Chapter 1: Meet the Visored
It was nighttime in Karakura town when a rental car pulled up to a curb and a young boy around three years old was shoved out onto the sidewalk. The people in the car ignored the boy’s cries and drove off, leaving him alone in an empty street.
The boy, who’s name was Harry Potter, walked through the streets, wondering what he did to be abandoned like this.
It was supposed to be a typical day for young Harry Potter. He woke up early to prepare his relatives’ breakfast and get started on his chores, but he found them all packed for a trip.
“Boy, we’re all going on a trip,” said Harry’s uncle, Vernon Dursley.
Vernon was a large man that resembled a walrus and was quite round. His wife, Petunia was the opposite of him and was quite thin and sort of resembled a giraffe. Their son was almost as big as his father and was spoiled so much, he would probably be fatter than him. Usually they didn’t care for Harry and force him to do hard chores around the house.
“I’ll be sure to take care of the chores,” said Harry
“You’re coming with us,” said Vernon, “I don’t trust you alone in my house.”
Harry was surprised at this. He would have run to start packing, but he really had nothing to pack so he followed his relatives out the door and into the car.
After that, they had driven to an airport and taken a direct flight to Tokyo and driven a rental car to a small town named Karakura. Once there, he was kicked out of the car with nothing but the clothes on his back.
Harry sniffled as he wandered the streets and because of this, didn’t see where he was going and walked right into a girl carrying a bag of groceries.
“Hey watch it,” said the girl in Japanese. She wore a red jogging suit over a white shirt and yellow slippers and had blond hair tied up in two spiky pigtails with the bangs held by three clips.
“I’m sorry,” said Harry in English, “I didn’t mean to hit you.”
“You’re not from around here are you?” said the girl in English, “Who are you? Where are your parents, kid?”
“They died,” said Harry sadly, “they were in a car crash.”
“You mean you’re an orphan?” said the girl, “You’re obviously English, so how did you find your way to Karakura?”
“My Uncle and Aunt took me on a trip,” sniffled Harry, “when we got here, they just left me and drove off.”
“I’m sorry about that,” said the girl. She couldn’t stay angry at him after hearing that, “Hey, you must be hungry. Why don’t you follow me and we’ll get you some food.”
“Alright,” sniffed Harry.
“By the way,” said the girl, “my name’s Hiyori Sarugaki. What’s yours?”
“My name is Harry Potter.”
Hiyori led Harry through the back roads of Karakura town until they reached some old abandoned buildings, one of which seemed to be shrouded in an orange haze. As Harry tried to make out the building behind the haze, Hiyori walked up to it. Suddenly the haze opened in front of her and she led Harry into a large warehouse that looked a bit run down. Once inside Harry looked around and saw seven people watching him.
"Who's the kid, Hiyori?" a muscular man with short white hair wearing a purple tank top and wraps on his hands asked in Japanese.
"His name is Harry Potter," said Hiyori, "Apparently he's an orphan and his Aunt and Uncle abandoned him here under the pretense of a family outing."
"Why'd you bring him here?" asked a girl wearing glasses and a sailor fuku and reading an adult manga.
Hiyori blushed, "I felt sorry for the kid. I figured we could at least give him a good meal."
"Hiyori," said a man with a blond bowl cut, "what would we do with him afterwards? He's seen too much already and we can't just turn him loose."
"Why not keep him?" asked a green haired girl wearing a white jumpsuit, goggles, and an orange scarf.
"Mashiro, he's not a pet," said Kensei.
"Acually," said a blond man wearing a fancy oublack suit over a white shirt with ruffles, "that doesn't sound like a bad idea."
"You can't be serious, Rose," said the one with the blond bowl cut.
"I don't mean keeping him as a pet, Shinji" said Rose, "but the kid is all alone with no one to turn to. Why not let him stay here and take care of him?"
"Are you talking about giving him a family?" asked the girl in the sailor fuku, "He's a normal kid. Is that a good idea, considering what we are?"
"No," said a large man with pink hair with a black crossbone design wearing a green suit, meditating in a corner, "this child is not normal."
"What are you saying Hachi?" asked Shinji.
Hachi opened his eyes, "He is filled with an energy similar to reitatsu. It flows from his core and circulates through his being. I believe that he would be able see us in our natural forms. Perhaps he could benefit from having us raise him in a loving environment."
"Why not?" asked a man with a large star shaped afro wearing a green outfit and sunglasses, "Seems like the right thing to do.
"Well," said Hiyori, "let's ask him."
She turned to Harry, who had been looking around the warehouse, unable to understand the Japanese conversation, "Harry, we've been talking and we want to know if you want to live here with us?" she asked in english.
"You mean it?" asked harry with hope in his voice that melted the hearts of the others.
"Sure kid," said Shinji as he walked up, "we'll be your new family from this day on. The name's Shinji Hirako."
“The name’s Love Aikawa,” said the man with the Afro, “nice to meet you.”
“My name is Rōjūrō Ōtoribashi, but please call me Rose,” said the man with the ruffled shirt, “I hope you enjoy your time with us.”
“Kensei Muguruma,” said the white haired man gruffly.
“My name is Mashiro Kuna,” said Mashiro happily.
“I am Hachigen Ushōda,” said Hachi with a bow, “if you wish, you may call me Hachi.”
“I’m Lisa Yadōmaru,” said the girl in the sailor fuku, “I hope we have a lot of fun.”
Harry smiled, “My name is Harry James Potter.”
Chapter 2: A New Life
This chapter will be a lot of flashbacks mostly. It's important to the plot so please bear with it.
This story will have a slightly manipulative Dumbledore and the Visored will be slightly OOC.
At the Hogwarts School for Witchcraft and Wizardry, Albus Wulfric Percival Brian Dumbledore was in a panic. He had been enjoying a cup of tea, when the devices that he used to monitor Harry's location went dead. He had jumped to his feet, his cup shattering on the ground, and ran over to check on the devices.
To his relief, the devices monitoring Harry's wellbeing showed him as alive, but he was perplexed as to why he couldn't get a reading on Harry's current location. The wards around the Dursley's residence wouldn't block…
Cold fear swept through him as he rushed to check the instrument that monitored the blood wards he had set up. To his horror, the wards were gone. That would mean that Harry no longer lived with his muggle relatives!
Dumbledore sank into a chair. His plan to use Harry to take down Voldemort was falling apart and there was nothing he could do.
It had been a few months since Harry had begun to live with the Visored. His presence also had been a positive influence on all of them. Shinji and Hiyori got along a bit more, Lisa read less of her dirty manga, Kensei trained less and became more social, and Mashiro even matured a bit. Harry saw all of the Visored as family. Shinji was his protective older brother, Mashiro and Hiyori were caring older sisters, Rose, Love and Hachi were Uncle figures, and Lisa was a caring Aunt. They had begun speaking in English around him, but made an effort to teach him Japanese as well. However, his normal life changed the night of the first day, when Hachi used his powers to make sure Harry was healthy.
Harry stood within one of Hachi's barriers. He had referred to them as Kido, though the term just flew over his head. The Visored had told Harry that they wanted to give him a check up to make sure he was healthy. The results of Hachi's diagnostic Kido surprised him so much that the Visored actually got to see what Hachi looked like when enraged.
"WHAT IS THE MEANING OF THIS?" he roared, scaring Harry a bit.
"Calm down Hachi," said Lisa as the barrier dropped. She picked up Harry and held him in her arms to calm him, "what's going on?"
"I am sorry," said Hachi, "if you could put Harry in his bed, I will explain."
Lisa took Harry to a bed that they had set up in a room of the warehouse that they had turned into a makeshift bedroom for Harry and tucked him in. Once their young charge was asleep, Lisa went to join the other Visored to hear what Hachi had found.
"So what did you find Hachi?" asked Shinji.
"It appears that the boy's previous guardians were worse than we thought they were," said Hachi grimly, "the child shows signs of beatings, overworking, malnutrition, and mild starvation, and that's not the worst of it."
The visored were shocked at the treatment that young Harry must have had to endure, and were shocked at Hachi's declaration that there was worse.
"You mean that treaing the like some sort of slave isn't the worst of it?" growled Kensei.
"Unfortunately no," said Hachi, "my kido detected something akin to a spiritual parasite attached to his soul. It resembles a mutilated human soul fragment and is the reason for the scar on his head."
"What can we do about it?" asked Shinji?
"I believe we will need the help of some old friends."
After that talk, Harry had been taken to a small candy shop in Karakura. Once there they had need greeted by Kisuke Urahara, a man wearing a green outfit with a green striped bucket hat and wooden clogs, carrying a cane, and Tessai Tsukabishi, a tanned, muscular man wearing sunglasses, a white shirt, and a blue apron.
"Shinji," said Kisuke, "to what do I owe the honor of your group visiting my humble shop."
"We need your help," said Shinji seriously as Rose walked up with Harry in his arms.
"My my," said Urahara as he opened a paper fan and hid his mouth with it, "I never expected you to have a kid..."
"Cut the crap," growled Hiyori, "we found him on the street after he was abandoned by his relatives and we need your help dealing with an ailment he has."
Urahara snapped his fan shut and lost his carefree attitude, "Alright. Tell me everything."
The visored then recounted to Kisuke and Tessai the events that had occurred and Hachi's diagnosis of Harry.
"I see," said Kisuke grimly, "I'm going to need to run some tests before I can give you any options. Completely harmless tests!" he hastily added upon seeing the glares of the visored.
The visored agreed and woke Harry.
"Harry," said Shinji in English, "this man is a friend of ours and he's going to run some tests on you to help you."
"Alright," yawned Harry.
"Don't worry," said Kisuke, "when you're done, I'll give you some free treats."
Harry nodded and Rose led him by the hand to a back room where Urahara set up his equipment and begun his tests. A few minutes later, Urahara came out and had Tessai take Harry to choose some snacks. Turning to the Visored, he took his hat off, a serious look on his face with no trace of his usual jovial attitude.
"Whatever that thing in his scar is, it is going to be near impossible to remove," said Urahara, "but I do have an idea."
"What is it Urahara?" asked Shinji.
"You must give Harry the powers of a Shinigami," said Urahara.
"But, he has no natural powers," said Love, "the Shattered Shaft wouldnt work."
"I wasn't talking about the Shattered Shaft," said Urahara.
Urahara suddenly found eight Zanpakuo at his throat.
"Hear me out," protested Urahara, "I've come up with a way for the process to succeed for sure."
"Explan," said Shinji.
Urahara pulled out what looked like a glass bokken.
"If all of you put some of your Reiryoku into this sword and stab it into Harry, he waill gain the powers of a Shingami," said Urahara.
"YOU WANT US TO STAB HARRY WITH SOME WEIRD SWORD?!" growled Hiyori.
"It's completely harmless," said Kisuke, "he won't be injured in the slghtest."
"Assuming that this will work," said Shinji, "how will giving Harry Shinigami powers help deal with that thing in his scar?"
"When his soul is changed to that of a Shinigami, the abomination within him will also be changed. He will become a Visored," said Kisuke.
"You mean that thing would become his Inner Hollow?" asked Lisa.
Kisuke nodded, "It's the only option other than ripping the thing out, and that could permanently damage his soul."
"Fine," said Shinji, "but I want Harry to be asleep when it happens so we don't traumatize him."
After that, the Visored had told Harry that he needed to sleep so they could heal him, and due to the sedative candies that Tessai had slipped him, Harry was eager to obey. Once he had fallen asleep, the Visored each pushed some of their Reiryoku into the sword and pushed it into the sleeping boy's chest. Suprisingly, there was no resistance from clothes or flesh. Suddenly there was an explosion of energy.
Harry found himself standing in a crystal forest once he fell asleep.
"This is a weird dream," commented Harry as he looked around.
"This is no dream," said a powerful voice.
Harry turned to see a large dragon covered in redish gold scales that sparkled like fire. It looked at the young boy with a crimson eye and smirked.
"You have a brave soul," said the dragon, "I like that in a user."
"Who are you?" asked Harry.
"I am a part of your soul," said the dragon, "My name is ******."
"What was that?" asked Harry, "I couldn't hear you."
The dragon sighed, " It seems that the time is not right for you to hear me. It is time for you to wake, child. We will speak again later. "
Harry had awakened to find himself wearing black japanese robes with a sword at his side. He examined it and was amazed at how beautiful it was. The sword had had a black sheath and a gold guard that was designed like a coiled dragon. When he looked up, he saw the rest of his adoptive family standing over him and was pulled into a group hug.
After the Visored had explained to Harry what had happened, and explained the nature and duties of Shinigami to him, he had been taken back to their home and was trained in the ways of a Shinigami. He was taught how to use Kido by Hachi, he was taught Hakuda (hand to hand combat) by Mashiro, Hiyori, and Kensei, he was taught Zanjutsu (swordsmanship) from Lisa, Rose and Love, and is trained in Hohō (high speed movement) by Shinji.
The Visored also enrolled Harry in the Karakura Primary School, with help from Urahara of course, where he met Ichigo Kurosaki and Tatsuki Arisawa and became their friends. Harry was quite happy. He had a family and friends and life was good.
Chapter 3: Birthday Surprises
I want to mention something about Harry's Zanpakuto. It is not Ryujin Jakka. It is a completely original Zanpakuto that I made up and will be revealed in time. I also plan on giving Harry a bankai eventually so he can kick Riddle's ass after the bastard comes back, and so he can hold his own against the Arrancar. Harry won't get his mask until after his first year.
It had been four years since Harry was adopted by the Visored and made into a Shinigami. In that time, Harry found he had a natural talent for Kido, and excelled under Hachi's tutelage. He also had recently learned to speak Japanese, albeit with an English accent. He had yet to learn his Zanpakuto's name though, but still trained in Zanjutsu and Hakuda. Ever since he started eating three balanced meals with the Visored, his skinny body had filled out with muscles from his training and he had gained an increased stamina.
Harry was currently meditating to undergo Jinzen so he could communicate with his sword again. Clearing his mind, Harry found himself in the familiar crystal forest. Walking a bit, Harry found the great dragon that he had long since found out was his Zanpakuto spirit.
"Greetings, child," said the dragon, "you have come to try and learn my name once again?"
Harry nodded, "I would like to try again."
"Then let us begin," said the dragon.
A crystal pedestal rose from the ground in front of Harry and a blue flame appeared on the pedestal.
Harry knew what he had to do, as he had attempted it many times before. He had to plunge his hands into the fire and draw out his blade, all without getting burned. All his previous attempts ended with his hands getting badly burned, but`` Harry steeled his resolve and reached for the fire, recoiling at the heat it gave off.
'What am I doing wrong?' wondered Harry, 'How can I reach into a fire and not get burned? Can I even be burned in my own mind? …Wait,'
Struck with inspiration, Harry closed his eyes and took a few deep breaths. He then plunged his hands into the flames and drew out his katana.
"Very good," said the dragon, "this is your mind, so the flames are only as hot as you make them. Once you cast off your fear, the flames could not harm you. Now listen carefully. My name…is Ryuge"
Harry opened his eyes and saw the Visored staring down at him with smiles on their faces.
"Did it work?" asked Hiyori.
Harry smiled and got to his feet. He then held out his sword and the Visored stepped back.
"Blaze, Ryuge!" Harry called out.
Harry's sword morphed into a British sabre with a blade that glowed bright red with heat.
"Impressive," said Shinji as Harry sealed his blade and it became a katana again, "let's head down to the training room and we can see what it can do."
The Visored and Harry headed down through the trapdoor to the massive underground training room that lay beneath the old warehouse that they lived in. Once they all had gathered, Hachi raised a protective barrier to keep the Visored safe while Harry tested his Shikai.
"Alright Harry," said Shinji, "go for it."
Harry raised his sword once more, "Blaze, Ryuge!"
Once more, Harry's sword changed into a sabre with a red-hot blade. Harry looked at it and decided to ask Ryuge what his sword could do.
"Um, Ryuge," said Harry, "what exactly can you do?"
Harry heard the Dragon chuckle, "Focus your Reiryoku into your blade and release it with a swing of your sword."
Harry focused, feeling the spiritual energy within him flowing into his sabre. As he did so, an orange aura of Reitatsu appeared around him and his blade glowed brighter as flames danced around it. Harry opened his eyes and released the energy with a swing of his sabre. A wave of fire flew from his blade that flew toward the far end of the training room.
"Amazing!" squealed Mashiro, as Hachi dropped the shield and she ran to glomp Harry.
"That was pretty impressive," agreed Shinji.
"Thanks," said Harry.
"Looks like we can step up your training," smirked Kensei.
Over the next year, Harry trained harder than ever. In addition to Kido, Shunpo, Hakuda, Zanjutsu, and school, he practiced with his Shikai in order to gain skill in using its new form in combat. Harry was enjoying his new life. He occasionally would hang out with Tatsuki and Ichigo after school and once accompanied them to the dojo for a spar where he wiped the floor with not only them, but many of the older combatants, using Hakuda of course. Harry had become quite strong thanks to the Visored and could stand up to an unseated member of the Gotei 13 in combat. Soon though, Harry's life would change yet again.
It was around the time of Harry's 11th birthday. Harry had noticed over the past week that numerous Owls would follow him to the warehouse, and land outside. They never entered the warehouse, due to the Kido barrier they never entered, but they always came. One day Harry was walking to the warehouse, but he found it locked and a note was on the door.
It said: "Harry, meet us at Urahara's shop for extra training."
"I wonder what this is about," muttered Harry. He was surprised that they wanted him to go to Urahara's for training.
Harry shrugged and began to walk to the Urahara shop. Along the way he saw Ichigo and Tatsuki running up to him and stopped to say hi.
"Ichigo, Tatsuki, what's up?" asked Harry.
"Harry," said Tatsuki as they caught up, "we wanted to wish you a happy birthday and give you some things."
Ichigo and Tatsuki pulled out presents, wrapped traditionally in a Japanese Furoshki. Harry unwrapped the presents to find a set of MMA hand wraps from Tatsuki and box of dango from Harry's favorite stand from Ichigo.
"Thanks guys," said Harry as they shared a group hug.
"Well we have to get to the dojo," said Tatsuki, "see ya and have a happy birthday."
"Thanks," said Harry, "don't get thrashed too badly, Ichigo."
"Hey!" protested the orange haired strawberry, "I'm getting better."
Harry laughed as he ran off and Tatsuki dragged the protesting strawberry to the dojo. Harry smiled as he continued to head to Urahara's shop. This was definitely one of his better birthdays. In fact, all the birthdays he's had since meeting the Visored were among his better ones. Well, except for the one when Mashiro found the coffee and sugar and went on a rampage. It took all of them to subdue her, as she was so hyper that she kept breaking out of their Bakudo. Hachi eventually pulled on his mask and hit her with a combination of Bankin, Kin, and Sajo Sabaku, and that was enough to hold her until she burned off the sugar and caffeine. They all vowed to never let her near any caffeine or sugar in the future.
Soon Harry arrived at the Urahara Shop and saw Tessai sweeping up outside.
"Ah, young Harry," said Tessai, "what brings you to our humble establishment?"
"Shinji and the others left a note telling me to come here for extra training today," explained Harry.
"Oh yes," said Tessai, "just let me close up and I'll take you to them."
Harry waited as Tessai put the broom he was using away and switched the shop sign to closed. He led Harry inside and closed and locked the shop doors. He then led harry to the trapdoor and opened it for him. Harry climbed down the ladder and found a large table set up with numerous chairs.
"What's going on?" wondered Harry as he looked around.
"SURPRISE!" yelled the Visored as they jumped out from behind various rocks where they were hiding, "HAPPY BIRTHDAY HARRY!"
Harry had a huge smile on as Mashiro ran up and put a paper crown on his head.
"Did we surprise you?" asked Mashiro.
Harry was speechless so he just nodded.
"You really didn't think we'd force you to train on your birthday," chuckled Shinji.
"Though Kensei wouldn't have minded," chuckled Lisa.
"The kid deserves a break on his special day," said Kensei, showing how much Harry's arrival had made him lighten up.
"We thought we'd throw you a nice surprise party this year" said Hiyori.
"And what's a birthday party without a cake," said Urahara as he walked up with Tessai following behind him holding a large cake with green icing that matched Harry's eyes and colored icing forming a picture of Harry's Shikai. 11 candles were on the cake as well.
"It looks great, Urahara," said Shinji, "go ahead and make a wish Harry."
Harry thought about what to wish for then took a breath and blew out the candles, getting applause from everyone. Tessai then pulled out a knife and began to cut the cake into slices and handed the first one to Harry.
"Time for presents," said Shinji with a smile as he pulled out a small box, "we all decided to get you a group gift and got Urahara's help in making it."
Shinji opened the box to reveal a cell phone.
"This phone runs on a special Reishi battery instead of normal electricity and can be used to call any one of us if needed," said Shinji.
Harry responded by pulling the Visored into a group hug with a huge smile on his face. Suddenly an owl flew through the trapdoor and landed on Harry's head.
"What's with all the owl's that have been showing up?" asked Hiyori as they disengaged from the hug.
The owl responded by dropping a letter from its beak into Harry's hands. Harry and the others looked curiously at the envelope which was sealed with a wax seal that bore a strange coat-of-arms.
"What's that letter?" asked Shinji, prompting Harry to hand it to him, "Looks like it's for Harry."
He showed the others the letter that was addressed:
Mr. H. Potter,
Underground Training Room
"This is rather odd," said Urahara, "there is a strange energy around the letter, but it seems harmless. Why don't you open it, Harry."
Harry nodded and broke the seal on the letter and took out the paper inside and began to read.
Chapter 4: Surprises in Diagon Alley
Harry and the Visored were speechless now that they had read the letter that was delivered to Harry. To think that there was a whole community of magic that not even the Soul Society knew about.
"So does this make me some kind of wizard?" asked Harry.
"Well," said Urahara, "from the look of things, that's one way of putting it."
Suddenly Tessai jumped down from the trapdoor, having gone to man the shop, and ran up to the group.
"Boss! There's some huge man in the shop asking for Harry," Tessai said.
"Ah, so this is where yer at!" said a man's voice with an English accent, "The headmaster has been worried sick!"
A large man, almost as large as Hachi, climbed down the ladder. He had a brown trench coat on and had a thick black beard and beady eyes. He also was carrying a pink umbrella that gave off a strange aura of Reitatsu.
"Who are you?" asked Shinji as he and the Visored got into protective positions around Harry.
"Oi!" exclaimed the man as he brandished his umbrella, "I was sent by Albus Dumledore to collect Harry and I can't let you lot interfere."
"Bakudo #1: Sai!" said Hachi, pointing his fingers at the large man.
The man yelped in surprise as some invisible force restrained his arms behind him.
"What are yeh doing?" exclaimed the man.
"If you're gonna take Harry, then you gotta go through us," said Hiyori as the Visored drew their Zanpakuto.
"Oi! Put those toothpicks away," said the giant as he struggled to break free.
"What do you want Harry for?" asked Lisa.
"I'm just here to make sure he got his letter and to help him get his school supplies," said the man.
"So you're from, this Hogwarts school?" asked Urahara.
"Yeah," said the man, "Rubeus Hagrid, Keeper of the Keys and grounds at Hogwarts."
"So, this Hogwarts is some kind of school?" asked Love as Hachi released the Bakudo on Hagrid.
"It's not just 'some kind of school!'" exclaimed Hagrid, "Hogwarts is one of the best schools for Witches and Wizards to attend."
"So I'm some sort of Wizard?" asked Harry.
"Of course!" said Hagrid, "Didn't anyone tell you abou' yer parents?"
"No," said Harry, "but this is my family now, so it doesn't matter."
"Course it matters!" exclaimed Hagrid, "Yer parents were amazing folks."
"So Harry is going to attend this school?" asked Shinji, "We never sent in an application."
"His application was submitted from before he was born," said Hagrid, "who are you lot anyway?"
"We're his family," said Rose with a glare.
"Poppycock!" said Hagrid, "You lot aren't related to James and Lilly Potter!"
"Is that who my parents were?" asked Harry.
"Course!" said Hagrid, "They were great people. How did yeh end up here? Yer supposed to be with your Aunt and Uncle in Surry."
Hagrid then staggered back as he was hit with eight different blasts if killing Intent.
"Are you saying that you were responsible for leaving Harry with those bastards?!" growled Hiyori, "They ABANDONED him on the streets here!"
"I-impossible!" gasped out Hagrid under the pressure of the Visoreds' Killing Intent, "They were supposed to take care of him!"
"Apparently they didn't," spat Shinji.
"I'm so sorry," said Hagrid, "Professor Dumbledore always said that yeh were fine."
"Maybe you should have a talk with him," said Kisuke.
"Yer probably right," said Hagrid, "but I still need to take Harry shopping."
"Perhaps we could come along," said Hachi, "I for one am curious about the wizarding society."
"I don't see why not," said Hagrid, "parents and family are allowed to come along if willing."
"Alright then," said Shinji, "looks like we're going on a trip."
The Visored were prepared to purchase tickets and board the first plane to England, but Hagrid waved them off and produced an old basketball.
"How will this piece of trash get us to England?" asked Hiyori.
"This piece of trash happens to be a Portkey," said Hagrid, "It'll get us to England in an instant. No need to ride some ruddy metal bird. All of yeh reach out and touch it. Ready? One, two, THREE!"
The Visored, Harry, Kisuke and Hagrid reached out and touched the old ball with a finger. Suddenly they felt a tug behind their navel and they found themselves whisked across miles in an instant, until they landed in a tangle of bodies in an abandoned alley.
"Follow me everyone," said Hagrid as he led them to a broken down old pub, "welcome to the Leaky Cauldron."
"Let's try not to draw attention to ourselves," said Kisuke to Hagrid as he led them to a back exit.
"Why are we in some back alley?" asked Lisa.
"Just wait," said Hagrid, "let's see, three up, two across."
Hagrid tapped a brick in the wall with his pink umbrella. The brick then wiggled and an opening formed in wall, revealing a large street lined with shops.
"Welcome, to Diagon Alley," said Hagrid.
"This is impressive," said Shinji.
"I might just open another shop here," mused Kisuke.
"Where do we go first?" asked Harry.
"First, you'll need some money," said Hagrid, "so it's off to Gringotts, the wizarding bank."
Hagrid led the group to a large building made of white marble. Hagrid pushed open the silver doors and led them into a large room that looked like a normal bank, except there were strange creatures manning the teller stations.
"Gringotts," said Hagrid, "run by the goblins. Not the most pleasant folk, but there's nobody better to manage finances."
Kisuke mentioned something about wanting to look at the shops and excused himself. Hagrid then led the group to one of the tellers.
"Rubeus Hagrid here with Harry Potter and family," said Hagrid, "we're here to withdraw money form his vault and take a certain something out of a certain vault for Professor Dumbledore."
"You have the key I presume," asked the goblin.
"I have it right here," said Hagrid, holding up a small gold key.
"Griphook will take you to the vaults," said the goblin, signaling to another goblin.
"Follow me," said Griphook as he led the group to a small train of mine carts, "three people to a cart," he said as the Visored, Harry, Hagrid, and Griphook boarded the carts.
Once everyone had boarded, the carts shot off down the tracks at breakneck speeds. Harry and the Visored looked on in wonder at the swiftly passing cavern scenery, while Hagrid started to look a bit green. Soon, the carts stopped at a large metal door and Griphook exited his cart.
"Key please," he said shortly, holding out his hand.
"Ah, here yeh go," said Hagrid as he handed over the small gold key to the goblin.
Griphook then inserted the key in a keyhole and the vault door opened. When the Visored got a look at what was inside they were shocked.
"Woah," said Love.
"Impressive," said Rose.
"I'd say," said Shinji.
"Indeed," said Hachi.
"Nice," said Hiyori.
"Amazing," said Lisa.
"Pretty good, kid," said Kensei.
"Yay! Harry's loaded!" exclaimed Mashiro.
And she was right. Harry's vault was filled with mountains of gold, silver, and bronze coins. Harry was speechless and almost missed Griphook handing him a bag to collect some money with.
"The gold ones are Galleons, the silver ones are Sickles and the bronze ones are Knuts," said Hagrid, "there are 17 Sickles to a Galleon and 29 Knuts to a Sickle."
"Harry," said Rose, "you can always come back, so let's gather up as much as you think you'll need and we can go buy your things."
Harry nodded and quickly gathered up some of each of the coins in the money pouch before exiting the vault and getting in the cart with the others.
"Hold on," said Griphook as the cart shot off again.
The cart twisted and turned on the track, going deeper into the caverns, before stopping at another door, this one without a keyhole.
"Stand back," said Griphook as he ran one finger along the door.
There was the sound of clockwork gears and the door swung open to reveal a room, empty except for a raised pedestal with a small wrapped item. The Visored tried to get a better look at it as it gave off a strange Reiatsu. Hagrid pushed past them and placed the package in a pocket in his coat. They then hopped in the carts and headed to the surface.
Once the group exited the bank, Hagrid told Harry to take out his school letter. Harry did so and was surprised to find that it had changed.
"Looks like we have a lot to buy," said Shinji, "any thoughts on where to go first?"
"Let's split up," said Rose, "Love and I can get Harry's books."
"Sounds good," said Shinji, "Hiyori and I can get the cauldron, telescope, phials and scales."
"Well then," said Hagrid, "I can take Harry to Olivanders to get his wand."
"I would like to come as well," said Hachi.
"Me too!" said Mashiro.
"Oh no you don't," said Kensei, "you're staying with me so I can keep an eye on you."
"Booo," pouted Mashiro, "Kensei's a party pooper."
"Well, let's get going," said Shinji, "we'll meet up back here when we're done."
"Alright then," said Hagrid, "let's head over to Olivanders and you can get your wand."
Hagrid led Harry and Hachi to an old shop that and led them inside. The inside of the shop was filled with shelves with wooden boxes piled on them.
"I have some things to take care of," said Hagrid, "you'd best head to Madam Malkin's for your school robes after this."
"Thank you for your assistance," said Hachi.
"This place has a strange Reiatsu," Harry whispered to Hachi once Hagrid had left.
"Indeed," the former Kido corps Lieutenant whispered back.
"Welcome," said an old man from behind Harry, causing him to jump.
"Um, Hi," said Harry, "I'm here to buy a wand."
"Of course," chuckled the old man, "that's why people come to my humble shop. If you'll step this way, we can begin. My name is Mr. Olivander."
Olivander led Harry to the side and pulled out a roll of measuring tape, "I assume your wand hand is your right, correct?"
"Yes sir," said Harry as Olivander measured his arm, fingers, and hand.
"Let's see then," said Olivander as he began to look through the different boxes on the shelves.
Harry absently noticed that the measuring tape was still measuring him without Olivander, and now it was measuring the distance between his eyes. Olivander snapped his fingers and the tape flew over to him and into his pocket as he brought a box with a wand in it.
"11 inches, red oak with a dragon heartstring," said Olivander. Upon seeing Harry's questioning glance he elaborated, "all wands are made with a special magic core. No two wands are alike and the wand chooses the wizard, not the other way around."
Harry took the wand, but before he could even give it a wave, Olivander snatched it out of his hand.
"No, no," said Olivander, "that's not it. Try this one, 9 inches, cherry and unicorn hair."
Harry was about to wave the wand, but it was snatched away again.
"Nope," said Olivander, "let's try this one…"
Harry was exhausted. He had been trying wand after wand and he was starting to wonder if there was one in this shop for him.
"How about we try this one," said Olivander, "11 inches, Holly and Phoenix feather."
Harry gave the wand a swing and a vase in the corner promptly shattered.
"Not that one either," said Olivander, "hmm, maybe, maybe that one. It would be most curious though. Most curious indeed."
"What is it?" asked Harry.
"Many years ago, a strange group of people came to the first Olivander wand maker in the family and commissioned a strange wand," said Olivander, "they supplied him with the wood, but told him to not include the core for some reason, saying that it would be provided by the one who would wield the wand. Tell me child, do you have a sword?"
"Um, yes," said Harry, too surprised by the random question to lie.
"Then please try this wand," said Olivander as he brought out an ancient box that wa covered in dust and cobwebs, "and bring out the sword from your soul."
Harry and Hachi were shocked at what they just heard, "How do you know about that?" asked Hachi.
"The group said that the one who the wand would be meant for a child with a sword within his soul. They then left through strange doors that appeared out of thin air," explained Olivander.
"What did they wear?" asked Hachi.
"They wore black cloaks with a white garment over it. On their backs was a black diamond with four flowers," said Olivander.
"Impossible," said Hachi.
"What is it?" asked Harry.
"Harry, show him your Zanpakuto," said Hachi, "I'll explain later."
Harry focused on what the Visored had taught him about materializing his Zanpakuto from within his body and Ryuge appeared in his hand. Harry then took the wand from the box. Suddenly he felt a rush of power surging from his soul into the wand.
"What was that Ryuge?" asked Harry.
"I have sent part of my power into this wand, forming a core for it," replied his Zanpakuto.
Harry gave the wand a test swing and red and orange sparks left a trail in the air.
"Congratulations Mr. Potter," said Olivander, "this wand is yours."
Harry took out his money pouch to pay Olivander, but the old man stopped him, "This wand was always yours, I was simply holding it for you."
Harry thanked him and he left the store with Hachi.
Harry and the rest of the Visored had met up at the Leaky Cauldron and headed to a small house that Kisuke had rented for them to use until Harry left for his school term. Hagrid had met up with them and revealed that he had gone to buy Harry a birthday present in the form of a beautiful Snowy Owl that Harry named Amaterasu after the Japanese goddess of the sun. It was then that Hachi told the Visored about Harry's wand.
"Impossible," said Rose, "to think they would be responsible for his wand."
"Who are they?" asked Harry.
"The zero division," said Shinji, "the ones tasked with the protection of the Spirit King, the Royal Guard."
"Is my wand really that special?" asked Harry.
"Very," said Hachi, "in fact, the wood that it is made of is the same wood that makes up the shaft of the Sokyoku."
"But how did they know Harry would get the wand?" asked Lisa.
There was silence.
"You don't think?" said Shinji.
"Only he would have that kind of insight about the future," said Love.
"Who?" asked Harry.
"The Spirit King," said Shinji, "he commissioned your wand."
After the Visored had gotten over the shock at the origin's of Harry's wand, they began to explain to Harry the significance of the creation of his wand.
"So who is this Soul King?" asked Harry.
"The Soul King is the lynchpin of the universe," said Shinji, "he is an omnipotent and all knowing being. He is the closest thing to a god in the universe and rules over the Soul Society. The Zero Division is his personal guard and is stronger than any member if the 13 Court Guard Squads. If he commissioned your wand, then he must have foreseen an important event in your future that would require you to be at your best."
"So my wand is really that powerful?" asked Harry.
"That it is," said Hachi.
"Well," said Rose, "if you're going to be attending this school, then you should read ahead. That way, you will be able to be prepared for whatever is thrown at you."
"Sounds like a plan," said Shinji, "we can read up on some of this wizard stuff as well."
Harry nodded and grabbed, The Standard Book of Spells (Grade 1) and began to read.
A few weeks had passed and Harry had focused on learning new Kido from Hachi along with training his Shunpo, Hakuda, and Zanjutsu from the other Visored, and in his free time he read more from his textbooks. He had begun attempting some of the simpler spells in his book and had varied success.
At this moment, Harry was packing his trunk for the trip to King's Cross Station. He was trying to cram in his cell phone and a special soul candy, that Kisuke had prepared for if he needed to leave his human body for some purpose, into his trunk along with his school things.
"Get in there!" growled Harry as he jumped on his trunk lid to try and close it.
"Need some help?" asked Hiyori as she walked in.
"Yeah," said Harry, "I can't hold my trunk closed and lock it because when I reach for the lock, it pops back open again."
"Let me help," said Hiyori, "get it closed again."
Harry hopped on his trunk, forcing it closed. Hiyori then latched the trunk, locking it shut.
"There we go," she said, "That wasn't so hard."
"Speak for yourself," chuckled Harry, "at least it's closed now."
"So you ready kid?" asked Love as he walked in.
Harry nodded, "I wonder what a magical school is like?"
"From what I've heard from Kisuke," said Shinji as he walked in, "it's a well known and highly regarded school of magic."
"I'll miss you guys," said Harry, "I promise to write once a week."
"Atta boy," said Shinji, "and you can call us anytime with your phone."
"Alright," said Love, "we'd better get going if we're going to catch the train."
"The car's already loaded," said Shinji.
"Alright," said Harry, "let's go."
The group walked out of the house to where a small SUV was waiting with Rose at the wheel. The group loaded Harry's trunk and into the back of the car. Once that was done, Shinji, and Love and piled into the car and headed to the King's Cross station while Hiyori went back into the house.
"So you have your ticket?" asked Shinji.
"I do," said Harry, "but I'm confused. Why does it say, Platform 9¾?"
"Not sure," said Shinji, "maybe it's some sort of code to keep the muggles from finding the train?"
"Perhaps," said Rose as he continued to drive, "but wouldn't it be prudent to give Harry the code?"
"True," said Shinji, "I guess we'll find out when we get there."
The SUV pulled into the train station and the Visored and Harry unloaded Harry's things from the trunk of the SUV. They walked into the busy station and looked at the barrier between platforms 9 and 10.
"It doesn't look like there is a Platform 9¾," said Harry.
"No," said Shinji, "there is a strange Reitatsu coming from this platform barrier."
Shinji reached out toward the barrier expecting to meet resistance, but was surprised when his hand passed through the barrier as if it wasn't there.
"Well well," said Shinji, "it seems like there is a hidden platform here. Looks like more magic at work."
The four of them walked toward the barrier between platforms 9 and 10 and passed through it. They then found themselves on another train platform. The sign said: Platform 9¾ and there was a large red and black steam locomotive with the words Hogwarts Express written in gold letters.
"Looks like this is your ride," said Love.
"We're gonna miss ya," said Shinji, "promise to keep training your skills whenever you have the time."
"I promise," said Harry.
"We'll see you during the Christmas holidays," said Rose.
Harry nodded, "I promise to call and write when I can."
"Send us messages with that owl of yours," said Love.
"Will do," said Harry.
He waved to the Visored as he boarded the train with his trunk. He passed a family of red-heads and found an empty compartment for himself. He had a bit of trouble loading his trunk into the luggage rack though due to him being a bit short. Luckily two of the red-heads that he had passed walked up. They were obviously twins, but harry could detect the differences in their Reitatsu.
"Having a bit of trouble?" said one of them.
"Just a bit," said Harry.
"Let's give em a hand, Fred," he said as he and his twin hefted Harry's trunk onto the rack.
"Thanks," said Harry.
"No problem," said Fred to his brother, "right George."
"No problem at all," said George, "we'll be seeing you."
Harry sat down in his compartment and took out his wand to examine it. He still couldn't believe that the Spirit King himself had commissioned his wand. Soon the train started moving and they left the station. Harry was pulled out of his musing when a nervous looking boy walked up to the door to his compartment.
"Um, excuse me," said the boy, "is it alright if I sit here?"
"Sure," said Harry, "nobody else is sitting here."
"Thanks," said the boy, "my name is Neville Longbottom and this is my toad, Trevor."
"I'm Harry Potter, and this is my owl, Amaterasu," said Harry.
"You're Harry Potter?" exclaimed Neville.
"Last time I checked," said Harry, "it's no big deal really."
"No big deal?" exclaimed Neville, "You're the hero of the wizarding world, the Boy Who Lived. Can I see the scar?"
"I lost the scar years ago. I just want to go through school like a normal person and learn magic," said Harry, "I'm also hoping we could be friends if you didn't treat me like some kind of idol."
"Sorry," said Neville, "I can do that though, we can be friends."
Suddenly Trevor jumped from his master's hands. Acting on instinct, Harry pointed his hand at the escaping toad.
"Bakudo #4: Hainawa!" said Harry, causing a tendril of gold energy to shoot at the toad and bind him like a rope so Neville could grab him.
"That was amazing," said Neville, "how were you able to do wandless magic? And what was that spell?"
"It's a spell I learned back home," said Harry, "its called Kido."
"Can anyone learn it?" asked Neville.
"Unfortunately no," said Harry, "only a certain group of people can learn it."
"That's too bad," said Neville.
"Also," said Harry, "I'd like it if you didn't mention it to anyone."
"I can do that," said Neville.
Soon the snack trolley came and Harry, being a bit hungry and curious about the wizarding food, bought some of everything and shared it with Neville. As the two boys ate, they talked about their life at home.
"So your uncle actually dropped you from the upstairs window?" asked Harry.
"He was only trying to get me to use accidental magic," said Neville.
"At least he had better intentions than my uncle," said Harry bitterly, "he abandoned me in Japan because he wanted to be rid of me."
"I thought you said you had a great family?" said Neville.
"I don't consider my blood relatives family anymore," said Harry, "I gained a new family in Japan and they're the ones who raised me."
"Sorry," said Neville, "I didn't mean to bring up bad memories."
"It's alright," said Harry as he picked up a chocolate frog, "I have a great family now and a lot more happy memories."
With a smile, he unwrapped the frog and bit into it before it could get away. The two boys continued to talk as the train passed through the countryside. Soon Neville looked up out the window and realized they were getting close to the school.
"We should change into our robes," said Neville getting a nod from Harry.
The two boys changed into their robes and packed their casual clothes into their trunks. Just as they finished, the train pulled into a station and everyone began to pile off. Harry looked around at all the students getting off the train. The sun had set during the train ride and the stars were above them. Harry was pulled out of his thoughts when he heard Hagrid calling out.
"Firs' years," called out Hagrid as he stood by a series of boats on a lake, "Firs' years this way."
Harry and Neville followed the group of younger students to the boats where Hagrid was waving a lantern around to get the attention of the students.
"Only four per boat," said Hagrid as the first years piled into a boat.
Harry ended up in boat with Neville, a girl with bushy brown hair and large front teeth, and one of the redheads that he had passed on Platform 9¾.
"Everyone aboard?" asked Hagrid, "Alright, let's go."
As he said that the boats began to move forward across the lake. Harry wondered what kind of magic could cause the boats to move like this as he looked over the black waters of the lake.
"Watch yer heads," said Hagrid as they passed under a curtain of ivy, "all right, take a look."
The students looked up and got their first view of the Hogwarts Castle. It was a majestic stone castle lit up by the moon and the lights coming from the windows. It was something out of a storybook about old Arthurian tales.
Soon the boats docked at the castle and the first years were helped onto the docks and Hagrid led them inside where they were met with a stern looking woman.
"The firs years, professor McGonagall," said Hagrid.
"Thank you Hagrid," said the woman, "I shall take them from here."
McGonagall led the students through the stone halls of the castle. Soon they stopped in front of two ornate doors and McGonagall turned to address the first years.
"I'd like to welcome all of you to Hogwarts," said McGonagall, "when you pass through these doors, you shall be sorted into one of the four houses in this school. They are, Gryffindor, Ravenclaw, Hufflepuff, and Slytherin. As a part of your house, your triumphs shall gain your house points, while any rule breaking shall cause your house to lose points. At the end of the year, the hose with the most points is awarded the House Cup. I shall return when we are ready for you."
McGonagall walked through the doors and closed them behind her. The students began to talk amongst themselves about what this 'sorting' could be? Some theories that came up ranged from a quiz to fighting a troll. Suddenly numerous ghosts floated through the walls, causing Harry to nearly materialize his Zanpakuto out of surprise.
"Forgive and forget, I say," said a fat ghost in friar robes, "everyone deserves a seco…"
Suddenly the ghosts noticed the students, or more specifically, they noticed Harry and the light Reitatsu that he was emitting out of surprise.
"On the other hand, we should be going," said the friar hastily.
"I agree completely," said the ghost he had been arguing with before they all high tailed it out of there.
"That was weird," said a student.
McGonagall chose that moment to enter the room again, "If you would please follow me."
McGonagall led them into a large hall with four tables lined up in front a larger table with adults sitting on it. The ceiling had candles floating around it and looked like the night sky above it An old dusty hat was sitting on a stool. Suddenly, to the surprise of the students, the hat burst into song.
(song is the same as in the book.)
Harry blinked, not at all having expected the hat to sing. He glanced at Neville and saw that he was as surprised as well.
"Please step forward when I call your name," said McGonagall.
As McGonagall read off the names from her list, students walked forward and put on the hat. The hat then called out one of the houses and the student would head to the table for that house.
"Granger, Hermione," said McGonagall.
The bushy haired girl from the boat walked up and placed the hat on her head. The hat was silent for a moment, before shouting out, "RAVENCLAW!"
The girl, now identified as Hermione Granger, took off the sorting hat and headed over to the Ravenclaw Table. She was welcomed with applause and cheers. Harry wondered about what would happen when he put the hat on and why it was silent for a while. He only half paid attention as more names were called, looking up when he heard his friend's name get called.
Neville walked up the stool and placed the sorting hat upon his head. The hat was silent for a long time and Neville was looking more and more nervous. Suddenly the hat yelled out, "HUFFLEPUFF!" Neville was so happy that he ran off toward the table without taking off the hat and had to hurry back to the stool to return it.
Harry waited as other students were called up and sorted. He knew it would be only a matter of time before his turn came.
The room went silent when they heard McGonagall call his name. As Harry walked to the stool, the other students began to whisper amongst themselves.
"Is that really him?"
"Harry Potter is attending Hogwarts?"
"He looks shorter than I thought he would."
Harry ignored all the whispering and sat on the stool and placed the hat on his head.
"Hmmm, you are an interesting one," said a voice in Harry's head that was not Ryuge.
Harry decided to close his eyes and enter his mindscape.
Harry found himself in the familiar crystal forest that was his inner world. He noted hat Ryuge was glaring at a man whose form seemed to be constantly shifting.
"Ah, Harry," said the dragon, "would you care to explain why this being is here?"
