Tuesday, April 3, 2012

The Power of Knowledge - Chapter 6

The Power of Knowledge

Chapter 6

It was late afternoon and Harry Potter, who held the title of youngest Seeker of the century, was seriously considering quitting the Gryffindor team. While he had no trouble working with the team (and after the first year he was used to Oliver’s exuberance), it was his broomstick that annoyed him. Or, he supposed as he towelled his fresh-from-an-invigorating -shower hair, it’s my lack of one that’s bothering me. When is Christmas again? Harry didn’t want to sound like an ungrateful child eagerly waiting for the holidays to come around, but he really needed that Firebolt else he’d go mad.

“I’ve seen bloody butterflies fly faster,” he grumbled, thinking about the last practice and how his teammates literally ran laps around him. Shooting Stars, he had to admit, were not the best brooms for competitive Quidditch. They might be good for a quick pick-up game during the summer, but not against matches with the Slytherins.

 “Did you say something, Harry?” asked Neville, who was writing a letter to someone (presumably his grandmother).

“Nothing,” Harry replied as he ruffled through his trunk for a clean shirt. “Just talking to myself – hey, have you by any chance seen that blue shirt I wore last week?”

Neville shrugged even though he knew Harry would not be able to see. “Did you check the laundry bin?”

“We have a laundry bin?” Harry retorted, grabbing his wand on his pillow to Summon the aforementioned bin. He shoved aside some of Dudley’s horrid hand-me-downs just to make sure before checking the laundry bin for his favourite blue shirt. It was the only shirt he owned that fit him comfortably enough without either strangling him by the neck or drowning him in a sea of excess material.

“Found it?” asked Neville a minute later.

“Nah,” Harry laughed good-naturedly, “I realised halfway through searching the pile that I just finished taking a shower, and so I should be looking for a fresh shirt, not a spoiled one I wore a week before. Sorry to bother your letter writing, Neville.”

“It’s no problem, Harry,” Neville said before returning to his desk.

Harry donned the first shirt he could see in his trunk and, after shouting a “see you later” to Neville as he left the dorm room, he trudged down the stairs with half his mind wondering where the hell his blue shirt had gotten to. The other half was drifting back to the most recent Quidditch practice. He heaved a heavy sigh.
“Just so you know,” Harry began as he approached his friends in the Common Room, “as of this afternoon,” he jumped over the back of the sofa and landed quite comfortably, kicking off his shoes and crossing his legs at the ankles, his hands tucked behind his head, “I bloody well hate Shooting Stars.”

Ron snorted in reply and Hermione absentmindedly admonished him for his language. Ginny on the other hand, while not sitting next to Harry and his friends per se, was sitting within earshot and so she replied with a snarky remark before realising it was Harry – the Harry – that she was talking to. A bright blush suffused her freckled cheeks.

“What do you mean make a wish?” Harry asked her, confused. It did not occur to him that not once had he spoken to Ginny the entire year, and while he did not mean to be rude about it (because really, Ginny knew that it was lack of opportunity more than anything), this conversation would be their very first in a long time.

As it was, Ginny Weasley was suitably at a loss on what to say. She had no idea what spurred her to answer Harry’s open-ended remark about shooting stars. What she said wasn’t even that funny and she doubt Harry saw the humour in it. “Um,” she said, hoping that the sound along would kick start her brain to begin working.

And it did.

“You know about shooting stars… how when people see them they make a wish? I said what I said because you mentioned shooting stars and I thought hey, you should make a wish!

Well, close enough. At least there were no butter dishes nearby to sink her elbow into. Ginny roused from her thoughts as she heard Harry laughter. Blushing even deeper, she glared at the boy in question and asked what was so funny.

“N-nothing.” Harry clutched at his stomach. “Just – ah…” he looked sideways at Ron for support, but the redhead was slowly backing away from the incoming storm he knew was coming. Ginny was a spitfire, and when someone foolish enough to stoke the fire just like Harry, the best course of action was to find the nearest shelter and hide. In this case, the other side of the Common Room was a safe enough spot.

“Well?” Ginny asked testily. There was no doubt that she was angry and there was no mistaking that she was mad at Harry Potter, but the question stands: was she mad because he laughed at her, or was she mad because Harry didn’t seem perturbed by her I’m-going-to-make-your-life-hell look. If it was the former, then she had no idea what was so funny – her joke couldn’t be that funny – and Harry was honestly being rude by laughing at her. If the latter, then… Did Harry not see that she was glaring at him? Her brothers knew what the look stood for; was Harry simply oblivious or reckless?

“Sorry, Ginny,” Harry said, raising his hand up as a sign of surrender. “I, uh – what you said… You do know I was talking about the broomstick, not the actual shooting star. That’s why I laughed. Sorry if I offended you or anything.”

Harry studied Ginny’s expression closely, watching as she froze at the realisation of her mistake. The bones in her neck became prominent and her jaw tensed. She refused to make eye contact, which quite frankly Harry found a little worrying. Was she furious at him? As he apologised again, Ginny muttered something about doing some work up in her dorm and swiftly fled the scene.

Suffice to say, Harry was confused. He looked at Hermione, who was unsuccessfully hiding an amused smile. “Did I do something wrong?” he asked.

Hermione closed her book and used her finger as a bookmark. “Well,” she said, “you did embarrass the poor girl.”

“Me?” Harry sputtered. “Embarrass her? How?”

Hermione pursed her lips. “Do you want the quick version or the long version?”

“What? Does it really matter?”

“The long version then,” Hermione chose for him. “First of all, you put Ginny on the spotlight. In case it has skipped your notice, Harry, but the two of you are not exactly close friends.” At Harry’s surprised look, Hermione rushed to say: “Be that as it may, you surprised her. Second of all, when you laughed she undoubtedly felt that you were making fun of her.”

“I was not!”

