and doing a scan of his own, Garnak summoned a runner to go down to the Warrens to inform the healers of the situation so they could prepare the proper rituals.
"Forgive me Garnak if I'm wrong, but it seems to me like you've dealt with this kind of magic before," Minerva stated. They were on the way down to the warrens after getting special permission for Minerva to go down with them this once.
"Indeed we have. You may not know this but before they were enslaved to wizard kind Elves were powerful and different than they look now. They had extensive knowledge of magic and were scattered across the globe. We goblins shared magic and knowledge with the Elves freely and vice versa. Between us we managed a way to store our essence in a container of sorts after death. A way of being with our families always. Then come the humans who have gradually learned to wield magic with the use of staves and wands. Of course we share our knowledge with them as well. Why not? Knowledge should be shared not hoarded.
We were foolish not to suspect whether some might abuse that knowledge. We, after all, are not a perfect people either, so when we found they'd perverted that soul magic to extend their life, we should not have been surprised."
"Soul magic. You don't mean to say-"
"-Harry Potter is a horcrux. Well, his scar is at any rate."
Harry was confused but he also could tell from their expressions whatever it was, wasn't good. "What's a horcrux?"
They both looked at him, thankfully the carts were automated or they might have been doomed.
"We'll explain after. We're almost there anyway," Garnak said. Sure enough they were able to make out the gem encrusted carved stone pillars that marked the Goblin's territory.
After they exited the cart it was a short walk to the ritual room which the healers were finishing preparing. It was a large unadorned, circular room, it's ceiling supported by at least a dozen square pillars all etched with runes indecipherable to both wizards in the room. In the center, four goblins stood chanting, on each side of a large altar with runes encircling the top edge. More runes seemed to fall from those at the top in a jagged pattern so that the unmarked stone looked like flames licking at the runes. The runes on the altar began to glow a rainbow of colors all at once as Harry drew near.
"Now for this to work you'll have to be completely conscious the entire time," Garnak said.
"Why?" Harry asked.
"Well, considering your scar is near your brain and heart, if we make a mistake or the soul decides to fight back, it can cause damage to your brain or heart. Damage that is repairable but only if we are aware of it immediately. Granted the scar isn't too near but it's near enough that it still poses a risk, even magic has its limits."
"How will you be able to tell?" Minerva asked fretfully.
"We placed a monitoring enchantment on the altar that will notify us before any potential damage is irreparable." This time it was one of the other goblins who answered; they all had stopped chanting at this point. "Now time is of the essence, these spells only last so long, on the altar if you would."
Harry complied as the five goblins formed a circle each on the point of a pentagram carved into the Floor. They pulled their blades out and began waving complex patterns. Two were actually swords, and one had a battleaxe. Minerva watched the one with the axe with fascination despite the situation. She, for Minerva had noticed the goblin was female, moved her axe in such a way that the long handle, blades, even the point at the top, matched the complex patterns being made by the swords and daggers.
After a while, a glow appeared originating from the pentagram on the ground, merging with the altar and glowing so bright Minerva had to shield her eyes. When it cleared, Harry was passed out with a dark glowing lump hovering over his head. Garnak pulled a small lump of unsmelted iron from his pocket and with his dagger directed the glowing mass to the iron. He then conjured a metal basin, stuck the iron in it, and poured a vial of something he pulled from another pocket. Immediately, it began to screech and then melt away.
Minerva watched all this happen in the span of a minute. She unfroze and ran to Harry's side.
"He is fine. This sleep was induced. His body and magic need to recover," the axe wielding goblin said. "Something you should know, though, he somehow absorbed some of the magic from the soul shard in him."
"What does that mean?" Garnak questioned. "I've never heard of that before."
"There also aren't many records of living creatures being horcruxes either," retorted another goblin. "And never in the case of a sentient magical being."
"So, Hirga, what will happen to him?" Garnak asked.
Hirga, the battleaxe wielding goblin, replied, "Who can say? He might gain a boost in magic. The magic could, for lack of a better description, dissolve in his system. He might even gain abilities he didn't have before. There's just no record of this."
"But it won't harm him at all?" Minerva asked, breaking her silence.
"No he's perfectly healthy now. In fact, with a little bit of scar salve applied regularly, by the time he's fully grown that scar should be gone if not near invisible."
"He'll be happy to learn about that. The only thing that might make him happier is if he could fix his eyes and not have to wear glasses," Minerva joked to try and relieve some tension.
"We can but it's better if his body's grown a bit more. Once he's gone through puberty the magic will affect him properly. Something about the hormones in all sentient beings matter with body altering spells," said one of the goblins who had wielded a sword.
"Really? I wonder if that's why you're supposed to wait until you get a NEWT in transfiguration before you're legally allowed to try to become an animagus. So no one attempts it before their body is mature enough." She speculated aloud. "I'm sorry. I lost my manners in my worry. What are all your names?"
The one who responded to McGonagall was called Brekan. He had a standard long sword. The other swordsman wielded a short sword that only had one sharp edge was a female called Rallin. The final goblin she was introduced to was Norden; he wielded a double edged dagger that looked triangular. She only just noticed the five goblins were wearing the same long robe looking things except they were made of scale. Dragon scale she guessed, though there were a lot of giant reptiles magical and mundane.
She noticed movement out of the corner of her eye and saw Harry waking up. She rushed over and held his hand as his eyes fluttered open.
"W-What happened? Did it work?" Harry asked.
"What's the last thing you remember? Do you know your name?" Hilga asked. Minerva determined she must be the head healer or some equivalent.
"Harry James Black Potter is my name. I remember you all chanting and then seeing a bright light all around me, and then I woke up."
"Good memory seems to be intact. Why don't you stand up so we can make sure there's no nerve damage."
As he stood he seemed a bit shaky but otherwise everything seemed normal. They had him cast a few basic spells next to see if there was a change but no one could tell a difference. The only thing they could do was wait and see if there was anything different. They eventually decided to head to the Manor for the weekend considering it was the end of the school week and any classes she or Harry had were long over. The first thing Harry wanted to do once he realized Quirrell was working for Voldemort was confront him but Minerva told him of Dumbledore's plan to have Quirrell lead them to Voldemort. Even going so far as to hiding a fake Philosopher's Stone in one of Dumbledore's personal vaults which he emptied for the deception. He was told of all the defenses that had been put in place with the exception of a copy the Mirror of Erised which will house the fake Stone and when the mirror is broken in frustration the fake Stone, which has several detectable and several undetectable tracking charms, will be revealed and taken to Voldemort. Harry had to admit it was a good plan. Sirius, who had come home from work near the beginning of Minerva's description of the plan, was not happy to learn Dumbledore had allowed a known supporter of Voldemort direct access to his godson; especially after learning of the mental attacks Harry said happened during classes with Quirrell. He was so furious he Flooed back to the ministry in the hopes that his boss was still at the office.