Harry Potter and the Trouble With Neurotypicals 7

Harry Potter, the Boy Who Lived, is a young and abused Black boy with Asperger's syndrome, and is hated by his guardians, the Dursleys. A little over a week before his birthday, he discovers that he is also a wizard, and the Dursleys knew all along. Not only is he a wizard, but he's also famous in the wizarding world! An AU fanfic.

(Transgender character introduced in chapter 7)

"Harry Potter and the Trouble With Neurotypicals"

By = Fayanora

Note: A bit of harmless fanfic fun for no money, written by a fan who only WISHES she owned the Harry Potter rights.

Chapter 7: Quidditch and Dragons

~O~

Dumbledore had convinced Harry to not go looking for the Mirror of Erised again, but he had a hard time exorcising the desire to see it again from his mind. As Luna suggested, he did go to Hagrid and tell the large man about not having any pictures of his parents; Hagrid promised to look into it as soon as possible. In the mean time, Luna sent him an owl with a couple wizarding photos of his parents that her father had managed to track down for him. Having these comforted him, and helped him get over the mirror faster. Hermione, of course, disapproved of him going out and risking getting in trouble for no good reason, but eased up on him when he promised her he'd gotten meaningless night-time wandering out of his system.

The second game of Quidditch involving Griffindor was coming up. Harry hadn't watched the first match, not being interested and suspecting it might not be good for his head to do so, but so many people were still talking about Griffindor's narrow victory against Slytherin (beating them by only 10 points) that he decided to watch the Griffindor and Hufflepuff match just to see what all the fuss was about. Just before leaving for the match, Harry stuffed his invisibility cloak inside his robes for reasons even he didn't know, and was still trying to puzzle out as he got to the Quidditch stadium with Ron and Hermione. Hermione wasn't terribly interested in Quidditch either, but when Harry had expressed the desire to see what it was like, she had decided to go with them.

As Harry had suspected, the experience was a disaster for him. The noise of all the screaming and booing, and the press of the flesh of all those people stuffed into such a small area, conspired to give him a headache so bad that taking twice the usual dose of headache potion was barely helping. He'd been getting headaches so frequently that he'd finally mastered a simple yet strong headache remedy potion so he could brew his own, and wouldn't have to bother Ms. Pompfrey all the time.

What was worse than the headaches, though, was the panic attack at the danger of it all. His classmates, some of whom were friends, were up there, on both sides (he had been seeking friends in other houses lately), and seeing them all up in the air, with bludgers trying to unseat them, with them swooping around one another and risking life and limb for a stupid pointless sport was too much for him. Every time there was a near miss, his heart felt like he was going to have a coronary, and his stomach twisted into knots. His breathing got rapid and shallow. When he almost fainted and puked over the edge onto the pitch, Hermione got so concerned that she insisted he leave. She also insisted on escorting him off the bleachers.

Once he got off the bleachers, though, he insisted he could make it to the Hospital Wing just fine on his own, and she relented, returning to watch the rest of the game. So he proceeded to wobble in the general direction of the school.

He did not, however, go to the Hospital Wing. He'd experienced panic attacks before, so he had a small bottle of Calming Draught with him, that he downed. He then wobbled over to Hagrid's hut, thinking that spending time with his large friend and his friend's large and harmless dog Fang would be more soothing to him than a hospital bed with a distressed Matron Pompfrey hovering over him.

Knocking on the door, he did not hear Fang's booming bark. Hagrid did not answer the door. Harry sat down on Hagrid's stoop and leaned against the door, feeling the Calming Draught returning him to normal, then to even calmer than normal.

In fact, he was getting sleepy. The adrenaline wearing off artificially must have been the reason, but whatever the reason, Harry's drowsy brain wanted to nap but did not want to get up, and could not abide the sunlight in his eyes, so he pulled out his invisibility cloak and put it over himself, which made no sense, but he wasn't feeling particularly sensible. Despite this having little effect on the sunlight in his eyes, he nodded off anyway, his sleepy brain not having considered the possibility of Hagrid accidentally stepping on him.

Luckily, that didn't happen. What happened instead was a particularly loud bout of cheering from the stadium waking him up just enough and just long enough to register that everyone was flowing out of the stadium and back to the school. He watched this impassively, having no thoughts in his head at all about it, or about anything at all, really.

