Chapter 1: Raven Pendants and Red Journals
“Mr. Potter has no choice. He is, as of tonight, A triwizard champion.”
Harry struggled to keep his feet moving as he made his way back to Gryffindor Tower. He felt numb, not even fear tickled at the back of his mind. He was completely numb. Empty.
Harry turned to his left to see Draco and Blaise Zabini leaning against the stone wall outside of the Great Hall. Draco’s expression was mildly curious, while Blaise simply crossed his arms over his chest.
“Fine,” was all Harry could get out before he continued his walk to the tower. He didn’t even have the heart to question why Draco Malfoy of all people was suddenly showing an interest in his well being.
It took nearly three times longer than usual, but eventually he stepped through the threshold of his dorm room. He ignored the looks Ron sent him as he changed clothing and climbed into his bed. He was asleep before his head hit the pillow.
The next morning Harry sat as far away from the rest of Gryffindor House as he possibly could. He couldn’t stand the constant whispering and glares they sent him when they thought he wasn’t paying attention.
He picked at his food, unable to eat more than half of what was on his plate. Eventually he gave up on eating and cradled a warm cup of coffee in his hands. He savored the warmth as it ran down his throat and settled in his stomach.
He let out a sigh after a long while and decided he didn’t care anymore. Why was this any different than second year? They hated him then and they hated him now. Things would never change. They only liked him when he was earning house points or catching the golden snitch during the Gryffindor quidditch matches.
Harry didn’t need them. He certainly wasn’t going to waste time on people who turned their backs on him at nearly every opportunity. He would figure it out on his own, he decided. He would study and do everything within his power to complete the tasks. He didn’t have time for the drama, not when his life was at risk.
Harry took another sip of his coffee, but nearly dropped the cup when a raven almost landed on his half empty plate. The rather intelligent looking bird stole a piece of bacon before spreading its wings and flying from the Great Hall.
He watched it go before noticing the package it had left behind. It was thin and rectangular with a slight lump on one side. Wondering if it was from Sirius, he picked it up and glanced around to make sure no one was paying attention. Everyone was purposefully ignoring him, so he cast several curse detection spells before carefully ripping open the package.
Inside were two items. The first was a raven pendant on a black chain. The raven was flying with its wings spread wide, an it had crimson eyes and black metal feathers that glinted in the light.
He put it aside to look over the second item, a red leather journal with black fastenings. He opened the cover to see six words written on the first page,
‘Wear the pendant. Don’t trust Dumbledore.’
Harry froze in shock as he stared at the page. After a moment, he flipped through the rest of the journal, but there was nothing else. He half expected the words to fade, but they were still there when he turned back to the first page,
‘Wear the pendant. Don’t trust Dumbledore.’
He thought the handwriting was familiar, but he couldn’t place it. He thought of Tom Riddle’s diary, and looked over the journal more closely.
It was obviously new, not old like Tom Riddle’s diary. It also didn’t have the same… taste , as Tom Riddle’s diary. It was different, yet it still felt familiar somehow.
‘Don’t trust Dumbeldore.’
Harry certainly felt betrayed by the Headmaster. The man hadn't done a single thing to help him get out of this situation the previous night. Harry was angry with Dumbledore, but that didn’t mean he didn’t trust him. He had to believe Headmaster Dumbledore was looking for a way to break the magical contract.
Feeling slightly nervous, Harry slipped the red journal and the pendant into his backpack. He would look into it further after his classes were over.
Harry accidentally ran into Draco Malfoy as he left the hall. “Watch it Potter,” Draco hissed as he shoved him back. Draco discreetly forced a crumpled piece of paper into his hand as he pushed past him.
Harry held it tightly at his side as he watched Draco disappear with the rest of the Slytherins into the crowd of students.
He opened it as he walked to his first class of the day, unable to wait until later. Careful to make sure no one was watching him, he pulled apart the wrinkled paper. It read, ‘Be careful Potter, things are not as the seem. You are being watched.'’
Harry felt a wave of frustration come over him as he crumpled the note back up and shoved it into his backpack with the journal and pendant.
What the hell is going on? He asked himself.
After classes ended, he found the most secluded section of the library and cast a notice-me-not charm to prevent people from bothering him.