"I'm the spirit of the Sorting Hat," said the man, "I've entered this boy's mind to determine which of the four houses suits him best."
"What's the usual process?" asked Harry.
"Usually I look through your memories and personality," said the Sorting Hat, "but it seems that this will be a bit more difficult."
Ryuge simply sighed, "Simply head over to the lake over there and dive in. Harry's memories are stored there."
The sorting hat nodded and dived into the lake. While the spirit of the hat was busy, Harry turned to Ryuge to talk with him.
"It is good to speak with you again," said Ryuge, "you will be entering a new part of your life, so be careful and be wary of those who seek to use you."
"I will," said Harry.
"You should go, I feel that the hat has finished looking through your past," said Ryuge.
"Alright," said Harry before exiting his inner world.
Harry opened his eyes and found himself sitting on the stool with the whole hall staring at him.
"My my my," said the Sorting Hat out loud, "this might just be the hardest one I've ever had to sort. He has the ambition and cunning to fit into Slytherin, the intelligence to match a Ravenclaw, loyalty befitting of a Hufflepuff, and courage to rival any Gryffindor. There is one trait that stands out though, and that is his loyalty to his friends and family, so it better be HUFFLEPUFF!"
The cheers from the Hufflepuff table shook the room. If someone looked at the High Table where the teachers sat, they would have seen a slight look of shock on Dumbledore's face and a look a joy on Professor Sprout's face.
The sorting concluded with Ronald Weasly, one of the redheads that he met, being sorted into Gryffindor and a boy named Blaise Zabini was sorted into Slytherin.
"Well," said Dumbledore, still a bit flustered from the surprise of Harry being sorted into Hufflepuff (and because his contingency plans were slowly failing one by one), "after such an interesting sorting, I believe it is time for us to eat."
The gold plates in front of them suddenly were filled with delicious food that was mostly foreign to him, due to growing up in japan and eating Japanese food most of his life. That and his Aunt and Uncle would never give him any of the good food, leaving him only table scraps to eat. Harry tried to pace himself and try some of everything.
"So you're Harry Potter?" said an older boy, "My name's Cedric Diggory, and I'd like to formally welcome you to the Hufflepuff house."
"Thanks," said Harry, "but I really just want to be treated like a normal student while I'm here."
"Sure," said Cedric, "I'm sure we can all do that."
As he ate, Harry talked with some of the other Hufflepuffs and Neville, getting to know them a bit better. He found out that Neville lived with his Grandmother and that his wand was actually his father's, a fact that made Harry frown.
"Neville," said Harry, "when I got my wand, Mr. Olivander told me that the wand chooses the wizard and not the other way around. Do you have trouble casting spells?"
"Somewhat," said Neville.
"Then maybe you should get a new wand," said a Hufflepuff at Neville's right, "you could head over there during the Christmas break. It could be a present for yourself."
"We could all chip in," said Cedric, getting cheers from the others.
"Thanks," said Neville.
As the feast ended, Dumbledore rose to give another speech to the students.
"Now that we all have been fed, I have a few announcements," said Dumbledore, "please note that spells are not to be used in the halls outside of class. Our caretaker Mr. Filch, would like me to remind the students that the forbidden forest at the edge of the grounds is off limits to all students, and additionally, the third floor corridor is off limits to all who wish to avoid a most painful death."
The students were silent at the last announcement. It was a bit surprising. Soon they all began to file out. The Hufflepuff Prefect, Gabriel Truman, led Harry's group to the basement where they stopped in front of a set of large set of barrels stacked on their sides.
"Watch carefully," said Gabriel before tapping a tune on a barrel in the middle of the second row with his wand.
The lid of a barrel swung open to reveal a crawlway. Gabriel led the students through the tunnel into a cozy room with a low ceiling with windows along the walls. There were overstuffed armchairs, yellow hangings, and many interesting plants that Harry had never seen before on the windowsills and hanging from the ceiling.
Gabriel showed them the tunnels that led to the dorms and told them which ones were for the girls and which ones were for the boys. Harry and Neville headed through the tunnel to the boy's dorm to enter a cozy room with four-poster beds covered in patchwork quilts illuminated by warm copper lamps.
Harry walked to a bed that had his trunk next to it and began to change into his PJs. His first day at Hogwarts had been very interesting, but he had a feeling he would like it here.
How many of you were surprised to see that Harry is in Hufflepuff now? I figured that would be the perfect place for him due to his loyalty to his family and friends. Hope you liked this chapter. Ciao.
Chapter 6: Classes Begin
Harry woke up bright and early the next morning and headed to the common room after washing up. Once he entered the room, he sat down in a lotus position and entered his inner world. Harry closed his eyes and found himself in the crystal forest.
"I see you have returned, child," said Ryuge from his spot in a clearing, his deep voice sounding like a caring father, "this school that you find yourself in is truly an interesting place."
"Yeah," said Harry, "magic sure is amazing."
"I also see that you have made some friends in this place," said Ryuge.
"They really are a nice bunch," said Harry, "I'm glad to have met them."
"Indeed," said Ryuge, "do not forget to practice what your family taught you once in a while."
"I'll remember," said Harry, "I plan to draw up a workout schedule for myself."
"Good," said Ryuge, "it would not do to let you abilities stagnate. Now I believe some of your housemates are gathering."
"Thanks for the talk, Ryuge," said Harry.
Harry opened his eyes to see Neville and some of his housemates looking at him with concern.
"Is something wrong?" asked Harry.
"We saw you sitting down, but we couldn't get your attention," said Neville, "Cedric even tried shaking you to wake you up."
"We were about to go and get a teacher," said Cedric.
"Don't worry," said Harry, "my family taught me some advanced meditation techniques that put me in a state where I'm shut off from the world around me."
"That sounds like some serious meditation," said one of Harry's housemates, a boy named Ernie Macmillan.
"It helps one connect with their inner self," said Harry, "but it isn't an easy technique to learn."
"Well, we should all head down to breakfast," said Cedric, "then you can get your schedules for class."
Harry nodded and got up off of the ground and joined his housemates as they headed out of the Common Room and to the Great Hall for their breakfast. Harry noticed that the occasional ghost that floated by would do an about face and make a hasty exit as soon as they saw him. This got some questioning looks from the other Puffs, but Harry didn't know what to tell them and just shrugged.
When they reached the Great Hall, Harry found a seat at the table next to Neville and began to fill a plate with eggs, sausages and toast. He missed some of the traditional Japanese breakfasts that the Visored would cook for him in the morning, but he found the food at the castle an interesting change, but not a bad one. As he ate, he talked with Neville about their interests and lives at home.
"Yeah," said Neville, "I've always had a green thumb. My Gran set up a little garden and greenhouse for me to grow plants. I'm really looking forward to Herbology class."
"That sounds cool," said Harry.
"What about you?" asked Neville, "What do you do back home?"
"Well," said Harry, "my family taught me some martial arts and took me to the occasional festival. I liked wearing the traditional clothes."
Harry and Neville were then given their class schedules and found that they had Transfiguration with the Ravenclaws first, followed by Defense Against the Dark Arts, and Double potions with the Gryffindors.
"Well," said Harry, "we'd better get going."
"Yeah," said Neville, "we don't want to be late."
The two of them finished their food and grabbed their things before heading to class.
The two of them hurried through the corridors, not wanting to be late on the first day of class. They were careful to avoid the moving staircases so they wouldn't get lost. When they arrived at the classroom, they found that some other students were sitting in the room. Neville was about to find a seat, but he saw Harry pause when he saw a cat sitting on the teacher's desk.
"Is something wrong?" asked Neville.
"That's not a cat," said Harry.
"What are you talking about?" asked Neville.
"It's hard to explain," said Harry, "I can just feel that this isn't a cat."
"If it's not a cat," said Hermione as she got up from her desk and walked over, "what is it?"
"Our teacher, if I'm not mistaken," said Harry.
Suddenly the cat leapt off the desk and transformed into the witch that had greeted them at the doors.
"Very good, Mister Potter," said McGonagall, "you have good instincts. 5 points to Hufflepuff. Now if the rest of you could find your seats, we will begin."
Once the students had found their seats, McGonagall began to lecture about Transfiguration and the science behind the magic. Harry took notes as she explained how Transfiguration worked and the principles behind it. McGonagall then passed out matches and instructed them to transform them into needles.
Harry tried to cast the spell on the matchstick and noted how the spell felt to his Reiatsu sense. He felt the energy twisting around the structure of the match trying to get it to change shape. Harry cast the spell again and this time tried to manipulate the magic he felt to make the matchstick change. Sure enough, the matchstick transformed into a shiny needle.
"Excellent work, Mr. Potter," said McGonagall when she came over, "you have your father's gift for transfiguration."
The rest of the class passed without incident, though Hermione kept shooting him weird looks. She had managed to make some progress with her matchstick, but she hadn't been able to get a full transformation like Harry. Because of this, Harry had been the only one to not receive any homework.
"That was amazing," said Neville, "how did you do it?"
"It's hard to explain," said Harry, "I just made my magic do what I wanted it to do."
"That's amazing," said Neville.
"It's not all that. C'mon," said Harry, "we don't want to be late for Defense Against Dark Arts."
DADA class was a joke in Harry's opinion. The teacher, Professor Quiirrel, seemed to be scared of his own shadow and his Reiatsu had a corrupt and twisted feel to it. The man also had a terrible stutter and didn't seem to be right in the head. As such, Harry eagerly headed to potions, hoping that class would be more inviting than DADA.
Harry walked into the dimly lit dungeon that served as the potion classroom and found a seat next to a red haired boy, Ronald Weasley, if he remembered correctly. Soon a tall man with greasy black hair and a sharp pointed nose waked into the room.
"My name is Professor Snape," said the man as he faced the class with a look similar to scorn, "you will refer to me as Professor or Sir. Is that clear?"
"Yes Professor," said the class.
"You are here to learn the subtle science and exact art of potion-making," he began. He spoke in barely more than a whisper, but they caught every word, "As there is little foolish wand-waving here, many of you will hardly believe this is magic. I don't expect you will really understand the beauty of the softly simmering cauldron with its shimmering fumes, the delicate power of liquids that creep through human veins, bewitching the mind, ensnaring the senses. . . . I can teach you how to bottle fame, brew glory, even stopper death, if you aren't as big a bunch of dunderheads as I usually have to teach."
Snape turned his attention towards Harry, "Mr. Potter, our new…celebrity. Tell me Potter, what would I get if I added powdered root of asphodel to an infusion of wormwood?"
Snape expected Harry to be just like his father had been, a troublemaker that relied on sports and looks to get through school, and thus was surprised when Harry answered.
"Asphodel and Wormwood create a powerful sleeping potion known as the Draught of Living Death when prepared correctly," said Harry confidently. He was very grateful that the Visored had made sure he remembered what he read from the textbooks.
Snape's eyes narrowed, "Where would you look if I asked you to find a bezoar?"
"In the stomach of a goat," said Harry.
"What is the difference between monkshood and wolfsbane?" asked Snape.
"They are the same plant and also go by the name aconite," said Harry.
Snape was silent for a few moments. Perhaps this boy wasn't as much like his father as he initially thought, "Very good," he said, "why aren't the rest of you writing all this down?"
The other students scrambled to take notes. Harry smiled a bit, maybe this would be fun.
Chapter 7: Taking Flight
Harry found Potions class to be quite enjoyable. He wasn't quite sure why everyone thought the class would be hell on earth. Professor Snape was stern, but he seemed to be nicer than everyone made him out to be.
Harry partnered with Neville as the class was instructed to brew a potion that was supposed to remove boils. He did quite well and even helped Neville avoid an unfortunate mistake that would have caused his cauldron to melt.
After class was over they had to turn in vials filled with a sample of their potions for grading. Harry and Neville had made the potion perfectly and turned in their vial before leaving the room. They had brewed the potion perfectly and placed it on Snape's desk before heading out.
In the corridor they were stopped by the red headed boy that Harry remembered was named Ronald Weasley.
"Hey," said Ron as he ran up to Neville and Harry, "you're Harry Potter, right?"
"Yes," said Harry, "what of it?"
"I'm Ron Weasley," said Ron.
"Yes," said Harry, "I remember you from the sorting."
"Say," said Ron, "do you, y'know, remember when…?"
He trailed off pointing to his forehead.
"Are you seriously asking me if I remember one of the most traumatic experiences in my life that cost me my parents?" asked Harry dryly.
"Right, sorry," said Ron, "well, anyway how did you win Snape over?"
"I guess I just studied and knew the material," said Harry.
"C'mon really," said Ron, "you can tell me."
"I just did," said Harry as he got a bit irritated.
"It can't be just that," said Ron.
"It. Is," said Harry, "I simply read ahead in the books before coming to school and thus was able to answer his questions."
"Fine be that way," said Ron.
"What way?" exclaimed Harry in exasperation, "Is it so hard to believe that I did well because I studied?"
"Snape never is nice to anyone that isn't a Slytherin," said Ron.
"Believe what you want," said Harry, "we should be going. C'mon Neville."
Neville and Harry then began to walk off, but Ron grabbed Harry's arm.
"Hey wait!" he said.
"Let go," said Harry angrily, "Hado #1: Sho!"
Harry pointed at the annoying redhead and Ron felt himself being thrown back by some sort of invisible force. He just sat there in shock as Neville and Harry walked off towards their next class.
After the encounter with Ron in the hall, they had flying class with the Slytherins. Harry headed out to the courtyard with Neville, trying to calm his friend's nerves.
"It's going to be fine, Neville" said Harry.
"Are you sure?" asked Neville.
"Don't worry," said Harry, "just stay calm and everything will be fine."
"If you say so," said Neville.
"Excuse me," said a voice, "but aren't you Harry Potter?"
Harry sighed and turned around to see a young boy with platinum blond hair being flanked by two hulking boys that looked kind of like human gorrillas.
"Who wants to know?" asked Harry.
"My name is Draco Malfoy," said the blond boy, "and these are my companions, Crabbe and Goyle."
"I see," said Harry.
"I just wanted to offer my hand in friendship," said Malfoy, "an alliance with my family could prove most beneficial to you. Far more so than an alliance with the Longbottoms would."
"I don't care about political alliances," said Harry, "I'm friends with Neville because he's a nice person and a good friend to be around."
"Why?" asked Malfoy, "He's just an underconfident failure."
"And what are you but an arrogant bully?" retorted Harry, "I think I'd rather hang out with my friend, thank you very much."
"And just how great is this friend?" asked Malfoy as Crabbe and Goyle walked forward and shoved Harry a bit.
Harry's eyes narrowed and in a few quick moves, he caught Crabbe's arm and flipped him over his shoulder, ending in a crouch. From there he spun and swept out Goyle's feet from under him, dropping him as well.
"What is going on here?" demanded Madame Hooch when she walked up.
"Potter snapped and attacked us," said Malfoy.
"Is that right?" asked Madame Hooch.
"No," said another Hufflepuff who Harry remembered was called Hannah Abbot, "Malfoy and his goons made the first attack and instigated the whole thing."
"Is that so?" asked Madame Hooch, "Can anyone vouch for that?"
"It's true," said Neville.
"Alright then," said Madame Hooch, "twenty points from Slytherin for lying to a teacher and starting a fight and ten points to Hufflepuff for sticking together. Now lets begin your first flying lesson."
Each student took a place next to one of brooms.
"Alright," said Hooch, "place your right hand over the broom and say 'Up'."
The call of "UP!" was heard across the courtyard, but there was limited success. Many of the students just stood there while there brooms just rolled across the ground. Harry's though, immediately sprung into his open hand.
"Cool," said Harry.
Soon all of the other students had managed to get their brooms and were ready for the next step.
"Alright," said Madame Hooch, "now, I want you to gently push off the ground and float above the ground for a few seconds before coming in for a landing."
Neville was a bit nervous and his leg jerked, causing him to shoot off the ground. As he floated higher and higher he began to panic and lose his balance and grip on the broom.
Harry knew he had to act lest Neville receive dangerous injury, so he grabbed his broom and kicked off the ground, ignoring Madame Hooch's yells of protest. Once he was in the air, he realized how natural flying felt and flew toward Neville. Unfortunately, Neville lost his grip before Harry could reach him, and began to fall to the earth. Knowing he had to do something, Harry reached out with his hand and began to chant.
"Disintegrate, you black dog of Rondaninil! Look upon yourself with horror and tear out your own throat! Bakudo #9: Horin!" Harry chanted quickly.
A yellow and orange tendril of energy shot from his fingers catching Neville and halting his fall, allowing Harry to lower him gently to the ground. Harry then descended until he could land and dismount his broom.
"Mr. Potter!" exclaimed Madame Hooch, "What were you thinking!? You could have been killed! 15 points from Hufflepuff for taking such an outrageous risk!"
Harry drooped. He may have saved his friend, but he lost a lot of points as well, but Madame Hooch wasn't done.
"Also, 20 points to Hufflepuff for selfless loyalty to your friend," said Madame Hooch, "I'll also have to give you a detention with Professor Sprout."
"Yes Ma'am," said Harry.
"Alright," said Madame Hooch, "I think we're done here. Feel free to leave for the day."
As Harry walked off, he looked back on how Hogwarts was to him so far. He actually liked it.
Chapter 8: Detention and Changes
That night, Harry reported to Professor Sprout's office to serve out his detention. The professor had informed him in private that it was just because they couldn't have all the students performing dangerous stunts, so they need to discourage said acts. Harry was fine with that, as he understood that not all students would be able to pull off an act like that and survive, so he accepted his punishment in stride.
When Harry walked into Professor Sprout's office, he saw her sitting behind her desk with a small tray in front of her.
"Please have a seat, Mr. Potter," she said, motioning to a chair, "as I said earlier, this is more of a formality than a punishment. As such, I would like to spend this time discussing some of the unusual abilities that you displayed."
"Unusual abilities?" asked Harry.
"Yes," said Professor Sprout, "such as the strange spell you used to save Mr. Longbottom today."
"Oh," said Harry nervously, "that was just something my family taught me."
"Do you mean James and Lilly Potter?" asked Professor Sprout.
"No," said Harry, "I mean my family in Japan."
"Can you tell me about them?" asked Professor Sprout.
"They took me in when I was abandoned in Japan," said Harry, "they are really nice people. Hiyori and Shinji argue a lot, but they care deep down. Lisa is really caring and has always been there for me. Kensei is strict, but that's only because he wants me to do the best I can. Love is a nice guy and Rose likes his music a lot. Hachi is always a soothing presence and Mashiro is hyper, but they all are great people."
Professor Sprout was troubled. All of the people he was describing sounded quite nice, and if she understood his situation correctly, Harry had been abandoned in Japan by his aunt and uncle.
"Harry," she asked with a small frown, "how old were you when you were left in Japan?"
"I was around six years old," said Harry.
Professor Sprout was even less happy now. Those muggles had left a child in a foreign country alone with nobody to take care of him.
"Harry," she said, "I'd like to meet this family of yours. Do you think I could?"
"I could ask them," said Harry.
"Yes," said Professor Sprout, "please do. Now, could you tell me more about the spells that you used earlier?"
"I guess," said Harry, "to start, it's not really normal wizarding magic. It's something that only certain people can use. It's called Kido, or the Demon Arts in English."
"Demon Arts?" said Professor Sprout, a bit alarmed at the name.
Harry nodded, "It is grouped into three categories, Hado: Way of Destruction, Bakudo: Way of Binding, and Kaido, which is used for healing."
"What was the spell you used earlier?" asked Professor Sprout.
"I used Bakudo #9: Horin," said Harry.
"Do you know any other spells?" asked Professor Sprout.
"I know lots," said Harry, "but I'd like to not reveal too much about it at the moment."
"I understand," said Professor Sprout, "now, since you have a detention to finish, how about you help me in the greenhouses?"
Harry smiled and followed his head of house out of her office.
The next morning, Harry woke up bright and early and decided to give the Visored a call. He pulled out his modified Cell-Phone and dialed the number of the Visored's residence in Karakura and waited for them to pick up.
"Hello there, who is this?" asked Shinji's voice on the other end of the line.
"Shinji," said Harry in Japanese, "it's me Harry."
"Oh, Harry," said Shinji, "hold on, let me put you on speaker."
There was a small beep and then Shinji's voice could be heard again.
"So Harry," said Shinji, "what're you calling for?"
"Well," said Harry, "one of my teachers in interested in meeting you after she learned about my Kido."
"How did she learn about it?" asked Love's voice.
"More importantly, HOW did she learn about it?" Hiyori's voice.
"Well," said Harry in an embarrassed voice, "I kinda used some to save a friend from falling and breaking some bones."
Shinji sighed, "I guess that's a good reason. How much does this teacher know about us?"
"Not a whole lot," said Harry, "the most she knows is about Kido and that it isn't normal wizarding magic."
"I see," said Shinji, "I guess some of us could head over to meet with her. It would be nice to see you again."
"Alright," said Harry, "I'll see you then."
Harry hung up his phone and turned around to see Neville standing in the doorway to the dorms.
"Um, hi Harry," said Neville.
"Hi Nev," said Harry.
"What is that thing?" asked Neville, "You seemed to be talking to it earlier."
"This is called a phone," said Harry, "it's a way to talk to someone that is far away as if they were in the same room."
"So its kind of like Floo communication," said Neville.
"What's that?" asked Harry.
"Well," said Neville, "it's a type of magic powder that can allow you to travel via fireplace. You can also send a single body part through to communicate."
"That's pretty interesting, but phones work differently," said Harry.
"So what was that language you were speaking?" asked Neville, "I couldn't even understand one word."
"That was Japanese," said Harry, "it's the native language of the place where I live with my family."
"So you can speak another language?" said Neville, "That's amazing."
"It's nothing special really," said Harry.
"Right," chuckled Neville, "you're really humble, you know that?"
Harry just chuckled, "So, want to head down to breakfast?"
"Sure," said Neville with a smile.
The next few weeks at Hogwarts were uneventful. Harry studied hard in class and found that he had a knack for Transfiguration and Potions, surprising his fellow students when actually was praised by Professor Snape for brewing a potion perfectly. He even learned about a popular sport in the wizarding world known as Quidditch. The sport involved flying on brooms to score points by shooting a ball through a hoop, while dodging other balls called Bludgers. The game would end when a small ball called a Snitch was caught. Harry thought about it and decided that he would try out for the Hufflepuff team next year when he would be allowed to bring a personal broom to school.
One day, he was walking with Neville through the corridors to help Professor Sprout out in the greenhouses when Cedric came running up.
"Harry," he said, "I was just sent to get you. Professor Dumbledore wants to see you!"
Chapter 9: Meetings
As Harry walked with Cedric to the headmaster's office, he wondered what he was being called for. He didn't think that he did anything wrong, so he was confused as to why he was being asked to visit the headmaster. Cedric led him through the halls until they reached a stone gargoyle.
"Sugar Mice," said Cedric, causing the gargoyle to jump aside, revealing a spiral staircase.
"The office is right up there," said Cedric.
"Do you know what's going on?" asked Harry.
"Not a clue," said Cedric, "well, I have to get to class. Good luck Harry."
Harry took a deep breath as Cedric left and began to walk up the stone steps. He couldn't figure out what he was being called for. Sure he had used Kido on Ron and taken down Malfoy, but that wasn't even his fault and he was only defending himself. Soon Harry arrived at the door to the office. He knocked twice and the door opened.
"Ah," said Dumbledore as Harry walked in, "have a seat, my boy."
"Um, thank you," said Harry as he took a seat in front of the desk.
He noticed that there were a lot of strange devices lining one wall. On a perch by the desk was a majestic bird that stared at him and behind the headmaster's desk was several dozen portraits of what Harry assumed to be significant wizards and witches.
"Care for a Lemon Drop?" asked Dumbledore as he motioned to a bowl of candy.
"No thank you sir," said Harry, "may I ask why I've been called here?"
"My boy," said Dumbledore with a smile and a twinkle in his eye, "I simply wish to talk. How has Hogwarts been treating you?"
"Fine, I guess," said Harry.
"I'm glad to hear that," said Dumbledore, "have you made many friends?"
"Yeah," said Harry, "my housemates are really nice."
"I'm glad," said Dumbledore, "what about your family at home?"
"They're quite nice," said Harry, "why do you ask?"
"I simply want to know how you are getting along with your Aunt and Uncle," said Dumbledore.
"I haven't spoken with them in years," said Harry.
"Does that mean you don't enjoy living with them?" asked Dumbledore.
"No," said Harry with a frown, "not since they abandoned me in Japan."
"I'm sure that must have been a misunderstanding," said Dumbledore, "I'm sure if you clear things up with them, they'd be happy to welcome you home."
"I doubt it," said Harry, "and besides, I have a new family now. I don't want to go back."
"But Harry," said Dumbledore, "they're your family. Shouldn't you try and give them a chance?"
"I don't think so, sir," said Harry, "I'm through putting up with them. I have a family that loves me now. I don't need my aunt or uncle. If we're through here, I promised Professor Sprout that I'd help her in the Greenhouses with Neville."
"That's fine," said Dumbledore, "and if you ever need to talk, I'll be here."
Harry didn't respond and simply got up and walked out of the office. He kept wondering why the headmaster was asking such personal questions and seemed to be pushing for him to move back with the Dursleys. He had no wish to go back to his aunt and uncle's so they could abuse him and put him to work when he could just stay with the Visored.
With a sigh, he headed to the greenhouses to meet up with Neville and Professor Sprout.
The next day, Cedric approached Harry once again. This time, he had come of his own free will with a request. Apparently, the Hufflepuff Quidditch captain had heard of the incident in the flying lesson where Harry saved Neville and wanted to see in person how well he could fly. This led to Harry being taken to the Quidditch field where the captain was waiting with one of the school's brooms.
"Alright Potter," said the Captain, "I heard about your flying. I'd like to see just what you can do on one of these brooms when you don't have to worry about saving a housemate."
"Um, alright," said Harry, "what exactly do you want me to do?"
"Why don't you try and fly around the pitch," said the Captain, "we'll go from there."
Harry nodded and kicked off of the ground, taking to the air on the school broom. Harry zoomed around the pitch and weaved through the goal hoops. He found flying to be exhilarating and decided to try a few tricks. He did spins and loops, even using his control of Reiatsu to perform intricate maneuvers without using his hands. Harry then came in for a landing and jumped off the broom with a smile.
"That was amazing Harry," said Cedric.
"I'll say," said a familiar voice, "ya looked like a natural on that broom."
Harry and Cedric turned to see Shinji, Lisa, Rose, and Hachi walking up to them with smiles on their faces.
"Shinji," said Harry happily, "Lisa, Rose, Hachi! Its good to see you."
"It's good to see you too, kid," said Love, "you were pretty impressive out there."
"Who are your friends?" asked Lisa.
"This is Cedric Diggory, and Alexander Drake," said Harry, "they are my housemates."
"It's a pleasure to meet you," said Cedric.
"So why are you here?" asked Harry.
"Well," said Shinji, "we came to meet with your Head of House. We had just finished and decided to come and visit you. You were pretty good out there."
"I'll say," said Alexander, "I think you'd make a welcome addition to our Quidditch team. Maybe a chaser?"
"We'd have to get him a better broom at the first opportunity," said Cedric, "the school brooms aren't that great."
"True," said Alex, "if only first years were allowed their own brooms."
"If its alright with you," said Harry, "I'm going to go and catch up with my family."
"Alright," said Alex, "I'll be seeing you potter."
"See you later," said Cedric.
"So how has school been?" asked Lisa as Harry and the Visored walked through the halls.
"It's been fun," said Harry, "I made some friends and I'm actually doing well in my classes."
"Something tells me there's a 'but' there," said Shinji.
"What makes you say that?" asked Harry.
"C'mon," said Shinji, "we've known you for how long now? You can't hide things from us."
"Well," said Harry, "not all of the students have been friendly to me."
"That's to be expected in any school," said Rose, "there will always be some rotten apples."
"So don't worry about them," said Shinji, "just do the best you can."
"I intend to," said Harry.
"So how are your studies going?" asked Rose.
"I am doing quite well," said Harry, "reading ahead really helped me prepare for the classes."
"Good thing we talked you into it," said Love.
"So what did Professor Sprout want to talk to you about?" asked Harry.
"She just wanted to know about your life at home and was curious about Kido," said Shinji with a shrug, "nothing much really."
"So how long will you be staying?" asked Harry.
"Well," said Shinji, "we were actually going to leave tonight. But Urahara is considering opening a branch of his shop in the town near here, so you might hear from us soon enough."
"Awesome," said Harry, "it's great to see you guys again."
"The feeling's mutual Harry," said Lisa as she tussled his hair.
The next day Cedric took Harry and Neville down to the Quidditch field. When they arrived at the pitch, they found the several members of their house waiting for them along with their Quidditch captain.
"Good to see you again, Harry," said the captain, "I wanted you to come down here because I was hoping you'd try out for our Quidditch team."
"But I'm just a first year," said Harry.
"First year or not, you're one hell of a flyer," said the captain, "I'd like to see how you'd compare to the others. Personally I think you'd make a decent Chaser with the tricks you can do."
"Alright," said Harry, "why not?"
"I'll be in the stands rooting for you," said Neville as he walked to join the spectators.
"Alright," said the Captain, "first, we'll be having Seeker tryouts."
He pulled out several small balls and showed them to the others, "I'll send these flying around the pitch and I'll time you to see how long it takes each of you to catch them."
Harry watched as Cedric lined up with some of the others that were assembled. One by one they were sent after the small balls as the captain sent them flying around the pitch with a mixture of the levitation charm that Harry had learned in Charms class and a spell he didn't recognize. Out of all of the fliers, Cedric was able to catch the balls the fastest.
"Nice job Diggory," said the Captain, "now those trying out for the position of chaser, please line up."
Harry lined up with the others, holding one of the school's old Shooting Star racing brooms. He felt a bit nervous standing next to all of the older students, and wondered how he would match up to their experience.
"Alright," said the Captain, "since I'm still the Keeper for this team, you'll take turns going against me. The ones that can score the most goals out of seven tries will become this team's three Chasers."
Harry watched as several of the older students took turns trying to land as many goals as they could while the Captain hovered in front of the goal hoops and tried to deflect their shots. Harry watched as a seventh year with bright blue hair managed to land a sixth goal before fumbling the seventh.
"Great job Tonks," said the Captain as the girl landed, "last up, Harry Potter."
Harry mounted the school broom that he had and kicked off the ground, noting how unsteady the broom was in the air. Concentrating, he used his control over Reiatsu to stabilize the broom before catching the Quaffle as it was thrown to him.
Harry began by flying toward the hoops with the Quaffle in his arms. He had seen the skill that the Captain had at blocking the shots, so he decided to be a bit unconventional. He tossed the Quaffle in the air and spun his broom so that his fist would punch the ball toward the far hoop at an angle that would allow it to go in. Harry inwardly smiled at the gobsmacked look on the Captains face that was quickly replaced by one of fierce concentration.
This was going to be fun.
Harry smiled as he landed his broom. He had easily performed best out of the other Chaser candidates, scoring seven goals out of seven, one of which he had scored by balancing on the broom with one hand and using his legs to kick the Quaffle through the hoop so fast that the Captain couldn't intercept it.
Oh how he was grateful for all the training he received from the Visored on Reiatsu control and Hakuda.
"Alright," said the Captain once the beaters had been selected, "it looks like we have a solid lineup. The first practice will be next week Tuesday at 5 pm. I look forward to our first game."
Chapter 10: Danger on Hallow's Eve
Albus Dumbledore was in a pickle. His plan to shape Harry Potter, the Boy Who Lived, into the one who will eventually bring down the dark lord Voldemort, was falling to pieces. Albus was unsuccessful in convincing Harry to go back to the Dursley's and his attempts to convince Professor Sprout to speak to Harry about this have run into barricades ever since the head of the Hufflepuff house met with Harry's new family. Not only that, but he had received a stern talking to that made him feel like he was on the receiving end of a Howler.
Albus sighed, the root of the problem, he figured, was Harry's new family. Yes, if his plans were to get back on track, he would have to show them the wisdom in his choices, that he was doing everything for the greater good.
He would send Fawkes with a message.
Harry was enjoying his time at Hogwarts. He was excelling in his classes and flying with the Quidditch team in in his free time to be ready for the first match. He had even found a few new friends in the form of Hermione Granger and the Weasley twins. He had met Hermione when he was doing some studying in the library and after she had helped him find some books on transfiguration, they began to talk and became fast friends.
He met the Weasley twins on a different occasion. It all began when they tried to prank him…
It was a dark and stormy day…
No really, the day was dark and overcast with heavy rains. Harry was walking through the corridors when he stopped short. His Reiatsu senses were telling him that two people were trying to follow him.
Against a normal person, they would be doing a great job, but against someone like Harry, who could detect and identify the Reiatsu that people gave off, they might as well be dancing in front of him with fluorescent pink shirts that said 'Here we are!'
Harry continued on his way, pretending to be ignorant of their presence before using Bakudō #26: Kyokkō to hide himself after ducking around a corner. He saw two third years that looked like they were the older brothers of Ron Weasley and were identical twins down to the last freckle.
"Where'd he go?" asked one twin, "He went this way, right Fred?"
"I saw him too," said the other twin, "there aren't any secret passages this way either, George."
"Yeah," said George, "we would have seen them on the map."
"I checked it this morning," said Fred, "there aren't any."
"Let's check it again," said George.
The twins pulled out an old, blank piece of parchment and drew their wands.
"We solemnly swear we are up to no good," said the twins as they tapped their wands to the parchment.
Harry watched with wide eyes as ink appeared on the formerly blank parchment, forming a complete map of Hogwarts with moving dots that represented the people on the grounds.
"I don't get it," said Fred, "the map says he's right next to us!"
"Maybe its broken?" suggested George.
"That's quite the map," said Harry as he canceled the Kido, causing the twins to jump about a foot in the air at the sight o Harry stepping out of thin air.
"Blimey Harry," said Fred, "you gave us quite the fright."
"Yeah," said George, "that didn't look like a Disillusionment Charm, and it wasn't an invisibility cloak."
"That was a special trick that my family taught me," said Harry, "now, can you tell me why you were following me?"
The twins looked at each other and George spoke up, "You mean you knew,"
"That we were following you," continued Fred.
"The whole time?" finished George.
Harry nodded, "That I did. So why did you do it?"
"Well," said Fred, "it's simple,"
"We heard some things," continued George.
"From our little Ronniekins,"
"So we wanted to know,"
"If what he told us was true."
"I see," said Harry, "and what do you think of me?"
"You're not the rude jerk that Ickle-Ronniekins made you out as," said Fred.
"Yeah," said George, "you seem like a cool guy."
"So what is that map?" asked Harry.
"This is the secret to our success as Master Mischief Makers," said Fred.
"It looks like a map that shows the location of everyone in real time," said Harry.
"Not just that," said George, "it also shows where every secret passage is located. Great for making escapes after a prank."
That made Harry grin. He was no stranger to pranks. After all, living with the Visored and dealing with Kisuke had to have some effect on his sense of humor.
"Do you think you could use the occasional helper?" asked Harry.
"Oh?" said Fred, "You want to help us?"
"Yeah," said Harry, "some tricks I know can help you."
"You mean like that invisibility trick?" asked Fred.
"I think we have a new partner," said George.
The three of them grinned, thinking of what mischief they could cause.
After that, the three of them became comrades in arms, with Harry using the occasional Kido or trick learned from Kisuke, who had experience with stealth, to help the twins with their pranks. Harry learned of their dream to open a joke shop and encouraged them to put more effort into their classes, as a joke shop would take more than some ideas and imagination to run. Also, the things they learned could be applied to bigger and better pranks.
Soon Halloween came around and Harry joined in the celebrations with the rest of his house. The Great Hall was decorated with large jack-o-lanterns and the food was excellent. The only thing that put him off was that he had overheard in the corridors that Ron had insulted Hermione and she was now crying in the girl's bathroom.
Harry was just thinking of bringing her a plate of food, when their Defense Against Dark Arts professor, Quirinus Quirrell came running into the hall with a panicked look.
"TROLL IN THE DUNGEOUNS!" yelled the frightened professor, "Thought you'd want to know."
And with that he fell to the ground, facedown, in a faint.
The Great Hall erupted in a panic, until Dumbledore rose to his feet and fired off several purple firecrackers from the end of his wand.
"Prefects, lead your houses to their dormitories," said Dumbledore, "quickly now!"
As the Prefects herded the students out of the Great Hall, Harry was struck with a horrifying thought. Hermione didn't know about the troll! She was in danger!
"I assume you are going to rescue her?" said Ryuge from within Harry's soul.
"Yeah," Harry replied, "she doesn't know and could be killed."
"Then be careful," said Ryuge, "remember your training. This will be your first real battle without the Visored watching you."
"I will. Thank you, Ryuge," Harry said before quietly breaking away from the group and heading to find Hermione by following her Reiraku to the bathrooms.
When he got there, he froze. The door had been smashed in and Harry heard Hermione scream from inside. Harry ran into the bathroom to see Hermione cowering as the troll loomed over her carrying a large club. Knowing he had to act quickly, Harry raised his hand and prepared a Kido Spell.
"Hadō #31: Shakkahō!" yelled Harry, pointing his palm at the back of the troll.
Red energy gathered in a sphere in front of Harry's palm before flying at the troll, exploding upon impact. The troll staggered, but its thick skin and Harry's limited Reiatsu allowed it to survive with only some minor burns. The troll turned around to see Harry standing there with a serious look. With a roar it swung its club down at the young Visored, forcing him to dodge out of the way, utilizing the physical training the Visored gave him to stay alive.
"Alright ugly," said Harry, "try this."
Harry's Zanpakuto materialized in his hand and he pointed it at the troll.
The sword in Harry's hand erupted in flames and transformed into a British sabre with a blade that glowed red with heat. The troll swung its club at Harry, but he jumped out of the way and used Reiatsu control to fly up to the troll's chest and stab Ryuge into it, burying it up to the hilt.
The troll roared in pain from the searing blade impaling it, but Harry wasn't done yet. Harry began to generate yellow lightning in his free hand that cast shadows over the room.
"Hadō #11: Tsuzuri Raiden!" yelled Harry, touching the hilt of his sword with the lightning covered hand, sending the energy into the troll's body.
The troll roared in pain as its body was electrocuted from the sword stuck in its chest. After a few minutes, its heart gave out from the shocks and the troll fell to the ground, dead.
Harry breathed a sigh of relief as he retrieved his sword and wiped some of the gore off it. Turning, he saw Hermione standing there gaping at him. There was a sound behind him and he turned to see the Hogwarts staff standing in the ruined doorway gaping at the burnt corpse of the troll and at the sword in Harry's hand.
"My boy," said Dumbledore, "I think we need to talk."
Harry was taken to the Headmaster's office after Hermione was sent to the Hospital wing for a calming drought to deal with the shock. Harry was seated in a chair in front of the Headmaster's desk with Dumbledore sitting across from him and the heads of house standing at his side.
"Now Harry," said Dumbledore, "perhaps you could explain what you were doing in the dungeons?"
"I had heard that Hermione had been harassed and was missing the feast," said Harry, "when Professor Quirrell came in, I realized that she didn't know about the troll and went to tell her and get her to safety. When I got there the door had been smashed and I heard her scream for help, so I went in and, since there wasn't time to alert a teacher, as the troll was about to kill her, I fought the troll."
"How did you fight it off?" asked McGonagall, "You were alone and even experienced wizards have trouble with trolls."
"My family in Japan taught me a few tricks," said Harry, "they also taught me how to fight."
"That was quite irresponsible of them," said Dumbledore, "teaching young children to fight."
"About as irresponsible as a Headmaster that allows a dangerous monster in a school for children," said Harry, "an action that almost resulted in the death of one of the students."
"My dear boy," began Dumbledore.
"Don't start," said Harry coldly, "I wonder what the parents would say if they found out about this? Isn't this supposed to be a safe place for students to learn?"
Dumbledore sighed and decided to change the course of this conversation, "When did you get such an unusual sword?" he asked.
"I gained it thanks to my family," said Harry as he made his sword return to his soul, "It's a part of me and is always at my side."
"Can you tell us more?" asked Dumbledore.
"Perhaps," said Harry, "maybe you could tell me some of your innermost secrets as well. Something like how and why you thought that leaving me with abusing relatives that ABANDONED ME IN JAPAN?"
"Harry," began Dumbledore before he was cut off.
"Don't try to rationalize it," said Harry coldly, "if that's all, then I think I should go."
Harry then got to his feet and walked out of the office, leaving Dumbledore gaping.
"This shouldn't come as so much of a surprise," said McGonagall, "I did try to warn you about those muggles when you left him there."
"Indeed," said Sprout" he is a remarkable boy. An excellent student and someone who is dedicated to his friends and family. It is no wonder that he was sorted into my house."
"He is definitely nothing like his parents," said Snape, "he is calmer and more mature than his father, and has a more controlled temperament than his mother did. You shouldn't push him, that will only drive him away from you."
Dumbledore sighed, "What could have happened to the boy to cause such a change?"
"Perhaps being left with a family that abandoned him in a foreign country," said Flitwick dryly.
"Perhaps we should get some rest," said Dumbledore, "we can think about this tomorrow."
The rest of the heads of house nodded and began to leave, but Snape hesitated before leaving, turning to speak to the headmaster.
"I noticed the scar is gone," said Snape.
"Indeed," said Dumbledore, "but it does not change what has been written. Neither can live while the other survives."
"Perhaps," said Snape before walking out of the office.
Meanwhile at the Visored warehouse, the group of ex-Shinigami were relaxing in their usual ways. Rose and Love was reading some books the former picked up in Diagon Alley, Kensei was training, Shinji, Hyori, and Mashiro were lounging, Hachi was meditating, and Lisa was practicing a hobby she picked up when they adopted Harry: cooking.
When Harry first joined their weird little family, they quickly realized that take out dinners and convenience store bentos were not what they wanted to feed a growing boy with signs of malnourishment, so Lisa took it upon herself to learn to cook.
At first, her creations were things they wouldn't even give a Hollow to eat, though Mashiro liked them just fine, but with time, she improved and began to cook for Harry and the rest of the Visored, providing them with healthy and delicious meals.
"Hey Lisa," said Shinji, "when will lunch be ready?"
"Be patient," said Lisa, "you can't rush good cooking."
Suddenly there was a flash of fire in the middle of the floor that deposited a letter on the ground, sealed with the Hogwarts wax seal. The Visored glanced at each other and carefully approached the letter, allowing Hachi to scan it with his Kido. When the Kido picked up nothing harmful, Shinji picked up the letter and the Visored began to read.
The resulting surge of Reiatsu and Killing Intent sent all the Hollows within several miles fleeing in terror back to Hueco Mundo. Even an Adjuchas that had decided to come and feed was sent running from the power emitted.
Chapter 11: Rage and Sport
Harry was keeping busy at school. He had told the Visored about the Troll incident through a letter, but also mentioned that he wanted to stay in school with the friends he made. He was often found in the library looking up Quidditch maneuvers with Neville, and surprisingly Hermione's help. Fred and George had wanted to help, but told him they were on the Gryffindor team and the team captain would skin them alive if they helped the opposition, so that just left the three of them.
Ever since the troll incident, Harry had found a new friend in Hermione, and she was more than happy to help him and Neville in their studies. The three of them did quite well, what with them helping each other study in subjects the others had trouble with. They had positive effects on each other as well. Hermione became more lenient in terms of rules and less obsessed with grades and studies, Neville was starting to open up more and do better in class, and Harry had real friends that he could socialize with here at Hogwarts.
It was during one of these study sessions in the castle that something peculiar happened. Harry felt a multitude of powerful yet familiar Reiatsu. Looking around he noticed that nobody else was feeling this pressure, so Harry immediately jumped to his feet to look for the source.
Why was this happening you ask? Well, let's rewind a bit to a few hours earlier in the Headmaster's office.
Dumbledore was enjoying a nice cup of tea when Professor McGonagall walked in.
"Ah Minerva," said Dumbledore, "to what do I owe this visit."
"Headmaster," said McGonagall crisply, "you have some visitors. They say they're I. Potter's family."
"Ah yes," said Dumbledore, "please show them in."
McGonagall nodded and the Visored entered the office. McGonagall then exited, feeling that it would be best for her continued health. Once she had left, Hachi made several signs with his hands and nodded to Shinji.
"So you are the ones who took in young Harry," said Dumbledore.
"That is correct," said Rose.
"Now," said Shinji, "we have a few questions for you."
"Ask away," said Dumbledore.
"Explain this," said Shinji as he tossed a letter on Dumbledore's desk, "we were about to sit down to a delicious meal prepared by Lisa here, when this letter appeared in a flash of flames. We were indeed surprised, as our home is warded against intruders and doesn't get mail, so we looked it over. Now, care to explain what you meant by sending us this?"
"Ah," said Dumbledore, "let me explain. To put it simply, Harry will be safer if he returns to the care of his Aunt and Uncle."
"You can't be serious!" said Hiyori.
"I am," said Dumbledore, "there are special wards around the house that protect him from harm so long as he lives there."
"Is that so?" said Shinji.
"That is indeed so," said Dumbledore.
"Bullshit," said Shinji.
"I beg your pardon," said Dumbledore.
"In what realm of reality is a child safe with a family that regularly abused him, starved him to the point of malnutrition, and ABANDONED him in a foreign country?!" demanded Lisa.
"I assure you I had no idea…" began Dumbledore.
"The hell you didn't!" growled Hiyori, "And you have the gall to send us this dumbass letter saying that we should send Harry back to them? Are you senile, gramps?"
"Please," said Dumbledore, "you must understand the big picture."
"Enlighten us," said Rose.