It was only when he spotted Snape and Quirrell moving toward the Forbidden Forest that he woke up completely, the gears in his brain whirring curiously. This was suspicious, the two men he suspected of trying to steal the Philosopher's Stone both heading off towards the secrecy of the Forbidden Forest together. He hurriedly got up, was momentarily surprised he was covered in the invisibility cloak, then shrugged and followed them, as quietly as he could manage.

Luckily, they did not go far. Even so, he got held up by enough underbrush that he only caught up to them in time to hear part of the conversation. From what he heard of it, Snape was asking Quirrell if he'd found out how to get past Fluffy yet, something about Quirrell's “bit of hocus pocus,” then said "You don't want me as your enemy, Quirrell. Let me know when you decide where your loyalties lie." It wasn't much, and wasn't conclusive enough to rule either of them out as suspects, though it did make Snape a little more likely. Harry didn't buy Quirrell's stuttering, given his previous suspicions, but if it was a performance, it was convincing enough to fill Harry with more doubts than he'd previously had. Either Quirrell was innocent, or they were working together. And if they were working together, it sort of looked to Harry like it wasn't necessarily by Quirrell's choice.

Once they stopped talking and left, Harry waited for them to get ahead; it was unlikely they'd say more, and he didn't want to risk them hearing him. He had been lucky so far, but luck could only take one so far.

When he got back to the common room, Ron looked in surprise at him. "Ms. Pompfrey let you out of the hospital wing already? You looked like you were about to die out there, mate!"

"I didn't go to the hospital wing, I took a Calming Draught and leaned against Hagrid's door. But forget that for now," he said, and launched into a furtive explanation of what he'd seen and heard, and how he'd managed it.

"Well, Harry," said Hermione, "that makes it sound like Quirrell is being bullied into working for Snape."

"Yeah," agreed Ron. "Snape could have been working on Quirrell from the start. Could've let the troll in as a diversion, had Quirrell run in as part of it, while Snape went looking for the troll."

"Yeah, and maybe Quirrell did sneak out, like I suspected. Ya know," he waved his hand vaguely, "to help Snape get past Fluffy. And ya know, this makes a lot of sense; I can't see someone like Quirrell doing this on his own, but I can totally see someone as cowardly and weak-willed as he is being bullied into helping Snape."

Hermione, who had been skeptical before, began to look thoughtful, her brown eyes pensive in a way that suggested she was beginning to believe this theory, despite herself.

"Oh wait," said Harry, remembering something. "There was another part of the conversation, Snape said something like 'We'll talk again, when you've had time to decide where your loyalties lie.'"

"Well that sounds like Quirrell's having second thoughts about helping Snape. Which kinda supports the whole 'he's being bullied into helping' theory. Sounds like he's grown enough of a spine to resist Snape a little."

Hermione finally spoke again. "Does that mean the stone is only safe as long as Professor Quirrell stands up to Snape?"

"It'll be gone by Tuesday," Ron said.

*

Quirrell must have been braver than they thought, however; either that, or they'd been wrong about him standing up to Snape, and was merely having a hard time figuring out how to get past Fluffy. Either way, there was no sign that anyone had gotten past Fluffy, and Quirrell didn't look any different than he usually did. Snape also kept stomping around the castle, looking angry about something. They thought of these as good signs.

One day, Ron walked into the library looking for Harry, and saw his friend talking with an older Slytherin girl at one of the tables. Either a second or third year, the girl was of apparent Indian descent, with long black hair, and she was tall for her age, about 5' 8''. Ron went somewhere he could watch Harry and the girl talking, but couldn't make out what they were saying. The conversation looked friendly, however, which Ron couldn't stand. First Malfoy, now this other Slytherin? Granted, Malfoy and Harry were merely civil, and not exactly friends, but this looked different; Harry was smiling now and then, odd in itself as Harry's default expression always made him look a little annoyed by something.

Finally, Ron couldn't take it anymore, and stepped into view.

"Oh hey Ron, come over here and let me introduce you to Antigone Dreyfuss."

The girl held out her hand for Ron. Ron just stared at it, then looked back at Harry. "She's a Slytherin, Harry."

"So?" said Harry. "Slytherin may be popular with Voldemort supporters and their kids, but that doesn't mean everyone in that House is like that."

Antigone frowned at Ron, and put her hand down. She folded her arms instead. "This must be Ron," she guessed.

