AN: Not really betaed, though I did my best to catch what I could (I'm glad to say that we escaped from a bacon/beacon mistake). Additionally, I finally pinpointed the motive behing a couple of problems I'm been having. The site doesn't seem to want to cooperate with nice linear separation (they just vanish), so I adopted the triple 0 thing. The more perplexing problem is that the site vanishes a particular word too. For those who wondered what the other password that Harry got the Map to accept, well it's the same horrendous word from Marry Poppins that has no meaning whatsoever. Harry was actually supposed to use it in chapter 15 but it vanished there too.

Anyway... check my profile if the magical classification is confusing or if you want to know how far the next chapter is.

I don't own anything.

000

Mumble. Rumble. Grumble. Stumble. Some random part of my unconscious takes that last sound and extrapolates that the probability of T being awake and near me is somewhere above the ninety percent mark. I tell it to shut up and let me sleep. Unfortunately, it doesn't look like it's up to either of us. "So, if seeing a glass as half full instead of half empty makes you an optimist, what are you when you say that someone is mostly dead instead of barely alive?" Random-unconscious-part-of-me tries to match the voice with the contents of my database. I ponder the possibility of obliviating that annoying portion of my psyche. "I guess it depends if you actually like the bastard…" Ok, scratch the sleeping thing, I felt oddly targeted just there. Time to join the living. I give a long, hard, groan, as per custom when coming out of any respectable adventure-induced coma. "Hey look who's joining the living! Wakey wakey sleepy head!"

I could so sue her for that (the plagiarism I mean. unfortunately, there's still no law against being that bright even when others are in pain)!

I carefully open my eyes. It doesn't actually prevent the pain from taking over my brain for a good ten seconds, but at least this way I'm not blaming myself for it. Always a good plus that. I never was one to enjoy insults (even when its actually self-loathing) and pain when served together; it leaves a distasteful after-taste of Dursley in my mouth. A thought that leads random-unconscious-part-of-me to wonder if Dudley really would taste like bacon… I'm glad I can't feel my tongue; I think it's preventing me from throwing up. Which is always good when you are lying on the floor. Blood and dust are hard enough to get of one's clothes, but at least their smell is relatively neutral. Anyway, I'm starting to see stuff again, which is supposed to be rather good… but then again… "Am I on painkillers or something?" The question sounds downright stupid if you consider the throbbing my head seems to be insisting on doing, but I'm just not thinking straight enough to come up with any other explanation for the vision of horror before me.

And I'm not talking about the sun either.

T looks like she has an inkling as to what I am referring to but she plays along (see what I meant the other day? this is what makes her such a good future lieutenant!). Assistant is just wearing her worried (if clueless) face while H is absentmindly stroking a rather large black dog, and D and B are their aloof Slytherin pureblood selves (even though they are probably not getting my point either). "No Harry. Jokes aside you were fine. Nothing an epiksey and some rest couldn't fix anyway so we thought it would be best not to bring you to the makeshift infirmary. Even without considering those other issues, the press is hanging all around that place and you really don't look very hero-like right now…" I give a slow nod and try to digest the information. "Ok then. Of course, now I'm out of reasonable explanations for this…" I point at her to emphasize my point. Which is totally unnecessary all things considered. I mean, pirates' outfits haven't been the fashion for quite some time, even in the wizarding world.

And I just refuse to comment on the toy-parrot on her shoulder.

Assistant is snickering hard but she manages to stuff a paper in my hands.

The New Inquisition (special edition)

WORLD'S OLDEST MAGICAL SCHOOL COLAPSES!

By Maxwell Ornard

Last Saturday evening, Hogwarts School of Witchcraft and Wizardry partially folded on itself due to what Headmaster Dumbledore (famous for his defeat of Dark Lord Grindenwald and for heading the I.C.W. for the last fifty years) called an unfortunate overreaction of a member of the facility which led to severe but controlled damage to the integrity of the wards.

