Re: Kingdom Of Magic [AU - Crossover with Hime-chan's Ribbon]
Ribbon and Stone
Chapter 4 - Friends
Eventually, Harry got to spend the rest of the summer with the Weasleys at the Burrow. Dumbledore had taken Harry back to the Dursleys via Portkey long enough for them to say a grudging good-bye to each other (Dumbledore offering to remove the Pig's Tail that a drunken Hagrid had afflicted Dudley with was a factor in this). Harry and Dudley hissed their goodbyes at each other, and then the two wizards left for the Burrow.
The fact that Dudley was hissing was not lost on Dumbledore. "Well, now something makes more sense." He chuckled, and pulled a bright yellow box out from inside of his robes. "Would you like a lemon drop, Harry? I always find it easier to focus on apparating when I have something to suck on."
Harry accepted the lemon drop, not being one to refuse kindness. "Er, sir, what's apparating?"
Dumbledore popped a lemon drop in his mouth, and looked at Harry. "Ah, sorry. I keep forgetting that you don't know these things. Apparating is when a wizard moves magically from one place to another. I would use another Portkey, but for the fact that the ministry would assume the worst. If you would grab my arm, just a little above the elbow."
Harry grabbed the proffered arm, and away they apparated. He felt as though someone was trying to juice him from the inside out. When he was next aware of where he was, there was a very tall... house, he supposed, surrounded by fields. On closer inspection, he saw that there were numerous chicken coops as well as a shed that looked just a little too small.
"Very good, Harry! Most wizards tend to react badly to their first Apparition, usually with the expulsion of the contents of their stomach through their mouth..."
Harry felt suddenly like doing just that, and looked for a bucket or a ditch to vomit in.
"...and my first time Apparating, I left half of my nose behind." Dumbledore finished, noticing that Harry was about to get sick. "Would you like a moment, or shall we go onward?"
Suddenly, there was a booming sound, and black smoke started pouring out of one of the third floor windows. "I suppose that would be the twins. Brilliant students, on par with your father and his friends; I just wish they didn't put so much of their efforts into pranking. Be on your toes while dealing with Fred and George, Harry."
Harry nodded in agreement, his stomach settling down quickly enough, and the two of them approached the door of the Burrow.
Before Dumbledore could knock, however, the door flew open and a gaggle of people came running out. Harry dived to the side and landed inside a bush. Two of them, with flaming red hair and built not entirely unlike Vernon Dursley, looked practically identical. Harry assumed that these were Fred and George. Behind them was a slightly taller red-haired boy, built more like Dumbledore. Harry remembered that his name was Ron. Behind Ron were the other two he had met at Diagon Alley - Himeko and Daichi. All five of them looked like they were running for their lives. Harry laughed when the twins tried to hide behind Ron, who was trying to hide behind Dumbledore.
Harry wondered briefly who could instill such terror into the five of them, when she stepped out into the door frame. A mane of red hair. Chocolate-brown eyes that burned with life. A humorous, if slightly predatory smile, revealing mostly straight, but slightly yellowed teeth. Her ears had been turned into lemons, and her face was covered with soot. Harry couldn't help but laugh at the sight of her. Professor Dumbledore looked as though he was chuckling. "Hello, Professor. Would you be so kind as to bring the five of them in with you? I'm sure mum would love to hear their explanations." Harry laughed. She stopped, then looked around for where the laughing was coming from. Her eyes caught Harry's, and her face turned bright red. "Er... I'll be... inside, yeah."
And with that, Ginny Weasley first met Harry Potter. Ron ceased cowering from behind the venerable warlock, and sighed in relief. Then, turning to face the twins, he started to go off on them. Harry wasn't really listening to what Ron had to say to the twins here, his attention was drawn back to the front door, where Molly Weasley was now standing. She waited for Ron to finish having his turn, then tore into the five miscreants with such ferocity that Harry almost mistook her for a lion. Dumbledore nodded, and Harry extracted himself from the bush he was in.
"Well, Harry, I think you should go ahead and make yourself comfortable; I'm sure Molly will give you a more thorough run-down of things when she's done telling off her sons and other guests. I must be off."
"Where are you going? Sir?"
"I, ah... have an appointment with Lucius Malfoy; something about repealing a law involving werewolves. I hope that law doesn't get repealed..."
Dumbledore merely chuckled and said "All in good time, Harry. All in good time."
And on that enigmatic note, Dumbledore apparated out of the Burrow. Harry took a moment to look around. There was a bookshelf with a peculiar clock on it; there were nine hands, and instead of numbers it had phrases like "Work" or "Home" or "Mortal Peril." Harry frowned when he saw that two of the hands - marked Bill and Charlie - were pointing to Mortal Peril. There was one - marked Dad - that was pointing at Work, and the rest were pointing at home. The bookshelf was filled with colorful books with equally colorful names - everything ranging from "Break with a Banshee" to "Wandering with Werewolves." Beside the bookshelf was a fireplace, burning merrily. Harry had never seen a real fireplace being used; the Dursleys had an electric one, and Mrs. Figg's was never lit when Harry was around.