"Not long after Harry was born, a prophecy was made that indicated that he would be the one to forever end a man twisted by evil," said Dumbledore as he brought out his pensive, "allow me to show you."
Dumbledore tapped the stone bowl and a wispy figure rose out of the liquid and spoke, "THE ONE WITH THE POWER TO VANQUISH THE DARK LORD APPROACHES…BORN TO THOSE WHO HAVE THRICE DEFIED HIM, BORN AS THE SEVENTH MONTH DIES…AND THE DARK LORD WILL MARK HIM AS HIS EQUAL, BUT HE WILL HAVE POWER THE DARK LORD KNOWS NOT…AND EITHER MUST DIE AT THE HAND OF THE OTHER FOR NEITHER CAN LIVE WHILE THE OTHER SURVIVES…THE ONE WITH THE POWER TO VANQUISH THE DARK LORD WILL BE BORN AS THE SEVENTH MONTH DIES…"
The Visored were silent after listening to the Prophecy. They had no idea Harry was so deeply involved in all of this, and the talk of a Dark Lord reminded them of a certain Shinigami Lieutenant that made them what they are as a part of a twisted experiment. Nevertheless, the knowledge didn't change their decision one bit.
"So you see now," said Dumbledore, "it is imperative that Harry is kept safe."
"You just don't get it do you, old man?" said Shinji, "Harry isn't safe back with his relatives. They abandoned a six year old in a different country with nothing but the clothes on his back."
"And besides," said Love, "what about this strange power the prophecy spoke of? How will he use it back with them?"
"I believe that power is love," said Dumbledore, "and if Harry is kept safe, he can learn to love others."
The Visored were silent.
"Are you serious?" asked Shinji in a deadpan.
"How would he learn to love back with those bastards?" asked Lisa.
"And on top of that," said Kensei, "how can love beat a Dark Lord powerful enough to threatan the world?"
"Harry stays with us," said Shinji, "and if you ever try to separate us…"
Shinji and the Visored called upon a fraction of their Reiatsu and directed it at the Headmaster, making him feel like there was a great pressure pushing down on him.
"You WILL regret it."
The Visored left and Hachi took down the barrier he put in place to ensure their privacy. As they headed through the halls to a safe place for them to Shunpo to the airport, they saw Harry running up.
"Guys!" said Harry, "You didn't tell me you were coming to visit!"
"It was kind of a surprise thing," said Lisa as she hugged Harry, "we had some business to take care of. Nothing you need to worry about."
"Who are you lot?" drawled a arrogant voice.
Harry sighed and turned to see Draco Malfoy walking up with Crabbe and Goyle, the brawn to his brains (or what he calls the walnut in his head).
"What do you want Malfoy?" asked Harry, "I was just visiting with my family."
"Your family?" sneered Draco, "Are these the ones who raised you? No wonder you turned out the way you did, living with people like them."
Draco suddenly was hit with powerful Reiatsu, forcing him to his knees as he struggled to breath.
"Don't you dare insult my family," snarled Harry, "they are a thousand times better than you could ever hope to be in a million lifetimes. If you ever insult them, then you'll have to deal with me."
Harry let up on the Reiatsu, allowing Draco to scramble to his feet and back away, "You wait till my father hears about this!" he yelled.
"Pathetic," said Hiyori, "you bluster around flaunting your status and making trouble, but when things get too intense, you go running back to daddy."
"You're nothing but a spoiled brat," said Kensei, "man up! Your daddy won't protect you forever."
"You'll get nowhere if you always hide in your father's shadow," said Rose.
"Well we should be going, Harry," said Shinji, "we'll be sure to keep in touch and we'll see you for the winter holidays."
"Thanks," said Harry as he hugged them, "see you later."
The Visored then left, leaving Harry to head back to the library to continue studying.
A few more weeks past and it was finally time for Harry's first Quidditch match as Chaser for the Hufflepuff team. Their first match would be against the Ravenclaw team and Harry was excited. His only regret was that he didn't have a better broom to use, the school brooms really weren't the best.
"Alright," said the captain as the team got ready, "this is what we've been training for all this time, so let's win this for the Puffs!"
"YEAH!" said the team.
"Mount your brooms!" called the captain.
The team got on their broomsticks and shot out into the field, getting into position. The two captains shook hands and Madame Hooch brought out the box with the Quidditch gear. She kicked it, releasing the Bludgers into the pitch and threw the Quaffle into the air, starting the match.
The Ravenclaw team quickly got control of the Quaffle, tossing it between them as they headed to make a goal. Harry and the other Chasers shot at them, trying to steal the Quaffle back and they managed to do so when Harry shot at them. The Chasers tossed the ball to each other to try and avoid Harry, but the young Visored let go of the broom with his hands and grabbed the crimson ball out of mid air, doing a midair flip with his broom that tossed the ball to his teammates. The Ravenclaw team was so shocked by this move that the Hufflepuff team managed to score a goal, making the game 10-0 in their favor.
As the game continued, the scoring shifted between sides, with the Ravenclaw Chasers learning to keep the ball well away from Harry if they wanted to score at all. The few times that Harry did get control of the Quaffle led to extraordinary maneuvers that always scored points. One time, Harry even tossed the ball in the air and punched it at the goal posts, sending it flying at the Keeper faster than a Bludger, forcing the player to get out of the way or get knocked off his broom.
The game went on for quite a while, and the Ravenclaws slowly learned to improvise techniques to subdue Hufflepuff's newest Chaser. Things like sending Bludgers his way to keep him from grabbing the Quaffle, to having the Chasers fly erratically across the pitch were some of the things they tried.
When the game was tied though, something troubling happened. Harry felt an influx of Reiatsu that began to interfere with his broom, causing it to buck and pitch around as he held the Quaffle. His team rushed to help but he managed to signal that he was alright and told Cedric to grab the snitch fast. Using his training in Reiatsu control that the Visored taught him, he managed to stabilize his broom enough to score a quick goal by forcing his own Reiatsu into the broom to counter the foreign energy that was interfering with it. Just as the goal was scored, the energy overtook his own and he was sent falling off the broom. Pointing his hand at the ground he channeled his power and cast a Bakudo to break his fall.
"Bakudō #37: Tsuriboshi!" yelled Harry, causing a blue sphere to form that shot out ropes of energy that adhered to the sides of the pitch before turning into a sort of soft and springy safety net that broke Harry's fall.
Looking up, Harry saw Cedric zooming toward him with the Snitch in his hand, a concerned look on his face.
"I'm fine," said Harry, "what's the score?"
"350-200," said Cedric.
"So we won?" asked Harry.
"Yeah," said Cedric, "but how can you think of the score when you almost died?"
"I'm fine," said Harry, "so don't worry."
"If you say so," said the Captain, "now let's get back to the Common Room and celebrate!"
Chapter 12: Prelude to an Interlude
In the Hufflepuff common room, the students were celebrating their first victory of the year and their new star Chaser. Some students had even gone to the kitchens and grabbed some refreshments.
"Here's to a start of a great year," said Cedric as he raised a bottle of butterbeer, "all thanks to Harry Potter!"
"Hear hear," said the rest of the room.
"It wasn't that much," said Harry.
"Wasn't that much?" echoed one of the other students, "You were amazing! I've never seen moves like that even at the World Cup."
"With moves like that," said the captain as he raised his drink in salute, "we'll win the House Cup for sure this year! And once we can get you a proper broom, you'll be unstoppable!"
"So Harry," said Neville, "what happened to you out there? It looked like you lost control of your broom for a second."
"Yeah," said Hannah Abbot, "you were bucking around like crazy up there."
"I don't know," said Harry, "it felt like some outside force was trying to mess with my broom."
"You mean like a spell?" asked Neville.
"Probably," said Harry.
"Hold up," said Cedric, "you mean you could actually feel someone using magic on you? How does that work?"
"I don't know," said Harry, "I just can feel the energy as its being used. Is that not normal?"
"Not really," said Cedric, "unless it's a spell like Stupefy that actually affects the target physically, the magic can't be felt. And if your broom was what was being affected, you shouldn't have been able to feel anything aside from the broom going out of control."
"Oh," was all Harry could say. He had a theory why he could feel the magic, and it tied into his first transfiguration class. Due to his ability to sense Reiatsu, he had the ability to sense spells in the same way.
"So are you sure you're alright?" asked Hannah, "That was a long fall from your broom."
"Don't worry," said Harry, "I was able to catch myself, so I'm fine now."
Wanting to move away from grim thoughts, the house began to celebrate their win one more, but Harry couldn't help but wonder who had tried to kill him.
A few days later, Harry was walking through the halls, being as quiet and stealthy as possible. He was currently using a Kidō spell to conceal the Weasley Twins as they crept through the corridors in order to sneak stink pellets into the office of the school's grouchy caretaker, Argus Filch. Normally, Harry wouldn't want to torment one of the staff, but Filch was disliked by the entire student body for a reason, he was rather cruel and hated all the students. It was because of this that Harry felt no guilt in helping like this.
Soon the twin redheads ran up and the three of them made their escape to await Filch's reaction when he goes into his office. As they walked, Harry decided to ask the twins something he'd been wondering about.
"Why don't you two try harder in class?" he asked them.
"That's an interesting question," said Fred.
"That it is, dear brother," said George.
"It's not that we don't try," said Fred.
"We just don't see the use,"
"In learning things,"
"That won't really affect our future plans."
"Why is that?" inquired Harry, "What are your future plans?"
"Well young Harry," said Fred, "it's simple."
"We intend to open a Joke Shop!" said the twins together.
"We'll sell ways to make people laugh through pranks and novelties," said George.
"It's a dream come true," said Fred, "making money from pranks."
"I still don't understand," said Harry.
"What's not to understand?" asked George.
"Well," said Harry as he put his hand on his chin in thought, "if you studied harder in classes like potions, charms, and transfiguration, you could gain knowledge that you could use to make more elaborate pranks, like potions that are mostly undetectable and charmed items that transform the user into something funny. All that could be created with the right knowledge."
The Weasley twins stopped short as they thought about what Harry had told them.
"You know," mused Fred, "I never thought of it like that."
"It would help to know how to make specialty potions," added Fred.
"And mastering human transfiguration could bring a laugh if we could get it to work right," said George.
"Not to mention if we could create those cups that are charmed vanish the drinks inside,"
"Don't forget it would get mum off our backs for not studying,"
"Maybe we should consider,"
"trying a little harder."
Harry couldn't help but chuckle at that. He couldn't believe that the school's resident crown princes in comedy hadn't thought that studying hard could actually help their plans in so many ways.
"Well, young Harry," said George, "do you have any more genius ideas in your brain?"
Harry just smiled, "Let me see…"
Soon, winter came and a coat of white snow blanketed the castle grounds. Harry enjoyed himself as he had a few snowball fights in on the grounds with his friends. He even earned a few house points for Hufflepuff when he correctly brewed the Wiggenweld Potion in class, something that caused much surprise considering that Snape rarely gave out points to those who weren't in his house. Soon though, the time came for him to leave the school for the holidays, as he had turned in his permissions to his head of house to allow him to go home for the holidays. The night before the train would take them back to Platform 9¾, Harry decided to head to the third floor corridors to see just what Dumbledore was hiding up there.
Using Bakudō #26: Kyokkō, he cloaked himself in invisibility and crept through the corridors until he reached a door behind which he felt a strange Reiatsu pulsing. Using the alohomora charm on the door, he unlocked it and crept inside…only to come face to face with a gigantic Cerberus.
The beast sniffed the air with its three noses before leaning toward Harry and snarling. Apparently the thing could smell him even with the Kidō hiding his presence. As the dog reared back and tried to bite a chunk out of his body, Harry used Shunpo to get the hell away from there. As he was about to initiate the technique, he caught a glimpse of a trapdoor under the beast's feet, but paid it no mind as he bolted out of there.
After fleeing for a bit, Harry ended up a bit lost due to the castle's moving staircases and ended up in an old classroom on the fourth floor. Catching his breath from the constant high-speed running and dropping the Kidō to conserve energy, he looked around. The only thing that really stood out in the room was a large mirror the stood in the center. Walking up to it, Harry was shocked when he saw, not just his own reflection, but the rest of the Visored smiling back at him. Looking around and probing with his senses, he didn't detect the gang anywhere nearby, but looking back into the mirror, he saw them still standing there smiling with their arms around the shoulders of his reflection.
"It's quite the artifact," said a familiar voice.
Turning around, Harry saw Dumbledore standing in the doorway with a kind smile and a twinkle in his eye.
"This is the Mirror of Erised," said Dumbledore, "through it, we see our heart's deepest desires. Things we wish we had and dream of."
"But I already have what I see in the mirror," said Harry in confusion, "all I see is me and my family."
This caught Dumbledore's attention. He had expected Harry to see his parents in the mirror, giving him something to talk to him about, leading to some sage advice that would make the child trust him so he could further his plans. That he saw the Japanese folk in his reflection was surprising indeed.
"Professor," said Harry, jolting the headmaster out of his thoughts, "why are you here?"
"Oh," said Dumbledore as he crafted a story. It wouldn't do to have Harry know that he used the portraits and the castle ghosts to track his movements in the castle, "I come here often to gaze upon my deepest wish. Alas, this mirror must be moved later this week, so returning to see it would be impossible."
"That is understandable," Harry said with a nod, "this could drive people mad with a desire to make that which they see a reality. I should be going sir. I got a bit lost thanks to the staircases, but I think I can get back now."
"Have a safe holiday, my boy," said Dumbledore as he watched Harry leave. Maybe his plans weren't for naught after all. With a chuckle, he glanced at the mirror, seeing a young girl smiling back at him, and left the room as a small tear fell from his eye.
The next day, Harry packed his things and headed to the Hogsmeade train station to catch the Hogwarts Express back to King's Cross Station where he would meet up with the Visored. As he rode the train, he thought about the friends he made at school and the things that had been going on. As he watched the snowy land fly by, his thoughts drifted to the Cerberus that he had found guarding…something on the third floor. Harry wondered what could be so important that it would allow such a dangerous beast into a school for children to guard it, though considering the security was lax enough that a troll got into the castle on Halloween, that didn't say much. Closing his eyes, Harry decided to speak with Ryuge while he waited for the train to arrive.
"Hello again, young one," was Ryuge's response when Harry opened his eyes in his inner world, "you have been having quite the adventure."
"That's putting it lightly," said Harry as he sat on the ground of the crystal forest, "who would have thought that school would be so eventful."
"It was unexpected," acknowledged the dragon with a nod, "but this isn't a normal school."
"I doubt things like a troll attack or a giant Cerberus guarding something are things that are common in any kind of school," deadpanned Harry as he fixed his Zanpakuto spirit with a flat look.
"That is true," chuckled the spirit, a strange sound coming from a dragon, "I doubt that even the Shinigami academy would have to deal with such incidents."
"So what do you think the dog was guarding?" asked Harry.
"I do not know," the dragon replied, "as I am a part of your soul, there aren't many options I can give that you yourself haven't already come up with."
"I see your point," sighed Harry as he laid down on the ground, "I still wonder just what is going on at Hogwarts."
"As do I, young one," nodded Ryuge, "you might want to return to the real world now. Your friend from Ravenclaw is here."
Harry nodded and left his inner world. Once he was gone, Ryuge glanced toward a shadowy part of the crystal forest that was Harry's inner world. A spot where a bestial form was prowling.
"He will have to face it soon," sighed Ryuge, "it is growing in strength and soon I will not be able to repress its power."
Harry opened his eyes and saw that Hermione was sitting across from him in the compartment.
"Sorry, I didn't mean to wake you," she apologized upon seeing Harry up and about.
"You didn't wake me," Harry said as he stretched a bit, "I was just meditating and sensed you enter the room."
"Are you sure?" asked Hermione, "You seemed pretty into it."
"I just needed to think," replied Harry, "anyway, what are your plans for the winter?"
"Well," smiled Hermione, "my family was going to get together to celebrate the holidays. We'll probably have a small party and such. What about you, Harry?"
"I'll be heading back to Japan for the holidays," answered Harry, "I'm looking to spending some time with my family."
"What is your family like, Harry?" asked Hermione.
"Well," thought Harry, "they're…different. They all have their quirks and eccentricities, but they really care and are a lot of fun to be around."
"Do you think I could meet them one day?" asked Hermione, "They sound like a lot of fun."
"I'm meeting some of them at the train station," said Harry, "I could introduce you before we head out."
When the train pulled into the station, Harry disembarked with Hermione and looked around for the Visored. He wondered who would have come to get him. Considering their personalities, Hiyori and Mashiro were out, and Kensei would need to keep an eye on Mashiro, so that left, Lisa, Love, Rose, Shinji and Hachi. His wonderings were answered when he saw two familiar figures waving at him.
"Rose! Shinji!" exclaimed Harry as he ran up and embraced the Visored.
"Hey kid," said Shinji, "How've ya been?"
"Things have been hectic, but I'm managing," laughed Harry, "I've made some friends too. In fact, this is one of them. Hermione Granger, meet Shinji Hirako and Rōjūrō Ōtoribashi, or Rose as we call him."
"Pleased to meet you," said Hermione.
"Likewise," said Rose, "I must thank you for being Harry's friend. Perhaps you could visit us if you have time this summer. I'm sure Harry would like that."
"I'd have to speak to my parents," said Hermione, "but I'd love to. I've never been to Japan."
"Well," said Shinji, "we need to be on our way to catch our ride."
"I'll see you later, Hermione," said Harry.
With that the friends parted ways, not knowing that soon, events would come about that would cause much unrest among them.
Chapter 13: Christmas in Karakura
When Harry arrived back in Japan, he saw that the streets had been blanketed with a fine coat of white snow. Thankful that he had thought to wear his winter clothes, he boarded a train with Shinji and Rose that took the three of them back to Karakura.
"So how has your school life been?" asked Rose as the three of them walked through the streets, passing by families that were celebrating the Yuletide cheer.
"Well," said Harry, "I've been doing well in my classes, and I made friends with two sempai. Their names are Fred and George Weasley and they are really good at pranking people."
"Sounds like you were up to a lot of mischief," laughed Shinji, "it's good to have you back home."
"It's good to be home," said Harry.
When they arrived at the warehouse, Harry noticed that the place had been decorated with festive holiday cheer and there was even a small snowman siting by the door that resembled Kensei of all people. Walking through the barrier that shielded their home from the outside world, Harry could smell the aromas of Lisa's home cooking before he was knocked to the ground by a flying glomp from Mashiro.
"YAY!" exclaimed the green haired Visored, "Harry-kun is home!"
"It's good to see you too, Mashiro," said Harry as he returned the hug.
"Welcome home, kiddo," said Kensei as he pried Mashiro off of Harry.
"Hey Kensei," said Harry.
"You been keeping up with your training?" asked the former 8th squad captain.
Harry nodded, "I've gotten pretty good with my Hakuda and my Shunpo is getting really fast."
"Really?" said Shinji, "Maybe we'll see if an old friend of Kisuke's could give you some pointers if she drops by for the holidays."
"An old friend?" asked Harry.
Shinji nodded, "She helped us escape the Soul Society when we were made into Visored and went into hiding along with the rest of us. There would be nobody better to train you in Shunpo than the Goddess of Flash herself."
"I would love that," said Harry.
"But that can wait till later," said Shinji, "right now let's head inside and see how Lisa is doing on that Christmas diner."
With a smile, Harry raced into the warehouse, eager to be reunited with the rest of his family. Upon entering, he saw that the Visored had somehow managed to acquire a large Christmas tree and had placed it in the center of the warehouse's ground floor level. They had even decorated the massive tree with various ornaments ranging from normal baubles, to ones patterned after their hollow masks.
"Where did you get a tree like this?" exclaimed Harry.
"Oh this?" said Shinji, "Urahara knew a guy who could get one. After that we just gathered up what decorations we could find and put them on the tree."
"But wait," said Harry, "isn't the tree missing a star on top?"
"Kisuke will be delivering it," said Hachi from where he was meditating, "he should be here any time now."
As if his words summoned forth the cheeky shopkeeper, Urahara chose that time to walk through the door with a large box, "I've brought what you asked for. Oh, and welcome back, Harry-kun."
Opening the box, Urahara took out a crystal star and handed it to the Visored, "Just as you asked for. Care to do the honors, Harry-kun?"
Harry smiled and picked up the star before using his Reiatsu control to float up to top of the tree and place the star at the tip. Once the star was in place and Harry had landed back on the ground, Urahara pulled out a remote and pressed a button, causing the star to light up with colors that constantly shifted through the spectrum, casting its radiance across the warhouse.
"You really outdid yourself this time," said Shinji with a smile, "you want me to see if Lisa can't put together a plate to take back to the Shoten for Tessai and the others?"
"I think they would like that," said Kisuke.
Shinji nodded and headed into the kitchen area where Lisa was hard at work making the Christmas feast. While he was there, Harry reached into one of his bags and brought out a wrapped box that he handed to Kisuke.
"This is for you, Mr. Urahara," said Harry, "merry Christmas."
"Why thank you, Harry-kun," said Urahara, "I believe I have something for you as well."
Urahara took a small box wrapped in a traditional Japanese style from his coat and handed it to the young wizard, "I think you'll find this useful."
"Hey, Kisuke," said Shinji as he walked out, "good news. Lisa said you and the others would be more than welcome at the table. We have more than enough food."
"I'll go and tell the others then," said Kisuke, "I'm sure they will be happy to accept."
With that, Kisuke walked out of the door and back into the snow.
"Come on," said Shinji, "let's put that gift under the tree where it belongs."
Harry nodded and rushed over to the tree and placed the box he got from Kisuke under the tree with the pile of gifts that were already there. Once that was done, he opened one of his bags and pulled out several more wrapped gifts and put them under the tree as well.
"Oi! Kensei!" yelled Lisa from the kitchen, "Put those muscles to use and help me carry out the food here."
Grumbling lightly, Kensei headed into the kitchen and soon came back with Lisa, both of them balancing several large serving trays filled with food. Love and Rose quickly set up some tables and chairs and helped put the food down.
"Hey Harry," said Lisa as she hugged their young charge, "it's good to see you again kiddo."
"It's good to be back," said Harry as he returned the hug. While Lisa couldn't really replace his real mother, she was definitely the closest thing he had to one.
"So, Kisuke's joining us?" asked Lisa.
Shinji nodded, "He went to get the others at the shop."
"Well," said Lisa, "when they get here, we can work out seating. Until then, what can you tell us about Hogwarts? Anything interesting happen since out visit?"
"Well," said Harry, "I did accidentally run into a giant Cerberus and found a strange magic mirror that is supposed to show people their deepest desires."
"…is that what a normal school year is like these days?" muttered Shinji.
"Don't be an idiot," said Hiyori as she placed her slipper back in her pocket after whacking Shinji over the head. She couldn't wear them right now, as the weather was too cold, but she kept them handy.
"So," said Hachi, "did you see your greatest desire?"
Harry nodded and the large Visored walked over to him, "Be careful not to become too obsessed with what you saw. Wishing for what could be will only distract from what you already have."
"Don't worry," said Harry, "I won't go seeking what I saw, because I already have it. What I saw was all of us here as a family."
The Visored were truly touched at that declaration and they came together in a group hug with Harry. It truly was going to be a magical Christmas in Karakura that year. Soon Kisuke arrived with Tessai and two young children that they had recently taken under their care. One was a shy looking girl that was being carried by Tessai and the other was a boy with short red hair, holding onto Tessai's pants with a frown on his face. These two were Ururu Tsumugiya and Jinta Hanakari.
"Well," said Kisuke as he looked over the spread, "it looks like Lisa-chan went all out tonight."
"What do you expect?" smirked Lisa, "The last member of our little family is home again. Besides, it is Christmas."
"Well," said Shinji, "since we're all here now, why don't we get seated so we can dig into this great feast."
The group quickly gathered around the table and Hachigen picked up a carving knife. With delicate skill, he began to carve up a very large, golden brown, turkey that was practically swimming in its juices, and coated with a special honey glaze. As he did that Rose took another knife and began to carve a large Christmas goose that had been cooked to a nice red gold color and marinated in a herb-mixture brine. The two Visored separated the meat and removed the bones from the birds before passing plates around, making sure everyone got some.
The feast was quite the spread, and Lisa had indeed gone all out. Aside from the two birds, there was two bowls of stuffing, a dish of bread sauce, a large honey glazed ham, potatoes, both mashed and seasoned with butter, and roasted in the fat from the goose, golden brown biscuits, and several bowls of brown and giblet gravy. There was also a pot of rice and several pies and cakes were in the oven for dessert. Harry eagerly accepted a plate filled with a little of everything and the group dug into the magnificent feast, knowing that they would sleep with full bellies that night.
The next morning, Harry was awoken bright and early when Mashiro bounded into his room.
"Merry Christmas Harry-kun!" she cheered, "Oh wait, that's not what they say in England. Happy Christmas Harry-kun!"
"Merry Christmas to you too, Mashiro," laughed Harry as he grabbed his glasses and got out of bed, "I hope you didn't wake the others too."
"I did," grinned Mashiro, "they're all waiting by the tree for you."
"Let me get changed and I'll join all of you," laughed Harry.
Mashiro cheered and ran out the door, leaving harry to change out of his pajamas and into a thick sweater and pants. Heading out to the main room, he saw the rest of the Visored sitting around the tree drinking cups of hot chocolate.
"Merry Christmas, kid," said Shinji, "it's time for presents."
Harry happily ran over and accepted a mug of cocoa from Lisa before picking out several presents and giving them to the Visored.
"You guys first," said Harry.
"If that's what you want," said Shinji as he opened his gift.
The Visored were quite pleased with what Harry had picked out for them. The choice of gifts had shown good insight into their likes and dislikes. Lisa, Rose, and Love had gotten several wizarding books that he had ordered in advance from Flourish and Blotts in Diagon Alley. Mashiro was given a small box of treats from Honeydukes that Harry had asked an older student to get from the Hogsmeade store. Shinji was given a box of products from Zonko's Joke Shop, making him smile at the jibe at his joking side. Hiyori was given a set of winter robes to wear over her normal tracksuit and Kensei got a set of training gloves made from Dragon Hide, specifically, Ukrainian Ironbelly skin. Finally Hachi received a special quill set for his calligraphy that he dabbled in. In addition, Harry had gotten the Urahara Shoten group a kit from a potion shop so Kisuke could experiment.
"Thank you for the thoughtful gifts," said Hachi, "you really are a caring boy."
"I hope what we're getting you will be worth just as much," said Shinji.
"What is it?" asked Harry.
"Well," said Shinji, "I talked with Kisuke, and he's managed to convince an old friend to come by. She'll be teaching you some advanced Hakuda and Hohō techniques."
Harry beamed at the prospect, "Wicked!"
"But," smirked Shinji, "we also got you this."
Hachi pulled out a large wrapped box from behind his back. Harry quickly tore away the wrapping and what he saw inside took his breath away, for inside the box, was a shiny new broomstick with the words Nimbus 2000 printed on the handle.
Chapter 14: Meeting the Goddess of Flash
The morning of Boxing Day in Karakura was filled with cheer for the Visored. After a hearty breakfast of Christmas leftovers, the group headed out to the Urahara Shoten with the present Harry had gotten for them. Upon arriving, Tessai put out the 'Closed' sign and the group headed downstairs to the training room. Once there, Harry handed the potion kit to Urahara with a big smile.
"Why Harry-kun," said Kisuke, "I'm touched that you would get me a present."
"It's a potion making kid I ordered from an apothecary," said Harry, "I know how you like to experiment, so I thought this would be a good present. It even comes with a pamphlet on the ingredients and their uses and a order form for more."
"Well thank you, Harry," said Kisuke, "I'm very grateful."
"Well," said a female voice from behind Harry, causing the boy in question to jump, "he's sure the cute one. I can see how he won you lot over."
Harry turned around and saw a dark skinned woman with purple hair and golden eyes standing behind him wearing a black outfit under an orange sweater. She had a mischievous smile on her face and gave off a subdued aura that made Harry realize how she was able to sneak up on him.
"You're quite the cutie," said the woman with a smirk, "I can see how you all get along so well."
"Harry," said Kisuke, "this is Yoruichi Shihonin, former head of the Gotei 13's Squad 2. She's also known as the Goddess of Flash, and will be teaching you some advanced Shunpo techniques."
"Wicked!" said Harry.
"But first," said Yoruichi, "I'd like to see how you do on that broom of yours. I've heard you're pretty good."
Harry smiled and mounted his new Nimbus 2000 and kicked off the ground, moving to hover for a moment before leaning forward and shooting toward the other end of the training area. As he neared the far wall, he pulled up on the handle, shooting up and doing a few corkscrew turns in the air before making a dive that he pulled out of at the last minute, landing softly by the group.
"You've got some good moves on that, kiddo," said Shinji as he ruffled Harry's hair, "you're a natural."
"I've gotta admit," said Yoruichi, "that was pretty impressive. Kinda makes me wish I had subordinates with your skill riding these back when I was in charge of Squad 2."
"I'm wonder if I could work out a few prototype brooms of our own if I can study one long enough," said Kisuke curiously.
"Oooh! I want to fly around on a broom!" exclaimed Mashiro, "I could go zooming around them as they try to keep up!"
"The thought of you on a broom is a scarier thought than fighting the Soutaicho," muttered Kensei, getting nods from the others.
"Anyways," said Kisuke as he clapped his hands, "why don't we get along with Harry-kun's lessons."
"Alright," said Yoruichi, "first things first, let's start off with a little game of tag, just to see where you are in terms of speed."
"All right," said Harry as he used a soul candy he kept on his person to exit his human body, "let's do this."
Yoruichi smirked, "Well then…"
Suddenly she vanished and appeared right behind Harry with a coy smile.
"You're it," she said in cheeky voice as she ruffled his hair, vanishing again in a blur when Harry tried to tag her.
For the next half-hour, the Visored watched Yoruichi flash around the room while Harry tried in vain to keep up with her. Finally the two of them came to a stop with Harry on his hands and knees from sheer exhaustion at trying to tag the Goddess of Flash in their extremely one sided game.
"Sorry kiddo," said Yoruichi as she leaned over him with a smirk, "you're not quite fast enough to tag me."
Harry responded by looking up at her with a hurt puppy expression that made her freeze and wince, wondering if she went too far. In that instant of hesitation, Harry reached out and tapped her shoulder, the look vanishing to be replaced with a victorious smirk of his own.
"Tag," he said in a tired voice.
The room was silent for a moment before Yoruichi began to laugh hysterically, tears forming in her eyes as she clutched her gut.
"Hahahahahaha! Undefeated at this game for hundreds of years, and I get beaten by an 11 year old kid on his first try! I must really be slipping, but that was dirty pool." laughed the dark skinned former Shinigami Captain, "I like you kid. I think we're gonna have lots of fun once we get started on the advanced Shunpo techniques. But you'll have to work on your speed and endurance first."
Harry nodded the best he could in his tired state before Shinji picked him up off the ground.
"Let's get you some rest," said Shinji, "you tagged the Goddess of Flash in under an hour on your first try. That's something not many others can brag about."
Harry could only nod before he fell asleep in the blond Visored's arms. Once the Visored had put him aside to rest, the group got together to talk.
"He's a great kid," said Yoruichi, "where'd you find him?"
The Visored then frowned as they remembered and Shinji spoke up, "He kind of found us, actually. Apparently, his Aunt and Uncle took him to Japan under the pretense of a family outing and then abandoned him in the middle of the street before driving off. If Hiyori hadn't run into him, I'd hate to think what could have happened."
Yoruichi scowled and a growl left her throat at the thought of what Harry's family had done to him. The thought that people would just take their own nephew to a foreign land and leave him there was appalling. The fact that Harry looked like he had European roots, made this even more disgusting, a family traveling across continents to abandon their charge was simply repulsive.
"Kisuke," she growled out, "I want you to tell me everything you know of these…creatures! Especially where they live."
"I see you're planning something," said Kisuke as he opened his fan and used it to hide his smirk, "I would be happy to give you everything you need."
"Good," said Yoruichi, "because I'm going to make sure they get justice for ALL their crimes."
Kisuke reached into a pocket of his coat and pulled out a thick folder, "This is all that I've gathered on his previous guardians. I refuse to call those people his family. This should be enough to put them away for a while, and I'd bet you could gather enough dirt to ruin them altogether."
"If you're going to get revenge on those bastards, then we want in on this," said Lisa.
Rose nodded, "What those people did is unforgivable. We'll help in any way we can."
"I wonder," said Shinji with a smirk, "if we could find a way to get in touch with the magical world's news services, what would happen to the person responsible for Harry's placement there if they get an interview with Harry describing his life there leading to his abandonment?"
"I'll deal with the mundane world," said Yoruichi, "you guys deal with the magical side. Keep training the kid in his Shunpo speed and when I get back, I'll see if he's ready to start learning some of the special techniques. For now, have him work at it. He already comes close to some of the younger Shihonin clan members in terms of speed. Even Yushiro didn't progress as fast as he does. He's a good kid. Take care of him."
With that, Yoruichi turned to leave, but before she could do so, Lisa walked up and handed her a wrapped package.
"What's this?" asked Yoruichi in surprise.
"Harry put this together when we told him we'd be meeting you," said Lisa with a smile, "he wanted to include you in our Christmas dinner so he made a bento from the leftovers so that you would get to have some."
Yoruichi was touched at the thoughtfulness of the boy for a person he didn't even know, "Tell him that I'm very grateful," she said with a smile, "I'll eat this if I get hungry during the trip."
Yoruichi took the wrapped bento and headed up the ladder. She had a mission now and she thought that, maybe, bringing Harry's relatives to justice will be a good gift to the Visored's young charge.
Vernon Dursley could easily say that he was enjoying life. He had recently gotten a raise at his job at the Grunnings Drill Company and was heading home in his new car to a good meal cooked by his wife Petunia. Not only that, but his son Dudley was doing great in school and making loads of friends that he hung out with on a regular basis. Things were looking up for him, and the gossip vine at work was whispering that he might get the new supervisor job that would be opening up. So caught up in the good fortune he was having, he didn't notice the black cat that was sneakily following him home. That night, after a hearty meal with his wife and son, he went to sleep thinking that things were right on track.
A week later though, things began to change. The Dursleys were enjoying a nice full English breakfast when there was a knock on the door. When Vernon opened it, a dark skinned woman wearing a suit and a professional look was standing there.
"Mr. Dursley I presume?" asked the woman.
"Yes," said Vernon, "who is asking?"
"My name is Leona Felicity," said the woman, "I'm doing a report on outstanding families and their lives. May I come in and ask you some questions?"
"Please," said Vernon eagerly, "we'd be happy to answer any question you have."
"Thank you," said the woman as she walked inside, "so, what can you tell me about yourselves?"
"Well," said Vernon pompously, "I happen to be an senior employee at the Grunnings drill company. I have a lovely wife and a wonderful son who is doing quite well in school."
"How wonderful," said the woman with a smile as she took notes, "tell me more."
So caught up in extoling his family's virtues was Vernon, that he didn't notice the small device that the woman dropped, a device that promptly scampered off into the shadows, heading towards a certain unoccupied cupboard under the stairs.
After several more questions about their lifestyle, the woman left, saying that she had gathered enough information and would keep in touch. Thanking her, the Dursleys figured that they were on the fast track to living well.
As 'Leona' walked away from the Dursley's house in Little Whinging, a smirk appeared on her face as she loosened her tie and undid her purple hair from the tight bun it was in, styling it into a loose ponytail.
"Phase one complete," said Yoruichi, "now for phase two."
With a laugh, the former captain of the Omnitsukido walked off into the night before vanishing in a blur of Shunpo.
The next day, around lunchtime, there was a knock at the door just as Petunia was working on cleaning the dining room. Opening the door, she found herself faced with a police officer.
"May I help you?" asked Petunia hesitantly.
"There are a few things I'd like to ask you," said the officer, "may I come in?"
"O-of course," said Petunia.
The officer walked in and looked around, "Where is the rest of your family?"
"My husband is busy with his job, and our son is at school," said Petunia.
"Is that everyone who lives here?" asked the officer.
"Yes," said Petunia, wondering why the officer was asking her this.
"I see," said the officer, "that's rather strange, as I have your family listed as the legal guardians of a Mr. Harry James Potter. May I ask where he is?"
"I don't know what you're talking about," said Petunia nervously, "no Harry Potter lives here."
"Is that so?" asked the officer, "Because further digging has discovered academic records of a Harry Potter attending primary school with your son, and in fact several report cards and teacher's notes were sent to this address as well."
"I can explain," said Petunia.
"I'm sure you can," said the officer, "so please tell me where is your nephew right now?"
"He's staying with relatives," said Petunia.
"So you now admit to his existence," said the officer, "why did you lie earlier?"
"I um…" stammered Petunia.
"Mrs. Dursley," said the officer, "you're going to have to come with me for further questions."
Petunia could only nod as the officer led her out of the house and to a waiting squad car.
That night, Vernon returned home to find his wife in a panic, and no dinner waiting for him on the table. Concerned at this, he turned to her to ask what was going on and paled at her response.
"Vernon," said Petunia, "I don't know why, but the police came by to ask about my sister's son. I had to tell them everything or face a fine. How did the find out about him? I thought we left those problems behind when we left the brat in Japan!"
"Don't worry, Petunia," said Vernon, "it'll be alright. We still have my job bringing in money, and we have that vacation planned for the summer."
"Right," said Petunia, "and Diddikens is doing so well in school too. Maybe I'm worrying over nothing."
But as she would soon find out, her worries were very well founded.
The next of their troubles came when Vernon arrived at work the next day. As he was settling into his office, he received a message from his supervisor to come to his office. Thinking that he was going to be getting that promotion he had been hearing about, Vernon walked into the office with a strut in his step, not even noticing the unhappy look on his boss's face.
"Dursley," said the supervisor curtly.
"Yes, Mr. Williams?" asked Vernon.
"Sit," said the man, causing Vernon to sit into a chair, the wooden chair creaking under his weight.
"What do you need, Mr. Williams?" asked Vernon eagerly.
"Dursley," said Williams, "I'm going to have to let you go."
This was definately not what Vernon was expecting and he was taken aback with shock.
"Wh-what?" he exclaimed.
"Dursley," said the supervisor, "Grunnings does business with people from all around, and to do this business, we must give off a positive light. That being said, we cannot continue to employ a man who was tasked with caring for his orphaned nephew, only to abandon said child in a foreign land. Please have your office emptied by the end of the week."
"B-but, but…" stammered Vernon.
"Perhaps I should re-phrase," said the supervisor as he turned his back on the broken man, "Get out."
Vernon collected the things from his office in a daze and headed back to his car. He was so in shock from the news that he wasn't paying attention as he drove home and the next thing he knew, horns were honking and his car was smashed into the side of a Rolls Royce.
The driver of the car, a rather well built man wearing an expensive suit got out and marched over to Vernon, yelling at him that he would seek legal recompense for the damages to his car, and add in the fact that a police officer was marching over to write him up a ticket for the whole accident, it looked like all the money he had saved for his trip with Petunia would be gone within the week.
That night, the Dursley's wondered what had gone wrong with their lives. They had a court summons later that week for the accident, the driver of the car, who they found out was an Executive in an expensive bank chain, was going to press charges due to the destruction of his car, and Vernon was unemployed, meaning no salary coming in to pay for life's necessities. The Dursleys were on the downward spiral in life and they had no clue what they were going to do now.
Next time: the magical world learns about Harry's abandonment and seeks answers.
Chapter 16: Justice (part 2)
For a reporter like Rita Skeeter, Christmas was just another day closer to the deadline of her next article. It had come and passed and now she found herself sitting in a local pub sipping a glass of Firewhiskey, wondering what her next big scoop would be. As she sat and brainstormed, she heard someone walk up behind her.
"May I join you, Ms. Skeeter?" asked a voice, causing Rita to turn around to see a blond man wearing a green coat and a green striped bucket hat. The man also carried a cane and had a cheery smile on his face.
Rita shrugged, "I don't see a problem with that Mr…?"
"Urahara," said the man as he took a seat, "Kisuke Urahara. May I buy you a drink, Madame? I have a business proposition that might make for the biggest article you've ever written."
Now this caught Rita's attention and she motioned for the man to go on. Kisuke smiled and ordered them another round of drinks before continuing.
"Ms. Skeeter," said Kisuke, "how would you like to do a special piece on the Boy Who Lived and how the magical community has let people responsible for his mistreatment go free and unpunished?"
Rita was intrigued and as she put her drink down she could already see the galleons that this piece could bring in.
"Tell me more, Mr. Urahara," said Rita with a smile.
"I have proof and testimony that young Harry was left with guardians that abandoned him a foreign country where he could have died on the streets if some friends of mine hadn't found him and adopted him," said Kisuke, "he lives with them now and is quite happy, though certain people want their charge back with those abusive people. I want to make sure those people know that young Harry is perfectly happy and that we won't tolerate people trying to tear our little family apart."
"Can you get me an exclusive interview with Mr. Potter about this?" asked Rita.
"I might be able to arrange that," said Kisuke as he opened a fan and hid a smile behind it, "and I think we can allow you to keep, say, 75% of all profits from this endeavor."
It was for a brief second, but Kisuke could swear that Rita's eyes turned to galleons before she eagerly shook his hand and agreed to the deal. Chuckling to himself as he walked out of the building, Kisuke felt that this was a good first step toward their goal. He hoped Yoruichi was having fun too.
"I wouldn't worry too much, Kisuke-kun," said his Zanpakuto from her place in his soul, "I'm sure that kuroneko-chan is making sure those bastards get theirs."
"You're right, Benihime-chan," said Kisuke with a smile, "now we'd better get back to the others and tell them of this arrangement."
With that, the former Shinigami Captain vanished in a blur of Shunpo, heading to the airport to catch a plane back to Japan.
Dumbledore was spending the holidays relaxing after all that had happened in the year so far. He was a bit worried that he hadn't been able to send a House Elf to deliver James Potter's invisibility cloak to young Harry, but he could deliver it when he returned after the holidays. He was currently sipping from a mug of hot chocolate with a bit of brandy in it as he sat in a plush armchair in his office, with Fawkes, his Phoenix Familiar, sleeping on his perch, when an owl flew through the window holding his weekly copy of the Daily Prophet in a pouch. Albus paid the owl and was just about to read the paper when an angry shout split his calm mood.
"ALBUS!" yelled a head of man with wearing a bowler hat appeared in the Headmaster's fireplace.
"Cornelius," said Albus in surprise as he addressed the man, who happened to be the current Minister of Magic, Cornelius Fudge, "to what do I owe the pleasure?"
"Drop the pleasantries, Albus!" growled the Minister from the fire, "Have you seen the bloody paper?"
"I have not," said Dumbledore evenly, "I was about to read it when you called."
"Well read it and then get your bloody arse to my office!" yelled the Minister, "We have a situation and you'd better fix it!"
Dumbledore frowned at the Minister's coarse language, but picked up the paper and opened it to the front page. Upon reading the headline, the headmaster paled.
The Boy Who Lived: ABANDONED!
What have we done to our hero?
By Rita Skeeter
We have always praised Harry Potter as the Boy Who Lived, in thanks for saving us all from the Dark Lord He Who Must Not Be Named, but what has happened to our hero without our knowledge? I was approached by a source that offered me an insight to how our beloved hero has been treated behind our backs, and what I found, frightened me.
From what I learned through speaking with Mr. Potter and one of his adopted family members, I found out the secrets of that Halloween night. Apparently, Albus Dumbledore spirited young Harry away from the scene that night in secret and left him at the doorstep of his Muggle relatives on his mother's side. Nobody in the Ministry of Magic was notified about this, nor was the Wizengamot consulted about this action. Perhaps Dumbledore had our hero's best interests at heart, or perhaps he had his own agenda, but what is shocking is what comes next.
From my talks with Mr. Potter, I found that his guardians at the time, and I use the term quite loosely, were far from the ideal nurturing family. For young Harry Potter, hardship was common and he was forced to perform many labors for the family that was caring for him, including cooking, cleaning, and gardening, all tasks that one would never ask a young child to do on his own. What is most telling about their relationship is that the family chose to take a trip to a different continent simply to abandon young Harry with nothing but the clothes on his back. Had he not have been found by the people that are now his guardians and family, he could have died on the streets. What would we have done then?
Harry Potter lost everything when he saved us all, and we repaid him by giving him to abusive relatives that tossed him aside like a piece of trash. Now that he has a happy family in another country, what is stopping him from leaving us behind in retaliation for what little we've done for him?
See page 3 for more details.
Dumbledore could honestly say that this one article would be quite dangerous to his plans to vanquish Voldemort. Gathering his traveling cloak, he took a pinch of floo powder and tossed it into the flames, making them burn bright emerald.
"Ministry of Magic," said Dumbledore, as he stepped into the emerald flames and vanished.
The elderly headmaster appeared in a fireplace in the atrium of the Ministry of Magic and was immediately hounded by reporters looking for a statement about the recent article posted in the news.
"Dumbledore, did you really leave the Boy Who Lived with muggles?"
"Were you aware of the mistreatment that Mr. Potter went through?"
"Do you think Harry Potter will abandon Magical Britain?"
"There will be plenty of time for questions at a later date," said Fudge as he walked up, "Albus, an emergency session of the Wizengamot has been called to address the issues this article has brought up. It doesn't look good for you though."
Dumbledore simply nodded as the Minister led the way to the chamber where the meeting would be held. As he saw the furious faces of the gathered Lords and Ladies, he knew he was in for a harsh grilling this time.
Chapter 17: End of Holidays
It was nearing the end of Harry's Winter holidays and he was spending his time training with the Visored. Harry liked to train and get a workout, something that members of the group like Shinji didn't quite understand. Kensei was happy to oblige though and often had Mashiro and Harry train together by having several spars. Some of the other Visored would watch and even place bets on the matches between the two of them just for fun.