“I know you weren’t, but did she?” Hermione pleaded with her eyes for Harry to understand, knowing that he was most prone to defending himself than putting himself in Ginny’s shoes when it came to these matters. He really didn’t feel like he was in the wrong – not that he was, to be fair. Ginny was just as wrong as Harry was, running away like she did without any proper explanation.

Harry sighed and massaged the back of his neck, as he usually did when he was deep in thought. “I suppose I should go and apologise,” he said finally.

“Maybe not right now,” Hermione smiled. “Boys aren’t allowed in the girls’ dorms, remember?” At Harry’s despondent expression, Hermione rolled her eyes – since when was Harry this worried about making amends with someone? “How about waiting for her to come back down? She forgot her bag and I’m sure she’ll be doing it if she wants to get any real work done.”

Harry looked at her through narrowed eyes. “Er, you do know that was probably lying when she said that, right?” He uncrossed and crossed his ankles, resigned as he was to some time waiting. “She wanted to get away from me. You explained that to me perfectly well.”

“Oh,” Hermione said. “Nevertheless, she’ll realise that she forgot her bag sooner or later. Just apologise when she gets back down, all right?”

Grunting his assent, Harry settled into a more comfortable position. He waited in silence for the next hour and a half, though when lunchtime rolled around he debated whether to leave his post or not. Ron was waiting impatiently by the portrait hole while Hermione, stuffing Numerology and Gramatica into her bag, distractedly reminded him that the Great Hall was serving hot cocoa to counteract the encroaching winter weather.

And Harry liked Hogwarts’ hot cocoa.

“Actually,” Harry sighed, “I think I’ll pass this time. I’d rather wait for Ginny, if you guys don’t mind.”
From the portrait, Ron shrugged and commented, “It’s not your fault Ginny can’t stay in the same room as you without acting weird, but suit yourself. More cocoa for me then!”

As the Fat Lady’s portrait swung behind his two best friends, Harry stood up and stretched his stiff muscles before sitting back down lengthwise across the sofa. If he was going to wait for Ginny to come back down, he might as well be comfortable doing it – well, more comfortable than he was before he moved.

Ten minutes pass and Harry’s stomach softly grumbled. With a reaction that was a mix of a grimace and chuckle, he reached for his wand and casually Summoned a Chocolate Frog from his dormitory. It took several tries for the damned confectionary to zoom into Harry’s hands, seeing as it had to push its way out through a small wedge between the lid of the trunk and the base. Harry paid the battered Chocolate Frog no mind as his fingers made quick work on unwrapping the package. Absently, he thought of how dependent he’s been on the Summoning Charm despite it being slightly advanced a spell for his age.

I seem to be Summoning things a lot, he thought. From the laundry bin – still can’t believe we have one of those – to the Chocolate Frog. Sweet frog. I want another one… There was another flick of his wand and another Chocolate Frog descended the stairs. Harry continued with his line of thought: Next thing I know, I’d be Summoning my school books from class to class instead of – Harry chocked on the frog’s leg.


Harry sat upright. “I could Summon books,” he said to the empty Common Room. Well, relatively empty apart from the napping Fifth Year by the fireplace (it was his OWL year) and Neville’s toad Trevor glaring at him by the window. (Harry suspects the toad did not like him eating the Chocolate Frogs.)

“Nothing’s stopping me from charming my missing book to come to me,” said Harry lowly as his right hand increasing its grip on his wand. His heart was thudding loudly within the confines of his chest – how come he didn’t think of Summoning Philosopher’s Stone before? Harry pressed his lips together and breathed in deep through his nose. “Accio Harry Potter and the Philosopher’s Stone!” he whispered fervently.

At first there was no reaction and Harry visibly wilted, his energy gone. Then, there came a scuffling sound like a Snitch clawing its way out a jar of marbles. Or I could be losing my marbles, Harry thought as he strained his ears. The sound was coming from the Common Room, that much Harry was sure, but from where? Harry cast his eyes across the room and landed immediately at the vibrating school bag a few feet away.

“Ginny’s bag,” he breathed. Ginny Weasley has Philosopher’s Stone in her bag, but how was the possible? Did she steal it from his trunk before they left The Leaky Cauldron…? But that can’t be. Harry distinctly remembered locking the seven books in his trunk. Ginny can’t have broken in, and even if she did what would have been her excuse other than simply rummaging in his trunk for the fun of it.

No, Harry shook his head sharply. Ginny’s not like that. He might not know the girl very well, but he refused to believe she would look through his trunk uninvited. Pressing both his thumbs to his temples, Harry took a second (or three) before walking towards Ginny’s bag and clicking the bag open. He felt like a hypocrite, however the importance of retrieving the book that told of his First Year was heavier than respecting Ginny’s privacy.

He strongly hoped that the girl in question would understand.

Reaching blindly into the bag (Harry didn’t want to peek and trespass further into Ginny’s privacy), he searched for the familiar texture and shape of Harry Potter and the Philosopher’s Stone. His hand had just grabbed hold of the thin volume when, just his luck, Ginny Weasley traipsed down the girl’s staircase.
“Harry,” she asked, shell-shocked, “what are you doing?”

Harry jerked around, the book secured in his grip. He had on his face the look of a thief caught red-handed – which he was, in a way. He was only stealing back what was rightfully his in the first place. “Ginny,” he gulped, “I’m sorry. I didn’t mean to –“ he gestured to the opened bag “– y’know, but I’ve been looking for this book for months and I was dead worried that a Slytherin or Snape or Dumbledore might have gotten hold of it or…” Harry trailed off as complete and utter horror sunk into his features. “You didn’t tell Dumbledore about this book, did you?” came his strangled question.

Ginny, who was stunned into impersonating a goldfish when Harry began rambling (so it wasn’t just her who was afflicted with that illness, thank Merlin), simply blinked at Harry in response. Not once did it occur to tell Dumbledore about that book. She was not the type to come running towards the Headmaster when strange things happen, and she was definitely not the petty type to blab to someone against Harry. She held to grudge for him. Well, she thought, I didn’t until now.

