The Many Faces of Harry Potter 26

“The Many Faces of Har—er, Adira Potter: Chapter 26”
By = Fayanora

Chapter Twenty-six: Chandra Rahasyamay

Note 1: Text in 'Italics and British quotes' is Parseltongue.

Note 2: Once more, I apologize for the bits and pieces of canon dialogue/narration here and there.

Note 3: I have different styles for the internal speech of Alastair, Adira, and Zoey, and now #Iliana (bold, italic, underlined, and now between hashtags/pound signs because some people's computers don't do the B.I.U.).# and {Tier}.

Note four: This chapter will be from multiple points of view. Chandra isn't good with words yet, and his thought processes are rather odd. So a lot of his characterization is best seen from outside perspectives.

Note five: Chandra Rahasyamay is not based on anyone in our own collective, so far as we know. Which makes him unique so far in this story, as everyone else in the Potter collective is based on someone in the Fayanora collective. (Even the mysterious “Mother.”)

*FAYANORA*

There were no words, only feelings and images. Words were still so new to him, and Mother had been there to guide him before. But now, he was alone. Alone, and suddenly dealing with sensory inputs that had been little more than abstract concepts until now. The pressure of gravity pulling on the body, the smooth hardness of the stone beneath him, the dark pinkness as light pierced his eyelids, these on their own might overwhelm him. It was like living one's life in the water, and suddenly coming ashore; he was in pain, and weak, and... yes, he was certain now: overwhelmed. And so he dared not open his eyes.

People were saying words to him. They were just noises at the moment, no more comprehensible than birdsong. But a sense that was new to him was assailing his mind; he felt their concern, their worry. Others were curious, still more were angry. He did not like the anger, it was like being whipped with a red-hot metal flail, and made him whimper. Not that the concern felt much better; that was like the sensation after your foot has fallen asleep, but all over his body.

He also thought, somehow, that they were talking to one another as well. But it was still noise to him. The sounds were like a vise tightening around his head, and they contained no information for him.

Just then, he felt a soothing presence, like a fresh breeze blowing from over a freshwater lake on a warm summer day, mixed with the pleasant warmth of sunshine in spring. With this, the sensory inputs became easier to process, the pain leaving like the ocean tide going out. What was more, the words were making sense now.

He smiled; Mother had come to his rescue again. With Her help, he could do this.

~

Albus Dumbledore hurried over to Alastair as soon as the boy had passed out, only to find someone new on the floor. He blinked. From what Sirius had told him, he suspected he knew who the new Potter was, but he couldn't be sure. Nor did he know why the Indian boy had chosen this moment to make his first appearance.

As he watched, the boy went from the calm of unconsciousness to tensing up in a fetal position, whimpering, his eyes watering. The boy looked to be in quite a lot of pain, the physical kind, which hurt Albus's heart.

He told someone to fetch Madam Pomfrey, quickly. As they ran off, he knelt at the boy's side and felt his skin. The boy flinched at the touch, so Albus pulled back. But he'd felt a lot, and was seeing a lot now. The boy was suffering cold sweats, his coppery skin getting paler before Dumbledore's eyes.

“What happened?” Madam Pomfrey said, bustling in as fast as she could. “Dumbledore?”

“It would appear there is a new Potter. I do not know what is wrong with him, but he is in a lot of pain.”

Madam Pomfrey knelt, Dumbledore standing up and back to give her room. She waved her wand over the boy, making small noises of concern as she did.

“Alastair Potter passed out,” Dumbledore explained to her, “and then this boy appeared, unconscious.”

“His symptoms remind me of dementor attacks,” she said.

“None here, as far as I am aware.” Then he looked thoughtful before continuing. “He flinched when I touched him.”

She nodded, and shone a light from her wand into the boy's closed eyes. He flinched and turned away, yowling like a wounded animal.

“Sensitivity to light.”

She stowed her wand and clapped her hands once, loudly. He flinched again and yowled. But the yowl died away.

“And sensitivity to sound, as well. Unfortunately, that doesn't really narrow it down. Could be a migraine. Or else---”

She'd stopped talking because the boy was relaxing all of a sudden. Still twitching at times, but no longer in pain. She checked for a pulse; he didn't flinch very much when she did.

