Harry Potter Harry Potter and Childish Things


Well-Known Member
Not a new chapter, but i wanted to get your opinions on something.

I've had a couple of ideas, but unfortunately, they're a bit too similar for my tastes. So I thought I would ask which of them you guys think would be more interesting. Put it in spoiler tags in case people don't want to know, and because one of the ideas reveals something important that is going to happen this year.


After Rex chewed his soul up into pieces, a lot of the smaller fragments weren't capable of doing much on their own. All they really could do was possess whatever small, unfortunate animal they could find in the general vicinity, mostly small vermin. While each individual shard is extremely weak they do have a resonant effect, so when enough of the possessed creatures are in close proximity, Voldemort can manifest his will.

Of course, due to the damage he took from Rex, he's even less stable, and the influence of all the animal minds is further warping him. I'm not sure exactly where this would go besides a fight against a swarm of sentient, magical rats, but Prime!Voldemort using Hivemind!Voldemort as a monster proxy could be one option. Trying to devour Diary!Voldemort to regain a full, physical body and reinforce the shards of his soul is another, especially if he wises up enough to change his appearance or age as a result. I could probably think of a few more options, but I think I've gotten the point across.


After Hogwarts is blown up in second year, they rebuild it. however, since a lot of knowledge abotu how and why Hogwarts was built has been lost, they don;t do it entirely properly. Corrupted magic ends up leaking from the foundations, and while it isn;t enough for things to spontaneously change, it does make things act a little oddly, such as the Weasley's car coming to life in canon.

Basically, when pettigrew tries to escape at the end of third year, Lupin manages to get in a quick bite, swipe, or whatever. While normally this wouldn't be too much of an issue, thanks to the corruptive effects of the imporperly rebuilt Hogwarts, lycanthropy and animagus magic intermingle and end up turning peter into a wererat.

Again, from there I'm not exactly certain where things would progress. One of the simplest and most horrifying options would be to have a sudden outbreak of wererat lycanthropy among humans and wizards alike. This would effectively screw up the secrecy aspect of magic beyond the point of recovery, and I;m not sure how that would effect the story. The other would be to have Peter be significantly less animalistic as a result of the intermingling magics. Assuming he was smart enough to study his new condition (not altogether impossible if he tries to find Voldemort), he could either become the center of a rat hivemind like Voldemort could be, or start an entire new were race, with himself as the king, taking advantage of the fact that he is the Prime/Original Wererat, either going off on his own once he has enough power, or using them to benefit Voldemort.

So, thoughts?


Well-Known Member
zerohour said:
Assuming he was smart enough to study his new condition (not altogether impossible if he tries to find Voldemort), he could either become the center of a rat hivemind like Voldemort could be, or start an entire new were race, with himself as the king, taking advantage of the fact that he is the Prime/Original Wererat, either going off on his own once he has enough power, or using them to benefit Voldemort.
The thing you have to remember about Peter is that his defining character trait is cowardice. He only went back to Voldemort in canon because he had nowhere else left to go. If he establishes some kind of rat-related power base, he's going to hole up somewhere and keep his head down.


Well-Known Member
Hey look, new chapter! Now with more typos and spelling errors!

The rest of summer passed fairly uneventfully. While they didn't manage to arrange another gathering, Harry did spend plenty of time with Annabel, and talking to Hermione over the phone. On occasion, he would venture out into the neighborhood

It was a bit surprising to hear that his aunt had told everyone that he was attending St. Brutus' Schoolf for Incurable Criminal Boys, but considering how he seemed to drive his relatives out of the house, it wasn't surprising that everyone believed it.

Still, it wasn't much of a problem, and summer soon ended, and Harry eagerly packed up his bags for another year of magic. Like last year, Annabel and her mother gave him a ride to the train platform, though they left all of the loading and lifting to Harry.

After everything was settled, Harry began to walk towards the station, Annabel trailing behind him. He stopped, double checking that he had anything, before turning to speak to his friend.

“Well, it looks like this is it. I'm not going to see you until the winter holidays.” Harry said.

“Yeah, I guess it is.” Annabel responded. They stood there in awkwards silence for several long seconds, before Harry spoke up.

“Well, I guess this is goodbye. Bye Annie.” Harry said, and began walking off.

Annabel seized his arm, pulling him back towards her, and hugged him fiercely, “I'm going to miss you Harry.”

Harry awkwardly returned the hug, not sure how to respond when Annabel got like this, “I'll try to write more this year.”

“You'd better.” Harry pretended not to hear the sniffle, instead grabbing his trunk, and waving goodbye.

Annabel stood there for a moment, before returning to her mother's car, stubbornly refusing to lose control, and let her tears fall.

As Annabel drove away, Harry stared at the wall between platforms nine and ten. He had done this once before, but running headlong into what appeared to be a solid brick wall didn't get any easier with practice.

Harry ran headlong at the portal, and was hit with a blazing red wall. It was only after he collapsed on the ground in a daze that he recognized it as pain.

“It's blocked?” Harry said, rubbing his head as he slowly struggled back to his feet.

“maybe we're early?” Rex asked.

“No, I saw some people go in just a few minutes ago,” Harry said, puzzled, trying to ignore the odds looks of the variosu passengers heading towards their own trains.

“Maybe we're late?”

“Not according to the clock. We still have twenty minutes or so.” Harry said, staring at the wall in confusion. Perhaps they had moved it? Maybe they locked it down while the platformed cleared up a bit? He casually leaned against the wall, but it remained as solid as ever. He tried pushing, he tried kicking, he tried everything short of pulling his wand, with no results.

“We're running out of time!” Harry groaned to himself as he glanced at the clock, frantically trying to think of a solution.

“is anybody looking?” Rex asked.

“Why?” Harry asked.

“just answer the question.”

“Well... no one is looking, I guess...”

“good. I'm going to smash the door down.” Rex said.

“What, wait!” Harry asked in disbelief..

“is there something wrong?” Rex asked in confusion.

“You can't just smash down the portal!” Harry hissed, “It'll violate the Statute of Secrecy!”


“So they'll probably arrest me!” Harry said, “There's got to be some kind of way to get in!”

“well, i'm listening...”

“Give me a minute!” Harry said, desperately trying to think of something before his friend did something regrettable. Not that Rex would care, but it would certainly make his life more difficult than it needed to be.

“tOO LATE.” Rex said, Harry watched in growing horror as he resumed his monstrous incarnation, before lifting his claws and slashing the portal to pieces.

“I THInk that i overdid it” Rex said sheepishly, shrinking down to his more benign form. Harry watched, still dumbstruck, as the massiev damage wrought on the structure of the train station began

“Never mind, just go! Go!” Harry said, picking up the miniature monster and rushing through the crumbling passage. Cluds of dust filled the air, and made it difficult to see or even breathe, but Harry was grateful fro the cover, as it kept him concealed from whoever might be nearby.

“I hope the muggle repelling charms keep anyone from noticing it...” Harry scoughed as he emerged on the other side, doing his best to blend into the crowd of startled wizards and witches. “Though I think the collapse scared away almost everybody...”

“see? it all worked out in the end!” Rex exclaimed happily, earning an exasperated sigh form his friend, before Harry hurriedly stuffed him into his trunk.

Somehow, Harry managed to make his way onto the Hogwarts Express without any firther incident..

“How are you doing Rex?” Harry asked.

“i wish you would wash your socks before stuffing me in here. it smells.” Rex said, scratching at his nose in an attempt to dispel the stench.

“Sorry about that.” Harry said, letting his closest friend hop down to the ground, where he began to explore their small compartment.

“You can't wander around too much. People are coming to visit me.” Harry warned his companion, though he knew it probably wouldn't help too much.

“don't worry. i'm just making sure nothing unusual is lurking in the shadows.”

“Like what? I haven't seen anything I would call 'usual' in the magical world.” Harry said with a grin.

“you know, something that doesn't belong. even in the magical world.” Rex responded, “i can feel it in my bones. something different is here... somewhere...”

Harry gave his friend an odd look, but before he could ask what he meant, a number of his housemates entered the compartment.

“Harry! How have you been?” Hannah exclaimed as she bustled into the compartment, enveloping him in a hug.

“Well, it hasn't been that long. I saw you a couple of weeks ago.” Harry answered, laughing.

“A couple of weeks is FOREVER!” Susan exclaimed.

“And you never answered any of our letters!” Hannah cried out, giving him a glare.

“What letters?” Harry asked, puzzled. Before his friends could reply, there was a great thunking in the corridor, followed by a knock on the door. After a brief pause the door opened, to reveal an overburdened girl, desperately trying to balance far more books than anyone should be carrying.

“Hermione!” Hannah exclaimed, wrapping the Gryffindor in a hug as she had done to Harry.

“How was the rest of your summer? Did Harry behave himself?” Susan asked.


“Just joking Harry.”

“It was lovely, and Harry conducted himself like a perfect gentleman.” Hermione answered.

“Did you buy a library over the summer?” Earnie asked, looking at the three massive suitcases Hermione struggled to bring into the compartment.

“No, my parents cut my allowance when the learned how many books I bought.

“What do you need all of these for?” Susan asked in wonder as she paged through one of them, before Hermione snatched it back.

“Let's just say I'm going to be helping another Gryffindor learn a thing or two, and I thought these would help speed up the process.” Hermione said, smiling brightly.

Harry couldn't repress a sudden shiver when he saw her face. Despite the happy tone in her voice, he knew that whoever she was talking about would certainly be in for a less than pleasant year.

The ride was spent chatting about the rest of their summer, before settling into a comfortable silence. Hermione began to review one of her many books, while the others contented themselves with snacks harry had been kind enough to buy.

As the arrived at Hogwarts, the first years were quickly separated from the rest of the students, and after they departed for the boats, everyone else boarded the

“hey, check out those horses harry.” Rex said

“What horses?” Harry asked.

“the ones pulling the carriage.” Rex said, as if it was obvious.

“Rex, there's nothing there”

“yes there is! you just need to look at them right, the way i do.”

Harry sighed, before closing his eyes and trying to focus on Rex, letting thoughts of his best friend dominate his mind. He reached out for Rex, letting his very essence reach out and touch his partner. As he did so, a little bit of Rex flowed back into Harry, and he opened his eyes.

As always happened when Harry tapped into Rex's power, color was stripped away from the world. However, this time, everything seemed to retain a faded facsimile of their original coloring, like they had been washed a hundred times. Harry was puzzled for a minute, before he remembered how close they were to Hogwarts. In all likelihood, the ambient magic was probably infusing the land, giving everything a faded shadow of its original coloring.

He shook his head, and turned towards the front of the carriage. His eyes widened in surprise as he could see... something lurking there. He couldn't quite make out its features, but it was clearly there, wreathed in an aura of pulsing, dark blue. He found himself fixated on it, trying to see what lay within the aura surrounding it, but every time he thought he could see something, it shifted or moved and it was lost.

“Come on! We don't want to miss the feast!”

Harry blinked, his concentration shattered, and the world faded back to the way it had always been, and the creature with it. Harry rubbed his eyes, trying to ignore the rising headache, as he realized they had already arrived at Hogwarts. Thoughts of the delicious feast that was soon to come spurred him to shake off the rising pain in his head, and follow his housemates into the Great Hall.

They quickly took their seats at the Hufflepuff table, and Harry grinned as he watched the newest member of the student body nervously walk up to the Sorting Hat, enjoying the long silence as they waited for the pronouncement of what house they would live in for the next seven years. For something so trivial, it was amazing how much weight some of them gave to it. He was sure some of them would have broken down in tears if they hadn't gotten the house they expected. Soon enough, the sorting ceremony was completed, and Dumbledore stood up, to begin this year's announcements.

“This year, we have a couple of new additions to our staff.” Dumbledore began, “First, Mr. Phineas Parr, a recent graduate of Hogwarts, has agreed to fill in as our Potions Professor for the year, or until we can find a more permanent replacement. He received an Outstanding on his Potions N.E.W.T, and has spent few years studying under some of the most renown brewers, so rest assured, he is just as competent as Professor Snape, before his tragic accident.”

“Of course, Professor Parr is not our only new staff. As is rapidly becoming a Hogwarts tradition, it is my honor to introduce our newest Defense Against the Dark Arts Professor, Mr. Gilderoy Lockhart.” Dumbledore announced.

“Thank you! Thank you!” The newest member of the faculty said, among the halfhearted cheers of the students, “Rest assured that the skills of my many adventures will not be neglected here at Hogwarts! I will strive to ensure that each and every student will be as Magical as Me in regards to defense against the dark arts! It will not be an easy undertaking, but when have I ever attempted something that was supposed to be simple?”

His dialogue continued, enrapturing the female half of the student body, as well as the younger female professors, though for the most part, everyone else seemed unimpressed. The one exception was Dumbledore, who tolerated his declarations with a placid nod, before finally announcing the start of the welcoming feast. Lockhart deflated a bit, clearly looking forward to further oration of his prowess in battling the forces of darkness, but the sound of hungry children falling on their food like ravenous wolves filled the air, eliminating any hope that he could be heard. Awkwardly he sat down, and began picking at his food.

The feast passed quickly, as friends spoke in person for the first time in months, and stories about summer vacations were exchanged. Harry, contented himself with sampling everything the table had to offer, only occasionally offering up a one word response as he filled his belly.

As the moved from the Great Hall towards the Hufflepuff dormitories, Harry grinned at the expressions of awe on the first years' faces. While Hogwarts was familiar to him now, their unbridled excitement was catching, and it reminded him that there was still so much to learn about this castle.

The entered into the dormitories, and the orderly procession quickly disintegrated, as students longed in the Common Room, struck up a game of Exploding Snap, or simply heading towards their rooms.

Harry was among the latter group, eager to get everything in order for the new school year.

Harry looked around the second year dormitories, and admitted they were somewhat nicer than the first years'. He quickly set about putting his belongings in their proper place, trying to get it done as quickly as possible. Down below, he could hear a few of the more raucous Hufflepuffs celebrating their return to Hogwarts, but the majority of them were settling in. Once everything was in its proper place, Harry lay down on his bed, putting his glasses to the side.


After the feast, the first few days of class passed without major incident. Most of them were simple review over the material of the last year.

Harry managed to get through transfiguration without setting anything ablaze, though one or two of the attempts did let off a bit of smoke. McGonagall eyed him critically, but didn't say anything. Harry attempted to keep a low profile for the rest of class, lest she feel the need to reinstate their weekly meetings.

History offered a brief rest and reprieve from real classes, as some of the students who hadn't been able to wait for the weekend filled the room with the sounds of their snores,, nicely complimenting the droning voice of Professor Binns.

Charms, as always, proved to be as entertaining as it was difficult. Flitwick seemed to thrive on chaos, and as a result, the room was filled with errant spells and hastily cast hexes. While he kept a strict eye out for anything that would be considered below the belt, there were still plenty of minor accidents and injuries.

Potions proved uneventful, as Professor Parr simply put up the instructions on the board, before pacing down the aisles between the tables, occasionally offering some advice or correcting a mistake one of them had committed.

Harry wasn't sure how he felt about the new Defense Against the Dark Arts teacher. One one hand, he was enthusiastic, and clearly understood the theory behind defense, but on the other hand, in regards to the practical aspect of the class, he clearly had no idea what he was supposed to do, and when he did, his spells tended to fail, either fizzling out before anything happened, or waiting until the most dramatic moment before catastrophic failure.

It wasn't until he decided to release some cornish pixies that things really began to spiral out of control. Lockhart's halfhearted attempt met with the failure that had characterized his class thus far. Immediately after, he left them to solve the problem on their own, with a few shouted words of encouragement.

“He's not very good at this, is he?” Ernie said, as he attempted to freeze one of the pixies, only to miss and be swarmed by several irate sprites.

“Don't say that!” Hannah warned her housemate, conjuring a brief blast of air to knock the fairies off of him.

“Maybe he saves it all up for his adventures, so he doesn't have anything left when he's teaching.” Susan suggested, earning a baleful look from a number of male students.

“You'd think after all his adventures, he'd be smart enough to save some when he really needs it.” Ernie sneered, “Honestly, I can't believe my mom reads all of his books.”

“At least she doesn't have a shrine to him in her closest.” Justin sighed.

Harry nodded in agreement with his fellow Hufflepuffs. Hogwarts could certainly do a lot better than Lockhart in regards to professors. He was definitely the bottom of the barrel when it came to being competent.

On the other, he probably wasn't going to try and kill him like Quirrel did last year.

Probably. You didn't need to be smart or competent to be a problem, after all.


The first week ended quickly, and it was then that the real fun began. Being the House of hard workers, the Hufflepuffs refrained from celebrating their return excessively. However, with the weekend at hand, and two entire days to rest and recover, holding back was no longer an issue.

One of the older students had smuggled in some butterbeer, and the sounds of chatter and music soon made sleep impossible, effectively forcing the more reserved members of the house to join them. As more and more students wandered back to the common room, the party grew larger and more extravagant. Some of the older students would make runs to the kitchen to restock their flagging supply, and a surprising amount of contraband items were passed around the room.

Harry had no desire to be sucked into the rapidly growing crowd, instead contenting himself to watch with avid interest. He wasn't alone in observing the party, a number of other students joined him and struck up a conversation, always keeping an eye on what was happening in the event something spectacular happened.

They weren't disappointed, as several of the bolder, or perhaps more inebriated, students decided to engage in a mock duel. Soon the air was filled with spells that would make you speak backwards or turn your skin purple. Safely away from the center of chaos, Harry watched with delight as things rapidly began to spiral out of control.

Soon enough, things began to calm down once more, after the instigators were given a stern lecture by a seventh year. The party resumed, though not as boisterous as it had been before. Harry was glad he had let Rex out earlier in the evening. Having him around here during the duel was bound to have ended badly. It looked like this year was going to be even better than the last!


Across the castle, another party was under way, and had been for quite some time. Unwilling to wait for the first week of classes to end, several Gryffindors had started to celebrate after the welcoming feast, and had continued in one form or another for the entire week. The primary proponents of this were Fred and George Weasley, who took the time to make sure there was always something interesting happening for the first week, especially during class.

While tonight was meant to be the climax of an entire week of partying, far too many students had worn themselves out, and only participated halfheartedly, at best. While not happy about their failure, Fred and George accepted it with some measure of grace, and kept their entertainment to a minimum.

After all, why waste their supplies now? They had a whole y8ear to make up for one small stumbling block.

Up in the boys' dormitory, Ron sat in his room. While most of his fellow Gryffindors were celebrating in their usual fashion, he was plotting. He had spent the summer enduring the attentions of his older brothers, all for the sake of showing the bushy haired brat how good he was. He wasn't sure exactly what he was going to do, but he had devised a number of potential pranks and plans over the summer. He wasn't going to create a aster plan, with intricacies and minute details, culminating in her complete humiliation. As much fun as that would be, the most important thing he learned over the summer was to know his own limits. He wasn't ready for that much planning, and even if he was, he wasn't capable of adapting to whatever she might throw at him. It was better to just take opportunities as they came to him, and be ready to deal with whatever she threw back at him.

Down in the common room, as she engaged in conversation with Neville, Hermione's mind was following a similar path. Deprived of a mentor, she instead relied on the vast collection of books she had gathered over the holidays. While none of them went into detail on the best way to prank someone or get revenge, they did have countless spells that would help her accomplish one or the other. When she was confident in her spell work, she turned to the great strategists for inspiration, jotting down her thoughts and plans for her inevitable victory against her red haired foe.

The two of them were completely unaware of what the other was doing, but in the back of their minds, they knew that both of them shared a similar train of thought, occupied with destroying their rival.

It was going to be an interesting year.


Rex wandered the empty halls of Hogwarts. Harry had joined his housemates in a start of the year celebration, leaving Rex to his own devices. He had no desire to sit on the sidelines while Harry had a god time. Rex didn't understand why Harry didn't want him joining the party. He could rock out better than anyone else, and had a built in pyrotechnics display as well! Sure, there would be plenty of burn injuries and maybe a couple of maimings over the course of the party, but you couldn't make an omelette without destroying a castle or something.

Still, wandering though the empty halls on his own was still fun. It wasn't often he could walk around in his full malevolent form without extensive property damage. The only disappointment was there wasn't anyone to play with. Harry had made him promise not to break into any rooms to terrorize whoever happened to be inside, and it seems the ghosts had an instinctive urge to flee whenever he was around. Still, at least

Rex stopped for a moment, and sniffed the air, scenting something upon it. It was unfamiliar, but something deeper than the smell called out to him. Something he recognized, deep inside his bones.

Power, and promises of something dark.

Rex grinned, flames dripping from his jaws. It looked like this year was going to be fun.


Well-Known Member
Another rough draft. Let me know what you guys think!

After the initial excitement of returning to Hogwarts, the year continued rather sedately.

As a second year, Harry tried out for the Quidditch team. While a number of Hufflepuffs were impressed with his natural talent, he only managed to make the second string. He was a bit disappointed, but the first string seeker, Cedric Diggory, took him under his wing. After a few weeks, it was clear that he was grooming Harry to be his successor. While he did take some pride in that, Harry couldn't help wanting to surpass him, and become the main Seeker for his house. He didn't expect it to happen over night, but he had a few years.

Classes proved to be fairly easy to deal with. While many of the new spells were difficult, the older students always seemed ready to lend a hand, and Harry and his friends often found themselves providing assistance to the newly inducted first years.

Even Lockhart's classes weren't too bad, all things considered. He stuck mainly with dramatic retellings and reenactments of his adventures after the pixie incident. It was fairly boring, but managed to edge out Binns in entertainment quality. While the girls were all flattered to be involved in his stories, the boys quickly began to see how much they could derail his epics, much to Lockhart's frustration. All things considered, things seemed to be well in hand.

At least, they were until late October. As the air began to chill, and the days grew darker, malevolent forces began to stir.

One of those, of course, was Rex.


Rex wandered through the halls of Hogwarts, as he often did during these late nights. For once, Harry wasn't with him, as he had an important essay he was busy writing. Rex didn't mind the solitude, as long as it didn't happen too often. He continued his aimless wandering, not having anythign in particular he wanted to do, until he sensed something.

He had felt it before, when he had first returned to Hogwarts, but it was much stronger now, fresher. Whatever it was was stalking the halls of Hogwarts, and he was going to find it. Rex's tail lashed in anticipation as he climbed up a set of stairs. They began to change their destination, but a dark glare from his blood red eye caused them to pause, before quickly returning to their original position.

It didn't take much longer for him to track the source of the sensation. Rex licked his lips in anticipation, before tearing down the last barrier between them.

"WELL HI THERE." Rex growled as he looked at the unusual creature before him

It had horns. That was the first thing he noticed about it. More horns than anything had any right to possess. Amid the countless pairs of horns, he saw antlers, tusks, and a plethora of other pointy instruments of death. Nestled deep within them, a pair of emerald green eyes looked out at Rex curiously.

Beyond the horns and other assorted death dealers, there was a powerful body, covered in thick fur that dragged on the floor, concealing most of the remainder of it's body. The only other detail Rex could readily recognize were six powerful legs, designed to drive it's countless horns into whatever happened to get in its way.

"HELLO." The creature replied, studying Rex with the same intensity. Rex casually flexed his massive claws as he pondered what his next action would be.

"WHAT'S YOUR NAME?" Rex asked, tongues of flame dripping from his jaws in a macabre facsimile of a smile.

"CALL ME... SNORKACK." The creature replied, shuffling it's legs and lowering its head.