A flash of anger coursed through Ginny’s veins. “You were searching through my bag!” she accused. “That’s an invasion of privacy!”

Harry at the very least had the decency to blush. “Well, you were reading a story about my First Year,” he retorted. “This is an exact recording of my thoughts and experiences, some of which were only privy to me until you read it!” Because really, there was no doubt that Ginny had ready the book.

Ginny snapped her mouth closed, stumped. Harry was right, of course. She had no right to read the book without his expressed permission. However, she could not change the past just as much as she can predict the future, which left her dealing with the present. Crossing her arms, she asked Harry how he knew that the book was in her bag.

“There’s a spell I know,” Harry said, inattentively massaging his neck as he spoke. “It’s called the Summoning Charm and it allows you to,” he paused, searching for the right word, “…call things towards you if they’re too far away to reach. Well, that’s what I’ve been using the spell for anyway.”

Ginny couldn’t help but snort her amusement. “Wow, I did not peg you down as a lazy arse,” she said, forgetting that she was talking to Harry and not one of her brothers (or one of her tetchy classmates, for that matter). Harry simply raised an eyebrow in response, which prompted a soft apology and blood to flood her freckled cheeks.

“No need to apologise,” Harry said, clearly amused. “I spend the majority of my time with your brother, remember?”

“Which one?” Ginny countered. There was twinkle in her eye that told Harry he was forgiven for invading her privacy the way he did; it was necessary, after all. Well, not really. He could have waited until Ginny had arrived and ask if he can look through her bag (which, admittedly, Ginny was sure to deny permission), but Ginny was willing to let that go. It was about time she returned that book, anyway.

Harry and Ginny exchanged more teasing remarks and quips for the next minute or so. Some would say they were flirting, just like Ron and Hermione only with less hostility, though of course only some people would say that. Neither Harry nor Ginny would be included in that group, for each think that they were only establishing their tentative friendship, each reply for a snarky comment a test for how much the other would go and could take.

When Harry’s stomach gave a resounding growl, he suggested they head down to the Great Hall to eat. They talked for the entire trip, but never ventured towards the events that surrounded Harry’s First Year. Finally upon entering the Great Hall, the two new friends separated to join their own circles. It was just another normal day for Harry and Ginny, respectively, and none knew the wiser.

Wednesday, February 29, 2012

What Is Fandom?

I just have to share this.

Fandom is focus. Fandom is obsession. Fandom is insatiable consumption. Fandom is sitting for hours in front of a TV screen a movie screen a computer screen with a comic book a novel on your lap. Fandom is eyestrain and carpal tunnel syndrome and not enough exercise and staying up way, way past your bedtime.
Fandom is people you don’t tell your mother you’re meeting. Fandom is people in the closet, people out and proud, people in costumes, people in T-shirts with slogans only fifty others would understand. Fandom is a loud dinner conversation scaring the waiter and every table nearby.
Fandom is you in Germany and me in the US and him in Australia and her in Japan. Fandom is a sofabed in New York, a roadtrip to Oxnard, a friend behind a face in London. Fandom talks past timezones and accents and backgrounds. Fandom is conversation. Communication. Contact.
Fandom is drama. Fandom is melodrama. Fandom is high school. Fandom is Snacky’s law and Godwin’s law and Murphy’s law. Fandom is smarter than you. Fandom is stupider than you. Fandom is five arguments over and over and over again. Fandom is the first time you’ve ever had them.
Fandom is female. Fandom is male. Fandom lets female play at being male. Fandom bends gender, straight, gay, prude, promiscuous. Fandom is fantasy. Fandom doesn’t care about norms or taboos or boundaries. Fandom cares too much about norms and taboos and boundaries. Fandom is not real life. Fandom is closer than real life. Fandom knows what you’re really like in the bedroom. Fandom is how you would never, could never be in the bedroom.
Fandom is shipping, never shipping, het, slash, gen, none of the above, more than the above. Fandom is love for characters you didn’t create. Fandom is recreating the characters you didn’t create. Fandom is appropriation, subversion, dissention. Fandom is adoration, extrapolation, imitation. Fandom is dissection, criticism, interpretation. Fandom is changing, experimenting, attempting.
Fandom is creating. Fandom is drawing, painting, vidding: nine seasons in four minutes of love. Fandom is words, language, authoring. Fandom is essays, stories, betas, parodies, filks, zines, usenet posts, blog posts, message board posts, emails, chats, petitions, wank, concrit, feedback, recs. Fandom is writing for the first time since you were twelve. Fandom is finally calling yourself a writer.
Fandom is signal and response. Fandom is a stranger moving you to tears, anger, laughter. Fandom is you moving a stranger to speak.
Fandom is distraction. Fandom is endangering your job, your grades, your relationships, your bank account. Fandom gets no work done. Fandom is too much work. Fandom was/is just a phase. Fandom could never be just a phase. Fandom is where you found a friend, a sister, a kindred spirit. Fandom is where you found a talent, a love, a reason.
Fandom is where you found yourself.


Sunday, February 5, 2012

Extras - Chapter 5 (TPoKn)

From the Story
...Harry spent his time wisely catching up on his reading Harry Potter and the Order of the Phoenix inside one of the castle's secluded towers. He wasn't exactly sure if anyone knew the tower actually existed, judging by the state of the room when Harry had found it: a thick layer of dust coated the floors and there were no furniture at all to speak of. There were three small windows that provide air and light...

Hogwart's Castle (source: hp-lexicon)

The Power of Knowledge - Chapter 5

The Power of Knowledge

Chapter 5

Harry Potter was having a very relaxed week. It was one of those rare times in a student’s academic career where they find themselves with a lot of free time, with no assignments that had to be handed in until late next week and no extracurricular activities, such as Quidditch practices, in the foreseeable future. Wood was, all of a sudden, struck ill (though Harry suspected the twins being behind the Quidditch captain’s sudden need to empty his stomach on a regular basis).