“Well he's still alive. Seems to have gotten better. Since I didn't do anything, I'd guess he'd been suffering from psychological distress.”

His eyes opened a crack. Dumbledore only noticed this because he'd been looking at the time.

“Ah, Poppy, he has opened his eyes.”

She ran some more tests with her wand while he lay there. Dumbledore used his legilimency to see what was going on in the boy's mind, and was surprised when he didn't see anything. He wasn't being blocked, just... nothing. He looked again, and saw a bubbling brook through a forest. 'Most peculiar,' Dumbledore thought. It was the only image he was getting.

“Hello?” Dumbledore said cautiously.

The boy's eyes turned to Dumbledore. Now Dumbledore saw in his mind's eye an image of himself, from the outside. Then an image of what looked like the Sahara. But between the two... had he imagined it? Had he really seen a dark-skinned woman with unnaturally-colored eyes, for just a split second?

“Are you Chandra Rahasyamay?” Dumbledore asked.

Chandra nodded.

“Ah, good. Can you speak?”

Chandra looked thoughtful for a moment. Then, with a determined look on his face, he opened his mouth. He paused again, looking confused. Then he opened his mouth again.

“Silver Grandfather, with the fire-bird,” Chandra said, in an American accent. “The red and the gold. The silver and the blue. Starlight in the day.”

“Ah, well that's... an answer, of sorts.” Dumbledore said. “Can you sit up?”

Not speaking, Chandra struggled to move his limbs. He winced with every movement, apparently still in pain. He also shook with weakness, his skin going pale and sweaty again.

“The mountain,” he said weakly through gritted teeth. “Bare stone, smooth, unlined.”

“Don't strain yourself, or Madam Pomfrey will give me such a tongue-lashing.”

Chandra relaxed. He lay there, his breath coming in ragged gasps. Madam Pomfrey left to fetch something. A few minutes later, she had returned with pain-relief potion and a Pepper-Up Potion. He drank each potion readily, and soon was able to sit up.

A few minutes more passed before Dumbledore asked, “Do you think you can stand now? It's just that you are required elsewhere. I have them waiting, of course. I do not know how much of this you understand, but someone had written every single name from your collective on that parchment but yours. It does not match the handwriting of anyone in your collective, to my knowledge. And I do not believe that makes a difference, I'm sorry to say.”

“Chalice of fire, flame within,” Chandra said. “Struggle and conflict, thrice, or else all is silence.”

“Yes, exactly. Are you able to stand?”

“The wind has receded,” Chandra said, standing up with some difficulty.

“I... see,” Dumbledore said, which was a lie. He was not sure if there was any sense to Chandra's words or not. If there was, he wasn't able to decipher it yet. Parts of it made sense, and other parts eluded meaning.

Helping Chandra walk by letting the boy lean on him, Dumbledore led him slowly back to the room where the other champions and the judges still waited, if Minerva had anything to say about it on his behalf.

“Dumblydorr, at last! What 'as been so important zat you 'ave kept us waiting so long?” asked Madam Maxime imperiously.

“We've had rather an unusual complication. A fourth piece of parchment came out of the Goblet of Fire, and a fourth, rather unexpected, champion.”

“What is ze meaning of zis, Dumbly-dorr?” she said imperiously.

“I’d rather like to know that myself, Dumbledore,” said Professor Karkaroff. He was wearing a steely smile, and his blue eyes were like chips of ice. “Two Hogwarts champions? I don’t remember anyone telling me the host school is allowed two champions — or have I not read the rules carefully enough?”

He gave a short and nasty laugh.

“And 'oo iz zis second champion? Is it zis boy? 'oo are you?”

“That's part of the complication, Olympe. Have you heard of the child-who-lived?”

“You mean 'arry Potter?”

“Her name is Adira Potter now, Olympe. And, er...”

He spent a few minutes trying to explain the Potters' situation to everyone in the room.

“So you expect us to believe, Dumbledore,” said Karkaroff, “that this boy is... is... some sort of freak of nature?”

“Please do not use that term, Igor.”

Karkaroff drew himself up indignantly. “I shall use whatever terms I wish, Dumbledore! You are not the boss of me. I do not buy your ridiculous--”

“Dumbledore isn't lying, Karakaroff,” said the harsh voice of Moody, who had just stumped into the room.