Harry sighed. "Yeah, this is Ron Weasley. Ron, this is--"

"I heard her name. So, Antigone, is it? How did you two meet?"

"Here in the library," Antigone answered, surprisingly calmly, despite her gray eyes flashing dangerously. Ron glanced at Harry, who nodded.

"She saw me reading some third-year material, and since she's in the third year and hasn't gotten to that material yet, she was asking me about it."

"Yeah," she agreed, a little more friendly in tone now, "if there's someone smart enough to understand stuff two grades ahead of his own, you can bet that a smart Slytherin is going to want to pick his brain, get a little help ahead of time."

"Makes sense to me. We've met in here several times since November. Sometimes I help her, sometimes she helps me."

Ron bent over and whispered into Harry's ear. "But she's a Slytherin, Harry."

Answering Ron in normal volume, Harry said, "I don't like to judge people based on what others say about them. I had no friends growing up because of the things Dudley said about me."

Ron's ears went red, and he shut up and held his hand out tentatively for Antigone. She took it, and they shook hands.

"Glad to make your acquaintance," Antigone said politely yet without enthusiasm.

"Likewise," Ron responded in kind.

"Anyway," said Antigone, "this talk was fun, Harry, but I have to be going now. I wish I could stay, Ron, and help you see that some Slytherins are good people, but I promised Angela I'd help her on her Charms homework. See you, Harry!"

"See you, Antigone!"

When the Slytherin girl left, Ron sat down. They both noticed Hermione, who had apparently seen Antigone leave this table.

"Was that girl bothering you, Harry?" Hermione asked him.

Harry sighed. "You too? She's a friend, Hermione. I've been making friends in other houses. A few Hufflepuffs, like Justin Finch-Fletchley; a few Ravenclaws, and a couple of Slytherins so far."

"A COUPLE?" Ron said hotly. Ms. Pince glared at him, and he quieted down, whispering at Harry. "A couple of Slytherins? You have more than one Slytherin friend? Is the other one Malfoy?"

"Not yet. He's a tough nut to crack; all I've managed so far is some polite conversation with him. I think he wants to be friends with me, but we have such different beliefs that it's hard for him. But it's like I told Ron earlier, I don't like to take other people's word for what someone is like, having been on the short end of that stick myself most of my childhood."

"Well that's great, Harry," said Hermione. "I completely understand. I didn't have any friends in school, either. I've always been weird to most of them, and I struggled with simple social stuff. It was a lot easier connecting with you, Harry; you must be an aspie too."

"Harry's not a snake, he's a Griff--"

"Not an asp, Ron, an aspie. It's short for Asperger's Syndrome."

Ron stared blankly at her. "What's that mean?"

"Oh goodness, I'm not terribly surprised you don't know. It was Muggle scientists who figured it out, after all."

"Figured what out?"

"Asperger's Syndrome is a..." she pondered her words carefully before continuing, "Well, do you remember I told you animals and plants are made of cells?"

"Yeah. What about it?"

"Well there are different kinds of cells. Liver cells, skin cells, bladder cells, muscle cells, and brain cells."

"Okay."

"The cells in the brain are a bit like a Muggle computer. Do you--"

"Those boxes that Muggles keep facts in? Some kind of thinking machine?"

"Well, yes. How did you know that?"

"I've been doing some Muggle Studies reading in my spare time. Anyway, go on."

"Okay, well, computers can only think about things they're programmed to think about. But the human brain is like a computer that can learn, and program itself by that learning."

"Okay..."

"And in computers, a major bit of programming is the operating system. It controls how the computer's thoughts interact with humans, how they interact with one another, and is kind of the, well, foundation of the whole computer; the other programs can't function without the right operating system."

"So a program is...?"

"A program is a set of instructions that do a certain task. Computers can do lots of different tasks, after all; they can do maths, or show pictures, or show text, and some programs can display text but can't let you edit the text, and other programs let you write or edit text."

"Wow, that's pretty cool. So... so if our brains are like these computers..." he struggled to think, and it looked difficult. "...then things like, like walking, or talking, or eating, are programs in our brains?"

Hermione nodded. "Exactly."

"Wait, so, given what you said already... are you trying to say you and Harry have different... otterating systems, from other people?"

"Operating systems, but yes. Most people manage to have the same operating system as everyone else, but some people are born different, and their brains program themselves differently, with a slightly different operating system. It's still mostly the same, usually, or we wouldn't be able to understand each other at all, but still different."