He then sat down and took out the journal and Draco's note to compare the two. He set them side by side on the table and immediately noticed the difference in handwriting. Whoever wrote in the journal certainly wasn't Draco Malfoy.
He pushed the journal and the note across the table out of anger and dropped his face into his hands. He wished he had someone to ask for advice, but something was telling him to keep everything to himself. Something wasn't right. If two different people were warning him, it meant he was in danger. Though whether or not Draco and the mystery writer were trustworthy was up for debate. Maybe they were the ones trying to lead him into a trap.
Either way, he would take their advice and watch his own back. He wouldn't trust anyone moving forward until he had more information.
Harry brought the journal and the note closer again, hoping to find some kind of clue. He nearly gasped when he opened the journal and found seven more words written underneath the original sentence.
'Wear the pendant and don't take it off.'
Harry quickly grabbed a quill and ink from his backpack and wrote, 'Why should I trust you?' His hand shook as he waited for a response.
The mystery writer wrote back, 'Protective wards and spells, Volume V, pg. 73'
Harry immediately went and found the librarian. He gave her the title of the book he was looking for and watched patiently as she searched through the ledger book. He followed her for what felt like an eternity through the library before she stopped and picked a book from the shelf.
"Here you are," she said. "Make sure to put it back when you are done."
With that she returned to her desk and Harry returned to his dusty corner of the library.
He set the book down gently and flipped to page 73 as quickly as he could manage without tearing the pages.
Protective Magical Objects
Magical objects such as necklaces, pendants, bracelets, and rings can be imbued with wards and spells to help protect the wearer from those who wish to cause them magical harm.
A skilled witch or wizard can cast wards on an object to shield the wearer from most mild forms of harmful magic, such as compulsion spells, jinxs, hexes, and some curses….
Harry once again picked up the journal and scribbled out,
'How do I know the pendant is going to protect me and not hurt me?'
Harry flipped to the chapter and read the heading,
Chapter 13: How to tell if a Magical Object is Dangerous
The chapter listed several magical detection spells that Harry already knew, but it also listed many more he had never heard of before. There was even a spell to diagnose which wards and spells were already on the journal.
He practiced the wand movements for several minutes before pointing his wand at the pendant and murmuring,
"Ipsum Revelare ."
He repeated the incantation two more times before touching the tip of his wand to a blank sheet of parchment. "Veritatem."
Slowly words began to appear on the page,
Basic Protection Ward
Mental Clarity Charm
Minor Hex and Jinx Ward
Minor Curse Ward
Compulsion Shield Ward
Harry's jaw twitched as he read the last word. The very last thing he needed was a pendant that could randomly take him away from Hogwarts. Whoever was on the other end of that journal would probably take him straight to Voldemort.
He picked up his quill and wrote in the journal, 'I won't wear a Portkey.'
'It is a one way Portkey. Only you can activate it.'
'And how do I do that?' Harry asked.
'You hold the pendant in your hand and say the words "Concedam salutem", it will take you to safety if you need it.'
Harry frowned, 'You mean it will take me to you?'
The mystery writer didn't respond.
Sighing, Harry removed the pendant from his backpack and dropped it on the table next to the journal. He stared at it for a long while, noticing the way the raven's red eyes flickered in the light. He didn't know who sent him the pendant, but after casting several detection spells he felt confident it wouldn't hurt him. The only thing preventing him from wearing it was the portkey feature.
Harry spent the next 10 minutes considering his options before he finally slipped the black chain over his neck. He needed all the help he could get.
Chapter 2: Hidebehinds
Hey just so you guys know I changed the lion pendant to a black raven pendant. I thought it was more appropriate.
(See the end of the chapter for more notes.)
Two weeks went by without a word from the mystery writer and Harry was getting desperate.
His search for answers had come up empty and he was running out of ideas.
Besides that, things at Hogwarts were getting… weird , to say the least. More than once he had noticed some of the Slytherins watching him. Not maliciously, just curiously.
There was also the time Draco Malfoy, Blaise Zabini, and Theodore Nott cornered Ron and told him to piss off after Ron purposely bumped into Harry. Harry had bent down to pick up his books, and by the time he stood up again Ron was against the wall looking utterly terrified. Ron never even bothered to look in his direction after that. Even Hermione looked skeptical.