Monsters, in their natural state, without any children to temper them or offer guidance, were not particularly bright or sophisticated. When two independent monsters met, the pecking order was generally established through physical contests, displays of prowess, or outright combat.

In short, might makes right.

No signal was given. There wasn't any need for it. Instinct took over as Rex howled his blood lust, before falling on the Monster that dared to intrude in his territory. the beast before him responded in kind, its sinewy legs propelling it forward in a devastating charge.

Rather than meeting it head on, Rex stepped to the side, before seizing the most prominent set of horns, and using them to throw it into the nearest wall. While Hogwarts had been designed for a great many things, withstanding an assault of such monstrous proportions was not one of them, and the wall crumbled. Rex didn't waste any time savoring his early advantage, instead charging after it, releasing a blast of flame.

The Snorkack howled in rage, again charging at Rex. Rex attempted to wrestle it once again, but the beast was moving far faster than it had before, and Rex was unable to stop him.

Rex roared in agony as he was impaled in dozens of places by the countless horns, but the Snorkack didn't stop there. Instead, the massive six legged beast continued to charge, using Rex as a battering ram to knock down the wall behind him.

And the next.

And the next.

And the next.

It's charge only stopped when Rex unleashed a massive blast of flames, setting its heavy fur ablaze. The Snorkack let out an unearthy shriek, before flailing its head and hurling Rex away from it as it tried to extinguish the fires consuming it. Rex lay sprawled on the ground, trying to recover for a moment, taking dark pleasure watching his opponent suffer.

The Snorkack's wild actions tore down several nearby walls, raining debris down on them. As Rex regained his footing, he saw that the falling stones, dirt, and dust had snuffed out the fires, and the Snorkack seemed ready to clash again. With a feral roar of his own, Rex charged at the beast, and the battle was joined.


Students screamed as their clash moved to the more inhabited portions of the castle. While normally, the mere sight of a monster would paralyze them and seal their gruesome fate, the rampant destruction of the castle provided a much more urgent target of their attention. Students scrambled to avoid falling debris while professors attempted to curb the worst of the danger while simultaneously trying to evacuate the panicking children. The monsters were noted but only in passing as the source of the danger, as they desperately tried to escape the collapsing castle. While a few of the braver or more foolish witches and wizards spared a moment to hurl a spell into the fray, they went unnoticed by the battling abominations, the flickers of pain only fueling them towards even greater acts of destruction.

Terror gripped everyone, teacher and student alike. Even as the monsters continued their rampage, vanishing into another part of the castle, their minds began to break under their aberrant influence. Memories began to scab over, replacing what they saw with a reality their minds could handle better.

Regardless, one urge dominated the minds of everyone. They needed to flee, they needed to escape. Blind panic drove the majority of people to stampede through the halls, desperately seek

Heedless of the carnage they had wrought, thw two monsters continued to destroy the castle.

As the students and staff evacuated, Rex and the Snorkack continued to clash, tearing through the ancient walls of Hogwarts as if they were tissue paper. The wards that had sustained the school for nearly one thousand years crumbled before the dark majesty of the Monsters, unable to resist the nightmarish influence their full might brought to bear.


Up in his office, Albus was rapidly gathering up everything he could feasibly need. He didn't know what was happening, but the wards surrounding the castle were failing, something that had never happened before. Even in the most dire of straits, the wards had held. Battered, weakened, and all but destroyed, but they had endured.

Now... something was destroying wards laid down by four of the greatest mages Britain had ever known.

He watched as the energies of the wards, failed, one by one, desperately trying to determine what was causing it. After nearly a minute of watching, he realized he could wait no longer. Any further information gathered would come at the expense of the lives of those who dwelled in the castle, and that was something he could not permit. He knew he couldn't stand against whatever forces were attacking Hogwarts, even at his peak, he could never hope to match the founders these forces so clearly exceeded, but perhaps he could minimize the damage.


The creatures continued to clash, jaws met horns, flames were tossed aside like a light breeze. Blows that would have shattered diamond were exchanged at breakneck pace, and still, through it all, they did no true damage to one another. Even in the throes of battle, Rex knew Harry wouldn't be happy with what was happening, and tried to hold back, even if it was just a bit. The Snorkack, sensing this held back as well, wary of a surprise attack.

Of course, that wouldn't last long

With each exchange, the collateral damage increased, as Rex became less concerned with structural integrity, and more concerned with ripping the Snokack's face off and eating it. The Snorkack responded in kind, choosing to continue charges through intervening walls, instead of slowing down and presenting an opening. As the attacks grew more violent, the course of battle become less predictable, as unexpected pathways opened up as wall were melted or demolished. Passages that were never meant to exist were created, as the monstrous battle continued.

Eventually, their titanic clash took them to a subterranean cavern beneath the castle. It had clearly been some sort of library or office of great import, but the details were lost on the rampaging beasts. They ransacked the chamber, annihilating books, device, and artifacts that had been preserved for hundreds of years without a second thought.

They fought their way into a massive chamber, with a colossal statue at the far end. The wall were decorated with a myriad of murals, detailing numerous magical feats and accomplishments. They didn't care about that. Battle was their only concern at the moment

Rex let out a concentrated gout of flame, melting the mural behind his foe. The Snorkack roared as the attack washed by him, before he attempted to impale the lizard like monster. Though the open space allowed Rex to narrowly avoid it. Rex responded by inhaling deeply, before blasting an intense pillar of flame. Seconds stretched on and on, without any sign of relenting. Rex's eye gleamed with sadistic glee. The trespasser was nothing but ash and molten flesh now.

That made the Snorkack's attack all the more surprising and devastating. So focused on his blinding fire, Rex didn't spot the charging beast until it was too late. With and agonized roar, Rex was thrown across the empty chamber, spraying fire everywhere. The Chamber began to shift as stone liquefied under the intense heat, but the monsters took no notice.

They plunged deeper into the depths of the castle, uncaring of the ever increasing strangness of their environment. The architecture began to fade, replaced with more organic constructs, before even those gave way to things that defied conception. The monsters cared not for the oddities accruing around them, only for the foe before them. Chaos surged where they passed, disrupting the very foundations, both physical and magical, of Hogwarts.

They didn't care. The battle continued.


The path of destruction turned upwards again, as Rex was bodily tossed through the floor of one of the many dungeons. He roared in pain, but quickly began moving again as the Snorkack struggled to ascend through the gaping hole it had just created. Rex retreated from the confined space, sparing a moment to flood the room with fire, before ascending the stairway outside, casually damaging the walls in his haste. The Snorkack followed behind him, burning hair falling away as it did.

The battle took on an upward momentum. Confined to the stairway, there was little choice in the matter. By the time they had escaped its narrow confines, the direction of the battle had become habit, and once they found their way down the deserted corridor, they quickly found themselves in another stairway.

Their battle had taken them into one of Hogwarts numerous towers, each creature seeking to use the twisting stairway to its advantage, trying to get behind and obliterate their foe. Unfortunately, their sheer size made such agile maneuvers nearly impossible, and the majority of the battle was simply the Snorkack forcing Rex to ascend the staircase, until they reached its peak.

Atop the tower, there was more space for them to battle, though the open nature of the area came with the risk of falling several hundred feet to the ground below. While the top of the tower was a more open area, it did not have enough space for the Snorkack to build up sufficient speed for a charge, forcing him to resort to simply thrashing at Rex with his horns. A sadistic grin crossed Rex's face, as his slashing claws cut the Snorkack again and again.

The Snorkack fell back, trying to escape the onslaught, but all too soon, there was nowhere left to walk. As its rear feet knocked a few loose stones from the tower, its attempts to attack Rex slowed down, and finally stopped, all of its attention focused on staying on the tower. Rex continued his attacks, brutally beating the incapacitated beast, until it couldn't do anything to stop him.

With a triumphant howl, Rex bodily lifted the Snorkack over his head, before hurling the beast off the top of the tower. He watched at the Snorkack fell, before letting out a roar, and jumping after him. They clashed again in the air, claws slash, and horns ripping, until they landed on a roof, and brought it crashing down.

They fell into the thankfully deserted Great Hall, ravaging the massive tables as their combat continued. The Snorkack bellowed in rage as Rex refused to give it enough leeway to charge him, while Rex howled as the countless horns atop his foe prevented him from eviscerating the beast. Tables were crushed underfoot, as the struggle for dominance continued.

The Snorkack charged at Rex, and while it didn't managed to impaled the dinosaur like monster, it did tangle him in its horns. It let out a beastly bellow as Rex attempted to claw it, before shakign its head and hurling Rex across the devastated hall.

Rex snarled, he had had enough. This thing had the nerve to come into his territory and try to start something. Well, he was going to show him who was in charge! Rex inhaled deeply, letting the fire ragng inside of him build up. The tongues of flame dripping form his mouth turned from red, to white, to blue, to black. Soon, the raw fury and hate filling Rex infused the flames, twisting them into something the mortal world wasn't mean to see. As bits of flame fell to the floor, it began to warp and twist, as if the world had forgotten how it was supposed to function, and was trying a hundred different things to see if they would work.

He released the blast, and the Snorkack met it head on, its mighty horns enshrouded in its own warped malevolence, just as Rex's fire was. The aberrant sphere of flame exploded, annihilating the Great Hall, and hurling two two monsters away from each other. Rex lost sight of the Snorkack, as he spiraled through the air, but never for a moment did he relax in the slightest.

He landed heavily on the ground, rolling over and over, trying to regain his balance. Rex scrambled to his feet, but the Snorkack was nowhere in sight. As his bloodlust began to drain away, he saw that there were a number of people around. While he didn't particularly care if they saw him, he knew Harry was a bit uptight about that sort of thing, and quickly shrunk down and began searching for his partner.

It was fortunate that they were distracted. Rex puffed up in pride, glad that his actions had kept him safely out of sight and mind. Without sparing another thought to his new foe, he set out to find Harry.


No one knew what was happening, only that something was attacking the castle. The students fled Hogwarts in a mad scramble, only barely contained by the equally panicked teachers. It wasn't until everyone had made their way out to the grounds that things began to regain a modicum of order and sanity.

Insane rambling about monsters and demons were drowned out by the sound of magically amplified shouts from the teachers. While a number of them were no better off than their terrified students, several teachers had not borne direct witness to the battle, and retained their sanity. Orders and commands were shouted, and gradually, the terrified children began to calm down, and pay attention to their professors.

“Students!” a voice boomed out, and every head turned to face McGonagall. Though her face was pale, she nonetheless did her best to exert authority over the panicking children. “I will not pretend to know what has caused this, but rest assured, we will deal with whatever threat is hiding in Hogwarts. I am sure the Headmaster is already doing his best to contain the situation, and soon, we will be able to re-enter the school!”

She paused, as she and the students glanced apprehensively towards the school, before raising her voice once again.

“Prefects! Gather your students, then report to your heads of house! Make sure that no one has been left behind!”

For a moment, silence fell, as the shaky professor cowed the students. The prefects began commanding the students into some form of order for a head count, and it seemed that the entire debacle was at an end, before one of the first years gasped and pointed at the castle.

Students and professors alike stared in abject shock, as the heavily battered Hogwarts trembled and shook, before slowly beginning to sink, falling down in a slow, but inevitable collapse. As the castle fell, enchantments that had endured for a millenia began to fail, triggering a cascade of power as the magic empowering them ran free. A brilliant technicolor display crackled into existence, blazing through the ruins of the pinnacle of British magical learning, consuming everything its path. As the surges died down, the full extent of the devastation became apparent. Not a single structure composing Hogwarts was left untouched, those few that remained standing were gutted, pale shadows of what they had been. The vast majority of Hogwarts was completely demolished, naught but ruins, smoke, and ash.

Silence fell once again, before a sudden burst of magic flared up from the ruins. A number of stones shot up into the air, revealing Headmaster Dumbledore. He looked as devastated as the rest of them, but quickly pulled himself together, assuming control of the situation almost instantly.

"Minerva, did everyone make it out safely?!" Dumbledore demanded, his trademark calm vanished in the wake of this unexpected disaster.

"Heads of Houses! Prefects! Do a head count immediately!" McGonagall commanded, already moving towards her Gryffindors and frantically cataloguign each and every one of them.

The rest of the teachers and Prefects moved to do the same, and next few minutes passed in tense silence.

"Hufflepuffs are all here!"

"Ravenclaws accounted for.”

"No one missing from Slytherin!"

"Thank goodness. All of Gryffindor is safe as well." Minerva sighed, before her legs gave out, and she fell to the ground.


"I'm alright!" McGonagall assured her house as the Twins helped her to her feet. "it's just the shock of this setting in. Just let me rest for a moment and I'll be fine."

The twins hesitantly released her, watching carefully as she conjured a chair and took a seat. Dumbledore followed her example, and began to summon a veritable army of chairs, and a massive table at the center of the empty field. he pointed his wand at his throat, and then spoke out in a booming voice.

"Attention students! While we do not currently know what caused this terrible event, rest assured that we will get to the bottom of this, and determine its cause. Fortunately, it seems no one was lost in the collapse. Any injured should go to Madame Pomphrey who will set up a clinic presently.”

"Fawkes!" Dumble said, and in a flash of light, a magnificant bird appeared on his shoulder. Dumbledore pulled out a scroll of parchment, and quickly scribbled something on it. He drew his wand, and with a few quick swishes, additional copies sprang into existence. He gathered up the letters, and tied them to the crimson avian.

"Take this to the minister immediately, old friend. Deliver the rest to whom they are addressed." the headmaster commanded, before turning to the assembled students. Despite his earlier words, a number of them still were locked in a state of panic. With a sigh, and a brief spell, the voice of the Headmaster echoed across the grounds of the fallen castle. The sheer volume forcing everyone to settle down, at least for the moment, and listen.


As if signaled by Dumbledore's speech, a number of wizards and witches began to appear, many of them still dressed in their bedclothes. While a number of them proved too shocked to be of much use at first, they did provide a number of magical tents to shelter the students. While they didn't look all that impressive form the outside, they were far larger than their dimensions suggested, and a few dozen were enough to comfortably house the entire student body, though not nearly as comfortably as the castle did.

That night, no one slept. Teachers and prefects patrolled the hastily erected camp in groups, accompanied by a plethora of aurors and ministry officials, on constant alert for the source of this calamity, and well as worriedly checking that the students were all healthy and accounted for,

Harry sat alone, isolated from his friend and housemates. Despite the fact that nearly everyone else was huddled together for comfort, harry kept himself apart, if only to have a modicum of privacy for what was to come.

He knew what the likely cause of the destruction, and when it came back, it was in for a lecute of epic proportions.

"hey harry." Rex said, as he crawled into the tent.

'Did you have anything to do with this?' Harry asked, his voice cold and serious.

"yeah, but you don't understand! there was something else there too! I had to fight him."

Harry felt his anger begin to drain away as Rex explained about the new monster, before eyeing his partner suspiciously, "You're not making this up, are you?"

"i wouldn't lie about something like this!" Rex protested.

Harry sighed, before lying back in his sleeping bag, folding his hands under his head, "Then that means someone else her has a monster, and from the looks of it, they aren't likely to be too friendly."

"don't worry harry. i can handle anything they can dish out." Rex reassured his partner, before crawling into the sleeping bag beside harry.

"I hope you're right Rex." Harry said, watching the faint light heralding the approach of dawn, before drifting off to a restless sleep. He was still angry with his friend, but there was something else to worry about for the moment.


Well-Known Member
While the destruction of Hogwarts was devastating, Dumbledore and the rest of the staff did an admirable job of maintain order, while quickly organizing some form of relief and support.

Within hours of daybreak, ministry officials were inspecting the ruins, and temporary housing was being erected. While the tents looked far from impressive, Harry was surprised to see how much bigger than they were on the outside. While certainly not as comfortable as their dormitories were, it was a marked improvement from sleeping out under the stars, especially since it seemed rain was gathering on the horizon.

Most everyone seemed to have calmed down, brushing off any memories of monsters off as panicked imaginings or side effects of the attack itself. There was still an air of fear, but it was subdued, calmed by the presence of Ministry officials.

He idly strolled through the corridors of canvas, walking from tent in search of something to do. Every few minutes, he checked to make sure Rex was still with him. He didn't know how Rex could make things any worse, but given half a chance, he would find a way.


Elsewhere, the professors were having a meeting, to discuss their situation, and what course of action would be taken.

“As it is plain for all to see, Hogwarts is all but destroyed. While we managed to evacuate all students and staff without serious injury, the castle is nothing more than a ruin. Needless to say, until matters are settled, classes will have to be canceled.”

“Cancel classes? We have to close the school!” McGonagall protested.

“And abandon the education of our students? That is something we cannot do, Minerva.” Dumbledore replied. “There have been no deaths or major injuries amongst the students and the staff, and what few wounds suffered are already being treated by Madame Pomfrey. Furthermore, there are no other schools in Britain capable of housing them all. Even if they were to be divided amongst them, no more than half of them could be accommodated.”

“But we can't hold classes here! There's nowhere to hold them!”

“Minerva, the Minister of Magic has given me his full support, both financially and in regards to whatever personnel we may require. That included temporary housing, such as the tents so generously provided.”

“That doesn't mean we can carry on as if nothing has happened!”

“On the contrary, we must continue. We cannot neglect the education of our students, no matter what difficulties life hands to us.”

“Difficulties?! The school is gone!” McGonagall shouted.

“Are you saying we should just give up?!” Flitwick asked the Gryffindor Head.

“I'm saying we need to explore options to ensure the education, and more importantly, the safety of our students.”

“The destruction of Hogwarts is something that is beyond words. Yet, at the same time, it presents us with an unprecedented opportunity.”

“What are you talking about Headmaster?” Professor Sinestra asked.

“Hogwarts was built once before. It can be built again.”

“Albus, are you seriously suggesting that we rebuild Hogwarts?” McGonagall cried out in disbelief. Many of the other teachers stared at him incredulously.

“We cannot let this most prestigious school pass into history. Hogwarts must be rebuilt, and as quickly as possible.” Dumbledore answered.

“But the resources and manpower needed, not to mention the research to replicate even a fraction of their charms and enchantments.”

“True, very true, but to allow Hogwarts to languish in such a state is unacceptable. The Minister has assured me that we have his full support and funding. We also have a ready work force that needs something to occupy its time, now that classes are no longer in session.”

“You're suggesting that we use the students?!”

“We shall involve them as much as humanly possible. There is much that can be used to instruct our students while helping to rebuild the castle as well. I'm sure Filius knows a number of masonry charms, and Pomona, we will need to restore the quality of the grounds as well. Hopefully, giving them something to channel their energy will allow them to deal with this great tragedy.”

“I must agree with you Albus.” Flitwick chimed in, “The chance to rebuild something as great as Hogwarts is a rare opportunity that many people would consider killing for.”

“Or perhaps simply destroy Hogwarts outright.” Professor Sinestra

“You suspect one of the staff had something to do with this disaster?” Sprout spluttered in shock.

“It's certainly possible.” was the grim reply.

“Interesting theory, but unlikely.” Dumbledore said, “None of us have even a fraction of the power needed to destroy an artifact as powerful as Hogwarts. It has endured sieges, Dark Lords, and more all without many permanent damage. For something to bring the entire Castle down within the span of an hour... I don't want to think of what could wield that kind of power. Something beyond even the greatest of wizards' power.”

“It's something we will have to look into. We cannot afford for a disaster of this magnitude to happen again.” Flitwick said.

“Indeed Filius. I think everything concerning this event will have to be exhaustively studied and documented. Though it pains me to say it, but it could be some time before we can begin repairing the damages wrought upon our home.” Dumbledore sighed, and for a moment, he looked as if the weight of the world was on his shoulders. Within moments, he seemed to shrug it off, refocusing on the meeting with the other teachers.

“It is a duty we shall undertake with the utmost respect for the founders.” Dumbledore said, “Though there are many steps between now and then”

What will we do in the meantime? We can't just let the students sit around twiddling their thumbs.”

“A great amount of the work will be the application of simple charms to assembled the basic structure, or simple enchantments that can easily be learned. While we will certainly hire specialists for the more complex workings, there are countless simple tasks that only require the minimum of skill to accomplish. I'm sure a number of students would be more than happy to speed along the castle's restoration.”

“Think of the opportunities for learning!” Flitwick exclaimed, getting excited over the idea “This is a chance for them to leave their mark on the school.”

“Can you assure me that there won't be any danger to the students?” McGonagall questioned the Headmaster, “After what has happened, I don't want to take any chances.”

“I understand Minerva.” Dumbledore assured her, “I have no intention of putting any lives at risks, and in the interest of safety, I was planning on organizing a small expedition to survey the damage before any construction began. Furthermore, the Ministry has assigned a contingent of Aurors to patrol the area, in case of another emergency.”

“Well, it would be interesting to craft the castle anew.” Flitwick murmured to himself, idly sketching out a few diagrams for potential rooms. “It would give you a chance to test those large scale Transfiguration theories you've been touting about. It would certainly give your arguments some additional weight if you had practical results Minerva.”

McGonagall sighed, still wary about the course selected, but she settled down beside Flitwick, and they began discussing various permutations of spells to use.

Dumbledore smiled, “Now on to the next order of business. Due to the unusual course this year has taken, I feel that it would be prudent to reorganize the curriculum to better suit our needs...”


It was surprising how quickly things began to move when the headmaster had a vision to implement. By the next day, a new curriculum was in place, and Hufflepuff House found itself attending a Charms class about manipulating stone. Within the hour, they were practicing laying down foundations until the direction of seventh years and some Ministry appointed architects.

Other classes followed a similar pattern. Tranfiguration focused on clearing away wreckage and creating new stones, Charms focused on basic household spells that could make life easier, Even history changed things up a bit. While Binns refused to teach anywhere besides his now completely destroyed classroom, leaving him suspended several dozen feet above everyone else, Dumbledore had supplied them with a number of books detailing the layout of the castle, and had them write a three scroll paper about potential improvements.

Despite the carnage, the students seemed to be coping well, and were even excited about their new assignments. For once, there was no need for reminders about completing homework, and some of the more troublesome children mentioned that they should blow up Hogwarts every year.

Most importantly, it kept them out of trouble, something that the teachers let out a collective sigh of relief at. Once they were assured that the students were occupied, they moved on to other matters.


“While the majority of the castle has been destroyed, there is still a chance that some of the deeper levels have survived. We would need to excavate the collapsed stone anyways, and it would be good to know exactly what we are dealing with before reconstruction begins.” Dumbledore said, even as he scribbled rapidly upon the scroll in front of him.

“How many of us will you need?” Professor Sprout asked.

“No more than five, I believe, at least for the initial survey. Any more than that would only serve to slow us down, and should anything happen to become lost or worse, enough staff will remain that the school can carry on.”

“Do you really expect there to be anything dangerous down there?”

Dumbledore looked at Professor Sinestra, “My dear, Hogwarts was one of the most complex and powerful enchantments ever created. Now that the intricate working have been disrupted, venturing in without expecting the worst would be the utmost foolishness. All possible precautions must be taken, now let us finish our preparations.”

The teachers hastily assembled expedition began to survey the ruins, looking for stray students who had let their curiosity get the better of them, and to ensure that there were no immediate dangers in the ruins. After the initial pass along the outside of the castle, they finally ventured into the depths of what used to be their home.

Dumbledore, McGonagall, Flitwick, Sprout, and Sinestra all walked towards the ruins of Hogwarts. It was almost sad how easy it was to navigate through the shattered columns and damaged halls. When Hogwarts had been intact, it would have taken even the most veteran explorer more time than they would like to get from one place to another. Now, it was merely a matter of levitating obstacles out of the way, or when all else failed, blasting a new path through the lifeless stone.