Nevertheless, Harry spent his time wisely catching up on his reading Harry Potter and the Order of the Phoenix inside one of the castle’s secluded towers. He wasn’t exactly sure if anyone knew the tower actually existed, judging by the state of the room when Harry had found it: a thick layer of dust coated the floors and there were no furniture at all to speak of. There were three small windows that provide air and light, and while the room might seem dismal to the average person, it was like home to Harry.

Well, not home per se… but it sure did help him hide from the rest of the castle’s inhabitants. It would not bode well if anyone caught him reading about an illicit organisation created by Dumbledore way back in the 70’s. As it was, the secluded little tower reminded Harry somewhat of his cupboard back in Privet Drive – not exactly one of the best places in the world but it was safe, familiar.

When they were all seated and quiet, she said, 'You may begin,' and turned over an enormous hour-glass on the desk beside her, on which there were also spare quills, ink bottles and rolls of parchment.

Harry turned over his paper, his heart thumping hard – three rows to his right and four seats ahead Hermione was already scribbling – and lowered his eyes to the first question: a) Give the incantation and b) describe the wand movement required to make objects fly.

Immediately the memory of Ron levitating a troll’s wooden club rushed to the forefront of Harry’s mind, and it seemed that the book version of himself shared the same mind because he was recalling the memory as well. It wasn’t until the book Harry was taking his Astronomy OWLs that the real Harry realised that of course he and the book version of himself shared the same mind – they were the same person, more or less.
The character was based on him, after all, and in the next two years, that could be him.

I’d rather hope not Harry thought idly as he flipped over a page. I don’t want to turn into a self-centred git who yells at his friends. Come to think of it, his current life seemed so much better compared to Book Harry, even if a supposed mass murderer is after him. At least now he didn’t have to care about leading an illegal school club, or worry about passing his OWLs.

Shaking his head for the poor Fifth and Seventh Years working hard to pass their exams, Harry resumed reading.

He was walking along the cool, dark corridor to the Department of Mysteries again, – Harry stiffened and unconsciously held his breath – walking with a firm and purposeful tread, breaking occasionally into a run, determined to reach his destination at last . . . He was having that dream again, and in the middle of an exam no less! Granted it was History of Magic, which sort of guaranteed him falling asleep at some point, but honestly? Why this dream? Why now? He would rather take on the dreadfully boring exam than that blasted bigot.

Sometimes – well, most of the time – okay, all the time – Harry hated being connected to Voldemort the way he was. Yes, it helped save lives like that time when Book Mr Weasley was bitten by the snake but other than that, Harry felt that it was nothing but a thorn at his side. With a resigned sigh, Harry continued reading.

He did not like what he saw.

 'You'll have to kill me,' whispered Sirius.

 'Undoubtedly I shall in the end,' said the cold voice.

“No,” came his strangled cry. His grip on the book tightened, his fingers go white and red from the pressure. His entire body was stiff yet shaking at the same time, as if he was stuck outside with no cloak on or even a hint of a Warming Charm. He might not know Sirius Black as the Book Harry does, but a part of him sees felt the same way he does. After all, Sirius was the only family he had left. He was his godfather and his father’s best friend. While Professor Lupin was a close friend of James Potter as well, he had not offered him a loving home like Book Sirius did in Prisoner of Azkaban.

In other words, he had not been Sirius. Harry didn’t know how he could go on without Sirius Black. If Voldemort does indeed manage to kill him – and judging from Harry’s luck so far in life, that event seemed very likely – then perhaps meeting the man later on in the year might not be such a good idea after all. I mean, Harry thought numbly, his eyes levelled at the jumbled words in front of him, might as well save myself the trouble of getting my hopes up and then having them crushed.

With the temper that Book Harry has got, Harry feared how he will react to his godfather’s upcoming death. He hoped, somehow futilely, that he will not do anything drastic and put everyone he knew in danger.
Heaving a heavy sigh (and then coughing up a fit after he inhaled a large amount of dust), Harry gathered up his courage and picked up where he left off. He was a Gryffindor after all, and he would rather face this problem head on, so to speak, rather than think too much about it.

It wasn’t until well into the evening that a heavy-hearted Harry left his tower sanctuary. A handful of hours had passed since he had read about Sirius being held captive by Voldemort, and now he had finished reading the book. He now knew what awaited him in his Fifth Year, what terrors and utter stupidity… It was his fault, undoubtedly. Book Sirius was dead because of the frantic decisions that the fifteen year old version of himself made.

“I wish could have un-read that,” Harry mumbled quietly as he turned a corner. He was so engrossed in his own thoughts that he did not notice he was not alone in the corridor. Somewhere at the back of his mind, he had figured that since dinner was being served, no one would be around the halls to bother him. Wallowing in misery was something he liked to do in private.

“Talking to yourself, wee Potty?” commented the intruder. “Going ‘round the bend, are you?”

Harry glanced at the Poltergeist. “I’m not talking to myself,” he denied. “Just… thinking out loud.”

Peeves didn’t look like he believed him, but he seemed to have gotten bored by the conversation so he simply blew a raspberry before passing through the walls, leaving Harry alone again. This time, he checked the entire perimeter before returning to his previous musings. Or he would have done so, if his stomach hadn’t reminded him that there was a reason why everyone was in the Great Hall at this time.
“Food,” he grumbled, patting his stomach in compassion. He has barely eaten anything all day, save for those Bertie Bott’s Every Flavour Beans that, quite frankly, did not agree with him.

_Page Break_

Harry tried his best not to let his newfound knowledge concerning the godfather he had not officially met yet get to him, especially as the Quidditch game against Slytherin slowly approached. He felt very conflicted as, if Prisoner of Azkaban was right about how the game will turn out, not only would Harry be overwhelmed by Dementors, miss the Snitch and lose the game for his House, but his beloved Nimbus 2000 would be battered by the Whomping Willow as well. Of course, the chances of the game turning out exactly like the one in the book was very unlikely – there were many factors that should be taken into account such as the weather and the split-moment decisions made during a Quidditch game – Harry still felt queasiness in his stomach.