Harry’s first instinct was to tell the Slytherins to leave his friends alone, but he was too angry and too tired to care about what happened to Ron and Hermione. If they wanted to abandon him for something he didn’t do, he wouldn’t put in any effort to help them. They obviously weren’t his friends anymore.
And on top of it all, the first task was approaching and he had no idea what to expect. Harry spent most of his days researching defensive and offensive spells, but other than that he didn’t know what to do.
Over the next few days Harry took up a new habit of wandering the castle and the grounds. He couldn’t sit still for longer than a few minutes.
At one point Harry found himself walking along the edge of the forbidden forest. He walked slowly and stared down his feet, watching as moisture from the grass began to soak through his shoes.
He sighed and moved a little closer to the forest. Harry stopped and placed one foot on the line between the Hogwarts grounds and the forbidden forest. One half of his foot was situated on green grass, while the other side was sinking into black mud. He swore he could almost feel the Hogwarts wards ending in that spot. He wondered what it would feel like to be free. Free from the suffocating atmosphere of Hogwarts and from the Dursleys.
He wondered if he could use some of the money from his Gringotts account to rent a muggle apartment. He wouldn be perfectly happy living alone, away from the rest of the world. Harry huffed in frustration as he kicked at the ground. Dumbledore would never allow it.
Harry was jerked out of his thoughts as he heard a stick snap behind him. He spun around and saw Draco and Blaise standing there.
“What do you want?” He asked, feeling off balance.
Draco glanced down and noticed the raven pendant around Harry’s neck. Harry thought he noticed a glint of approval cross over the blonds face, but it was so subtle he wondered if he imagined it.
Harry tucked the pendant underneath his shirt and asked again with a little more force, “What do you want?”
Draco made eye contact and said matter of factly, “The first task is approaching and you have no idea what you are doing.”
Harry clenched his jaw for a moment out of anger, but then relaxed. “Okay, you’re right about that one.”
Draco and Blaise looked at one another. “We know what the first task is,” Draco told him as he turned back to face him. “So do all of the other contestants.”
Harry’s jaw dropped a little, “Are you serious?”
“Of course,” Blaise said smoothly as he crossed his arms over his chest. “Cheating is part of the tournament.”
“He’s right,” added Draco. “Krum and Delacour were each informed weeks ago by their mentors.”
Harry felt sick. “And Cedric?”
“I don’t know if Cedric knows, but he is a lot more resourceful and manipulative than you think. He probably knows.”
Blaise nodded in agreement, “He should have been a Slytherin.”
“How do you know about this?” Asked Harry. “How do I know you are telling the truth?”
“We have… connections.” Blaise said cryptically.
“Of course you do,” Harry muttered to himself. He was furious. He was in a tournament he had no business being part of, and he was the only contestant who didn’t know what the task was. How was any of this fair?
As if reading his thoughts Draco stepped closer. “Listen Potter. You shouldn’t be in this tournament, but you are. So if you want to stay alive you need to play dirty.”
“No one is looking out for you,” added Blaise. “You have to look out for yourself and do whatever it takes. Besides, this could be an opportunity.”
“How is all of this an opportunity?” Harry spat.
“The students of Hogwarts hate you. Prove to them you are more than they could ever hope to be. Win the tournament.”
“I don’t care about winning,” he said instantly. “I never wanted any of this.”
“No you didn’t,” Draco replied darkly. “But here you are. You have to accept it and use it to your advantage, otherwise people will continue using you for the rest of your life. You don’t seem like someone who likes being taken advantage of. Show them you're not someone they can fuck with.”
“Is that what you do? They Slytherins?” He asked.
Part of Harry wanted to resist, to run away and reject what they were telling him. However, an even bigger part of him was saying that they were right. He latched onto that part of him and held it tight. He had been pushed him too far this time and he was done being taken advantage of. He wasn’t theirs anymore.
“Okay.” Harry said after a long time. “But how do I know I can trust you? Why are you helping me?”
Draco stepped closer until they were only standing a foot apart. “What is your gut telling you? I told you, not everything is as it seems.”
Harry’s gut was telling him something he wasn’t ready to consider, but he knew he needed help if he were to win. Besides, out of everyone in Hogwarts, they were the only ones looking out for him. Yes, he was suspicious, but he was out of options.
His face was serious as he replied. “Okay I will trust you, but don’t make me regret it. Otherwise I will make you regret it.” Both Draco and Blaise smirked.