He heard a small 'eep', and turned around, only to see the girl from earlier on the stairs, watching him. He started to feel a little uncomfortable. "Er, can I help you?"
The girl looked as though she were a deer caught in headlights. Harry slowly walked over to her. She was blushing slightly; Harry thought she had a fever. "Are you feeling alright? You look kind of-"
Before he could say any more, the front door burst open again. In marched the five troublemakers, followed by a stern Molly Weasley. "Upstairs, to your rooms, I'll call you down for dinner. Hello Harry, I see you've met my daughter Ginny. Ginevra, say Hello before he starts to think you're shy."
"H-hello." With that, she dashed off to her room. The five followed after. Molly sighed in exasperation, then turned to Harry.
"Dinner will be ready soon; I can't see why Ron would get in to mischief like that; usually it's the twins. Daichi and Himeko have been sniping at each other ever since they got here, and... well, it sort of snowballed." Molly and Harry both looked at the 'clock'; the hands marked Fred and George had moved from Home to Mortal Peril, and Harry wondered why they would be in mortal peril inside their own home.
There was a small explosion, followed by an eruption of fresh yelling. Molly looked at the ceiling angrily, and said to Harry "They've gone and bothered Percy again; if it wasn't for the Reasonable Restriction of Underage Wizardry, I'd have let Percy give them what's coming to them a long time ago. It doesn't help that Percy's been sharing his room with Sei..." Harry nodded in agreement, not wanting to say anything for fear of incurring the wrath of somebody.
Something stirred in his memory. "Er, who's Sei?" Harry asked, as politely as he could.
"Ah, yes... Sei Arei started staying with us last summer; apparently we've got some sort of agreement with Japan's foremost wizarding school."
"Almost-blonde hair, talks to snakes?"
"You've got the hair right, but he talks to pretty much all animals. He's a really big help when the chickens get loose."
The hands moved from "Mortal Peril" back to Home, and the stairs came alive with the sounds of four people moving. Some were going up, and others were coming down. "Why does the clock say Bill and Charlie-"
Before he could ask the question, Molly answered it. "Bill is a curse breaker for Gringotts, works in Egypt. Charlie's a Dragon Breeder for the Ministry; he's 'on loan' to Romania for a few years. They're both very perilous jobs, but I know my boys can face the peril." Molly chuckled at the reference that went over Harry's head. "Ah, Percy, what's the matter?"
The thumping subsided, and two figures emerged from the stairs. One was a tallish red-headed boy, looking at about age fifteen. On his chest was pinned a scarlet badge with a giant P on it. Harry assumed this was Percy, and he looked upset. The other was Sei Arei, and his face looked to be covered in soot. He looked like he was trying not to smile.
"Mum, will you please tell the twins to stop making a great thunder of a march when they walk past my room? I have enough problems with Potions without them shaking the house." Percy whined. Molly sighed, and the two of them went upstairs. Sei turned to Harry.
"Hello, Harry Potter. Do you remember me?"
"Sei Arei, right? From the zoo?"
"Oh, good, you do remember!"
Harry smiled; it looked like it was going to be a good summer after all.
Staying with the Weasleys was more fun than Harry thought possible. He was never attacked with a frying pan for simply existing, he was never asked to help with the indoor cleaning or cooking (but volunteered whenever he had the chance), and the outdoor cleaning, which was mostly just degnoming, felt more like a game than work. He was allowed to read any of the books in the bookcase in the den (which was a major change from how things were at the Dursleys), and he often watched the Twins as they worked on their homework. Harry noticed right away that they were really good with brewing potions and changing things into other things, and they were usually the first ones asked to handle any plants or creatures that Molly thought would be too much for Harry, Ron, or the other young ones. Percy was more bookish than the twins were, and often was heard quoting what Harry would have sworn to be Shakespeare. Ron was deliberate in his actions; while he was never exceptional at housework or the practice magic they were allowed to do, he was almost never taken by surprise. Ginny was similar to the twins according to everyone there, but whenever Harry was around she seemed to be kind of clumsy and very shy. When she thought Harry wasn't looking, however, she was very forceful and could almost boss Percy around. Molly was kind, but strict; Harry also thought she was a bit too mothering to him at times, but he didn't mind. The dad, Arthur Weasley, was a very curious person; he would often ask Harry what the Dursleys were like, and Harry would answer truthfully. The questions got a little uncomfortable after a while, but Harry answered them anyway. He never noticed the dark looks that went between Arthur and Molly during these sessions.