As they entered another devastated room, McGonagall paused for a moment, something about the room sparking memories of what it used to be.

“Are you alright Minerva?” Dumbledore asked in concern.

“I... I'm fine. I think we're walking through my... what used to be my office, is all.” McGonagall replied, sorrow filling her voice. She bent down, shifting aside some rubble, unearthing some small trinket that had probably sat on her desk for years. “I know it's silly to get teary over such a small thing, but I just-” she halted herself, and the rest of them gave her a few moments to compose herself.

“Albus, what could have caused this much devastation? The wards surrounding the school are second to none. For something to tear the school apart in so short a time... it power must be unimaginable.”

“I believe you are correct Minerva.” Dumbledore said solemnly, “While we should not jump to any conclusion without further investigation, this is something that is beyond even my considerable knowledge. We will have to tread carefully, for I am unsure if whatever did this has departed.”

“Do you really think it is still here?” Professor Sinestra asked, her hand already moving for her wand.

“I cannot deny the possibility. It is more than powerful enough to kill any of us outright, so I doubt it is lying in ambush, but perhaps it is slumbering, recovering after its exertions. In any case, let us make haste”


Their next destination was the Great Hall. It was near the center of the castle, and its size, combined with heavy reinforcement of the archetecture, meant that it was the most likely part of the castle to have survived intact.
“It seems that the Great Hall managed to survive, for the most part.” Flitwick commented. Indeed, despite being near the epicenter of the collapse, it had remained remarkably intact. There was rubble scattered throughout it, and the pillars supporting it were cracked, but it seemed there was no immediate danger of collapse. However, there was one major detail that showed it had not survived unscathed.

The ceiling was cracked, and most likely would not endure for much longer. The sky it portrayed was now frozen, locked in the moment when its magic failed.

“Dumbledore! Dumbledore! OVER HERE!!!” A voice cried out, joined seconds later by a cacaphony of cries. The party looked around in confusion, before finally settling their eyes on a painintg.

It was a large painting, taking up a significant part of the wall. Normally, it depicted a serene lake bordered by a forest, with a trio of nymphs and dryads frolicking about. Now, it was filled to capacity with figures from all ages of history, all of them crammed together tighter than a tin of sardines.

“Headmaster Dippet?”

“Dumbledore! Thank the heavens you found us! Quick, get us some more frames and get us out of here!”

Flitwick immediately began casting spells, loosening the painting from the wall.

“Professor Dippet, I hadn't expected to see you here. What happened?”

“Most of the Headmaster portraits fled the castle as soon as they knew what was going on. The rest of them were stuck in the castle, so tried to flee to a painting in a sturdy location. There are still plenty of us unaccounted for. No one's heard from the Fat Lady, or seen Sir MacGuinness, not to mention everyone in the west wing. We're hoping they managed to find another frame that could shelter them, but...”

“I see.” Dumbledore sighed. He hadn't even thought about the paintings, but was glad to see that at least some of them had survived. Flitwick finally freed the painting from its enchanted moorings, and with a few gestures, sent it floating out of the castle. “We will have to keep an eye out for any more refugee portraits. Hopefully all of them managed to avoid any damage.”


Their search for other surviving portaits proved futile, as all they managed to locate were damaged or destroyed frames. It was a small relief when no one was found in the remains. Hopefully, they had all managed to avoid the worst of the damage.

Yet again, they entered a room, and found nothing but devastation. It was impossible to determine what its original purpose had been from a cursory glace, so they began shifting the rubble aside, trying to find out were they were.

“Dumbledore! It looks like there is some sort of tunnel here.” Professor Sprout called out as she casually tossed a sizable boulder aside.

“Are you surprised? Whatever did this must have created dozens of passages through the school. You don't cause this much damage by tiptoeing around.” Flitwick commented.

“No, this looks artificial, like someone built it. What was here before?”

“I believe it was one of the girl's bathrooms.” Professor Sinestra answered, unearthing th emangled remains of a toilet as she did so.

A shriek filled the air, as a young looking ghost shot out of the ruin.

“My home! My toilet! Who could have done something like this to me?!” She looked around, frantically searching for the culprit, before her eyes settled on the teachers.

“You! You must have done this!”

“Young miss, I can assure you-” Dumbledore began.

“Don't lie to me! Everyone is always tormenting poor little Myrtle. I suppose it was just a matter fo time before the teachers joined in. Well fine! See if I care! I'll find a new toilet and then you'll be sorry!”

With a wail, the ghostly girl vanished, for the moment. Silence hung in the air for a few seconds, before they returned to their examination of the school. Most of them, anyways. Dumbledore stood still, his face pensive.

“Is something on your mind Headmaster?”

“Nothing of importance, at least not right now, just beginning to piece the puzzle together, after fifty long years.” Dumbledore said, walking over to the passage. “I think it would be prudent to see where this passage leads. If what I suspect is true, it may have some of the answers we have been looking for.”

“Headmaster, are you sure that is wise? We have so much more of the castle to examine...”

“Come Minerva, where's your Gryffindor spirit?” Flitwick grinned at her, already shaping a damaged portion of the wall into a platform.

The five of them stepped onto the makeshift elevator, pressed close together as they descended down the tunnel.

What the found was damaged, like much of the rest of the castle, but accompanied by the stench of mildew and rot. While whatever destroyed the castle had certainly passed through here, most of the damage appeared to be simple age, rather than malevolent intent.

They began looking around, staring in wonder at etchings and statues that hadn't been seen for decades, perhaps even centuries.

“Isn't that...” Professor Sinestra began.

“Salazar Slytherin. It seems that after centuries undiscovered, the Chamber of Secrets has at last been revealed.”

“If Binns were still alive, I'm sure this would make him keel over dead.” Professor Sprout said, “To think that the Chamber of Secrets was real...AH!”

Her shriek of surprise caught their attention, and they turned just in time to see her fall over...something.

“Is that-”

“Snakeskin.” Professor Sinestra confirmed, “I advise that we be a bit more cautious now. The only creature I know that could make that is a Basilisk.”

“A basilisk, certainly fitting for Salazar Slytherin.” Flitwick mused, tightening his grip on his wand. “Everyone, keep your eyes open, or rather, don't.”

The quintet continued to explore the chamber, moving much more slowly, and their eyes studiously focused on the ground around them. While it drastically inhibited their pace, there really was no other option. Fortunately, there was no sign of the beast, and after several long minutes they felt confident enough to accept that.

“No sign of the basilisk, for the moment. Perhaps it is still sealed away since the last time it was freed.” Minerva sighed, finally lifting her gaze to look around.

“I must admit, it feels a bit silly to be looking at the ground constantly like this.” Professor Sinestra commented, as the rest of them scattered once more to explore.

“A bit different form what you're used to?”

“Well, I am the Astronomy professor.” she smirked at the Deputy Headmistress.

“Albus, it seems there is something else here!” Flitwick exclaimed excitedly, he frantically waved over the rest of the teachers, to a glowing hot tunnel blasted through the wall, leading even deeper into the earth.

“Plants are my specialty, but I don't think a Basilisk is capable of melting a hole through enchanted stone, unless I'm forgetting a very important lesson from Care of Magical Creatures.” Professor Sprout said, casting a chilling charm.

“No this certainly wasn't done by the basilisk... Truly unfortunate.”

“How can you say that?”

“While a basilisk is deadly, it is a known quantity, with a well known and easily acquired weakness. Whatever did this is completely unknown, and all the more worrisome for it.”

“Can we risk leaving it down here until the Ministry can respond?”

“I think the appropriate question is: Dare we venture into the liar of the beast?” Dumbledore asked, lighting his wand. “I do not think it would be wise to wait for the Ministry to respond. Not only are they occupied with clearing the reconstruction, but a large number of Aurors might only serve to enrage the creature.”

“As loathe as I am to say it, I feel that dealing with this now before any students decide to see what they can find down here.” McGonagall sighed, drawing her wand.

“I can't imagine many wizards would be more qualified to deal with it than us.” Flitwick said, conjuring a chicken as he spoke. “Of course, precautions must be taken, should the Basilisk be lurking about.”

They began to walk through the hidden passage beneath the Chamber of Secrets,

“This architecture... it's far older than what we saw in the Chamber.” Professor Sinestra commented

“Do you think that the Chamber of Secrets was intended to simply conceal this?” Professor McGonagall asked.

“No, no. While this is indeed deeper down than the Chamber, it appears to be connected to the main castle, though heavily warded. The architecture here is older than most of the castle as well, even the foundations. I would venture a guess that this was among the first portions of the castle that the founders created.”

“What purpose did this serve?”

“That, I can only speculate to. Perhaps it served as a bunker, or fortress against enemies. I suspect the only way to determine the truth would be to venture deeper, and to see what we discover.”

The teachers continued their sojourn deeper into the depths of Hogwarts, where no one had tread in centuries. It seemed as though it would go on forever, until they arrived at a door. A quick push showed that it was unlocked, and Dumbledore pushed it open, then froze. “Merlin's balls...”

“What is it Albus?” Professor Flitwick asked, stunned as the Headmaster's curse. The rest of the teachers came around the corner, and were similarly dumbstruck.

“What is that?” McGonagall asked in awe. No one else wondered what she was talking about. They could all feel the energy swirling around them, emanating from the wellspring of power. They could feel the magic saturating the air, even see it in areas where it became potent enough to visibly manifest itself as an all permeating glow. The entire area was elaborately designed, runes covered every available surface, and while they shone with their own arcane power, it was nothing compared to the raw power at the center.

“I am uncertain.” Dumbledore said in surprise, “It seems that there was far more to our school than even the unabridged version of Hogwarts: A History contained. It is truly delightful to discover there is more to learn, even at my advanced age.”

“Your joy aside, do you have any idea what it might be?” Professor Sprout asked.

“Nothing concrete, but most likely, it is a Nexus, a wellspring of raw, magical energy.”

“I suppose it makes sense that they would build Hogwarts on something like this.”

“Indeed. Such a source of po wer would grant them far more flexibility in their construction, even allowing it to adapt itself to future changes. The raw magical power would also serve to infuse anyone residing here with magic, increasing their potential if they were still growing. In all my years, I never suspected something so potent was here. The Founders did a magnificent job of channelling its power. Most attempts to contain them merely seek to prevent it from influencing the world around it, but the Founders actually found a way to temper and channel its power for their own purposes... Even understanding a fraction of the work they put into this could drastically advance our understanding of magical theory.”

“A bit of research seems to be in order. We need to understand what the Founders were trying to do with this Nexus before we can hope to replicate their efforts.” McGonagall stated.

“A most prudent course of action, Minerva. I must confess, a part of me is eager to get back into research. I believe the last time I did anything similar was with Nicholas.” Dumbledore smiled, “Perhaps I should get in contact with him, something like thing might spark his interest, even after so many centuries.”

He moved closer to the pulsating source of magical power, studying it intently, “I do believe things are going to be more interesting around here...”


Well-Known Member
Yes, after over a year, I finally got off my ass and wrote the next chapter.  Yay me.

It was amazing how quickly humans could adapt to new circumstances, regardless of what those circumstances entailed. Hogwarts had been almost completely destroyed, but already everyone was acting like it was business as usual. Classes were already being held again, thought the subject matter had taken a turn to the more practical applications. First year students practiced the levitation charm by moving piece of the castle out of the way, Fifth years practcied conjuring by creating scaffolding and other useful tools for excavation. A few of the upper years were discussing a spelunking club to explore the ruins, though it was doubtful it would be approved before the school could be rebuilt. Still, not like that was likely to stop some of the more adventurous students. Harry certainly was looking forward to seeing what the ruins had to offer.

Even the History of Magic class had changed, something that hadn't occurred in decades. Instead of droning on about goblin rebellions, Binns was now lecturing about ancient archetecture, and the various influences other castles and mystical wonders had had upon the design the Founders had selected for their school.

Despite all of the activity, no one had seen the Headmaster for days, he hadn't left the ruins since venturing in to check their stability. All of his decisions were relayed by the rest of the teachers, or in a few cases, by ministry officials. Still, the fervor surrounding the destruction of Hogwarts seemed to be dying down, and despite the drastically altered circumstances, it seemed that everyone was going back to business as usual.

Business as usual, in this case, meant Harry had to sit through Transfiguration class. McGonagall had no qualms about teaching in her usual manner, despite the crumbling wreckage behind her instead of a blackboard.

“This is normally a subject for the upper years, but considering you will witness it first hand, it seems an appropriate time to explain the basics of rituals.” Professor McGonagall lectured. A number of students perked up after hearing the subject of the day's lesson.

“Rituals are far more involved than ordinary magic. They transcend the limitations of most of thr subjects you will learn here, accomplishing feats beyond the scope of any one discipline. However, this power comes at a great cost. Rituals generally require much more time to perform properly, can anyone tell me why?”

A hand raised up towards the back of the makeshift classroom, “Mr. Finch-Fetchley”

“Because they are so powerful, no one wizard can provide the power. By extending the duration, it gives wizards a chance to recover and add more power to it.

“That is correct. Another method of increasing the power would be to include a larger number of casters in the ritual.

even the simplest of them oftentimes requiring a number of arcane implements or ingredients to properly execute. For example, the ritual of rising earth used in an effort to recreate Atlantis, requires a drum made from an efreeti's flesh, beaten by the bones of an earth dragon. They also require a great deal of magical power, more power than most people can provide. This accounts for the length of many rituals, as more power can be added over time.

“Rituals, are by nature, complex, and because of that, quite vulnerable to interference disrupting them. The undertaking of multiple rituals even more so. Each of them interacts with the others, creating something far more fragile and dangerous without the proper skills and precautions. Even combining two rituals is something I wouldn't recommend until your N. E. W. T. year, and for a project such as this, years of dedicated study are necessary.”

“Bet Dumbledore could do it in an hour.”

McGonagall's piercing gaze scanned the students, seeking the source of the comment. “Headmaster Dumbledore is indeed accomplished in many magical arts, but a working of this magnitude will require dozens of specialists and countless hours of calibrations to ensure nothing goes wrong. Despite what you've heard about the Headmaster's power and… eccentricity, this is a very serious matter.”

A silence fell over the assembled students.

“Rebuilding Hogwarts is a massive undertaking that the Magical world hasn't seen in centuries. It will take a similarly massive amount of time, effort, and resources to fully realize it. The Headmaster has called in dozens, if not hundreds of favors from the magical world to make sure that things proceed quickly and with a minimal amount of fuss.”

“Now, to get back on subject, can someone name some rituals that might be used in rebuilding the school?”

“The Ward against the Wild.”

“And why would it be used?'

“It's a ritual that enchants a large structure or area against vermin and other wild animals.”

“That is correct. The Ward against the Wild, or some variant based on it, will most likely be used during reconstruction. It is only viable against small creatures, such as insects and rats. Another, more powerful ritual from the same family should keep the more dangerous wild animals, and even some of the weaker magical creatures well away from the school.”

Magical creatures...that caught Harry's attention, and reminded him that he still needed to figure out what Rex had been fighting. It was clearly another monster, but other than that, Harry was for the most part, clueless. Scribbling a note absently to himself, he returned his attention to the class. Despite everything that had happened, McGonagall was still more than willing to give detentions.


Harry waited until the sun had set before sneaking out of his tent. Despite the teacher's concerns, the security around the ruins of Hogwarts was quite lax. Perhaps they assumed that people would stay out of it. After all, whatever had destroyed the school was still out there, as far as they knew. Most students wouldn't be dumb enough to venture into the fallen castle until they knew it was relatively safe, but most students didn't have a monster like Harry did. Most, but not all, harry reminded himself. Hopefully there would be some clues about the monster Rex had fought in the castle, and they would help Harry find whoever its partner was.

As he reached the edge that led to the depths of the school, Harry wished he had some rope, but settled for using the levitation charm to enter the wreckage. Rex rode atop his head, until they reached the bottom. He hopped off of Harry's head, and resumed his true form.

“Do you want to show me what happened?” Harry asked, as Rex stretched languidly.


Harry followed behind his friend, absently listening as Rex gave him a blow by blow account of how the fight went. He knew Rex was emphasizing his own strength and downplaying his foe's ability, but after knowing him for so long, it was easy to discern the overall story of what had happened. Finally, they reached the bowels of the school, and Harry began to look around.


“Good enough to wreck the school.” Harry commented, stepping over a fallen column.

“I SAID I WAS SORRY!” Rex whined, causing everything around them to tremble slightly.

“No you didn't.”

“BUT I THOUGH IT REALLY LOUDLY AT LEAST.” Rex corrected himself.

“Whatever,” Harry shook his head, trying to get back on track. A part of him noted that Rex still hadnt apologized, but he probably wasn't going to do so anyways. “Do you think it's still down here somewhere?”'


“Well, we had better find it before it does any more damage. Do you think you can handle”


“Good to hear Rex.”


“I get it Rex.” Harry sighed.


“That's more than I needed to know, please stop.”


Something hissed from the shadows, Harry turned to see what it was, but only caught a glimpse of whatever it was. Rex's snarl echoed through the ruins as he stepped over Harry, protecting him from whatever was hiding in the shadows.

Harry drew his wand, but knew it probably wouldn't do him much good against something like Rex. He stayed by his companion, turning in place, hoping to spot whatever was after them.

Whatever it was, it was long and fast. He could hear it moving around, but no matter how quickly he moved to track it, it always seemed to be just out of sight. Once, he caught sight of its tail, but it vanished behind a pile of rubble, and seemed to disappear.

He kept turning, despite his rising dizziness, until he heard a menacing hiss behind him. He quickly whirled around, and caught a glimpse of brilliant yellow eyes, before it lunged at him, baring its fangs as it attempted to swallow him whole.

Harry flinched, but needn't have bothered. Rex roared, grabbing whatever it was before it could touch him, and hurled it across the shattered chamber. Another hiss echoed through the desolate room, before the rasping sound of scale on stone began to fade away as the creature retreated. For several long moments, Rex remained tensed to attack if it came back, but it seemed it didn't want to tangle with him again, and had made good its escape.

“Was that the monster that you fought earlier?”


“That didn't really help clear things up.” Harry said.


“I didn't think you were one for manners. You tend to just smash everything you can get your hands on.”


Harry shook his head in disbelief. “Well, it's getting late. I think we should get out of here before someone notices we're not in bed.



Harry returned to camp, no one the wiser of his little adventure. He still had no idea what it was that was under the school, but whatever it was, it was gone, for now at least. Hopefully, that would be the end of the excitement for the night

Oh, how wrong he was.

As Harry settled back into bed, the screams started. He and the other students jumped out of bed to see what was causing it, and almost immediately regretted it.

Spiders, thousands of them at least, stormed out of the Forbidden Forest. Harry watched in morbid fascination as a wave or arachnids moved with single minded purpose. He watched as larger and larger monstrosities emerged from the forest, until the largest among them were the size of horses.

He could hear the panicked screams of his fellow students, as well as hastily shouted commands and spells form the adults, but it seemed their efforts to protect everyone were in vain. The spiders ignored everything in front of them, simply scurrying over any obstacles in their way in their mad dash to vacate the forest. They ran over the ruins of Hogwarts, hundreds of them knocked loose by their brethren, and falling into the depths of the ruins.

Despite the casualties they inflicted upon themselves, they continued running, storming over and past the ruins and into the distance. Aside from the shock of the sudden stampede, it seemed almost no one was hurt, the only exceptions being those who unfortunate enough to get in the way of the creatures.

Though it was far from the strangest of things Harry had seen, he wondered what could have provoked such a strange thing. Judging by everyone's shock, it wasn't normal. He shook his head. Whatever it was, it didn't seem too dangerous, and he was tired. It could wait until morning.


Elsewhere, Lucius Malfoy was still in shock at the destruction of Hogwarts. He had intended there to trouble when he gave that diary to the Weasley girl, but in the same vein as when the Chamber of Secrets had last been opened. Death, to be certain, but controlled, focused on those who deserved it, slow enough to build fear and undermine Dumbledore's power and position amongst the other governors. He had hoped to force him out of power, and then implement a new order in Hogwarts.

Instead, Hogwarts had been destroyed before even a hint that something was wrong could escape. There was no doubt or fear, only shock. Hogwarts had been destroyed, completely out of the blue, and there was no sign of the perpetrators. Who knew what had happened, and when it would happen again. Perhaps next time they would not be so fortunate in evacuating the students. The thought of losing Draco had prompted Lucius to immediately petition for his transfer to Durmstrang, his wife no longer protesting after hearing of the disaster.

Unfortunately, that plan had been blocked by Cornelius Fudge. The fool of a minister had locked down everything concerning Hogwarts, until he could get the situation under control. Everyone was doing everything they could to understand what had happened, and while they were running around like chickens with their heads cut off, Dumbledore remained calm.

That calmness was something Lucius had loathed for the longest time, but now, he was grateful someone was able to control themselves enough to organize an effective means of restoring the school. If anyone besides Dumbledore had been in charge, the loss of the school would have only been the beginning of the disaster. While he loathed Dumbledore as a person, Lucius respected his abilities.

Shaking his head at the fallout of his failed plan, Lucius returned his thoughts on how best to manage this unfortunate situation.

It seemed purity of blood was not enough to control whatever lived in the Chamber. Perhaps only one descended from Slytherin himself had a chance to control the beast. Someone of his line, or perhaps only his house. He considered telling Draco the whole story of the diary, but decided against it. He wouldn't risk his only heir on the slim chance that he could master it. Perhaps one of his minions would be a possible choice, but that was something to consider after reacquiring the diary.

Regardless of what he decided after reaquiruing the diary, leaving it in the hands of the Weasley girl was unacceptable, but should he visit Hogwarts, his actions would be monitored and scrutinized, especially should he be found chasing an eleven year old girl, or breaking into her dormitory. There was only one option, loathe as he was to use it, but he had no other choice. Lucius moved to his study and began to compose a letter.


The destruction of Hogwarts was no coincidence. I've had my suspicions about recent events, but the destruction of Hogwarts has finally confirmed what I feared.

After our encounter with the Weasley family before you returned to Hogwarts, I noticed that a rather potent and valuable magical item was missing from my person. I had hoped that I had simply misplaced it, but after seeing what happened to Hogwarts, I can only assume one of the Weasley children stole it and hoped to use it to discredit our family. It seems it was well beyond their ability to control, and the destruction of Hogwarts is the result.

I need you to try and reacquire it. Such a power cannot be allowed to fall into the wrong hands. The honor of the Malfoy depends on your success, but I urge you to be cautious and discreet, as I am sure that the Weasleys will seek to exploit any of your attempts.

Burn this letter once you have fully understood the implications.

He left it unsigned, and a quick spell shifted the words slightly, replacing his handwriting with the generic script produced by dictation quills and their cousins. He quickly tied it to one of the family owls, before casting a disguise spell on it, transforming it into a generic post owl.

Draco was far from an ideal choice. The boy was too prideful, too sure of himself. Despite that, he was a child, and anything he did would most likely be brushed off as boyish trouble making, or at the worst, something he could use his position as school governor to mitigate any trouble that could arise. Idly, he wished Severus was still in a position to aid Draco, or even deal with the problem directly, but his oldest friend was still locked away in St. Mungo's. Perhaps he should look in on him, see if there were any wheels that could be greased to speed his recovery.


Well-Known Member
Sorry for any roughness.  Wanted to get this out in time for Halloween.  Any comments and corrections are appreciated.