“Okay then. Follow us and we will show you the first task.” Draco said as he gestured to the Forbidden Forest.
"Why in there?"
Draco rolled his eyes. "Because that's where we need to go if you want to understand the task."
Harry gritted his teeth before following Draco and Blaise into the forest.
Darkness swallowed them whole as they left the Hogwarts grounds behind. Harry looked up at the impenetrable tree canopy and wondered how any creature could live in a place so completely devoid of light.
"We're not supposed to be here," said Draco. "There are guards everywhere, so we have to stay hidden."
"Guards? Why are there guards?"
"You will see," replied Blaise patiently.
They continued on through the forest until they came to a small ridge. They climbed it together and stumbled across the very last thing any of them expected to see.
Harry gasped as he took in the sight of Luna Lovegood standing in a small clearing whispering gently to a young unicorn.
“You are very beautiful,” she whispered so quietly they almost couldn’t hear. “Thank you for allowing me to visit with you.”
She reached out a hand and ran her fingers through its mane. The unicorn leaned into her touch, obviously enjoying the attention.
Harry shifted into a better position and nearly swore when he heard a branch snap underneath his left foot. The unicorn looked in his direction before running off into the forest. He tried to duck down behind the ridge, but Luna smiled and said, “Come out Harry, I know you’re there.”
Harry stood, followed by Draco and Blaise. “I am sorry Luna.”
“Don’t be sorry,” she said in her usual sing-songy voice. “I was expecting you all.”
“You were?” Draco and Blaise asked simultaneously.
Luna nodded. “Of course. Harry needs to know what he is facing.” She glided over to Harry and linked their arms. “Come along now, we don’t have much time.”
Draco opened his mouth as if to protest, but Harry sent him an icy glare and the blond snapped his mouth shut.
Harry smiled at Luna, feeling happy to be with someone he trusted. He held her arm a little tighter as they followed Draco deeper into the forest.
They walked for another 20 minutes or so before Draco and Blaise gestured for them to stop. Draco made the shushing motion with his finger before getting down on his hands and knees and crawling up behind a set of bushes near the top of a small hill. The rest of them followed until they were kneeling beside him.
Draco pointed to a small opening between the roots of the bushes, and Harry got down on his stomach so he could see. As he looked between the roots, he saw a large clearing in the distance.
At the center of the clearing was a huge glass dome, at least a quarter of the size of a quidditch pitch. There were at least a dozen witches and wizards holding torches spread randomly around the dome watching something within.
“What is inside that?” Harry asked hesitantly. Not knowing if he wanted to know the answer.
“Look closer,” Luna said. “To the left.”
Harry looked again and saw what she was talking about. A skinny creature resembling a bear came out from behind a tree and stood near the edge of the dome on two long and skinny back legs. The creature’s limbs were thin like tree branches and Harry could see its bony ribs. The whole thing looked almost like a living skeleton. Its silvery hair, long sharp teeth, and knife-like claws glinted in the torchlight. Its jet black eyes were angry as they darted around. The creature dug its claws deep inside of a nearby tree, and Harry realized it must be at least 12 feet tall.
“What,” he breathed, “in the mother of fuck is that?”
“The first task,” replied Draco.
“It's a hidebehind,” Luna said matter of factly. “Very dangerous.”
Harry shook his head “A hidebehind? I have never heard of it.” He couldn’t take his eyes off of the terrifying creature as it continued walking. Its stick-like arms almost reached its knees as they swung slowly beside it.
Blaise moved to lay beside him so he could look at the ghoulish beast. “They are native to America. They brought four of them in just for the tournament.”
“There are four of them?” Harry whispered frantically.
“You only have to face one,” Draco said.
“Oh, only one,” Harry spat. “No big deal. It's not like that thing could rip me to shreds or anything. It looks like death incarnate. Merlin, Only one.”
He closed his eyes and asked, “Why is it called a hidebehind? What can it do?”
Draco let out a sigh, “It is called a hidebehind because it can either become invisible or contort itself to hide behind any object whenever it sees a human. The glass is charmed one-way glass, so it can’t see all of the people currently standing outside of the dome. We can see it, but it can’t see us.”
“They are nocturnal and they only hunt human beings.” Luna added.
“Bloody hell, I can’t do this.” Harry shook his head. How could he possibly face that thing? He was only 14 and he wasn’t supposed to be in the tournament in the first place. “What do they want us to do with it?”
