He came, at some point, flashing into existence like a shooting star.
He was an oddity. A singularity? Despite his usual-childlike behavior— befitting of his apparent age— he was...
Harry didn't know quite how to describe it. The pink-haired, bright-eyed child always seemed so far off, like his mind wasn't at Hogwarts, wasn't even on Earth. It was like it was beyond, in the stars. And it must've been, since he always took any chance to look at the sky.
Those bright blue eyes would turn wistful, staring with a thousand-lightyear stare, older— far older— than he looked.
Tapping him on the shoulder though, he would turn right around with a beaming grin, every bit the child he seemed.
He was introduced to them mid-November, well into the school year. Students were well-settled in by then, well-accustomed to the moving staircases, boisterous paintings, and nonsensical teachers. They settled into their daily routine of hating Snape (if they weren't a snake at least) and traversing from one end of the castle to the other.
After a weary day of forgettable schoolwork and lessons, they all clustered towards the Great Hall, where dinner called with promises of comfort and joy.
And there dinner was, laying tantalizingly on the four long tables. Up at the head table, professors conversed amicably— except for Snape, who was rather… annoyed?
Normally, seeing Snape annoyed was nothing new. Except, hello, there was a pink-haired child next to him.
With bright pink hair. Glaringly so, standing out in the neutral earthy tones of the castle like a sore thumb.
The students were curious, but went to their respective tables and seats anyways.
Harry, Ron and Hermione all exchanged a few whispered speculations about the child, though each of Ron's seemed less realistic than the last.
"What if he's an alien?" Ron said, Harry furrowing his eyebrows and narrowing his eyes in skepticism.
"Don't be silly, Ron," Hermione immediately shot back. Before she could open her mouth to explain though, the sound of a spoon tapping a goblet resounded through the hall, and the students' heads turned to the front, where Dumbledore stood.
"Erhem," Dumbledore began. "I hope you have been enjoying your supper, students! I apologize that I must interrupt, but it is my pleasure to announce that Hogwarts will be playing host for a short time!"
He made a gesture, large sleeves of his robes billowing as he pointed towards the pink-haired child.
As if on cue, the child shot the room a brilliant smile and jumped over the table— wow, he was nimble— to stand beside Dumbledore.
He was easily dwarfed by the tall old headmaster, but— probably because of his ostentatious pink clothes— he commanded the entire hall's attention.
"Hiya!" he exclaimed, face lit with enthusiasm and excitement. "I'm Kirby." He stated this with absolution, like it was a simple fact of the universe that everyone knew.
"Now," Dumbledore said, "feel free to return to your suppers, please."
With that anticlimactic end, both of them walked around the head table back to their spots, Kirby jumping and half-skipping the way back.
That told them basically nothing.
The hall erupted with chatter.
They found pretty early on that Kirby liked to hang around Snape.
For what reason, Harry couldn't fathom for the life of him.
Though, he did have to admit it was pretty funny to watch. The duality of Kirby's bubbly bright personality right next to the sulking mass of edge himself, Snape, was ridiculously comical.
It wasn't rare to find Kirby sitting in a stool next to the Potions professor's desk, sometimes simply watching, sometimes pestering the man with all sorts of questions.
"Hey, hey, hey, Mr. Snape, what does the goat liver do for the potion? Why goat? Why not… chicken? Goats are cute, that's sad," was one such example that had Harry's eyebrow raised when he walked into the room.
He had to admit he smirked when Snape pinched his nosebridge and took a long, deep, suffering breath, before drawling, "leave. Me. Alone."
Kirby didn't, and Snape's fingers seemed to twitch with the urge to drag the boy out himself, but he stayed his hand. Kirby smiled softly and widely, but his mouth remained shut for the next hour-long class period.
Snape simply sighed, going about class as he would, an absolute grump.
Harry did not that he took 30 more points off from Gryffindor than usual.
Kirby walked in through the door to the transfiguration classroom at the same time as him, Ron and Hermione. It was somehow odd to see him in another class besides Snape's. Had he been kicked out? Harry mentally snickered at the thought.
"Ah, Kirby," McGonagall walked up to them. "Have you finally decided to stop with Severus?" She seemed somewhat fond, if the small smile on her usually stoic face was anything to go by.
Kirby responded with a resigned smile. "'Course not! He kicked me out."
Oh, Harry had been spot on.
McGonagall sighed. "And you decided to come here why?"