"Nice try, Harry-kun," laughed Mashiro as she dodged a swing from his fist, "but it's my turn! Mashiro KIIIIIICK!"
Mashiro launched herself at the young Visored with a flying kick that Harry was barely able to dodge, leaving a pile of rubble from a boulder she collided with. Harry retaliated by rushing at her using his speed that he had been training in anticipation for learning from Yoruichi, before feinting a kick at her face before flipping over her and kicking at the back of her neck. The green haired Visored fell for the feint and because of that wasn't able to counter the kick to her back and was sent flying to the ground.
"Looks like this match is getting intense," said Love.
"Don't let that stop you from paying me when Harry wins," said Lisa with a smirk.
"Dunno," said Shinji, "Mashiro has been doing this a lot longer."
"You never know," said Rose, "the smallest things can influence a battle."
Harry and Mashiro continued to trade blows in their spar. Harry took advantage of his speed and reflexes to avoid being pounded into the ground by Mashiro's kicks and punches, while the green-haired Visored used her training and stamina to power through Harry's weaker attacks. Knowing that he had to end this before the battle turned into one of attrition, Harry aimed his hands at the energetic Visored and focused his Reiryoku.
"Hadō #33: Sōkatsui!" yelled Harry, firing a blast of blue fire from his hands that shot at the green-haired Visored.
Mashiro simply smiled and intercepted the fire with a powerful kick that created a small explosion that released smoke and kicked up debris. But before Mashiro could react further, Harry's voice called out one more time.
"Petrificus Totalus!" yelled out Harry as he pointed his wand toward where he felt Mashiro's Reitatsu was located in the smoke.
The green-haired Visored suddenly felt her body seize up and freeze as if it had been turned to stone, leaving only her eyes mobile, causing her to fall to the ground.
"Looks like Harry-kun wins," said Hachi from where he was refereeing the match.
"Pay up," said Lisa, causing Shinji and Love to grumble and hand over some money to the sailor fuku wearing Visored.
Releasing Mashiro from the curse, he helped the other Visored to her feet.
"Mou," pouted Mashiro, "using magic is no fair, Harry-kun."
"Don't be that way, Mashiro," said Kensei, "it just means you need to train more."
"I'll get you next time, Harry-kun," declared Mashiro.
"I look forward to it," said Harry.
"Well kiddo," said Shinji, "you all packed to head back to school?"
"Yup," said Harry, "Amaterasu and I are all ready to go."
"Then we'd better get moving if we're gonna catch that flight to England," said Shinji.
With that, the Visored gathered Harry's bags and headed out to the airport.
As the Hogwarts Express left Platform 9 3/4, Harry settled into one of the train's compartments with a good book as the train made its way back to Hogwarts. He was getting into the plot when there was a knock at the compartment door and it slid open slightly to reveal the shy form of Hermione Granger.
"May I join you?" she asked.
"Sure," said Harry, "there's room to spare."
The bushy haired Ravenclaw carried her bags into the compartment, and Harry helped her stow them on the overhead rack before returning to his book.
"Is that Hamlet?" asked Hermione, as she noticed the cover of the book.
"Yeah," said Harry, "it's one of my favorites. You know it?"
Hermione nodded, "My parents took me to see it in a theater near our house when I was seven. I was captivated by the scene where Hamlet does his famous To Be or Not To Be speech."
"That was a good scene," said Harry, "I actually liked the scenes with the Rosencrantz and Guildenstern. Those two seemed to be there for comic relief."
"They were pretty funny," said Hermione, "I never took you for the bibliophile."
Harry shrugged, "We don't have the best TV reception back home, but we do have a lot of books to read. Lisa and Love both like to read, so I do that when I'm not training."
"Training?" asked Hermione, "What kind of training?"
"The usual," said Harry, "100 pushups, 100 sit-ups, 100 squats, and a 10km run every day."
"That sounds kind of intense," said Hermione with a frown.
"It works," said Harry, "I do that every day and eat healthy and balanced meals and that keeps me in shape. So how were your holidays?"
"They were nice," said Hermione, "I got to see my relatives for Christmas. Oh, that reminds me!"
The bushy haired girl reached into her luggage and pulled out a wrapped parcel that she handed to the young Visored with a smile.
"Happy Christmas Harry," said Hermione.
"Thanks," said Harry, "I got you something too."
Harry pulled out a thin wrapped box out of one of his bags and handed it to the young witch across from him before the both of them began to open their respective gifts.
"Wicked Hermione," said Harry as he held up the new set of Quidditch gloves and prescription sports goggles.
"Those are charmed to change with you as you change prescriptions," said Hermione, "I had to order out for them."
Opening the box Harry had given her, she pulled out a thick book on Japanese mythology with an English translation.
"This is great!" exclaimed Hermione, "I've never read much about Japanese mythology before, but the concept of Yokai and Kami have always interested me, including the concept of the Shinigami."
Harry chuckled at the irony of that statement and the two friends talked amongst themselves as the train moved along, stopping only to pull on their robes before arriving at Hogsmeade station. When they got off the train, they made their way to the boats to ride across the Black Lake toward the castle. Once inside though, Harry was swarmed by various students all asking questions about a newspaper article in their hands.
"Harry," exclaimed a fellow Hufflepuff named Hannah Abbot, "did you really get abandoned in Japan?"
"Wait, what?" exclaimed Hermione, "You never mentioned that."
"It's a bit of a sensitive subject," said Harry, "but over the holidays, my family and I decided it was time for justice to be brought to light and thus we agreed to a private interview with the Daily Prophet. Everything in that article is true."
Hermione grabbed the article from Hannah and quickly read through it, "All of this is true?" she exclaimed, "How could anyone do this to a child they were supposed to care for?"
"Don't ask me," said Harry, "I've cut all ties with those people already. The article was just a way to get some closure and punish those who illegally wronged me."
"About that," said another Hufflepuff girl, "my aunt wants to talk to you about that article."
"Who is your aunt exactly?" asked Harry politely, "Amelia Bones, head of the DMLE: Department of Magical Law Enforcement. I'm Susan Bones, by the way."
"A pleasure Miss Bones," said Harry, "what does your aunt want to talk to me about?"
"She said it concerns the subjects covered in the interview with the Daily Prophet," said Susan, "also she asked to meet with you and possibly your family at your earliest convenience."
"I'll give them a call and see if we can work something out," said Harry, "but right now we're kind of blocking the hallway."
The group moved into the Great Hall where they sat at their respective tables to eat their meals. Harry was placing some fruit and fish onto a plate when an excited Neville ran up and sat next to him.
"Harry!" exclaimed the normally shy and introverted Hufflepuff, "Thanks for the amazing Christmas gift!"
"What did you give him?" asked Hannah, surprised by her classmate's reaction.
Harry simply smiled as he took a sip from his glass, "I simply ordered a wand voucher from Olivander's and sent it along with a letter penned to his grandmother explaining that it would be best for Neville's progress and skill to have him wield a wand of his own."
"My Gran was really impressed and took me to Diagon Alley at once," said Neville, "I even got this!"
He showed Harry his new wand with pride, "13 inches made of cherry wood with a unicorn hair core."
"That's great, Neville," said Cedric, having overheard the news, "having a wand that has chosen you will really improve your spellwork."
Harry smiled as the Hufflepuff house continued to talk and socialize amongst themselves, before heading up to their dorms for the night. Upon arriving there though, Harry found in his room, a wrapped parcel that gave off an unusual Reiatsu. Not sensing anything harmful, he unwrapped the present to reveal a cloak made from some sort of silvery fabric that had a fluidic appearance. Picking up the card that came with it, he saw that there was no name attached, only a message saying: "Your father left this in my possession before he died. It is time it was returned to you. Use it well. A Very Merry Christmas to you."
Pulling the cloak around himself, he was surprised to see that he had become invisible from the neck down. Wondering who gave him such a gift, he put the cloak away in his trunk and opened his phone to call the Visored.
That weekend, Harry met Susan in Professor Sprout's office and got his first experience with Floo travel when he used it to travel to the office of the head of the DMLE. After picking himself off of the ground, he had fallen on his face when staggered out of the emerald flames, he dusted the ash off his robes and looked around, his face brightening when he saw a friendly face.
"Hachi!" he exclaimed before running up to hug the large man.
"It's good to see you again, Harry," said the former Lieutenant as he hugged his young charge.
"Harry," said Susan as she tugged on his sleeve to get his attention, causing the young wizard to remove himself from the hug and turn to her, "this is my Auntie. Auntie, this is Harry Potter."
Susan indicated to a woman with cropped grey hair and a monocle wearing formal robes and a kind look on her face that also held a professional sternness to it.
"It is a pleasure to meet you in person," said Madame Bones, "Mister Ushōda has been telling me much about you. But on to business, I'm assuming you have an idea as to why I requested a meeting?"
"Somewhat," said Harry, "is it about the interview I had over the holidays?"
"Indeed," said Madame Bones, "as the Head of the DMLE, the misdeeds done to you that were spoken of in the article cannot go unpunished. Should all of it be true, then you would have ample grounds to press legal charges against those responsible, should you want to that is."
Harry glanced at Hachigen, but the older Visored simply smiled kindly and placed a large hand on Harry's shoulder, "It's your choice, Harry."
Harry nodded and turned back to Madame Bones, "If there's one thing I've learned, it's to do the right thing. I want to make sure that what happened to me won't happen to others and if that means taking legal action, then that's what I'll do."
"Alright," said Madame Bones, "then please tell me everything that you had to go through…"
Chapter 18: Dungeons and Dragons
After the meeting with Madame Bones, things went back to normal for Harry at Hogwarts…well, as normal as things got for the young Wizard/Visored. He resumed his classes and Quidditch practice, trouncing Slytherin in a close match that Snape, for some reason, chose to referee. One night, while studying in the library for a Transfiguration essay, he noticed Hagrid browsing the shelves as if he was trying not to be noticed, and failing miserably I might add.
"Hagrid?" asked Harry as he walked up to the large man, "Is something wrong?"
Now Harry didn't really know the large man that well, their interactions being limited to their introduction on his birthday and the short encounter when the groundskeeper brought the First Years across the Black Lake, but he got a certain vibe from the man that made him feel that he could trust him, so he approached to see if the large man needed any help.
When Harry called out to the Keeper of the Keys, the large man jumped in surprise, dropping one of his books in surprise.
"Harry!" exclaimed Hagrid, "What're yeh doing here?"
"I'm studying for an essay," said Harry as he raised an eyebrow, "why are you here?"
"Ah, well," said the large man nervously, "I was just getting a few books for some light reading. I really should be going now. Gotta feed Fang after all."
Harry watched as the Hogwarts groundskeeper rushed out of the room, forgetting the book that he had dropped earlier in his haste. Once Hagrid had gone, Harry reached down and picked up the library book, glancing at the title on it.
"Dragons and their Lifestyles, by Drake Ryuuki," read Harry.
"Quite the amusing title," chuckled Ryuge from Harry's mind.
"I could probably write my own book on Dragons," mused Harry.
"Hmph," snorted Harry's Zanpakuto spirit, "don't lump me in with those overgrown lizards."
"Of course," laughed Harry, "you are far more majestic and powerful."
"And don't forget it," said Ryuge.
Figuring he'd better return the book to Hagrid, Harry put the library book into his bag and headed down to the small hut on the school grounds that the Keeper of the Keys lived in. As he walked through the brisk air, he channeled some of Ryuge's power into his Reiatsu that he emitted around his body to keep the chill at bay. When he approached the hut, he saw a large black Boarhound standing guard outside. The large hound began to growl as Harry got close, prompting the Visored to prepare to summon his blade, before a loud voice made both parties pause.
"Oi Fang," yelled Hagrid as he walked out of his hut with his crossbow, "what're yeh barking at?"
Noticing Harry, he smiled and lowered his weapon, "Quiet down Fang. It's good to see yeh. Come on in. Let me make yeh some tea."
Ushering the young Wizard into his hut, the large man smiled as he bustled around, putting a kettle on the fire, pulling a round-ish black object off the fir, placing it on a pile of rags, before replacing it with a large black kettle.
"So what brings yeh here?" asked Hagrid with a smile as he handed a plate of strange looking cakes.
"I just wanted to return this to you," said Harry as he pulled out the book, "though why you'd want a book on dragon habitats and their lifestyles escapes me at the moment."
"Harry," said Ryuge warily, "that thing on the table…"
Harry turned toward the black object that Hagrid had been keeping on the fire and subtly reached out his Reiatsu sense toward it. He was surprised when he felt a living, yet young Reiatsu from the object that felt similar to Ryuge's.
"Hagrid," said Harry warily as he pointed to the black object, "what is that thing?"
"Oh that?" said Hagrid nervously, "It's nothing really."
"I doubt that," said Harry as he walked closer.
"Why I that?" asked Hagrid nervously.
"Well for one," said Harry, "there's some sort of tapping coming from it."
Hagrid leaned in closer and saw that Harry was right and there was a tapping coming from the object. The tapping was soon explained when a small claw burst through the surface of the object and a tiny dragon soon followed. The object, Harry realized, was a dragon's egg.
"Hagrid," said Harry in awe, "where did you get something like this?"
Seeing that Harry didn't seem intent on telling authorities about this, Hagrid relaxed somewhat and decided it was safe to tell his story.
"I got him from a guy I met at the Hog's Head pub," said Hagrid, as he watched the infant dragon, "won him over a game o' cards."
"So what are you going to call him?" asked Harry.
"I was thinking, Norbert," said Hagrid, "what do you think, Norbert? Do you like that name?"
Hagrid reached out to stroke the baby dragon with his finger, and nearly lost the tip when the hatchling snapped at him with its tiny fangs.
"You should be careful, Hagrid," said Harry, "those fangs are sharp."
Norbert heard Harry talking and began to make its way across the table toward the bespectacled Visored. Harry and watched as the dragon approached him, and acting on instinct, reached out his hand toward the small reptile, and was surprised as the hatchling leaned into his hand and began to make a purring sound as he nuzzled into it.
"Looks like he likes yeh," said Hagrid.
"Looks like," said Harry.
"If you are wondering why," said Ryuge, "it's probably because the young hatchling feels our connection."
"Really?" Harry sent back, "Will that happen with all reptiles, or just dragons?"
"Probably just dragons," said Ryuge, "though you might want to point out that dragons breathe fire and wood burns."
Harry's eyes widened and he turned toward the larger man, who was trying to stroke Norbert without getting his finger bitten off, "Um Hagrid?"
"What is it?" asked Hagrid as he pulled his finger away from Norbert's fangs.
"You do know that dragons breathe fire," said Harry as he absently stroked Norbert's ridges, getting a purr of delight from the baby dragon.
"Yeah," said Hagrid as he made sure the little dragon didn't remove the tip of his fingers.
"And you do know that your house is made of wood, right?" asked Harry.
"Yer point?" asked Hagrid.
"Hagrid," said Harry, "if you keep him here, he'll burn your house down."
"But I can't just let him go," said Hagrid, "he's all alone."
Harry sighed, looking down at the small hatchling that was snuggling into his hand as he stroked its spine. Deciding to help him out this time, he made a decision.
"He can come to live with me," offered Harry.
Hagrid turned to look at him with a surprised glance, "Eh?"
"Norbert seems to like me a lot," said Harry, "so why don't I take care of him? He can live with my family back home, and you can come visit when you want."
"You'd do that for me?" asked Hagrid.
"Sure," said Harry as he picked up Norbert, "after all, the little one here doesn't seem to mind."
And indeed Norbert took great joy in curling up around Harry's neck, making it obvious as to the dragon's opinion on the subject.
It wasn't too hard to convince the Visored to come and get Norbert. The hard part was keeping Norbert from taking a chunk out of the Visored with his fangs. Luckily, Harry was able to calm the hatchling and convince it, via Ryuge's presence and Reiatsu, that the Visored were not to be harmed and would keep it safe. After that, things once again continued as normal for Harry, but he couldn't help but wonder what the Cerberus on the third floor was guarding. After all, having a dangerous animal in a school wouldn't be smart without a purpose. So, one day when he had time off from class, Harry pulled on his invisibility cloak and headed up the stairs to the corridor.
Using the alohamora spell to open the locked door, he slipped inside to face the guard dog.
Chapter 19: Third Floor Secret
Harry stared down the large Cerberus and noticed that it was still standing on the large trapdoor he had noticed earlier. Seeing that the beast was about to lunge at him, Harry drew his wand and began to draw symbols in the air while chanting the incantation for a Bakudo.
"Disintegrate, you black dog of Rondanini! Look upon yourself with horror and then claw out your own throat!" chanted Harry, "Bakudō #9: Geki!"
The Cerberus was surrounded by a red glow that froze it in place, allowing Harry to prep another Kidō spell to knock the large hound off of the trapdoor. Pointing his wand at the paralyzed beast, he channeled his Reiatsu again.
"Hado #1: Sho!" yelled out Harry as he sent a blast of force from his wand that knocked the massive Cerberus back into the wall. Knowing his low level Bakudō wouldn't hold forever, he prepped a final Kidō spell to buy him more time, "Brethren-in-arms withdrawing for the distance of 8 sun and standing still; blue bolt, white bolt, black bolt, red bolt; sinking into the ocean together seeking redemption. Ryūbi no Jōmon!"
White beams of a wood-like material appeared from his hands that formed into a wall between Harry and the Cerberus. Waving his wand, he caused Blue shingles and a crossbeam to form, completing the Kidō barrier in the form of a large gate.
"That should hold," sighed Harry, but upon hearing the Cerberus slamming into the barrier he formed and tearing at it with his claws, he hastened to open the trapdoor and leap through it into the shadows beneath.
Harry's fall came to a stop when he landed on a soft, springy surface that felt vaguely plantlike. As he tried to climb to his feet, he suddenly felt tendrils extend from around him that began to drag him down and wrap around his neck.
'This thing is trying to strangle me,' realized Harry, 'I have to get free somehow.'
Harry materialized his Zanpakuto in an attempt to cut himself free, but there were too many vines and more kept appearing as he cut them down.
'I have to find a way to get rid of them all at once,' thought Harry, 'wait, plants burn!'
"Blaze: Ryuge!" yelled Harry, causing his Zanpakuto to erupt in fire that burned at the vines and caused them to recoil from the light and heat, causing Harry to fall through into the room below.
"That was kind of unpleasant," groaned Harry as he swung his blade at the vines, sending flames at the plant that incinerated it before sealing his Zanpakuto again, "stupid plant."
Walking through the door to the next room, Harry found himself in a large room filled with things that were fluttering around the celling. Looking closer, he saw that the flying items were actually keys that had been charmed to have wings, allowing them to fly around the room. Looking at the door ahead, he saw that it was sealed with a brass lock. Harry deduced that he would need to retrieve the right key to unlock the door from the ones flying around. Not wanting to go through that hassle, Harry simply leveled his hand at the door.
"Hado #31: Shakkahō!" he yelled, shooting out a red fireball that blew the door off it's hinges.
"That was simple enough," said Harry as he walked through the wreckage and into the next room.
"Seriously?" deadpanned Harry as he looked out at the enormous chess set that was laid out in front of him, "It's like they want someone to find what's being hidden here."
The dog was definitely a challenge, but the plant, which Harry assumed was devil's snare from how it recoiled from the heat and flames, could have been repelled by several spells learned in the First Year curriculum, and he'd just proven that the key room could be overcome by simply breaking through the door. An incendio spell would make quick work of the door. Looking out at the chess set, he understood that his could be a challenge, but any student that knew the game could outmaneuver this one too. Unfortunately, Harry wasn't as skilled in chess, but he had his own solution.
"Sprinkled on the bones of the beast! Sharp tower, red crystal, steel ring. Move and become the wind, stop and become the calm. The sound of warring spears fills the empty castle! Hado #63: Raikōhō!"
Harry shot a blast of golden energy that resembled a bolt of lightning from his hand that slammed into the chess pieces across from him, reducing all but the castles and knights and the pawns in front of them to ashes.
He had to stop and breathe for a bit. Raikōhō was a higher level Kidō than he was normally used to using, and it left him a bit winded, especially after using all the other spells before it.
"Once again," sighed Harry as he caught his breath and headed to the next room, "too easy. It's like they want someone to get through."
"Well," said Harry as he reached for his Zanpakuto, "this is significantly harder."
As Harry entered the next room, he was hit with a horrible odor and saw a large Mountain Troll prowling the room with a large club. Upon noticing him, the troll hefted his club and began to lumber toward Harry. Drawing his sword, Harry released his Shikai and swung it in an arc, sending a torrent of flames at the troll, causing it to stumble back as its tough skin was scorched.
"Hado #4: Byakurai!" said Harry, shooting a white beam of lightning from his finger, piercing through the troll's brain, killing the lumbering giant, causing it to slump to the ground.
"I can't keep doing this," sighed Harry as he caught his breath again and retched from the fowl smell.
Deciding to just move on, Harry walked through the door the troll had been guarding and entered the next room. As he walked deeper into the room, he saw a table with bottles of varied sizes sitting on it. When he walked closer to the table, walls of black and purple flames rose up, blocking the exit and entrance respectively.
Frowning, Harry began to inspect the enclosed area for a way out, but there wasn't anything except the table with the bottles. Noticing that there was a piece of paper on the table as well, Harry picked it up and inspected it, finding a complex riddle written on it.
"Now this is brilliant," said Harry as he realized what the trial was, "instead of magic and fancy techniques, all that's required here is pure logic, something that isn't that common really."
"The people who must have created these traps probably wanted to use this one to trap intruders while luring them into a false sense of security with the other traps," mused Ryuge.
"It is rather ingenious," Harry replied, "I could use some help figuring out the answer though."
"Give me a minute," said Ryuge.
Harry paced around the table while he and his Zanpakuto went over the riddle several times in his head. He transfigured a piece of paper from a pocket-handkerchief and, on occasion, would stop and take notes about where each bottle was. Finally he stopped and put the paper aside.
"I think I've got it," said Harry to Ryuge.
"You'd better be sure," answered Ryuge, "one wrong move and you could be dead."
"I'm sure," said Harry as he picked up a tiny bottle that was third from the left and popped it open.
Downing the contents of the bottle, Harry felt like he was being frozen from the inside out. Grimacing and hoping he didn't just poison himself by accident, Harry tentatively walked toward the flames blocking the path ahead. Steeling his nerves, he stepped into the wall of fire and let out a sigh of relief when the flames did not burn him. Passing through the flames, he let the chill leave his body before walking to the next door and opening it to reveal a large empty room with a familiar mirror standing in the center.
"Is that, the Mirror of Erised?" Harry wondered as he walked closer to the magic mirror.
Before he could get an answer, he felt a surge of Reiatsu behind him and was suddenly bound by black ropes, causing him to drop his wand.
"Well well, Mr. Potter," said a familiar voice from behind him, "what are you doing out of bounds?"
"Professor Quirrell?" exclaimed Harry, "What are you doing?"
The aforementioned professor simply smirked as he waved his wand and summoned Harry's wand to his hand and walked toward the Mirror, leaving the young Visored bound and helpless on the Ground.
To be continued…
Chapter 20: Faces of the Enemy
Harry could only watch helplessly as Quirrell walked toward the Mirror of Erised with both of their wands in his hand. He was confused as to why the DADA professor was even here and why he was acting so hostile.
"Professor," called out Harry, "what's going on here?"
"Silence Potter," spat Quirrell as he examined the mirror, "shut up and you might not suffer."
Quirrell paced in front of the magic mirror, chuckling as he examined the reflection, "I guess I should be thanking you, Potter. If you hadn't blasted through all the traps with the elegance of a dragon in a china shop, then I would have had a much harder time reaching my prize here."
"And what is your prize?" asked Harry as he struggled against his bonds.
"As if you don't know," sneered Quirrell, "after all, why else would you be here? You want the stone."
"What stone?" asked Harry.
"The Philosopher's Stone!" growled Quirrell, "The alchemical catalyst created by Nicholas Flamel."
"Right, that," said Harry, deciding to play along.
Quirrell smirked and turned away from Harry, going back to examining the tall mirror in front of him. As he did so, Harry went over what he had learned from this brief conversation. It seemed that Quirrell wasn't the cowardly stuttering professor that he made himself out to be and was in fact after something called the Philosopher's Stone, which it seems was hidden within the third floor corridors of the school. Also, considering that Dumbledore specifically warned the students to avoid said corridor, it seemed that Dumbledore the Great and Powerful was still trying to pull the strings from behind the curtain once again.
"So what are you after anyway?" asked Harry, "I mean that stone sounds interesting, but it can't be all you want."
Quirrell sighed and stopped his pacing to point his Alder wand at Harry. Suddenly, Harry found that, no matter how hard he tried, he couldn't make any sound come from his mouth.
"Why did I not think of that earlier," grumbled Quirrell as he went back to gazing at the Mirror, "now, what am I to do about this mirror? I see myself with the stone, yet I know not how to retrieve it! Do I break the mirror?"
"Use the boy," said a raspy voice, surprising Harry.
The young Visored reached out with his Reiatsu sense to see if there was another presence in the room and was shocked when he found there was a second Reiatsu clinging to Quirrell's like some kind of parasite.
"Potter," smirked Quirrell, "Of course."
Waving his wand, Quirrell hoisted Harry to his feet and brought him before the mirror. He wasn't stupid enough to release him from the ropes that were binding him, as he knew Harry would try to escape, so Harry was quite helpless before him.
"Now," ordered Quirrell as he canceled the silencing spell, "tell me what you see, Potter."
Harry looked into the enchanted glass and saw what he expected to see: the rest of the Visored smiling happily with him, though this time, he could also see Kisuke, Tessai and Yoruichi smiling back at him with his reflection.
"What do you see?" pressed Quirrell.
"I see me and my family smiling back at me," said Harry.
"Do not lie to me, Potter!" growled Quirrell as he backhanded Harry to the ground.
"No," rasped the strange voice again, "he is not lying."
"Impossible," said Quirrell in disbelief.
"I wish to speak with him," rasped the voice, "face to face."
"But Master," said Quirrell, "you are not yet strong enough. I haven't had time to consume more Unicorn blood recently to sustain you."
"Obey my wishes," the voice rasped forcefully, "I shall speak to my enemy with my own mouth."
With a nod, Quirrell waved his wand, hoisting Harry back to his feet, before moving to unwind the turban that he wore around his head. As he did so, the feeling of the rotting Reiatsu that was clinging to Quirrell's increased in potency. When the turban was completely unwound, Quirrell turned and faced his back to Harry, showing him the back of his head. And what Harry saw shocked him to his bones.
For sticking out of the back of Quirrell's head, was a second face. The face was gaunt with blood red eyes that had snake-like pupils and slit nostrils. The face was that of a being that was not human.
"Harry Potter," the face rasped, "we meet again."
"Do I know you?" asked Harry.
"Hmmm," said the face, "I suppose you wouldn't remember me. After all, you were but an infant when I murdered your parents and gave you your scar."
"You," growled Harry as he remembered hearing about the story in passing at Diagon Alley, "you're the one they call Lord Voldemort."
"That I am, Harry Potter," said Voldemort, "I was a powerful wizard, who's very name was not to be spoken due to the terror it held…until you bested me. I went to your home to kill you, and instead was reduced to a mere shadow of myself. Less than a ghost, more than a wraith, I wandered through the wilds until Quirrell here found me. Now, you shall help me regain my power by granting me the secret of this mirror."
The face of Voldemort locked eyes with Harry, and the young Visored could feel a foreign presence invading his mind, blasting through his defenses to reach his memories. Harry tried to fight the invasion, but found Voldemort too strong. Luckily, he wasn't alone.
Voldemort opened his eyes and found himself standing within a large crystal forest.
"So this is Potter's mindscape," he mused as he looked over his mental body, which was still pale and gaunt, "surprising that the boy has this level of Occlumency."
"You do not belong here," growled a deep voice, causing Voldemort to turn around and see Ryuge towering over him.
"A dragon?" exclaimed Voldemort.
"GET OUT!" roared Ryuge as he breathed out a blast of fire that engulfed Voldemort, expelling him from Harry's mind.
Voldemort's face cried out in anger and pain as he was blasted out of Harry's mind, "KILL HIM!"
Quirrell spun around to face Harry, raising his wand above his head, "Avada Kedavra!"
A bolt of green light shot from Quirrell's wand that struck Harry square in the chest. He was too close to dodge and even if he wasn't, the ropes binding him held firm. As the bolt hit his chest, Harry felt a sharp pain flow through him and he was thrown backward into the ground painfully. As he moved to pick himself up off the ground, he realized something was off.
He could move!
Opening his eyes, he saw that his body was still lying on the ground bound by the magical ropes. Looking at himself, he saw that he was in his Shinigami form with his sword at his hip.
"What is this sorcery?" said Quirrell in shock.
"Kill him you fool!" yelled Voldemort's Wraith, causing Quirrell to raise his wand and fire off a chain of spells at Harry.
The young Visored drew his Zanpakuto in a blur of motion and began to deflect the curses away from his body with swings of the blade, causing the bolts of magic to smash into the ground and the walls.
"AVADA KEDAVRA! AVADA KEDAVRA! AVADA KEDAVRA!" yelled Quirrell over and over as he fired more bolts of emerald energy at Harry.
The young Visored simply dodged one and deflected another to the side before swinging his Zanpakuto to send the third curse flying back at Quirrell. The DADA professor barely got out of the way in time. Unfortunately, the Mirror of Erised he was standing in front of wasn't so lucky, and the curse shattered the glass of the mirror.
"NOOOO!" yelled Voldemort, "You will suffer for that Potter!"
"Like hell," said Harry, "Blaze: Ryuge!"
Harry's sword morphed into its Shikai state and he swung it through the air, sending a wave of fire at Quirrell that the professor blocked with a magical barrier he cast from his wand.
"You may have some tricks," said Quirrell, "but they won't save you, boy! Reducto!"
"Danku!" yelled Harry.
Quirrell's curse smashed against Harry's Kidō barrier, shattering it as the curse was negated. Before Harry could react though, Quirrell had prepared another curse.
"CRUCIO!" yelled Quirrell as he pointed his wand at Harry.
Harry's world exploded in agony upon hearing that word. It felt like every cell in his body was being simultaneously burned in acid and torn apart, atom by atom. In fact, that description couldn't do justice to the excruciating pain he felt from the effects of the curse. Harry screamed as pain filled his mind and he began to black out.
Quirrell watched as Harry writhed on the ground in agony from his curse with a sick grin. He originally wanted to simply kill the boy, but now that the mirror was destroyed and the stone was out of his reach, he wanted him to suffer.
As Quirrell began to up the power of the curse to push The Boy Who Lived into madness, he suddenly felt a surge of power that forced him to his knees. It was like a great pressure hit him and was crushing him, making it hard to even breathe. He watched as Harry climbed to his feet and noticed a change in the boy's appearance. His eyes had changed to golden irises with black sclera and he had an almost feral look to him. Quirrell watched in shock as a white substance formed over his face, forming a bone white mask. Once the mask was formed, Harry threw his head back and let out a chilling, ethereal roar.
"What are you?" gasped Quirrell as he tried to catch his breath.
Harry didn't answer and instead rushed at Quirrell with his sword, only to be blasted back by a silent Confringo. Quirrell continued to fire Blasting Curses at Harry's feral form, trying to end him before he could retaliate, but was horrified when he felt the presence of Voldemort leaving his body.
"Master no!" he wailed.
"I grow tired of your incompetence. Goodbye and good riddance," spat Voldemort before his wraith left the chamber.
"Noooo!" yelled Quirrell, but before he could cast another spell he heard a roar and felt a stabbing pain through his stomach followed by a burning feeling.
Harry's hollowfied self had rushed forward and impaled the formerly possessed professor through the gut with his flaming blade, simultaneously stabbing and immolating him, before ripping the blade out, leaving the charred corpse to fall to the ground.
Harry, still in his feral state howled again, looking around the room for prey, when a red bolt of magic slammed into him, causing him to stagger forward and whirl around angrily.
"Harry my boy," said Dumbledore as he pointed his wand at Harry's Hollowfied form, "I'm afraid you'll need to come with me."
Harry roared in response and shot over to his wand, picking up the spirit wood foci and pointing it at Dumbledore.
"That won't do any good, Harry," said Dumbledore as he prepared a shield spell, but what the Hollowfied Visored did next shocked the elderly Headmaster.
A sphere of crimson energy began to form at the tip of Harry's wand, causing Dumbledore to begin to weave together shield spells with the Elder Wand in his hand. The gathered energy was fired at Dumbledore in the form of a beam of destructive energy that slammed into the seven layered shield spell that Dumbledore had managed to throw together. The power of Harry's Cero battled with the power of the Elder Wand for dominance as the blast powered through the first three layers of the shield and began to erode away at the fourth layer. Luckily for Dumbledore, the power of the Elder Wand combined with its master's skill as a spellcaster won out over the power of Harry's Cero, and the destructive beam was dispelled.
Knowing he needed to subdue the young Visored, and figuring that the new mask was the cause of his bloodlust, Dumbledore fired a Stupefy at the mask on Harry's face, shattering the mask and knocking the boy to the ground, unconscious.
Picking up Harry's spiritual body, Dumbledore began the trek to the Hospital wing.
Chapter 21: Aftermath
When Harry opened his eyes, he found himself lying on the somewhat uncomfortable mattress that was on the beds in the Hospital Wing. As he looked around he heard an excited cry and felt a familiar weight slam into him as he saw a mess of green hair.
"HARRY-KUN'S AWAKE!" exclaimed Mashiro as she glomped the young Visored.
"Mashiro?" exclaimed Harry weakly as he winced from her slamming into him. He was feeling a bit sore from the fight.
"Easy Mashiro," said Shinji's voice, "don't smother the poor kid."
"Shinji?" asked Harry as he tried to sit up, "What are you doing here?"
"Easy kiddo," said Shinji as he handed Harry his glasses, "from what we heard, you had a pretty rough time down there?"
Putting on his glasses, Harry saw that all the Visored were crowded around his bed in the hospital wing with concerned looks on their faces.
"How did I get here?" asked Harry.
"From what we were told," said Shinji, "your Headmaster arrived on the scene and took you here after you lost consciousness."
"When did he arrive?" asked Harry, "I remember Quirrell using a spell on me and…wait! Quirrell is being possessed by Voldemort and is after the Sorcerer's Stone!"
"Easy Harry-kun," said Rose, "Quirrell is already defeated and the stone destroyed. What do you remember? What spell did he use against you?"
"He first used a spell that bound me in rope," said Harry, "then used a silencing spell to shut me up and some sort of green curse that blasted my soul form out of my body. By the way, were you able to grab it from the chamber?"
The Visored shared some grim looks at that, "Harry," said Shinji, "look at yourself."
Harry then noticed that he felt…differently than he did when he was normally in his human body. A chill went down his spine as he looked down at his clothes and saw he was still in his Shinigami form clad in his Shihakushō.
"What happened?" asked Harry, "Why am I in my soul form?"
"Harry-kun," said Hachi, as he switched from English to Japanese, a sign that they wanted to keep this discussion private, "the curse that hit you had an unfortunate effect on your physical body."
"What kind of effect?" asked Harry nervously?
"From what our research has managed to gather," said Hachi grimly, "the curse is a dark and powerful spell that has been banned by the Ministry of Magic with the users being sent on a one way trip to prison. The reason for this, is that the curse kills anyone it hits by forcibly blasting their soul from their body. When the curse blasted your Shinigami body out of your Human one, the connection between them was lost. To put it simply, your Human body is dead. You're a full Visored now."
"So what am I going to do now?" asked Harry, "I can't run around like this?"
"Well," said Shinji, "Urahara-san is working on making you a Gigai and will send it over. What else can you remember about the fight though?"
"Well," said Harry, "I was able to deflect his spells with Ryuge, kind of like those Jedi did in the Star Wars movies we watched, and one of the spells smashed the magic mirror I told you about last time I was in Karakura. That really ticked Voldemort off and he had Quirrell attack me in a rage. I held him off till he hit me with this curse that made everything hurt and then it all went black."
"That's where we can help," said Love, "from what we heard, the curse was another one with a life imprisonment punishment for the usage. It is known as the Torture curse because of the excruciating pain it causes. Dumbledore-san rescued you and called us to help heal you. So we kinda owe him a favor now. So you said Quirrell was being possessed? How were you able to determine that?"
"Well," said Harry, "when I heard Voldemort speak from his body, I tried to feel his Reiatsu. I could feel Voldemort stuck on his soul like a disgusting parasite and when I saw the back of Quirrell's head, I saw his face sticking out."
The Visored exchanged troubled looks at this news. They seemed to be having a silent discussion before Shinji sat at Harry's bedside and placed a comforting hand on their charge's hair, ruffling it a bit.
"Harry," said Shinji, "we'll talk more about this back home. We miss you, but we want you to enjoy your education here. Childhood doesn't last forever and it doesn't happen twice. Promise me that."
"I promise, Shinji," said Harry.
"Right," said the lead Visored, "we'd better let you get some sleep. From what I heard around the castle, you have a bit game coming up with that broomstick sport."
That made Harry sit upright real quick.
"The Quidditch game is today? I thought I had until this weekend!" exclaimed Harry.
"Harry-kun," said Shinji with a chuckle, "it is the weekend."
"You mean I slept for three days!" exclaimed Harry.
"Nah," said Shinji with a laugh, "just two. It's only Friday."
"Baka Shinji!" yelled Harry, getting a laugh from the other Visored.
"What language," chuckled Shinji, "honestly, you've been hanging around Hiyori too much."
"Urusai, Baka-Shinji," smirked Hiyori, getting a laugh from everyone.
The next morning, Amaterasu arrived from Karakura with one of Kisuke's special Gigai, disguised in the form of a soda can. Harry quickly donned the new Gigai by popping the tab and noted on the good fit of the body. The rest of the school year went rather normally for Harry, though the Hufflepuff team was flattened in the finals due to Harry being absent for several practice sessions. The Slytherin House won the House Cup, something the other houses were quite upset about, and Harry eventually found himself on the Hogwarts Express with his friends.
"So what happened Harry?" asked Hermione with concern, "All we heard was that you were in the Hospital wing for several days."
"It's kind of complicated," said Harry, "I got into a bit of trouble and curiosity almost killed the cat."
"What do you mean?" asked Neville.
Harry had the decency to look embarrassed, "I kinda got curious about the third floor corridor and got in a bit of trouble when I went to investigate."
"What kind of trouble?" asked Hermione as she raised an eyebrow.
"Um," said Harry nervously, "a giant Cerberus, some Devil's Snare, and a battle with a possessed teacher."
"Wait, WHAT?" exclaimed Hermione and Neville.
Harry sighed and subtly placed one of Hachi's custom Kidō around the compartment in order to ensure their privacy before explaining, "Apparently, Dumbledore was hiding something called the Sorcerer's Stone in the school and set up various traps to guard it. I wanted to know what was going on after accidentally meeting the Cerberus once before, so I went to the corridor and made my way through the traps. When I got to the last room, I was confronted by Voldemort."
That revelation caused Hermione to jump and Neville to squeak and fall off his seat in shock.
"Y-y-you faced You-Know-Who?" asked Neville, "But he was supposed to be dead!"
"He kinda was," said Harry, "he was a wraith of some sort that was possessing Professor Quirrell."
"You mean Professor Quirrell was working for He-Who-Must-Not-Be-Named?" asked Hermione in disbelief.
"It seems so," said Harry.
"What happened to him?" asked Neville fearfully.
"Voldemort abandoned him," said Harry, causing the others to squeak at the sound of the name, "he was left to die."
"That's pretty unbelievable," said Hermione.
"You're telling me," said Harry, "and I'm gonna need you to not tell anyone. This would only bring up unwanted questions."
"Harry," began Hermione.
"Please," insisted Harry.
"We trust you," said Neville as he gave Hermione a look that silenced her, "so, how do you think you did on exams?"
With that, the conversation shifted to a more cheery topic and remained that way for the rest of the trip. When the train pulled into the station, the three friends said their goodbyes and went to rejoin their families to head home.
After a somewhat lengthily plane ride, Harry found himself back in Karakura at the Visored Warehouse. With a laugh he ran through the doors, entering the place he'd been calling home since childhood.
"Tadaima," said Harry.
"Okaerinasai," said Lisa with a smile as she scooped up their young charge in a hug, "How are you doing, Harry-kun?"
"I'm doing great," said Harry.
"Shinji and the others wanted to talk in the training room," said Lisa, "I'll have dinner ready when you're done. I'm making Okonomiyaki and Korokke tonight."
Harry smiled and went to find Shinji and the others. Climbing down the ladder, he found the Visored waiting for him.
"What's up?" asked Harry.
"Harry," said Shinji, "we have to talk. There was more that happened when you fought Quirrell."
"What do you mean?" asked Harry.
"You said that you blacked out?" asked Shinji, getting a nod from Harry, "That's because your Inner Hollow finally manifested and took control. Dumbledore was barely able to restrain you and subdue the Hollow."
"I have an Inner Hollow?" asked Harry in shock.
Shinji nodded, "When we gave you your powers, you also developed an Inner Hollow that has slowly been gaining strength."
"What can I do about it?" asked Harry, "Will I go berserk again?"
"Not if we can help it," said Shinji, "we're gonna help you gain control. Get ready, Harry-kun, you're gonna become a full fledged Visored."
Chapter 22: Crucible
Harry was excited at the prospect of gaining control of his Inner Hollow and getting powers like the rest of the Visored. He always thought their masks were cool and wished he could have one of his own.
"So what do I have to do?" asked Harry.
"I wouldn't be so eager," said Shinji, "this will be a grueling and tough fight and you will need every advantage you can get. That's why Kisuke is going to be coming over."
"Why is Urahara-san coming over?" asked Harry, "How does that relate to me fighting my Inner Hollow?"
"I'm glad you asked Harry-kun," said Urahara as he climbed down the ladder with Tessai, the larger man carrying a large bag on his back.
"Urahara-san!" exclaimed Harry as he saw the familiar shopkeeper, "What's in the bag?"
"This Harry-kun, is the next step on the road to becoming stronger," said Urahara as he pulled out what looked like a cardboard cutout of a humanoid figure, "this is a Tenshintai. It will help you achieve the final release of your Zanpakuto. Its Bankai."
"Bankai?" asked Harry, "What's that?"
"Zanpakuto have three forms," said Urahara, "the first is the most common, the sealed state where the blade isn't much more powerful than a simple katana. The second is the Shikai, which is achieved when a Shinigami forms a bond with their sword and learns its name. The final form, the Bankai, released the swords full power. It is normally achieved when a Shinigami is able to manifest their Zanpakuto spirit in the real world and force it to submit to their will. This normally takes hundreds of years, but luckily, I have a shortcut: the Tenshintai."
"What does it do?" asked Harry.
"The Tenshintai is a special device I created to speed the process up," said Kisuke, "it allows you to forcibly manifest your Zanpakuto spirit in the physical world without the usual centuries of training and dialogue."
"So how do I begin?" asked Harry as the former Captain of Squad 12 placed the Tenshintai in the center of the training room.
"You simply stab your Zanpakuto into the Tenshintai and we'll begin," said Kisuke, "but be warned, this procedure is dangerous and taxing. You will have three days to master Bankai. Any longer and the process will be dangerous to your health. Are you still prepared to go through with this?"
Harry simply popped a Soul Candy into his mouth so he could leave his Gigai and drew Ryuge's sealed blade. With a quick motion, he stabbed the blade into the device, causing flames to erupt as the Tenshintai merged with the blade and transformed into Ryuge's form.
"I see you wish to grow stronger," said Ryuge, "I however, shall not go easy on you. Should you wish to go down this road, it will be difficult and painful."
"You told me when I unlocked Shikai," said Harry, "'Cast off your fear.' I won't back down from this. I will succeed and use that power to subdue my Hollow."
The large dragon smirked, "Well said, Harry-kun, but you will need more than resolve to face my inferno."
A flame erupted from the ground in front of Harry, forming into his sword in its released state.
"Take the sword," said Ryuge, causing Harry to pull he sword free from the dirt, "to master my Bankai, you will need to take in the full might of my flames and make them yours. Are you ready to begin?"
Harry glanced at the Visored who were now watching from behind one of Hachi's Kidō barriers before nodding at Ryuge, "I'm ready."
Ryuge nodded before breathing a massive torrent of blue flames from his maw that Harry was barely able to avoid, getting some burns on his shoulder from the heat of the fire. Ryuge faced him and blasted out another torrent of fire that Harry tried to hold back by using the flames from the blade in his hands, but his fire was easily overwhelmed and he was blasted back and left with several burns across his skin.
"Harry-kun!" exclaimed Hiyori.
"Don't worry," ground out Harry as he pulled himself to his feet, "this is nothing."
"He's a tough kid," observed Shinji, "let's hope he can pull through."
"Yeah!" cheered Mashiro as she waved a banner she got from…somewhere, "Fight hard!"
Harry faced his Zanpakuto spirit again and raised the blade in his hand, causing flames to erupt on it. The large Dragon breathed out another blast of blue flames that swirled around Harry as he used the flames from his sword to try and fight them off, but once again the flames from Ryuge's maw overwhelmed his power and engulfed him in with their unmerciful heat, knocking him back and leaving him burns across his body as he passed out from the pain.
Ryuge sighed, "He is not yet ready. We shall try again tomorrow after he is healed."
With that, Ryuge faded back to Harry's inner world and the Tenshintai became a tool once again.
Hachigen dropped the barrier and the Visored rushed to Harry's side with Urahara and Tessai.
"He has several first and second degree burns on his body, and a few third degree ones on his torso," said Tessai, "healing Kidō should take care of the burns, but he should rest until tomorrow so his body can recover."