Harry realized, on the morning of August 30th, that he was going to miss this place. Still, it wasn't every day that you got to go to Hogwarts for the first time. As they all packed into Arthur's old, beat-up Ford Anglia, Harry realized that the car was a lot roomier on the inside than it should have been.
"We're not flying the car today, everyone; the Invisibility Booster needs to be looked at, and Fudge wants me to do another round of raids. I can get away with the Extension charm, but flight is a no-go until I can get that law about the carpets overturned." Arthur explained as he backed out the driveway. Harry wondered briefly what Uncle Vernon would have said about taking a train to a magic school; probably some smart remark about flying carpets full of holes. "I'm going to drop you lot off at King's Cross, then I'm going to head on over to the Ministry. Molly, you're still taking Ginny to Diagon Alley today, right?"
Molly nodded. "After we send the children off, yes. You have the letters for Fudge and Dumbledore, dear?"
"I have them," Arthur said, "and I will deliver Fudge's letter personally. We may have to owl Dumbledore his."
The rest of the trip was in silence (largely because nobody wanted to open their mouth due to the risk of Carsickness), and they arrived at King's Cross station with thirty minutes to go.
They all extracted themselves from the car and took a brief stretch. Arthur kissed his wife, smiled at his sons, and disapparated with a crack. Everyone looked at the Ford Anglia; Molly had timed the slamming of her door with her husband's disapparation, and the muggles all looked away. Everyone then started towards the barrier between Platforms 9 and 10.
"Harry, Himeko, Daichi - you three watch Percy and Sei do it first. Then Fred and George will go, then Harry and Ron, then Himeko and Daichi. Me and Ginny will follow after."
Harry found it amusing. Percy and Sei merely leaned against the barrier and melted through, but Fred and George ran through it. Harry had almost expected them to crash, but the lack of noise told him that they made it safely. He and Ron walked briskly, pushing their carts ahead of them. Harry really did think he was going to crash this time, and just as he was about to hit the 'wall', he closed his eyes. When he felt he was clear of the barrier, he opened his eyes to a marvelous sight.
A beautiful, scarlet train was sitting on the tracks ahead of them. Steam poured out of the spout near the engine. The crowd of people made Harry think briefly of Diagon Alley and its flock of wizards and witches. Many young children would be getting on the train for the first time today, and Harry was kind of excited to meet new people. He hoped that they would all be as nice as the Weasleys, but then he thought that there might be people as mean as the Dursleys on board. The twins had run off and joined a black boy with dreadlocks, and they were all ogling a box with what looked like a very large leg of a spider poking out from it. Through the mingling of voices, he heard snatches of conversations. "I can't find Trevor!" "Don't get in over your heads, girls." "I'll send you an owl as soon as we get there, Mama." "There's got to be a way to get you on the team, Son."
Giddy with excitement, Harry and Ron said their goodbyes to Molly and Ginny, and then got onto the train. They passed car after car, and when they got to the very last car of the train, they decided to just plop their stuff there.
"What do you think so far?" Ron asked.
"It's... very different from how the muggles do it, I'll say that much." Harry nodded. The door opened, and Sei came in to join them.
"The twins were driving me mad, and we haven't even left yet. I can't sit with Percy since he's got Prefect duties and all." Sei made a face, and continued. "We've got a lot of muggleborns this year, from the look of it. I hope Slytherin actually gets some for a change."
Harry was confused. "Slytherin?"
Ron looked at Harry like he had two heads; Sei sighed and started to explain. "There are four 'houses' at Hogwarts, and the students are supposed to be divided equally amongst them. There's Gryffindor, for those who are mostly brave; Ravenclaw, for those who are mostly smart; Slytherin, for those who are mostly cunning; and Hufflepuff, for those who are mostly loyal. I'm a Slytherin, all the Weasleys have been Gryffindors."
Ron scowled. "Yeah, and you're the only decent Slytherin there is."
Before the argument could go any further, the door opened. In came Himeko, Daichi, the bushy-haired girl from Diagon Alley, and a round-faced boy. "Have any of you seen a toad? Neville's lost his." Harry shook his head.
Sei motioned for the other four to have a seat. "If your familiar's gone missing, Hagrid'll find him for you before too long. I'm sure your toad is fine; you're more likely to step on him if you're looking for him anyway."
Since everyone had already met everyone else except for the round-faced boy, the introductions didn't take as long as they had in Diagon Alley. There was the usual gasp of excitement from the boy (whose name turned out to be Neville Longbottom) when Harry introduced himself.
"You know," Hermione began, "you could have told me you were The Famous Harry Potter when we met in Diagon Alley."
"I'm famous for something that I can't possibly remember, and I've been living with the Dursleys for the past ten years." Harry said flatly.
"But there are all these books out there about you!"
Sei looked at Hermione and said "He doesn't really look like the Voldemort-Slaying Hero in half of those books, though, now does he?"