Karkaroff looked at Moody with the pale face of fear. Then he grew defiant again.

“Is that so?”

“It is, Karkaroff. The Potters are an odd case. Possibly unique. Five—no, six—minds in one body, unless there's more banging about in there. And they each change the body's appearance when they switch.”

“'e is a metamorphmagus. I 'ave never heard such ridiculous lies before! I 'ave--”

“Maybe I wasn't clear,” said Moody. “Potter having a load of other people sharing her body with her isn't what makes her unique. Plenty of that sort of thing going on in other people, the Muggles call it Multiple Personality Disorder, I think. What makes Potter here unique is the transformations when they switch. Most people with their condition don't do that. Most of 'em are so good at pretending to be a single person, out of necessity, that they go through their whole lives keeping the secret without anyone suspecting. Potter here just had the bad luck to not have a choice in whether to keep the secret or not.”

“Be that as it may, Moody,” Karkaroff growled, “that's hardly the point. Whatever madness Potter has is no excuse for him to sneak into the tournament!”

“Igor, be reasonable,” Dumbledore said. “The Goblet of Fire only recognizes three schools, and only assigns one champion per each. Five out of six of the Potters' names were written on this piece of parchment under a fourth school. The only reason the sixth name isn't on here is because this is Chandra's first appearance, today. And as far as I can tell, the handwriting does not match any of the Potters.”

“Yeah, Karakaroff,” Moody said. “and the Goblet is ancient and powerful. It would take an extremely powerful, well educated, and skilled witch or wizard to bamboozle such a powerful object into assigning two champions to a school.”

“But surely 'e will not be allowed to compete!” shouted Fleur. “'e is too young! Zis little boy, compete wis us? I sink not!”

“Yes, we were under the impression that your Age Line would keep out younger contestants, Dumbledore,” said Karkaroff, his steely smile still in place, though his eyes were colder than ever. “Otherwise, we would, of course, have brought along a wider selection of candidates from our own schools.”

“It’s no one’s fault but Potter’s, Karkaroff,” said Snape softly. His black eyes were alight with malice. “Don’t go blaming Dumbledore for Potter’s determination to break rules. She---he---they have been crossing lines ever since they arrived here —”

“Thank you, Severus,” said Dumbledore firmly, and Snape went quiet, though his eyes still glinted malevolently through his curtain of greasy black hair.

“The age line works,” Dumbledore said calmly and confidently, “but that point is moot. One does not have to put one's own name in the Goblet. An older student, or even an adult, may have put it in.

“Therefore, I do not believe any of the Potters put their own name in. But there is more. One of them, Alastair, is a seer. His prophecy did not make sense to him until he saw the Goblet of Fire. He saw it, and became terrified of it, wanting nothing to do with the tournament. He even went so far as to splinch himself while trying to run away. He begged me to expel him so he wouldn't have to compete. And the Potters have been in the eye of one person or another since the Goblet was taken out of the casket. I can collect memories for my pensieve if you need convincing.”

Karkaroff waved this off almost casually. “Yes, yes, Dumbledore, but that is moot. He cannot compete, that is that. There are only three Champions!”

“Ludo?” Dumbledore said to Bagman.

“I think he has to compete, but I'm not sure. Mister Alder?”

The tall, barrel-chested man stepped forward. “Well, I've been over the rule book front to back, several times. I wanted to make sure I knew what I was doing, after Crouch was fired. But Ludo's right. It's a binding magical contract. Tampering or not, he has to compete, or else he dies.”

The argument continued for several more minutes despite this, but finally the angry headmasters of the other schools grudgingly agreed and left in a huff. Dumbledore was finally able to pull away. He turned to Chandra, and found the boy with a Muggle sketch pad and pen in hand, halfway through a drawing made of dots of red or blue ink. The pen was the kind you could click to switch between colors. He noticed the boy was left handed, the only southpaw in the collective that he knew of.

“Chandra?” Dumbledore said. “How are you?”