"So 'azbee'---"

"'Aspie,' Ron."

Ron giggled. "That sounds like 'ass pee.'"

"Yes, well," Harry took over from Hermione, "'aspie' is short for 'a person with Asperger's Syndrome.'"

Ron stopped giggling, and asked, "Does that explain your headaches? Or is that something else?"

"Actually, you're right Ron. I get overwhelmed by my environment easier than other people, because my brain makes everything more... well, intense. Like, the brain filters out most of what its senses pick up, to avoid being overloaded. But my brain doesn't filter out as much as most brains do. And my emotions are set higher than other people's, too. Which is why I got ill earlier at the Quidditch pitch. I was feeling fear and worry about the friends of mine up in the air in this dangerous game, and the feelings were so overwhelming that I felt like I was dying."

"Of course, panic attacks like that are more of a sign of PTSD than Asperger's," Hemione said. “But intensified emotions would sure make that worse.”

"What's PTSD?"

"Post-Traumatic Stress Disorder," explained Hermione. "People who live through traumatic events, especially as kids, tend to get emotionally damaged by the events; their brains self-programmed under stressful circumstances, and that can make a mess of how people respond to ordinary events."

"Ever seen me take a Calming Draught in Snape's classes before?" asked Harry.

"Yeah, a few times. Why?"

"Because he's an abuser, and I was abused by the Dursleys. A lot of what he does triggers panic attacks and other problems with me, and the Calming Draughts help with those."

"What about the headaches?"

"Well that's more to do with my being an aspie. My brain gets overwhelmed by stimuli like noises and visual stuff, which causes stress, which results in stress headaches. And going somewhere quiet, preferably also dark, helps too. Remove the offending stimulus, and the stress levels begin to go down."

Ron nodded. "I think I get it. And honestly, I'm beginning to get what you mean, my own head feels like it's overflowing right now."

They sat in silence, then, for several minutes while Ron put his head down, trying to sort through everything. He was still working through it when Hermione said, "Hagrid? What are you doing in the library?"

Ron's head shot up to look. Sure enough, Harry and Hermione were talking with Hagrid, who was hemming and hawing about what he was up to, and generally acting very suspicious. Since he was there, Harry and Hermione goaded him with what they knew about the mystery, revealing to him that they knew about the Philosopher's stone. He told them to shut up about it in the library, and to come see him later in his hut, before leaving.

When he left, Hermione got up. "I wonder what he was looking at."

A few minutes later, she came back. "Dragons," she whispered to them. "He was looking up stuff on dragons."

"Hagrid's always wanted a dragon," Harry said. "He told me once, he's always wanted one, ever since he was a kid."

Ron groaned. "Well he can't. Not legally, anyway. They're illegal to keep as pets. They can't be tamed, and they're too hard to hide, outside of dragon preserves. And even then..." he shrugged. "You should see the burns Charlie gets from the wild ones he works with in Romania."

Harry sighed very deeply, a long-suffering sigh. "Hagrid must have gotten his hands on a dragon, then. And he lives in a wooden house..."

"We'd better go to talk to him, then."

When they got to Hagrid's hut an hour later, the windows were covered in drapes, looking suspicious. The inside of the hut was boiling hot, too. They spoke with Hagrid about the stone, a subject he was very reluctant to say anything about despite the fact they already knew about it. They did, however, manage to get a little out of him: there were things guarding the stone apart from Fluffy. He didn't know what they were, which was probably a smart move on Dumbledore's part, but several of the teachers had contributed something to it; Dumbledore, McGonagall, Flitwick, Sprout, Snape, and Quirrell had all contributed. They gave one another significant looks, since two different suspects were playing a role in protecting the stone. What's more, Snape had been working at the school for years, and doubtless had some idea what the other teachers might provide. In fact, things they'd overheard sounded like all Snape and Quirrell needed to get the stone was how to get past Fluffy.

"I still don't get why they didn't put up a wall to keep students out of there," Harry said. "We stumbled onto Fluffy, which is how we know about him?"

"WHA?" Hagrid nearly spilled his tea. "Yeh didn' get hurt, did yeh?"

"No. Admittedly, I had to get past a locked door, but that's not terribly secure, given that alohamora worked on it."

"Well yeh didn' go back, did yeh?"

"Of course not. Once was more than enough, seeing a beast like that."