The other Visored nodded and Tessai got to work with Hachi assisting him in healing Harry's body. The burns were healed rather quickly, but Harry remained unconscious from the strain the ordeal. Once he was healed, Lisa carried him to his room and put him there to rest for the night.
The next morning, Harry awoke feeling slightly stiff. Opening his eyes, he found himself in his bed in the Visored warehouse with some bandages on his arms and torso. The events of the previous day suddenly came back to him and he remembered his failed first attempt to master Ryuge's Bankai.
"Guess that didn't go so well," sighed Harry before pulling himself out of bed and wincing at the stiffness of his muscles.
As he walked out to the main room, he smelled Lisa cooking up breakfast for everyone and a small smile was present on his face.
"Think you can give me any hints, Ryuge?" Harry asked his Zanpakuto spirit.
"The path to unlocking my Bankai is a road of discovery and enlightenment," said Ryuge, "the answers you seek I have already given, but I will not give them again."
Harry sighed at the cryptic words of his Zanpakuto spirit. He wondered if Sakanade or Kinshara gave their users this much trouble. Though, come to think of it, considering Shinji and Rose's personalities, they probably did.
"Ohayo," said Harry as he walked out.
"Ohayo, Harry-kun," said Lisa as she worked at the stove, "breakfast is almost ready. How do you feel?"
"A bit stiff and sore," said Harry.
"That's to be expected," said Shinji as he walked up, "you were in pretty bad shape when you passed out."
"Even so," said Harry, "I'll need to try again."
"You sure?" asked Shinji, "You were hurt pretty bad last time."
"I won't just run away," said Harry, "'cast off your fear' is what Ryuge told me when I learned his name, so I won't be afraid."
"Well said," said Kensei as he walked up, "but training can wait till after you eat. You can't fight hungry after all."
Harry nodded as Lisa came out of the kitchen and began serving them their portions. After a quick and filling meal, Harry headed down to the training room to try again. Stabbing his Zanpakuto into the Tenshintai, Harry manifested Ryuge in the training area.
"So you are ready to continue?" asked Ryuge.
"Yes," said Harry, "I won't give up so easily."
Ryuge nodded and the blade of his Shikai emerged from the ground again. Harry picked up the sword and faced his Zanpakuto spirit as he breathed out a large torrent of blue fire. Once again, Harry tried to counter the flames from his Zanpakuto with the flames that he blasted from his sword, and just like the previous times, the blue flames from Ryuge's maw overwhelmed the flames from his sword and badly burned him.
"Graaah!" yelled Harry as his skin burned from the heat of the flames.
"You have to focus, Harry," said Ryuge, "focus, or you will never obtain my full power."
Ryuge let out a roar as he breathed out another blast of fire that streaked toward Harry. The Visored watched as the flames streaked toward their young charge, and for the young Visored, time seemed to slow down.
'What am I doing wrong?' wondered Harry as he faced the flames, 'Why isn't this working?'
In a flash of insight, Harry suddenly remembered what Ryuge had told him.
"The answers you seek I have already given…"
"…to master my Bankai, you will need to take in the full might of my flames and make them yours."
As the flames drew closer, Harry pointed his blade at the incoming inferno, but this time, he didn't try to force the flames back. Instead, he focused his powers on drawing the raging inferno into his blade, taking in the great power the flames held. As the blue flames flowed into his sword, the blade glowed white hot and cracks began to form along it. But Harry didn't yield or quit, forcing his sword to take in every bit of the fire until the blade shattered and the flames swirled around Harry. The Visored watched in horror, expecting the flames to incinerate their charge, but this time, the flames didn't do any damage, nor did Harry seem to feel any pain.
"Well done," said Ryuge, "my Bankai is yours to use. You can now access the full might of my inferno."
"Amazing," said Harry as he looked at the inferno of blue flames dancing around him that was connected to the hilt of his sword.
"This is my Bankai," said Ryuge, "the maelstrom of hellfire, Gōka Dai Uzumaki. Use it well."
Ryuge returned to Harry's inner world as Harry sealed his sword once again and was tackled to the ground by an excited Mashiro.
"You did it, Harry-kun!" cheered Mashiro as she glomped him.
"Itai itai," said Harry as the Visored's enthusiastic hug squeezed the burns he received from this round of trying to get his Bankai.
"That's enough," chuckled Kensei as he pulled Mashiro off him, "let Hachi patch him up first."
The former Kidō Corps Lieutenant hurried over and began to heal Harry's burns once again, while the rest of the Visored came over to congratulate their young charge.
"That looked like some Bankai," said Shinji.
"Yeah," said Harry, "I could feel the power flowing through me like an inferno of hellfire waiting to be released."
"Heh," said Hiyori, "I wonder how your Bankai would compare to Ryujin Jakka."
"Ryujin Jakka?" asked Harry.
"The Shikai of the Head Captain of the Gotei 13," said Rose, "it is an unrelenting inferno that is known as the strongest fire Zanpakuto in existence."
"I'm done here," said Hachi as he finished up, "you should get back in your Gigai."
As Harry was heading to do that, there was a ringing from the pants pocket of his Gigai. Pulling it out, he checked the caller ID before answering.
"Hello?" asked Harry in Japanese.
"Harry?" asked Hermione's voice in English, "is that you?"
To be continued…
"Hermione," said Harry, surprised his friend was calling him, "what's up?"
"Well," said Hermione, "I talked to my parents and they said, since they had a medical seminar to attend in Honshu, I could come and visit you while we're in the neighborhood."
"That's great," said Harry, "when will your plane touch down?"
"Well," said Hermione, "we're leaving tonight, so probably sometime tomorrow. After that we'll be dealing with jetlag for a day or so then we'll catch a train to Tokyo."
"Awesome," said Harry, "maybe I can meet you at the station?"
"I'd like that," said Hermione.
"Great," said Harry, "I'll go and talk to Shinji and the others. Call me before you take off."
"Of course," said Hermione.
Harry hung up his phone and turned toward the other Visored who were listening to the conversation.
"Sounds like your friend is coming to visit," said Shinji, "we'll be sure to clean the place up a bit more. Wouldn't want her to think you live in an abandoned warehouse."
"Awww," pouted Mashiro, "do we have to?"
"Yes," said Shinji, "we really should. We can't really expect to raise Harry in an old warehouse, can we?"
"Well, what kind of things would need to be changed?" asked Rose as he put down his guitar.
"Well the interior for one," noted Love as he looked around, "not to mention the exterior as well."
"If we're gonna remodel, we could get some better training gear," said Kensei.
"I could use a room for the Hiyori Walker," nodded Hiyori.
"Do we really need that stupid thing?" sighed Shinji before getting whacked over the head by Hiyori's slipper.
"Shut up, idiot!" growled Hiyori.
"I could use some improvements in the kitchen," added Lisa.
"Ok," said Shinji as he got to his feet, "let's see, interior remodeling, new furniture, retouching the outside, new stuff for the kitchen…we're gonna need help."
Shinji quickly pulled out a cellphone and dialed in a number, "Hello? Yeah we need a favor. Some redecorations. *sigh* Yes we'll pay you ya tightwad. Thanks."
"Kisuke?" asked Hiyori in conformation as to who the Visored leader just called.
Shinji shrugged, "He built the training room in under a week, so we could use his help."
"How right you are," said Kisuke from behind the group, making the Visored jump in surprise.
"Damnit Kisuke," swore Hiyori, "how do you keep doing that?!"
"Language," chastised Lisa as she pointed to where Harry was standing.
"Sorry," muttered Hiyori as Kisuke laughed behind his fan.
"Why I couldn't help but rush over when I got your call," laughed Kisuke, "I'd be happy to help upgrade this place."
"For a price of course," deadpanned Shinji, "how much will this cost us?"
"Well," said Kisuke, "considering the cost of materials, the renovations, and the new appliances and electrical wiring…"
"20 Galleons," said Harry.
"I'm sorry?" said Kisuke in a confused tone as he turned toward the Visored's young charge.
"We'll pay you 20 Galleons," said Harry.
"You do know that the conversion rate doesn't even make that worth 10,000 yen," said Kisuke, causing Harry to smirk.
"Well," said Harry, "if you don't want it, then fine, but you should know that Galleons are made of pure gold, and if you choose to melt them down, then they would reach about 689,213.17 yen, approximately."
Kisuke's mouth fell open and the Visored were gifted with the rare, if not unique sight of the former Captain of the Gotei 13's Squad 12 and former head of the Shinigami Research and Development Institute looking utterly dumbstruck as he was out-thought by an 11-year-old kid.
"Harry-kun," Kisuke said eventually, "I'm afraid I didn't give you enough credit. I'll take that payment and the place will be done by the end of the week."
"Wait," said Kensei, "where are we supposed to stay while this is going on?"
"You could check into a hotel," offered Kisuke.
"Are you gonna pay for damages after Mashiro's done with the place?" asked Shinji.
"It won't be that bad," said Urahara.
"Remember the coffee incident?" asked Shinji, "Imagine what will happen when she finds out about room service."
Kisuke paled at the memory and sighed, "If you want, you can camp out in my training room for the week."
"Thanks Urahara," said Shinji, "that will be great."
Urahara chuckled as the Visored left to pack their things. Young Harry was still surprising him when he least expected it. Heading off to prepare things for the week to come, Kisuke couldn't help but smile.
Meanwhile, in a large manor located in Wiltshire, England, a man with long white hair retrieved an old, tattered book from a locked case hidden in a secret compartment behind a large statue. Opening the book, the man picked up a quill and dipped it in some ink before writing on the book's worn pages.
"Master, your servant has returned," he wrote, watching as the letters were absorbed into the page.
"Indeed you have," the book wrote back, words appearing in black ink on the empty pages, "tell me what is going on in the world?"
"My son has ended his first year of school, and he says that Harry Potter is rumored to have fought off your wraith in the school," he wrote to the presence in the book, "there are whispers within the ranks of those who escaped Azkaban about you."
"Whispers? Oh do tell."
"There are some that believe you did not meet your demise from Potter's hands," wrote Malfoy.
"And I assume that there are others who doubt?"
"Yes, my lord."
"Well, we'll have to send a sign then," wrote the book, "You will follow these next instructions carefully…"
I did the math for Gold to yen conversion in 1992 (when this chapter happens) so I'm somewhat sure that 20 galleons, assuming they weigh around as much as a silver dollar coin, would be worth that much.
Chapter 24: Visitation and Revelation
Harry was anxiously waiting at the train station with Shinji and Lisa the next day. He knew Hermione's train would be arriving soon and he was looking forward to seeing his schoolmate and friend again.
"Calm down, kiddo," said Shinji, "you're going to shake yourself apart with all that fidgeting."
"Sorry," said Harry, "though it's partially this Gigai's fault. I'm still getting used to it and it feels a bit uncomfortable."
"You'll get used to it," said Lisa with a smile, "it just takes a while."
"So are you looking forward to meeting your friend?" asked Shinji, "Gotta admit, I was surprised you were inviting a girl over so soon."
"Shinji!" protested Harry with a light blush, "Hermione's just a friend from school. I saved her from a Troll and we've been friends ever since."
"I remember her from the Platform," said Shinji, "she seemed nice enough and quite intelligent, not to mention she had a decent amount of Reiatsu, not enough to be attacked by Hollows, but there might be the chance that she could at least see something if she runs into them."
"So she might hear a Hollow attack?" asked Harry.
"Quite possibly," said Shinji.
"How would we explain that?" asked the young wizard.
"Meh," said the Visored de-facto leader, "we'll just claim it was a banshee or something. I'd assume their howls sound pretty similar."
"Look," said Lisa, "the train is arriving."
Harry looked up as the train pulled into the station and the passengers disembarked. Through the crowd of people he managed to see a familiar head of brown bushy hair and he called out to her in English.
"Hermione! Over here!" called the young Visored.
"Harry!" said the bookworm, "It's great to see you again. These are my parents, Dan and Emma Granger."
"It's a pleasure to make your acquaintance," said Hermione's father.
"The name's Shinji Hirako," said Shinji, "and this is Lisa Yadōmaru."
"Ah," said Hermione in passable yet accented Japanese, "Nice to meet you. My name is Granger Hermione. Please treat me well."
"Well done," said Shinji, "but we can speak English well enough."
"Our daughter has told us a lot about your son here," said Dan.
"Oh, Harry's not our son," said Shinji as he ruffled the young Visored's hair, "we've been his Guardians ever since he was little. He's become a treasured part of the family though."
"So what do you do two do for a living?" asked Emma.
"Well," said Lisa, "it's not just the two of us, but we help out a local Candy Shop."
"Ooh, I've never tried Japanese candy," said Hermione, getting a chuckle from her parents.
"We're dentists," said Emma in response to Harry's curious look, "so we don't usually let Hermione here have a lot of sugar."
"Well don't worry," said Lisa, "Japanese food is actually healthier than English food and the Urahara Shop has some good Daifuku."
"Oh I've read about that," said Hermione, "I'd really like to try some red bean paste."
"I'm sure we can find the time," said Shinji with a smile, "we have some things planned for your stay here."
"Great," said Hermione, "where are we going first?"
"Well," said Harry, "have you ever been to an Arcade?"
Hermione was having the time of her life. Harry and his guardians had taken her back to the house he lived in, which made her eyes bug out when she saw the size and elegance of it, where she met the rest of his adopted family. She could tell that her parents were really hitting it off with Rose and Hachigen, but Kensei kind of intimidated her and Mashiro…well, saying she was energetic was like saying the sun was fairly lukewarm. The group in general came off as quite friendly, Hiyori and Shinji's occasional squabble aside, and she could see that they were a close knit family and had brought Harry into their circle.
While they were at the house, though the term manor or mansion might be more accurate, the Grangers were treated to a nice, home cooked meal, courtesy of Lisa. Suffice it to say, the Grangers were impressed by her skill in the kitchen and Emma even asked her if she could trade her a few recipes.
Next the group went to an arcade where Harry demonstrated good skills and reflexes when they tried out a DDR Machine…though when Mashiro got involved, things really got intense and the entire arcade gathered to watch the two of them try to outlast each other. It ended up being a draw and the group left tired and happy.
Finally, the group headed to a Karaoke parlor where the Visored and Harry were pleasantly surprised to find that Hermione was quite the songbird and impressed and amazed the others with her amazing voice and musical ability.
The trip was going great and the day would have been perfect…but all good things must come to an end.
Hermione froze when she heard an ethereal roar echo through the streets lit by the setting sun.
"What was that?" exclaimed the young Witch as the Visored flinched.
"What are you talking about, dear?" asked Emma as he daughter looked around frantically.
"That sound," said Hermione, "what is it? It sounded like some kind of roar."
"I didn't hear anything," said Dan, "what about you, dear?"
"Only the wind," said Emma.
"Well," said Shinji, "maybe we all should be heading home."
"But what about…" began Hermione before she was cut off by another roar, this one much closer.
"Crap," swore Shinji under his breath as a large Hollow that resembled a gecko rounded the corner.
"Hermione," asked her parents, "what are you talking about?"
"Hakufuku," said Shinji..
Suddenly, Dan and Emma fell unconscious and were caught by Shinji and Lisa, surprising Hermione as she turned to them.
"No time to explain," said Shinji, "just trust us. Harry, think you can deal with that one?"
"Right," said Harry as he materialized his Zanpakuto.
"You're going to fight that thing?" exclaimed Hermione, "Are you mad?"
"I've fought tougher," shrugged Harry before shooting off at the Hollow with his sword raised.
"Oh?" said the Hollow in Japanese, "Looks like my meal wants to play."
"Sorry," said Harry as he put on a burst of speed and shot past the Hollow, "but I'm not playing today."
The Hollow froze in place as suddenly it's mask covered head split in two and the thing disintegrated. Harry sighed as he flicked the blood off his blade and sent it back to his inner world before turning to Hermione.
"I guess this ruins our outing, huh?" sighed the young Visored.
"What's going on?" asked Hermione, "What was that thing? What happened to my Mum and Dad?"
Shinji sighed, "I guess it figures that you could see it. Hermione Granger, what we're about to tell you must be kept in absolute confidence and never shared with anyone without our consent. Can you do that for us?"
Hermione nodded and Shinji motioned for Harry to continue.
"Hermione," said Harry, "my family and I…well, we're Shinigami."
"You mean the Japanese Gods of Death?" said Hermione in disbelief.
"Kinda," said Harry, "the Shinigami are tasked with keeping the balance between the worlds of the living and the dead. They also deal with Hollows, souls that have lingered and become creatures like the one you just saw."
"So is that why you were able to do those weird spells?" asked Hermione, "And why the ghosts at Hogwarts seem to always be afraid of you?"
"Yeah," chuckled Harry sheepishly, "they're afraid I'm going to send them to the next life or something."
"Well," said Hermione, "your secret's safe with me…if you'll keep mine."
"Yours?" asked Harry as he raised an eyebrow.
Hermione leaned in and whispered conspiratorially, "I have a secret stash of wizard candy I haven't told my parents about."
The members of the group that were still conscious laughed at that little statement.
"So what happened to my parents?" asked Hermione, "Why did they pass out?"
"We used a special technique on them," said Shinji, "they'll be fine, they're just taking a nap."
"How will we explain all of this?" asked Hermione, getting a smirk from the blond Visored in response.
As the Grangers left on the evening train, Harry couldn't help but wonder what his life would have been like if he hadn't met this strange group in Japan all those years ago. Now, he had a friend at Hogwarts that knew his secret, and thanks to a specially modified Kikanshinki, Hermione's parents now thought the trip had gone without incident and had had a wonderful time with Harry's family. Harry was indeed looking forward to the next term where he would see his friends again.
Chapter 25: Inner Demons (part 1)
Harry found himself standing in the forest of his Inner World, but it was night and a red moon was high in the sky. This made the young wizard suspicious, as the forest always appeared to be stuck in a perpetual twilight with the sun casting colors over the cloudy sky. Looking around, he also noticed that Ryuge was nowhere to be found, but he noticed an ominous shape moving through the shadows of the crystals.
"Ryuge?" asked Harry, "Are you there?"
Only silence greeted the young Visored as he frantically looked around the forest for his Zanpakuto spirit. The thing in the shadows continued to dart across his vision while staying out of sight, further worrying the wizard.
"Whoever or whatever you are," said Harry as he materialized his sword, "I know you're there, so come out!"
Suddenly, he felt a presence behind him, a bloodlust that made his senses scream danger at him. Spinning around, he saw a terrifying sight, a Hollow standing behind him, glaring at him with glowing red eyes through the holes in it's mask.
The beast resembled a beast with a lower body of a snake that had skeletal armor with bone spikes and spider like legs made of bone that were tipped with blades. The upper body of the Hollow was more humanoid, with two gaunt arms covered in bony spines and reptilian scales, with hands that had claws like scythes. The face of the creature resembled one of a king cobra, with a mask resembling the head of a styracosaurus; it's fangs dripping with venom.
Harry jumped back to put distance between him and the Hollow, moving his sword into a ready stance, "What are you doing here?"
The beast let out an ethereal roar before moving into a position to lunge at the young Visored. Harry prepared to counter the beast's attack, but felt a sudden jerk, and opened his eyes to see him lying in bed with the Visored standing over him, Lisa holding a crumbling mask in her hand.
"What happened?" asked Harry as he sipped from a lukewarm cup of milk tea with nutmeg and honey that Lisa had made for him, "Was that a dream?"
"I wish it was that simple, Harry," said Shinji, "what you just went through was a result of your Inner Hollow's increasing strength. It tried to take control of you while slept, and might have won if we didn't sense it and break your forming mask."
"What am I going to do about it?" asked Harry as he looked down at his tea worriedly.
The older Visored glanced at each other before turning to Harry.
"I'm not going to lie to you," said Shinji, "there is a way to suppress your Inner Hollow, but you will literally be fighting for your very life. The only way is to travel into your Inner World and beat down your Inner Hollow until you've subdued it. That will stop its attacks and also allow you to call upon its mask in combat to augment your powers."
"What happens if I lose?" asked Harry softly, causing the other Visored to glance at each other grimly before Shinji answered.
"If you lose, then your Hollow will destroy you and take over your body, turning you into a Hollow yourself," the Visored de-facto leader said seriously, "and if that happens, we'll have to stop you like any other Hollow."
"Then…" said Harry quietly before looking up with fire in his eyes, "then I won't lose!"
Shinji smirked and tousled the hair of their young charge, "That's the spirit. We'll help you as much as we can."
"We can start bright and early this weekend," said Love.
"No," said Harry, surprising the Visored.
"No?" asked Hiyori, "you don't want to?"
"It's not that," said Harry, "I mean, my Inner Hollow is only going to get stronger, right?"
"That's right," said Shinji hesitantly.
"Then I'm going to fight it now," said Harry, "waiting only gives it more time to get stronger, so I'll beat it down now and show it who's boss."
"Spoken like a true Visored," said Lisa as she gave Harry a hug.
Kensei nodded, "We'll start tonight."
As Harry stood in the center of the Visored Underground Training Room, he couldn't help but feel a bit nervous about what was about to happen as Hachi crafted a multi-layer barrier around the young wizard to contain the power that would soon be released.
"Alright," said Shinji, "We'll be doing this with normal rotations, with everyone switching out after 10 minutes, minus Hachi of course. Are you sure, you're ready, Harry?"
"I am," said Harry with a nod.
"Then let's do this," said Shinji, "we'll start with…"
"Me," interrupted Lisa, "I'll be the one to begin."
The other Visored glanced at Lisa with a bit of surprise. It was obvious that the former Lieutenant was quite fond of their young charge and thought of him almost like the son she never had, so her choosing to fight him first caught them off guard.
"Ok then," said Shinji, "Hachi?"
The large Visored nodded and the barrier opened to allow Lisa through to stand next to Harry before sealing again. Lisa nodded at Shinji and placed her hand in front of Harry's eyes.
"Tanma Otoshi," said Lisa, causing a white light to shine from her palm that made Harry pass out.
Lisa caught him as he fell and laid him on the ground before drawing her Zanpakuto and getting ready as the other Visored watched.
Harry once again found himself in his Inner World, though the sun was once again in the sky, bathing the forest with its glow. Steeling his nerves, Harry materialized his Zanpakuto and looked around at the crystalline forest.
"Hollow! I know you're there!" he called out, "Come out and face me!"
As soon as he said those words, the sun went dark and a red moon appeared in the sky, casting an ominous glow over the forest. Harry could hear a the growling of his inner demon and readied his weapon, before jumping to the side as his senses screamed at him, just barely avoiding a lunge from the Hollow that would have taken a chunk out of his side.
"There you are," said Harry as he readied his blade.
The Hollow roared in response and bared its fangs at the young Visored, before lunging at him to begin their fight.
"Blaze," said Harry, "Ryuge."
As Lisa watched Harry's prone body, a blast of Reiatsu erupted from it as the body climbed to its feet and white liquid began to pour from his mouth, nose, and eyes, forming into his mask. With a roar, the masked wizard lunged at the former Lieutenant, forcing her to deliver a powerful kick to his chest that sent him tumbling back.
"Looks like it's beginning," said Shinji, "Love, start the clock."
As the Visored watched their Hollowfied charge attack and get beaten back by Lisa, they all hoped that Harry would dominate his Inner Hollow before the changes would become irreversible.
As Harry dodged another lunge from his Inner Hollow, he swung his Zanpakuto in its direction, enveloping the beast in a torrent of fire, but when the smoke cleared, the beast was still snarling and let out a roar as a sphere of crimson energy began to charge in its claws.
"Bloody hell," swore Harry as he put some distance between him and his Hollow as he gathered his Reiryoku, "DANKU!"
His Kidō barrier sprung up just in time to block the Cero that the Hollow had fired at him.
Back with the Visored, things were getting really serious. Harry's Inner Hollow had already manifested half of itself over Harry's body and Kensei, who was currently fighting it, was hard pressed to keep up with it's speedy and nimble movements.
"Damnit," growled Kensei as he dodged a blazing slash from Harry's Shikai, "this isn't going well. C'mon kiddo, fight through this!"
Kensei slashed at the Hollow with his sword, causing blood to seep down its body from the cut onto the claws of the beast. Suddenly, the Hollow aimed its claws at Kensei and began to charge a Cero, but this one was different than usual, it seemed to have razor-like edges and glowed bright purple.
"Shit," swore Shinji when he felt the spike in Hollow Reiatsu, "Kensei! Get out of there!"
Kensei leapt from the barrier and Hachi began to reinforce it as best he could, but without the time to cast more advanced barriers, the place might come down around their heads. Suddenly though…
"Ryūbi no Jōmon!"
Three additional barriers appeared between the Visored and the strange Cero that Harry's Hollow was charging up. When the beast fired the blast, it smashed through Hachi's barrier and the Danku before slamming into a crimson energy wall that slowed it down, finally coming to a stop when it slammed into the large, thick, gate-like barrier that had been erected.
"We thought you could use some help," said Yoruichi as she, Urahara and Tessai dispelled the shields they put up, "mind if we cut in?"
"We sensed the spike in Reiatsu," said Kisuke, "so we decided to come and see what was going on."
"Glad you could make it," said Shinji, "we're gonna need the help."
As Hachi reformed the barrier, Yoruichi took Kensei's place in front of Harry with a smirk on her face. The Hollow growled as it faced her, for the fight was just beginning.
Chapter 26: Inner Demons (part 2)
"Ok," said Yoruichi, "let's see what you got kiddo."
The Hollow roared and charged at the former Captain of the Stealth Force, aiming to strike her down, but the dark-skinned Shinigami easily dodged with her superior speed and delivered a kick that knocked the beast back to the ground.
"You're going to have to do better than that," laughed Yoruichi.
"Don't get cocky," said Shinji, "he's a lot tougher that he seems."
As if to prove the Visored's point, the Hollowfied Wizard charged up a normal Cero and fired it at the former Captain, forcing her to dodge out of the way, only to find the Hollow waiting for her with a claw moving to slash her. Luckily, the Shihonin Princess was able to deliver a swift kick that knocked the Hollow back, but not before its claws tore through her orange jacket.
"Dang," said Yoruichi, "I liked that one."
Using Shunpo, Yoruichi vanished in a blur and instantly reappeared behind Harry, delivering a powerful kick, followed by another burst of speed that placed her in a position to kick him again as he flew toward her.
"Oi, don't kill the kid," said Kensei, "We don't want to send him to the hospital after this."
"Sorry," sighed Yoruichi as she dodged another attack, "but you're making it hard for me to stop him."
"I know you can do it, Yoruichi-chan," said Kisuke as he smiled behind his fan.
"Jerk," muttered Yoruichi as she dodged another attack and flipped Harry over her shoulder using the momentum of his attack, "this might take a while."
Meanwhile in Harry's Inner World, the young Visored was doing all he could to fight off his Inner Hollow, using a combination of 1st year spells, Kidō, and Zanjutsu to keep the beast from killing him.
"Diffindo!" yelled Harry as he pointed his wand at his Hollow, causing a bloody gash to form on its chest, "Incendio!"
Part of the Hollow's body burst into flames from the second spell, disorienting the beast long enough for Harry to quickly chant the incantation to a Kidō spell.
"…the sea barrier surges, march on to the south! Hado #31: Shakkahō!" yelled Harry before he fired a blast of red energy from his palm that slammed into his Hollow, knocking it into several large crystals growing out of the ground.
"I can't keep this up," groaned Harry as the beast pulled itself to its feet.
The beast let out a roar and Harry pointed his sword at the Hollow, releasing a gout of fire that slammed into it, but didn't do much other than anger it.
"I can't burn it," panted Harry, "my fire's not hot enough…so I'll make it hotter!"
Raising his sword above his head, Harry closed his eyes and began to focus his Reiatsu, causing the ground of his Inner World to shake as fire erupted from the blade of his Zanpakuto as the blade glowed white hot.
"HRRRAAAH!" yelled Harry, "BANKAI!"
In an instant, the flames reversed direction and were sucked into Harry's sword, causing the blade to shatter as blue-hot flames were released, burning away the top of his Shinigami robes to reveal his torso that had been toned from exercise and training. The blue flames danced around Harry's body, flowing from the sword's handle in place of the blade.
"Haah," panted Harry as sweat formed on his brow and instantly evaporated, forming a steam that poured from his body, "this heat is intense. I won't be able to keep this going for long."
The Hollow roared and made to charge at Harry, but the young Visored drew the sword handle back, gathering the blue flames around himself before thrusting it forward, releasing the flames in the form of a Lion's head bearing it's fangs.
"Raion no Kiba!" yelled Harry.
The flaming Lion head bit down on the Hollow, resulting in a fiery explosion. When the smoke cleared, the Hollow was standing there, badly burned, but alive and pissed off.
"Oh come on!" groaned Harry, "What is it going to take? Fine, once more."
Harry sent his flames at the Hollow, shaping them into different forms as he forced the beast onto the defensive. The young Wizard followed up with several severing charms and a quick Byakurai that tore chunks out of the Hollow's armor.
"All right!" said Harry, "now, for something new…I hope it works."
Harry pointed his hand at the Hollow as it roared in anger, "Ye lord! Mask of flesh and bone, flutter of wings, ye who bears the name of Man! Disintegrate, you black dog of Rondanini! Truth and temperance, upon this sinless wall of dreams, look upon yourself with horror and tear out your own throat! Bakudō #9 Hōrin! Unleash but slightly the wrath of your claws! Hado #33: Sōkatsui!"
Harry first launched a flaming cord that tied the Hollow to one of the trees and then fired a blast of blue flames from his palm that exploded against the beast violently.
"Good," panted Harry, "that worked."
Unfortunately, the smoke cleared and the Hollow, though badly beaten, was still standing.
"Bloody hell," swore Harry before he gathered his flames again, burns forming on his skin, "Raion no Kiba!"
Harry sent his attack at the Hollow, aiming to burn it to a crisp, but the beast sped out of the way and appeared behind the wizard, aiming his left claw at the young Visored, and said Visored felt a surge of Reiatsu as the Hollow prepared an attack.
The Hollow then began to charge up a Cero in its claw as it faced Harry, and the wizard began to channel all his flames together to counter the devastating blast. The flames around Harry, began to take the draconic form of a certain Zanpakuto spirit, and just as the Hollow fired the Cero, the Dragon shot at the Cero and slammed into it, battling the blast for dominance.
The two attacks battled for dominance, with the users pushing more and more power into them to fuel their strength. Finally, Harry drew his wand and struggled to focus as the Cero gained ground on his attack. Mustering the last of his strength he cast a spell.
"Flippendo!" cast Harry, sending a bolt that knocked the Hollow on its back, successfully redirecting the brunt of the Cero so that it shot into the sky, while Harry's inferno slammed into the Hollow.
The blue flames burned away at the beast as it roared in pain, its skin and armor blistering and cracking under the extreme heat. Finally, the beast fell to the ground as it's mask cracked and shattered, causing the Hollow to dissolve into dust that flowed into Harry's body. The young Visored fell to his knees as his Bankai dispelled and the top of his Shihakushō reformed, covering his red, blistered skin, which was scorched from the heat his Bankai emitted.
"Good," he breathed, "it's over…"
And with that, Harry let unconsciousness take hold as he slumped to the ground.
Kisuke was currently taking his turn to fight the Hollowfied form of Harry Potter. He had quickly released his Shikai to combat the Hollow's skills and strength, and was finding himself hard pressed to fight the Hollow without doing any serious damage to the boy inside.
"Scream Benihime!" he said as he sent a slash of energy that slammed into the Hollow and knocked it back. He was about to follow through again, when the Hollow froze.
"What the…?" said Shinji in surprise as the Hollow's body began to crack, as if it were made of porcelain, "looks like the kid pulled through."
The Hollow's body continued to crack, before finally crumbling away to reveal Harry's form within. The Visored quickly dispelled the barrier and caught Harry's body as he fell to the ground and the shell of the Hollow's crumbling body turned to dust at his feet.
"Great job, kiddo," chuckled Shinji, "Lisa, let's let him rest in his room for now."
The female Visored nodded and took their young charge to his bedroom to sleep it off. When she returned the group exchanged proud looks.
"The kid did it," said Kensei, "knew he could."
"Hey Hachi," said Lisa, "what was the time?"
The older Visored looked at his stopwatch, "About 2 hours."
"Pay up," said Shinji, causing Love and Hiyori to hand over some bills, "we'll begin Mask training tomorrow. Let's let him rest for now. He's earned it."
To be continued…
Chapter 27: Back to the Alley
It was a bright sunny day in August when Urahara arrived in the Visored Training room with a set of parchment in his hands. Harry broke away from his Hohou training with Yoruichi to see what the shopkeeper wanted.
"Urahara," said Harry as he ran over, grabbing a towel from Kensei along the way, "what brings you here?"
"Well Harry-kun," said Kisuke as he handed the paper to Harry, "I wanted to tell you that your new supply list for your upcoming year."
Harry took the paper and gave a look at which books he would need.
The Standard Book of Spells, Grade 2 by Miranda Goshawk
Break with a Banshee by Gilderoy Lockhart
Gadding with Ghouls by Gilderoy Lockhart
Holidays with Hags by Gilderoy Lockhart
Travels with Trolls by Gilderoy Lockhart
Voyages with Vampires by Gilderoy Lockhart
Wanderings with Werewolves by Gilderoy Lockhart
Year with the Yeti by Gilderoy Lockhart
"Um, Urahara," said Harry, "why are several books crossed off?"
"Oh those?" said Kisuke, "You won't need those. I took the liberty of reading them and they're just works of fiction written by the man they're about and don't have a single tidbit of useful information about actually using the spells depicted in the stories."
"Then why put them on the list?" asked Hiyori.
"Probably some teacher's a fan of his work," said Shinji, "you might want to skim through those books, just to be safe, but I wouldn't waste your money on them. Maybe we can find them at a library or rental service."
"Well," said Kisuke, "after the disaster we had on the last plane ride when Mashiro got bored, Tessai and I have developed a way to quickly travel to London, thanks to some research into the Wizarding method of transportation called a Portkey, I created a special device to allow us to instantly teleport from here to London."
Kisuke pulled out what looked like a stopwatch and handed it to Shinji, causing the Visored to roll his eyes.
"You and your weird habit of making your inventions into random objects," sighed Shinji, "so how does it work?"
"Well," said Urahara, "simply wind the dial and press the button, and it will open a gate straight to the Leaky Cauldron. Might want to bring your things as well. Don't worry, only our Reiatsu can activate it, and it will only take you from here to the Leaky Cauldron and back."
"That's a good precaution," said Shinji, "we'll buy your books and then rent some rooms at the pub until the start of the school year."
Harry quickly gathered his things with the help of the other Visored before the group gathered together and took out Urahara's device. Twisting the dial and pressing the starter on the stopwatch, caused a doorway to appear in the air, designed like the entrance to a normal British building. Walking through, they found themselves in a shop styled similarly to the Urahara Shoten, except with a more English theme.
"Mr. Urahara," said a young man wearing an apron, "you're back. We have the sales reports for the quarter if you want to see it."
"I would love to," said Kisuke, "but I'm just passing through today on my way to the Pub across the way. I'll look over them when we get back."
"What is all this, Urahara?" asked Harry.
"Oh this?" said Kisuke, "I took the liberty of expanding my business and opened a branch of the Urahara Shop here in London. I felt it would be convenient to have a place to stay when we're in the neighborhood and it provides an additional source of income. Apparently, my Japanese confections are quite the novelty. Well, enough dilly-dallying, we have some shopping to do."
The group of Shinigami headed across the street and through the pub until they arrived at the back alley, where Harry tapped a specific brick on the wall with his wand, causing the passage to Diagon Alley to be opened.
"All right," said Urahara, "first we'll make a stop at Gringotts to get some money, and then we can split up to get everything we need. Love and Rose can go to the Apothecary, Kensei can take Mashiro and Hiyori to look for treats for little Norbert, and the rest of us will get Harry's books at Flourish and Blotts while I deal with other business."
"Sounds like a plan," said Love and the group headed off.
After the group split up, Harry, Shinji, Hachi, and Lisa headed to the bookstore and noticed an abnormally large crowd outside the shop. As they pushed through to get inside, they saw that there was a pompously dressed man posing for cameras as he signed books for the crowd.
"What's going on here?" muttered Lisa.
"Oh, Harry!" exclaimed a certain bushy haired Witch as she spotted him in the crowd and made her way over.
"Hermione," said Harry, "it's good to see you. What's going on here?"
"Didn't you hear?" said Hermione, "Gilderoy Lockhart is doing a book signing."
"You mean that fop over there is the one that wrote our school textbooks?" said Harry with a raised eyebrow.
"Harry Potter," scolded Hermione, "Lockhart is a great man and an amazing wizard!"
"I just don't understand why so many of his books are on our syllabus this year," said Harry.
Harry pushed past the crowd so he could get into the bookstore and purchase his textbooks without drawing attention, but unfortunately, luck wasn't on his side this visit.
"Do my eyes deceive me?" said the posturing man who was signing books, "Harry Potter, the Boy Who Lived."
Harry inwardly groaned as the attention of the crowd was drawn to him and before he could get away, Lockhart pulled him to his side and posed in front of the camera.
"Smile, Harry my boy," said Lockhart, "this is sure to make the front page."
Harry didn't smile. In fact, he scowled and, using the quick Hakuda move, Taketonbo, Harry easily broke the man's grip and flipped in the air, causing the fop to land hard on his back, knocking the wind out of his lungs.
"I dislike being manhandled," said Harry, "as the man got to his feet."
"Well," said Lockhart as he got up, pretending what just happened was totally intentional, "Harry here has demonstrated his aptitude for defense."
"He wouldn't have needed to if you didn't force him to participate in your publicity stunt," said Lisa.
"My dear lady," began Lockhart as he flashed the female Visored a charming smile, but his words died in his throat as the former Lieutenant of Squad 8 leveled an icy glare at him and directed a pulse of her Reiatsu at him.
"A-anyway," said Lockhart, "I would like to give young Harry here, a complete set of my collected works, signed by me of course.
The man plopped a stack of books in Harry's hands and flashed a dazzling smile at the crowd.
"And now I have an announcement," said Lockhart, "I, Sir Gilderoy Lockhart, Order of Merlin Third Class, Honorary Member o the Dark Force Defense League, will be passing on my knowledge to the younger generation. Yes, I shall be teaching this year at Hogwarts as the Defense Against the Dark Arts professor."
The crowd, including Hermione applauded, but the Visored present had different reactions, Harry in particular.
"Kuso," he swore.
Chapter 28: Shopping and Politics
Harry, upon hearing Lockhart's declaration, was now mentally cursing in both Japanese and English at his misfortune. It was bad enough that he had to deal with this fop and that his books were required reading for his second year, but now he'd have to deal with him in school during his DADA lessons!
"Come young Harry," said Lockhart, "wouldn't you like to say a few words to the press? I'm sure they'd live a photo-op with the two of us."
"Lay one finger on me and I'll break your arm," said Harry.
"But…" began Lockhart.
"Do you really want to test me?" asked Harry, before turning away before the man could answer.
"C'mon kiddo," said Shinji, "let's get the rest of your books and go."
"Harry!" said a familiar voice, causing the young Visored to turn and see two identical redheads waving.
"Over here, Harry!" said one.
"Good to see you," said the other.
"Fred, George," said Harry with a smile, "you guys here to buy your things too?"
"Of course," said Fred.
"And, since you're here," said George.
"We were wondering," continued Fred.
"If you'd like to meet the rest of the family?" the twins said together.
Harry glanced at the Visored before turning to the twins and shrugging, "Sure, I guess. We have some time on our hands."
The twins smiled and led the group over to where their family was. The entire Weasley clan had red hair and was bustling about trying to make sure they had their things.
"Mum, Mum," said Fred.
"Fred, George," said the Weasley Matriarch, "don't wander off like that."
"We just wanted to meet up with a friend, Mum," said George, "we'd like to introduce you to…"
"Our partner in crime…"
"The secret to our success…"
"Not to mention a bloody genius…"
"Language," scolded Mrs. Weasley.
"Sorry mum," said Fred, "but we'd like you to meet Harry Potter."
The slightly plump woman turned toward the boy and gave him and his guardians a curious look. She noted their…interesting appearances and choices of apparel, raising an eyebrow at Lisa's Sailor Fuku, but spoke with a calm tone.
"I must admit I've heard mixed things about you, Harry," said Mrs. Weasley, "While the twins told me about how you encouraged them to study harder which helped them get their grades this year, but Ronald, my youngest, spoke of how you were quite unfriendly."
"To be honest," said Harry, noticing that the only girl in their group perked up when the twins mentioned his name, "Ron wasn't the nicest person toward me, but as for Fred and George, I simply pointed out how their endeavors would me much more successful if they put more effort into their schoolwork."
"Well," said the woman, "it's nice to know both sides."
She then turned to the other Visored, "Are you all related to young Harry here?"
"Not by blood," said Shinji, "but we are a family nonetheless. I'm Shinji Hirako and this is Lisa Yadōmaru and Hachigen Ushōda. We're Harry's guardians now."
"Well it's a pleasure to meet you," said Mrs. Weasley, "I'm Molly Weasley, I believe you already know my boys, and this is my youngest, Ginny."
The only daughter of the group waved shyly at Harry with a dusting of crimson on her cheeks. The pleasant moment was spoiled when an oily voice spoke up.
"I should have known I'd see you at a photo-op Potter," said Draco Malfoy as he walked up, "what's the matter? Can't get enough attention by being a Cracker-Jap?"
The next thing Draco knew, he was flat on his back with blood pouring from his broken nose, staring down the shaft of Harry's wand, which was leveled between his eyes.
"Don't you dare use that slur around me," snarled Harry as he directed his Reiatsu toward Draco in a crushing wave, "you're lucky I don't want to cause a scene and only broke your nose."
"Now what is going on here?" asked a man with long platinum blond hair as he walked up with a sneer, "young mister Potter, I do hope you have an explanation as to why you just assaulted the heir to the Noble Family of Malfoy."
Harry looked up at the man who he could only assume was Draco's father and suddenly remembered something that had happened when they had visited Gringotts a little while ago.
As the Visored made their way to the teller's desk, they noticed several Goblin workers staring at them curiously. When they arrived, the Goblin teller, who according to his name plaque was named Sharpfang, looked down at them over the edge of his tall desk.
"Well well, Mister Potter, if you would come with me, the Potter Accounts Manager would like to see you," said the Goblin.
"Why?" asked Harry curiously, "I just got here?"
"I am just a simple teller," said Sharpfang, "please follow me."
The Goblin climbed down from his desk and led the boy around to a set of doors in the back, but stopped when the rest of the Visored tried to follow.
"I'm afraid this is private business relating Mister Potter's family," said Sharpfang, "I'm afraid outsiders aren't to be allowed to attend."
"They aren't outsiders," said Harry, "they are my family, and as such, I'd like them to attend this meeting."
"If you insist," said the Goblin evenly as he opened the doors and led them to a large room where an older Goblin wearing an expensive suit was waiting.
"Mister Potter and company," said the Goblin, "I am Grimheart, the Potter Accounts Manager. I must admit that your alleged death surprised me, and hearing that you walked into our bank did so even more."
This took the group by surprise and they now eyed the Goblin with wary caution. Nobody outside of their allies in Karakura should have known the full truth of what happened during his battle with Quirrellmort, and yet the Goblin knew that Harry was actually killed when the Killing Curse hit him.
"How do you know about that?" asked Shinji warily.
"It wasn't too hard to realize," said the Goblin simply, "especially when the Potter accounts suddenly changed to show that the Potter heir was deceased. Seeing you walk through our doors made us quite curious and that is why I called this meeting. To decide what your next course of action is."
"What do you mean?" asked Harry as he fidgeted in his seat nervously.
"You see Mister Potter," said Grimheart, "because you are listed as dead, you do not have access to the Potter Vaults, including the trust fund that you were using to pay for your schooling."
"So does that mean Harry has no money?" asked Lisa worriedly, "What is going to do about school?"
"There is a solution," said Grimheart before he pulled an ornate box out of a drawer and placed it on the desk and removed a jeweled obsidian dagger and a carved stone bowl.
Placing both on the table, he steepled his fingers and gazed at the Karakura group, "The only way for Mister Potter to reclaim his Accounts is to claim Lordship over the Noble and Most Ancient House of Potter. Now that the Accounts were separated from you due to your supposed 'death,' you now have the chance to claim both your Family Vault's holdings and your Lordship title."
"What happens if this 'ritual' doesn't work?" asked Hachigen.
"If the ritual magic does not accept Mister Potter here," said Grimheart, "then it would be somewhat unpleasant."
"Unpleasant?" asked Hachi with a raised eyebrow.
"The magic will reject young Mister Potter here and leave a mark showing so," elaborated the Goblin.
"Harry," said Rose, "you don't have to do this."
"No," said Harry, "I want to do this."
The Goblin nodded and held out the dagger to Harry, "Simply slit your palm and say, 'I, Harry James Potter, claim my right and duties as Lord of this House,' while letting drops of blood fall into the bowl."
Harry nodded and cut open his palm with the dagger before holding his bleeding hand over the bowl, "I, Harry James Potter, claim my right and duties as Lord of this House."
There was a surge of magic that poured through the room and the blood in the bowl burst into golden flames that died down to reveal a signet ring. Harry then picked it up and placed it on his finger, where it re-sized itself to fit perfectly.
"And that is that, Lord Potter," said the Goblin.
Harry leveled an even glare at Draco's father, "Draco here has made a highly disrespectable and disparaging comment toward me and my family, and, as Lord of the Noble and Most Ancient House of Potter, I would well be within my rights to take it as a slight against the House of Potter as a whole and demand retribution, or am I wrong, Mister Malfoy?"