“They want you to defeat it, to restrain it with magic. They will put you in the dome with one of them and give you points based on the complexity of the magic you use, and your ability to avoid injury.”
Harry shook his head. He pulled away from the bushes and crawled back down the hill. He leaned against a tree trunk and tried to keep himself from being sick.
Luna, Draco and Blaise followed. They waited quietly for a moment for him to calm down before Draco knelt in front of him. “You can do this.” He said.
“How?” Harry seethed. “There is no way. There has to be a way for me to get out of this tournament. What if I just don’t show up?”
Blaise shook his head. “A binding contract was created the second your name came out of that cup. You’re stuck. You have to compete or you will lose your magic.”
Harry tried to imagine life without his magic and couldn’t. His magic was everything to him. It was his reason for living. He would rather die than lose it.
He closed his eyes and prayed to whatever gods existed that he make it out of this alive.
“Harry we are going to help you,” Draco stood and held out a hand. “We have a plan. You are going to win this tournament.”
Harry opened his eyes and sighed, “What plan?”
Draco grabbed his shoulder and pulled him to his feet. “Trust us and you will see.”
Hey guys, thanks for reading! A hidebehind is a mythological creature in American folklore. It is also a creature found in the Harry Potter universe, I'm fairly certain JKR got the idea from the American myth actually.
This image is kind of what I imagined it looking like, the only difference is that its face is more bear-like. I don't own the image, I just saw it on tumblr and thought it was a cool representation. Here is the original link:
I hope you guys liked this chapter! Please leave feedback!
Chapter 3: Think Like A Slytherin, Test Them
Hey guys, I changed a couple of small things in the first two chapters, like the pendant is now a raven pendant because that makes more sense for this story and I was an idiot not to think of it sooner.
For those of you who left comments on the last chapter, I will be replying tomorrow! I just wanted to post the new chapter. Thanks for reading!!
(See the end of the chapter for more notes.)
Harry sat on his bed in the Gryffindor dorms with the curtains closed tightly around him. He cast a privacy charm for good measure before taking out the red journal. His black raven pendant swung back and forth from where it hung on his neck as he bent over the book.
He picked up his self inking quill and held the tip just above the empty page, unsure of what he really wanted to ask the mystery writer.
After several minutes of hovering over the page, he clenched his jaw and wrote,
‘I need to know who you are and why you are helping me?’
Harry was supposed to meet Draco and some of the other Slytherins the next day so they could plan out how he would defeat the hidebehind in the upcoming tournament.
Since the day Draco and Blaise took him into the forbidden forest, Harry had asked himself a thousand times why they of all people were helping him. He was confused and he needed answers before he went any further. The only person he could think to ask was the person who reached out to him immediately after his name came out of the cup. The mystery writer.
Harry waited, and waited. An hour went by without a response and Harry was close to falling asleep.
He flopped back onto his pillows and picked up the journal again, hoping to finally see a response written on the page.
He opened the leather cover and sat up straight when he saw the mystery writer had finally written back.
‘You will know in time. You must be patient.’
Harry’s excitement faded as he read the note. Once again, he had nothing. No answers. He stifled a frustrated groan as he once again felt the full weight of how alone he was.
He rubbed his eyes and picked up his quill.
‘Can you tell me anything else? Anything at all?’
‘Trust the Slytherins. They will protect you.’
Harry quickly scribbled back, ‘Why? What reason do they have?’
There was a slight pause before more words began to appear, ‘You are not ready to know everything. There are many things you need to learn on your own. You must discover the truth for yourself. Be patient and trust the Slytherins. Trust your instincts.’
Harry shook his head, ‘Why should I trust them? They are the least trustworthy people in the whole school.’
‘You already trust them,’ the mystery writer wrote. ‘And you are wrong. Slytherins protect one another, unlike Gryffindors.’
That one stung, and Harry closed the journal for a minute as he considered it. The more he thought about it, the more he realized the mystery writer was probably right. Never before had he seen the Slytherins bully one another. They were inseparable as far as he could tell.
He frowned as he wrote, ‘But how do I know they aren’t just trying to get me killed? How do I know you aren’t trying to get me killed?’
‘Actions speak louder than words.’ The mystery writer replied. ‘Trust your instincts. Only you can decide who to trust. If you are worried, test them.’