Chandra's response was to sing a song, but using 'la la la' instead of lyrics. The song was not familiar to Dumbledore. He made a note to remember to hum the tune to Sirius later, in case he knew it. Sirius had been very much into Muggle music when he was younger. Any information that might help him understand this new person would be welcome.

“Will you come with me to my office, Chandra?”

Chandra didn't answer in words. Instead, he clicked his pen closed and stood up.

“This way, please.”

It was a short walk from there, but Dumbledore still kept an eye on the boy, who had conjured a sort of portable desk for himself that was strapped to his body, and was drawing and walking at the same time, somehow without running into anything.

“Pumpkin pasty,” Dumbledore said to the gargoyle. It moved aside, and he led Chandra up to his office.

Chandra was still drawing when they were both seated at the headmaster's desk. Dumbledore watched him in silence for many minutes, going over the puzzle of this new person in his mind as he did.

It wasn't until Chandra paused his drawing and looked up that Dumbledore decided to speak.

“I wonder, Chandra, if you could summon one of the others to speak with your mouth.”

Chandra went back to his drawing, but said, “Smooth mountain. Underground river. No,” he corrected himself, “serpent-king cavern, but my tongue is not presently forked.”

“Hmm... are you saying they are... elsewhere? That you can't speak with them?”

“Yes. The ghost with rivers from her eyes is within the void. Until she exists again, my tongue remains round.”

'The ghost with rivers from her eyes? Does he mean Myrtle Warren?'

“Do you mean the ghost known as Moaning Myrtle?”

“Yes. She is in the void. The Many Faces rest in the serpent-king chamber within. I cannot Speak until she exists.”

'He's speaking in metaphors, images,' Dumbledore thought. 'But why? Is that how he thinks?'

“So the others are hiding somewhere, and you can't speak with them because you're missing the knowledge of how to get to where they are?”

“It is dust in the wind,” Chandra said. “The candle is out. I fumble for a match. But the prickling on my skin can cease; they have their own light down there.” He paused, looking up as though trying to remember something, before going back to his drawing and saying, “They have the key.”

“So they can come back whenever they choose?”

“Yes. The children cower under the bed. But their fear's candle will melt away.”

“Ah, I see. They all became overwhelmed with terror, but they'll return in time.”

“Yes. Mother will soothe their fears.”

Dumbledore made his hands into a steeple, regarding Chandra as he drew. It was inconvenient that the boy kept his eyes on his artwork. But then, the images he'd gotten from his legilimency earlier hadn't been very useful.

“Is this 'Mother' a metaphor or someone real?”

“Are any of us more than a metaphor? A lightning storm in a bottle made of meat. Each of us a society, the tempest a government, trillions of citizens made of water and chemicals, G.A.C.T., G.A.C.U. My own meat hosts a world of nations.”

“Is 'Mother' one of these nations?”

Chandra struggled with this one for several minutes.

“Mother, a nation? No. A sack of pebbles cannot pluck a flower. Blow out that candle, light another. Mother is... Mother.” Another lengthy pause. “Hmm... no other candles emerge. Well, if we are nations, Mother is the earth, the air, and the water. Mother is us. Mother is the tempest. Mother is all of it. Yes, She makes a tempest to speak for Her. But that tempest is a mask. The face is too big to comprehend.”

“Do you mean that Mother is a goddess?”

“I fumble for a match again. Mother is...” his wand popped out of its holster, and he stared at it. “Mother is this, but not this. Mother is the this behind the this.”

“Mother is... magic itself?”

“You approach it. Magic is... Magic is to Mother as Mother's mask is to Her face. Or as your hand is to you. Yes, that is the brightest light.”

Chandra put the wand away and went back to his drawing.

Dumbledore was still confused. Did he mean Mother was Life? He was going to ask, but Chandra spoke first.

“The sun sets. The pup needs to return to its den or the black father will bark at the silver grandfather.”

“Silver grandfather?”

“Yes. Silver Grandfather, with the fire-bird. With the star twinkling in the daylight of his eyes. You, is the candle I'm trying to light.”

“Ah. And the black father is Sirius Black, I take it?”

“Yes. The black dog will bark at you if the pup is kept awake too long.”

“Indeed. As well he should. I do apologize for taking up so much of your time, but your manner of speaking is challenging to understand.”

“Mountain with few cracks?” he asked.