Kirby grinned. "Just to watch! Don't worry, I'll be quiet!"
Harry, Ron and Hermione took their respective seats, bewildered over the conversation. But soon class began, and thoughts of the child were quickly pushed back in favor of figuring out how to transfigure a pincushion from a rock.
Harry couldn't help but look over his shoulder at the boy, whose wide blue eyes twinkled with mirth and curiosity— not unlike Dumbledore, now that Harry thought about it.
But he could be quiet when he wished, Harry found, as he observed the class without partaking in any activities. Harry wondered if he'd even be able to do so; Kirby was younger than even them, after all.
He had to stop looking over his shoulder at Kirby ten minutes before class ended, lest he fail to complete the task by the end of class.
Thoughts of the enigma known as Kirby faded from Harry's mind as he went through Hogwarts, trying his best. It was his first year, after all, and Quidditch matches were already beginning.
Then he began to pour himself into the mystery that was Snape, Quirrell, and whatever they were talking about.
What a year it had become.
It was a month or two later when the doors to the Great Hall burst open with enough force that they almost slammed open… somehow. The doors were large and heavy, whoever was behind it had to have been a giant of a person.
The students' heads snapped to the entrance, where instead, a red-headed person stood. Short, but about the height of a fourth-year, they supposed. An orange outfit, a blue bandana, a cream-white scarf and alarmed brown eyes were all they could register before the person rushed to the head table in a flurry.
Kirby, they noticed, had gone stock-still, sitting dumbfounded in his chair as the person leaned over the table.
"Kirby! C'mon, we need to go!" the person exclaimed, grabbing the child's arm.
"Eh? Wait, wait, Dee!" Kirby protested even as he jumped over the table smoothly like he had on the first night, taking large steps to catch up with the person's larger strides. "Explain!"
Dee turned around. "Later, not here. But it's urgent and we need you there!"
Kirby's confusion turned into determination with a resolute nod and the two of them made their way out the front door, running.
The students were left in the Great Hall, extremely confused.
Harry didn't know what possessed him to do this. Perhaps curiosity over Kirby? Curiosity over why a seemingly normal child would be so urgently needed?
So, yes, he had followed Kirby and his friend Dee out of the castle, Ron and Hermione beside him. And dang, they ran fast. Harry just barely managed to keep them in sight as they turned the corner to a more discreet part of Hogwarts.
Harry cursed that he didn't have the invisibility cloak readily on hand, so they weren't able to sneak closer to hear better.
They made it just barely to catch the end of the panicked conversation.
" — dark matter? But I thought—"
"We all thought so too, don't be so sad. More than that, Dedede—"
"You have got to be kidding me; again? What's Meta doing?"
"Preparing the fleet. We still need you there though."
Kirby sighed. "'Kay, understood. Did you bring a ship, or…?"
"Of course, how else would I have gotten here? It's somewhere in the forest."
Kirby nodded, and the two ran down the hill towards the Forbidden Forest.
Harry's stomach twisted uncomfortable. He didn't want to follow them there, but also… what were they talking about? It must've been something, but that conversation only gave him more questions.
"Blimey, mate!" Ron exclaimed, now that Kirby and Dee were gone. "What was that about?"
Harry didn't know. He felt a tug on his sleeve, turning to find a frowning Hermione.
"C'mon Harry, class is starting soon."
He turned back; he really wanted to see what was up though… that raised more questions than it answered. Why was the presence of a child such as Kirby required? And what ship were they talking about? How could someone hide a ship in a forest? Ships went on water didn't they?
Though Harry considered it wasn't out of the realm of possibility considering some of the things he'd seen magic do.
Hermione's tug on his robe sleeve pulled him from his meandering mind.
"For now, it's not hurting us or the school, whatever this is," Hermione reasoned. "We do need to go back though, and rest assured I will be going to the library for this as soon as possible."
"How is it possible that not a single thing about the phrase 'dark matter' appears in the libary? It's even an astronomical term in the muggle world, right?"
That was how the enigma known as Kirby first came and went. He flashed into existence like a shooting star, leaving a brilliant trail of confused students behind him, and simply disappeared.
He faded from their minds shortly, thoughts whirlpooling around the mystery of the Philosopher's stone.
Kirby returned next next year, looking much the same as he had before.
"Hiya!" he said to the crowd on the first day, during the entrance ceremony and feast. "I'm Kirby."