Characters Owned by J.K. Rowling and used without permission or intent to make a profit.
Rating: PG for threat of violence.
Author's Notes: The first five chapters of this story are set during
the Christmas break of the third book -- Prisoner of Azkaban. It
contains no spoilers, and can still be considered 'canonical' as it
doesn't go against anything that happened in the series. It is, however
AU because of the epilogue.
Dedicated to: Allie Kiwi (because she's my Beta), Sherry (because she asked me to be a Beta), and Ozma (just because).
Gryffindor was ahead by three hundred and twenty points and the
Golden Snitch was just ahead of him. In a few more seconds, Harry would
have the game, the Quidditch Cup, and the House Cup in the bag for
Gryffindor. All he had to do was reach out and…
*SNAP!* a log cracked in the fireplace, sending a shower of sparks up the chimney, waking Harry up.
"Say, that's given me an idea, why don't we play exploding snap?" The
voice belonged to one of the Weasley twins, probably George. (It was
easier to tell George from his twin Fred by voice than by sight, so
Harry didn't bother opening his eyes.)
He sighed without
opening his eyes. The Quidditch match was just a dream. No wonder it
had been going so well. Harry took a few moments before opening his
eyes to orient himself. He could feel a heavy book in his lap and the
heat of a nearby fire. He must have fallen asleep reading in front of
the fire in the Gryffindor common room.
Usually it would have
been too noisy for him to fall asleep. However, it was the Christmas
holidays, and most of the students had gone home to be with their
families. Plus the fact that there was a homicidal dark wizard named
Sirius Black lurking around. Even worse than Voldemort's right-hand
wizard were the Dementors that were supposed to be hunting Black down.
Harry, of course, had stayed at Hogwarts. Where else would he go? To
the aunt and uncle that hated him? His best friends, Hermione Granger
and Ron Weasley had stayed, too. Ron said that he couldn't bear Percy's
company, Hermione said she needed to use the library. Harry suspected
that they stayed to keep him company, and he wished he could express
his gratitude without embarrassing them.
to wake all the way up, Harry left his eyes closed as he listened to
the twins try to recruit some more players.
"Will you hush? You'll wake him!" hissed a female voice. That was Hermione.
"Well, I want to do something more fun than watch you brush your flea bitten cat!" George grumbled.
"Crookshanks does not have fleas!" snapped Hermione.
"Whatever," grumped George.
"Why does he have to sleep here? He's got a perfectly good bed upstairs!" that was from the other twin, Fred.
"He didn't plan to take a nap here, I'm sure," Hermione said reasonably.
"Besides, a game of exploding snap would wake him up even if he were upstairs," a new voice added.
This last was from Harry's other best friend Ron, the younger brother of the twins.
"Well, maybe we could do something to make sure our game doesn't wake
him?" said Fred. Harry didn't like the sound of that. The Weasley twins
were notorious practical jokers, there was no telling what Fred would
do to insure that Harry wasn't awakened by the noisy game. Apparently,
Hermione and Ron came to the same conclusion.
"Oh, no you
don't!" snarled Ron. There was a faint scuffling noise, then a laugh
from one of the twins. (It wasn't as easy to tell their laughs apart.)
Harry opened his eyes. The room was blurred, but he could make out the
general picture. Ron and Hermione had squared off against the twins
like a pair of gunslingers from an American Western. Ron and Hermione's
wands were out and ready. The twins held only a cardboard box apiece.
To the uninitiated, it would have looked like overkill. However,
considering the twin's reputations, Harry didn't blame his friends for
One of the twins met Harry's eyes and
grinned. "Oh, did these two," he pointed at Ron and Hermione, "little
noise makers wake you up? So sorry, Harry!" George said mischievously.
"Yeah, I bet you are," Harry muttered. He sat up straight, set his book
down on the table next to a bowl of Bertie Bott's Every Flavor beans
and rubbed at his eyes with the back of his hand, trying to get rid of
the blurriness. Then he woke up the rest of the way and realized that
his glasses had been removed.
Ron and Hermione turned around.
"Sorry, Harry," Hermione said with more sincerity than George had
mustered. She pushed back at her bushy brown hair and frowned. "Where
are your glasses?" she asked. She tapped her wand against her hand and
studied the twins as if deciding which hex to throw.
wondering the same thing," Harry said, feeling the top of the table
next to his chair in case they were blending into the woodwork… or had
been made invisible.