“It’s going to be a tough one,” said Wood. Like Harry, he wasn’t eating much of anything.

“Stop worrying, Oliver,” replied Alicia in a soothing manner. Harry slowly tuned her out as he mentally prepared himself for the game. It was one thing to accept that his first broomstick would break after a freak accident with the Dementors, but it was quite another to let it happen when he knew that he could prevent it.
Grimacing, Harry followed his teammates towards the Quidditch field. His expression, usually excited at the prospect of a Quidditch game no matter the weather, was stoic and determined. It was out of his hands to control what was going to happen. The best he could do was just do his best. If he catches the Snitch before Diggory, then fine; a win would not affect anything major as far as he knew. If he doesn’t catch the Snitch, then he would have other things to worry about. Trying not to split his head open when he falls comes to mind…

“Hey, Harry!” the twins called as they mounted their brooms. “Mind getting your head off the clouds and joining us for the game?” hollered George.

“Yeah!” continued Fred. “We don’t want to lose to a bunch of ‘Puffs do we now, Harry, me old chap!”

For the first time that day, Harry Potter grinned. There was nothing like a playful banter with the twins to lift one’s spirits, even though technically he hadn’t really participated in the conversation. He didn’t have the opportunity before Madam Hooch’s shrill whistle was blasting in his ear. What he did have the opportunity for, however, was so choke over some choice swear words as the heavy rain quickly soaked him to the bone. He could not see beyond the tip of his broom, let alone hunt for the Snitch, it was raining so hard.

I can’t recall Book Me having this much trouble, Harry thought desperately as he whizzed past the Hufflepuff Chasers and breaking up their formation. Several minutes and two scores for Gryffindor later, Harry was touching ground after the time-out Wood had called.

“I’ve got no chance catching anything remotely Snitch-sized with these one,” Harry said to Wood but addressing the team at large. “I might as well be underwater,” he continued as he tugged his glasses off and wiped them dry with some cloth that Angelina conjured. “Thanks,” he nodded to the girl. “Isn’t there a spell somewhere that can make my glasses waterproof? I mean, I know there’s a spell that can keep water out, but I don’t think we’ve covered it in Charms yet.”

Seeing the blank faces staring back at him, Harry figured that none of the older years have covered it as well. Or they just can’t remember. Bugger it all. Harry ran a hand through his hair, though unfortunately he managed to hit something – well, someone – with his elbow in the process.

“Dammit, I’m sorry!” was his immediate response. “Hermione, what are you doing here?!” was his second followed by a “You know the spell!” as realisation dawned on him. The rest of the team shared looks at their Seeker’s seemingly bipolar behaviour, but these went unnoticed as Harry quickly explained to Hermione the situation.

“Wow, Harry,” commented the bushy haired witch as she took his glasses from him. Her eyebrows were raised in appreciation. “I didn’t know you were aware of that spell. It’s not on the Hogwarts syllabus, seeing as most wizards are unable to expand the charm beyond certain areas. While of course I find it a very interesting spell to learn, the professors think it’s a waste of time to teach students because of its many restrictions –“

Before his best friend could go on a tangent (they do have a game to get back to, after all), Harry grabbed his glasses and propped them on his face. “I might not look it, Hermione,” he smiled, “but I do pick up a book once in a while.”

Hermione paused, started to say something, and then paused again.

“I don’t just hang with you in the library to watch people, you know. I do read sometimes. But right not, I think I should get back to the game. See you later in the Common Room?”

Once Hermione returned for the stands, Fred and George each swung an arm over Harry’s shoulders and praised his skills in handling the fairer sex. He sank into the mud a little because of their weight, but Harry would never dare mention it to the twins. “What do you mean my skills?” he asked. “I was just telling her the truth!”

The twins shared a look.

“Come off it, Harry,” they chorused. “You’re the last person aside from Ron who would voluntary pick up a book and learn spells,” added Fred. He ruffled Harry’s soaking wet hair.

“Jinxes and charms to mess with people, maybe,” said George, “but practical spells like that Impervious Charm? We’re thick, but not that thick.”

“Oh, believe me Gred, Forge,” Harry shrugged off their arms and swung his Nimbus to replace their weight, “you guys are not, as you put it, thick.” He thought about the Weasley’s Wizard Wheezes and how much ingenuity, hard work and dedication the twins are capable of when given the right occasion. “And I do read.”

George snorted. “Yeah, right. If you’re a reader then I’m a saint.”

Fred laughingly shoved his twin and mounted his broom. Time-out was nearly over. “And I’m a bleeding Hinkypunk. Just make sure you catch that Snitch, Harry!”

Harry accepted the light-hearted teasing and mounted his own broom. He sped off without as much as a worry about the game’s ending. For now, he was just going to have fun doing what he does best: Quidditch.

_Page Break_

Muffled discussion permeated through the thick fog that was Harry’s consciousness. The last thing he knew was pushing with all his might for his Nimbus to go faster. The Snitch was so close and Diggory was not that far of as well. He remembered making a desperate lunge towards the Snitch, scratching at the other Seeker’s hands in his haste to get it… Now his head hurts, along with the rest of him, actually.

“Y’know, we wouldn’t have minded if he does read up on practical spells in the library,” admitted one of the twins. Harry was too punch-drunk to bother separating the two.

“Unlike Hermione here,” continued the other twin, “we can totally see ickle Harrikins hitting the books. Maybe not as much as Ginny. That little sister of ours is always disappearing to read those wishy-washy novels of hers.

There was a scornful scoff, presumably from Hermione. “I didn’t say it was a farfetched idea,” she said. Yes, Harry thought, definitely Hermione. “I never said anything of the sort.”

“But you don’t believe him,” someone else chimed it. It was one of the Chaser girls. Katie, maybe?