Ron flinched horribly at the use of the name. "You said You-Know-Who's name!"
Sei was about to respond, when the compartment door opened again. There was a blonde boy flanked with two goons. Harry recognized him from Diagon Alley as the boy who was complaining about the brooms as soon as he started talking. "Well well well... Sei, thank you for finding Harry Potter for me." The boy pushed his way to Harry, and started to look him over. "I'm Draco Malfoy. It already looks like you might be a hopeless case, Potter, but I'll give you one chance. Be my friend, and you'll be set for life. Be their friend... well, if you're their friend, I can't guarantee that people will like you."
Harry thought for a moment, then asked "Those two Dudleys in the door. They your friends too?"
Draco sneered; Harry didn't like how it looked. "Nah, they're just Crabbe and Goyle. They do whatever I tell them to."
Harry thought for a moment longer, and then said "Why can't I be friends with everyone in this room?" Draco opened his mouth to answer, and then shut it. "Look, I've been living with Ron and his family for the past couple of months. I've got no problem being friends with you, but don't ask me not to be friends with him. Is that alright?"
Draco sat down, defeated. "If you can't beat them... Crabbe, Goyle, go find another compartment; this one's full."
The two Dudleys grunted in agreement, and looked strangely happy to be rid of Draco. With a slam the door was closed, and Sei finally got a chance to respond to Ron. "Ron, just because someone's in Slytherin doesn't make them automatically evil. Saying that I'm the only decent Slytherin is like saying Sirius Black is the only evil Gryffindor, or that Gilderoy Lockhart's the only Ravenclaw that was a people person. You're sorted at eleven years old; you can't possibly be evil at that young unless your parents teach you nothing else but evil."
Draco shifted uneasily in his seat; he'd never heard anyone defend Slytherin House like that before. More to the point, Sei seemed to be friends with Ron Weasley, who was entirely Gryffindor Red. He turned to Harry, and started to ask him some questions. "So, how did you do it, Potter?"
"How did I do what?" He asked, confused.
"Defeated You-Know-Who, that's what!"
Harry decided on a whim to play dumb. "No, actually, I don't know who. Mind telling me who I was supposed to defeat?"
"The Dark Lord!"
"Which Dark Lord? I've heard that there were loads of them running around at some point."
"The one that tried to kill you as a baby, Potter."
"...you do realize that he can't possibly remember something like that, right?" Hermione pointed out sensibly.
"Er, yes, well..." Draco started, then mumbled his way into a new question. "Is it true that you had to live like a muggle for ten years?"
Harry sighed. He still found it hard to talk about the Dursleys, but after all the questions Arthur Weasley had asked him, he now realized that there was something seriously wrong with his uncle (and maybe his aunt, too). "My uncle's a director at a firm called Grunnings, they make drills." At the look of confusion from the wizardborns, he elaborated. "A drill's a muggle tool used for making holes in stuff. Aunt Petunia's my mum's sister; she knew I was going to be a wizard, but tried to keep me from coming. She didn't try very hard, though; Hagrid found us in Majorca." Harry frowned at the memory. "Until I met Sei at the zoo, I was forced to sleep in a cupboard under the stairs. Aunt Petunia would make me cook and clean and all sorts of stuff, and would try and hit me with stuff if I didn't work 'hard enough.' Uncle Vernon would also hit me if anything happened that I couldn't explain."
Draco gasped, and said in a very angry voice "But you're no House Elf! In fact, you're a wizard, you should be ruling over them!"
Hermione turned to Draco. "Why should any person rule over any other person? We're all humans."
"But wizards are better!"
"How are wizards better?"
"We can fly!"
"Muggles have been to the Moon. Have any wizards been to the Moon?"
"Well, no, but... we can heal all sorts of illnesses!"
"So can muggles, and we've found ways to make you immune to some illnesses."
"Yeah, but... we can... we... we've got magic! Muggles don't have magic."
"My parents are muggles, and they get along in life without magic just fine."
"You're a mudblood? I thought you were at least half-blood."
This last question made Ron and Sei very upset. Sei grabbed Ron by the back of his shirt and said, very clearly, "Draco, you'd better hope Professor Snape doesn't ever hear you call anyone that. He will murder you and then give you a month's detention and take a thousand points off of your house. Two thousand if it's Slytherin."
Everyone looked at Sei, wondering how he knew that. Draco, sensing that Ron still wanted to inflict physical harm on him, very quickly apologized to Hermione.
The rest of the train ride was somewhat friendly, if also kind of stiff and formal. Harry still didn't know if he liked Draco or not. On the one hand, he seemed like a decent person, if a little stuck up and snobbish. On the other hand, some of what he thought about muggles made Harry worry. It sounded a lot like what Uncle Vernon had said about freaks, and Harry had been on the receiving end of a lot of what Uncle Vernon had said about freaks.