Draco's father, Lucius, internally scowled at the boy's logic. If he wasn't bluffing, then his son could have possibly landed in a politically unpleasant situation, and since a Noble and Most Ancient House easily outranked a Noble House, Harry would easily be able to curry political favor if needed.
"Draco," said the boy's father, "apologize."
"But father…" said Draco.
"Now," said his father dangerously.
"…Sorry," muttered Draco, "I apologize for my insult, Lord Potter."
"Good," said Lucius, "I also apologize for this incident, Lord Potter. If there is anything I can do to help you in your dealings with the Wizengamot, let me know."
"I think I will be alright, Mister Malfoy," said Harry, "now my family has business here and I'm sure you have some elsewhere as well."
Lucius caught the hint in Harry's tone and nodded curtly, not wanting to damage any future relations with a possible ally in the Wizengamot, "Let's go, Draco. We can get your new robes at Twilfitt and Tattings."
As the group watched the Malfoys leave, the Weasleys looked at the young Wizard with wide eyes. The young wizard had so easily taken down and diffused the incident that the Malfoys had instigated, and not only that, he was now the Lord of a Noble and Most Ancient House.
"Gee Harry," said Fred, "you never told us you were a Lord."
"That has to be the best prank ever," said George.
"Fred, George!" scolded Molly.
"Well," said Shinji, "we should be going. We need to meet up with the others in our group."
"I'll see you guys at school," said Harry as the group left.
Ginny watched the group leave and wondered what the real Harry Potter was like. He already was proving to be much different from the books she had been reading. Idly, she wondered if the publishers would make a new set of books now that Harry had rejoined the Wizarding World. After all, the truth was stranger than fiction.
Chapter 29: Back to School
As the days till the start of Harry's next term dwindled away, Harry spent his time reading up on the books for the next term and playing with Norbert, who, surprisingly enough, turned out to be a girl. The young dragon enjoyed the wide-open space in the Visored training ground, and, when she wanted a flight over the city, wore a special collar made by Kisuke that made her invisible to the mundane eye.
As for the course booklist, upon reading through the DADA books for the upcoming term, he had to come to the conclusion that Lockhart was a fraud. Not only did the books have no information on the intricacies and theory behind casting the spells mentioned in the books, but several times, the dates of important events clashed and overlapped. For example, there was no way that the man could be fighting a Yeti in the Alps while dealing with Ghouls in Dublin at the same time. Harry ended up tossing the books into his bag and leaving them there until further notice.
Soon though, it was time, and the group prepared to use Urahara's transportation watch to travel to London before they would catch a tram down to King's Cross Station, but as soon as they lowered the barrier around the warehouse, there was a loud pop and a small, disheveled creature wearing a ragged pillowcase appeared in front of them.
"Mister Harry Potter," said the creature in a squeaky voice, "you must not return to Hogwarts!"
"Who the heck are you?" asked Hiyori.
"Many pardons ma'am," said the creatures, "Dobby has been trying to reach Harry Potter for some time."
"Ok, Dobby then," said Shinji, "why is it that Harry shouldn't go back to school?"
"There is a dangerous plot," said Dobby, "Harry Potter is in grave danger if he returns."
"What kind of danger?" asked Harry.
"Dobby cannot say," said Dobby, "but Harry Potter will not be returning to Hogwarts."
"Try and stop me," said Harry, "is it Voldemort? Cause I'm not worried about him."
"No," said Dobby, "it is not He Who Must Not Be Named."
"Then someone else?" asked Love.
Dobby opened his mouth before running to the wall and bashing his head against it, "BAD DOBBY!"
"Rikujōkōrō!" said Hachigen, catching Dobby with a Kidō and keeping him from injuring himself.
"What are you doing?" asked Harry incredulously.
"Dobby must punish himself for almost speaking ill of his masters," said Dobby as he struggled.
"Well don't," said Harry as he walked over and used a basic Healing Kidō spell Hachi had taught him to ease the swelling on Dobby's head, "there, feeling better?"
"Harry Potter is truly a great Wizard," said Dobby in tears.
"Now we can let you down," said Harry, "but you can't punish yourself, agreed?"
Dobby nodded and Hachi canceled his Bakudō, allowing the creature to move again.
"Now," said Harry, "I'm going back to Hogwarts whether you like it or not, and as you've seen, I know a few tricks."
"Harry Potter is making a grave mistake," said Dobby.
"Perhaps," said Harry, "but it's my mistake to make. Now we have to be off."
The Visored pulled out the transport watch and teleported to Diagon Ally, leaving Dobby to vanish with a pop, a disheartened look on his face.
The group of Visored soon arrived at King's Cross and made their way to the barrier between Platforms 9 and 10, and the secret entrance to Platform 9 3/4. They watched several families pass by and, when they were sure nobody was paying much attention, they headed toward the barrier with Harry in the lead, pulling his trolley, but to their surprise, instead of passing through the barrier like normal, they literally bounced off it, feeling like they rammed into a brick wall.
"What just happened?" asked Harry from the bottom of a pile that they created when they crashed, "And can you all please get off me!"
"Sorry about that," said Hiyori as the group got off their young charge, "but why the hell did the stupid thing turn solid?"
"From what I've read, it should always allow students and their families access," said Rose, "Hachi?"
The former Lieutenant of the Kidō Corps closed his eyes for a minute before nodding, "Yes, I do feel an outside power forcibly sealing the barrier, but it isn't anything I can't fix."
The large Visored's Reiatsu spiked as he extended his power toward the barrier, using his knowledge and experience as a Kidō Master to understand and dismantle the magic holding the barrier closed. There was a quick yelp and a pop and the Visored nodded.
"It is done," he said, "let us be on our way."
"What was that?" asked Harry as the group made their way onto the magical platform.
"It seems that the elf that visited us earlier is still meddling," said Hachi, "he seems determined to keep you from returning to school."
"I wonder what could be so terrible that the little one would be so driven to keep you away?" mused Rose.
"Well you might want to hurry if you want a good spot on the train, kiddo," said Shinji as he tousled Harry's perpetually messy hair.
"Right," said Harry, "Ittekimasu."
"Itterasshai," said Lisa as she hugged their young charge.
With a smile, Harry climbed onto the Hogwarts Express with his bags, leaving his adopted family on the platform.
On the Express, Harry found an empty compartment quickly and put his things in the baggage rack before sitting on a seat with a volume of a Shounen manga he was following in his hands. As he opened the book to the page he was on, the compartment door opened and a girl that looked to be the age of a First Year walked inside and looked around.
"Excuse me," she said airily but with a polite tone, "but may I sit here during the ride?"
"Go ahead," said Harry, "I won't stop you."
"Why thank you," said the girl as she struggled to put her bags away.
Seeing that she was having some problems, Harry got up and helped the girl to place her bags on the rack safely before sitting back down with his manga. The girl sat opposite from him and watched him with a slightly vacant expression before speaking up.
"So you're Harry Potter," she said.
"You know," noted Harry, "it's usually polite to introduce yourself before asking another's name."
"Quite true," nodded the girl, "I guess it slipped my mind. My name's Luna Lovegood, or Lovegood Luna if you'd prefer."
Harry looked up from his book at that, "Why would I prefer that?"
"Well," said Luna, "you did grow up in Japan, didn't you?"
"You seem well informed," noted Harry before smiling, "Yes, I'm Harry Potter, or Potter Harry back home."
"It's nice to meet you," said Luna before bowing slightly in her seat as the train began to move, "Dōzo yoroshiku."
Harry's eyes widened at the usage of the traditional Japanese phrase and regarded the blond girl curiously, "You speak Japanese?"
"Only a bit," said Luna, "It's a fun language so I studied a few books."
"You have the accent down," noted Harry with a nod.
"Why thank you," said Luna before she looked at Harry with an inquisitive gaze, "so what's it like to be dead?"
Of all the things she could have said, Harry never would have expected her to ask that.
"What are you talking about?" he asked warily as he put down his manga and cast a Kidō spell to soundproof and seal the compartment.
"You have an unusual aura," said Luna, "it's like you're here…but not. Like you're only anchored to this world."
"That's…quite the observation," mused the young Visored.
"I've always had a talent for seeing things others can't," said Luna cheerily, "like the Crumple-Horned Snorkack."
"The what?" asked Harry in confusion.
"It's something my father and I saw when I was a child," said Luna, "it was a large purple creature with scales and claws. Oh, and a bone-white mask with a large horn."
Harry froze when he heard the description of the supposed creature, for what she was describing sounded frighteningly similar, to a Hollow.
"Luna," said Harry, "when you saw the creature, did it let out an ethereal howl or roar and did you feel a great pressure on you?"
"Why yes," said Luna happily, "were you able to see one too?"
"Yeah," sighed Harry, "but they're not called Crumble-Honed…err, Crinkle-Horned…ano…"
"Crumple-Horned Snorkack," supplied Luna helpfully.
"Right," said Harry, "I've seen those creatures, and that's not their name."
"Then what are they?" asked Luna.
Harry took a breath and sighed, "They're what Muggle Ghosts become if they aren't allowed to move on to the next life soon enough. They're what happens when a lingering Ghost is devoured by emptiness and becomes an empty beast. What you saw was called a Hollow."
"So it was a spirit that got stuck?" said Luna, "That's too bad. I was hoping father had discovered a new type of magical creature."
"They can be quite dangerous," said Harry.
"Well," said Luna, "I'm sure you can defend me then. That is your job, right?"
"Why do you say that?" asked Harry.
"I don't know," said Luna, "but it feels right."
"You're interesting y'know," chuckled Harry as he picked up his manga and waited for the snack trolley to arrive.
Chapter 30: Year Two: Chamber of Secrets
Eventually, the Hogwarts Express pulled into the Hogsmeade Station, allowing the students to disembark. Harry said goodbye to Luna as she headed for the boats, and made his way to where several carriages were being pulled by several black horse-like things that had skeletal wings and emaciated bodies.
"This is weird," murmured Harry as he walked up to pet one of the creatures, earning a few stares before he climbed into the carriage with several other Hufflepuffs.
"You ok?" asked Cedric as he glanced at his housemate.
"I was just looking at those things pulling the carriages," said Harry.
The students riding with him looked at each other before glancing at him curiously.
"Um Harry," said Cedric, "there isn't anything pulling the carriages. They're moving by magic, like always."
Harry frowned, but chose not to comment about the skeletal horses that he saw pulling the carriage. However, he would be looking into them later. As for now, he opted to enjoy the ride to the castle.
The trip was fairly uneventful and the groups of Second through Seventh years headed into the Great Hall where they took their seats at the House Tables. Harry took note of everything going on, as he had yet to be attending the Sorting from the perspective of the retuning students, so he was interested to see things from the other side.
"I admit it is amusing," said Ryuge, "though the novelty would wear off around your Third year."
"Let me enjoy it while I can," Harry sent back, "after last year's fiasco of an ending, I'd like a year where I can relax and amuse myself without worrying about possible death or dismemberment."
"Considering who your DADA teacher is, that hope is unlikely," said Ryuge, "and aren't you already 'dead'?"
"Oh, ha ha," harry thought back, "who'd have known my Zanpakuto would have a sense of humor?"
"I'm a reflection of your soul," Ryuge said and Harry could practically feel his smirk, if dragons could smirk that is, "I have as much of a sense of humor as you do."
"Harry, you alright?" asked Neville as the timid boy nudged his housemate, shaking him from his thoughts, "You were spacing out for a bit."
"Sorry Nev," said Harry, "I guess I got lost in my own little world."
"Little?!" huffed Ryuge indignantly.
"It's ok," said Neville, "we all get like that sometimes. It's just, the Sorting is about to begin."
Harry looked toward the front of the hall and saw that the staff had indeed brought out the Sorting Hat out placed it on its stool.
"Hope we get more Puffs," said Cedric, "it's always nice to have new students."
"I'm sure there will be," said Harry, before falling silent as the Sorting Hat began to sing.
The young Visored listened to the catchy tune of the Hat's song and inwardly wondered how the Sorting Hat was able to come up with a new song apparently every year.
"He does have a lot of time to think about it," commented Ryuge, "it's probably pretty boring just sitting around waiting for the next year's sorting."
"You do have a point," Harry sent back as he watched the sorting, "I guess he'd want something do keep him busy, after all, he's only brought out for sorting at the start of term."
"Lovegood, Luna," called out McGonagall, causing Harry to look up and pay attention to the sorting.
The blond girl walked up to the stool with a semi-vacant smile on her face and placed the worn Hat on her head. The Great Hall was quiet, aside for the occasional hushed gossiping, and as the minutes ticked by, Harry couldn't help but wonder what kind of internal debate the Hat was having about where to place her.
Just as the time was nearing the ten-minute mark, the Hat perked up and shouted, "RAVENCLAW!"
Harry cheered for her along with the Ravenclaw table as she cheerily made her way to her new housemates. Though she had seemed a bit weird on the train, Harry had found her insight rather refreshing. Looking back to the Sorting, he watched several other students get sent to various houses until the last one, a girl with the same shade of red hair as a certain weasel who he disliked and his brothers whom he helped with their pranks, walked up.
The hat barely needed a second to decide and shouted out, "GRIFFINDOR!" allowing her to run over to her elder brothers as the teachers put the hat aside.
"Well," said Dumbledore as he walked up in front of the Hall, "let us save our speeches for later and enjoy this wondrous feast instead."
The elderly wizard waved his hands and the empty serving plates on all of the tables were suddenly filled with food, causing the students to quickly take their fill. Harry smiled as seeing several of his favorite dishes among the mix and eagerly helped himself to some fried fish, tempura, and miso soup.
"What is that you're eating Harry?" asked Neville, "I don't remember seeing any of that last term."
"It's some Japanese style dishes," said Harry, "I thought the food here was a bit heavy, so I spoke with the kitchen staff before the end of last term."
Thanks to the Weasley Twins, Harry had been able to find his way to the Hogwarts Kitchens where he became acquainted with the House Elves there. He offered some of the recipes for dishes Lisa made for him back in Karakura and they readily accepted, promising that they would be ready by the next term welcome feast. Now, Harry was able to enjoy a somewhat healthier meal.
"That looks pretty good," said Cedric, "mind if I try some?"
"Go ahead," said Harry, causing the older boy to pick up some gyoza with his fork and pop it in his mouth.
"Wow," said Cedric, "this is good. I've never had Japanese food before."
Some of the other Hufflepuffs also wanted to sample the new food and soon the Japanese cuisine was becoming rather popular. Eventually the main dishes vanished and were replaced by desserts and students began to talk amongst themselves about how their summers had been.
"Dad was rather busy during the summer," said Cedric as he ate some pudding, "he had some business to deal with from the Ministry. I had some time to work on my flying though. What about you Neville?"
"Gran took me to see the botanical gardens in Tahiti," said Neville, "there were a lot of tropical magic plants and I even got to take a few cuttings home to cultivate in my our greenhouses."
"Sounds like you had a good time," said Harry as he ate some Treacle Tart.
"What about you, Harry?" asked Neville.
"Oh you know," said Harry as he thought back to fighting his Inner Hollow and achieving Bankai, "nothing really special. Spent time with my family, exercised a bit."
He aptly chose to omit the bits about being a Shinigami and fighting Hollows.
"Well," said Cedric, "did you guys see the amount of books we have this year for DADA alone? It's like all of Lockhart's books are on the list."
"I think there's a reason for that…" deadpanned Harry as the feast began to end and Dumbledore walked to the podium again.
"Now that we are properly fed," said the headmaster, "I would like to inform you about a minor change in staff. I would like you all to join me in welcoming Gilderoy Lockhart as our new Defense Against the Dark Arts professor and wish him better luck than our previous one."
The students, mostly the female ones, applauded for the teacher as he stood and took an elegant bow before returning to his seat, to the irritation of several of the other professors.
"Now," said Dumbledore, "I must remind you all that the Forbidden Forest on the edges of the grounds is just that, forbidden, and a list of banned items will be posted in your common room, courtesy of Mr. Filch. Now let us be off to bed so we may be fresh for tomorrow."
The students began to file out of the Hall, and as Harry passed the Gryffindor group, he felt a chill pass over him, causing him to feel a slight disgusting Reiatsu for a second before it vanished. Deciding to worry about it later, the young Visored headed for his room, not knowing what trouble that would occur in the coming term.
Chapter 31: Changes in Class
Harry awoke the next morning and headed out of the castle to do his morning workout like he always had done in the previous term. As always, he did his pushups, sit-ups, and squats before running a few laps around the castle, but after that, he now did some Reiatsu control exercises and ran through some Zanjutsu forms with a training sword he had brought in his luggage. As he was going through his advanced forms, he noticed that he was being watched.
Looking up from his stance, he saw one of the skeletal horses, one that was only a foal, standing a slight distance away watching him. Putting his sword down, Harry slowly walked closer and was surprised when the creature did the same until it was close enough to touch him. The young Visored reached out his hand and brushed it against the skin of the creature and was surprised when the creature leaned into his palm as he petted it, like a kitten that wanted attention
"Fascinating," said Harry.
"Harry," said a voice and the teen turned to see the Gamekeeper Hagrid walking up carrying a hunk of meat, "didn't think I'd find you here this early."
"I was just doing some morning exercises," said Harry as he continued to pet the strange creature.
"I see you've met Hogwarts's herd of Thestrals," said Hagrid with a knowing look at the creature Harry was petting.
"Thestrals?" asked Harry, "Is that what they are called?"
Hagrid nodded and placed the hunk of meat down, causing the foal and the rest of the herd to hurry over and begin tearing off pieces with their teeth, "Useful creatures they are. They pull the carriages to and from the school, and if you need to get somewhere, you can bet on a Thestral to get you there."
"Why can't some people see them?" asked Harry as he recalled the reaction of some of his housemates when he had seen them pulling the carriages.
"They're special that way," said Hagrid, "they can only be seen by a person who has seen death."
"Seen death huh?" mused Harry with an amused smile, something that went unnoticed from the large man.
"I wonder if that means anyone who sees your soul form would be able to see them?" mused Ryuge.
"Yeah," said Hagrid, taking the boy's silence as sadness, "sorry if that brings up any unpleasant memories."
"No it's ok," said Harry, "I should be heading back to get showered up before breakfast starts."
"Come by and visit once in a while," said Hagrid as the young Visored headed off.
"I'll try," said Harry before he was out of earshot.
Once he turned the corner and was out of sight, he smiled to himself and used Shunpo to hurry back to the common room and grab some clothes so he could shower off. The fact that he was first in line to use the showers was a bonus.
After a nice breakfast in the Great Hall, thanks to the House Elves skill at cooking Japanese food, Harry and the rest of Hufflepuff house headed to their first class of the day, Transfiguration with the Ravenclaws. Upon arriving at the classroom, Harry found a seat next to Neville and listened as Professor McGonagall began to explain the second year curriculum. Harry made sure to take notes and soon it was time for the practical part of the lesson.
The class had been tasked with changing a beetle they had been given into shiny new buttons, but not many had had much luck, though Hermione had managed to already transform her beetle into a shiny plastic button, getting her house some points rewarded by McGonagall. As Harry glanced at the scampering beetle, he thought back to his lessons in his First Year and focused on the feeling of the magic in his body, before directing it through his wand and willing it follow his command.
"Goodness," exclaimed McGonagall causing Harry to glance down at his beetle. To his surprise, there was a shiny brass button now sitting on the table in its place.
"Mr. Potter," said the Professor, "that was extraordinary. Non-Verbal transfiguration is usually something expected of Sixth Years."
"Did I do something wrong?" asked Harry, "I can change it back and do it with the incantation."
McGonagall was about to reassure him when he flicked his wand at the button, manipulating the magic like he would his Reiatsu, and transformed the button back into a beetle, only to transform it back to a button with the incantation this time.
"Well Mr. Potter," said a flabbergasted McGonagall, "I must say, well done. Take a well-earned 20 points for Hufflepuff and I would like to speak with you later about your skill with Transfiguration. Should you keep this up, I might have to give you harder assignments."
The rest of the lesson proceeded without incident and, due to their success in casting the spell, Harry and Hermione were given a pass on their homework. As Harry headed out of the classroom, Hermione caught his eye with a questioning look, to which he responded with one that said, 'we'll talk later.' The girl nodded and the two houses went their separate ways.
Next he had slightly interesting Herbology lesson where they learned about some interesting plants called Mandrakes that gave off a cry when uprooted that was fatal to humans. Luckily they were in an infant state and as such their cry only caused unconsciousness. After Harry successfully potted his plant, with Neville's help, the boy was really quite skilled in the subject, Harry headed back to the Great Hall for the midday meal.
"So what happened in Transfiguration?" asked Hermione as she sat with Harry, Neville, and the Weasley twins at one of the tables.
"What exactly are you talking about?" asked Fred.
"Harry performed the assigned Transfiguration spell flawlessly and non-verbally on his first try," said Neville.
"Is this true?" asked George.
"Or is this another prank?" said Fred.
"Because if it is," added George.
"We'd be hurt that you neglected to include us," finished Fred.
"It's not a prank," said Harry as he reassured the twins.
"Then how were you able to pull off a non-verbal spell?" asked Fred, "That's Sixth Year course material."
Seeing the others, including his twin, glancing at him curiously, the redhead shrugged, "I got curious so I read ahead."
"Well," said Harry as he thought about it, "I guess I just felt the flow of magic emanating from my wand and willed it into the direction I wanted it to go."
"You felt the magic?" said Neville in surprise.
"Yeah," said Harry, "I focused and felt the flow of magic coming from my body. After that it wasn't too hard to direct where I wanted it to go."
"That's beyond anything I read about in books," said Hermione.
"I guess I'm just special," said Harry as he caught the girl's eye and gave her a look, causing her to widen her eyes in surprise.
"Oh," she said, "I get it."
"Get what?" asked Neville.
"Oh," said Hermione as she tried to cover for her slip, "it's just that there are some people who excel in certain areas."
"Well," said Harry as he put his bowl of rice and fish down, "I'll have to catch up with you lot later. Professor McGonagall wanted to talk to me after class."
"Good luck," laughed the twins.
"I should get going too," said Hermione, "I have DADA next period."
"I should wish you luck too," chuckled Harry, "hope you endure that fop's class."
"He's not a fop," protested Hermione, "Professor Lockhart is a skilled and respected wizard who has taken time out of his life to pass on his skills and experience."
"I've read his books," said Harry, "they're more stories than textbooks, yet he wants us to buy them all for the curriculum. There's absolutely no instructions on the practical applications"
"That can't be true," said Hermione.
"Believe what you will," said Harry, "but I really need to get going."
"See you later Harry," said Neville.
The young Visored waved as he hurried off to the Deputy Headmistress's office to discuss his progress in class.
"Please have a seat Mister Potter," said McGonagall as the boy walked into her office, "Would you like a biscuit?"
"Thank you Professor," said Harry as he took a seat in front of the professor's desk and took one of the cookies that magically appeared on a silver tin.
"Mister Potter," said McGonagall, "I must say that I was astonished by your skill with silent Transfiguration, and would like to know how you were able to pull off such a feat."
"Well Professor," said Harry, "like I told my friends, I was able to focus and feel the flow of my magic, and using that, I guided it in the direction I wanted it to go."
The Professor was speechless as she took in this new information. If Harry was telling the truth, then this could revolutionize the field of Transfiguration and possibly Charms as well.
"Mister Potter," she said at last, "do you think you could demonstrate for me? I would like to see what the upper limits of this technique is."
"Sure," said Harry, "what do you want me to do first?"
McGonagall simply waved her wand at a spare quill on her desk, transforming it into a brown teapot, "If you could, please transform this into a tortoise. Without the incantation if at all possible."
The young Visored nodded and raised his wand, focusing once again on the flow of his magic as it flowed out of his body and was focused into the wand made from wood saturated with Reishi surrounding the core his Zanpakuto had made, and directed it around the teapot, causing the porcelain object to transform into a green tortoise with a quick shudder.
"Excellent work Mister Potter," said McGonagall as she examined the reptile. Everything seemed to be in order, so she placed it in a conjured tank and transformed a biscuit on the tray into a hedgehog, "if you would, please turn this into a pincushion."
The professor told him the incantation, should he need it, and sat back in her chair as the young Visored got to work. But, unlike the previous times, Harry's magical power wouldn't be as easily directed to perform the task as easily and, after several failed attempts to mold it accurately, he resorted to using the incantation.
Unfortunately, all he got for his trouble was a hedgehog with steel quills, glaring at him irritably.
"Sorry Professor," said Harry disappointedly.
"Don't feel too bad Potter," said McGonagall as she transformed the turtle and hedgehog back to their original forms with a wave of her wand, "from what I can see, your skill with Transfiguration is quite advanced. I'll look into getting you some texts for you to study that are more your level, and you can read them in addition to your normal work, though perhaps you can be exempt from the practical homework."
"Thank you Professor," said Harry with a slight bow.
"It is actually refreshing to meet a student with such an aptitude for Transfiguration," said the Professor with a small smile, "your father was skilled as well, but you easily surpass his level."
"Thank you ma'am," said Harry.
"Now run along," said the Professor, "I'm sure your friends would like to speak with you later."
Harry nodded and exited the room, leaving the Deputy Headmistress with a smile on her face. It had been quite some time since she had met someone who had the level of control over his magic that Harry had. Perhaps she should speak with Filius about the boy's progress as well. He might need to give him some advanced work as well.
To be continued…
Chapter 32: The Incompetent Professor
The next day, Harry knew he was going to need some of the meditation techniques that Hachi and Tessai had taught him in order to keep himself from lashing out in frustration at their new teacher. He knew that the man was supposedly some sort of amazing wizard that had accomplished many things and that Dumbledore probably hired him for a reason, but the man was obviously a narcissistic pretty boy that reveled in the glow of the limelight, and Harry didn't want to spend any more time around him than he had to.
The young Visored quickly found a seat in the classroom, far from the front of the room of course and waited for the man in question to arrive. As he waited, he closed his eyes and let his consciousness drift into his soul's Inner World, entering a deep meditative state as he prepared to speak with his Zanpakuto.
When the boy opened his eyes, he found himself in the familiar crystal forest that was the form his Inner World had taken upon creation, and standing behind him, looking as mighty as ever, was his Zanpakuto Dragon, Ryuge.
"You seem troubled Harry," said the Dragon as it regarded the Visored calmly.
"Is it that obvious?" asked the young Wizard.
"When you are troubled, the lights from the crystals dim and the shadows grow larger," said Ryuge, "it ruins the mood here."
"Sorry," said Harry, "I've just had a lot on my mind."
"Hm," agreed Ryuge, "considering the likely incompetence of your new professor, I can understand your trepidation of attending his classes."
"He's a narcissistic fop," sighed Harry, "and I don't need someone like him trying to use my unwanted reputation as 'The Boy Who Lived' to influence his own campaign."
"You should indeed be wary of him," said Ryuge, "he seems to be a man that would have no hesitation in taking an action if it served to boost his own reputation."
"Yeah," said Harry, "and that's what worries me. I mean, who thought having someone like him teach children would be a good idea?!"
"Apparently," said Ryuge with a dry chuckle, "that person would be your headmaster."
"Right," muttered Harry.
Ryuge chuckled before looking off into the distance, "I enjoy our chats, but you should return to yourself. The other classmates are arriving."
Harry nodded and exited his Inner World, finding himself back inside his real body as Lockhart walked into the room (with a grandiose flourish of course) and moved to stand at the front of the room.
"Greetings children," said Lockhart as he flashed a smile at the class, "as you may know, I am Gilderoy Lockhart, Order of Merlin Third Class, Honorary Member of the Dark Force Defense League, and five-time winner of Witch Weekly's Most Charming Smile Award. I have been tasked with informing and preparing all of you with dealing with the dangers and evils that lurk in the world around us."
The man reached behind his desk and pulled out a stack of papers which he proceeded to pass out among the students, "Since I see that you've all procured the course materials, how about a little pop quiz to see how much reading ahead you've done.
Harry turned over the paper…and nearly facepalmed when he read the questions. They weren't questions on the course material, but rather on the man himself.
'That self-centered fop,' grumbled Harry.
"Heh," chuckled Ryuge, "why not have a little fun?"
"Oh?" asked Harry, "How so?"
"Since the quiz is rather useless and you can probably get the credits later if you take the courses from a competent source, why not mess with him?" said Harry's Zanpakuto spirit.
"When did you get a sense of humor?" chuckled Harry.
"About the same time you did," said Ryuge, "I'm simply a reflection of your soul after all."
Harry chuckled nodded before looking at the first question, What is Gilderoy Lockhart's favorite color?
'Hmmm,' thought Harry as he wrote the answer, 'how about, neon pink? Next…'
What is Gilderoy Lockhart's secret ambition?
'I wonder what to put here," said Harry, "how about, 'to become the ultimate narcissist?''
"I think he's already succeeded," snorted Ryuge.
The rest of the test went quite similarly until the Professor called time and everyone put their quills down.
"Well that's the end," said Lockhart, ""Tut, tut , hardly any of you remembered that my favorite color is lilac. I say so in Year with the Yeti. And a few of you need to read Wanderings with Werewolves more carefully, I clearly state in chapter twelve that my ideal birthday gift would be harmony between all magic and non-magic peoples, though I wouldn't say no to a large bottle of Ogden's Old Firewhisky!"
The man flashed another grin at the class, causing several girls to blush, before he continued, "Now, for a more practical lesson. As I said earlier, it is my job to prepare you for the dangers out there, so, I have brought a dangerous challenge for all of you to face: fresh caught Cornish Pixies!"
Lockhart placed an object covered by a cloth on his desk and when he removed it, he revealed a wire mesh cage filled with fluttering pixies.
"Is he serious?" whispered the student next to Harry.
"Pixies aren't that dangerous, right?" said Neville.
"Ah," said Lockhart, "seem harmless do they? Well, let's see what you make of them!"
Lockhart quickly removed the latch from the cage, allowing the creatures to fly free and proceed to cause havoc throughout the room. One pair of pixies grabbed a female classmate of Harry's who he recalled was named Hannah Abbot, and flew her around the classroom, while another grabbed Neville's wand and began to play with it.
"Ha ha!" laughed Lockhart, "Not so harmless are they? Watch closely, Peskipiksi Pesternomi!"
Lockhart waved his wand in a complex pattern…and had it promptly plucked out of his hand and tossed out the window by a cackling pixie.
"Well," said Lockhart in a slightly panicked tone, "I'll be off. Good luck dealing with them."
The man then scampered out of the room, leaving his students in the pandemonium.
"Chikushou!" Harry swore in Japanese before he pulled out his wand, "Immobulus!"
Harry's magic spread over the pixies like a wave, freezing them in place, and allowing them to be collected and gathered up by the class. Neville retrieved his wand and helped Hannah down from where she had been hanging from the chandelier and the class left the room, disillusioned about their newest professor.
"I'm serious Hermione," said Harry as he talked with the bookworm in the library, "that man just left us to deal with the mess he made."
"I'm sure he meant well," said Hermione.
"Really," said Harry in a deadpan tone, "he releases a cage of pixies into the room, fails to cast a spell to immobilize them, and then flees like a scared rabbit when his wand is chucked out a window. By the way, is Peskipiksi Pesternomi even a spell?"
"I…don't know," admitted Hermione, "I mean, I admit that what he did was a careless and negligent for a professor, but he must have been hired for a reason, right?"
"Right," said Harry, "but I don't think the reason was his skills."
"Anyway," said Hermione as she tried to change the subject, "so you're able to feel the flow of your magic and manipulate it?"
"That's right," said Harry.
"But how?" asked Hermione, "I've never even come across the subject in any of the books I've read, and I've read everything in the library aside from the books in the Restricted Section."
"Well," said Harry, "remember what I told you when you visited over the summer?"
"You mean about you being a…you know what?" she asked, getting a nod from the boy sitting across her.
"Yeah," said Harry, "it turns out that, since I'm skilled at manipulating my own Reiryoku and Reiatsu, the energy I use and the presence it gives off, I'm able to feel my magical energy and use the same principles to manipulate it as well."
"Fascinating," said Hermione, "I wonder if everyone else can do that too?"
"Well," said Harry, "I would assume it would take someone who has a high enough level of Reiryoku that they can see spirits and feel their presence as well, but otherwise, I don't see why not."
"Then maybe I could learn to do it?" said Hermione hopefully.
"I'd have to teach you more about using and feeling Reiatsu, but sure," said Harry.
"Excellent," said Hermione as she pulled out a notebook and began scribbling down complex notes on the theory behind it, or at least what she thought it was.
Harry chuckled. At least his day was getting better. His mood was so good that he almost missed a deep voice echoing through the walls.
"I hear you master, and I awaken…"
Chapter 33: An Attack With a Club
As Harry lay awake in his bed that night, he wondered about that strange voice he had heard whispering in the hall. He couldn't help but dwell on the words that that mysterious voice had spoken. Harry had asked Hermione about the voice, but she had told him that the library was empty and the only ones talking had been themselves. Confused, Harry was unable to sleep as he wondered about the origins of that mysterious voice.
"You really should relax, Harry," said Ryuge, "the atmosphere here is rather unpleasant."
"Sorry," Harry said back, "I just can't shake this bad feeling I have."
"You should get some sleep," said Ryuge, "you have potions tomorrow morning and I'm sure Professor Snape would want you in top form."
"Good point," said Harry, "but I think I'm a bit to antsy to sleep."
"Then I might suggest an alternative," said Ryuge.
"And that would be?" prompted Harry.
"Jinzen," said Ryuge, "it has been some time since we chatted as such."
"I seem to recall us chatting quite often," noted Harry.
"And when was the last time you willingly entered your Inner World to simply chat?" asked the Dragon.
"Yesterday," replied Harry, his mental voice becoming a deadpan.
"Indulge me then," sighed Ryuge, "it might get your mind off your troubles and help you rest."
Harry sighed and gave in, closing his eyes so that he would enter the state of Jinzen and allow his consciousness to travel to his Inner World.
When the boy opened his eyes, he found himself sitting on the ground in a clearing in the forest of his Inner World. Turning around, he saw his Zanpakuto spirit sitting on the ground, gazing at the flickering lights given off by the crystals.
"It is good to speak with you again, Harry," said Ryuge with a nod.
"We seem to speak quite often," Harry pointed out.
"Indeed," nodded the dragon, "but considering your current mental state, I felt we should talk."
"You make it sound so serious," sighed Harry, "I've just got a lot on my mind."
"I know you too well to buy that," said Ryuge, "the voice you heard troubled you. You fear that something is influencing you like your Hollow did last year."
"What if I am?" asked Harry, "Last time I almost died fighting that thing. Isn't it natural to be afraid?"
"Fear is the enemy," said Ryuge sternly, "Fear weakens your resolve and dulls your blade. Do not let it consume you. Focus and control it, don't let it control you."
"It's hard sometimes," said Harry, "there's so much going on in my life."
"Do not worry about the future," said Ryuge, "nor should you regret your choices in the past. Embrace the present and do your very best. That is the most you can do. You are still a child Harry, despite all the responsibility thrust upon you. Perhaps you should spend some time enjoying your childhood without having to worry about Voldemort, or Hollows, or strange voices."
"I'll try," nodded Harry, "but I won't make any promises."
"I suppose that is all I can ask," said Ryuge.
"When did you get so wise?" asked Harry with a chuckle.
"I am a reflection of your soul," said Ryuge, "if I have wisdom, perhaps it is because you have some deep inside."
"Thanks," said Harry, "I starting to feel better now. Maybe all I needed was to talk."
"Then I wish you pleasant dreams," said Ryuge, "perhaps we will speak in the morning."
"Goodnight Ryuge," said Harry as he exited his Inner World and closed his eyes, allowing the grip of Morpheus to take hold.
That night Penelope Clearwater, a Ravenclaw Prefect (and secret girlfriend of Percy Weasley), was patrolling the corridors to check for students out past curfew when she heard a clattering sound.
"Who's there?" she called out, wondering if it was a student that was out after hours.
Turning the corner, the moon shining through a window caught her eye, drawing her attention to the milky glass. The last thing she would remember would be seeing a pair of golden eyes hazily reflected back from behind her reflection.
Then, all went black.
The next morning, Harry was awoken from his bed by one of the Hufflepuff Prefects.
"Get up, Potter," said the Prefect in a kind but stern voice, "the Headmaster wants all students present in the Great Hall for breakfast. Apparently something happened last night."
"Right," said Harry as he got out of his bunk and quickly got dressed while the Prefect moved on to wake the other students, "I wonder what's going on?"
"Hard to say," responded Ryuge, "with how things go on at this school, it could be about a number of things."
"I guess the only way to know is to head down," Harry said back.
Harry soon headed down to the Great Hall with the rest of his House and they took their place at their House table, all of them wondering why Dumbledore had made this meal mandatory for all students. Luckily, they wouldn't have to wait long.
"Good morning," said Dumbledore as he addressed the students, "I am afraid to say that, last night, there was a tragic incident. One of the Ravenclaw prefects was found alone, Petrified in the corridor. Because of this, I will be issuing an additional set of rules that I will expect you to follow. Students will be expected to be in bed at least an hour before the standard curfew and all students will need to remain in groups of at least two when they are outside of class. Failure to abide by these rules will not only result in loss of points for your House, it will place your lives in great danger as well."
The Headmaster let the news sink in for a few moments before continuing to speak.
"Now before you enjoy your morning meals, our DADA Professor has kindly offered to sponsor a Dueling Club for those that wish to learn to defend themselves," said Dumbledore, "now, let's not be kept any longer from our meals. Thank you."
As the students enjoyed their meals, they discussed the incident that had occurred and about what could happen to them if some unknown assailant had taken one of their Prefects down while they slept, but soon they had to head out to their classes, and they put the attack in the back of their minds, not knowing about a few details that Dumbledore had chosen to not mention. Unfortunately, those details that the Headmaster kept to himself, feeling that it wouldn't' do to worry the students, were rather important.
Later, Harry was working on a potion in Snape's class, but his mind was wandering due to the events that had happened earlier, and as such, his work wasn't up to his usual standard. He was so distracted by his thoughts about the incident and the voice he heard, that he would have made a dangerous mistake in his brewing if Professor Snape hadn't been walking by.
"Mr. Potter!" the professor said sternly, snapping Harry out of his thoughts, "What do you think you're doing?"
"Professor?" said Harry in surprise and confusion.
"The essence of wormroot was to be added AFTER the powdered cobra scales," said the professor, "had you have gone ahead and added them before, your potion would have begun to emit noxious fumes of such quantity that the class would have to end."
"I'm sorry Professor," said Harry, "I was distracted."
The Potions Professor nodded, "Ten points from Hufflepuff," before anyone had a chance to react or comment, he continued, "I understand that the recent attack can be troubling, but do not let it push you into a dangerous situation due to a lapse in attention. Ms. Clearwater will heal in time."
With that, Snape swept off to observe the other students, leaving several Hufflepuffs gaping in shock.
"Did Snape just offer comforting words?" whispered Zacharias Smith, one of Harry's Housemates.
Nobody was able to answer him, so all opted to continue their work.
That evening, the students all assembled in the Great Hall for the first meeting of the new Dueling Club. There were mixed feelings among the students, some (mainly the Lockhart fangirls) were ecstatic about learning from their DADA professor, while the others, especially those that had attended his class already, were understandably apprehensive.
"Greetings students," said Lockhart pompously as he walked onto the stage that had been erected as a dueling arena, "and welcome to the Dueling Club."
The fop had chosen to wear an extravagant set of robes with a tasseled cape that Harry was certain would only be a hindrance in an actual fight, and his outfit was garishly colored as if the man had no idea which colors clashed and which matched, though Harry had to admit, the choice of colors would distract an opponent as they automatically cringed at the lack of fashion sense. The man had apparently managed to recover his wand from wherever the pixies had tossed it and he now gestured flamboyantly as he addressed the crowd.
"Tonight boys and girls," said Lockhart, "our own Professor Snape has agreed to assist me in demonstrating the spells we will be covering."
There was some hushed muttering from the students about the idea that the head of Slytherin had agreed to help Lockhart, but indeed, there could be no doubt as the Potions master walked onto the stage with a scowl on his face.
"Now," said Lockhart, "as I'm sure all of you have read in my books, I am no stranger to the dueling arena, but for those of you that are not, the first thing one must do in a proper duel, is to bow, like so."
Lockhart gave an awkward bow/salute with his wand that directly contrasted the elegant and fluid one Snape gave back to him before the two men moved into position on the stage.
"The first spell we will be practicing is the Disarming Charm," said Lockhart, "a most useful spell in the dueling circuit, for who can fight without a wand, aside from our Headmaster of course. The incantation is Expelliarmus, and on three, Professor Snape and I will demonstrate its usage. Don't worry, as to not injure our Potions Professor, I shall hold back."
It didn't seem possible, but Snape's scowl actually deepened. If looks could kill, then Lockhart would be dead faster than you could say Avada Kedavra.
"Ready," said Lockhart, oblivious to the death glare that Snape was giving him, "One. Two. Three!"
Lockhart moved to cast the spell, but Snape was far faster, his wand blurring into motion as a jet of red light flew forward and slammed into the Defense Professor's chest, not only causing his wand to fly from his grip, but also sending the man flying through the air only to land hard on his back a few feet from the stage.
"An…excellent display," said Lockhart as he pulled himself to his feet shakily and walked back onto the stage, "of course should I've been actually trying, that never would have happened. I simply wanted to let Professor Snape give a good show."
Snape's glare actually intensified and Harry could swear he saw a purple miasma being emitted from the enraged professor as he scowled at Lockhart.
"Now," said Lockhart, oblivious as always, "how about we split into pairs and practice that spell. To start, how about young Harry and Mister Malfoy show us what they've got?"
Harry sighed and walked onto the stage, noticing, of course, the smirk that Draco had on his face as he moved to the position opposite of the Visored. The two of them gave the customary salute and raised their wands as Lockhart gave a countdown.
"Three, two…" counted the professor, but Malfoy decided to start early.
"Rictusempra!" yelled Malfoy, sending a bolt of silver light at Harry.
Harry's reflexes, trained by Urahara and the Visored, came into play and he twisted out of the way of the spell, before sending one of his own back at Malfoy, "Flippendo!"
Malfoy was knocked backwards and got to his feet with a scowl before marching back into the ring. Lockhart was barely able to yell out "Disarmers only!" when the incensed Slytherin cast his next spell.
"Serpensortia!" yelled Malfoy, causing a long black snake to erupt from the tip of his wand before lunging at Harry.
Due to the heat of the moment, Harry's training with the Visored kicked in and he channeled his Reiatsu and pointed his finger at the serpent, "Hado #1: Sho!"
The snake was blasted back by an invisible force that was emitted from the tip of Harry's finger, but unfortunately, the snake landed right in front of Zacharias Smith and hissed angrily at the Hufflepuff.
"STOP!" yelled Harry, not realizing that he had switched from speaking normally to hissing like a snake, "Don't hurt him."
Harry was indeed surprised when the Snake stopped in its advance and turned toward the young Visored, "You're a speaker," it stated.
"You can understand me?" said Harry in surprise, "And I can understand you!"
It was at that moment that Snape managed to vanish the serpent and Harry noticed that the attention of the entire room was now upon him as the students looked at him with expressions of shock and a bit of fear.
"Is something wrong?" asked Harry.
To be continued…
Chapter 34: Happy Deathday to You
"Guys?" asked Harry as he looked around at all the students that were staring at him with looks of silent horror, "Is something wrong?"
"Harry," said Neville slowly, "how long have you been able to talk to snakes?"
"I don't know," said Harry, "I've never talked to one before today. Are you ok, Smith?"
"Don't talk to me like you care!" spat Zacharias, "I saw you sick that snake on me!"
"What?" said Harry in surprise.
"Don't play stupid!" yelled his fellow Hufflepuff, "I saw you use that weird wandless spell to launch the snake at me and before commanding it to attack!"
"I didn't!" protested Harry, "I mean, sure I knocked it away from me, but I wasn't aiming at you, and I would never command it to attack!"
"A likely story!" said Smith.
"Oi lay off him," said Fred as he and George walked up.
"If he said he didn't do it then he didn't," said George.
"Oh sure take his side," spat Smith.
"That's enough Smith," said Cedric sternly.
"Oh come on!" protested Zacharias, "Even you Diggory? What happened to house loyalty?"
"You're a right one to talk about house loyalty, Smith," said Cedric with a sharp glare, "we're Hufflepuff, the house of the loyal, and you turn on one of your own without hearing him out."
"But he's a bloody dark wizard!" said Smith, "He's speaking Parseltongue! If you all can't see that then you must be mental!"
"Detention," said Cedric, "unless you want to make it two nights, I suggest you shut up."
Zacharias Smith proved he was no idiot and wisely shut his mouth.
"W-well," said Lockhart as he tried to regain control of the situation, "perhaps we should all retire to our dorms now. Yes, all students return to your rooms. This session is over."
As the students headed away from their first Dueling Club session, Harry couldn't help but wonder exactly what was going on and why everyone had seemed so afraid of him once he had spoken to the snake.
"It's really quite simple," said Hermione as she and Harry spoke in an empty classroom.
It had been a few days since the incident in the Dueling Club. Harry had wanted to know more about Parseltongue and the implications of being able to speak it, and as such sought out his more studious and knowledgeable friend, Hermione Granger. Due to their class schedule, it had taken this long for the two of them to meet up.
"Oh?" said Harry, "Why do people look at me like I'm some sort of demon now that I can talk to snakes?"
"Well," said Hermione as she looked through a textbook, "all through recorded history, Parselmouths have been known to be dark wizards and/or villainous figures, all the way back to Salazar Slytherin."
"Slytherin founded Hogwarts," said Harry, "so he can't be all bad."
"Regardless," said Hermione, "people learned to be wary of Parselmouths and they're projecting that fear onto you."