“Of course, I do –“

“You said so yourself that you didn’t know Harry knew of that spell – what was it called again?” Chuckles and groans erupted from the pack gathered around Harry’s prone form. Was it really that difficult to remember a spell that makes things water repellent? “You were surprised when he mentioned that he reads.”

“No, I wasn’t!”

“Really, could have fooled me,” said Alicia. Harry was certain this was Alicia because the only person who heard her (apart from him) had hissed for her to be quiet else she’d get the wrath of an irritated bookworm.

“Get of her case, guys,” came the reasonable voice of Harry’s other best mate, Ron. “You’re saying things Hermione never said.” Hermione’s thanks were soft and barely audible. “Of course, what she really meant was that she was surprised not by Harry reading because let’s face it, the git doesn’t wear glasses because it’s hip in the Muggle world.”

What on earth was Ron talking about? And since when did he used the word “hip”? Damn, he must have been talking to Dean again. Muggle slang was his thing.

“Hermione’s just mad because Harry’s giving her a run for her Galleons,” finished Ron.

There was complete and utter silence after Ron finished his sentence. Just when everyone thought he had matured even for the slightest bit, he had gone and made a joke out of it. While he couldn’t be blame – the cue was right there for the taking – no one could believe that he could say that. And within arm’s length of the bushy haired witch herself. Harry couldn’t help it anymore.

He snorted. Forcefully peeling his eyes open, he laughed his way to a sitting position until he had grabbed his glasses and settled his sheets comfortably around him. “Hello, everyone,” he greeted cheerfully. “What did I miss?”

“Apparently, not much,” answered Hermione, glaring at him coldly. “If you’re fine enough to laugh in my expense, then I shouldn’t have bothered waiting for you to wake up.”

“C’mon, Hermione,” said Harry with a winning smile. “Don’t be like that!”

When the girl in question refused to meet his eyes (or anyone’s, for that matter), Harry turned to his teammates and repeated his question, adding one about the results of the game. Despite the sense of foreboding Harry had felt this morning over breakfast, things had turned out pretty well. The Dementors still came and he had still fallen off his broom, but they had won the match after Harry barely scraped by in catching the elusive Snitch before Diggory could. There was a party in the Common Room in celebration for their victory.

“What about my Nimbus?” Harry asked. He almost regretted it upon seeing the smiles drop off his friends’ faces.

“Well…” drawled Ron, the only one with enough courage – or stupidity – to brave whatever reaction Harry would have once the news was delivered. What he wasn’t aware of, however, was that Harry already knew what happened to his broom. It was asking too much of serendipity for that to have changed.

After hearing Ron and Hermione (who had gotten over her anger) recount the events that led to his trusted broomstick, Harry didn’t know what to feel. Things had not gone the way they did in the Prisoner of Azakaban, but still the results were the same more or less. The Dementors still flock to him like a drug, he still fell several feet off his broom and into the squelchy mud of the Quidditch Pitch, and his Nimbus 2000 was ruined beyond repair. Only, The Whomping Willow was not to blame. This time, his broomstick had simply been blown into across the grounds before drowning in the Black Lake.

Oh well, Harry mused as he settled into bed later that night, at least I’ll have that Firebolt to look forward to.

Saturday, January 7, 2012

The Power of Knowledge - Chapter 4

The Power of Knowledge

Chapter 4

“Are you sure you packed everything before we left?” asked Hermione in her usual bossy tone, though as the years passed Harry grew a little bit immune to its effects. In fact, his slight resistance to The Tone was the reason why Hermione was using it in the first place. For all intents and purposes, Harry Potter was tuning her out. He was still listening, of course, but the larger percentage of his concentration was on his inner monologue.

I was sure I’ve got them here somewhere, he thought, absently unloading his Potions equipment and setting them on the ground beside his opened trunk; the slight drizzle of rain coated his things. Maybe they’re next to my Quidditch gear? No, it can’t be… He had had unpacked the scarlet uniform first before everything else, since they were at the very top.

Meanwhile, Harry’s best friend (the one not nagging him about his carelessness), assured the bushy haired witch that everything was going to be fine. “We’re not gonna be late for the Feast, so stop badgering him.”
“I’m not worried about the Feast, Ronald!” Hermione exclaimed. “I’m worried about having to walk all the way up to the castle in this weather, all because Harry,” the boy in mention cringed as he shifted his Charms book to the right, “forgot his Hogwarts robes.”

“For the last time, I did not forget them,” he sighed. “I just… misplaced them. I remember putting them in my trunk before we left the castle last year, and I never took them out. They’re in here. They’re just… hiding from me.”

“Then tell them come out of hiding!”

It was a joke – well, not quite a joke but for sure it wasn’t meant to be taken seriously. You simply do not talk to lost items in hope that they’d come running back to you like a long lost lover. However, if you follow the train of thought… Harry fumbled for his wand, thinking of that time in the Goblet of Fire when he called for his Firebolt.

“Harry, mate, what are you doing?” asked Ron.

“Just trying out something,” he said vaguely, preoccupied by recalling that spell. It was a one-worded spell, and he was sure it ended with an o.

“And that something is…?”

The proverbial light bulb suddenly switched on above Harry’s head. He gave a wordless cheer, sending a grin over his shoulder to his two confused best friends and then cried, “Accio school robes!” Said item of clothing came sailing from the depths of his trunk and hit Harry unceremoniously on the face. Not as smooth sailing as he predicted, but it worked out in the end.

Hermione was stuttering out a question, but she was interrupted by Ron saying, “It worked! Whatever it was, it got you your robes, Harry, so hurry up or we’ll really miss the Feast. I dunno about you, but I don’t feel like missing another Sorting.”

Quickly, Harry donned his robes and stuffed all his things back in his trunk. In his haste, he overlooked a small book. At first glance it might be mistaken as a school book, and that was what Ginny Weasley thought when she accidentally stepped on it and painfully grazed her knees. On a closer inspection, however, she found that it was far from a school book – a biography maybe, but certainly not a school book.