‘Test them? How?’
‘That is for you to decide. Think like a Slytherin.’
‘That isn’t easy when you are a Gryffindor.’ Harry wrote with a sigh.
‘I believe you will find it easier than most.’
Harry just shook his head and put the journal back under his pillow. He would just have to figure it out on his own.
The following day Harry stood outside the potions classroom along with the rest of the students. He leaned against the wall away from the crowd, waiting for Snape to appear in a dramatic fashion.
Harry noticed Ron standing off to his left with some of the other Gryffindors. Ron had his back turned to him, which suddenly gave him an idea.
Harry looked around until he found Draco standing with Blaise Zabini, Theo Nott, and Castor Lestrange far off to his right. He then turned back to Ron and discreetly took out his wand. He cast a fairly strong stinging hex in his ex-friend’s direction and smirked when it hit him in the leg.
Ron yelped loudly and spun around, his face red with anger. When he realized the only one standing behind him was Harry, he stomped over and hissed, “What in the bloody hell do you think you are doing Potter.”
Ron took out his wand as Harry held up his hands, “I don’t know what you are talking about Weasley.”
Before Ron could say another word the Slytherins were there. Draco and Blaise got between Harry and Ron, while Theo grabbed Harry’s shoulder and pulled him back.
Castor moved to stand behind Ron, silent as a shadow. His black eyes glinted as he flicked his wrist, sending his wand into his hand from the holster on his forearm.
Draco stepped forward until he was standing only inches away from Ron. Harry realized that Draco was several inches taller than Ron, and Ron seemed to realize it too as he took a step back. Draco took another step closer, closing the distance once again. He glared as he whispered calmly, “Walk away Weasley, before I make you regret it.”
“You can’t threaten me Malfoy.” Ron replied, his face turning even more red.
“Look around Weasley. You’re in the dungeons,” Draco pointed out with a smirk. “You are in my territory and Harry is my friend. Did you think I would just allow you to hurt him?”
“He hurt me!” Ron almost yelled as he gestured to Harry.
Castor stepped closer and touched the back of Ron’s neck with the tip of his sleek black wand. “I didn’t see anything.” Castor raised an eyebrow, “Did you Draco? Blaise?”
“No,” Blaise replied with a casual shrug. “I didn’t see anything.”
“Me neither.” Draco added.
“Hmmm, must have been your imagination then Weasley,” Castor said quietly. “Right?”
Sweat was beading on Ron’s forehead as he began to protest. Castor pressed his wand harder into the back of his neck. Ron shut up immediately and glared in Harry’s direction. “You’re right,” he said in an empty tone. “Must have imagined it.”
The Slytherins backed off immediately. Draco stepped back and Castor put his wand away.
Ron stepped away from the group, his glare never once wavering. “Glad to see you’re a Slytherin now Potter. Maybe you really are the next Dark Lord.” Harry simply glared back as Ron walked away.
He felt something settle within him as Ron rejoined the Gryffindors. He had all the proof he needed after seeing how quickly the Slytherins jumped to his aid. The mystery writer was right, he could trust the Slytherins. Harry still didn’t know why they were helping him, but at least he knew they would be there to help him if he needed it.
Castor raised an eyebrow as he asked, ‘You alright Potter?”
“I’m fine,” Harry reassured him. “Everything is fine.”
“What the hell was that about?” Blaise asked.
Harry shook his head, “I have no idea what his problem is.” He obviously didn’t want them to know that he had been testing them.
“Well if he tries again we will take care of him,” Blaise promised in a whisper. The rest of the Slytherins nodded in agreement.
“Meet us here after dinner. We will go over the strategy for the task.” Draco said. “We don’t have a lot of time left.”
After Harry’s final class of the day, he dropped off his books in his dorm room and made his way to the Great Hall for dinner. The hall was half full as he stepped through the threshold. He began walking towards the Gryffindor table, but noticed Ron and Hermione staring at him. Something in his heart hardened when he saw the way they were looking at him, like he was a fallen angel.
He then looked over to the Slytherin table and saw that Draco, Theo, Blaise, and Castor were already present. He steeled himself as he stood tall and glided over to their table. They looked up as he approached, each of them maintaining neutral expressions.
“Do you mind if I sit here?” He asked in a polite tone.