“IT WAS YOU?!” Hermione shrieked. Harry winced at the eardrum shattering volume she had used, but hadn't really expected anything less.

“I can't believe it! Destroying the school, like it's something that just sort of happened. Hogwarts has been around for hundreds of years, and you destroy it in an afternoon.”

“It was Rex mostly.” Harry tried to shift the blame\, but Hermione would have none of it.

“He listens to you, which means it's your responsibility, and therefore,your fault! I ought to go to McGonagall or Professor Dumbledore about this.”

“They wouldn't believe you.”

“And that's the only reason why I haven't told them already.” Hermione huffed, trying to get her indignant fury under control. Harry wisely held his tongue, waiting for her to regain her composue.

“I bet you're behind the spiders last night too!” Hermione said, though most of the anger had been replaced by petulant accusation.

“No, I have no idea what caused that.” Harry replied. “Do you Rex?”

“nope. it's a mystery to me.” the miniature monster said. “maybe something scared them?”

“Could be. We don't know where that creature from the ruins went, after all.”

“I didn't hear that.” Hermione said immediately.

“Maybe it decided to hide in the forest?” Harry continued, ignoring Hermione's discomfort with his escapades.

“we should go check it out!”

“Absolutely not! The Forbidden Forest is… well, forbidden!”

“That really hasn't stopped us so far.” Harry said, “Besides, Rex is going to go there anyways, and do you really want a fire breathing dinosaur inside a forest by himelf?”

Hermione “Well, I suppose the entire forest burning down would make things even more difficult for the headmaster, but I don't see why that has to involve me!”

“come on squeakles, it'll be fun!” Rex said, looking up at her with his glowing red eye in a poor attempt to mimic a puppy. He failed miserably.

“Do you really want to leave the questions about what's happened go unanswered?” Harry asked, “Last year, you asked me why I didn't try to learn more about Rex, and now you're doing the same thing.”

“That was different!” Hermione protested, “You've been living with him for years now, you should ask those questions! Whatever is out there already destroyed the school, and it's a miracle that no one has died.”

“Rex can handle anything that we find in the forest, you know that!”

“But… but...” Hermione stammered, trying to think of another reason they shouldn't do it. Unable o think of one she could use to deter him, she sighed, and nodded her agreement.


All things considered, the Forbidden Forest wasn't all that forbidding. Harry was sure that that it prob
ably would be scarier, if the school hadn't been destroyed by his best friend. Compared to Rex, everything else seemed tame.

Sure, there had been a few creatures that had attacked, but Rex had dispatched them easily, but not so quick that Hermione couldn't identify them. Most of them were dire beasts, regular animals enhanced by the magical presence of Hogwarts over the course of generations. Wolves the size of horses, bears that were nearly ten feet at the shoulder, but even they were no match for Rex. There had been signs of numerous other creatures, but whatever they were, they were intelligent enough to avoid the obvious apex predator as it stalked into the forest.

Still, despite the impressive specimens Rex chased off, there had been something powerful enough to have scared the spiders out of the forest, and Harry was willing to bet that it was whatever had been lurking in the ruins, or the monster that had created the ruins in the first place.

Something shot out of the darkness. Hermione shrieked as she and harry dove for cover, but they needn't have bothered. Rex easily took the blow, and tossed the attacker aside like it was nothing.

The two children scrambled for cover as Rex crouched down, preparing for the creature's next attack.

“COME ON YA LITTLE PUNK! IS THAT ALL YOU'VE GOT?” Rex growled, tossing the scaly creature to the side. He watched as it recovered itself, and flapped its wings menacingly

“Is that a dragon?!” Hermione gasped

“I think so?”


The beast didn't reply, releasing a gout of flame instead.

“YOU CALL THAT HOT?” Rex laughed as they washed over him with “THAT'S BARELY HOT ENOUGH TO MELT THE SKIN OFF A HUMAN!”

“No, Rex, you'll burn down the forest!”

“NOT LIKE I NEED IT TO TAKE THIS WUSS!!!” Rex crowed, seizing the dragon in his gorilla like arms, before slamming it into a tree. It cried out, but Rex simply spun

The dragon finally went limp, and once Rex released it, it quickly rolled over onto its back and began waving its tail.


“Like a what?” Harry said, wondering what had caused Rex to trail off like that.


“So?” Harry asked, struggling to his feet now that the danger was past. “Wasn't she going to eat us or something.”


“No, I don't think that we do.”


“What do you mean?” Harry asked, not sure what was causing Rex to freak out like this.

“SHE'S GOT TO BE ABOUT A YEAR OLD! OLD ENOUGH TO KNOW BETTER, YOUNG ENOUGH NOT TO CARE, AND DAMN, LOOK AT THAT NECK MAN, SO LONG AND SLENDER...” Rex groaned in exasperation. Harry gave his friend a disturbed look. He had a vague inkling about what Rex was going through, thanks to public education, but it certainly wasn't something he wanted to discuss with anyone, certainly not a nightmarish dinosaur whose ideas about a number of subject deviated from the norm and, sometimes, the sane.

“Come one Rex. This really isn't the time for… whatever it it your planning.” Harry said, doing his best to keep his mind off exactly what Rex was talking about. He glanced at Hermione for help, but the young girl just shook her head in disbelief.


“Thank you.”


“What?” Harry asked. Clearly, he had heard wrong.


“Right, moving on.” Harry said, setting a brisk pace before Rex could continue his train of thought. Though his friend followed behind, it didn't spare Harry the horrific details.

“DAT TAIL, MAN, DAT TAIL...” Rex continued. Harry supposed it was good that no one else was around to hear this, but that just meant the two of them


Hours later, and with a great deal more knowledge about certain subject that he never had any desire to learn, Harry stopped. It felt like something was watching them. Something big.

“Get ready Rex.”

The dinosaur like monster nodded in agreement, tensing every muscle like steel cabling, and sprung around the corner, claws raised to tear his victim into shreds.

The moinster stood there, in all of it's terrible glory, but what they hadn't expected was a young girl with pale yellow hair sitting next to it, looking entirely comfortable with the monstrosity beside her.

“Hello there!” She said cheerfully, waving her arm excitedly. “Are you Snorkack's new friends?”

“YOU!!!” Rex growled, flames dripping from his jaw.

“Hold on Rex!” Harry said quickly.


“We're in a forest Rex! A very flammable forest!” Hermione shouted desperately.



“Snorkack, settle down. There's no need to be rude.”

“BUT LUNA...” the beast whined.

“How many times have I told you to mind your manners?”

“...FINE...” the Snorkack said petulantly.

“Now, have the two of you seen any unicorns?” Luna asked.

“Er… no. I don't think so.” Harry replied.


“Oh shush, I'm sure we'll find one soon enough.”

“BUT I'M HUNGRY NOW!!!” The monster continued to whine.

“We'll find some for you soon enough. I know you're still a growing boy.”

“YUP. I NEED TO EAT LOTS AND LOTS IF I'M GONNA GROW UP BIG AND STRONG.” The Snorkack nodded happily in agreement, knocking down a few trees in his excitement.


“Didn't you tell me you won?” Harry said, puzzled.


“Spleeghan?” Hermioen dared to ask.


“No… no I don't think so.” Harry said.

“Could you all just pay attention?! Just for a little bit?!” Hermione shouted, returning their attention to their previous conversation.

“Right, sorry about that.” Harry said, before turning “Luna, was it?”

“That's what they call me. Luna Lovegood.” She said with a pleasant, serene smile.

“What did your… friend tell you he was going o do before Hogwarts was destroyed?”

“Snorkack said he was going to go exploring. Normally I would go with him, but I was tired from all the studying for my Charms exam. Professor Flitwick is very exacting with his tests, especially for Ravenclaws. Snorkack went off alone, and he said he found a new playmate, and their game got out of hand and they ended up breakin Hogwarts. Don't worry I gave him a big lecture about playing safely after, so I don't think it will happen again unless he gets too excited.”

“Er… right.” Harry said, Hermione just stared at the blonde in disbelief. Then again, seeing how the Snorkack acted like an excited puppy who just wanted to go out and play, perhaps it wasn't that far of a stretch.

“Have you seen anything unusual? We think there was something living in the castle, and it might be hiding here.”

She blinking owlishly at them as she considered it, “I can't say that I have, but I've never been in the forbidden forest before this year. I don't really know what belongs here and what doesn't.”

“Blast. I guess we'll have to keep looking then, right Hermione??”

The girl fidgeted nervously, clearly not liking the idea in the least.

“It's getting awfully late, but I suppose we ought to keep looking for whatever it was that you saw.” Hermione finally said, before glancing between her to companions, “Your monsters can keep us safe, right? I've heard the most dangerous creatures prefer the depths of the forest, rather than coming close to the edges.”

Liuna nodded, “Of course, Snorkack is very protective. He wouldn't let anything hurt me or my friends.”

“You know Rex likes you Hermione, and he's my best friend. Of course we'll be safe.”

“YEAH SQUEAKLES, I'LL KEEP YOU SAFE.” Rex said, giving Hermione an affectionate lick. She shuddered in response, but managed to steel herself.

“Alright then, let's go.”


The trio of children continued deeper into the forest, not much changing from before, though the addition of the Snorkack was proving quite trying. Calling him a horrific puppy from beyond suit3ed him perfectly. All he seemed to want to do was play games, and it fell to Harry to convince Luna to wait until they were finished. The first year girl didn't seem all that concerned with the danger, and tended to pout when Harry kept her on task.

They didn't find anything, not even a sign of what had been lurking in the ruins of Hogwarts. Still, they pressed on, hoping to find some indication of the monstrous beast before heading back. Finally, after what felt like hours, group stopped at a small clearing as something from the depths of the forbidden forest strode out from the trees.

“Is that a unicorn?” Hermione asked in a voice faint with awe. The groups stopped, looking at the ethereal creature, glowing faintly with an inner light, a symbol of all that was good and pure in the world.

Unfortunately something ruined that perfect moment. That something was the Snorkack.

“UNICORN!!!” Snorkack cried out, leaping toward the ccreature faster than the eye could follow. The unicorn turned to run, but the Snorkack was simply too fast, and quickly pinned it down, baring its fangs as it prepared to feed.

“No, don't eat it! You'll be cursed!” Hermione shouted, but her warning went unheeded as the Snokack sunk his fangs into the helpless creature.

“Don't worry Hermione. Snorkack will be just fine.” Luna assured her new found friend.

Harry and Hermione watched with growing horror as the fangs didn't seem to harm the mythical beast. Rather, they seemed to be drawing… something out of the unicorn. The brilliant white coat they were famed for began to dull, then darken. Soon,m it had faded to pitch black, but the was far from the last of its change. The deep brown eyes began to change, shifting to an iridescent, malevolent green, faintly illuminating the clearing as the Snorkack fed. Its features began to twist and warp, growing gaunt as flesh drained away, and the bones beneath shifted. It's hooves warped, twisting to resemble something closer to claws.

Snorkack released the creature, which cried out. Not a neigh, as one would expect from a horse, but a bone chilling howl that wasn't meant to exist in this realm. It reared back, flashing its newly formed claws in the faint moonlight, and took off at a frightening pace, vanishing into the darkness, no sign it had even been there save the echoes of its cry.

Harry and Hermione stood there is shocked silence for well over a minute.

“What the bloody hell was that!?” Hermione demanded. Harry remained mute, trying his best to keep from collapsing to the forest floor.

“See, I told you it would be fine!” Luna said cheerfully. “Snorkack doesn't hurt things, he just feeds off their purity. Mostly people just become a bit moodier for a few days, I guess it comes back after a bit.”

“But a unicorn is the embodiment of purity.” Hermione said shakily, “If you take that away from it, what's left?”

“I'm not sure yet!” Luna exclaimed, still cheerful, “I was hoping that I could get daddy to come out here and look at them. It's rare the the Quibbler can get exclusive evidence of a new type of magical creature, I'm sure he'll be so happy!”


It was difficult to continue their explorations after what they had seen, but somehow, Harry and Hermione managed. They didn't see any sign of what Harry had seen in the ruins, and Hermione thought that might be for the best. After seeing what the Snorkack had done to the unicorns, she didn't think she was prepared to for anything else monster related. They returned to camp empty handed, but that didn't seem to affect Luna's mood at all.

“See you three tomorrow!” She said, waving goodbye as she and Snorkack stealthily headed towards the Ravenclaw tents.

“What did she mean my that?” Hermione asked, looking at Harry suspiciously.

“It's not like there are many other people who know about monsters, and we need to find whatever was in the castle before it can hurt anybody, right?” So I asked Luna if she would help us find it, and she agreed to help out. Is that a problem?”

Hermione sighed,”I already have enough monsters in my life with just you around, but I suppose keeping Hogwarts safe take priority… fine.”

“Great, you'll barely regret this.”

“Don't you mean won't?” Hermione asked, the feeling of dread creeping back into her.

“I said what I meant.” Harry answered, before strolling off to the Hufflepuff tents, whistling innocently as he did.

Hermione stared as Rex shrunk down and hopped onto his shoulder, “I hope I don't get sent to the insane asylum again this year.” she fretted, before heading towards her own tent, hoping to get a few hours of sleep before classes began.


Well-Known Member
The next morning, Harry wasn't sure how Luna found him so quickly, but then again, he was the Boy-Who-Lived. Maybe it had something to do with that. Regardless of how she accomplished it, Luna found him the next day and nearly dragged him through the encampment surrounding the ruin of Hogwarts in her excitement.

“I've never met another person with a Monster.” She said, eyes gleaming as she pulled a notebook out of her school bag. “How did the two of you meet?”

“Well-” Harry began.

“No, never mind about that.” Luna said, “We should probably find your friend Hermione. I bet daddy would love to get a person without a monster's perspective on monsters!”

“Your father?” Harry asked.

“Yes, daddy is the editor in chief of the Quibbler. He's always doing research into unusual creatures. I'm sure I must have mentioned that to you already.”

“Er...” Harry trailed off. Thinking about it, Luna had said something about her father, but the nightmarish transformation of the unicorn had proven a bit distracting. Before he could say anythign substantial, Luna abruptly changed directions, and continued to drag harry after her.

“I know she should be around here somewhere...” Luna muttered to herself, before brightening up. “HERMIONE!!! OVER HERE!!!”

Hermione cringed as she slowly turned in their direction. She saw the frantically waving young blond besides the ragged looking Harry, and, much to her dismay, the Snorkack looking at her in a far to friendly manner. Though she knew what was coming, she also knew there would be no escape for her. Whatever she was about to be pulled into was unavoidable, and fighting it would only lead to more suffering on her part.

“Hello Luna.” She said, forcing a smile on to her face. “Did you need something?”

“Not particularly.” The blonde said, “Just thought you would like to join us.”

Hermione hesitated, before remembering that the girl before her had a creature just as dangerous as Rex, “Of course I would.” She said. It wasn't exactly untrue. She did have some questions for the girl, after all. Regardless of how horrifying the subject, Hermione could not repress her curious nature.

The trio set out, though only the youngest of them seemed to have any idea where they were going. It soon became apparent that Luna had no destination in mind, and was wandering about without a care in the world.

The kept walking in silence, not sure what they should say, before Luna herself broke the silence.

“I enjoyed our adventure in the forest last night. Do you think we could do it again?”

Harry sighed, “I think we're going to have to. We found you and the Snorkack, but I saw another monster when I was exploring Hogwarts after it was destroyed. I think we need to find that one too, before we can be sure that everything is going to be alright.”

“Do you think it could still be down in the ruins?” Luna asked, “If you saw it down there, it would make sense that it would still be down there.”

Rex popped his head out of Harry's bag. “i doubt it. Something that big is going to need a lot of food, and after the school blew up, I don't think that it's a good place to hide out.”

“It didn't blow up, it collapsed.” Hermione corrected him automatically.

“How it happened doesn't really matter.” Harry said, “Rex is right. Hogwarts isn't th best place for it to be hiding right now, especially since so many witches and wizards are exploring and excavating the ruins. If it wants to stay hidden, then Hogwarts just isn't a smart place for it to be. The forest makes much more sense.”

Hermione sighed, but nodded in agreement. “I suppose you're right, but that really doesn't help us beyond giving a general sense of where we should look. We spent all last night looking around, and we didn't find a trace of it. The Forbidden Forest is huge, and unless it makes a large and obvious nest of some sort, we could pass it by and not even know it.”

“We're going to need some sort of plan then.” Harry said.

“Perhaps if we had a map, we could divide it up into sections, and search them in a grid. It might not find us the monster right away, but it should speed up the process, and we won't waste time checking the same areas over and over again.” Hermione suggested.

“That could work...” Harry considered. It would certainly speed up the process, but there were too many opportunities for the monster to give them the slip.

“Do you have any better ideas?” Hermione asked testily as they circled around, heading back towards the center of the camp. “Because unless you do, the only other option is to wait to see if it tries to eat anyone.”

Harry sighed in defeat. “No, I don't. Not at the moment anyways. I'm still too tired after being up all night yesterday.”

Hermione repressed a yawn, “Well, perhaps after we all get a good night's sleep”

“Don't you have history class today? Why not just take a nap then? Professor Binns would never even notice.”

Hermione gave him a scandalized look, and Harry couldn't help but laugh. Even now, the idea of sleeping through class was almost a sacrilege for Hermione. She would sooner die than slack off like that, no matter how boring the class.

Luna, completely ignoring their conversation, raised her fingers to her mouth, and let out a piercing whistle. The earth began to trembled. The Snorkack bounded over a pair of tents, wagging its tail like a horrifying, giant puppy as it stopped next to Luna.

“HI LUNA. THANKS FOR THE TREAT LAST NIGHT! DO YOU THINK WE COULD GET ANOTHER ONE TONIGHT?” He asked eagerly, drool forming a sizable puddle as he thought about the delicious innocence of a unicorn.

“I don't know about that, it was more luck than anything else that we managed to find and catch the unicorn last night...” Luna considered thoughtfully. “Maybe Harry and Rex could ehlp us hunt one down?” she said, looking over at the dark haired boy.

“Well...” Harry considered, but before he could make up his mind, they were interrupted.

“Mister Potter, Miss Granger, Miss Lovegood, just what are the three of you doing?” A voice called out. As one, the three students turned around, the all too familiar voice telling them exactly who it was before they even saw her.

Professor McGonagall.

Hermione lit up a bit at seeing her head of house, before remembering just what was right next to her. She frantically glanced over at the Snorkack, trying futilely to signal Luna ot hide her monster, as she had seen Harry do with Rex so many times before. Luna either didn't notice, or didn't care, as the Snorkack continued to stand there, heedless of the approaching adult.

“You know that classes are about to start, yet I find the three of you loitering around like it's a day off! What would your heads of house say about that?” She asked Luna and Harry. Harry had the good grace to look away, while Luna simply kept her dreamy expression on her face.

“As for you Miss Granger. You're one of the brightest witches I've ever known, and I find you lollygagging around like those Weasley Twins! I don't care what the circumstances are, I expected better of you!”

Her gaze turned to the Snorkack.

The Snorkack smiled at her, its panting sending its warm moist breath directly into the Professor's face. She stared at the creature before her, and for a moment, Harry desperately fought the urge to panic, struggling to come up for an explanation for the monster beside him. He glanced frantically at Luna, who only smiled serenely.

“The stress must be getting to me...” McGonagall muttered to herself, wiping her face unconsciously as she shook her head, as if to dispel what she had seen.

“Don't you like Snorkack?” Luna asked innocently, a hurt expression on her face.

“Miss Lovegood, there is no such things as Snorkacks.” McGonagall admonished the young Ravenclaw, before pushing past the monster and moving on. “Make sure none of you are late for you classes!” She called over her shoulder, already moving towards her own assigned teaching area.

“What just happened?” Hermione asked, trying to wrap her brain around the last few seconds.

“Professor McGonagall wanted to make sure we were staying out of trouble.” Luna said dreamily

“I think she means why didn't Professor McGonagall run away screaming when she saw the Snorkack.” Harry clarified.


“Or if you wreck a good portion of a city.” Harry said in a deadpan tone, looking over the ruins of Hogwarts.

“YEAH, THAT CAN DO IT TOO.” The Snorkack agreed. “I'M LIKE SANTA CLAWS!”

“I think you mean Santa Claus, and he's not real.”


“He's right you know.” Luna said to Hermione, “The world has so many wonderful things out there, and you'll never get to see them because you're t”

Hermione frowned at Luna, but didn't want to start a fight so early in the day. They could argue some other time, but right now, she just wanted to get through classes so she could do her homework, and get some rest.

“Professor McGonagall's right you know.” Hermione said, changing the subject. “Classes are about to start, so we don't have much time.”

“So, should we be exploring the forest again tonight?” Harry asked the girls.

“I think it would be best if we waited another night. After being out so late, I think a good night's sleep is something we could all use.” Hermione said as she suppressed a yawn. Luna pouted a bit, but nodded her agreement.

“We'll meet up tomorrow and start making our plans then?” She asked hopefully.

“Of course we will.” Harry reassured her, “but right now classes are about to begin.”

Hermione nodded in agreement, and thought Luna pouted about it, she gave in, and the three went their separate ways.


The day passed in a blur, as Harry fought off last night's exhaustion to stay awake through class. If it had been History, Harry wouldn't have had a problem dozing off, but he had Charms instead, followed by Herbology. After the lecture McGonagall had given him before school started, he really wasn't looking forward to what would happen if one of her fellow teachers caught him sleeping.

Instead, Harry drifted through the day in a sleepy haze, paying only enough attention to stay out of trouble. What coherent thoughts he did have were occupied by the identity of the mystery monster, and the person who it was partnered with. Monsters were far from subtle, so whoever it was that controlled it, as far as monster could be controlled anyways, had to be hiding for one reason or another.

Then again, he hadn't known about Luna and the Snorkack for nearly two months, and they hadn't done anythign to conceal themselves.

After classes ended, he robotically ate his dinner as quickly as he could, making his way to his tent before collapsing in his bed. Despite his exhaustion, Harry slept fitfully, his dreams revolving around the brilliant yellow eyes he had seen deep in the ruins of Hogwarts. It seemed that spending the entire day thinking about the creature had seeped into his dreams, and while they weren't terrifying, they were somewhat strange and far from restful.

Eventually, his restless slumber was ended as Harry was shaken awake, and all but dragged out of bed before he recognized his friend and housemate.

“Justin?” he asked, still trying to get his bearings.

“Harry, come on! You need to get dressed quick mate!” Justin said with a grin.

Harry started to reply, but was forcibly turned around as Ernie handed him his clothes.

“No time! If you don't start moving, you're going to miss it!”

“Wait, what's happening?” Harry asked blearily, still trying to rub the sleep from his eyes.

“Quidditch!” Ernie proclaimed, a joyful grin on his face, even as he and the rest of his friend dragged him from the tent, were joined by Susan and Hannah, and began explaining as best they could as they rushed towards the Quidditch pitch.

Despite the devastation and the efforts directed at rebuilding Hogwarts, there were certain things that could not, would not be neglected. In this case, the thing was Quidditch. A number of Quidditch players, led by none other than Gryffindor's Oliver Wood, had formed a coalition, and all but demanded that Quidditch Trials be held as they normally would.

Dumbledore, having no problem with having something to occupy young minds, agreed with a twinkle in his eyes. That led to the majority of the school assembling at the Quidditch field, eager for something to entertain them and distract them from life's troubles.