"Hermione and I didn't see it," Ron said. "Glad I didn't. Might still be having nightmares if I had."

"Hagrid," Hermione said, fanning herself with a spell, "why is it so hot in here?"

It turned out, Hagrid was keeping a great black dragon egg in the heart of the fire. Since dragons blew fire on their eggs, he had to keep it hot in order to get it to hatch. Since dragon eggs were illegal, naturally they were curious about how Hagrid got one. He explained that a stranger in The Hog's Head had given it to him, after losing a game of cards to Hagrid. Harry thought that was highly suspicious, but didn't have the energy to really think about it, the heat was so stifling.

So now, on top of everything else, they had to worry about Hagrid getting in trouble for keeping a dragon. Harry also found himself annoyed by how slowly plans for his Muggle Academia Club and the possibility of a Wizard Studies Club. Frustrated by his lack of action on these, he asked Hermione about them one day. She had a few ideas for the MAC, and she'd sounded a few people out, but schoolwork and being a mere First Year had slowed her down. She told Harry he might have more luck.

"What about Wizard Studies?"

"Oh darn, I forgot about that entirely."

"Well let's talk to McGonagall later."

That afternoon, after classes but before dinner, they went to McGonagall's classroom and caught her before she left. She let them in, and they told her about their idea. She hadn't realized the need for it, but could see it was a great idea.

"Well Potter, Granger, I'll talk to Dumbledore about it. Knowing him, he'll likely support the idea. Frankly, I'm not sure why he didn't think of it himself. Anyway, it's almost dinner time, so we should get going."

"Thanks, Professor."

Of course, they could just start MAC with three students, but after he was done eating, he got Antigone's attention with a secret hand signal between them that meant 'Let's meet in the library in an hour.' She gave the affirmative symbol, so Harry went on to his other Slytherin friend, Danzia McCullough, with the same signal. After that was done, he went first to the Ravenclaw table to meet with his friends there, then to Hufflepuff, then back to his friends at his own House's table, giving them a similar message.

Harry had sent Antigone, Danzia, and Angela to the library, but everyone else to an unused classroom, mainly because he didn't have a hand signal for the unused classroom yet, and he didn't want to burn any bridges by going over to the Slytherin table in front of all these witnesses. Maybe later, but not yet.

He went into the library a little nervously. This would actually be the first time he'd met Angela. Screwing up his courage, he went in, and saw them at once. Antigone was sitting in her usual spot, her brown Indian skin looking great in the library's lighting, sitting next to a raven-haired girl of Asian descent that he assumed (correctly, as it turned out) was Angela.

Of course, he already knew the short, deceptively adorable strawberry-blond second-year Danzia, her blue eyes twinkling with potential mischief. It hadn't taken him long to classify her as being Slytherin House's answer to the Weasley twins, and smart enough to give most Ravenclaws a run for their money.

"Angela," Antigone said, "This is Harry Potter. Harry Potter, this is Angela Whitechapel."

They shook hands and smiled. "It's great to meet you at last, Harry,” she said.

"Great," said Antigone, with an air of eager impatience. "Now we've got that taken care of; you wanna come with, Angela?"

Angela cast her brown eyes down then back up again with a sigh. "Yes, I think I'm ready."

"Great, come on."

As he'd feared, Antigone, Danzia, and Angela were not well received by the collection of mostly Griffindors, Ravenclaws, and Hufflepuffs.

"What the--" Seamus Finnegan exclaimed. "What are you three snakes doing here?"

"Be nice to my friends, Seamus," said Harry, to almost everyone's surprise. Ron looked like he wanted to agree with Seamus, but couldn't see the point of it. Hermione was a little nervous; she'd never met a friendly Slytherin before, let alone three. Most of the Slytherins that deigned to communicate with other Houses were the bullying type. But everyone else was flabbergasted.

"You're friends with a trio of s--Slytherins?"

"Yes, Seamus. Well, technically, I've only just today met Angela, but whatever. Now I know there are a lot of unpleasant people in Slytherin, Antigone and Angela here will agree with you on that, but I didn't have any friends at all before Hogwarts, because of people judging me without bothering to get to know me, so I give everyone the same benefit of the doubt, regardless of House."

"Yeah," Danzia said, "and this whole thing about Slytherin being the only House to churn out dark wizards is just nonsense. And Slytherin House has its share of great and good people."