The official British statement sums that retired Senior Auror Alastor Moody (see portrait and biography on page 3 to 5), Hogwarts' professor since last September for the position of Defense Against the Dark Arts (British terminology for Battle Magic), cast an overpowered magic drilling curse on a wall that happened to hold one of the castle's many siphoning runes.

Wow! And we are alive?

I mean, really, redundancy as a safety measure isn't one of the strongest points of wizarding folks… Lets see… yada, yada, yada… a spell specifically designed to cause heavy perforation damage to magically saturated solids… yada, yada, yada… used for mining magical ore… blah, blah, blah… later adapted for dragon slaying… Here it is!

is build in the center of a Wild Magic pool. Erecting edifices of magical nature in such places, with the local magical energy being great enough to power amazingly complexes sets of runes might appear as a good idea at first . In fact, that very thing allows the British school to be the best defended place on Earth (that is open to public).

And indeed, it is, to an extent; but one must take into consideration that no area bathed in Wild Magic in the way that the Scotland Conglomerate happens to be is amenable to accommodate civilization for long. Wild Magic pools are zones of pure entropy, capable of sudden, brutal, and sometimes deadly, changes all day along (see public list of unoccupied pools page 23). The very fact that the founders of Hogwarts (aka Godric Gryffindor/Salazar Slytherin/Helga Hufflepuff/Rowena Ravenclaw) only ever spent twenty three years building the castle (see the step by step account of the gradual canalization of Wild Magic utilized in the construction of Hogwarts and the diverse ward schemes utilized successively in order to attain it page 24 to 25)is nothing short of the miraculous.

The loss of that single siphoning rune, not only significantly diminished the amount of power available to that aisle of the building, but represents that much magic that is not being tamed and thus causing random harvock. Those are the two causes of the colasping. The loss of magic resulted in the instantaneous depowerment of the expanding arrays of the rooms and the vanishing of semi-portals, which in turn sent the excess of air and furniture at incredible speed against the nearby walls, while the increase of Wild Magic generally amplified the phenomenon and killed several magic-feeding creatures (House Elves, British slang for Lilipuci Homini Domestici) that resided there.

Oh. That would explain the elf with a dirigible airship impersonation… Well, one less thing to worry about! If house elves can't come near the place without eating to death that's one good consequence of this whole mess! But lets see what else is in here… yada, yada… Salem's rightfull place in the tournament… blah, blah… blatatant incompetency of the staff… whine, whine, whine… known for his paranoid tendencies… dumb, dumb, dumb and end. They are laying thick on the critic near the end, but I can tell that ex-pirate-Lord (new-pirate-Lord being T if I'm not mistaken) must really be an idiot of the worst kind. Personnaly, I think that there's nothing wrong with paranoia. Even in high doses it's a pretty healthy feeling. What is dumb though is to be paranoid and let other know about it. That just doesn't makes sense at all. Why shout to the world that you are taking extra precautions? It'll just make the people after you (if they do exist) come up with more devious plans to kill you.

Oh well, I've seen worse lately…

"So the answer to my question is… what? Wild transfiguration of your clothes?" They all nod. "Pretty much, yeah. I was pretty lucky as it goes… Ernie's right leg changed into a flock of fire-breathing butterflies that flew away. The hunting parties are still out there trying to get 'em all." And just like that, the situation seems that much more serious. Meaning time to make fun of my minions! "So are you still wearing that thing because the residual energy makes it safer or is it that you are trying to take Dumbles' most horrendous look of the year award from him? If you are be warned that there are already others competitors around the castle. Oh, and he probably plays dirty so be carefull!" I on the other hand do get my personal award. A scowl and a stinging hex. "Watch it shorty!" Witty answer incoming. "Hey!" Then again maybe not… "I know, I know… It was a low blow. But then again, if I'd aimed much higher it would have gone right over your head!" Ok, so I was right. I just forgot to specify that it was supposed to come from me and have her as the target. My bad.