Draco’s eyebrows went up, “Not at all Potter. Have a seat.” Blaise and Draco moved apart to make room for him.
The Great Hall went silent as he sat down at the Slytherin table. Harry could practically feel Dumbledore’s gaze weighing on him, but he ignored it and began filling his plate with food.
“Very bold Potter,” Blaise whispered without looking at him. “I’m not sure if it was the right thing to do. Dumbledore is certainly questioning your loyalty now.”
“I don’t care,” Harry responded calmly. “I am sick of being their pet. I am not going to sit alone at the Gryffindor table forever.”
Castor sighed, “Well he is a Gryffindor afterall. We can’t expect him to act like a Slytherin all the time.”
Draco smirked, “Well you have made your statement Potter. Welcome to Slytherin. There is no going back now.”
“No there isn’t,” Harry agreed. He would never be able to look at Ron and Hermione the same way again. They would never again be friends. It hurt, but Harry knew it was for the best. He simply couldn’t trust them to be there for him when he needed them. He deserved better than that.
Harry took a deep breath and forced the sadness from his mind. It was time to move on.
A short while later, Pansy Parkinson and Daphne Greengrass joined them. Pansy sat down, her gaze never once leaving Harry. “Well well well,” she said. “I definitely wasn’t expecting this.”
“Harry Potter dining with the snakes,” Daphne added. “How interesting.”
Harry gave them each a small smile. Pansy reached over and touched his hair, “Oh this won’t do,” she said. “If he’s going to be one of us we are going to have to take care of this hair.”
“He needs new clothing as well,” Daphne added as her eyes ran up and down his form. “He could do so much better.”
Harry frowned in confusion and looked over to Draco as Pansy continued to try and fix his hair. Draco just shrugged, “Better get used to it. They won’t let it go.”
“He’s right,” Castor said with a smirk. “You could say they are the couturiers of Slytherin House.”
“Oh great,” Harry murmured.
“Don’t worry. You will look and feel like a new wizard once we are done with you,” Pansy assured him.
For some reason Harry found that idea appealing. He was trying to move on, wasn’t he? He turned to Pansy and smiled. “I’m looking forward to it.”
This pleased Pansy greatly, and she returned his smile. “We will take good care of you Potter, don’t worry.”
“Call me Harry, please.” He said as he looked around at the Slytherins.
Draco smiled and picked up his glass of pumpkin juice. “Alright then Harry. I propose a toast, to Hogwarts’ champion.”
The Slytherins joined Draco in raising their glasses. Blaise smirked as he added, “To the winner of the Triwizard Cup.”
Harry felt emotion swell up inside of him. He picked up his glass, “To new friends,” he said quietly.
The Slytherins all smiled as they clinked their glasses together.
After dinner Harry followed the Slytherins down into the dungeons. He recognized the long stretch of corridor that led to the Slytherin common room from his second year, though he would never tell the Slytherins that.
They stopped as they reached an empty wall. Draco whispered, “Silver,” and the stone wall opened, revealing the Slytherin common room.
Despite having been in the Slytherin common room once before, Harry was still surprised by the grand interior. While the Gryffindor common room was cluttered and cozy, the Slytherin common room was grand and expansive. It had rough stone walls, which made it look like an underground cave. Green lamps hung from the ceiling, and green light filtered in through the windows that separated them from the Black Lake.
Students were spread about studying on black and green leather sofas. They all looked up when they noticed who had entered the common room. Some looked angry, while others simply turned back to their work and conversations.
Draco and the others ignored all of them and continued on through the common room and down a set of stone stairs. At the bottom of the stairs was a long corridor of doors. Draco approached the 7th door and touched his wand to the handle. The door swung open and their group went inside.
Harry found himself in a medium sized room with black leather sofas, green lamps, and a roaring fireplace. There were bookshelves lining the walls and several desks spread throughout the room. A drinks cart was located in the corner of the room. It contained chilled water, a kettle for tea, and even a bottle of wine. There was also a small potions workspace separated from the rest of the room by a thick layer of glass.
“What is this?” Harry asked with a confused frown. The Gryffindor common rooms didn’t have anything like this.
“Each year gets their own study room in addition to the main common room,” Theo explained. “This is the fourth year study room. All of the books you see are books pertaining to fourth year class material. It is a quiet area for us to work together on our assignments and practice magic.”