“Yes, I believe that is a good metaphor. It is doable, but makes me sweat a lot, so to speak.”

“The mountain will come to a path in time. Then you will walk, not climb.”

“Good to know. Thank you. But yes, you should run along to your den, little pup.”

“Thank you, silver grandfather.”

Chandra had completed his drawing. It was a picture of Dumbledore behind the Goblet of Fire. He put it away and looked around himself as he left Dumbledore's office.

~

Dumbledore sighed, and tossed a handful of Floo powder into the fire. He then knelt down and stuck his head in the green flames.

“Twenty-three B, Square Way, London,” he said, bracing himself for the spinning sensation that followed.

When the spinning subsided, he saw into the house Sirius and the Potters now called home.

“Sirius Black?” he called out.

A few minutes of calling for someone later, and Sirius walked into the room with a confused look on his face. When he saw Dumbledore, he looked worried and scared.

“Dumbledore! What's going on?”

“Not to worry too much, dear boy. Nothing immediately life threatening.”

“So one of their names came out of the Goblet, then?”

“More like all of their names. Er... save for one.”

“One? Why would---oh, there's someone new?”

“Yes. If you wouldn't mind coming to Hogwarts, that would be most helpful. I'm rather too old to be making fire-calls for long.”

“I'll be there as soon as the fire is available.”

“Good,” Dumbledore said, pulling his head out of the fire and sending it whirling back to his body in Hogwarts.

Dumbledore stood up, dusted himself off, and walked over to his desk. He was just sitting down when Sirius came out of the fireplace.

“Have a seat, my dear man,” Dumbledore offered the usual spot in front of his desk.

“I don't see anyone but you and me, Dumbledore.”

“Yes. I sent the new Potter back to his room. If you come back tomorrow, I can show him to you, assuming he's still here. But he was tired, and I wanted to tell you of my experience of him first.”

Sirius sat down at last. “Alright, I'm listening.”

Dumbledore nodded, and proceeded to explain the entirety of everything from his first meeting with Chandra Rahasyamay to the moment the boy left the room.

“Ah yes, and there was one moment when he answered a question with this tune,” Dumbledore said, humming the tune.

Sirius listened to it, then said, “That's 'Give Peace A Chance' by John Lennon.”

“Indeed? Then it was an answer, and not just a random tune. Interesting.”

“So this boy, you said he speaks in riddles?”

“Metaphors. But since they are metaphors that come from his own unusual mind, I suppose 'riddles' would be just as accurate.”

“And he said the others are all in hiding?”

“Yes.”

Sirius rubbed his chin.

“Is he going to be able to get into Griffindor tower, speaking only in riddles?”

Dumbledore's expression faltered. “I hadn't considered that. I don't know.”

~

Chandra was lost. He was not bothered by this, though he did wish to sleep. He knew he should have foreseen this; he had been living with Mother so long that he had not had opportunity to pay much attention to the outside world. If he had been capable of thinking of this problem ahead of time, he would have asked for help from the silver grandfather.

There was the sound of a meow behind him, and he turned to see a cat. He was no expert, but it appeared to him that the cat was glaring accusingly at him. It meowed louder, turning its head as though expecting someone specific to arrive. Chandra said nothing; cats were animals, he knew they did not understand English, no matter how clever this one seemed to be. Unless it was an animagus? But he did not think so.

He heard some wheezing, and a rather unpleasant-looking man holding a lantern shuffled into view. Chandra regarded him with passive curiosity.

“Aha! A student out of bed! It's past curfew, what are you up to? No matter, you're in deep trouble now, boy. What's your name, boy? I don't recognize you.”

He flinched at the sting of the man's emotions.

“Chandra Rahasyamay,” Chandra answered as pleasantly as he could. “And you?”

“Oh, a smart Alec, I see. We'll see where your cheek is when I've got you hanging by your thumbs in the dungeon! Which House are you in, boy?”

Chandra looked puzzled for a moment, then remembered. “The land of the lions, the red and the gold.”

“Griffindor? Ha! Doesn't surprise me in the least. Well when Professor McGonagall's done with you, I daresay none of your little friends will be happy with you, and you'll wonder why you thought to break the rules! Now come with me, boy.”