Maybe I shouldn't have been so mean to random-unconscious-part-of-me. I'm pretty sure that It comes up with most of my ammo…

Well, I'll try to bribe myself with shinny baubles and a Hitchkock videotape or something. Oh. And food. I don't think that there's a part of me that wouldn't trade the others for food right now… I give my left hand a wary look at that thought. "So, if we have a makeshift infirmary, do we have makeshift kitchens or something?" God, but I hope that someone around here actually knows how to cook without the help of the elves. Well, I wouldn't mind calling for chinese either… but even if the wards are weak enough after the crazy fucker's little stunt (which is more than doubtful), we'd most likely starve waiting for the delivery with just how far from… well anything… we are. "Merlin was merciful with the five of us Potter. The people from Hogsmeade sent supplies. Hopefully they'll prevent you from getting too bad. Morgana knows I can barely restrain myself around you even when you just fed!" Looks like random-unconscious-part-of-me accepted my offer! "I know. You always eyed me like a piece of meat…"

A part of me (another one) is very insistent on me running right now but I just don't have the strength. Tell my snitch that I loved it and that I'm sorry we didn't get to rob people together!

"Keep going the way you are and everyone is going to eye you like cold flesh!" Huh. Just a threat? She really must be tired to not at least pinch a nipple or something (though I'm glad she didn't do that. I'm not sure I could have stopped myself from making a comment that would have led to yet more suffering…). I ponder that fact while taking the sandwich that T is giving me and getting a good bite. Not my favorite but I can feel my mind clearing some already. Serious business it is. "So how are we alive? I was already halfway through that flashing thing with the events of my life when I felt someone pull me from behind and fain-… I mean passing out." I must say that I'm a little disappointed I didn't get to see more of it. Not that I want to die or anything, but the sad truth is that, baring some neat memories of me pulling on a ridiculous goatee that a guy who could only be my dad had (hard, with much baby gloating afterwards), the first half of my life sucks. I'm not even magic-aware until 6/11… "We are alive…" I give T my full attention. Well ok, not full in the most traditional sense of the word, but close enough for me to look like it and actually understand what she is saying (in case there's a test later). I only had one measly sandwich after all…

"… because Miss Fluffy saved us!"

Maybe I spoke too soon about the understanding part. Right now I'm not even sure I can pretend I got it… In fact, having an idea about what "it" is would be a big help in trying to figure if I can possibly get it at all and how much it's gonna cost me… Assistant gives a sigh. "Miss Fluffy being the name Hannah gave that dog she is holding. I think that Tonks uses the name because it growls each time someone calls it that…" Ah yes. There was a dog wasn't it? Yep. Still here. Well, something is here at least… the dog part is debatable when you take into account that its size is only a few inches short of a full blown pony… of course, I can't see hooves… and I can see sharp teeth… Which leads to the growling. "Well, is it even a female?" I'm a little disturbed when I see it's shaking its head quickly, but I don't mention it. "Of course Miss Fluffy is a Lady! I don't need to look her private bits to know that! Just look at how long and silky her fur is! She's just cranky, that's all." Well, the poor lad is obviously disagreeing with H, but then again, exposure to the ridicule isn't forbidden by law, even where humans are concerned. Best to let things be.

That and some (third) part of me can't help but enjoy it as much as T seems to. Weird that.

"Well, aren't you the regular heroine then?" I grin and give a bow. "I am in your debt for saving my life Miss Fluffy." Rescued by some random cross-dressing animal. I can deal with that. I'm pretty sure that owning a pet as clever as Miss Fluffy is against one or more of the directives of The book of laws of our supreme ruler Harry James Potter, what with it generally being a bad idea to give access to your room to anything that has even a slight chance of outsmarting you (thus no cats). But I guess that exceptions can be made since it saved my life. Plus it's really not all that different from having a mute Hufflepuff sticking around… I take another sandwich. "So…" Munch. "…Miss Fluffy…" Growl. I stick my tongue. Which I guess was kind of gross since I hadn't finished that bit of sandwich in its totality… I hope I can blame it on fatigue, I really don't fancy remedial etiquette with B. I mean, seriously, just because the first time he started to talk like Dumbles while teaching the only thing I could say was "Huh?", doesn't mean he should talk to me as if I'm a toddler or something…