Normally, these trials were held more privately, spread over the course of a week or two, but the excitement and morale boost it caused in the students caused tradition to be discarded. Instead, the Quidditch pitch had been divided into quarters, with each House controlling one of them. Sure there were some conflicts. Slytherin and Gryffindor especially seemed particularly concerned about where the dividing line was, but for the most part, everyone seemed to be having a good time.

Harry found the Hufflepuff section to be the most active of them all. They seemed less concerned with the tryouts and more about everyone having a good time. Brooms exchanged hands regularly as almost everyone took their turn in the sky. He was a bit surprised, but not shocked as a group of first years took their own turn, drifting about haphazardly. Everyone seemed to be having an enjoyable time

“Alright Harry, you're up!” Susan said, giving her housemate a push. Harry stumbled forward, grabbing a broom for balance, but that only seemed to encourage his friends.

Harry mounted the broom, before launching himself into the air. Just as he had during his first flying lesson, he found it came to him naturally, and he began moving about the pitch, getting a feel for the broom he had borrowed. Once he was confident in his ability to control it, he began pulling tricks, spins, dives, loops, testing the limits of the broom as well as his own. He lost track of time, until someone appeared in front of him. Abruptly, Harry brought himself to a stop.

“Not bad Harry! Keep that up, and you might have a shot at taking my place!” an older student, Cedric Diggory, said with a grin. “Fancy a friendly game?” he asked, holding a snitch in his hand. Harry grinned, before nodding enthusiastically.

Cedric let the tiny golden orb go, and it took off like a shot. Harry and Cedric dashed after it, twisting and turning around players and balls alike. The two of them raced across the pitch, heedless of the unofficial boundaries between the houses. The snitch dove into a gathering of Ravenclaw students, and Cedric and Harry followed after it, drawing a wave of screams and shouts from the most studious of houses.

The Gryffindors ignored them for the most part, too concerned with their own tryotus to really notice them, but the Slytherins turned out to be very territorial, and Marcus Flint wasted no time in organizing a barrage of bludgers. Harry dodged them as best he could, but hadn't expected an attack like that, and lost valuable time tryign to avoid having his head smashed in. Cedric seemed to ignore them, moving between them as if they weren't even there. Once they were clear of the Slytherin's area, harry tried desperately to catch up, struggling to close the distance between him and his upper classmate.

Harry did his best, but experience won out, and Cedric edged him out in getting the snitch. He sighed in disappointment, before hearing the roar from the crowd below. The entire Hufflepuff house was cheering in excitement over their impromptu match, and his disappointment was quickly swept away.

“Not quite there yet, but you've got talent Harry!” Cedric said with a grin. Harry returned it, vowing that next time, he would be the victor.


Hermione hadn't intended to join in the festivities, but like Harry, she had been all but dragged out of bed and forced to attend. Sports had never really caught her interest before, but Hermione couldn't ignore the atmosphere surrounding the tryouts, and found herself having a good time despite herself.

The one thing that threatened to ruin it was Ron Weasley. After last year, the two of them still dispised one another, and while they hadn't reached the same level of animosity, yet, there was still tension between them, snips and insults were exchanged regularly, and neither of them would pass up the chance to one up the other. Since most of their activities were academic, Hermione won handily more often than not, but for her, that just made her rare defeats all the more frustrating.

She watched distastefully as Ron took to the air on a beat up old Cleansweep. As much as it galled her to say it, he had some skill on the broom. While he wasn't the most impressive flyer, he did better than most of the hopefuls, keeping pace with the team, though he trailed at the back. His ability to handle the ball was impressive, probably from having so many older brothers. It wasn't until the captain demanded stunts and acrobatics that he started to falter. He did his best, but his broom and his level of skill just weren't up to what Oliver Wood demanded.

“Good Maneuverability… Alright, let's see a dive!” Wood commanded, and Ron quickly complied, following after the other hopefuls. It wasn't particularly steep, but he had a good amount of speed behind him.

Though it wasn't bad, it seemed that his older brothers weren't willing to cut the younger Weasley any slack, as the Twins hammered the bludgers right at him. Ron panicked for a second, frantically moving around to avoid them. He didn't get hit, but he lost his balance and fell off his broom. He grabbed frantically at the handle, but missed, tumbling to the ground a few feet beneath him.

He landed with a loud “Oomph,” accompanied by a smattering of laughter from the crowd watching them. His face flushed red, and he got to his feet, and stormed to the sidelines. Wood called the Twins over, and glared at them as he launched into what was doubtlessly a heated lecture.

“What are you looking at?” He asked Hermione in a poisonous tone.

“Oh, nothing. Just wondering if there is anything you're actually good at.” She said loftily, a smirk playing across her face.

“It's not as easy as it looks!” Ron said heatedly, glaring at the young bookworm.

“Please, even I could do a better job than that!” Hermione gloated at her ongoing rival, enjoying the opportunity to needle him at something he was good at. Maybe now he would know what it was like when he made fun of her study habits!

Ron glared at her, before furiously thrusting the broom into her hands, “Prove it then!”

Hermione froze for a moment, looking at the long wooden stick in her hands. She hadn't had much luck during flying lessons last year, and hadn't really seen the point of buying one for herself. She had never really been into sports, and could easily travel wherever she needed by asking her parents for a ride.

Still, she wasn't going to back down in front of him. And she stalked out to the Gryffindor quarter of the field. Hermione nervously mounted her broom, though a leering smirk from Ron banished any traces of fear from her mind. With a willful push of her legs she jumped into the air, her knuckles turning white from the tightness of her deathgrip.

She drifted around for a few seconds, too scared to try anything other than hovering, but knew she would have to do something soon, or Ron was never going to let her live it down.

“Take it easy. No need to rush.” A voice assured her, and Hermione turned to see Katie Bell beside her

“I'm not very good at this.” Hermione said nervously, even as her broom wobbled beneath her. She braced herself for a lecture from the more experienced girl, but it never came.

“Just take a deep breath and relax. Flying is pretty easy for the most part, as long as you can keep calm.”

“I'm having a bit of difficulty with that...” Hermione admitted.

“Just focus on a point, and move towards it. Your body will keep you steady.” Katie reassured her. Hermione nodded her head, and followed her advice. It wasn't the fastest or most skillful jpurney, but she accomplished it without embarrassing herself any further. Katie continued to follow her and offer advice, and Hermione slowly grew more confident in her skills. Soon, she was moving about the pitch at a good quip, feeling more relaxed than she would have believed possible. Katie was soon joined by her fellow Chasers, all of whom offered their own advice.

“Hurry it up ladies! Other people with skill want a turn!” a heckler called out from the crowd. Alicia glared at the assembled Gryffindors, hoping to pick out the unfortunate soul, but whoever it was escaped her wrath, for the moment, at least.

“It's not even her broom! Give her a bit to get used to it!” Angelina Johnson called out, before pointing at the next sports star hopeful, “You, get up there!”

The startled third year scrambled on to his broom, and the older girl continued to fly next to Hermione, offering her a grin. “Girls like us need to stick together.” Hermione returned the smile, and continued to practice.. The trio of Chasers continued to push Hermione, every time she felt she had thinsg down pat, the trio pushed her, either forcing her into some maneuver she would never have attempted, or throwing a ball at her when she wasn't expecting it. They kept pushing her, and she kept pace with it. She wasn't impressive by the standards of most of the hopefuls, but was surprisingly good for someone who had never been on a broom before.

“Watch out!” a voice shouted, and the four of them turned. Someone had gotten a bit overenthusiastic with bludger bashing, and one of them was shooting right at them!

The Chasers scattered, but Hermione was frozen, paralyzed by shock and indecision. She vaguely heard one of them shouting at her to move, but Hermioen remained where she was, her mind still trying to process what was happening.

“Hermione!” One of them shrieked, the sheer volume and fear in the voice jolting her into action.

She twisted herself, bringing the broom with her as the bludger shot past her. From her now inverted position, sh realized she was moving towards the ground, and would hit it very shortly if she didn't do anythign. Her mind raced in a panic, before remembering what the other girls had told her. She needed to calm down. Hermione drew in a deep breath, and her grip relaxed. She guided the broom, forcefully, but not panicking, and managed to right herself. Form there, it was a small matter of pulling up, and while her landing was anything but gentle, she managed to avoid hurting herself, though she did fall over, rolling head over heels for a few seconds before coming to a rest.

The Chasers flew over to her, accompanied by the Weasley Twins, chasing after their rogue bludger.

“You've got good reflexes, dodging that bludger like that. We just need to work on your stick and ball handling.” Katie complimented her. Fred and George grinned, and began to open their mouths, only to find a trio of wands pointed at their faces.

“Not a word out of the two of you” Angelina threatened, her wand already pointed at the Twins. They raised their hands in a placating gesture, and slowly backed away. Hermione giggled a bit at the sight, surprised at how much fun she was having. In its own way, it had almost been as much fun as books.

Finally, Oliver Wood began announcing the line up for Gryffindor's Quidditch team. Unsurprisingly, most of the lead slots were filled by the previous year's team. The only exception to that was the Seeker position, which was filled by a willowy fifth year girl. No one was really surprised by these results, most of the tension was drawn from the alternates. The five coveted spots were hotly debated, as numerous candidates loudly professed their qualifications and skills.

“Ron Weasley, Keeper, Alternate!”

It was interesting to see the emotions play across his face. Surprise turned to elation only to be brought crashing down all in the span of a single breath. Oliver Wood was well known for his die hard attitude, so being the alternate Keeper meant that unless Wood was at death's door, and maybe not even then, he wouldn't see a real game anytime soon.

“Buck up, brother mine. Wood's only got one more year before graduation.” Fred said, slapping the younger Weasley on the back.

“Great. That means two whole years I can't play.” Ron groused.

“It means that Wood thinks you've got enough potential in you to take his place. He's going to spend the next two years training you until you meet his impossible standards, and in the mean time, you've be right there, ready to leap in at a moment's notice should something happen to him. Wood's never gotten along with Flint, and the two of them are like cats and dogs. Only different is Flint doesn't believe in fair play. You wouldn't believe how many games we've lost because Wood got clobbered too hard and couldn't tell which end of his broom he should be sitting on. You'll get plenty of time in the field, just make sure your gear is sturdy enough.” George corrected him. “After the beating we took last year because he kept flying around in circles, we finally managed to convince him to get some alternates on the roster.”

Ron still didn't look happy, but his frown had disappeared, replaced with a more thoughtful expression.

The rest of the alternates were announced, and the crowd began to disperse. On another part of the Quidditch pitch, Hermione found herself surrounded by the trio of Chasers.

“You did great up there Hermione.” Alicia told her with a smile.

“Still, I didn't make the team...” Hermione said, disappointment obvious in her voice. “I wasn't really planning on even trying out, but part of me still hoped I would make it.”

“Not this year, but that just means you have more time to practice before your grand debut. You've got a lot of potential. Give us a few hours a week, and we can whip you into shape soon enough.”

“A few hours?!” Hermione protested, “But what about studying?”

“There's more to life than studying!” Angelina said, “You're already the top student, do you really think that studying more is going to help you?”

“Still, I couldn't go and neglect my studies like that...” Hermione said, still resistant.

“Tell you what. For every three hours you give us on the pitch, we'll give you some tutoring. We've already taken all the classes you're worrying about, so it should make things go a lot easier than just studying be yourself. What do you say, do we have a deal?”

Hermione considered, at the very least it would mean there was some time when Rex couldn't bother her. He couldn't fly, as far as she knew, and hoped.


As the Quidditch tryouts began to calm down, Draco found himself grinning. His father's genero donation had secured his place as seeker for Slytherin, which had freed up most of his day to plan how to retrieve the artifact the blasted Weasley girl had stolen.

Draco waited until darkness fell, and most of the students were fast asleep, before be ventured out of his tent. Normally, he would have brought Crabbe and Goyle with him, but this mission required a bit more finesse than the two of them could bring to bear. He would have to do it alone, but he was more than clever enough to outsmart an eleven year old girl.

He grinned as he walked through the empty pathways between tents, one good thing about this disaster was that there were no more foolish portraits watching his every move. Sure, most of them didn't care what the student body got up to, and almost all of the rest had an early bedtime, but there were always a few of them watching the halls, whether out of duty, or simply to spite young children, but now he was free to roam about as he pleased.

The young scion of the Malfoy family found his way to the Gryffindors' area of the camp, and quietly began to examine the collection of tents. While there was no guardian or portrait to bar his access, he had to be careful. All it would take was one wrong step or entering the wrong tent and everything would be ruined. While he fancied himself quite the skilled duelist, even he wasn't foolish enough to want to face a tent full of seventh year girls who thought they had found a peeping tom.

Draco thought he had found the right tent, and held his breath, before carefully moving the flap aside, and stepping in. It seemed that everyone was asleep, and he slowly crept through the makeshift dorm. It seemed that he had gotten the right tent after all, as the only people he saw were the innocent young faces of eleven year old girls. He moved slowly about the tent, looking for the telltale red hair of the Weasley girl, but found no trace of her.

“Blast, where in the bloody hell is she?” Draco hissed under his breath. He muttered a quick spell, and his wand lit up, and he checked the beds once again. There was no sign of her, but one of the beds was empty.

He almost broke out cursing, but realized this migth be an opportunity in disguise. Draco quickly moved back over to the empty bed, and began rooting through it and the nearby dresser. Hopefully, the artifact his father had mentioned would be here somewhere, he just needed to find it before anyone came along to catch him.

Sadly Draco had greatly underestimated how many things a girl could accrue in her possession, even a girl so young and Ginny Weasley. What he had hoped would be a quick smash and grabbed stretched on, and on, and on. As the search continued to be fruitless, Draco's mounting frustration led him to be less cautious with his hunt for the precious artifact. Drawers were yanked open and slammed shut, and his irritation continued to grow. He was beginning to lose patience.

“Who's there?” a voice asked sleepily, as one of the girls sat up in her bed. Draco froze, quickly dousing the light his wand was emitting. “Hello?”

He didn't move. Hopefully, the girl would brush it off as a dream and go back to sleep. He would have to stop the search for the night, and come back another time. All he had to do was wait.

Once again, luck failed the young Slytherin, as the girl lit her own wand, and glanced over in his direction. She let out a shriek, and the rest of the girls sat up, and looked around, spotting him in seconds.

He didn't have time to think, only react. Draco grabbed whatever was close at hand, hoping that luck was with him, and charged out of the tent. Other tents began to rouse to the cries of the young girls, but he didn't stop running. He was well away from the Gryffindor's territory before anyone else could peer out and see what was happening, and by the time they began an organized search, he would be safe and secure in his own tent.

A few minutes later, a confident Draco slithered back into his portion of the tent. He hadn't had time to search everything, but he was beginning to suspect that the Weasley girl was keeping it on her, to prevent anyone from finding it. He would have to find a way to get her off on her own, and then overpower her. It shouldn't be difficult, he would just need to watch out for her blasted brothers. While he was confident in his skills, dealing with four older brothers seemed a bit much, and any additional attention could cause more trouble than he was willing to deal with.

He was already formulating a new plan of attack when the noise outside began to wake his room mates. As they rose from their beds, wondering what all the commotion was about, Draco began to relax, certain that he was safe.

It was at that moment that Draco looked at what he had seized.

Underwear. He had grabbed an eleven year old girl's underwear.

“Draco, what on earth are you-” one of his tentmates began, before seeing what the young Malfoy held in his hand. He stared for a moment, before taking a single step back

“It's not what it looks like.” Draco said weakly, knowing that his protests would go unnoticed, but he had to make them nonetheless.


Deep in the Forbidden Forest, a young girl was hissing at her reptilian companion, venting her frustrations upon the beast.

“You fool, you were only supposed to hunt the mudbloods in the school, not destroy it! Now there is far too much attention upon us for my plans to move forward.”

“Master, I had nothing to do with this! You had barely awakened me before the school collapsed.” the basilisk protested.

“Silence!” The girl commanded as a frown began to appear on her face. Despite her irritation as the situation, she knew that her pet was speaking the truth. Though her monster was indeed mighty, it lacked the physical strength to tear down the school, at least, not so quickly. That meant that something else was afoot, something she had to alter her plans to accommodate their presence, and the only way to do that would be to find out just what they were dealing with.

“Perhaps the other founders left beasts of their own...” she muttered to herself. If that were the case, then she would have to tread carefully, covertly discovering what types of beasts they were, and more importantly, who was commanding them.

On the bright side, she thought to herself as a dark smile spread across her face, it would give her more time to tighten her hold, and make her position much more secure. Whatever creatures the other founders had sealed away didn't seem to get along, and none of them could compare to Slytherin's beast. Yes, the best move for her now was to bide her time.

She walked through the forest confidently, heedless of the dangers that could be lurking in the shadows. She knew more than enough spells to deal with anything that might dare attack her, and a part of her hoped that she would get the opportunity to practice her magic. As she drew closer to camp, she realized that something was happening. Everyone seemed to be running around, and the teachers seemed set on finding someone.

Wary that she might have been discovered, she let go of her host. The one possessing the girl was gone, leaving only the victim behind. Best to play things carefully right

Ginny Weasley blinked her eyes. Shaking her head, she made her way back to her tent, wondering how on earth she made it all the way out here. Perhaps she was been sleepwalking. The young girl pushed it out of her mind, and hurried back to her tent. She was assaulted almost immediately by tales of a peeping tom, and by the time she got the whole story, outrage drowned out any concerns about her little misadventure.


Well-Known Member
New chapter.  Sad to see no one commented on the last one.  This is a rough draft, so let me know if there are any major spelling/grammar/formatting issues, or if I forgot to put in a section of the story.  I think I fixed all of those issues, but you never know for sure.

Anyways, hope you enjoy, and as always, reviews are appreciated!

Early November quickly moved into December, with the winter holidays just about to begin, and despite all the time that had passed, they were no closer to finding the monster that had been dwelling in the depths of Hogwarts.

Luna assured them that it was most likely hiding in the Forbidden Forest, but  seemed unconcerned with the monster, her attention focused on the transformed unicorns.  She had attempted to get her father to join them on several occasions, but between the destruction and his own obligations, nothing had come of it.

Hermione moaned over the loss of the Hogwarts library, still in the process of being excavated.  She was certain that the secret of the creature could be found somewhere in the books it had contained, but until things could be put back into order and the restricted section secured and accounted for, it was off limits to students.

Harry was beginning to doubt whatever he had seen was in the forest.  Their expeditions had turned up nothing, and even attempting to talk to the other dwellers hadn't helped at all.  The centaurs, arguably the friendliest of them, seemed put off in the most charitable of cases, and often outright hostile.  Only several pleas for calmer heads kept things from descending into violence.  Rex seemed more than eager to shed some blood, but Harry somehow managed to keep him in check, normally with promises to sate his nightmarish appetite, but it could only last so llong before Rex lost his patience..

Of course, that was far from the largest difficulty. The sad fact was, it was becoming surprisingly difficult to find time for their adventures.  No longer in shock at the fall of Hogwarts, efforts to keep track of the children had intensified, and sneaking away after dark was becoming more and more difficult. Sure, he could have just used Rex to terrify the patrols the Ministry had instituted, but they were just doing their job, and it wasn't like finding the monster was all that important.

The added security was only the tip of the iceberg.  The real difficulty was school life.  After the initial aftermath, the teachers had time to look over their lesson plans and adjust them to heir new circumstances.  While the new lessons continued, they were augmented with their original lessons, and added upon further to catch them up and hedge against future problems.  All in all, everyone had two or three times as much work to do, and that didn't even factor in Quiddittch practice.

Quidditch was turning out to be the real problem.  Practice was held almost every day by one team or another, and with little to entertain themselves beyond schoolwork, more often than not they were watched by most of the students.  Though Harry was only on the reserve, that meant that he was more often than not the center of attention after lessons had concluded for the day.  That left him very little time before supper commenced, and once the meall had finished, more often than not he was bogged down with homework until he climbed into bed and passed out from exhaustion, only to repeat the pattern the next day.

It wasn't a bad situation.  The days passed in a blur, but they needed to find the other monster, before more trouble could brew.  Harry didn't know how things could get worse with the school already blown up, but there was no doubt in his mind that it was entirely possible for things to go even further awry.

Hopefully, once classes were over for the winter holidays, things would become a bit easier.  Harry thought to himself with a sigh, already over a scroll into his current assignment for finding appropriate transfigurations to use on the rubble of the castle.  Too much of it had been damaged beyond salvaging, but simply disposing of it would be too much of a waste, assuming the faculty was able to find a way to work around the charms they carried.  It was times like these that Harry was grateful to be so young.  He could only imagine what hoops the upper years were having to jump through.

With only a handful of students and staff remaining, dining besides the ruins of Hogwarts was eerie and somewhat depressing, before the Headmaster muttered a few words, and a number of miniature figures appeared, filling in the empty spaces.

"Professor, what kind of creatures are these?" Harry heard Hermione asking her head of house.

"House Elves, Miss Granger." McGonagall replied, already anticipating her next question as she continued.  "They are the creatures entrusted withe the care of Hogwarts and all who dwell within it.  They cook, clean, and perform a dozen other tasks that keep the school running the way it should."

“The House Elves normally prefer to dine in the kitchens, but with them being destroyed, and us having the extra space, I thought it might be more appropriate for them to join us, in the spirit of the holidays.” Dumbledore said, attempting a booming laugh in imitation of Santa Claus, but only managing a rather wheezy chuckle instead.

“How long have they been working here?  I've never seen one before.”

“That is their nature, Miss Granger.  They prefer to stay in the shadows, feeling that the sign of a good house elf is no sign at all.”

“Indeed, the families of these particular House Elves have served Hogwarts since its foundation.  They possess powerful magic, but are unable to use it for their own benefit.  Because of this, they are most often attached to a family, binding their fortunes to a particular bloodline, trading their power for protection and a place to call their own.  All too often, wizards have taken advantage of this, I am sad to say.” Dumbledore spoke, shaking his head.  “If you would like, Miss Granger, I should be able to find a book regarding them once the castle is restored, if you would care to read more about them.  Minerva has told me on many occasions about your voracious appetite for knowledge, and I would be happy to nurture that particular desire.”

Hermione nodded, a faint blush crossing her face from the indirect praise.  Professor McGonagall seemed to have a faint trace of pink in her cheeks as well, but chose ti ignore it in favor of another drink.

Harry's attention was drawn to a few House Elves that sat off on their own.  They seemed taller and paler than their companions, and far less cheerful.  He would have attributed it to shock at the destruction wrecked on their home, but they kept looking around with too wide eyes, looking for something darker than Hogwarts held.  One of them locked eyes with Harry, and slowly licked its lips, before turnign back to his companions.  Harry turned back to the table with a shiver.  perhaps he and Rex should avoid the kitchen once the school was rebuilt.  If they were this creepy when the headmaster was around, he didn't want to think what they could be like once everyone was asleep.

Harry thoughts were interrupted by a large bang.  Despite the somber setting, there was still plenty of fun to be had.  Dumbledore had brought a large number of crackers, and once Professor Flitwick had a few glasses of wine, the air was filled with brilliant firework displays, egged on by the Weasley Twins.  Harry and the rest of Hufflepuff joined in the cheering, much to the consternation of their own Head of House.  Professor Sprout took it as a challenge, disappearign into one of the greenhouses, only to emerge later with a collection of plants.  While they weren't particularly impressive on their own,  she explained that soon enough they would attract a number of fairies.