"Oh yeah?" Seamus asked. "Name one good famous Slytherin."

A smug grin crept onto the strawberry-blonde girl's face before she answered. "Merlin. Merlin was a Slytherin." She then pulled a book out of her bag, called 'Famous Slytherins Through History,' and opened it to the page about Merlin.

Everyone there was astonished, staring in disbelief at the evidence. Everyone but the two Slytherins and Harry, of course.

"Besides which," Harry said, "I was almost in Slytherin. I wouldn't have minded it if I'd gone there. Sure, some of the people there are unpleasant to others, but seeing how everyone treats Slytherins, I've been beginning to wonder how much of that is due to how Slytherins are treated."

The order erupted into a disarray of talking at various volumes, as this was a fact nobody quite knew how to deal with. Even Angela and Danzia looked astonished. Antigone seemed to have been told this already, though.

"Okay, you got us on Merlin," said Justin Finch-Fletchley, "and Harry here's a nice guy; if he almost got put in Slytherin, I'm willing to be open minded." He stood up and held out a hand to Danzia. "I'm Justin Finch-Fletchley. And you?"

She took his hand and shook it. "Danzia Victoria McCullough at your service."

"Charmed," Justin said, sounding genuine. "And you?" he asked Antigone, again offering his hand.

She took it. "Antigone Aconite Dreyfuss. Nice to meet you."

"Likewise."

He then held his hand out to Angela, who introduced herself as Angela Keiko Whitechapel.

"Oh yeah," said Antigone, "something else to make note of, about Slytherins. I'm a halfblood. My father, also a Slytherin, married a Muggle."

"And I'm Muggleborn," said Angela, "but please don't talk about that outside this group. I'm trying very hard to hide my blood status from the bigots."

Everyone turned to Danzia then. She grinned. "Both of my parents are wizards. I mean that literally; I have two dads, who I call Daddy and Papa. Both are halfbloods, if that means anything."

"Were you adopted?" asked Justin, curiosity writ large on his face.

"No. My biological mother is Papa's sister; I call her Aunt Rose, by her own insistence. Daddy is my biological father."

This was the proverbial straw that broke the back of bigotry; everyone got a lot more friendly to them, once they processed the idea of Slytherins with Muggle heritage.

"Good, now we've gotten that out of the way," Harry said, "we can start the meeting."

The meeting itself, largely to sound out interest in MAC and Wizard Studies, went fairly smoothly, and pretty well. Once Harry and Hermione started explaining some of the things Muggles had figured out, interest went from 'meh' to 'WOW!' Not everyone there thought they could make every meeting, once that was nailed down, especially this late into the school year, but even they were interested.

Naturally, all Harry's Muggleborn friends were deeply interested in Wizard Studies. Those who didn't need such a class volunteered to help out if they had to make it a club, too. And better yet, they all agreed to tell their heads of House about it, to drive up interest.

All in all, Harry was proud of what he'd accomplished that day. Ron was still a little weird about Antigone, Danzia, and Angela, but he had made a lot of progress already, so Harry felt confident he could get Ron to be friendly with his Slytherin friends.

It was good that he was making progress with MAC and Wizard Studies, because Hagrid's dragon egg was getting nearer and nearer hatching. Harry, Ron, and Hermione made a pact to not discuss the issue anywhere where anyone else could overhear, and Harry started reading up on spells for privacy. Even though he and Draco were civil to one another, he wasn't sure Draco could resist getting Hagrid in trouble if he found out.

Eventually, the dragon hatched, and their predicament only got worse. Harry talked with Luna on the two-way mirror about it. The stress of everything must have been getting to him, because she remembered something he'd mentioned before, and so was the one to suggest they involve Charlie, Ron's brother who worked with dragons, to get the dragon, whom Hagrid had christened Norbert.

He was in the library one day with Angela and Antigone, when Antigone said, "Harry, you look very worried about something. What's going on?"

"What? Oh, sorry. I... I can't talk about it here. Someone might hear, who shouldn't."

"Nonsense," the older girl said, casting several privacy spells. "There. Now nobody will be able to hear us, and they won't be able to read our lips, either; that last spell will blur our mouths."

"Wow. You're going to have to teach me those."

"Yeah, later. For now, what's going on?"

"Well, you know Hagrid, right?"

Antigone nodded enthusiastically. "I love Hagrid, he's awesome. Like a giant teddy bear. So what about him?"