“The silver grandfather was speaking with me, then I got tired. Now I am adrift at sea with no stars in the sky. Will you be my north star?”

Filch stared at Chandra, confused until he worked it out. “Oh, claiming to be lost, are you? Like I haven't heard that one a million times, no sirree. I'll help, alright; help you find your way to a whipping if you don't hurry up and follow me, you cheeky little sod.”

Chandra grimaced, walking up beside Filch. He tried to take the man's hand in his, causing Filch to gape at him, then hiss like an angry cat.

“What's wrong with you, boy?! Don't touch me! Insubordinate little devil, I'll beat you black and blue if you try that again!”

He nodded, and looked around the corridor, taking in all the sights. He was silent all the way to McGonagall's office, though Filch was muttering the whole way. When they reached the door, Filch knocked on it and waited. Before long, McGonagall opened the door.

“Yes, Filch? What is--- what are you doing with mister... sorry, I don't know how to pronounce his name.”

“Rahasyamay,” said Chandra.

“Yes, what are you doing with Mr. Raha... Rahasyamay? Last I knew, he was in Dumbledore's office. I presume he was sent back to his dorm room in Griffindor.”

“He was wandering around, far from anywhere that might be explained by going from Dumbledore's to Griffindor. Claimed to be lost. Up to no good, I reckon. And how come I ain't ever heard of him? I know all the little worms in this god-forsaken school.”

“That would be because he's one of the Potter collective, and brand new.”

“Figures. Probably trying to find more trouble to get into and not get punished for.”

“Never you mind, Filch. Mr. Rahasyamay, why weren't you on the route to bed?”

“I am adrift at sea with no stars in the sky. The angry light-carrier was not the north star I sought.”

McGonagall sighed. She wasn't paid enough to deal with one of her students becoming someone who spoke only in riddles.

“Yes, yes. Filch, leave him to me, I'll escort him back to his dorm. I don't know why, but I believe he truly is lost.”

“But Professor!”

“No, Filch. Leave it to me. Go back to your patrol, now.”

Filch growled and grumbled and muttered to himself, but he left all the same.

“Good. Now he's gone, I'll escort you to Griffindor tower. I'd ask you how you managed to get lost, but I doubt I would understand the answer.”

“I am alone. The others sleep underground, too scared to return for now. So I fumble in the dark for a candle.”

She blinked at him. “I think I actually understood that.”

Chandra smiled at her, and took her hand. She was surprised by this, but allowed it. They held hands all the way back.

'He's left handed,' she thought to herself. 'Odd. The rest of the Potters are right-handed.'

When they got to the portrait of the Fat Lady, the large woman in pink looked surprised to see them.

“Password?”

“Monkshood,” said Professor McGonagall, and the portrait opened.

“Do you remember where your room is?” she asked him.

“No.”

The common room was full, and full of noise. But everyone stopped when McGonagall and Chandra walked in. Chandra flinched from all the emotions of everyone in the room.

“Professor McGonagall?” someone said, sounding panicked. She rarely ever came into the Griffindor common room.

“No need to sound so worried, I was just escorting Mr. Rahasyamay here. Oh, Ronald Weasley, please come here. Thank you. Mr. Weasley, you know where the Potters sleep, correct?”

“Yeah. Why?”

“It appears the others left Mr. Rahasyamay all alone in there, for the time being. I gather that they are just hiding. But while they're hiding, he cannot navigate the castle. I doubt he knows where any of his classes are, either.”

“Er, okay. I'll take him to his room.”

“Thank you, Mr. Weasley. Mr. Weasley, this is Chandra Rahasyamay. Mr. Rahasyamay, this is Mr. Ronald Weasley, he is a friend of your collective.”

“Yes, I recognize the red knight,” Chandra said with a smile.

Ron looked confused. “Red knight?”

“He speaks in riddles, or metaphors. I do not know for sure, but I imagine he calls you that because of your hair, and the fact you played a knight on my giant chess set your first year. Is that correct, Mr. Rahasyamay?”

“Yes.”

Ron looked thoughtful. “I like it. Well, this way, Chandra.”

Chandra nodded, and followed Ron upstairs to the Potter room.