True to her word, Flitwick's display was augmented by countless sparkles as tiny fairies.  While nowhere near as flashy as the fireworks, they had a certain enchanting, ethereal quality the brilliant flashes lacked.  The faint sound of giggling filled the air as the tiny specks of light danced between the brilliant display of fireworks, creating an image that they would be sure to remember for years to come.

Soon, McGonagall joined in the impromptu competition, transfiguring a large portion of rubble into a collection of impressive statues.  With a few whispered words and flicks of her wrist, they began to move far more gracefully than their appearance would indicate.  A number of fairies came to rest on them, illuminating Hogwarts with ever shifting patterns of light.

Only Professor Sinistra, the newly selected head of Slytherin House refrained from engaging in the theatrics, but given her specialty in Astronomy, there wasn't much she could have accomplished to match her fellow Heads of house.  It didn't stop her from scowling, but she knew when she was outclassed.

Flitwick grinned at the dance golems, and let up on the fireworks, instead filling the air with music.  The statues quickly fell into step, and a very strange version of ballroom dancing became the entertainment for the evening.

For a bit, it seemed that everything was going to be all right.  Despite everything that happened, it looked like things would get back to normal soon enough.

Still, in order for things to get back to normal, he had to track down the mysterious monster.  They had to figure out what kind of creature it could be, and find where it was hiding, ven though weeks of searching had turned up nothing.

Also, find a way to keep Rex and the Snorkack from making trouble, but in situations like this, it was best to start small.


After the festivities of the first night, the first good sleep Harry had in what seemed  like weeks.  He woke of refreshed, and for the first time in a long time, had actual free time.  No classes, no Quidditch practice for hours, and weeks to take care of holiday assignments at his leisure.  For several minutes, Harry just lay in bed, basking in the freedom he had been so long denied, until Rex finally roused harry from his bed.

“come on harry, you can't spend all day in bed!” Rex whined.

“Can't I have just one day?  It's not like the monster has been hurting anyone.” Harry asked, not at all happy to have the first real day of rest in weeks be interrupted.

“well yeah, but think of what's going to happen to my street cred!  bad enough that the snorkack kid is hanging around, but now there's something else moving in on the rexter's territory?  i don't think so.”

Harry sighed, but knew Rex well enough that he realized he wasn't going to get to relax any longer.  With a pained groan, he slowly extracted himself from the warm covers, and flinched as his feet met cold stone.

Not willing to completely cave to Rex, Harry grabbed his blankets, and wrapped thema round himself, before blindly groping for his slippers.  With another shudder, Harry shuffled out of the tent and moved towards the dining area of the camp.

As with the night before, it was fairly deserted, but harry ignored that, intent on doing as little as possible and staying as close to asleep as he could.  He lumbered over to an empty spot, which just happened to be next to Hermione.

He wasn't sure why Hermione was still here, but a faint memory reminded him that her parents had some sort of work emergency, and they had delayed their plans for a few days.  Hermioen had complained that she would be missing a few days of school once classes had started up again, but Harry had already tuned her out at that point.

“You seem to be adjusting well to the lack of structure.” hermione snipped at him.  Harry replied with a groan, choosing to focus on piling his plate high with food, doing his best to keep the majority of himself wrapped in the comforting warmth of his blankets.

Hermione stared at him in disgust as he devoured his overfilled plate, wondering how he could manage to eat so much without making himself sick.  Harry, still unwilling to accept his wakeful state, ignored her for the most part, focusing on his meal before attempting to burrow deeper into his blankets.

“Oh no you don't!” Hermione nearly shouted, grabbing him by the hair and dragging him from his protective coccoon into the freezing cold December air.  Harry resisted, but soon gave up, as any effort was just as likely to wake him up as the fresh air he had tried to avoid.

“You could have left me alone for a bit.  You haven't even started eating your own food.” Harry complained to his friend.

“After seeing how you just ate, I lost my appetite.” Hermione reprimanded him.

“Sorry.” Harry had the good grace to apologize.  “I guess the easygoing nature of the holidays is getting to me a bit.” He said, looking at the Headmaster, clad in a rather flamboyant bathrobe, a mismatched pair of singing slippers, and little else.

“You may have a point there.” Hermione admitted.  “But that's still no excuse for slovenly appearance in public.  If you must look like that, then stay in your tent until you're ready to act like a proper young man.”

Harry waved her off, already tuning out her miniature lecture.

“Hello Harry!   Hello Hermione!” Luna all but cheered at them as she took an empty space beside them.  The young first year seemed almost disturbingly cheerful, despite the ambiance the holidays brought about.

“Hello Luna.” Hermione said, glancing around, hoping to spot the Snorkack before he surprised her.  “How are you doing today?”

“I'm quite well, thank you.” Luna said, her smile never changing, “I normally spend the holidays with daddy, but since the new type of unicorn started showing up here at Hogwarts, he thought it would be better if I stayed here this year.  Hopefully I'll be able to get the Quibbler an exclusive on this auspicious event!”

“Luna, those creatures are an abomination.” Hermione said with a shiver.  “We'd be better off if they just disappeared.  Who knows what kind of trouble they could create.”

“I'm sure Rex and the Snorkack can handle it.” Harry tried to reassure her, “Though I  can't deny that it would probably be better if we dealt with it before it could be a catastrophe.”

“Are you sure? Daddy said he was willing to pay top dollar for any information regarding these new types of unicorns.  You could probably build a career off of discovering a new subtype of magical creature.”

“While that is fascinating, the fact that they could be doing untold damage to the magical ecosystem of the Forbidden Forest takes priority.” Hermione said adamantly.  “We're going to have to do something about them before the damage can become irreperable, don't you agree Harry?”

“What?” Harry asked absently, shaking the last traces of sleep from his mind.

“Harry! You need to pay attention!”

“Hermione was saying we need to do something about the new unicorns the Snorkack created.”  Luna said easily.

“Oh, right.” Harry said, his mind struggling to catch up, “Well, I suppose taking care of them is our responsibility, and getting them out of the Forbidden Forest should make things easier for us.”

“Are you sure about that Harry?” Hermione asked, “We haven't had any luck finding  them.”

“Because we've been focusing on the mystery monster.  The unicorns have't really been making any trouble, so we haven't been looking for them very hard.  If we put our attention on the unicorn monsters, we might have better luck.  Besides, we can always catch another unicorn and follow it.”

“Harry!  Are you suggesting we... corrupt another unicorn and see where it takes us?!”

“No, I'm not saying that!  Between Rex and the Snorkack, we should be able to track them down, but if that fails, we have other options available.”

“But Harry... a unicorn is the embodiment of purity...  Are you willing to sacrifice that?  The effects of killing a unicorn are dire. To do something like this to one of them...” Hermione trailed off, unwilling to finish the thought she had voiced.

“I know.” Harry said, “I know that it could mean big trouble for us, but like you said, the effect of changing them like that could be a lot worse than just killing them.  It would probably be best if we kept it from spreading.”

“ARE YOU SURE I CAN'T EAT THEM?  I'M GETTING SO HUNGRY...” The Snorkack groaned.  Harry had no idea how such an enormous monster could sneak up on him so easily, but the Snorkack did it with disturbing ease on a regular basis.

“I wish you had better control of yourself.  I haven't been able to find my shoes in over a week!” Luna complained.

“What happened to your shoes Luna?” Hermione asked, noticing for the first time that their blonde friend was barefoot, despite the near freezing weather.

“My housemates are becoming decidedly less friendly than they were at the start of the year.” Luna said crossly.  “Fortunately we already learned warming charms or I'd be stuck in our tent.  It seems that a certain Snorkack can't help himself when it comes to midnight snacks.”


“Don't you have any self control?” Luna asked her partner, causing the abomination to droop in shame.


"Snorkack, friends aren't food!" Luna scolded her partner.

"I'M SORRY..." The monstrosity tried to apologize, but Luna would have none of it.

"Do you have any idea how mean everyone has gotten?  Do you have any idea how cruel they are behaving?” Luna asked.


“Oh... I suppose we'll have to figure something out...” Luna said, though clearly put off by the whole fiasco.  “”

“you should eat dreams, like me.  dreams are a renewable resource!” Rex taunted his monstrous companion.


“spoken like a true heathen.” Rex sneered.

"Still you can't eat my roomates!" Luna admonished, before the conversation could go further awry.

"FINE... they haven't been tasting as good lately anyways.  Probably already ate up the good innocence." The Snorkack sulked.

"Bad Snorkack!  Bad!" Luna said, stealing an unattended newspaper to whack her partner on its nose.

"Ow!  Luna!"

"If you don't do bad things, i won't have to do this!"

"Alright!  Alright!  I'll try to stop!"

"Harry, does Rex eat the dreams of your roommates?  I probably can't stop the Snorkack from feeding off them, so I need to know if it has any side effects to look out for like taking their innocence."

"No, not really, when he gets hungry, we normally sneak down to the kitchens and have the elves get hi something to eat. I mean, it's still people's dreams, but they spread it around a bit more."

“See?  We'll just have the house elves get you someone to snack on!” Luna said, happy that the problem had been solved.

“I don't know if that's the best idea.” Hermione tried to intervene.

“Do you think they'll bring me babies?  Babies are the best!  All succulent into their perfect innocence...”

“Absolutely not!  There will be no baby eating!” Hermione hissed.

“But you guys eat veal right?  Isn't that made from babies too?

“Th-that's different, alright?” Hermione protested weakly, kknowing she was losing the moral high ground.

“Because you kill them?  So I should kill the babies too?”

“No!” Hermione tried to rally, but the inhuman nature of the Snorkack made such attempts pointless.


The trio of friends set out after the sun had set.  While patrols of the student tents were still present, none of them were capable of accountin g for the powers of a monster.  Rex used his claws to tear a hole in reality to Hermione's tent.  Fortunately, her roommates were already asleep.  From there, it was quick and easy effort to sunder reality and create a portal to the edge of the Forbidden Forest.  Harry wasn't quite sure how Luna managed to escape notice, but after seeing the Snorkack in action, he decided that he was better off not knowing the particulars.

The three of them ventured into the forest, entirely disregarding the orderly method they had employed in the past.  This time, they weren't seeking an unknown creature.  They knew exactly what they were looking for, and the Snorkack was well adapted to hunting the innocent.

They followed the Snorkack, hoping that its lust for innocence would allow it to track down some more unicorns. Of course, the Snorkack wasn't exactly designed with stealth in mind.  Nothing in the forest even came near them.  The malevolent aura of Rex and the Snorkack scared away most of the mundane creatures, and the endless crashing as it knocked over various features of the terrain drove away anything that was foolhardy enough to ignore their instincts.

All in all, it made things difficult.  After what felt like hours, they hadn't seen a trace of any unicorns, or anythign else alive.  On the other hand, if the trees had been plotting something malevolent against the staff and students of Hogwarts, (Harry wouldn't put it past the wizarding world to have killer trees,) their plans had been quite thoroughly foiled.

“Do you hear something?” Hermione asked, pausing as she strained to catch whatever she had heard.

“I don't think so.” Harry said, though he glanced around the darkened forest as well.  The group slowed, then stopped as they examined the darkened forest.  Seconds stretched on, but it seemed that hermione was jumping at shadows.

And that was when it happened.

Something struck from the darkness, something enormous.  Hermione let out a surprised shrieked, as the new arrival began to attack the Snorkack in earnest.

Luna cheered for her monster, completely unconcerned with the danger.  Harry though he heard her say something about her camera, but didn't have time to check, too busy diving for cover with Rex.  A loud crash echoed through the forest, as the Snorkack tossed its assailant aside, before charging it in a brutal display of violence.

“Do you think you should help him out?” Harry asked Rex, peering around the tree trunk, though the still miniature dinosaur waved him off.

“nah.  The snorkack should be able to handle it.  I didn't have any trouble with it, after all, and it'll probably be a good experience for him.”

“I don't know, it looks like he's having some trouble.” Harry said, watching the fight in earnest.  Though it was dark, there was enough light to make out the general shape of the creature.   It was long and snakelike, and the hissing sound all but confirmed that it was a giant snake.  

“Do you know any way to get rid of a giant snake?”

“sure, do you know any giant mongooses?”

“Rex, be serious!”

“I am being serious!” the miniature monster replied indignantly. “It's not like I go around fighting snakes one a regular basis, or are you saying that since i'm a dinosaur, I should know about other reptiles?  That's specieism harry!”

“Alright, Alright, I'm sorry!” Harry said quickly, before Rex could work himself up.  “I just thought you might know about other types of monsters.”

“well, you're right about that, but that isn't a monster.” Rex replied.

“What are you talking about?” Harry asked as the Snorkack managed to throw the beast aside with a resounding crash.

“It might look like a monster, but it's not one. It's just a really, really big snake as far as I can tell.”

“Is there a difference?” Harry asked, unwilling to believe something that could go toe to toe with a monster wasn't a monster itself.  Even for the wizarding world, monsters seemed above and beyond anything they could match.

“Of course there is!” Rex said, and the snake charged forward, attempting to make its way past the Snorkack's various horns to bite it.  “That's like saying a bat and a bird are the same because they can both fly.  A real monster's got power, an aura that tells the world that they shouldn't mess with it.  That thing just look scary.  I mean, do you feel the urge to claw out your own eyes when you look at it?

“No, not really, but I've got you.”

“Well how about squeakles then?  Ask her if she wants to claw her eyes out.”

“Er...” Harry said, looking over at Hermione. While Luna seemed interested in watching the fight, Hermione was doing her best to hide behind a tree, keeping as much distance as she could between the figth and herself, without actually runnign off into the woods.

“I don't think that she's the best person to ask.  She doesn't seem to deal with stress very well.”

“yeah, that's my fault. I haven't been training her the way I should.  Do you think you could buy me a book for that sort of thing?”

“Not sure there's a book for training people, at least not the type of training you're thinking of.”

“we'll figure it out.”

“I'm sure you will.” Harry said flatly, “In the meantime, there's a giant snake that needs to be killed, and I don't think my levitation charm is going to help very much.”

“you never know.  things like that can come in handy in the right circumstances.”

Harry gave Rex a flat look

“Alright, let's go help the Snorkack.” Rex agreed, quickly shifting into his true form, and letting out a challenging roar.  The snake looked over at him, its eyes burning a sickly yellow, but it seemed to have no effect on the monstrous dinosaur.  Rex lunged into the fray, and the devastation multiplied.

The fight should have ended quickly, but the snake was fast, and more often than not managed to dodge out of the way of one attack or another, oftentimes causing the two monsters to hit each other.  Without constant shouts of redirection from Harry and Luna, it was likely that the two of them would have forgotten their mutual foe and turned on each other, intent on finishing the fight that had destroyed Hogwarts.  Still, with the two children giving directions and keeping them more or less on the same side, it was only a matter of time before the snake was slain.

A flash of purple light shot by Harry's head, and he twisted around, trying to see what had caused it.

A robed figure stood in the shadows, far shorter than Harry would have expected.  Their cloak concealed their features, and he wouldn't have been surprised if they were using magic to hide their identity as well, given that they were casting spells Harry had never even heard of.  Harry wished that the curriculum had included some form of dueling spells, as stinging hexes and tickling charms weren't going to help out very much in this situation.

Rex let out a furious roar, as he tore the snake from its grip around the Snorkack.  Harry glanced over, and nearly fell to the ground as a sickly yellow flash of light shot past him.  He couldn't pay attention to the fight anymore, he had to focus on the unknown assailant.  If he tried to split his attention, his foe would take advantage either by killing Harry or attacking the monsters.  Luna was occupied keeping the Snorkack and Rex from turning on each other, so he couldn't rely on her.  He tried to get Hermione's attention, but the young girl was far too terrified by the battle before her to be of any use.

Harry cast another stinging hex, hoping to disrupt the mysterious attacker, but they dodged nearly as fast as the snake.  He followed up with a tickling charm, but missed.  It was too dark to aim properly, so Harry had little chance of success.  Fortunately, for wizards, there were ways around such problems.

“LUMOS MAXIMUS!” Harry called out, illuminating the forest with brilliant light.  Shielding his eyes as best as he could, he searched for the cloaked figure, hoping the bright light would distract them, or reveal their identity to him.  He caught sight of them.  They were flinching, Harry would almost say cowering, from the light, trying their best to conceal any hint of their identity.  A few hissed words and wave movements later, and the shadows coalesced around them, creating a veil of shadow Harry's light couldn't pierce.

They cast another spell, shattering a trees and sending Harry diving for cover.  The young wizard scrambled to return fire, but again, found his particular repertoire of spells to be ineffective, to say the least.  He made a note to correct that in the future, assuming he survived.

He blindly cast a full body bind hex, hoping to catch them by surprise.  Harry moved to another location, firing a barrage of spells, casting too rapidly to pay attention to which ones he was using.  As he settled into cover again, he realized that there hadn't been any return fire.  Hope rose up in him as he peered around the trunk.  Maybe his curse had managed to catch them?  He wasn't sure, and couldn't risk searching for them if they were lying in wait for him.  He was going to need some support.

Harry glanced over at the other fight, hoping for some help locating his adversary, but realized that there were bigger problems at the moment.  Luna seemed to have lost control of the monsters, and the two of them were tearing each other apart, as well as a significant portion of the forest surrounding them.  It seemed that the snake had made good it's opportunity to escape.  Harry looked around for any sign of it or its partner, but like the creature, they had vanished into the forest.  It seemed he hadn't been as lucky as he thought he was.  His mysterious foe had retreated once the opportunity arose, and Harry had nothing to do with it.

“Luna, everything okay?”

“It would be if they would listen to me!” Luna said, stomping her foot in frustration.  The irritation in her tone told Harry that there were more important priorities than the missing assailants.  Harry moved to try and calm down Rex, while Luna devoted her attention to the Snorkack.

It took several long minutes, but they managed to calm the beasts.  Rex continued to growl lowly, and the Snorkack never quite turned away from Rex, but they weren't fighting at the moment, and hopefully, they would have let it go by morning.

“Hermione, are you alright?” Harry asked the remaining member of their group.

The bushy haired girl didn't reply, still too terrified to do anything aside from cowering.

“DON'T WORRY SQUEAKLES, YOU'RE SAFE NOW!” Rex grinned, his singular eye glowing a bloody red.  Certainly not the most comforting thing in the world to see.

“I think you should change back Rex.  She's had a rough night, and I don't think looking at you is helping.” Harry said.

“fine...” Rex said, shrinking down before hopping on to Harry's back.  Harry and Luna helped Hermione to her feet, and slowly began to make their way out fo the forest, the Snorkack following behind them.


As they reached the edge of the forest, Harry gave hermione a once over.  While she seemed to have recovered for the most part, her hands were still shaking.

“Are you alright, Hermione?” Harry asked carefully, not sure what the proper protocols were for something like this.  Luna looked over at her friend, but didn't say anythign, waiting for Hermione to speak.

“...I hate to say it, but I can't keep coming along if I'm going to freeze up like that all the time.” Hermione said, her voice heavy with an emotion Harry couldn't readily identify.

“What are you saying Hermione?” Harry said.

“Are you leaving us?” Luna asked, her voice trembling with worry.

“No, that's not what I'm saying.  I don't think Rex would let me leave even if I wanted to.” Hermione shuddered, but it seemed she managed to steel herself for what she was about to say, “I think I need to build up a resistance to... all of this.”

“What do you mean by that?”

“It means Rex gets to play with his pet.”

“i get to play with squeakles?!” Rex cried excitedly.

Harry looked over Hermione.  He knew the effect monsters could have on normal people.  The idea that she would willingly submit herself to something like that...

“Are you sure about this Hermione?”

“No, but I can't think of anything else.” Hermione said, her heart filled with dread.  She hated it, but if she was going to keep spending time with Harry and Luna, she needed to do this.

She just hoped that she was still sane after it was done.


The spirit called Voldemort stalked back into the camp, its host body still hidden beneath its cloak.  The encounter in the forest confirmed his suspicions.  It seemed that Salazar Slytherin was not the only founder to hide a beast away inside of Hogwarts.  He hadn't recognized either of the creatures, but then again, the Basilisk wasn't the most well known of creatures in the first place, and that was before all the misinformation concerning them was factored in.

It was unfortunate that the library was still buried beneath rubble, but he had no time to wait for the excavation to reach it.  They two monsters he had seen were not his greatest concern at the moment.  What did worry him, was what he hadn't seen.  The monsters had been commanded by a Hufflepuff and a Ravenclaw, which mean that the remaining monster could only be Gryffindor's.

Gryffidor had been Slytherin's greatest rival, and so far, his beast had yet to reveal itself.  Perhaps its keeper was holding back, waiting for the dust to settle before taking advantage of the weakened victor.  More likely, the bravest house simply wasn't clever enough to find its hiding place.  One more reason to look down upon Godric's followers.

That realization made a grin spread across his possessed face, this body was a Gryffindor, perhaps that would be enough for him to start unlocking the power that must lie hidden in the ruins.  It would be far more difficult to find any information or evidence of the creature, but hopefully, the shattered ruins would unveil secrets long hidden beneath stone and mortar.

In the mean time, it would be best to leave the other creatures to themselves.  His pet was more than capable of hiding itself from them, and escaping should a confrontation be forced.  Biding his time until securing an overwhelming advantage was the only reasonable option at this point.  The two children seemed to be working together, so

With a strategy in mind, Voldemort returned to his tent, and let go.

Ginny Weasley blinked, and shook her head.  Looking down, she saw her Herbology homework scattered in front of her, filled with more doodles than answers.  She rubbed her eyes, and got back to her homework.  Though it was boring she couldn't afford to daydream like that.  Another shake of her head, and she resumed her studies, completely unaware of how much time had truly passed.


Well-Known Member
zerohour said:
Things proceeded as normal, the only difference was that Harry had someone to talk to.  Sure, Rex didn't talk back to him, but being able to voice his problems helped.  This went on for a few weeks, before something unusual happened.

Rex talked back.
I thought this was going to be a Harry Potter / Toy Story crossover at first where Harry is the reason the toys are animated in the first place (some type of magical animation virus created through accidental magic or something maybe). :)


Well-Known Member
Damn, took over a year to get the next chapter?  I've got to up my game.

Rough version of the next chapter.  Let me know if there are any glaring errors or places I forgot to finish.

The next few days passed in anxious worry, and the three of them waited for their companion to contact them. As impatient as Harry was to deal with the unicorn problem before it could get any worse, they had barely escaped with their lives, and they needed as much support as they could manage before going back in there.

Every day, they watched the forest, sure that any moment, it would disgorge an army of abominations, sweeping over the helpless students, devouring them before they even had a chance to defend themselves. Hermione could often be found practicing various fire spells, and more often than not, managed to rope Harry and Luna into joining her. Harry was a natural adept, and Luna proved her Ravenclaw nature as she rapidly got the basics down. It probably wouldn't stop any attack, but it might slow them down and give the three of them a chance to escape.

During practice, Hermione has suggested they tell the teachers, but it was quickly shot down. They would hardly believe such a fantastic story, and even if they were to check its validity, they would be woefully unprepared for what was waiting for them. Given how the creatures seemed to absorb their prey, it was all too likely that their professors would become their enemies, and the idea of the abominations wielding magic as deftly as Professor Flitwick or McGonagall was chilling, to say the least.

It was during one of these sessions, with Rex and the Snorkack watching, that the fourth member of their group appeared.

“Where have you been?!” Harry demanded.

“I told you that it would take some time before I was at full strength again.” the shadowy figure said, showing no remorse at the delay.

“That was over a week ago!” Hermione shot accusingly.