"Oh, we took your glasses off so they wouldn't fall off your nose and get smashed," Fred said, trying to suppress a smirk.
"Oh, great, what did you do to them?" muttered Ron. "Mum will kill you if you damaged them…"
"Oh, keep your hair on!" George said, with a huge attempt at innocence.
"They're right here!" He opened his cardboard box and held it out to
Harry. Nestled in a wad of green and red tissue paper were Harry's
At least, they looked like Harry's glasses.
Harry let out a faint sigh at the irony that, without his glasses, he
couldn't tell if these were his glasses. He gave the twins a suspicious
look. "So, what happens when I put them on?" he asked. "I get huge
black rings around my eyes?" He lifted the glasses from the box and
eyed them beadily. He held them in front of his face and looked through
the lens. The glasses, and the view through the glasses, looked normal
at this distance.
The twins put their hands over their hearts and adopted what Harry suspected were supposed to be horrified expressions.
"Harry!" George said huffily. "We're hurt!"
"Wounded to the core," Fred added and he put the back of his free hand to his forehead.
"Cut to the quick that you would think…" George put in, duplicating Fred's move.
"…That we can't come up with something more original that that old dodge!" Fred finished.
The twins exchanged looks and nods.
This was not reassuring and Harry said so.
The twins laughed. "It's not supposed to be reassuring!" hooted Fred.
"But, hey, you're the great Harry Potter! The boy that sent
You-Know-Who packing! Surely the Great and Powerful Harry Potter isn't
afraid of his own glasses!"
Harry's face went as red as the Weasleys' hair. "Right now you're a bigger threat to me than Voldemort is," he muttered.
All three of the Weasleys gasped in unfeigned apprehension.
"Don't say that!" Ron complained.
"Father Christmas will put lumps of coals in your stocking if you say that name!" Fred warned.
"Don't be silly, it's just
a name," Hermione chided. She brushed her bushy brown hair out of her
eyes. "No harm ever came from saying somebody's name!" (Harry noticed
that she didn't actually say 'Voldemort,' however.)
Ron shook his head. "You Muggle-borns just don't understand the power of names," he said. "So humour us, okay?"
"Of course," Harry squinted at his glasses again. There was no alternative that he could see.
Hermione looked worriedly at Harry, obviously more concerned about him trying on his glasses than his saying that name.
Harry gave her a lopsided smile. "Be ready for anything. I hope the
remedy for whatever it is they're planning is something you've read
about." He looked at the twins. "If anything happens, Father Christmas
will put lumps of coal in your stockings." Then he put his glasses on.
"Pity, I was so hoping for some dungbombs," George murmured.
Harry took a deep breath as the world came back into focus and waited
for the payoff. He took another breath, still waiting. Cautiously, he
moved his head and scanned the room, still waiting.
Ron and Hermione were holding their breaths.
Harry shook his head, blinked and waved a hand in front of his face,
still waiting. "Well, whatever was supposed to happen, didn't." he
informed the twins.
George and Fred fell into overstuffed chairs and laughed.
Alarmed, Harry yanked off his glasses and looked at them. "What?" he
demanded. He looked at Ron and Hermione. "What's happening?"
Hermione shook their head. "Nothing," she reported. "There are no
circles around your eyes. Nothing's mutating, sprouting, growing,
shrinking or changing shape…" She scowled at the twins who just laughed
Harry let out a snort and relaxed. "So, that's the
trick?" he asked. "That I'll think there's a trick when there isn't
one?" He brushed a wisp of his unruly black hair out of his face. The
gesture exposed his lightning shaped scar and the firelight made it
stand out even more than usual.
"Maybe," George said.
Harry took a deep breath. "Vol…"
"Yes! Yes!" Fred put up his hands in a token of surrender. "We just
wanted to see how long it would take you to get the nerve to put them
George grinned and shrugged. "Would've been funnier if you'd held off putting them on longer, but one can't have everything."
Fred nodded and pushed the bowl of Bernie's Every Flavor Beans towards
Harry. "Here, have a bean. If you're lucky, you'll get cherry or mint."
In honor of Christmas, the bowl was filled with various shades of green and red beans.