“Ah, I feel them here,” he told Ron. “I feel them in their objects.”

“Er, yeah, that's their stuff in there alright.”

Chandra nodded, and pulled his robes off. He undid the two wand holsters; he unlocked the compartment of the trunk that had all their clothes in it and put the spare wand in one of the drawers. When he came out again, dressed in nothing but pajama bottoms, he looked quizzically at Ron.

“Thank you, red knight. I need slumber.”

“Oh, right. Yes. Sorry. I'll see you in the morning?”

“Most likely,” Chandra said.

Ron left, and Chandra lay down in bed, staring at the ceiling for awhile before getting under the covers and going to sleep.

~

He found himself in the classroom again, and thought for a moment he was back with Mother while someone else was Out. But he soon discovered he was sleeping, dreaming. And the classroom was not as it had been. He was sitting in the front of the classroom, and everyone else was in the back. But they were behind glass, for some reason.

Standing up, Chandra took a closer look at the glass. It was, in fact, a scrying mirror looking into a room with many beds, and the others were all sleeping inside the glass room.

He felt a hand on his shoulder, and knew who it was.

“Mother, why do they sleep?”

“Because they are exhausted after the stress they've been through. And you, too, are sleeping.”

“They will wake up, though, right?”

“Yes. When they are ready.”

He nodded. “What is wrong with me? When I am out there on my own, I mean. I speak strangely. People have a hard time understanding me.”

“You've been down here for a long time. Language doesn't come easily to you. It's easier in here, with the others. In this dream, you have their knowledge. Out there, you think differently than most. This will always be true, but when the others return, your communication with other beings will be easier. Just remember that you may have to run your thoughts by the others so they can translate difficult ideas for you.”

“How am I to do schoolwork tomorrow without their knowledge?”

“You will adapt.”

“But---”

“You will adapt, my child. Trust me on this. Remember your studies. Remember the plan.”

He sighed. “Yes, Mother.”

“Remember, you have gifts the others do not. If you find something too difficult to do the way the teachers tell you to do it, try it your own way. Blaze your own path. For you know things that no other witch or wizard has known before you. Use that knowledge.”

“Yes, Mother.”

She lifted Her hand from his shoulder, and the dream dissolved into another, more normal dream.

~

Breakfast:

Professor McGonagall had decided to keep an eye on the new Potter. If he couldn't even remember how to navigate the school, she didn't think he'd remember any of his classes, and that could be a problem, the Potters being in the fourth year of their magical education.

Rather than alarm more students with her presence, though, she sent Dobby the House Elf – whom the headmaster had hired to the school – to go check on the boy, make sure he could get to classes. She hoped this would turn out to have been a good idea. The small elf had certainly been enthusiastic enough when it was explained to him. She just hoped he wasn't too enthusiastic.

Earlier:

Chandra had woken up because he'd sensed a presence in the room. Specifically, on his bed. He opened his eyes and sat up, and saw before him a small humanoid creature with large, tennis-ball-shaped eyes, a pencil-shaped nose, and giant bat-like ears. It wore an odd assortment of clothes: on its head was a tea cozy, with bright badges pinned to it; a tie patterned with horseshoes over a bare chest, a pair of what looked like children’s soccer shorts, and odd socks.

He blinked at the creature. Not knowing what to say, he remained silent.

The creature bowed to Chandra. “Are you Mr. Chandra Rahasyamay Potter, sir? I is Dobby the House Elf, sent by Professor McGonagall to help you at school today.”

Chandra continued to stare silently at Dobby. Dobby started to look uncomfortable.

After a minute, Chandra spoke. “Welcome, Small Oddly-Dressed Being.”

“Thank you, sir. You can be calling me Dobby, sir, for short.”

“Dobby? Dobby. Yes, Dobby. Good. So you are my north star?”

“Um... Dobby is not knowing what you is meaning, sir.”

“Sailors upon the ocean navigate by the north star.”

“Oh? Yes yes, I is to be sir's guide, helping you around the castle, sir.”

“Thank you, kind Dobby,” Chandra said. Dobby's eyes watered; this Potter was just as kind as the others he knew.

Chandra got up and went into the bathroom with a towel and new underwear for the day in his hands, and went about his morning routine. When he was all clean and ready to go, he came out and bade Dobby lead him to breakfast.