“Such things can not be judged accurately, much as I would like it to be different.” They almost huffed. “in fact, I still require more time to recover myself, but I though it best if we were to meet, so you did not begin to suspect something sinister.”

“We don't have time for that!” Harry nearly shouted.

“What do you mean?” They asked, leaning in eagerly, “Have you found the final beast?”

“No, but we did find... something.” Harry trailed off, not sure how to describe what they had found in the forest. He glanced helplessly at his friends, trying to think of the words to explain what was happening.

“Something... strange is happening in the forest. ” Luna began. “The creatures living in there are different from how they're supposed to be, twisted into something else. They've started killing everything else they could find, and there are more of them every day. They've all but overrun the entire forest”

“So I think it is quite clear that we don't have time to wait around for you to recover yourself!” Hermione finished angrily.

They didn't say anything right away, seeming to ponder what they had heard. Harry waited impatiently while they considered, and was about to demand an answer when they finally responded.

“Though you haven't confirmed the presence of the creature, the evidence points that it could be the Beast of Gryffindor stirring, creating challenges for his heirs to prove their worthiness.” They said thoughtfully.

“Are you still thinking about that?!” Hermione demanded. “There are more important things to be concerned about!”

“On the contrary, it's a sensible trial for the heir of Gryffindor. Godric was famed for his courage and physical prowess. Countless tales attribute the defeat of mighty creatures to him, so creating a similar challenge for his heir is to be expected.”

“Creating an army to attack the school,, just because someone might be worthy? I hardly think that one of the founders would endanger their students in such a way.” Hermione huffed.

The figure chuckled, “The wizarding world is a dangerous place, despite all of the wonder that accompanies it. You've surely learned that since you came here, or is this level of carnage something you would consider safe and normal?”

“No, of course not!” Hermione said.

“But no one said anything about it, or made any note of it, did they? There is an entire course dedicated to defending yourself against dangerous creatures and the like, and you thought this world would be safe? How childish.” They said. Even though Harry couldn't see their face, he could almost hear the smirk he was sure they were sporting.

“Don't call me that!” Hermione said huffily.

“This world is not a pleasant one, and the sooner you learn that, the better off you will be.” their hidden partner said. Hermione looked like she wanted to say something, but remained quiet.

“Remember that the modern wizarding world is far tamer than it was in olden times. Back then, magical creatures were far less regulated and controlled, dragons were common and uncontrolled that even muggles knew of them and even fought against their attacks. The worlds were less separated because we did not have enough control over the magical world to enforce that separation. It wasn't until there was no other option that the rest of the intelligent creatures agreed to the Statute of Secrecy, and the magical world began to fade into myth.”

“What changed?” Luna asked curiously.

“The muggles. They grew more skilled and powerful, faster than anyone really expected, and their fear of the unknown turned to rage and hatred. Entire species were hunted down, most notably the dragons. The Fair Folk went into hiding once iron became the heart and soul of the industrial era, and countless others were driven to the brink of extinction, if not wiped out entirely. Secrecy was the only option remaining, if we were not to be enslaved by them.”

“They wouldn't do that!” Hermione protested.

“Perhaps you should learn more about them before you say something that foolish. Their history is one stained with darkness and blood, and if you think them more civilized now, you are more moronic than I believed. But, we are getting off track.” They said, clearly no longer interested in discussing the subject. Their body shuddered, and they nearly fell. Harry started forward t help, before the cloaked figure regained their balance.

“As I said, I haven't fully recovered myself. I need more rest before I am able to perform at my peak, and if anything you said is accurate, we all need to be at our best to deal with this.”

“How long?” Harry asked. Seeing that there was something wrong made him more concerned than irritated, but they couldn't afford to spare much time.

“Three more days. That's all I ask, assuming nothing else interferes with my recovery, such as dragging out meetings like this because you aren't happy with the answer you're given. Now, if you'll excuse me, I have other business to attend to. I will contact you as soon as I am strong enough.”

The turned and all but stalked off, leaving behind an irate trio that could only smolder impotently at the delay. Still, there was nothing they could do about it. Their partner in crime clearly wasn't going to do anythign until they were ready, and they needed all the help they could get. Harry just hoped that the creatures in the forest wouldn't grow too strong before they struck.


They had little choice but to accept those terms, but it didn't make the days any easier to bear. Harry set through his transfiguration class, barely remembering a word Professor McGonagall said as she demonstrated a few of the more advanced spells they would start next year, by rebuilding an entire classroom all around them as her lecture progressed. Homework went undone, and even Hermione only put up a token protest when he told her. Luna seemed the only one able to deal with the pressure adequately, but even she glanced towards the forest when she thought no one was looking.

His housemates picked up on Harry's tense mood, and left him alone for the most part, though it tainted the atmosphere of the tent. Most of them started avoiding their quarters just to stay away from him. Finally, it seemed someone had enough of his foul mood, and decided to intervene.

Harry was walking out of the latest Charms class when Cedric grabbed him by the back of his robe, forcefully turning the second year around, and dragging him off to a secluded corner of the camp. Any complaints Harry voiced were completely ignored, and when he tried to go for his wand, Cedric snatched it out of his hand before he could cast anything. Out of options, Harry resigned himself to whatever Cedric needed him for. Hopefully, it would be over soon.

Cedric let go of Harry, but held on to his wand. Harry waited for him to say something, but the older boy just looked at him expectantly. Harry glared back at him, before realizing that he would have to make the first move.

“What do you want Cedric? I'm busy right now.” Harry said.

“Make time.” The older boy said. Harry was about to protest, but the look in the prefect eyes told him he wouldn't accept any excuses.

“Fine, whatever will get this over with fastest.” Harry sneered, “What do you want?”

“Your housemates asked me to talk to you. They say that ever since the school was destroyed, you've been distant, even moody. They were willing to let it pass at first, but it's gotten worse in the last week or so, and every time they try to approach you, you just brush them off, or shoot them a glare cold enough to count as a freezing charm. Not only that, you've been slacking in you classes, you haven't turned in any homework, and on top of everything else, you haven't been showing up to Quidditch practice!” Cedric concluded.

“It;s none of their business.” Harry glowered, though it didn't seem to phase Cedric. “They can't help anyways.”

“That isn't how Hufflepuff House works, and you know it Harry.” Cedric replied, “Teamwork is a way of life for us, and you can't carry around... whatever this is by yourself.”

“Why not? I've been doing fine so far.” Harry replied flippantly.

“The only reason you haven't been given a detention yet is because I talked to Professor Sprout. She's asked the other teachers to let us handle it internally, but after this talk, you'll get zero slack. Next toe out of line, maybe not even that, and you're looking at a week of detention, maybe longer depending on how quickly you can catch up on your missing work.”

Harry's eyes widened in panic. If that happened, who knows how long it would take before they could meet up and deal with the creatures in the forest? Things were bad enough as they were, if they had to wait any longer...

“Even if you just talk to us about it, sharing whatever's bothering you can make it a hell of a lot easier to deal with. Now tell me about what's been bothering you.” Cedric said gently.

Harry was paralyzed. He couldn't tell him, or he'd be carted off to Madame Pomphrey, but if he didn't... There had to be a way out of this. There just had to.

“You won't believe me. I've seen it myself, and it still seems crazy.” Harry said.

Cedric eyed him steadily, searching every last feature for any trace of falsehood “Alright, you don't have to tell me the specifics of whatever trouble you've found, but you are going to talk, one way or another.”

“want me to eviscerate him?” Rex whispered from Harry's pocket. Harry quickly moved his hand to block his partner in case he got any ideas. Cedric just wanted to help. Looking at his upper classmate, Harry could see that he wasn't going to let up until Harry told him something. He briefly considered lying about it, but had a sneaking suspicion that Cedric would be able to suss it out.

“What would you do if the school was in danger?” Harry asked, giving up. Maybe if he just covered the broad strokes, without going into detail, it would be enough.

“You mean like earlier this year, when it was blown to high hell?” Cedric said wryly

“Yeah, something like that.” Harry said, looking away. He had kept a tighter leash on Rex since then, but his partner has still destroyed Hogwarts as a side effect of his fight. Remembering his earlier offer, Harry's hand went to grab onto his partner, in case he got any ideas.

“Have you talked to any of the teachers about it? Professor Sprout is always willing to help out her house, and there's always the headmaster.” Cedric asked, encouraging his housemate to continue.

Harry shook his head. “The last time we went to Dumbledore for help, he seemed like he believed us, but I haven't seen him do anything about it. I'm worried that he'll do the same if I say anything this time, especially since it's even more unbelievable than the first thing. Anyone would probably dismiss it as a crazy story.”

“And you're sure that I wouldn't believe you either? I'm a bit older, and I've seen my share of strangeness, growing up in the wizarding world and spending the last five years at Hogwarts.”

“You might believe me...” Harry admitted. “But I can't take that chance. I have to deal with this alone, and if I can't do that, then everything is going to fall apart.”

'And it's all our fault.' Harry finished dejectedly in his mind. If Rex and the Snorkack hadn't destroyed the school, they probably would never have gone to the Forbidden Forest, and the Snorkack wouldn't have done whatever it had done to the unicorns, and the monsters in the forest wouldn't even exist. They'd all just be having a perfectly normal year if Harry hadn't come to Hogwarts.

Cedric sighed, conjuring a chair before sitting down next to Harry, almost eye level with him. Harry waited for him to say something, but the Hufflepuff prefect seemed to be considering his options. Finally, he seemed to reach a decision, and Harry braced himself for the worst.

“The thing about being a Hufflepuff is that we stand by each other, through thick and thin. Even if we don't believe you, we'll give you the benefit of the doubt. If you say this is important, you let me know if there's anything I can do to help out, even if you won't tell me anything more. Just don't go crying wolf on us, alright Harry? Trust is a two way street, and if you burn your half of the bridge, it will be that much harder to get help when you really need it. Never been particularly good with metaphors. Think it has something to do with being a wizard.” Cedric said with a chuckle.

Harry stood dumbfounded. He could see the sincerity in Cedric's face. He really would do anythign to help him out. No promises to look into it, no empty assurances, he would just do it.

“So, do you want to tell me what's bothering you now?” Cedric asked carefully.

Harry did, he really did, but the story was just too fantastic.

“No, I think this is something I have to handle on my own.” Harry said, before offering a weak smile, “But if it turns out I can't, you'll be the first one I turn to, alright?”

“Deal.” Cedric said, “Now go apologize to your classmates. You've been bringing them nothing but trouble the last few days.”

“Right, sorry.”

“Tell them, not me!” Cedric said with a grin. Harry nodded, and rushed back to the tent.

He paused for a moment outside of the canvass building, gathering his thoughts before taking a deep breath and stepping in. Silence fell as everyone looked up at him. Harry froze for a moment, before remembering why he came here.

“Sorry everyone.” Harry apologized. There really wasn't anything else he could say. He stood there in awkward silence, before realizing they were waiting for an explanation.

“I've been dealing with some... personal issues, and I've been taking it out on you, so I wanted to say sorry. Cedric talked some sense into me, and told me what I was doing, so... sorry.” Harry said lamely, “I'll try to make sure it doesn't happen again.”

“Do you want to talk about it mate?” Ernie asked him cautiously.

“It's a bit personal, but I really shouldn't have been taking it out on all of you.” Harry said, shaking his head. “I think I can manage on my own, but if I can't I'll let you know. Hufflepuffs stick together, right?”

“Right!” Justin cheered from the back of the tent. Like that, the tension seemed to dissipate, and Harry settled back in his chair, feeling more relaxed than he had since the whole debacle has started. He was still worried about it, but knowing that there were other people he could rely on... it helped.

Perhaps now he could finish his Transfiguration essay. Cedric might have pulled a few strings, but he doubted McGonagall would cut him any slack, no matter what his Head of House said!


Elsewhere in the camp, a certain Slytherin was watching as his plans came to fruition.

It's working Draco thought to himself gleefully, watching as Filch chased the first year girls out of their tent. The castle caretaker had gone even battier than he normally was, once the castle fell, peering suspiciously at everything, as if expectng the culprit to jump out at any second. That level of paranoia had its uses. All Draco had to do was mention that he heard something strange was in the tent of the first year Gryffindor girls to Crabbe and Goyle, and Filch was off like a shot, grinning madly, sure that he was about to find the critical evidence to solve the mystery of whatever happened to Hogwarts. He seemed to take more joy in harassing the suspects than actually searching for contraband at the moment, but that suited the young Malfoy fine.

The only trouble was Mrs. Norris. The cat was pacing back and forth in the tent, looking for any sign of disturbance while her master lectured the terrified children. The eerie look in the cat's eyes didn't miss a single detail, and if he made a move for the tent, she was sure to rush off to get her master's attention. Draco readied his wand. She was pacing back and forth, so all he had to do was wait until her attention was directed elsewhere, and-

“WHAT IS THE MEANING OF THIS?!” an angry voice shouted, and Draco flinched,early dropping his wand. It seemed that the Gryffindor's Head of House had caught him. His mind rushed as he slowly turned around, already cooking up a story how he had just seen the commotion.

There was no one behind him. He started to look around in confusion, before he saw who McGonagall was actually yelling at.

“Mr. Filch, just why are you harassing these young girls?” McGonagall demanded. The caretaker grimaced, and in a moment of transcendent luck, Mrs. Norris ran to his side as he tried to defend himself.

Recognizing the opportunity before him, Draco leaped across the tent, tearing into the Weasley's posessions without any rhyme or reason, throwing them carelessly to the floor. McGonagall's lecture was still building, creating more than enough of a distraction, but time was of the essence.

The seconds stretched on for what seemed like an eternity, until a fierce, triumphant grin lit up his face. He had found it. Now he just needed to get out of here. Scurrying back to the small hole, Draco squeezed through it, before standing up, dusting himself off, and walking as casually as he could back towards the Slytherin section of the camp. As the red and gold of the Gryffindor tents slowly gave way to more neutral colors, he let a grin spread across his face. He had done it. All he needed to do now was wait until nightfall and get to the ricksaw owlery.

Best to circle around the outside of the camp. No sense in risking an encounter with one of her dim witted brothers. Draco made his way towards the edge of the small town of tents, keeping out of the light as much as possible.

As he walked along the shadows that marked the border between the camp and the forbidden forest, the grin he had been suppressing finally made itself known. He had done it. He had thwarted his father's longstanding enemies, proving the Malfoy's were indeed the elite of the magical world. The only thing that would make this victory sweeter would be seeing that girl's expression as she realized that it was-

Red light hit him, and Draco fell bonelessly to the ground. His assailant, an unassuming girl with red hair and wearing her school uniform, stepped carefully forward.

“Hm... Draco Malfoy. I recognize you from Ginny's complaints.” The young red head said, her voice devoid of emotion, like she was examining a marginally interesting insect. “You might prove a useful pawn in the future, though your interference could prove troubling in the short term.”

She circled around him, bending down to retrieve his long sought prize. Carefully placing it in one of the pockets in her cloak, she turned her attention back to the limp child before her.

“How best to deal with this? Simply erasing this from your mind would only cause you to keep interfering. Likewise, simply leaving you here would do nothing to deter you. You might assume someone else managed to steal it out from under you, but I can't take that chance.” She pondered out loud, considering her options. “Murder seems the most expedient route, but it would cost me a potentially useful pawn, and more importantly, would draw more attention to the events in motion, and I already have enough difficulty without adding to it myself.”

She circled around him once more, before coming to a decision. A quick spell assured that Draco would be convinced of his success, and that the diary had been dealt with appropriately. Depending on his father's response, it might only buy a bit of time, but that would have to suffice for the moment.

The young girl left Draco unconscious, returning to her tent. Once there, she carefully placed the recovered diary where her pillow would normally sit. Raising her wand above her head, she deftly cast a number of spells, watching carefully as they took effect.

The well worn book seemed to vanish, blending seamlessly with the sheets. The next few charms made it so that no matter how hard she searched, she would be unable to find it, even if she were to touch it, she simply would be incapable of noticing its presence.

Chuckling to himself as he replaced the pillow, he released his hold on his host, certain that she would be beside herself with desperation. In a few days, when she was certain that someone was learning every last one of her pathetic secrets, the final spell would dissolve the other charms, and in her relief, she would write to him, pouring all of her fears out, giving more of herself to him. It was sure to speed the process significantly, perhaps even enough to provide that final push.

A truly elegant solution, was his last thought, as Ginny blinked her eyes, coming back to herself. The young girl shook her head, feeling like she had just woken from a nap. Well, at least Filch was gone. She would have to tell Tom about this later, but for now, she had to finish her homework. Without a care in her mind, she settled down, chatting with a few of her friends as she scribbled the beginnings of her History of Magic homework.


Finally, the time arrived. As soon as dusk fell, Harry nearly sprinted to the edge of the forest. He only had to wait a few minutes before Luna and the Snorkack joined him, and Hermione wasn't far behind. There was a significantly longer wait for the final member of their group, but there was nothing to be done about it. All they could hope was that there wasn't another delay. If that was the case, they would have to go on without them.

Finally, with a sigh of relief, Harry spotted them. They seemed fully recovered, showing no signs of weakness and moving at a brisk pace.

“Let us get moving before the night grows much darker.” They said, walking past the group. Hermione shot them a poisonous glare, but the rest of their group. quickly caught up, not wanting to be left behind.

A hiss echoed through the trees, and the basilisk slithered towards them. Hermione immediately closed her eyes, remembering what they had learned about its deadly gaze. Realizing that she wouldn't be able to move about without her eyes, she grabbed a hold of Harry's arm, drafting him as her guide. They continued deeper into the forest, ready for whatever lay ahead.

“So, which way is this discovery of yours?” the shadowed figure asked after several minutes.

“Do you remember which way it was Luna?” Harry turned to the youngest member of the group.

“I think it was this way.” The blonde called out from atop her partner. The Snorkack set off in the direction she indicated, with the rest of the party following behind. As they moved deeper into the forest, the signs of conflict made it became easier to see where they had been, and they slowly made their way to the center of the infestation.

“I'm surprised we've made it this far without any interference. There are a number of creatures here that don't take kindly to human presence.” The fourth member of their group commented, looking around for any sign of a threat.

“I'd be surprised if there were any of them left.” Hermione said darkly, her eyes still covered. Harry nodded in agreement. Whatever had lived in the forest, it was doubtful there were many of them left.

“I'm certain that you are exaggerating. The creatures dwelling here are among the deadliest creatures in the wizarding world. I highly doubt that they would be dealt with so quickly, much less without causing any sign of struggle.”

“It's over this way.” Luna interrupted the brewing argument, hopping down from the Snorkack. “Try to stay out of sight.”

They crept after the young girl, leaving their monsters behind for the moment, moving an excruciatingly slow pace. As they cleared the top of the hill, harry could see the corruption spreading across the forest that indicated the creatures were present. Even as they watche,d he could see it pulsing with power, as it spread further.

“Looks like this is the place.” Harry said, already reaching for his wand.

“Interesting. It's almost like a fungus choking the life out of everything in its path, and using them to fuel its own development.” their mysterious partner commented, “I've never seen something grow so fast, it would make for a marvelous study subject.”

“We can worry about that later.” Harry hissed. “Right now can we just focus on killing these things?”

“Very well.” They sighed, “Examining this can wait until after with these creatures of yours. Since there appears to be no danger of alerting them, should the rest of our party join us?”

Harry considered for a moment, before nodding his agreement. Rex, the Snorkack, and the basilisk soon joined them, though it took a few minutes to explain the idea of sneaking up to the monsters. The basilisk simply followed after its master, and they continued their exploration.

The group moved over the strange, warped terrain, wands out for whatever creatures were lurking nearby. It seemed that the forest was all but deserted, and for a time, harry felt relief, but as they walked further into their territory, he began to wonder. If they weren't here anymore, where were they?

Before his mind could venture into those dark suppositions, they found the nest. Harry winced as it looked significantly bigger than the last time he saw it. A number of the creatures it had spawned scuttled about, fulfilling some alien purpose Harry had no desire to know. He glanced over at his companions. Luna had a serious expression on her face, Hermione's eyes were still closed, but every once and a while, she let out a whimper, as if she could sense just what was surrounding them. The last member of their team, they just seemed excited.

“Fascinating.” Was the only thing they said, starting to move closer before Harry grabbed their arm.

“They'll see you!” he hissed, reaching for their robe, but they moved too quickly, and he only brushed the edges of their cloak before they were out of reach.

Harry watched in resignation as one of the guards spotted their companion, its innumerable eyes locking on to the approaching figure. The abomination didn't move an inch, but the area around exploded into a cacaphony of movement, as dozen of the creatures appeared from out of the shadows, forming up around the cloaked intruder.

They didn't move an inch, allowing the creatures to assemble without any apparent concern. Instead, they simply watched as their numbers swelled. Harry felt Hermione's grip tighten into a vice of agony, but couldn't bring himself to do anything about it. He glanced over at Luna and the cloaked figure. Luna looked like she was ready to make a break for it, but the last mem,ber of their group seemed completely unconcerned. Even as the massed creatures continued to assemble, they stepped forward without a care in the world, stroking their basilisk in amusement.

The creatures charged, and they let out a scornful laugh.

“Let me show you how foolish it is to oppose a basilisk. Strike them down my pet!” They hissed.

The basilisk reared up, letting out a low, threatening hiss as it turned its deadly gaze upon the advancing horde.

Harry watched as the first wave stumbled, and a number of them fell to the ground, dead, but it only slowed the advance. The few that endured its gaze seemed to the the most powerful, more able to resist the snake's deadly magic, and the weaker abominations writhed and twisted, before their eyes vanished beneath their skin. The now blinded creaturees let out an eerie wail, and continued their advanced, seemingly unhindered by the loss of sight.

“Blast it all!” Harry growled, sprinting forward. The cloaked figure stared in shock, unable to believe that their vaunted beast was all but useless. Harry grabbed them by their arm and began hauling them away from the advancing attack.

“The basilisk's gaze should have killed them!” the cloaked figure said in disbelief. Harry shook them, trying to get them to focus. Luna and Hermione were already in motion.

“Fire seems to work best against them!” Hermione screamed, wand already in hand.

“Just try not to burn down the forest!” Harry cried out, casting a simple fire starting spell as he did. The closest creature went up in flames like it had been soaked in gasoline.

“Who cares about that?!” Hermione cackled wildly, already casting as many fire spells as she could. She didn't seem particularly interested in aiming, but with innumerable foes, it really wasn't necessary. For a few moments, Harry thought that their spells would be enough, but it did little to deter the creatures, and there were enough of them that the spells they cast barely made a dent in their advance. All it managed to do was buy a little time, and Harry hoped that would be enough.

It was. The extra second gave Rex and the Snorkack a chance to come barreling in, protecting them behind a bulwark of horns and flames. Harry couldn't rightly say what happened after that. Everything seemed to explode into chaos. All he could remember was screaming and casting spells as quickly as he could. He didn't know how long this lasted, but eventually, the endless tide seemed to slake, and he had a spare moment to assess the situation.

It didn't last.

“They're behind us!” Hermione shrieked, sending a bolt of red flame towards their rear. Harry turned and felt the blood drain from his face. He had expected a few of them, but there were dozens, hundreds, maybe even more than that.

“We need to run!” he shouted, fighting off panic. Somehow, durign the battle, they had all been separated. Harry and Rex stood alone, the Snorkack was with hermione and Luna, and the last members of their group were halfway across the battlefield.