There was really no telling what the flavor any given bean was, not
even by the color. Red and green beans could be anything from cherry
and mint to roast beef and Brussel sprouts. Even strange flavors like
dragon scales and ear wax had been known to turn up.
polished his glasses on his handkerchief, then put them back on and
looked around warily. When nothing continued to not happen, he relaxed
a bit, accepted a red bean from Fred and bit into it. His expression
made it obvious that the bean was NOT cherry flavoured.
"Whoa, what'd you get?" George demanded eagerly.
"What did you do to the beans?" Ron demanded.
"Nothing!" protested Fred. He frowned. "We're slipping," he told George
glumly. "We should have made a production out of the spectacles, then
slipped something into the beans."
Harry spat the bean into his handkerchief. "Blood," he said.
"Ewww…" Hermione and Ron chorused.
"Cool!" the twins said.
Distracted from the missed prank opportunity, they dove into the bowl
trying to find another blood bean. They exclaimed in disgust as they
found, one after the other: radish, rhubarb, rubber and cedar.
"You try," George urged Hermione.
Hermione eyed the beans suspiciously. Between the twins' pranks and the
beans flavors, she wasn't sure that she was at all hungry.
"We didn't turn into pumpkins," Fred pointed out. "Haven't we tasted
enough beans to convince you that we didn't sabotage them?"
Tentatively, Hermione picked a bean that was the same color as the
Weasleys' hair. "Cinnamon," she said with a woof of air that seemed to
indicate that she'd been holding her breath.
"Now you," Fred urged his youngest brother.
Ron reached for a green bean, only to get hooted at. Sighing, he picked
up a bean. "Smoked salmon," he said, rolling it around on his tongue.
George tried another and made a face. "Paprika," he complained.
Fred tried one. "Wow! Cayenne!" and he ran to wash his mouth out. When
he got back, he found George urging another set of red beans on the
Ron, Hermione and Harry exchanged
resigned look and each took a bean with all the enthusiasm they'd have
been shown to taking castor oil. This time, Ron got candied apple and
Hermione got candied rose petals. "Too bad I can't be sure of those
every time," she said. "These are nice."
"Harry?" George prodded.
Harry picked a bean that he thought was a brighter shade of red than
the last one, took a bite. He quickly spat it into his handkerchief.
"Blood, again?" George said.
"No fair!" Fred complained.
They examined the color of the beans in Harry's napkin and tried to match the color.
"Care for a chocolate frog?" Harry asked. He fetched some boxes and
held them out to his friends. The twins shook their heads, determined
to find a blood flavoured bean.
"Thank you," Hermione said,
accepting a frog. "The way things are going, I wouldn't be surprised if
some of those green beans tasted like real frogs."
winced as the bean flavors went from poinsettias to bricks to rouge to
even more disgusting things. She looked at the collector's card that
came with the Chocolate Frog. "Anybody want the Sphinx?" she asked.
The feline woman looked up at Hermione and licked her lips.
Hermione held out the card hastily.
"WOW! Jalapeno pepper!" George's yelp was somewhat muffled and he
bumped into Harry as he dashed for the bathroom. He came back in a few
minutes land picked another bean. "I will not be stopped by a little
spice!" he declared.
Ron shook his head, continuing the conversation about the Sphinx. "I've already got a dozen of her."
"I have one, too," Harry said, but he accepted the card anyway. The
sphinx smiled up at him. Harry smiled at her and gently put her in his
pocket. He was almost positive that the famous witch couldn't
get out of the card to push him off a cliff or anything, but there was
no need to annoy her.
Ron looked at his own card. "Hey, I got Father Christmas." Then he handed it to Harry.
"Looks like Dumbledore," Harry said. "Only a bit more, erm, tidy."
The bearded wizard in the card winked
"You mean, Father Christmas is real?" Hermione blurted.
Ron blinked at her. "Of course. I mean, not the bit about him going
around giving presents to children, of course, that's just silly. But
St. Nicholas does help people in dire straits… especially on or near
Harry thought of the Christmases he spent before
he'd found out that he was a wizard, and sighed. Apparently his
definition of 'dire straits' was considerably different than Father
"Maybe we should head over to the library," Hermione said after she finished her chocolate frog.
"Why the library?" Ron asked. "That's so…"
"Euk! Iodine!" Fred exclaimed.
"Raspberry!" George said as disgusted as if it had been iodine.
"You want another bean?" Hermione asked.
Ron took another look at his brothers and shook his head.