Anyway…

"…dragged us through that secret passage and then… what? I guess we got out of the castle, but what happened after that?" Most of the time I don't mind their passive attitude (even if it makes me feel like a cheap wrestler to have to pull the information out of them that way. I guess it'd be more fun to do things GestaPo style but I wouldn't even know where to find the proper tools…), but the sheer amount of information in the paper hints at a fairly big commotion and I could do with knowing how things are going to be effected on a more personal level. Well, that's the burdens of leadership for you. "Well, she didn't drag you all the way. I took over once I got a grasp on the situation. Good thing too since that particular secret passage goes all the way to Hogsmeade. Never been so thankful for you being a lightweight." I guess I am somewhat thankful for it too since it most likely saved my life back there, but I could have done without B's grunt of agreement. "The exit point isn't all that discrete but we weren't noticed, what with most villagers being more interested with gossiping about the blowing castle." Can't really blame them there. I certainly wouldn't mind blowing it again just to see how it goes when you aren't inside during it.

Well, it's not like it hadn't been whispering about ripping me apart so I don't see why I shouldn't entertain the idea in kind…

"… and that's when Malfoy admitted his undying love for you." Wait, what? Oh. A joke then (the lets mess with the guy that isn't paying attention kind. so lame.) Haha. "My, my… aren't we a full blown Batman archenemy today? Why, if you keep improving at that rate someone might even laugh!" She smirks of course. It wasn't much of a comeback after all. "Oh? I don't remember you ever doing any better brat." Which is sadly true, people are usually too stunned by my wit to even consider laughing. "Well, just because memory and bladder control are the first things to go doesn't mean you get to be anywhere near my level. Now on with the story." My blatant hypocrisy only earns me a halfhearted glare. I restrain myself from saying more in order to prove I'm not losing my touch. "Well, as I was saying before you went to La-la land, it was easy after that. I followed the path until the gates then cast point-me until I found the camp (which took some time since the entropy was already going strong). Luckily things were still pretty chaotic so once again nobody took notice. I found the others after some time and started treating you. Soon after that Dumbledore started giving instructions left and right and people calmed down some. He didn't get to say too much though since the Minister came with the press following behind."

I must say that I can't seem to decide if I would have liked being awake for that or not. It all comes down to 'Is seeing the old guy getting his ass chewed worth being in the presence of stupid(er than usual) people?'.

All in all, I'm glad it's out of my hands. It's almost as good to hear about it second hand anyway. "So what about our stuff? I mean, I have all the important things with me but the lack of clothes might become an issue if cleaning charms are wonky…" She nods. "I know. Some people (a bunch of Gryffindor ditzs) already complained about it. The professors will be doing search and rescue missions, but it'll be focused on books and paintings for a while. In the meantime, Snape is distributing these along." I take a look at the familiar pamphlet and can't contain a snort. "Aww! He kept it! How sweet!" Hmm… search and rescue? That actually doesn't seem like a bad idea at all. If I could go myself to take a look and some precious things happen to vanish… And with the help of the snitch I'm pretty sure that I could even pull it of too! All that loot! Free of inquiry! I mean, who would suspect me when a lot of things with just have been destroyed, or transfigured into stone, or whatever? Even tracking charms won't work properly in a wild magic pool so I'll have some time to come up with a runic array to ward against those… "Well, this is fun and all but a man just can't live on sandwiches, no matter how large a stock he has. I'm going to take a walk around."

I take three steps before wincing. God but that girl's got a strong grip!