“Harry Potter and the Philosopher’s Stone,” she muttered, reading the title. “What in the world…?”

_Page Break_

After Hagrid had walked Harry, Ron and Hermione back to the castle (he even insisted on making sure they reached the Fat Lady’s portrait), the three decided to retire for the evening, despite the earliness of the hour. They’ve had a busy first day, and they were exhausted from the added electives they were taking this year.
“Harry, d’you suppose Hagrid’s going to get the sack because of this mess?” asked Ron as the boy in question came out of the bathroom. “I mean, it wasn’t his fault, but…” He reclined on his bed and sent Harry a worried look. “Malfoy’s a menace.”

“Everything’s going to be all right, Ron,” assured Harry, “I promise.”

Silence filled the common room in which Ron mulled over his friend’s words. Absently, he scratched the side of his nose. “Yeah,” he agreed finally. “The git’s dad might be on the board of governors, but Dumbledore won’t let anything get past him.”

Ron yawned and, as he bid Harry goodnight, closed the curtains of his four poster bed. Minutes later, snores could be heard echoing in the room. Neville and Dean were already asleep, while Seamus was still downstairs doing who knows what, leaving Harry the only one awake in the Third Year Boys’ dorm. His body was tired but his mind was reeling: he was sure Hagrid was going to be all right, but it wouldn’t do any harm just to check, right?

Harry scrambled off his bed and quietly unlatched the locks on his trunk. Compared to yesterday, it was not as full with the majority of his clothes stowed away in his assigned dresser – that, and also because more than half of his school books were stuffed inside his book bag.

C’mon, where are you? Harry shoved aside some of Dudley’s disfigured hand-me-downs in search for the pile of story books that happened to revolve around his life. Aha! He found them underneath his cauldron, which in turn was happily stuffed with one of Harry’s shoes.

“Hallows, Prince, Order...” Harry ghosted through the titles, checking that all were accounted for. “Goblet, Prisoner,” he fingered the book out the pile, “Chamber, Stone – hold on!” Harry shook his head and leaned closer to make sure. Right there, underneath his shoe-stuffed cauldron and located at the leftmost end, was where Harry Potter and the Philosopher’s Stone was supposed to be. But the problem was that it wasn’t.
Instantly, Harry was wide awake, traces of his weariness from just a minute before now gone. There was a brief moment in which his heart thudded loudly in his chest and his breathing had paused, but then that moment passed and Harry uttered some of the best curse words he knew (all under his breath, of course, since he didn’t want to disturb his dorm mates).

The small hardbound book that basically recorded his first year at Hogwarts was missing. Missing! But how could it be? It was safely locked away in his trunk –

“Except for that time in Hogsmeade,” Harry breathed. He had been so caught up in looking for his robes that he must have accidentally unearthed the book and, for some reason, he had forgotten to re-pack it. Basically, he had left a book on the ground at Hogsmeade Station where anyone could see and pick it up.
“Bloody hell,” Harry wheezed, feeling very lightheaded all of a sudden. Anyone could have picked it up! Some random person – or worse, a Slytherin – could be reading about my life right now.

After closing his trunk, Harry collapsed on his bed, his head spinning at the possible consequences of his thoughtless mistake could be. For one thing his secrets could be revealed, such as Hagrid’s former pet dragon Norbert, his father’s Invisibility Cloak and – Harry grimaced – his life before Hogwarts. The words cupboard under the stairs rang between his ears, almost loud enough to give him a headache.

“Are you okay there, Harry?”

Jumping at the new voice, Harry’s head snapped towards the door and saw a slightly concerned Seamus. Harry struggled to work his throat. “Oh, um, I’m fine. I was just… going to sleep.” With shaking hands, Harry slipped off his glasses, and as surreptitiously as he could, slipped Prisoner of Azkaban under his pillow. Seamus was still eyeing him weirdly, but Harry quickly forgot about him as he wondered what he should do about the missing book. It wasn’t until Seamus (who usually took a considerable length of time before falling asleep) was snoring that Harry finally drifted off into slumber.

In view of his recent worries, it was only fitting that Harry’s dreams revolved around the consequences if Harry Potter and the Philosopher’s Stone was never found. This dream plagued him nearly every night for the next week, and it wasn’t until he faced the Dementor in Defence Against the Dark Arts that finally banished it. However, a small part of Harry would give all the gold in his vault to have it back again, if only so he wouldn’t hear his mother’s dying voice while he slept.

“Are you all right, Harry?” Hermione asked one afternoon. They were in the library occupied with some homework, which struck to Hermione as peculiar seeing as they were the only Third Years among the sea of Fifth and Seventh Years. While it was more than standard for her to spend time in the library, for her best friend Harry Potter, it was not.

“All right?” Harry repeated, turning his head to face Hermione. “Of course I’m all right. Why wouldn’t I be?”

Hermione pursed her lips and busied her hands by cleaning the tip of her quill. “Well,” she said, “you have been acting kind of odd lately.”

“Odd?” asked Harry.

“Don’t take this the wrong way,” said Hermione slowly, “but you are spending your free time here in the library with me –“

“What’s wrong with that?” interjected Harry. Underneath the table and away from Hermione’s line of sight, he wiped his sweaty hands on his cloak. “You’re one of my best friends, Hermione. I like spending time with you.”

“That’s not the problem, Harry.” Hermione rolled her eyes at the bespectacled boy for interrupting her. “It’s the fact that you’ve done so five times in a row. I thought you didn’t like the library that much… why the change of heart?”

Harry thought of a reply, but none was forthcoming. How was he to explain to Hermione, the brightest witch of her age, that he was looking for the person who would be reading a storybook about his life? Not only would that lead to a conversation about the book’s sequels, but at the fact that someone somewhere knew what was going to happen in the future. With the amount of proof the books contained, Hermione was sure to believe in ‘foresight’, and Divination class was hard enough without her actually beginning to take it seriously.