"You know, I should return my book," Harry said suddenly. "It really
wasn't very interesting. How anybody could make Quidditch into a dull
read is beyond me, though." He picked up the book from the table and
absentmindedly stuffed his handkerchief into his pocket.
three slipped out of the Gryffindor tower before the twins could force
another round of beans on them. They didn't even stop long enough to
pick up their wands. An oversight they would soon regret.
"Why so many disgusting flavours in one batch?" Harry asked.
"I think the beans don't like being color-coordinated," Ron said
wisely. "They want variety." He loved the way his Muggle raised friends
accepted his superior knowledge of the wizarding world. Hermione, whose
parents were completely non-magical dentists, was big on book learning,
but magic candy was something she hadn't read up on… yet.
Harry's parents had been a famous witch and wizard. However, they had
been killed when Harry was only one and so Harry had been raised by his
Aunt Petunia and Uncle Vernon, who weren't just non-magical, they were
It made a nice change for Ron to be
the centre of attention. As the youngest of six boys, he'd always been
over shadowed by his brothers. And, in some ways, being Harry Potter's
best friend was even worse. Not that Harry tried to hog the spotlight.
It's just that circumstances always seemed to shove the dark haired boy
into the limelight.
Sometimes Ron wished that he were the
one in the limelight. Then something would happen, like an insane
murderer escaping from prison to come looking for Harry, and Ron would
decide there are advantages to being the sidekick. Sidekicks don't get
blood sucking monsters coming after them. Heck, sidekicks don't even
get blood-flavoured Bertie Bott's beans!
Ron expounded on the
flavours of Bertie Beans and the habits of Father Christmas as they
walked into the library and looked around.
flashed in Harry's eyes and he turned his head away from the window.
Then he frowned. The flash of light couldn't have come from the window;
there was no sunlight today. He walked over to the desk and handed his
book back to the librarian, Madam Pince.
Ron sighed. "Spending the day in the library isn't my idea of fun." He looked around gloomily.
Hermione snorted. "It would do you some good to spend more time reading and less time getting into trouble."
"You sound like Percy," Ron complained.
"So, then, what do you want to do?" Hermione asked. "Go back to the
common room and play guinea pig for your brothers' latest round of
Ron sighed and shook his head. Then he
looked out the window at the gloomy weather outside. "I'd rather go
outside and freeze. At least I know what to expect from sleet. Harry?
"We could go see Hagrid," Harry said.
Hermione sighed, then decided that visiting Hagrid was actually a
pretty good idea. She liked Hogwarts' giant sized gamekeeper. "Very
well, then, let's pick something interesting to read, then go down to
"Sounds good to me," said Ron. "So, grab your books and let's get going."
Harry moved towards the shelves that held the Quidditch books. The new book that he wanted to read, Hogwarts' Greatest Quidditch Players,
had been checked out since September and he wanted to see if it was
back in yet. He played Seeker for his house team and he wanted to know
about others who had played that position. Mostly he wanted to know if
his father was mentioned. Harry knew his father had been good. Question
was, had he been good enough to get into this book?
There was a nasty flash of light in his eyes again. "Ow." He took off his glasses and rubbed his eyes.
"Harry? Are you all right?" Hermione asked worried.
"Yeah," Harry said. "I think so."
Hermione eyed him unconvinced. "You think so? If you don't know so, maybe you'd better go see Madam Pomfrey."
"It's nothing," he said. "Just some light reflecting in my eyes."
"From where?" Ron wondered.
Harry put his glasses back on. "From that door," he said, gesturing.
Hermione and Ron looked in the indicated direction. Then they exchanged puzzled looks.
"What?" Harry demanded.
"There's no door there," Hermione explained. "There's nothing there but bookshelves."
"What?" Harry said. "But…" he squinted. "It's right…" he took his
glasses off. There was nothing there but bookshelves. "I don't get it,"
he muttered, putting his glasses back on. "But I can see a door," he
complained. He started toward the door, wondering if he was seeing
something magical or if he was just going insane. Of course, neither
option ruled out the other, he mused to himself.
Hermione looked worriedly at Ron. Strange things happened around Harry Potter, even by wizarding standards.
Ron suddenly slapped his forehead and made a disgusted sound. "George
and Fred," he snarled in disgust. "They did mess with your glasses."
Harry stopped and sighed. "That would make sense," he said. "I wonder
why I'm seeing a door, though?" He reached out to where the door handle
should have been… and fell through the bookcase.