"Not so fast Potter. Nobody here feels like watching after your unconscious carcass just because you somehow managed to almost kill yourself yet again. I'm coming with you." There's a terrible pun to be done here but I'm just not that brave. I take the safest shot. "You and me huh? All by our lone selves? Whatever shall we do to kill time?" I'm pretty sure she was going to say something about us being in the woods and there being quite a lot of creatures lurking around that would be more than willing to get rid of any evidence (she's predictable like that my D) but Miss Fluffy decides to bark just then. "You want to come too? Well, I certainly could do with someone to protect my virtue… Ok let's go!" My relationship with D is a complex little thing. There are lots of unstated rules. For example, we simply don't throw spells at each other (well, there was that paint prank thing, but that hardly counts since I was a target too). Another that I happen to think is neat is that, no matter what I say, she never tries to hit me when I'm moving. To make things fair I don't try to dodge when she does try. Meaning that she can get violent but only when I let her, which is not now. So we just bicker some as we walk around taking a look at the accommodations and the haggard students.

To be fair, some already looked that way even before they had a ceiling-sky dropped on their heads.

Once I finally get the general layout of the place (which is harder than you'd expect when taking into account that tents are not wandering around) and grabbed some real sustenance, we start walking randomly (not near the press though) while I share with D some interesting thoughts that recently occurred to me about Chevalier's Still Death array. I must say that even without truly grasping the mechanics of runes beyond the basics, she raises some good points. The array basically prevents things that aren't alive from moving inside a given area. It's quite the useful thing to use in a vault for one (you can't take what you can't move after all), but it's even better to use it as a defensible position since with a big enough area, any enemy wishing to come within striking range needs to basically do so wandless and naked (not easy to move when the things you carry won't). What I want to do is to try to tweak it to make it absolute. As it is now, naked people can move inside the area even without being keyed in. And while I really don't worry too much about the potential of assault by naked wizards, there are plenty of living things transfigured or otherwise that can cause a lot of wanton death and destruction.

A good deal of which can be found in this very forest.

The thing is that… well, air is just not alive. So how can anything breathe in the area? Hell, how can living beings even move when air should refuse them passage? What I thought until now was that, somehow, the array only took into consideration things above a certain mass, and I told D as much. She on the other hand, wondered if that fact doesn't come in fact from some unconscious Will Magic from the wizard who just doesn't consider air for the simple reason it can't be seen (and therefore doesn't really exist until one is suffocating). I guess I'll need to test it later. Not that I could test it now since we are still near other people. Well, that and Miss Fluffy seems very intent of dragging me somewhere. "Calm down you bloody creature! Didn't you hear that charms aren't safe to cast these days? What am I going to do if you tear my sleeve?" It does release me, but only to growl at me. Stupid mute Hufflepuffs. "Yeah, yeah, yeah! I get it, you really want me to follow you in the middle of nowhere with only one useless pureblood princess as back up. I get it already!"

I ignore the nasty finger-stab between ribs five and six.

"This is a bit of a conundrum you see? Horror movie rules state clearly that following unnaturally clever animals into dark creepy places, as was demonstrated by Mr. Carroll." And yes, Alice in Wonderland does counts as a horror movie. I don't care what people say, any story that mentions beheading so casually just can't be considered a fairytale in my books. "On the other hand, RPG patterns suggest that this could be the MD's way of granting me a powerful item… What to do? What to do? Hmm… potential dismemberment against potential monetary gratification…" Ah, whatever. Maybe I'm starting to adopt wizarding logic, but I just can't believe that something could go wrong twice in the same day. I sigh. "Ok. Wands out. We are going. I really don't think that sleeveless robes suit me at all, so that's that." We keep talking as we follow Miss Fluffy that struts eagerly a few meters ahead, but there is a tension in the air that just wasn't there before. "And now Granger is telling people to call her Ni, Mistress of Magic. We are assuming that some loose stones knocked a couple of bolts too many from her positronic brain. Still, it's actually more bearable that way. After hanging around the likes of Malfoy long enough you build an immunity of sorts."

Huh. "Are you serious?"

"Oh, I can assure you that the situation here is completely Sirius Mister Potter. Black times are ahead of us."

Yeah. So much for statistics.