"Well this is just great," muttered Harry, "the Term's just begun and I'm already in a heap of trouble."
"At least most of your house trusts you," said Hermione, "that's one good thing, right?"
"I guess," said Harry, "let's change the subject. How are you progressing with learning to manipulate magic?"
"Slowly," sighed Hermione, "there are literally no books or resources on the subject, meaning I'm basically starting from scratch here."
"Sorry I can't be of more help," said Harry, "I don't think the same lessons I learned would apply to you."
"Still," said Hermione, "imagine the implications if I can figure it out. It could revolutionize modern magic."
Harry smiled at his friend's enthusiasm and was about to speak, when suddenly, the ghosts of the Fat Friar and Nicholas de Mimsy-Porpington floated into the room in the midst of a conversation.
"Come now Nick," said the ghost of Hufflepuff, "there's no harm in asking."
"I don't know," said the Gryffindor ghost, "I don't want to burden him."
"I highly doubt he'll see it as a burden," said the Friar.
"I just don't want to make is seem like I'm pressuring him to come," said Nick.
"It will be fine Nicholas," said the Friar, "there's nothing to be worried about. I've watched the boy all of last year and I'm sure he would be touched that you thought to ask him."
Harry glanced at Hermione and she shrugged. Both teens had no idea what the two Hogwarts ghosts were talking about and figured it probably didn't concern them.
"Besides," said the Friar, "it's not like he's going to force you to pass on."
"I'm just wary around Shinigami," said Nick, getting the attention of the two teens.
"Um, excuse me," said Harry as he alerted the two ghosts to his presence, "but is there something you wanted to ask me?"
The ghosts started somewhat, not realizing that they had floated into an occupied room due to their discussion distracting them. Sir Nicholas glanced at the Friar, who gave him a 'go on' gesture, and took a breath.
"You see," said the Gryffindor ghost, "this upcoming All Hallow's Eve will mark the five-hundredth year since my death, and was hoping you would attend as my guest, along with any friends you would like to bring."
"A Deathday party?" exclaimed Hermione, "I bet there aren't many living people who can say they've been to one of those."
"Not many indeed," said the Friar.
"Well the Friar is right," said Harry, "I'm honored that you want me to attend your 500th Deathday Party. Should I bring a gift? Is there anything you'd like?"
"Well," said Nick, "it's been my dream to join the Headless Haunt, a group of beheaded ghosts, but since I'm only 'nearly-headless' I'm not eligible to join. If you could talk to them on your authority of a Shinigami…"
"I'm afraid I can't do that," said Harry, "but that's given me a great idea as to your gift. I would love to come to the party. When is it?"
"It will take place during the normal Halloween Feast in the dungeons," said Nick, "I will look forward to seeing you there."
With that, the two ghosts floated off, leaving the teens alone.
"What are you going to get him?" asked Hermione.
"You'll have to wait until the party," said Harry, "you are coming, right?"
"Me?" asked Hermione in surprise.
"Well you are my friend," said Harry, "and you're one of the only ones in the school that wouldn't freak out about me showing up in Shinigami form. Besides, wouldn't you like to add your name to the list of living people that have been to a Deathday Party?"
"When you put it that way," said Hermione, "I guess I can miss the feast. It's not like it doesn't happen several times a year."
"Great," said Harry.
The rest of the time seemed to pass by at an easy pace and soon Harry was getting ready to go to the Deathday party. He had caught up to Luna and asked if she'd like to attend as well and received a positive response from the girl. As he waited in the hallway by the classroom used for the party, having left his Gigai back in his dorm for the evening, he thought a bit about the attack on Penelope Clearwater, and wondered why and how it happened.
Luckily, he was brought out of his musings by the arrival of Hermione and Luna.
"Oh hey," said Harry, "right, Hermione, meet Luna. Luna, meet Hermione, the first person to find out about me being 'not quite alive.'"
"Oh," said Luna, "so you know that Harry's a Shinigami too?"
"Yeah," said Hermione, "I found out when I visited and there was a Hollow attack."
"Yes, they can be quite perplexing," said Luna, "especially when they roar."
"You've seen them too?" asked Hermione.
"Only once," said Luna, "I didn't even know what they were until Harry told me."
"Well I'm glad I have another housemate that I can talk to about this," said Hermione.
"Shall we be off to the party?" asked Harry.
"We shall," said Hermione and the three friends headed into the unused classroom that had been taken for the party.
When the group entered, all of the ghosts present glanced at them in surprise. It wasn't because of the two very much alive humans that walked in, no, they were just an add-on, for when Harry walked in in his Shinigami Shihakushō with his sealed Zanpakuto at his hip, every ghost in the room turned and noticed the presence he gave off in his spirit form.
"So this is a Deathday Party," said Luna, causing the ghosts to go back to what they were doing, "it looks fun."
Harry chuckled while Hermione looked at the girl oddly. Only Luna Lovegood could think of a party filled with ghosts trying to eat rancid food and making dull conversation as 'fun.'
"Ah, Harry Potter," said Sir Nicholas, as he floated up to the trio, "I'm honestly glad you could make it to my party."
"And I am honored for the invitation," said Harry.
"Well please join the rest of the guests," said Sir Nicholas, "others should be arriving soon, and the Headless Haunt even agreed to make an appearance."
"Well then," said Harry, "perhaps now's a good time for me to give you your Deathday gift."
Harry then drew his Zanpakuto, causing all the ghosts to shrink back slightly at the sight of the spirit sword.
"Don't worry," said Harry, "you have my word that I won't force any of you to move on to the Soul Society. I just need you to hold very still and trust me, Nick."
Sir Nicholas nodded and with a quick and clean movement, Harry swung his sword and sliced through the thin piece of flesh that held his ghostly head to his body, causing the ghost of Gryffindor House to widen his eyes in surprise as his head floated down into his hands.
"M-my head," said Nick.
"Well," said Harry, "I don't see why the Headless Haunt could refuse your admission now. After all, you aren't 'Nearly-Headless' anymore."
As the formerly know, Nearly-Headless Nick picked up his now severed head from the ground, a wide smile spread across his ghostly face as he gave the young Visored his thanks. Truly this was becoming his best Deathday Party yet, and as he rushed off to greet the arriving Headless Haunt, he mentally thanked the Fat Friar for recommending that he invite Harry and his friends.
Meanwhile, in another corner of the castle, a shadowy figure walked into an unused lavatory and approached a certain sink and let out a rasping hiss.
With a grinding sound, the sink slid aside to reveal a large pipe that snaked downward into the deep depths. The figure looked into the darkness and hissed again.
"Awaken. It is time again to act."
Chapter 35: Bludgeoning a Bludger
As Harry, Luna, and Hermione walked back to the Great Hall after the now Headless Nick's Deathday Party, they noticed the majority of the student body gathered in the hall.
"What's going on?" asked Harry as he walked up.
"As if you don't know," said Zacharias Smith from his place in the crowd, "the criminal always returns to the scene of the crime, right?"
"What are you talking about?" asked Hermione.
"Has something happened?" asked Luna.
"There was another attack," said Percy Weasley in a grim voice, "the victim was a second-year Gryffindor named Malcolm Trent."
"Is he alright?" asked Harry.
"He's like the others," said Dumbledore as he walked up, "petrified in the Hospital Wing. Harry my boy, I'm going to have to ask you what you were doing while the Halloween Feast was going on."
"Is there a reason why you're asking me in particular?" asked Harry.
"The attack happened during the feast, and you were mysteriously absent from said event," said Dumbledore, "I would like to know where you were during this event."
"If you must know," said Harry, "I was attending Sir Nicholas's Deathday Party. Luna and Hermione were with me if you need witnesses."
"Yes," said Luna, "we were there. It was quite an enjoyable party."
"Are we under suspicion as well?" asked Hermione, "If we are, almost every one of the castle ghosts made an appearance at the party, so I'm sure they could confirm our whereabouts at the time of the attack."
"I'm afraid it isn't that simple Miss Granger," said the Headmaster, "for there was further evidence that points to Harry here."
"And what would that be?" asked Harry as he raised an eyebrow.
Dumbledore guided Harry to the front of the crowd and the young Visored saw words painted on the corridor wall over a petrified body lying in a pool of water. The writing looked like it had been painted with fresh blood and stood out ominously against the stone bricks.
'The Chamber of Secrets has been opened and its guardian released. Enemies of Slytherin's heir will perish.'
"So you're saying that I'm being accused because of this message?" asked Harry, "What makes you think I'm the heir of Slytherin?"
"Harry my boy," said Dumbledore, "we're not saying you did it, but considering your ability to speak to snakes and Salazar Slytherin's reputation as a Parseltongue…"
Harry sighed, "Well, if you're quite finished, then I'm going to head to my room and get some sleep. Let me know if you get any concrete evidence."
With that, Harry swept off, leaving the crowd of students and teachers in the corridor.
"He can't be serious," scoffed Ron, "it's obvious a snake-speaker would be the heir of Slytherin."
"Shut up," said Neville firmly, surprising everyone, "Harry's my friend and I won't let you slander him like that without proof."
"Oh?" asked Ron as he brought out his wand, "What's a Squib like you gonna do to me alone?"
"He has friends," said Cedric, as the majority of the Hufflepuff students moved to stand by the Longbottom heir, "haven't you heard of House Unity?"
"Why you…" growled Ron.
"That's enough Ron," said Percy, "all of you, get back to your Houses. Let the teachers clean things up here."
"Indeed Mister Weasley," said Dumbledore, "you all have class tomorrow, so off you go."
The students and teachers headed on their way until the corridor was empty, the student's petrified body being taken by the teachers to the Hospital Wing for further examination.
Though the initial shock of the incident made tensions run high, the upcoming Quidditch match between Gryffindor and Slytherin helped everyone focus on more uplifting things. Scarlet and Green pennants could be seen in corridors and bets were exchanged as students of all years placed wagers on the outcome.
Of course this was done while the teachers and the more uptight prefects (*Cough* Percy Weasley *Cough*) weren't looking.
Soon, the time of the match had arrived and the stands of School's Quidditch Pitch were filled with spectators that wanted to see Slytherin smashed, with a green robed minority wanting the Lions to be crushed.
Harry sat in the stands with his friends as he waved a Gryffindor banner and cheered for the Weasley Twins and their teammates, for even though they were on opposing teams, they were still good friends and Harry wanted them to win…when he wasn't facing off against them of course.
"So do you think Gryffindor has a chance?" asked Neville as he and Harry watched the match with Luna and Hermione.
"Well," said Hermione, "Gryffindor has been practicing for a while and they have several experienced players, but Slytherin is playing on better brooms though they have an amateur Seeker."
Harry nodded, remembering that Draco Malfoy recently 'bought' his way onto the Slytherin Team by providing them with brand new Nimbus 2001 broomsticks in exchange for becoming the team's new Seeker. Considering that the Gryffindor team was playing on Cleansweep Sevens and Silver Arrows, they'd have to work for it if they wanted to win this match.
As the game progressed, the Slytherin team showed the superiority of their equipment as they weaved around the Gryffindor team, keeping the Quaffle away from them as they dodged the Bludgers that the Weasley Twins sent their way.
The match was stretching out in Slytherin's favor, though Malfoy had yet to spot the Snitch, when suddenly a Bludger that was smacked at the Gryffindor Keeper veered off course and went hurtling toward the stands. Specifically, toward the seat Harry was currently sitting in. Seeing the Bludger streaking toward him, Harry, and all the others sitting around him, dove out of the way, allowing the iron ball to slam into the seats of the arena before dislodging itself and flying at the young Visored again.
Desperate to keep from getting creamed by the rogue bludger, Harry dove from the stands and landed on the grassy floor of the Quidditch Pitch in a roll. He then ran through the arena, dodging and rolling across the grass to avoid the rogue Bludger, thanking the Spirit King that Yoruichi had taught him Hohou, which allowed him to keep the metal ball from caving in his skull. Unfortunately, it didn't seem that he would be able to outrun the Bludger, so Harry turned around and drew his fist back as he channeled Reiatsu into his muscles.
"Ikkotsu!" yelled Harry as he punched the ball and released a blast of Reiatsu into it that sent it flying away with a fist shaped dent.
Just as the ball righted itself and began to attack again, Fred tackled it to the ground and George brought the equipment box forward and helped his brother to force the ball into its restraints.
"You ok Harry?" asked George.
Harry glanced at his hand, which was obviously broken from punching the iron ball, and shrugged with a wince as he grit his teeth.
"I think I broke my hand," he replied.
Madam Hooch was quick to rush over and examine the injury before shaking her head, "It's broken alright. Why that Bludger acted so strange is beyond me. Misters Weasley, please take Harry to the Hospital Wing so Miss Pomfrey can do something about that hand. Honestly, punching a Bludger? You're lucky you only hurt your hand Mr. Potter. We'll have to postpone this game until we can get the equipment checked out."
"Wood will love that," muttered Fred, "bloody snakes were flying circles around us."
The trio was about to head off when Harry saw something that made him pale. Gilderoy Lockhart was running up with his wand in his hand.
"Kuso," swore Harry, knowing that the man would only be more trouble.
Chapter 36: Interlude to Holidays
As Harry saw the new DADA Professor prance up, he felt, more than any other time in his life, that he could be anywhere except here. Hell, from what the Visored had told him about the place, a night in Hueco Mundo sounded more appealing than being stuck here with Lockhart walking up with an eager look on his face.
"Sir," began Harry as he tried to dissuade the man from inadvertently making things worse, "I really don't have time to talk…"
"No need to panic," said Lockhart with a bright smile, "I know just how to fix this! I've used the spell a dozen times!"
"I really think I should go to the Hospital Wing…" said Harry as the pompous professor raised his wand, but he was unable to stop the man as he cast his spell.
A strange feeling spread through Harry's arm, indeed the pain was gone, but his arm felt strangely limp, almost boneless, you could say. Harry glanced down at the arm in question and his eyes widened at what he saw. His arm felt boneless for good reason, the idiot professor had vanished all the bones in his arm, leaving it hanging limp like a soba noodle.
"Well," said Lockhart as he tried to ignore the death glare Harry was giving him, "that does happen occasionally. Not to worry, I know how to fix it…"
"I do believe you've done enough, Professor," said Madame Hooch sharply as she walked up and pushed the man aside, "Harry, I apologize for not intervening earlier, but I was securing the rest of the gear to make sure none of it would pose any danger until they could be tested."
"I just hope Madame Pomfrey can fix this," muttered Harry as he tried to kill the DADA Professor with his scowl.
"C'mon Harry," said Fred as he and his twin hoisted the young Visored up, "let's get you to the Hospital wing."
"And let's not punch any more Bludgers along the way," joked George.
"I'll try," said Harry as he cracked a small smile, "but that last one was asking for it."
"There's hope for you yet Harrykins," Fred chuckled along with his twin as they helped Harry limp to the castle.
"Honesty Mister Potter," sighed Madame Pomfrey as she inspected the teen's arm, "I do hope you aren't planning to make a habit of coming here every year."
"I don't plan to," said Harry, "but I don't really have much choice most times."
The Matron looked over the boneless limb and sighed, "It would have been easy enough to fix if the bone was simply broken."
Madame Pomfrey waved her wand and a bottle flew over from one of her cabinets along with a simple goblet. Pouring the contents of the bottle into the cup, she placed the cup into Harry's good hand.
"Drink this," said Madame Pomfrey.
Harry sipped the potion and winced at the foul taste, "Can something be done to make it palatable?" he asked.
"Sorry but no," said Madame Pomfrey, "that's what happens when you get the bones in your arms vanished away. Finish the potion and make yourself comfortable on one of the cots. I want you to stay here overnight while the potion grows your bones back."
Harry sighed and downed the rest of the potion before lying back on the hospital bed and closing his eyes so he could get some rest. As he waited for Morpheus to claim him once again, he thought about Lockhart and the trouble he was bringing to the school. Nodding to himself, Harry began to think up a plan to deal with the man before he could cause him any more grief.
He would need to make a few calls.
Later that evening, after classes had finished, Luna and Hermione stopped by to visit, having heard from student gossip that Harry was injured from the Quidditch mishap. Neville would have come, but he had volunteered to help Professor Sprout with the Mandrakes in the greenhouse as so to help those who had been petrified.
"Harry," said Hermione as the girls entered, "are you alright? What happened?"
"It was that git Lockhart," muttered Harry.
"Language," chided Hermione, "and you can't talk about a teacher like that. I'm sure the Professor meant well."
"Hermione," sighed Harry, "how much longer are you going to defend him? He's proven to be inept in his classes and when he tried to use a spell he claims to have 'used a dozen times,' he flubs it and leaves me like this."
"I suppose the evidence is overwhelming," sighed Hermione, "I've had to correct him a few times when he nearly grades me wrong on our tests."
"I wonder," said Luna as she placed a finger on her chin, "perhaps Wracksputs have gotten to him and placed a fog on his mind?"
The other two students were silent for a moment, glancing at each other for a second before deciding not to get into an argument with the girl about the existence of said creatures.
"In any case," said Hermione, "I brought you some notes from the classes you missed."
"Oh and here," said Luna, "I brought a pair of Spectrespecs to help you watch out for invisible things."
"Um, thanks," said Harry as he took the gifts as so not to offend the girls. Deciding to go through the notes later, he placed the strange glasses on his eyes and gasped at the sight of visible trails of Reishi in the air.
"I…I can see Reishi with these," he exclaimed.
"You mean you can see spirit particles with those?" exclaimed Hermione, "Luna, do you have another pair?"
"Oh of course," said Luna cheerily, "issue 31 of the Quibbler gave out free pairs."
Luna handed another pair of the strange looking glasses to Hermione and the bushy-haired girl eagerly put them on, her eyes widening at what she could see. Through the lenses of the glasses she could see particles of energy dancing around them with distinct auras shining around the three of them.
"This is amazing," said Hermione, "Luna, you have to tell me more about these."
"If you want," said Luna, "I could show you more like them in the Common Room. I have many things like them."
"That would be great!" exclaimed Hermione as the two girls walked off chatting happily.
Harry smiled and chuckled as he watched the two of them. It was good that his friends were getting along. Rolling over in bed, he was thinking about how to deal with Lockhart, when there was a POP and a familiar creature wearing a pillowcase standing by his bed.
"I should have known you had something to do with this, considering how insistent you were," muttered Harry.
"Dobby warned Harry Potter," said the House Elf, "great danger awaits in Hogwarts. Harry Potter has already seen the beginnings."
"You mean the attacks?" asked Harry with a scowl, "If you're responsible for them in any way…"
"Dobby was not," said the Elf frantically, "Dobby simply wants Harry Potter to leave."
"Do you know who is responsible?" pressed Harry as he glared at the Elf.
Dobby trembled under the young Visored's glare before he dashed off to slam his head into the wall, or he would have, had Harry not anticipated that and cast a quick Rikujōkōrō to hold the House Elf in place.
"Dobby must not speak ill of his masters!" protested Dobby.
"Alright alright," said Harry as he tried to quiet the frantic House Elf, "just quit trying to keep me safe! It obviously has the opposite effect."
"Harry Potter must leave," protested Dobby again.
"But Harry Potter will not," said Harry, "and Harry Potter wants you to leave me the ruddy hell alone!"
"Very well," said Dobby before vanishing with a loud POP.
Harry sighed and proceeded to lie down in bed as Madam Pomfrey walked in to check on him. While he was annoyed with the House Elf's antics, he was curious about the creature's masters and what they wanted with the school.
The Holidays soon came around and Harry and his friends found themselves sharing a compartment on the Hogwarts Express as they headed back to their homes for the holidays.
"So I'm glad your arm is better Harry," said Neville as the group relaxed, "that was a terrible way to cancel a Quidditch match though."
"Sorry again about that," said Harry, "I didn't mean it."
"Ah don't worry about it," said Fred as he and his twin enjoyed some butterbeer they had filched from the Hogwarts Kitchens.
"Yeah," said George, "it wasn't like we were winning anyways. At least now we get a rematch."
"Cheers," said Fred as the group raised their bottles of butterbeer in a mock toast.
"So what are your plans for the holidays?" asked Luna, "I've heard the Christmas tradition differs slightly in Japan."
"Well," said Harry, "how would all of you like to find out first hand? I have some things to take care of later, but I called my family and they'd be happy to have you guys over for Christmas."
"That would be awesome," said Fred.
"Yeah but we'd have to decline," sighed George.
"Mum would have our arses if we missed dinner with the family," elaborated Fred.
"And after a year of her being more lenient toward us," began George.
"We're not gonna push our luck," finished Fred.
"I'd have to check with my Gran, but I'd love to come," said Neville.
"I'm sure my parents won't mind," said Hermione, "they really like your family."
"My father shouldn't have a problem either," said Luna as she pulled out an issue of the Quibbler and began reading it upside down.
"Great," said Harry as he reached into a bag and pulled out some bentos that he had got the Hogwarts Elves to make for him, "anyone hungry?"
The group eagerly dug into the small feast that Harry had brought for them as the train moved through the winter fields as it traveled from Scotland back to London. As they ate, they chatted about their plans for the holidays and shared stories from the year.
Chapter 37: Yuletide with Friends
"Tadaima," said Harry as he walked into the Visored house and put his school trunk away. He had caught a bus to Urahara's London shop from King's Cross and used the special teleporter to quickly head back to Japan, as he was eager to see his family again.
"Okairi, Harry-kun," said Mashiro as she glomped the boy.
"Give him some air, Mashiro," chuckled Shinji as he walked up, "how have things been at school?"
"Not that great," said Harry, "the staff still hasn't solved the issue about the students that were attacked. What could cause petrification like that?"
"That's hard to say," said Rose as he walked up, "not many creatures have the ability to do something like that. The closest I could think of would be a Gorgon, but the lack of stone victims points away from that particular theory."
"What's with all this grim talk?" asked Shinji, "Harry's home for the holidays, let's have a good time."
"YATTA!" cheered Mashiro.
"So did you ask your friends if they could come over?" asked Shinji.
"Neville, Fred, and George couldn't make it," said Harry as he took off his jacket and brushed the snow off it, "and Hermione and Luna will let me know after they check with their parents."
"Well," said Shinji, "it gives ya time to shop around for gifts again."
"Cool," said Harry, "is Urahara-san going to be attending again?"
"Nah," said Shinji, "Kisuke's gotta take care of his shop this year. Apparently there's been a lot of candy orders for the holidays, but Lisa's gonna make them a plate so they get some."
"Where are the others?" asked Harry.
"Well," said Rose, "Love's out at the nearby bookstore, Hiyori's buying parts for her Treadmill with Hachi's help, Lisa's out getting ingredients for dinner and she roped Kensei into helping her carry groceries."
"What's Lisa making tonight?" asked Harry. Lisa's meals always were something the young Visored looked forward to.
"I believe she mentioned something about curry," said Shinji, causing him and Rose to chuckle at the stars that formed in their young charge's eyes at the mention of his favorite dish.
A few days had passed, with Harry spending the time either training with his mask, or shopping for Christmas gifts, when two Urahara arrived with some mail that had been delivered to his shop via Owl Post.
Opening them, Harry found, to his delight, letters from his friends, along with some presents from his friends that had said they wouldn't make it for Christmas. Opening the first letter, that he saw was from Hermione, he began to read.
Good news! My parents say it's alright for me to visit your family for Christmas. I told them you probably had a Portkey or something ready so we wouldn't have to worry about commute or jetlag, so they wouldn't worry. I'll look forward to seeing you during the Yuletide, just owl me or call me back to let me know where to meet up.
Sincerely, Hermione Granger.
Harry smiled and made a mental note to call Hermione and tell her to meet up at the Leaky Cauldron so they could use Urahara's device. Putting her letter aside, he opened the next one, which was from the Weasleys.
While we can't make it to spend this glorious holiday with you, Mum thought it would be nice to send you some gifts. Remember, don't open them till Christmas.
Managing mischief, Fred and George.
"Those two," chuckled Harry as he put aside a large box addressed to him from the Weasleys and opened the next letter from Luna.
My father said he'd be happy to let me spend Christmas with you. I would love to meet the other spirits and maybe you can introduce me to a Hollow?
"Well," said Shinji as he read the letters over Harry's shoulder, "I'll send responses back with the owls. Make sure to tell Lisa that she's gonna have to make more food."
"Got it," said Harry as he hurried to the Visored kitchen.
Once the older female member of the Visored had been informed, Harry hurried out to see if he could find some presents to give to his friends when they came over.
Soon it was Christmas morning and Hermione and Luna were waiting with their things in the Leaky Cauldron for Harry to meet with them so they could head to Karakura. They were just finishing off their glasses of Butterbeer when the doors opened and Harry walked in with Shinji and Hachi, the three of them wearing winter coats.
"Sorry if we're late," said Shinji as the two girls gave Harry a hug, "traffic was killer crossing the Alps."
"You crossed the Alps to get here?" gasped Hermione, worried about the return trip.
"Shinji's just messing with you," chuckled Harry, "the trip was quick and easy, though we still had to account for time zones."
"To sum it up," said Shinji, "you'll be joining us for Lisa's Christmas dinner, which, believe me, is always something to look forward to."
"So when do we leave?" asked Luna.
"Right away," said Hachi as he led the group across the way to the side entrance of Urahara's London branch and unlocked the door.
"Why are we heading into this Candy Shop?" asked Hermione.
"Well," said Harry, "this shop is actually owned by Kisuke, so we use it as a safe place to travel to and from Japan without people noticing."
"So are we going to use a Portkey or something?" asked Hermione as the group headed into the shop and walked into a back room.
"Or something," smirked Shinji as he pulled out the Stopwatch Urahara had made and wound the dial, "hold on."
Pressing down on the button caused a bright flash to fill the room, and when the light died down, the girls looked around to see themselves standing in a large sunny plain.
"I thought we were going to Japan?" said Hermione.
"We are in Japan," said Harry, "this is the basement of our house."
"This is a basement?" said Luna in wonder, "It's so…big."
Suddenly there was a loud roar and a scaly blur slammed into Harry, knocking the boy to the ground as a certain dragon that had grown to be as big as the teen himself began to lick his face and cuddle into him.
"Is that a Norwegian Ridgeback?" asked Luna.
"Yeah," said Harry, "her name's Norberta."
"How did you get her?" exclaimed Hermione, "Owning a dragon is illegal!"
"Well it's less illegal here than it is in Europe," said Shinji, "and besides, she's really attached to the kid and acts like a large scaly puppy that breathes fire and flies."
"I got her last year," said Harry, "Hagrid got it into his head that he wanted to raise a dragon, and I managed to convince him that it would be safer to let her come with me. She didn't seem to mind."
Harry scratched the dragon's head ridges, causing the beast to purr like a satisfied kitten.
"If you're done playing," said Hiyori as she walked up, "Lisa's about to put to food out."
"Come on!" said Harry eagerly, "Lisa's cooking isn't something you want to miss."
Taking his word for it, the three teens and one dragon rushed over to where the Visored had set up a large round dinner table that had trays of steaming food set in the middle of said table. Everyone clambered to find seats with Norbert curling up by Harry's seat next to a large plate with raw meat on it and a large bowl of milk next to it.
"Well," said Shinji as Rose, Kensei, and Hachi picked up the carving knives to cut up the large ham, turkey, and Christmas goose sitting on the table, "Happy Christmas everyone."
"Happy Christmas," echoed the others as the Visored began serving out portions of food to those present.
"This goose is excellent Miss Lisa," said Luna as she tried some of the food.
"Thank you," said Lisa, "I try."
"Lisa's on a level of her own," said Harry as he bit into a roll, "I always look forward to her home cooking."
"Well there's good reason," said Hermione as she ate poured some giblet gravy over her roast, "this is wonderful."
As the group enjoyed themselves, they all thought about what brought them together and thanked whatever god existed out there that they all became friends.
Harry was currently sneaking through the halls of the school in his Shinigami form with his Invisibility Cloak, heading toward the out of order First floor girls' lavatory, making sure to avoid any Students or Teachers that he came across.
Why was he heading to such an odd destination whist making absolutely sure to be kept hidden while in Shinigami form?
Well, the answer to that question goes back to a few days after Harry came back from Christmas Holidays, when he gained information about just what was going on at Hogwarts in regards to the student attacks.
Harry was walking through the corridors, heading down to the kitchens to deliver a Christmas gift to the House Elves as a thank you for all the consideration that they gave him in terms of meals, when he was surprised by the appearance of Moaning Myrtle, the Ghost that haunted the out of order lavatory on the first floor.
"Lord Shinigami," said Myrtle respectfully as she floated in front of Harry.
"You're Myrtle, right?" asked Harry, "Is there something you need?"
"I think there is something you need to know," said Myrtle's ghost, "when I was alive, I once hid in the girls' loo because I had been bullied by some students. I was hiding when I heard a strange hissing sound and when I peeked out, the last think I remember was seeing a giant golden eye gazing at me. The next thing I knew, I was a ghost."
"You have my sympathies," said Harry, "but why are you telling me this now?"
"Well," said Myrtle, "recently I've been hearing that sound again, and after talking with some of the other ghosts, I learned that the two attacks had happened minutes after hearing the sounds. I wanted to tell you now because I just heard the sounds again and saw a girl walking past my stall."
"Do you think she could be in danger?" asked Harry.
"That's why I came to you, Lord Shinigami," said Myrtle, "as much as I'd like company, I don't want someone else to suffer."
"Harry," said Ryuge urgently, "you must make haste and help that girl."
"Why?" asked Harry mentally, "What's going on?"
"I will explain on the way," said Ryuge, "but if you do not hurry, then all will be for naught. Don't forget to grab your cloak."
"So where did you hear the voice?" asked Harry as he pulled off his cloak in Myrtle's bathroom.
"Over here," said Myrtle as she floated over a central column that had a ring of sinks set into it, "this is where I heard the hissing sound."
Harry inspected the sinks and saw that one of the taps had an image of a snake set into it.
"What do you think Ryuge?" he asked his Zanpakuto.
"While I truly hope I am wrong," said the Zanpakuto Spirit, "but try ordering the sink to open using the language of snakes."
Deciding to trust his Zanpakuto's instincts, Harry gazed at the tap and took a breath and uttering a single word, "Open."
As the hissing sound left the Young Visored's mouth, the sinks sunk into the ground allowing the column they were attached to to open up and reveal a long dark pipe that stretched down into the ground.
"It is as I feared," said Ryuge in Harry's mind, "Harry, not only is the life of that girl now in danger, but the entire school is now at risk of perishing."
"Why?" asked Harry, "Is it something in the chamber?"
"Think Harry," said Ryuge, "you've read Scamander's book. What creature speaks the language of snakes and possesses a 'gaze of death?'"
"Kuso," swore Harry as he realized just what had been terrorizing the school, "Myrtle."
"Yes?" asked the ghost with a start.
"I need you and the other ghosts to inform the staff that the students need to be evacuated or brought to safe areas as soon as possible," said Harry, "tell them that the beast that has been attacking students has been identified. It's a Basilisk."
Myrtle's already grey visage paled even further and she quickly flew out of the room to alert the rest of the staff while Harry gazed down into the pipe and steeled himself.
"Here goes nothing," said Harry before jumping down into the darkness.
'Ugh, it stinks down here,' thought Harry as he traveled through the dark tunnels under the school.
"Be wary Harry," said Ryuge, "the gaze of the basilisk may still be able to harm you in your spirit form, and its venom is caustic enough to cause severe damage."
"I'll remember that," said Harry aloud as he glanced at a massive empty husk that likely belonged to the serpent he was currently hunting, "any advice?"
"You will have to fight without using your eyes," said Ryuge, "you must keep them closed to avoid the lethal gaze of the King Serpent. You will have to rely on your ability to sense its Reiatsu if you wish to survive."
Harry nodded as he came face to face with a large stone wall with a carving of two snakes set into it. Raising his hand, he channeled his Reiatsu into his blade, before swinging his sword and cutting a square hole in the wall with a few quick swipes that was large enough to climb through.
Harry quickly made his way through the hole and found himself in a large stone chamber with a massive carving of a stone head set into the wall. Lying on the ground was a redheaded girl that Harry recognized from the Sorting as Fred and George's little sister lying on the ground with a male teen wearing the Hogwarts uniform standing by her.
Harry's eyes widened as he felt the teen's emanating Reiatsu. It felt so twisted and wrong that the Reiatsu he'd felt from the Hollows he had fought felt warm and fuzzy in comparison.
"What the hell are you and what have you done to that girl?" growled Harry as he drew his Zanpakuto.
"So you're not a normal student," said the being in a calm voice, but Harry could feel the twisted corruption that filled it, "interesting. Still, you should've brought something better than that sword to this fight."
The male being snapped its hand out and Harry's Zanpakuto was ripped out of his hand, clattering to the ground behind the teen, who now had a sinister smirk on his face.
"Who are you?" asked Harry warily.
"My name is Tom Marvolo Riddle," said the being, "but you might know me by another name, Mister Potter."
Using the wand in his hand, the now named Tom Riddle wrote his name in the air using glowing letters that appeared from the tip of the wand like ink from a pen.
Tom Marvolo Riddle
Flicking the wand several times, Tom caused the letters to rearrange themselves to form a new, much more sinister message. One that sent a chill down Harry's spine as he realized just whom he was now facing in this chamber.
I Am Lord Voldemort
"You," gasped Harry.
"Indeed," said Tom, "you see, in my youth, I attended school here. I found out through some research that my lineage dates back to Salazar Slytherin himself, and because of that, I discovered this chamber and its mission: to purge the wizarding world of Mudbloods and Muggles, leaving only the pure."
"What does this have to do with the girl?" asked Harry.
"I am getting to that," said Tom, "after the opening of the Chamber of Secrets, Dumbledore grew suspicious of me and began to keep a closer eye on my activities, forcing me to create a diary with instructions on how to continue the work. This poor, foolish, stupid girl, she was so desperate for a friend that she poured her heart and soul into the pages, allowing me to leech away her life and gain physical form. Now I shall finish my work."
"Speak to me, Slytherin, greatest of the Hogwarts four!" declared Tom in Parseltongue.
Harry felt a large presence enter the chamber and quickly shut his eyes to protect him against the killing gaze, focusing on feeling the Reiatsu of the creature to avoid it. Reacting on instinct, he leapt to the side and felt the presence of a massive serpentine creature dive through the space he had just occupied. Harry then flipped backward to avoid the creature swallowing him by leaping backwards over its head.
Seeking to level the playing field a bit, Harry focused his Reiatsu and aimed his hand downwards, "Bakudō #21: Sekienton!"
A cloud of thick red smoke exploded outward, filling the chamber and obscuring everything from view, allowing Harry to take a quick breather while the massive snake tried to locate him.
'If I'm going to beat this thing, I'm going to need more power,' thought Harry as he remembered the reputation of Magic Resistance that Basilisk skin had, 'I've gotten up to two minutes in training. I hope it's enough.'
Harry closed his eyes and brought his right hand to his face, drawing upon the darker Reiatsu of his Inner Hollow before swiping his hand downwards, causing the mask that adorned his Hollow's face to appear on his.
"Okay," breathed Harry in a slightly distorted voice as he felt the surge of power, "still need to get used to this."
Diving to the side as his senses went off, he dodged another lunge from the King Snake and drew his wand, pointing it in the direction of the beast's presence. Channeling his Hollow Reiatsu into his wand, Harry pulled off a trick he had learned while training with his Hollow powers, firing off a crimson Cero bolt that streaked through the smoke before impacting something, and from the serpentine shriek of pain, it seemed like he had actually managed to injure the Basilisk.
"Avada Kedavra!" yelled the spirit of the young Voldemort, sending an emerald bolt flying through the smoke at Harry.
The bolt of magic struck Harry painfully in the chest and knocked him off his feet, but otherwise didn't cause too much trouble, but he had to quickly roll out of the way as the Basilisk tried to eat him again.
"It seems the Killing Curse has no effect on you," mused Tom, "boy who lived indeed."
"SHUT UP!" yelled Harry as he fired another Cero bolt at the voice.
"My my," taunted Tom, "getting short tempered are we? You'll have to do better than that if you want to save the girl."
"You want me to fight?" growled Harry, "Then FINE! Come, Ryuge!"
Harry heard a yelp from Tom as his Zanpakuto flew through the air and landed in his hand, allowing him to slice through the flesh of the Snake as it passed him. Hearing the Basilisk shriek in pain, Harry smirked and rolled out of the way of the snake's thrashing tail.
"Bombarda!" yelled Tom, causing an explosion to detonate from his body, sending him flying across the ground, "despite your powers, you're still a child."
"Damn you," growled Harry as he fired a spell off from his wand that was deflected away by Tom.
"Not good enough," laughed Tom, "now how about we get rid of that mask. Confringo!"
Harry was knocked to the ground as the blasting curse slammed into his Hollow Mask, shattering it and dispelling the power he had gathered from his Inner Hollow, leaving him feeling drained.
"This is the end, potter," laughed Tom, "Basilisk, kill the boy."
Harry sensed the Basilisk approaching cautiously due to the injuries it had suffered, so he pulled himself shakily to his feet and aimed his hands at the incoming beast, "Kyōmon!"
A clear barrier formed in front of Harry stretching from wall to wall and floor to ceiling, causing the Basilisk to slam bodily into it, giving Harry his first glimpse of it's form. It had several bleeding cuts on its body and one of its eyes had been gouged out by the young Visored's blade, but the creature was still quite angry…which Harry saw in its golden eye.
"AAAAGGGHH" yelled Harry as agony ripped through his body. He felt like someone had poured molten steel through his veins and his skin was smoking and burning as if it were on fire as the Death Gaze of the Basilisk tore through his Gigai and attacked his spiritual form.
"Interesting," said Tom, "what an unusual reaction. And that barrier you erected, what are you, Harry Potter."
"I'm a Shinigami," growled Harry through the pain as he closed his eyes aimed his hand's at the Basilisk that was trying to break through the barrier, "and I'll show you I've earned the title. Ye lord! Mask of blood and flesh, all creation, flutter of wings, ye who bears the name of Man!"
"Whatever you're planning won't work, Potter," yelled Tom as he tried to fire off some spells to try and break the barrier alongside the King Serpent.
"On the wall of blue flame, inscribe a twin lotus. In the abyss of conflagration, wait at the far heavens," continued Harry as blue flames gathered in his palms, "Hado #73: Sōren Sōkatsui!"
A blast of blue energy erupted from Harry's hands, shattering the clear barrier that held the Basilisk back before blasting through the snake, traveling down its massive throat through its maw, which had been opened to try and swallow the young Visored.
The snake let out a shriek of pain as the energy blew out of its nostrils and eye sockets, obliterating its remaining eye and severely damaging the beast's organs, before fading away, allowing the creature to fall to the ground, dead.
Harry let out a breath as the smoke from his Kidō cleared, revealing a flabbergasted Tom Riddle aiming a wand at him with a shaking hand.
"Impossible," he breathed, "you killed the Basilisk! HOW?!"
"I told you," said Harry as he limped over to where the diary lay on the ground, "I'm a Shinigami. Killing monsters is what a Death God does."
"What are you doing?" asked Tom.
"So it's through this diary that you gained physical form," said Harry as he raised his sword up.
"No…STOP!" yelled Tom.
"Blaze: Ryuge!" yelled Harry as he stabbed his Zanpakuto downward into the cover of the dirty book, the blade erupting in flames as it transformed into its Shikai state.
The diary burst into flames, causing Tom to scream in pain as his body began to burn away to nothingness along with the cursed book. Harry watched as the book was reduced to a pile of ashes and the specter of Tom Riddle finally burnt away to nothingness. Once the specter was gone, the Weasley girl on the ground gasped for breath and began coughing as color returned to her skin.
Thankful that the threat was over, Harry slumped to the ground, succumbing to the combination of his exhaustion from the fight and the injuries from the Basilisk's Death Gaze. The last thing he saw before passing out was a gold and red object flying into the room.
A bit of explanation.
Harry was able to survive the gaze of the Basilisk because he was already dead, similar to how Nick survived in canon. The reason he wasn't incapacitated was because of two things. One, his Gigai protected his soul somewhat, and the powers granted to him as a Visored also strengthened it, allowing him to endure the power, though it severely injured him.
Next, Tom accelerated his plans because of Harry. Due to his mixed relationship with the Weasleys, Ginny poured more into the Diary and Tom was able to take control of her with greater ease. This allowed him to draw her to the chamber where he could finish her off, but Myrtle was able to warn Harry due to the ghosts fear and respect for the Shinigami pushing her to.
Finally, the Zanpakuto was able to finish off a Horcrux, because it's basically like the soul of a Hollow: twisted and corrupted by darkness and evil, waiting to be purified by the edge of the Soul Slayer.
Hope that helped.
Until next time. Ciao.
Chapter 39: Heading Home
As Harry opened his eyes, he felt shooting pains through his body, causing him to wince and groan as he sat up. Looking around slowly, he realized that he was in the hospital wing with wrapped around various parts of his body.
"What happened?" groaned the boy.
"I believe I should be asking you that Mister Potter," said Madame Pomfrey as she walked up, "you've been unconscious for the past week. What were you thinking? Diving into the chamber to fight a Basilisk without a rooster all by yourself? You're lucky the headmaster came when he did, though how you got second degree burns across most of your body is beyond me."
"You should have seen the other guy?" offered Harry sheepishly.
"Hmph," grumbled the Matron, "I would have hoped that, after your First Year, you'd have learned to avoid such situations that would lead you to end up here."
"I have been trying," said Harry before picking up on something that the Matron had said earlier, "Wait, you said that the Headmaster was the one to rescue me?"
"Indeed I was," said Dumbledore as he walked into the Hospital Wing, "Poppy, if you could give us a moment or two?"
"Just remember," said Madame Pomfrey as she got up, "Mister Potter is still recovering, so don't push him."
Once the Matron had left the room, Dumbledore conjured up a chintz armchair and sat himself down by the young Visored's bed.
"I believe it is about time we had a talk, Harry," said Dumbledore as he steepled his fingers, "mainly about the events in the Chamber…and about what happened in the third floor corridor last term."
Harry inwardly groaned, the Headmaster had been trying to corner the young Visored in order to discuss the events of his battle with Quirrellmort, and it looked like he had finally found the ideal moment to do so.
"It does not seem that I have much choice in the matter, Headmaster," said Harry dryly.
"I am simply curious as to why I found you in a rampaging bestial form with your dead body lying on the ground beside you," said Dumbledore, "also how you survived dealing with a basilisk with only burns across your body."
"I'm afraid I can't tell you, Headmaster," said Harry, "those techniques are a family secret."
"I don't recall the Potter or the Evans line ever having such abilities," said Dumbledore.
"My parents are not my only family," said Harry firmly, "you should know that quite well, as it is because of you that they had to rescue me."
"Harry my boy…" began Dumbledore before the teen angrily cut the old man off.
"Honestly Headmaster," said Harry, saying the man's title with a touch of venom, "it is no business of yours what my family chooses to teach me."
"Harry," said Dumbledore kindly, "if said techniques are a threat to Hogwarts…"
"You mean a threat like a cursed diary that let loose a gargantuan Basilisk?" interrupted Harry, "Or how about hiring a teacher that had the wraith of a Dark Lord sticking out of the back of his head? Or even something like housing a bloody Cerberus in the third floor corridor with only a mundane lock on a wooden door to keep students out? You see Headmaster, it seems you've been overlooking threats to this school that are far worse than what skills I may know. And don't forget, I dealt with two of those threats myself, when teachers should have been there to do so."
"Harry…" said Dumbledore as he tried again.
"I think you should leave, sir," said Harry with finality as he lay down on his bed and turned away.
Closing his eyes in frustration, Dumbledore rose to his feet and swept out of the room, his mind filled with his thoughts as he wondered how he was going to get through to Harry.
The rest of the year passed without too much happening. Harry was bedridden for another few weeks as his injuries healed, much to the young Visored's dismay. Because of this, the Hufflepuff team ended up losing the Quidditch cup to the Gryffindor team and the Slytherins won the House Cup. Eventually, the year came to an end and Harry found himself riding the Hogwarts Express back to Platform 9 3/4 to meet up with his new family. As they arrived, he spotted Hachi and Rose waiting there and quickly hurried over to greet them.
"Harry-kun," said Hachi with a smile, as the two Visored hugged their young charge, "how have things been at school?"
"There were some eventful things that happened," said Harry in Japanese as well, "I'll tell you all about it back in Karakura."
"If you say so," said Rose.
The three of them then headed off to make the walk to Urahara's London Shop, from which they could make the jump back to the Visored manor via Urahara's teleporter watch.
"So Harry," said Shinji once the group had gotten situated in the training room, with the youngest Visored scratching Norberta behind the ear ridges, "what kinds of adventures did you get into this year?"
"Well," said Harry casually, "I ended up having to destroy a cursed diary that was sucking the soul out of a girl after fighting a giant Basilisk that wanted to make me it's dinner."
The Visored were silent for a moment before Shinji sighed, "I'm seriously questioning the competence of the teachers at that school."
"Indeed," said Rose, "to think such a beast was loose in a school full of students."
"I wonder if the Board of Governors knows about what's been going on at the school?" muttered Love.
"So," said Harry as he tried to change the subject, "what has been going on with you guys?"
Meanwhile, Albus Dumbledore was dealing with issues of his own as he was now having to deal with the Hogwarts Board of Governors questioning his competence as a Headmaster, a valid concern considering the two incidents that had happened under his nose during the past two terms. He had managed to lessen their ire toward him, but he could tell that Lucius Malfoy was still gunning for his head. Considering the man's choice in friends and tattoo artist, what else was new.
"Perhaps I'll have better luck convincing the Wizengamot to allow Hogwarts to keep a majority of the Basilisk remains to help refinance the school," mused the elderly wizard.