"He... he has a dragon."

Both girls gasped, and tried talking at once, but Harry hushed them. "Yeah, I know, dragons are illegal. That's why I'm worried. He didn't seek it out, but once he got it, he hasn't been able to think about anything else. He's been neglecting his duties. And he's been calling himself it's mummy."

Antigone got an odd look on her face at this point, and quietly said, "Oh that poor dear soul." Then, snapping out of it, the Indian girl continued, "If you need help getting rid of it without Hagrid getting in trouble, let me know. Hagrid is awesome, I want him to stay here always."

"Thanks for the offer, but we have a plan. Somehow, we're going to cart Norbert - that's the dragon - from Hagrid's hut to the top of North Tower in the dead of night, under my invisibility cloak, and Ron's brother Charlie and some of his friends will take it to Romania for us."

"Wow, you have an invisibility cloak? Cool. Anyway, that sounds difficult. It'd be too difficult for me to be there in person, but I can teach you a spell to make the crate float. And silencing wards strong enough to be useful on a dragon. Oh, and the Disillusionment Charm, so you can't be seen if the cloak falls off. It would work on the crate, too."

"Wow, really? That's great! We have three days."

"Well, let's go to the MAC room, then, and get started."

Harry was very grateful for Antigone's help. By the last of their three days, Harry was accomplished enough at the charms she'd taught him that all they'd have to worry about was accidentally bumping into something, or maybe Mrs. Norris smelling them. Since Ron would not be happy about a Slytherin knowing about all this, Harry pretended he'd read about the spells.

The afternoon before their trek, the three of them visited Hagrid one last time. He was inconsolable, like a mother having her baby taken away from her.

Hagrid sniffed. "Th-thanks, the three of yeh, fer helpin me out. I shouldn' 've accepted Norbert's egg, I know, an I know I havter do the righ thing, buh tha' don' make it any easier."

"There, there, Hagrid," Harry patted the large man's arm, "he'll be with others of his own kind."

Hagrid burst into great sobs for several minutes. When he calmed down a little, he said, "An', an' as if it weren' bad enough Norbert's leaving, summat's been killin' the unicorns, poor sweet, innocent things. Been neglectin me duties, I'll have ter sort out wha's goin on tomorrah."

"What? Something's killing unicorns?" Ron asked incredulously. "What's fast enough to catch a unicorn?"

"Not much. Nothin tha's s'posed ter be in the forest, anyway." Hagrid began bawling again at that point, and they could get nothing more out of him.

As they walked away from Hagrid's hut and toward dinner, Harry said, "Something's killing unicorns, and it's nothing that should be there?"

"I know that look, Harry," Hermione said. "Please tell me you're not thinking of...” she looked around to see if anyone was in hearing range, “of going out to the forest at night."

"No, of course not," Harry lied. "The forest is no place for students."

"Good. Because there's no point endangering yourself for no good reason, alright?"

"Yes, you're right," Harry said.

Thanks to the spells Antigone had taught Harry, the trip from Hagrid's hut to North Tower went smoothly and efficiently. They ran into nobody, not even Mrs. Norris. Charlie and several of his friends on brooms arrived at midnight and carried Norbert off into the night, Charlie finding it weird to talk to a bunch of Disillusioned voices. When he left, they put the cloak on, even though it had largely been superfluous, and got safely back to the Griffindor common room, where they undid the Disillusionment Charm and went to bed.

Note: I have to admit, I've been putting a lot of myself in this Harry. After all, I'm autistic, I was bullied in school, and bullying is a form of abuse, so I know how abused people think. I wasn't abused by family, but I do have personal experience being abused by peers, and that gives me some insight. A lot more insight, apparently, than Rowling does; her Harry's personality doesn't make any sense at all, given the abuse he went through. Which is a large part of what made me decide to write this series.

Note #2: I really love the idea of good Slytherins, as my other story may attest to. Look forward to a few more of them popping up eventually; I even plan to have them be part of Dumbledore's Army, eventually. Oh and yes, if you're recognizing some names and traits of some of these Slytherin OCs from "We Are Not Death Eaters," I very much did that on purpose. But don't go thinking you know them; I may well change facts about their history.

Note #3: I have a secret in store about Antigone. But it's a secret. Just thought I'd give you a little warning, make you wonder what the secret is. It does not relate to note #2.



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