“Gryffindor doesn’t have anything like this,” He said honestly.
“You’re in a tower,” Daphne said with a shrug. “There is a lot of unused space down here in the dungeons so we take advantage of it. We even have our own bedrooms.”
“Really?” Harry asked with wide eyes. He would kill for his own bedroom. His own space away from the cold eyes of Ron Weasley.
“You’re welcome to come here whenever you would like Harry,” Draco pointed out. “You know the password now and one of us will keep you informed whenever it changes. There are even extra bedrooms if you occasionally need to escape Gryffindor.”
Harry wasn’t sure how to respond. It all sounded too good to be true.
“You are welcome here Harry,” Draco emphasized again as he settled onto one of the sofas. Harry just nodded and sat across from him.
Castor dropped an ancient looking brown leather book on the table between them. It landed with a loud thud, causing Blaise to hiss, “Be careful with the books.”
Castor rolled his eyes and flipped to a tattered page in the book. Draco pointed to the page, “This is how you are going to beat the hidebehind.”
Harry bent over the book and read,
“The hidebehind is almost impossible to see, especially at night. They are skilled contortionists and can become invisible at will.” Draco explained. “You can’t fight what you can’t see, so this is our solution.”
Harry nodded, understanding Draco’s reasoning. If he could see the monster he could potentially fight it.
“There is only one problem,” Castor added as he sat beside Harry. “This spell, while not dangerous, is not exactly legal.”
Harry suddenly felt uncomfortable. “It’s Dark?”
“Yes it is, but there is a lot you don’t know about Dark Magic Harry. Like this spell here, Dark Magic isn’t all bad.”
“Just like Light Magic isn’t all good,” Theo chimed in. “You can kill someone with a light spell or a dark spell. At the end of the day, what matters is the intent of the witch or wizard.”
“If that is the case, then why is Dark Magic illegal?” Harry asked, feeling tense.
“Because Dark Magic is more powerful than Light Magic. It is old and wild. There was a time when it was the only magic in existence.”
“Also, only magically powerful witches and wizards are capable of practicing Dark Magic,” Blaise added. “Some exceptionally powerful witches and wizards even have an affinity for Dark Magic. The ministry made Dark Magic illegal because they couldn’t control it. For many of them it was simply beyond their reach.”
Draco nodded, “It is driven by emotions, while Light Magic is only driven by the witch or wizard’s magic. Emotions are extremely powerful motivators. Those who cannot control their emotions have a very hard time practicing Dark Magic. That is why it was banned. Witches and wizards can get lost in the magic if they are unable to control themselves.”
Harry nodded in understanding, but he was still hesitant to trust what they were telling him. Everyone he had ever known hated Dark Magic and despised its existence. It was the reason behind the last war. The war that killed his parents. He couldn’t just forget that.
“We can give you some history books on Dark Magic if you would like to read for yourself,” Draco suggested. “You can take some time to form your own opinions. We won’t sit here and tell you how to think Harry. We are not Dumbledore.”
Harry took a deep breath and nodded. There was nothing wrong with reading history books, right?
“Okay, I will read the history books. I need to know more about it, considering who I am.”
“Good choice,” Draco murmured as he wandered over to the bookshelves to find the books.
Blasie pointed to the book spread out on the table. “How do you feel about trying this spell Harry? You don’t have a lot of time left before the task.”
“But how would I even use it if it is illegal? The judges would know, wouldn’t they?”
“Perhaps not,” Blaise replied with a shake of his head. “Not if you can cast it nonverbally. They would never even know you cast a spell in the first place. However, this is a difficult spell. If you want to use it during the task, you need to begin practicing now. We can’t wait until you have read all of the history books. If you aren’t ready that is fine, we will try to think of some other way, this was the best option we could find.”
Harry read over the spell more closely. It didn’t appear to be dangerous. Plus it would be incredibly useful during the task. Besides, he wasn’t even supposed to be in the tournament. He was a fourteen year old wizard who wasn’t nearly qualified enough to participate. If this spell helped keep him alive, he would use it.
“Okay,” he finally agreed after a long while. “I will practice this spell, but that’s it. No more Dark Magic.” His voice was stern as he conveyed the last part.
“Of course,” Blaise assured him as he stood from the sofa. “Let’s get started.”
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