“Um…” Harry blinked rapidly. “I really, really needed to work on my essays,” he said, but the lilt in his voice at the end implied that he was unsure of his answer. That was the cause of his undoing. What followed was a very stressful interrogation that made Harry wish he had told the truth in the first place.  Anything was worth not being subjected to the Spanish Inquisition.

Eventually, Harry lost control of his temper. “All right – all right, I get it!” he all but yelled, disturbing the occupants of the hushed library. Standing up, he quickly gathered his books and his pitiful looking essay, saying how he knew “when his company was not wanted.”

This time, it was Hermione’s turn to flounder like a fish out of water. “What – Harry, of course I didn’t mean it like that! I don’t mind studying with you.”

Harry sighed. “Then why are you so eager to get rid of me?”

“I wasn’t trying to get rid of you!” Harry snorted. “Don’t you laugh at me, Harry!” Hermione threatened. “I’ve known you for three years and never in those times have you been this eager to go to the library to study. Besides, all you’ve been doing the past hour was look around at what other people are doing – not once have you added to your Charms essay!”

For the second time, the ball was on Harry’s court. Damn, Hermione was too observant for her own good. She was right, of course. He had been neglected his essay, but only because the real reason he was in the library was not to work on it because if he was honest with himself, he could write a good enough draft in the Common Room with Ron. He figured that if someone had Harry Potter and the Philosopher’s Stone, they would certainly be reading it, and where else can someone read peacefully other than at a library?

It was simple logic, though it did not occur to young Harry that the person reading Harry Potter and the Philosopher’s Stone was hiding in the bathroom of the Second Year Girls, specifically in the bathtub with the company of some cushions (kindly conjured by her brother Percy), a glass and a pitcher of pumpkin juice, and a basket of homemade cookies from her mother. Interestingly enough, she was currently reading the ninth chapter. Combining the very interesting subject matter and her above average reading skill, this would be the third time reading the book in two months.

She was so hooked to the narrative retelling of Harry’s First Year that she would have advanced to the next instalment quite readily if it weren’t for a couple of hindrances: the fact that she didn’t have the book and she was too chicken to go up to the boy in question to ask for it, assuming that he has the copy and also, the second book would definitely be about Harry’s Second Year at Hogwarts. That was also her First Year, the very same year that she was possessed by the spectre of Lord Voldemort. Fortunately for her, Harry was there to save the day.

Idly, Ginny Weasley laughed as the First Year version of Hermione Granger admonished her brother and Harry.

“You don’t use your eyes, any of you, do you?” she snapped. “Didn’t you see what it was standing on?”

“The floor?” Harry suggested. “I wasn’t looking at its feet, I was too busy with its heads.”

Finishing the page, Ginny used one of her fingers to flick over unto the next page. It was good to forget the mundane worries of a boarding school girl – missing her parents, not getting along with her dorm mates, etc. – and simply fall into the world of stories, even if the story she was reading wasn’t much of a story as it was a biography told in narrative.

At the back of her mind, at the furthest corner where some thoughts such as eating broccoli and washing behind her ears were stored and not particularly listened to, Ginny wondered how on earth a story book about Harry Potter came about. It wasn’t like Harry to confide in someone, especially an author, about his personal experiences.

Wednesday, December 14, 2011

Poll Results

As of this moment, I have seven unfinished stories spanning the Harry Potter and Twilight universes, and let's just say it's been months since I last updated any of them. I've been so overwhelmed with the responsibility that I practically had a nervous breakdown, and so I figured I should just take one story and finish that one first before moving to another one. The problem was, I had no idea which story to finish.

And so, twelve days ago I asked the general populace of the fanfiction.net website (or at the very least those who bothered to read my work) which story they want me to concentrate on writing. The results are posted below.

According to the polls, I should be concentrating on The Power of Knowledge though I reserve the right to update the other stories whenever I feel like it. Still, with my *busy* schedule, those will be few and far in between. I'm dedicated to these stories, I just don't have the extra time to be able to commit to them! :(

Friday, December 2, 2011

Info: Two Worlds: Exposed

Universe: Twilight by Stephenie Meyer
Story Type: Normal
Title: Two Worlds: Exposed (sequel to Two Worlds)
Summary: When her vampire boyfriend leaves her, Bella's world came crashing down. Yasmin duties are upped and she's barely passing school. Through the tough times, who will she lean on: the rock star, or the boy next door?
Language: English
Rating: Teens
Genre(s): Romance
Main Character(s): Bella/Yasmin, Jacob, Charlie, the Cullen family

  1. Human Drinker
  2. This is Marie Speaking
  3. Hindrance
  4. Hypocrisy and Apologies
  5. Back to Hollywood
  6. Business and Flowers
  7. Out of Ice Cream
  8. That Leather Jacket
  9. Council?
  10. At First Beach
  11. Love Knows No Boundaries
  12. Death in Forks
  13. Redecorating Bella's Room
  14. E-Mails
  15. Jimmy Kimmel and Facebook
  16. The Talk
  17. Redecorator Revealed
  18. In the Cullen Mansion
  19. The Oprah Winfrey Show
  20. Meanwhile, In Alaska
  21. Meagan's Ride
  22. Cocoa, Godiva and Facebook
  23. A Christmas Party
  24. A New Year, A New Chance
  25. Cult
  26. Dinner with the Clearwaters
  27. Charlie: Part One
  28. Charlie: Part Two
  29. When Two Enemies Meet
  30. Answering Machine
  31. That Magazine Article
  32. Back to Forks
  33. I Miss You
  34. Curiosity
  35. Return to the Life of Fame
  36. Red Harley
  37. The Fundraising Party, Part I
  38. The Fundraising Party, Part II
  39. Confrontation
  40. Returning Home
  41. In Chicago
  42. A Talk With Emily
  43. Recovering From Victoria