The phoenix perched near his desk gave him a look of admonishment that was ignored by the wizard.
"I'd best start preparing," said Dumbledore as he got his papers together and popped a lemon drop into his mouth.
While this happened, across the sea, a letter was delivered to the Urahara shop in Karakura. The letter bore the seal of the Wizengamot and the Minister of Magic and was addressed as follows.
Lord of the Noble and Most Ancient House of Potter
Chapter 40: Lord of the Potter
Someone asked me why a British ghost referred to Harry as a Shinigami. The reason is that of respect. Shinigami literally means Death God, and calling him that is more respectful than simply calling him a Soul Reaper. It's higher praise to call one a god then a reaper.
It was a misty morning in London when the Wizengamot met for its summer session. The heads of the many Wizarding Houses had gathered in the council chambers for their annual summer meeting where the gathered Wizards and witches would discuss various political issues and push for new legislatures.
However, none of those gathered, save a select few, knew of the changes that would unfold during this session.
"I hereby call this session of the Wizengamot to order," said Dumbledore as he rose from the Chief Warlock seat in the chamber, "Minister Fudge, I cede the floor to you."
"Thank you, Chief Warlock," said Cornelius Fudge as he rose to his feet, "Today I have several announcements to make. First of all, I am pleased to announce the return of a Noble and Most Ancient House to these halls. The Noble and Most Ancient House of Potter has named a new Lord Potter."
The chamber erupted with noise as Harry walked in wearing the formal robes of the Wizengamot.
"Order!" bellowed Fudge as he shot off a spell that let off a gunshot sound, causing the room to quiet down, "Now, Chief Warlock, will you swear in our new member?"
"Y-yes, of course," said Dumbledore as he this wand, "Lord Potter, do you swear to uphold the sanctity of this chamber, using your power and authority to bring strength to the wizarding world?"
"I swear," said Harry.
As Harry said these words, a seat was illuminated in the chamber as dust and cobwebs were vanquished from it, restoring it to its gilded luster.
"This chamber recognizes your oath," said Dumbledore, "take your seat with pride, Lord Potter."
Harry nodded and walked up the stairs to the seat that had been given to him. He listened as the Minister went over the various new legislatures that were being pushed forward and participated in voting for several of them, until finally the man was finished and the floor was ceded to Amelia Bones of the DMLE.
"Honored members of the Wizengamot," said Madame Bones, "I'm sure all present here remember the incident last Christmas which brought to light the injustice committed against the now Lord Potter in his youth. As head of the Department of Magical Law Enforcement, I am pleased to say that we have come up with a way to repay Lord Potter for all that he has done for us, despite our misdeeds toward him."
"Madame Bones," said Lucius Malfoy from his spot amongst the Wizengamot members, "aside from allegedly vanquishing the Dark Lord in his infancy, I do not understand what Lord Potter has done further to warrant such dispensation."
"Lord Malfoy," said Amelia crisply, "you of all people should remember the attacks on students that had occurred last term at Hogwarts, after all, you brought it to our attention in an attempt to discredit the Chief Warlock."
"Indeed," said Lucius, "what of it?"
"I have heard from reliable sources that it was Lord Potter here that bravely descended into Salazar Slytherin's Chamber of Secrets and defeated the beast within, a giant Basilisk, saving the life of another student and ensuring the safety of the school itself. Surely, this warrants recognition from this chamber."
There were murmurs of agreement from many of the gathered Lords and Ladies, many of them having children or grandchildren that were attending Hogwarts.
"Lord Potter's noble actions should indeed be recognized," said Minister Fudge, "therefore, I would like to motion to award Lord Harry Potter, the Order of Merlin First Class for his bravery in defeating the beast of the Chamber of Secrets and protecting the students and staff from its clutches."
"I second the motion," said Augusta Longbottom as she rose from her seat.
"All those against?" asked Dumbledore, and upon counting that those against were in the minority, he nodded and tapped his wand on the table, causing a medal to rise up and float over to Harry, "Lord Potter, shall be presented with the Order of Merlin First Class for remarkable bravery and valor in defense of others, so mote it be."
Harry placed the medal on his robes and Dumbledore nodded, seeing the perfect opportunity to move on to other business.
"Now," said Dumbledore, "as Madame Bones has pointed out, the corpse of a large and quite ancient Basilisk now rests in the catacombs beneath Hogwarts School. As disposing of such a beast would be a waste of its resources, our next order of business should be determining what should be done with its remains."
"Chief Warlock," spoke Madame Bones crisply, "I'm sure you are aware of the guidelines stating that the remains of any great beast slain by a wizard or witch in combat, is the property of said wizard or witch and therefore theirs to do with as they please. Surely you don't mean to steal that away from Lord Potter right after we have commended him?"
"Madame Bones," said Harry as he spoke up, "the House of Potter does not wish to retain more than one thousandth of any profits made from the sale of the remains of the Basilisk. We wish that the families of Malcolm Trent, Penelope Clearwater, Ginerva Weasley, and Myrtle Warren be given 15% of the profits each as a recompense for the trouble caused to them by the opening of the Chamber. The remaining 40% shall be gifted to the Ministry to be used in the founding and support of a new division dedicated to the care of other orphaned children of witches and wizards, as so to avoid children experiencing the misfortunes that could have befallen me if I had not been rescued in Japan."
"I believe those are excellent choices for the use of the profits," said Minister Fudge, "If there are no other objections, then we shall arrange for a group of professionals to come to Hogwarts and rend the corpse down to its raw material resources."
"Very well," said Dumbledore, not liking the fact that he had lost his chance to recover the Basilisk for Hogwarts' uses, "now on to the next order of business."
"So how did it go?" asked Love as Harry walked into the Visored Warehouse.
"I got caught by some reporters after the session ended," said Harry as he placed his formal robes in a bin to be washed later, "but things went rather smoothly. They gave me a medal for defeating that Basilisk in the chamber."
"As well they should have," said Shinji as he tousled the boy's hair, "c'mon, let's get in some more mask training before dinner. Lisa's cooking up a feast to celebrate your first successful use of your mask in combat."
Harry smiled, already looking forward to what the female Visored would be cooking, "Race you there!"
The two of them disappeared in a blur of Shunpo, leaving the other Visored with smiles as they thought of the light Harry had brought into their lives.
In a dark and dingy cell in the island prison of Azkaban, a disheveled man looked up as a guard walked by with a glowing silver hawk sitting on his shoulder and dropped a dirty newspaper into the cell.
"Here's your paper Black," said the guard, "the only glimpse of the outside world you'll get to see."
When the guard walked away, the prisoner picked up the paper with shaky hands and began to read through it, before stopping at an article with a look of hope on his manic face.
"He's at Hogwarts…"
Chapter 41: New News is Good News
After Harry’s appearance in front of the Wizengamot, things went back to the usual routine for him and the Visored. Harry was currently lounging with the other Visored in the living room of their house, watching TV while the others passed the time with their own leisurely activities.
“Anything interesting going on?” asked Shinji as he walked in carrying some bags. It was his turn to do the grocery shopping after all.
“Not really,” said Harry, “Rose went out to look at that music store he likes and Love went with him to check if the next issue of his Manga was released. The others are somewhere. Did you get the things Lisa wanted from the market?”
“Yup,” said Shinji as he held up a grocery bag, “I also got the mail from Kisuke. You got a letter from Hogwarts and some from your friends.”
“Awesome,” said Harry as he jumped up and eagerly grabbed the bunch of letters that Shinji was offering him, “so what did Lisa want you to get? She was rather secretive about the request.”
“That’s gonna be a surprise, kiddo,” chuckled Shinji, “now, maybe you should read the letters your friends sent you.
Harry nodded as Shinji headed into the kitchen where Lisa was working on dinner, and began to read through his mail. Mostly it was letters from his friends wishing him well as they enjoyed their Summer Break, and a Hogwarts supplies list was added in the mix as well. Harry opted to read the School letter last and instead opened the letters from his friends.
Neville was doing great. Apparently, his Grandmother had taken him on a trip to see the Botanical Gardens of Magical America as a reward for his grades. Harry smiled as he read how the formerly shy boy eagerly described the different breeds of magical and mundane plants from around the world that were being grown in the Greenhouses. He ended the letter asking if Harry wanted to meet up in Diagon alley to grab their school things.
Next was Hermione’s letter. She went on to talk about how things were a bit boring back home while also reminding him to work on his summer Homework. This made Harry chuckle as the girl was always focusing on her studies to the point of near obsession, though she had made progress in toning that down a bit.
Finally was Luna’s letter. Harry had to smile as he thought about the platinum blond Ravenclaw. Her personality and her more open minded, if not a bit eccentric, outlook always made him smile. Her letter spoke of an expedition that her father was going to embark on to see if he could find a Aether Fox, another hypothetical creature that had become his latest obsession, and that Quibbler sales had jumped ever since a weird man in a Bucket hat had arrived and offered to help market the magazine overseas.
Harry chuckled to himself. Urahara really got around.
Finally, Harry opened up the letter that bore the Hogwarts Seal and began to read. He skimmed through the list of books he would need for class and for the Electives he had chosen to take, Arithmancy and Runes. As he pocketed the booklist, Harry noticed another form in the envelope and began to read it. His eyes widened in excitement as he read that Third Years were able to visit the Hogsmeade Village on certain holidays with their parent or guardian’s permission, and he quickly went to find one of the Visored to sign the form for him.
“So once you get your books, meet up back at Magical Menagerie,” said Shinji as the group left the Leaky Cauldron several days later, “Mashiro, no wandering off.”
“Aww,” pouted the green haired Visored.
Harry chuckled as the group split up, with him being accompanied by Hiyori as the two of them headed to the bookshop to grab Harry’s texts.
“I never get tired of this place,” said Hiyori as she looked around the Alley while holding a Chocolate and banana flavored ice cream cone from Florean Fortescue’s Ice Cream Parlor.
“I know,” said Harry, “I love magic. It’s my second favorite place to be.”
“Only second?” chuckled Hiyori.
“Well,” said Harry, “that park where we had a cherry blossom picnic was better than a magical alley.”
This got a laugh out of the blond girl as they approached the bookstore. Their eyes were immediately drawn to a cage where several living books were fighting each other, as if trying to tear each other’s pages out with their fangs. Yes, these books had fangs on their pages. In fact, some of them were gnawing at the iron bars of the cage as if trying to bite through them.
“You two,” said a tired worker as the two Visored walked up, “Hogwarts?”
“Well yes, but…” began Harry, but the shopkeeper didn’t let him finish.
“Out of the way,” the worker sighed as he pulled on a set of thick leather gloves and moved to open the cage of living books.
“Wait!” said Harry, “I don’t have that book on my list and Hiyori here isn’t going to Hogwarts.”
“Really?” said the man in relief, “Thank god. Almost lost a finger three times today getting those bloody books. So how can I help?”
“Well,” said Harry, “I will need, a copy of Numerology and Grammatica and Spellman’s Syllabary if you have them.”
“I’ll get those for you,” said the worker with a tired smile, “this’ll be the last year we stock those bloody books. Who was the git that thought to assign a carnivorous, living textbook?”
The two Visored sweatdropped as the salesman walked off to get the two textbooks, muttering darkly to himself about stupid teachers and demon books. As they waited, Harry found himself a copy of The Standard Book of Spells, Grade 3, The Essential Defense Against the Dark Arts, and Intermediate Transfiguration and added them to his basket. Soon the shopkeeper came back with the books Harry wanted and rang the young Visored up for them, but just as he was about to leave, he felt a familiar Reiatsu.
“Oh, hello Harry,” said Luna, causing Harry to turn around.
The young blond was standing in the doorway of the shop with a smile on her face as her father talked with the owner. Harry noticed immediately that she had been using a new shampoo due to the luster of her hair and that the shine brought out the color of her eyes. This caused his stomach to flip-flop while Hiyori chuckled knowingly next to him.
“You buying your things too?” asked Harry.
“Why yes,” said Luna, “And daddy’s trying to arrange to sell the Quibbler here as well.”
“Great,” said Harry, “how’s your summer been going?”
“It’s been going well,” said Luna with a smile, “Daddy was thrilled when I told him about Hollows and decided to see if he could discover more proof for his magazine.”
“I hope he’s careful,” said Hiyori, “Hollows are not something to just mess around with.”
And every member of the Visored knew this fact well. They all fought and defeated their own Hollows after all, and knew how dangerous the creatures could be.
Luna turned and gazed at Hiyori with her semi-vacant gaze, “You’re like Harry. Not quite alive.”
“Perceptive, aren’t you,” said Hiyori, “I’d love to talk more, but we have to meet up with the others at the Magical Menagerie after we grab the rest of Harry’s things.”
“I’ll be seeing you then,” said Luna with a smile, “maybe we can meet up at King’s Cross?”
Harry blushed slightly and his stomach had a weird feeling upon seeing her smile, but he nodded to her before heading out with Hiyori.
“You seemed happy to see her,” said the blond Visored.
“Why not?” asked Harry in a confused tone, “We’re friends.”
“Riiiight,” said Hiyori and she just laughed when she saw the confused look that Harry sent her.
“Hey kiddo, Snaggletooth,” said Shinji as Harry and Hiyori walked up, getting a hello from Harry and a sandal to the head from Hiyori.
“Behave you two,” chuckled Love, “look who we ran into Harry.”
“Hermione!” said Harry happily as he saw the bushy haired Ravenclaw, an equally bushy orange cat curled in her arms, “You got a cat?”
“His name’s Crookshanks,” said Hermione with a smile, “isn’t he gorgeous?”
“Um, yeah,” said Harry hesitantly as he looked at the cat’s squished-looking face. Beauty is in the eye of the beholder he figured.
“Are you alright though?” asked Hermione worriedly.
“Of course,” said Harry curiously, “why wouldn’t I be?”
“You mean you haven’t heard?” gasped Hermione, “It’s been all over the papers!”
“We don’t really get the Daily Prophet out in Karakura,” shrugged Harry.
Hermione then pulled a copy of the newspaper out of her bag and shoved it into Harry’s hands, prompting him to open it up and read the main headline.
BLACK STILL AT LARGE
Sirius Black, possibly the most infamous prisoner ever to be held in Azkaban fortress, is still eluding capture, the Ministry of Magic confirmed today.
"We are doing all we can to recapture Black," said the Minister of Magic, Cornelius Fudge, this morning, "and we beg the magical community to remain calm."
Fudge has been criticized by some members of the International Confederation of Wizards for informing the Muggle Prime Minister of the crisis.
"Well, really, I had to, don't you know," said an irritable Fudge. "Black is mad. He's a danger to anyone who crosses him, magic or Muggle. I have the Prime Minister's assurance that he will not breathe a word of Black's true identity to anyone. And let's face it — who'd believe him if he did?"
While Muggles have been told that Black is carrying a gun (a kind of metal wand that Muggles use to kill each other), the magical community lives in fear of a massacre like that of twelve years ago, when Black murdered thirteen people with a single curse.
“So there’s a mass murder on the loose?” sighed Harry, “Lovely.”
“Azkaban is supposed to the most secure Wizarding Prison on the planet,” said Hermione, “to think that someone could escape like that.”
“Well,” said Harry, “as long as he doesn’t come to Hogwarts, we should be fine. After all, what would a madman like that have to gain from attacking one of the most secure locations in Britain?”
Chapter 42: Darkness Approaches
Summer soon came to an end and Harry found himself back on the Hogwarts Express on his way to school for his Third Year. As the train made its way along the tracks, Harry sat by the window in the compartment, reading another issue of his favorite Jump Magazine as he waited for the lunch trolley to arrive. It wasn’t long before the compartment door opened and Neville and Hermione walked in with their bags.
“Hey Harry,” said Neville, “how was your summer?”
“Aside from the Wizengamont, meeting, uneventful,” said Harry as he helped them stow their bags up top, “how about you two?”
“Well,” said Hermione, “the muggle world really doesn’t compare to life at Hogwarts, but it has been fairly eventful due to the reports about Sirius Black on the loose being broadcast on the telly.”
“Who’d have thought that someone could actually escape from Azkaban?” said Neville as he plopped himself down on a seat in the compartment, “It’s supposed to be the most secure prison in the world.”
“I’m afraid I’m not too familiar with Azkaban,” said Harry, “is it really that bad?”
“Worse,” said Neville with a shudder, “it’s a massive fortress situated on a barren island in the North Sea. The prisoners there are given sparse living conditions and barely any interaction with the outside world…but that’s not why it’s so bad.”
“Why then?” asked Harry, thinking that the described conditions were already sounding similar to the description of the Muken that the Visored had given him.
“Because of the guards,” said Hermione before elaborating further, “the Wizarding prison is guarded by terrible beings called Dementors. They feed on happiness and positive emotions and very presence of one drains a person of all of their will to escape, trapping them in their own minds. And if the prisoners try to escape, the Dementors can deliver their ultimate punishment by sucking the soul out of a person through their mouth.”
“That’s…terrifying,” said Harry, honestly starting think he’d rather face down a group of Adjuchas alone if it meant avoiding those creatures.
“So yeah it’s kinda big that someone could escape,” said Neville.
“Let’s hope he stays far away from Hogwarts,” said Harry, “after what happened over the last two years, I really could use a boring and peaceful Third Year.”
“Hear hear,” said Neville.
The three of them chatted as the train moved along the tracks, pausing when the trolley came by so they could grab some snacks. The train ride was going smoothly and the three of them were comparing Chocolate Frog Cards they had just received, when it happened. A fierce chill swept through the compartment, causing the lights to go out as frost formed on the windows.
“What’s going on?” said Neville nervously, “I can’t see a thing.”
“Shakkahō,” said Harry, causing a crimson sphere of flames to appear in his hand, illuminating the dark compartment with a soft glow.
“This chill,” murmured Hermione, “it feels worse than that Hollow’s Reiatsu.”
“Wh-what’s a H-hollow?” stammered Neville as he tried to speak through the terrifying presence.
Before Harry could answer, a rattling sound was heard and a skeletal hand began to open the door to the compartment. Immediately, Harry’s mind was flooded with terrible images. He saw his relatives throwing him out of the car and onto a cold street in Japan, he saw a dark figure pointing a wand at him, he heard a woman scream in terror as she begged for the life of her son. The images were beginning to overwhelm the young Visored and he felt as if every bit of happiness was being sucked out of his body, causing him to fall to his knees and begin to black out as the creature got closer and closer.
“HARRY!” yelled Ryuge.
The shout of his Zanpakuto was enough to pierce through the fog of despair and pain, and in a desperate attempt, acting on his instincts, Harry materialized his Zanpakuto and stabbed it into the creature in front of him, causing it to cry out in pain and quickly flee, leaving a black oily substance staining the blade like blood.
“Harry!” cried out Hermione as the boy collapsed, “Harry, stay with me!”
Harry could not respond, as the effort from defending himself finally allowed the darkness to claim his vison.
When Harry awoke he found himself lying on the comfortable yet familiar bed in the Hospital Wing. He felt extremely tired and drained and cold, as if he could never feel happy again. As he moved to pull the blanket tighter around himself, he felt a hand help pull him into a sitting position.
“This is a new best for you,” deadpanned Madame Pomfrey, “in here before the term even starts. Dementors, what were those buffoons thinking bringing those things to a school?”
“Dementors?” asked Harry, “Why were they on the Hogwarts Express?”
“I’m afraid the answer is not good,” said Madame Pomfrey as she handed him a hot cup of hot chocolate, “apparently, the Ministry got word that Sirius Black was supposedly coming to Hogwarts and sent those dreadful creatures here as guards. Well go on, drink up. Nothing better to fix the chill from a Dementor than chocolate.”
Harry took a sip from the steaming mug and was surprised when he felt energy and warmth return to his body. The teen took a bigger sip before realizing something and turning to the Mediwitch.
“How long have I been out?” asked Harry.
“A few hours since the train arrived,” said Madame Pomfrey, “you missed the Opening Feast, but the Headmaster arranged for a House Elf to bring you some food when you recovered.”
As if on cue, a tray with some soup and bread appeared with a pop on the bed and Harry, having regained his energy thanks to the chocolate, began to fill his stomach.
“Albus,” growled Cornelius Fudge through a Floo Connection Call, “I’ve been getting reports that the Dementors have been getting even more wild ever since that mishap with the Express. What’s going on?”
“I’m afraid there was an incident when the Dementors attacked the train,” said Dumbledore, “something happened and one of them ended up injured, which caused the others to flee.”
“A Dementor was injured?” asked the Minister, “I thought that was impossible, even for a Patronus.”
“As did I,” said Dumbledore, “but nevertheless it happened and it has left the rest of them in a tense, agitated state. I implore you, you must remove them from the campus. It is not safe here with them roaming.”
“Not safe?” scoffed Fudge, “I would say it is safer than it has ever been! Especially with our reports that Sirius Black was planning to make his way to Hogwarts after his escape. Surely you haven’t forgot what that monster has done.”
“I have not,” said Dumbledore, “but the Dementors are truly dark creatures and their very presence endangers the students of my school. Should one make a misstep, there is little we can do to prevent them from trying to deliver their kiss. Unfortunately, not enough of the staff are proficient in the Patronus Charm.”
“I’m sorry Albus,” said the Minister, “but until Sirius Black is recaptured, the Dementors will remain to guard Hogwarts. We know he’ll be coming there, probably to finish what his master attempted to do on that Halloween night. My decision stands. Good day Albus.”
With that, the Minister’s head vanished from the fire and the flames returned to their normal orange color, causing Dumbledore to sigh. Perhaps the Minister would have changed his mind had he known that the Dementors had made a point to attack Harry in the Express, but he didn’t want to have to explain how the boy managed to drive off and injure the dark creatures. In fact, he wasn’t so sure he understood himself. At least he would have help protecting the students this year, as his new Defense Professor was much more competent and trustworthy than the ones he had hired the two previous years. He just had to make sure nobody found out about his…issue when the full moon arose.
After all, who better to help capture a criminal, than the man’s betrayed former friend from school?
Chapter 43: Facing Fear
Disclaimer: I own nothing and part of this chapter was inspired by Eradona’s works.
The next morning, Harry was released from the Hospital Wing and he met up with his friends in the Great Hall for breakfast.
“So, did I miss anything last night?” asked Harry as he spooned some scrambled eggs onto his plate along with some cooked fish, rice, and a roll.
“Well,” said Neville, “you know about the Dementor attack on the train? That was because the Ministry has stationed them around the school as a precaution against Black. Apparently, he might be coming to Hogwarts for some reason.”
“Well that’s comforting,” said Harry sarcastically before sipping some pumpkin juice, “it’s great to know that those creatures are going to be around for the rest of the year.”
“On a brighter note,” said Hermione from her seat next to them as she placed some butter onto a scone, “we’ve finally gotten what hopes to be a competent Defense Professor.”
“After Lockhart last year, anyone would be a welcome change,” said Neville, “and on the subject, Hagrid was made the new Care of Magical Creatures Professor.”
“That’s…troubling,” muttered Harry as he recalled how he met a certain affectionate dragon thanks to the large man.
“So, what do you have first on your Timetable?” asked Hermione.
“I have Potions,” said Harry as he looked at his sheet, “but what’s this here? I’ve never heard of a Third Year getting a free period twice a week, and I don’t have Transfiguration on here.”
“A free period?” said Neville as he and Hermione looked over his shoulder, “How did you land that?”
“I believe I can answer that, Mister Longbottom,” said Professor McGonagall as she walked up, “I arranged for your free period Mister Potter. You will be spending it with me instead of taking the standard lessons. I wish to give you some advanced lessons after seeing your aptitude for the subject last term.”
“Thank you, Professor,” said Harry in surprise.
“Think nothing of it,” said the Deputy Headmistress, “just do not be late.”
Potions for the day was uneventful and Harry soon found himself sitting in the Ancient Runes Class next to Hermione, who looked somewhat tired and ragged.
“Greetings class,” said an older woman as she walked to the front of the room, “my name is Bathsheda Babbling, and welcome to your first Study of Ancient Runes lesson. Now, runes are more than an ancient and archaic alphanumeric structure. When understood and combined properly, one can create powerful magic using runic arrays. Over the course of this term, you will be learning to understand and translate the runes I will be exposing you to. Should any of you make it into my N.E.W.T. lessons, then we shall experiment with runic arrays.”
Waving her wand, the professor made several archaic letters appear on the board, “These runes are Uruz, Ansuz, Gebo, Laguz, Fehu, Thurisaz and Wunjo. Please open your textbooks and translate them into the modern vernacular with their given definitions.”
“I must say that this could prove useful in the future,” mused Ryuge from within Harry’s mind.
“How so?” asked Harry mentally as he read through his textbook.
“It could prove most versatile,” said the teen’s Zanpakuto, “if what your professor says is true, then you could likely incorporate runes into the barrier around your home.”
“I never thought of that,” admitted Harry, “I guess I should really focus on acing this class then, though Hermione’ll give me a rune for my money.”
“…that was certainly not your best joke,” deadpanned Ryuge, “but on the subject of your friend, she seemed rather worse for wear recently.”
“She did seem rather tired this morning,” agreed Harry as he began to translate the first rune, “more so than one would expect for the first day of classes.”
“Perhaps you should speak with her once lessons are over?” suggested Ryuge, “As her friend, you should help her, right?”
“Sounds like a plan,” said Harry as he continued to translate the runes.
Class continued in silence for the rest of the period and when the class was done those who hadn’t finished their translations were given the work as Homework. As Harry packed up his books, he saw Hermione hurrying out of the room, probably to her next class, and he rushed to follow, hoping to speak with her before she went to her next lesson, but when she turned a corner, she vanished.
“What the…?” said Harry in shock as he looked around for his friend. Her Reiatsu just vanished as if it was never there.
“It seems you have more to talk to her about than you initially thought,” said Ryuge.
It was later that Harry walked into the classroom of his DADA lesson, and when he did, he was in for a bit of a surprise. Standing in the center of the room was a large wardrobe that rattled violently, and coming from the object, was an ominous Reiatsu, similar, but not as numbingly sinister, as that he had felt from the Dementor.
“Greetings class,” said a man with greying hair and ragged robes as he walked in, “I’m Remus Lupin and I’ll be your Professor in Defense Against the Dark Arts. This year, we will be going over many of the dark and dangerous creatures that exist in the wizarding world and the ways to survive an encounter with them. For our first lesson, I decided on something a little more practical and therefore have brought this.”
Lupin gestured toward the wardrobe as it rattled violently, “Can anyone venture a guess as to what we have here?”
The students glanced at each other before one boy raised his hand, “A Boggart sir.”
“Excellent,” said Lupin, “and what is a Boggart?”
“A shapeshifter sir,” said Neville a tad nervously, “it takes the form of your worst fear.”
Oh. Now that wouldn’t end well, Harry groaned inwardly as he recalled his fight with his Inner Hollow and how scared he was that he would lose.
“Five points to Hufflepuff,” said Lupin, “Now, the key to defeating a Boggart is using its weakness: laughter. You’ll have to make the Boggart into something you can laugh at, and a good way to do that, is using the Boggart-Banishing Spell. Mister Longbottom, why don’t you give it a try first? The key is to imagine making something funny out of whatever the Boggart has become and then cast the spell to make it happen. The incantation is Riddikulus.”
Neville took a breath and faced the rattling wardrobe, mustering the confidence in himself that he had built up over the past two years as he raised his wand.
“One,” said Remus, “Two. THREE!”
With a flick of his wand, the Professor caused the wardrobe to open, allowing the livid form of Professor Severus Snape to step out, glaring down at the teen. Steeling his resolve, Neville gestured his wand at the man and yelled out, “Riddikulus!” causing Snape’s attire to change from billowing black robes, to a pink sundress with a bonnet and a picnic basket, the sight of which caused the class to erupt with laughter.
“Excellent,” said Lupin, “now who’s next?”
The students took turns stepping forward and casting the spell on the Boggart, causing its terrifying forms to become more comical than frightening. A vampire’s fangs fell out like dentures, a Zombie was dressed in disco clothes, a giant bee lost its stinger and wings, and a rotting corpse was covered in air fresheners and blankets.
Things were going smoothly, until Harry stepped forward to take his turn. For some reason, Lupin tried to step forward and intervene, but he wasn’t fast enough.
The class watched as the Boggart spotted Harry and began to change, taking the form of the teen, but with reptilian armor that looked to be made of bone, a saurian tail, clawed fingers, and yellow eyes with black sclera that glared out from behind a white mask that resembled the skull of a Styracosaurus.
The Boggart had become a Hollowfied Harry Potter.
Chapter 44: Friends and Truths
Disclaimer: I own nothing.
The class watched in shock as the transformed Boggart fixed Harry with a dark look, before throwing its head back and letting out an ethereal howl that sent chills down everyone’s spines.
“What the hell is that thing?” yelled Ernie Macmillan as the beast walked toward Harry.
“Riddikulus!” yelled Harry as he pointed his wand at his Boggart, transforming the Hollow mask into a goofy clown mask while he dressed it in bright pink robes with sunflowers printed on it.
The class, seeing that the monster was less frightening than it was before, let out some laughs, causing the creature to falter long enough for Lupin to step forward and take over, transforming the hollow into a silver sphere that floated behind some misty clouds, before casting the spell once himself, transforming the sphere into a whoopee cushion that flatulated itself back into the wardrobe.
“Excellent work everyone,” said Lupin, “Five points to everyone that had a turn, and three to the two that answered my questions earlier. For homework, please read the first three chapters in your textbooks and write a 1,000-word paper on properly dealing with one of the creatures described in those chapters.”
“So,” said Harry as he made himself a sandwich, “where did you disappear to after Charms?”
“I don’t know what you’re talking about,” said Hermione from a spot next to her friend, “I had to rush off to my next class, so you must have just lost sight of me.”
“I guess it’s possible,” said Harry, knowing that this wasn’t the case.
“Look,” sighed Hermione, “I would love to tell you Harry, but I could get in serious trouble.”
“I won’t pry then,” sighed Harry, “I have secrets of my own as we both know. Let’s change the subject, shall we?”
“Sounds good,” said Hermione, “I have to say, Professor Lupin is the best teacher we’ve had yet.”
“Considering our first one had the spirit of a Dark Lord sticking out of the back of his head and the other was a pompous git that couldn’t cast a spell to save his life, that’s not a great feat,” said Harry, “by the way, whatever happened to Lockhart?”
Hermione couldn’t help but smile at that, “Oh he’s gone for good. Apparently, a student was asking too many questions about the inconsistencies in his books, and the lying fop panicked and tried to Obliviate her. Unfortunately for him, Flitwick had just rounded the corner and put the bastard through a wall with a quick spell of his own. Last I heard he’s healing in Saint Mungo’s pending a formal hearing in front of the Wizengamont.”
“Serves him right,” laughed Harry as he took a drink from his goblet of tea.
“By the way,” said Hermione, “I heard from some girls in our year that Myrtle hasn’t been seen haunting the loo anymore. I spoke with the Grey Lady and all that she would say was that she had passed on. I thought Hogwarts ghosts were bound to the castle and couldn’t pass on.”
“Well,” said Harry, “I may have had something to do with that.”
“What did you do?” asked Hermione warily.
“One of the duties of a Shinigami is to help souls pass on to the next life,” said Harry, “I simply performed a Konso on her, allowing her to finally move on. She was really rather grateful. Apparently, she had never wanted to get stuck here haunting the girl’s loo.”
“That was awfully thoughtful of you,” said Hermione.
“Well I did owe her one,” said Harry, “without her help, I might never have been able to stop Riddle before he killed the girl writing in his diary.”
“I have to say,” said Hermione, “writing in a book that writes back to you, that doesn’t seem to be very smart. Especially in a world of magic like this, where curses items and possession by spirits is a real thing.”
“Sometimes people can lose focus, Hermione,” said Harry, “from what I heard from her brothers, she didn’t have many friends, so the friendship that Tom offered might have been more than she could pass up.”
“I suppose so,” said Hermione as she understood what it was like to have no friends.
“Oh, hallo,” said a cheery voice and the two of them turned to see Luna walking up, “how are both of you today? I see that there are a few Nargles clouding your head, Hermione.”
“No more than usual,” sighed Hermione.
Harry glanced at Luna as she took a seat and fidgeted as he felt his cheeks heat up and his stomach flip-flop. Again, he wondered about these new things he felt whenever the blond Ravenclaw was around these days.
“I’m afraid you’ll have to ask the Visored about that,” chuckled Ryuge from Harry’s Inner World.
“You think they would know?” Harry asked.
“I’m most certain,” answered his Zanpakuto, “…well, maybe not Mashiro. Yes, don’t ask her.”
“If you say so,” sighed Harry, “You’re awfully cryptic at times, Ryuge.”
“I am a part of your soul,” said Ryuge, and Harry could almost feel the dragon smirk, “as such I am only as cryptic as you are inside.”
Harry mentally chuckled and turned towards his two female friends, “So how have things been for you guys?”
“Oh, things have been going quite well,” said Luna with a smile, “Potions wasn’t very fun but Charms was quite interesting. I rather liked learning the Shrinking Charm.”
“Runes was fun,” said Hermione, “but Divination was a load of rubbish. I mean, thinking that fate was defined by what a person could see in a cup of soggy tea leaves?”
“That is a good point,” said Harry, “DADA was interesting, but I really don’t think that I want to face another Boggart anytime soon.”
“I hear you there,” said Neville as he walked up and took a seat, “sorry, was doing some research in the library.”
“What about?” asked Hermione.
“Well,” said Neville, “the Boggart transformed into a really weird and scary creature when it went against Harry. It had a creepy white mask and a bone chilling howl.”
“Oh, you must have seen a Hollow,” said Luna brightly, causing Hermione to snap her head around in surprise while Harry choked on his sandwich.
“A what now?” asked Neville, “Are you saying the thing was hollow?”
“Oh no,” said Luna as she shook her head, “a hollow is a spirit that has transformed into a mindless cannibalistic beast that hunts other souls and wears a bone-white mask. They’re very scary.”
“Where the heck did you see one of those things?” asked Neville as he turned to Harry, “I mean, your boggart turned into it…and it kinda resembled you.”
“Look Neville,” said Harry, “I’m willing to explain everything, but not here. Let’s find someplace more private to finish this.”
“So, you’re saying that you’re actually dead and are a spirit inhabiting an artificial body and your job is to help eliminate these creatures and maintain the balance between the living and the dead and that boggart took the form of the Hollow thing or whatever that resides in your inner soul?” summarized Neville.
Neville had taken them to the seventh floor and led them up and down a corridor until a door appeared in the wall, surprising the other three. Neville led them through the door into a decently sized lounge with comfortable chairs and plush couches surrounding a fireplace that was currently not lit. The group had taken a seat, as Neville explained that this was a room he had stumbled across one day when he was looking for a quiet place to study one day, and that he had learned that the room would become whatever a person required it to be…within reason.
“That about sums it up,” said Harry, “I’m a Visored, just like my family. That means I’m a Shinigami that has developed an Inner-Hollow and has conquered it to gain its power.”
“That’s…crazy,” said Neville, “and you two knew?”
“I learned about it when I visited his family and there was a Hollow attack,” said Hermione.
“Oh, I knew from the start,” said Luna, “when I saw Harry, I could easily tell his body was just holding his soul.”
“How could you tell that?” asked Hermione.
“I just…could,” said Luna with a smile.
“Anyways,” said Harry, “I’m sorry to keep this from you, but it’s not something that I can openly reveal to everyone. If you could keep this quiet from everyone else then I would be really grateful.”
“What are friends for?” said Neville with a chuckle, “But next time you have a huge secret, can you not wait two years to trust me with it?”
“Sounds good man,” said Harry and the two shook hands and did a bro-hug, “I’d better be off, McGonagall will have my head if I’m late to Transfiguration, especially since she wanted me to have an independent study session.”
“You have no idea how jealous of you I am right now,” sighed Hermione.
“I think I get the idea,” said Harry, “Ja-ne everyone.”
With that the Visored rushed out the door, leaving the others in the room.
“I should be going too,” said Luna, “I need to grab a book from the library for later.”
Once the blond had left as well and the door was firmly closed, Neville turned to Hermione, “So, you saw the looks Harry was giving Luna?”
“Oh yes,” chuckled Hermione, “I’m not sure if he knows what it means, but maybe we can help them along?”
The two of them chuckled and began to use the remainder of their lunch to plan. As Harry headed to his next class,
Chapter 45: Hogsmeade
Disclaimer: Bleach belongs to Tite Kubo and J.K. Rowling owns Harry Potter.
The next few days passed without incident, with Harry and his friends working through their classes and such. One interesting point came from Harry’s practices with the Hufflepuff Quidditch team, as they were working harder than ever to try and win the cup for their house this year. He had been pushed hard on the Chaser exercises, but he was pleased to be back on his broom again. Other than that, things were rather quiet for a change and Harry was eagerly looking forward to the first Hogsmeade weekend of the year.
“So, what do you think Hogsmeade will be like?” asked Neville as he and Harry waited in line to show their permission slips to Professor Sprout before heading out to see the Village.
“Not sure,” said Harry, “whenever I ask Fred and George about it, they keep telling me that finding out for myself is always the best part of the experience, though they did mention that I should try and visit The Three Broomsticks.”
“Sounds like a plan,” said Neville, “though I’ve heard good things about the sweet shop from the others in our House.”
“I guess that’s another place we’ll visit,” said Harry, “oh, we’re next.”
The two teens walked forward and handed their permission forms to their Head of House and walked through the doors out of the castle and down the path until they got their first look at Hogsmeade Village, and when they saw it, they couldn’t help but pause in wonder.
To Harry, the village looked like something out of an old medieval story, being a picturesque town with cobblestone streets and buildings made of brick and wood that resembled those from the old days of magic and fantasy. As they walked down the streets, the two boys glanced around them at the various shops and businesses that operated out of the small town before eventually spotting the presence of the Weasley Twins haggling over prices in a shop. Deciding to say hi, they walked in.
“I’m telling you,” said Fred, as he and his twin argued with the shopkeeper, “considering the state these are in, six Sickles is a fair offer.”
“I’m telling ya,” said the owner of the shop, “these are in excellent condition. Just got the sprouts in this mornin’ if you must know.”
“Hey guys,” said Harry as he and Neville walked over, “what’s going on?”
“Well you see Harry,” said George, his exasperation clear by the lack of a nickname, “we’re trying to purchase some Dittany cuttings to use in a project, but this bloke here is trying to jack up the price on us.”
“Am’ tellin ya,” said the man, “the sprouts were fresh so they’re worth ten Sickles.”
“Actually,” said Neville as he looked at the cuttings, “you can tell by the color of the leaves and the fading of the severed area, that these were cut from the main plant at least three days ago. You see, as the plant ages after being cut, the inner juices dry up and cause a discoloration on the leaves and stem. These cuttings are most certainly not fresh from the sprout.”
“Six Sickles,” said Fred again, “and be glad we’re not reporting you for trying to fleece your customers.”
The shopkeeper grunted and took the money and handed the cuttings to the Weasley twins. The two redheads then put away their newly purchased products and turned their attention to their younger friends.
“So,” began Fred.
“How’s Hogsmeade treating you?” finished George.
“It’s amazing,” said Neville.
“It’s like if Diagon Alley was a village,” said Harry.
“Well,” said George, “if you ask us…”
“…this is even better,” said Fred.
“So why are you looking for Dittany cuttings?” asked Neville.
“Well,” said Fred, “you know how we want to create our own Joke Shop, right?”
Seeing the two Third-Years nod, the twins continued.
“We’ve been working on some experimental joke products,” said George.
“And we needed the cuttings to see if they could stabilize the formula for one of them,” said Fred.
“What kinds of products?” asked Harry curiously.
“That Harrykins,” said George with a smirk, “is a surprise. You’ll find out when everyone else does.”
“With that being said,” said Fred, “how’s about we head to the Three Broomsticks for a round on us?”
“Sounds like fun,” said Neville.
“I’m game too,” said Harry.
“Great,” said Fred, “let’s go.”
The twins led Harry and Neville out of Dogweed and Deathcap, the shop they had been in, and down the streets of Hogsmeade. The leaves of Autumn crunched under their feet as they approached a busy looking inn/pub with a hanging sign that had three brooms with their handles crossing.
“Here we are,” said George.
“The best Pub in Hogsmeade,” continued Fred.
“The Hog’s Head is good,” added George.
“But God knows when they last washed the glasses in that bloody place,” muttered Fred.
“But enough of that…” began Fred with a smile.
“…shall we head in?” George finished with an equal grin.
The twins led the two of them into the pub and Harry and Neville got their first glance inside. The interior was somewhat rustic with many teens and adults sitting at tables or standing at the counter, all of them happily chattering while enjoying their drinks.
“Welcome to the Three Broomsticks,” said George.
The four of them quickly found an empty table and took a seat and a barmaid walked up to take their order.
“Afternoon all,” said the lady, “what can I get for you lot?”
“Pints of Butterbeer all around,” said Fred.
Seeing that their younger friends were giving them skeptical looks, George decided to explain, “There’s virtually no alcohol content, and it tastes kind of like butterscotch, but not a sickly-sweet.”
“It’s the favorite drink around here,” said Fred, “so what better way to christen your first trip to the village?”
The two Hufflepuffs agreed and soon the waitress arrived and placed four warm mugs of the drink on the table.
“Here’s to a good year,” said Fred as he raised his glass.
“Here’s to a calm year,” corrected Harry.
“Why would you want a calm year Harrykins?” asked George.
“Well,” said Harry, “considering that our first year involved a wraith of a Dark Lord and our second involved a series of attacks from a giant Basilisk, I for one would like an uneventful year for a change.”
“Considering that we already have Dementors patrolling around because of Sirius Black, I can see his point,” added Neville.
“Fair point,” said Fred, “then here’s to a calm and uneventful year for a change.”
The four boys drank their drinks, feeling them warm them up inside and enjoying the sweet taste of it, while trading stories about things that have happened back at their homes since they last saw each other.
“So, you really outsmarted this Urahara guy?” asked Fred, “And he’s supposed to be a genius, right?”
“That’s right,” said Harry as he took a drink from his mug, “I just had to point out the exchange rate for raw gold and offered that to him in the form of twenty melted Galleons.”
“That’s pretty impressive,” said George.
“By the way,” said Neville, “can Galleons even be melted? I thought Goblins put a charm on them to prevent that?”
“Oh,” said Harry mysteriously, “I have my ways. But anyway, how have things been with you guys and the Joke shop?”
“Well,” said George, “we told our mum that that was what we wanted.”
“She predictably had a cow,” added Fred, “but she did calm down when we pointed out that it was motivating us to ace several of our classes.”
“That it did,” nodded George, “though I think she wanted us to have a nice job in the Ministry.”
“Imagine that?” laughed Fred, “Us working desk jobs in the Ministry.”
“A terrifying thought,” agreed George.
“Hours and hours of paperwork,”
“Submitting reports on things like Cauldron bottoms,”
“Or the air-speed velocity of an unladen owl,”
“Dreadful, simply dreadful,”
“It’s the retail life for us,”
Harry and Neville couldn’t help but laugh at their exchange, “So,” said Neville, “what kinds of Joke Products are you working on? Planning to give Zonkos a run for their money?”
“It’s still early days,” began Fred.
“But we’ve got big plans,” finished George.
“Here’s to your success then,” said Harry as he raised his Butterbeer mug.
“I’ll drink to that,” said Neville as the group raised their glassed and took another pull, thankful that Butterbeer wasn’t enough to get them intoxicated.
After several more humorous stories, and another round of Butterbeer to wash them down, the group decided to head out and look around at the other shops. As they walked past the shops, Harry noticed one that immediately caught his eye. While he was more partial to the lighter and less oily Japanese dishes that Lisa had always prepared, there was one type of food in Magical Europe that he always loved.
And that was the sweets.
Because of this, a shop caught his attention as he walked past, with several dozen display boxes advertising sweets and snacks in the windows. Harry quickly headed over and looked through the window, causing the Twins and Neville to have to catch up.
“Well,” said Fred, “I can’t think of a better way to top off this trip than a trip to the Honeydukes Sweet Shop.”
“That’s an excellent idea, brother of mine,” said George with a smile, “and it looks like Harrykins is quite eager.”
“Indeed it does,” said Fred with a nod.
“What can I say,” said Harry, “I like the sweets sold in Magical Britain.”
“Well then,” said Fred, “how about we meet up later then?”
“Sounds good,” said Harry as before he headed into the sweet shop.
The young Visored pushed open the doors and Harry’s eyes sparkled as he saw the vast assortment of sweets on the shelves. He quickly began to look around and pick out several items for himself and some to send home to the Visored and Urahara. As he shopped, he saw another familiar face browsing the aisles.
“Hermione!” said Harry as he saw his friend looking at a display of Fizzing Whizzbees, “I didn’t expect to see you here. You never seemed to be the sort to like sweets and candy.”
“Well,” said the bushy brunette with a slight blush, “my parents are Dentists, so I tend to avoid overly sweet desserts, but I’ve developed a fondness for some of the sweets here, and I’ve been dying to try some Fizzing Whizzbees after all the praises some of the older students have sung about them. What about you? You always ate healthy at mealtimes.”
“I’ve become fond of the sweets myself,” said Harry with a chuckle.
“Then let’s pick out some good ones,” said Hermione, “maybe we can get some for Luna too?”
“R-right,” said Harry with a slight blush.
“I’ve heard she likes Sugar Mice,” offered Hermione.
Harry smiled and quickly made to grab a pack off the shelves. As he enjoyed his weekend in the wizarding village, he couldn’t help but notice a chill that filled the air, that didn’t seem to go with the autumn air, but he brushed it aside as he hung out with his friends. Little did he know that that was the prelude to a dark tide on the horizon.