“Snorkack, we need to slow them down!” Luna shouted, huddling down underneath the monster's horns. The Snorkack charged at the swarm of creatures, trampling the smaller ones underfoot while dragging the larger ones behind him in his wake. The beast began to circle around their small fortifications, doing its best to keep the abominations at bay, but it was only delaying them.

“Rex! Get ready to clear a path!” Harry cried. The massive dinosaur tore down the trees in front of them, tossing them haphazardly at the advancing foe. Harry dragged Hermione behind him, looking desperately around for the fourth member of their group.

They were encircled by the basilisk, the massive snake protecting them as it lashed out at the aberrations around them. The cloaked figure continued to cast spells quickly and efficiently, each spell's motion leading into the next one as a chain of deadly curses and hexes cut down the larger foes before they could reach the basilisk.

Still, it was like trying to fight a tsunami. Eventually they would be overwhelmed, and they knew it. Fighting like this wasn't going to work, if they didn't do something to change the situation, they wouldn't survive. Not having any good ideas on how to get them out, Harry was left with just one bad idea.

“Blast them Rex!” Harry said, desperation finally winning out.

“YOU SURE HARRY?” Rex asked, looking at the basilisk dubiously. Hermioen had said that they were incredibly tough, but Rex wasn't the typical sort of threat you found in the magical world.

“Just try not to kill them! We;'ll worry about the rest later!” Harry replied. It seemed their companions figured out what their plan was, as the Basilisk wrapped around him, creating a protective barrier. Flashing of light escaped its coils, as its companion cast what Harry could only assume were protective spells. Hopefully it would be enough.

“DO IT!!!”

Rex's jaws opened impossibly wide, and dark, twisted flames swelled up in his gaping maw, before he unleashed a torrent of unholy fire upon the oncoming swarm. As with the dragon before, the flames consumed their flesh like it was made of oil. The fires raked over the basilisk, who let out an unearthly shriek of pain, but it survived.

The snake looked much worse for wear, but their cloaked companion seemed to have averted the worst of it, and the blast of flames had done their job. The eldritch creatures were driven off, as the fire consumed their flesh. Seizing the opportunity, the cloaked figure climbed atop their partner, and charged towards Harry and Rex.

The creatures rallied, already massing for another attack. Harry checked that Luna and the Snorkack were making their way back, and took off into the woods. Shrieks of rage followed behind them, but Harry did his best to ignore them, hoping that speed would be enough to get away.

They ran deeper into the forest, crushing trees and other foliage in their desperate bid to escape. It didn't help, the swarm continued to chase after them, with complete disregard for its own safety. Despite an endless stream of fire spells, they didn't give up, merely stepping over their fallen brethren to keep up the chase.

The small group didn't let up, desperately casting more spells until their voices began to giev out, knowing that it was their only chance. Finally, the pursuit began to falter, before falling back. Harry felt a grin of pure relief spread across his face. They kept running for a few minutes more, getting enough distance that an ambush was unlikely, before finally stopping to rest.

“Well, looks like we managed to drive them off.” Harry said, as he climbed down from Rex. He lost his grip on the way down, and fell with a resounding crash, but he didn't care. He felt the joy that only those who managed to escape the jaws of death could feel.

“It's a relief that we managed to get away.”

Hermione didn't reply, too busy laughing at their good fortune. Luna gave him a small smile as well, though she was more concerned with the Snorkack at the moment. Harry looked over at the last member of their group, who didn't say anything. Not that that was unusual, but something about them told Harry something was wrong.

“Hey.” he said, walking cautiously towards their cloaked companion. They didn't reply to him, too intent on examining the woods around them. “Can you here me?”

“Oh?” they asked reflexively, “Yes, I can hear you just fine. I just wish our situation was a bit better.”

“We got away. Sure, things didn't go as planned, but we can try again, right?” Harry asked.

“How I wish that were the case.” Their companions said, resignation in their voice.

“What do you mean?” Harry asked.

“We didn't escape.”

“You're joking, right? Right?!” Hermione giggled desperately, the tip of her wand shining with another spell ready to fire, eyes darting around the forest looking for any sign of the creatures for her to incinerate.

“Look at the trees. They have the same strange substance the creatures have been spreading around. They're coated in it, and I can already see it trying to spread. If they've gotten this far, to the heart of the forest, it only makes sense that they've gone further, probably consuming every living thing that dwelt in here as they spread. They let us go because they knew we had nowhere to run to, we'd just exhausted ourselves trying to escape and they could pick us off at their leisure.”

“You can't know that.” Harry said, though it sounded far too plausible that they were correct.

As large as the forest was, there was yet to be a single sign of any creature other than their assailants. In fact, peering closer at the trees, it seemed almost all of them had some trace of the creeping substance the monsters seemed to live on. As he looked at it, he could almost seeing it spreading and growing thicker.

“Could we break through on the other side?” Harry asked, “We already saw their stronghold, maybe their forces will be weaker elsewhere?”

“Perhaps if we had kept going, they might have been weaker. That was probably why they pursued us so fiercely. If we had made it to the other side, they would have reinforcements ready. The fact that they stopped chasing us means they had enough time to fortify it. If anything, it will probably be stronger than their nest now.”

Harry slumped down, barely having the presence of mind to avoid the spreading substance as he leaned against one of the trees. The whole forest was infested. They were just letting Harry and his friends tire themselves out before moving in for the killing blow. Even if they just stayed here, and recovered their strength, those...things were recovering too, growing stronger and stronger.

It really seemed hopeless.

“I- I didn't think such things could exist.” the cloaked figure murmured. “To think that such a thing could dwell so close to the castle, and no one ever knew...”

“Like you said before, it's a dangerous world.” Harry said, not bothering to correct their assumption. It seemed they were finally coming to terms with the idea that there were darker things out there, things that wizards had never seen before, or dismissed as stories told to frighten children. “There are things out there even the founders didn't know about.”

“Still, I didn't think they would have spread so far. There must have been ten times as many as when we first saw them.” Luna said, “Soon they'll have enough numbers to overwhelm the school, and then...” she trailed off, thinking of what would come next.

It wasn't hard to imagine. Given how effective they were at spreading and corrupting, they would probably sweep over the countryside, devouring everything in their path. Maybe they could be stopped, but it depended entirely how quickly the wizarding world accepted the threat they represented, and given how easily their companion had brushed them off, even after seeing Rex and the Snokack, Harry doubted that it would be in time.

“Looks like we're trapped here in the forest.” Hermione said, despair in her voice, “They'll probably drag us back to their nest, and throw us into it so it can eat us alive, and turn us into those... things!”

Harry hadn't considered that, that they might be transformed into one of them. He suppressed a shudder, moving over to Hermione to calm her down before hysteria made her do something dangerous. She was close to being completely unhinged already, and he didn't want to see what happened when she finally fell over the edge. Harry sidled over to her, and awkwardly patted her on the shoulder, though she didn't seem to notice. She continued to rant about their fates, growing increasingly disturbing and creative as she postulated what would happen to them.

“I told you we should have burned everything down!” She managed to shout at him, before curling up, and resuming her muttering.

“Hows' the Snorkack doing?” Harry asked, Luna shook her head.

“He'll be fine in a bit, but I don't think he can manage another attack like that. Once they slow him down, he's pretty much useless.”

“HEY...” the monster grumbled, clearly not pleased at his partner's assessment.

“I still love you though.” Luna said, patting him on the side comfortingly.

“GOOD.” the beast replied, snuggling down next to the much smaller girl.

“What about you?” Harry turned to the last member of their team. “Are you alright?”

“YEAH.” Rex replied. Out of all the members of their group, Rex seemed to be in the best condition. The dinosauroid had only a few minor injuries, most likely because he played the part of artillery in their failed venture. It meant that they would be relying on him for whatever came next.

“We could try burning our way out. They don't seem to do well against fire, maybe it would be enough for us to escape?” Harry suggested. It seemed it might be their only option at the moment. Fighting with anything less destructive just meant getting overwhelmed with numbers.

“Fire won't work, at least not without burning us up with them.” Luna pointed out. “Once one of them starts to burn, everything around them goes up in flames.”

“So we'll have to fight our way past them, and then burn them?” Harry asked.

“Possibly, though we'll probably die in the attempt. The other option is going for the heart.”

“What do you mean?”

“They've been acting in unison, uncaring about their own personal well being. That could mean a higher power is controlling them” They suggested. “If we can find the thing in control of them, and get rid of it, that might be enough to overwhelm them.”

“Assuming that something like that exists.” Harry pointed out.

“We don't really have any other options in that regard. Either they had a reason to protect that particular area and possess a weak point we can exploit, or there was no reason beyond coincidence that it was fortified the way it was, and we're doomed. Which one would you prefer?”

Harry grimaced, but nodded. It was a terrible plan, made of nothing but hope and supposition, and held together by spit and prayers, but it at least had a chance, however small, of working. Frankly, it was better than what they had a moment ago, so they had little choice but to take it and hope for the best.

“But what could be doing that? We've killed a few of the unicron creatures, but that doesn't seem to have slowed them down at all.”

“It's possible that the hive itself is what's controlling them, or something inside of the hive, like a Queen. If that's the case, then cutting off the head of the beast is the best course of action. At the very least, burning the heart of the infestation should do massive damage to their position, possible to the point where we can deal with the remnants without too much trouble.”

“Can we be sure that that's the case?” Hermione asked, repressing a shiver. “This is unlike anything I've read about or seen. There's no reason to think they're like anything in the normal world.”

“There has to be a reason to build a hive like that. Even if it's a completely alien reason, it's still a reason, and that gives us something to attack.” They said, “It's either that, or give up entirely.”

Harry hated to admit it, but they were right. Even if it was a terrible plan, it was the only thing that might work. They could either take the chance in the slim hope it would work out, or give up here and now. With a sigh of regret, he nodded his agreement.

“Our best bet is probably sneak our way towards the nest, set it ablaze, and run like hell.” Their cloaked partner proposed a basic plan, sketching out a vague map in the dirt before them.

“Can we survive something like that?” Luna asked.

“Not sure, but I don't have any better ideas. Do you?” Harry asked. Luna shook her head, and Hermione kept muttering to herself. “Then I think we have to try it, make the best of a bad situation, and hope we can get out of this alive.”

“Right, then let's go through this and see if there's anything we can do to improve our odds of success and survival.” They continued, looking around at the ragtag group assembled before them.

They all sat down around the hastily sketched battle plan, getting what little rest that they could, as they gave their own thoughts on the developing plan. Luna was surprisingly the most helpful, her unusual mindset bringing up points that would otherwise have been neglected. Hermione did her best to organize and cosolidate any plans they managed, and Harry did his best to offer a few suggestions of his own. The end result wasn't pretty, but it would get the job done.

They hoped.

--- --- ---

Finally, it was nearly time to set out. Hermioen and Luna was dozing fretfully, while their monstrous companions patrolled the borders of their makeshift camp, looking for signs of approaching enemies. It left Harry and the last member of their group alone for a few minutes before they would set out.

“It seems I owe you my life. Had I dealt with them on my own, I would certainly have perished.” The cloaked figure said. It seemed they wanted to get it off their chest before things became too chaotic to speak.

“Don't worry about it.” Harry said, “We're friends, right?”

“Friends? I suppose we could be considered friends.” They said uncertainly, before chuckling to themselves. “To think that I would be considered Harry Potter's friend, how amusing.”

“What's so strange about that?”

“Perhaps I'll tell you later, but now really isn't the time. Right now, we need to figure out a way to survive this.”

“You don't think the plan will be enough.” Harry said, almost accusingly.

“Tactics can only take you so far in the face of overwhelming numbers.” They admitted. “In all honesty, our best chance was when we were right there, while we were still fresh and relatively unexpected. Now, they know we're coming, and they'll be ready to bring everything they can down on us.”

“You sound like you're giving up before we even try.” Harry said.

“I still have every intention of doing whatever I can to survive. I've just... resigned myself to the inevitable conclusion.” They said with a sigh. “Death comes to us all, and no matter how hard you struggle, no matter what efforts to put into staving it off, it cannot be denied.”

Harry shook his head, “You might be right, but that doesn't mean you'll die here.”

“Evidence would point to the contrary.”

“So? There are plenty of people who have beaten the odds and won when no one expected them to. It's why people always cheer for the underdog on television.”

“Believing in stories like that is childish. If things really worked that way, we wouldn't be here in the first place.”

“Maybe it is childish, but it's better than giving up without trying.” Harry said resolutely, looking at his friend.

They turned away from him. Harry waited for several long moments, hoping for a reply, but none came. With a sigh, he walked over towards Rex. If they were going to give up like that, it was their decision, but Harry wasn't going to quit so easily.


It wasn't hard to get back to where they had started. The monsters had torn a very visible path through the forest, and whatever was lying in wait for them didn't seem to mind that they were walking right towards it.

“Are we sure this is a good idea?” Hermione asked one last time.

“No, it's probably going to end with us all being eaten.” Harry admitted, “But it's really the best idea that we have.”

“How is that?” She asked.

“At least this way we might survive. You know, if a miracle happens.” he said, trying to flash a daring grin, brushing off death like it was just another day. He wasn't sure how daring he really looked, but it seemed to help her.

“If we're going to die, I'm going to burn this whole forest down as my funeral pyre.” She promised him, her wand already dancing with fire.

“Might want to get started on that sooner than later.” Harry said, gripping his wand hard enough that he could feel the ridges pressing into his skin. He couldn't see anything just yet, but he could feel the hairs on the back of his neck prickling. They were watching them.

“Luna, take the Snorkack around an distract them.” Harry said tersely.

“Do you want to come with me Hermione?” Luna offered, “It will probably be a bit safer”

Hermione hesitated, glancing back and forth between her friends in indecision.

“Go with her.” Harry decided for the poor Gryffindor. “She's going to need support if the Snorkack gets bogged down.”

“Are you sure?” the bushy haired girl asked.

“We'll be fine over here. We've got two monsters here, Luna's only got the one.”

Hermione gave a determined nod, before clambering on behind Luna. She wrapped her arms uncertainly around the waifish girl, before seizing her in a death grip as the Snorkack began moving.

“Hold up a minute Luna.” Harry called out, causing the hulking beast to pause as its partner looked at him.

“Harry?” she said questioningly.

The waifish girl turned towards him, looking up at him curiously. Harry hesitated for a second, before strengthening his resolve, and saying what needed to be said.

“Once we hit the nest, I want you and Hermione to get out of there.”

“You want us to leave you behind?” she asked, looking at him is disbelief.

“It's not like that!” Harry protested, “It's just... Once we get to the nest, we won't need you rampaging over everything else. Either we'll wipe it out and end this, or we won't, and if that happens, you need to get out to warn everyone. Do whatever it takes, show them the Snorkack, tear up Diagon Alley, whatever you need to do to make them realize what's lurking out there.

His friend seemed torn

“Please Luna, I need you to do this.”

Luna nodded, giving in, “Alright Harry. I promise.”

He watched the three of them break off, and could feel his remaining companion judging him.

“I still have no intention of dying.” Harry said, knowing what was coming. “I just want to make sure everything is covered no matter what happens.”

They stared at him, “You really don't intend to die here, do you? It certainly could happen, but you don't seem worried about it.”

“What's the point?” Harry asked, “If it happens, it happens, and there's nothing I can do about it. If I doesn't then there was no point in worrying about it in the first place.” He got the feeling they were smirking at him

“I suppose you're right about that, as long as you're smart enough to avoid taking foolish risks.”

“Like attacking a bunch of creatures we know nothing about?”

“Right, like that.” They replied, and the two of them shared a brief chuckle, before settling back into terse readiness.

The two of them crouched in the shadows in silence, doing their best to ignore the seconds as they dragged on. Each moment seemed to last an eternity, and Harry hoped that nothing had happened. Maybe the creatures had gotten the drop on them, and even now ere creeping up on them, waiting for the perfect moment to strike and-

A roar echoed through the forest, shocking the two of them from their thoughts. Harry immediately turned to Rex, while his partner hissed something to their snake. Rex led the charge, blasting everything in sight with fire, while the basilisk, lashed out at anything that survived with its deadly fangs.

Harry felt a spark of hope as he started casting spells along side the advancing monsters. It seemed the Snorkack was doing a good job, now they just needed to keep on pushing. As soon as they broke through and torched the nest, they could get the hell out of there.

There was little resistance. Though the aberrations had known they were coming, most of them had diverted off to take down the apparently weaker group. Harry and his partners rushed in, cutting down everything that moved as they charged forward. Harry cast so many spells he was sure his wand was bound to ignite in his hands. Rex tore through the defenders as quickly as his claws could move, while their counterparts mirrored their actions, the cloaked figure creating a blazing nimbus with their spellwork, while the basilisk paused only long enough to bite whatever got in its way before slithering forward. All the while, Harry glanced around, looking for the heart of their lair.

He let out a shout as he spotted it. They had found it, the core of the nest, or heart, or whatever it was. Triumph slowly gave way, and Harry's heart sunk as he saw what was guarding it. It was surrounded by the unicorn creatures, each of them standing sentinel, ready to attack anything they perceived as a threat. Even as his heart dropped, a number of them turned in unison for face Rex and the basilisk, clawing at the ground, eager to slaughter whatever dared to opposed them.

Well, maybe this meant the Snorkack and the girls would make it out alive. Without the unicorn creatures, they should have decent odds of escaping the forest. They probably wouldn't last long against these things once they started to spread, but it would be a great deal longer than Harry's own life expectancy.

Resigning himself, Harry raised his wand. If he was going to die here, he wasn't going to just lay down and accept it. He was going to kill as many of these things as he could first. Fire danced around him, and he could feel that his companion was doing the same.

“READY HARRY?” Rex asked, with a grin that should have been terrifying, but Harry couldn't help but return it.

“Yeah, let's get them!”

The battle was joined. The unicorn guards charged forward, met with a wave of brilliant lights as Harry and his partner, but it barely affected them. They only started to slaw when they met with the full fury of Rex and the Basilisk.

The two beasts tore into them with inhuman fury, but despite all of their power, their were only two of them, and they couldn't stem the tide entirely. A few of the creatures managed to force their way past, leaving the two humans to deal with them.

Harry threw himself to the side, barely dodging the trampling hooves of the first one. He flinched as a second one attempted to crush him beneath its claws, only for a wavering shield to spring up in front of him.

“Move!” they shouted, trying to hold off a third creature, and Harry scrambled back to his feet. He fell into step behind them, doing his best to cover their blind spots. Only three of them managed to get past their monsters, but they were more than enough to kill them if they weren't careful. Harry watched as the three of them circled around, looking for a weakness to exploit. They were met by spellfire at every turn. Harry's magic was enough to hold them off, while his partner actually manged to harm them if they were unwary. They were locked in a stalemate for the moment, which was as close to victory as they could hope.

“Focus!” his partner cried, and Harry nodded, redoubling his efforts. The monsters had nearly destroyed the aberrations, and if they could hold out for just a little longer, they might actually win!

A sickening feeling filled Harry, and he bent double, trying to keep his stomach under control. He managed to keep his feet, if only just, and looked around for its source.

It didn't take long.

The heart of the nest, or whatever it was began to pulse rapidly. Something was about to happen, and Harry had a feeling that whatever it was, it wouldn't be good.

“Harder Rex!” He managed to shout, and the monstrous dinosaur redoubled his efforts, tearing into the attacking creatures, but more filled the holes he tore in their defenses. Even when the dinosauroid resorted to burning them to cinders, they kept up their fervent defense. It became a desperate race, trying to stop whatever it was from emerging before it could be destroyed. Harry cast desperately, hoping that the paltry fire spells he brought forth would be enough to let Rex get through.

They weren't.

The forest fell silent. Harry froze, the absolute lack of sound somehow more deafening than the sound of battle. With a feeling of dread in the pit of his stomach, he turned his gaze away from the horde, and towards what they were willing to sacrifice their lives to protect.

The cocoon, the cyst, whatever it was, had stopped is pulsing. It was absolutely still, and then seemed to crumble, falling away from what had been growing inside of it. The pulsating mass looked like some massive internal organ, never meant to be exposed to air, but even as Harry watched, it began to writhe and twist, taking all of the power and potential inherent in its incomplete form, and shaping it to a purpose.

There were eyes. That was the first thing Harry noticed. A trio of glowing yellow eyes, peered out from the dying mass of flesh as it writhed. The rest of its body seemed to shape its form around them, the nearest parts collapsing into a triangular head, with a massive jaw lined with dripping teeth. The body followed, long and sleek,. The legs supporting it seemed like they belonged on a spider, and it scuttled out of its chrysalis with alien speed and grace. It didn't seem to have any arms, but from the way its body seemed to move and twist underneath its skin, Harry was sure it could grow whatever it needed at a moment's notice, just like the rest of these creatures.

It was magnificent, Harry decided, in the same way that a shark was beautiful. It had a purpose, and every single aspect of its being had been designed around fulfilling that purpose, without any room for wasted potential or extraneous actions. Its purpose was anything but friendly, Harry was certain, but it would fulfill it perfectly, without an ounce of compassion or mercy.

As they watched in stunned horror, the newly emerged creature seemed to extend, it's body warping out to reach one of the surviving unicorn guards. The guard made no move to evade it, and was quickly and quietly absorbed into the main body. It seemed to shudder for a moment, before its appearance shifted, becoming more defined. More tendrils shot out towards the closest of the creatures, and they were all absorbed into the abomination within second. The creatures furtheest it it even rushed towards it, eager to feed their ultimate incarnation.

As each was consumed in turn, the creature changed, gaining physical power, sure, but mostly, Harry could feel it, like something pulling at his soul. This creature was absorbing their magical power, using it to fuel its own evolution into something far greater and more terrifying than anything that had come before it. It was becoming something that did not belong here, that damaged the very fabric of reality with its presence, whispers of madness filling the silence it instilled in the world that abhorred it, found its very existence anathemic, to the point where everything native to the world could not stand its presence.

It was becoming a Monster. Just like Rex, just like the Snorkack. A small part of Harry wondered if Rex was born in a similar manner.

The last of the guards were consumed, its evolution completed. Massive, gossamar wings emerged from its back, creating is sickening, dissonant buzzing sound as they flapped faster than the eye could see. The massive abomination took flight, surveying the devastated forest that had birthed it.

Harry looked around, and saw that the rest of the creatures had gone still, frozen in awe at the ultimate expression of their purpose. The cloaked figure hissed something that he couldn't quite catch, and their basilisk curled around them defensively. Hermione stared at the creature, screaming things Harry knew couldn't possibly be words as she pointed at it in horror. Luna seized the gibbering girl and began dragging her to the Snorkack, who used its horns to fling the girls onto its back. The monster sprinted through the frozen horde, getting the girls clear, even as it trampled the uncaring creatures beneath it.

The newly born monster landed nearby, having survey the devastated battlefield and determining what had caused it. It had found the one who had inflicted such damage upon its children.

It looked at Rex, past him to the twelve year old boy the dinosaur had bonded himself to. Harry could feel its eyes boring into him, drawing out details of his life he had long forgotten, or maybe never even knew. It looked into the very core of his soul, sending a wave of nausea through the young wizard as he felt it pass over him

Then it stopped, its presence left him, and all was still.

And the forest erupted into screams.


As Cedric walked away, Harry felt a strange sensation in his chest. The world around him seemed to freeze, and a voice from everywhere and nowhere began to boom.


A card appeared in the air before him, before floating gently into his hand.

Harry stared, completely in the dark on how to respond to this new experience.

“maybe it's like those pokerman cards your cousin loves?” Rex suggested from his pocket. “is it an ultra rare? we could sell it for millions!”