~

Breakfast:

Minerva McGonagall's worries were baseless, though, as she found out when Dobby and Chandra came down into the Great Hall for breakfast. Dobby did attract a lot of attention between being a House Elf and his strange clothing, but this was probably for the best, given he was drawing attention away from Chandra.

Well, mostly. As she observed from the teachers' table, she noticed a growing number of girls and a few of the boys staring at the boy in a hungry sort of way. She would have to talk to them later about being discreet, even though Chandra appeared to be oblivious. But she had to admit, he was quite handsome, for a 14 year old boy. He was going to be a heart-breaker when he grew up, with those big brown eyes of his, that strong jawline, and his warm, golden-brown skin.

She watched him carefully look over the breakfast options, ask Dobby some questions, and then pick out several things that he scooped onto his plate with his left hand. She still found that interesting, that he was the only southpaw in the lot of them so far. But more interesting was his diet: fruits, grains, and nuts were all he took from the options available, skipping over anything with meat or other animal products in it. So did this mean he was a vegetarian as well? That was interesting; the other Potters tended to have a great fondness for sausages and other meats.

She heard Dobby speak, but couldn't make out the words. Chandra nodded, and Dobby vanished with a crack of disapparition. She frowned, slightly, wondering what that was about, but a few minutes later, the House Elf was back and telling Chandra something else. She wondered if she ought to pry into that, or leave it alone. After all, in context, it-- ah, yes. That was it; he must have asked Dobby to alert the kitchens that he was a vegetarian.

~
Breakfast:

Chandra followed the little elf through the corridors of Hogwarts, looking every which way as he did, attempting to memorize the route. Dobby tried speaking to him, but he just told the elf “I attempt to fill the emptiness. Please be as a placid lake,” and the elf, after looking confused for a moment, had nodded and kept quiet.

When he sat down at the Griffindor table in the Great Hall, he stood in shock at the sight before him. But what his eyes saw wasn't the problem; he had discovered that he could feel imprints of the emotions of the animals much of the food had been. It was subtle, and residual; the others would not have noticed it if they could even detect it. But it was enough to put him off his appetite. But he needed food, and since the plants did not give him the same problem, he went with fruits, grains, and nuts. Milk was not a problem, nor butter, probably because the animal did not die or even get hurt to harvest it. This was a relief, as it expanded his options.

Dobby had noticed this, and had asked him if Dobby should alert the kitchens that he was a vegetarian, to which he had agreed. Anything that would make things easier for him was welcome. This day was starting out not great and getting worse. First he could feel the pain of the food, and now he could feel a large number of minds crowding him, their emotions often focused on him. Some of the sensations were... a bit too pleasant, causing an embarrassing tightness in his pants. Still other emotions burned or whipped him. It was all beginning to give him a headache, so he ate quickly.

On his way out of the Great Hall, Sirius intercepted him.

“Er, uh... are you Chandra Rahasyamay?” Sirius asked him.

Chandra looked at him and smiled, recognizing him. “Black Father!” he hugged the man.

“Oh, so you recognize me? Even with the others hiding?”

“Yes, Black Father.”

“Er... I'm not actually black, except in my Animagus form. It's just my surname.”

“Ah. You wish another calling? Perhaps Brave Father?”

“Brave Father?”

“Yes. Brave father, of the house of lions. Brave Father, his candle defiant in the darkness of the Evil Place with the soul eaters.”

“Ah, yes. Yes, you're right. Brave Father is a good nickname. Shall I call you...” he paused, thinking. “I don't know, I'm not any good at this.”

“My calling has meaning. Chandra means Moon, Rahasyamay means Mysterious. You could call me Mysterious Moon.”

“I've already got a friend with a moon-based nickname. And it doesn't quite roll off the tongue, either.”

Chandra nodded, thinking.

“Anyway,” Sirius said, “we can figure it out later. You have classes. Talk with you after dinner?”

“Sunshine in the sky,” he said with a smile.

“I... I suppose I'll take that as a 'yes.'”

Stepping out into fresh air was like the lifting of a burden he'd not known he'd been carrying. His feet itched in their socks and shoes, something he'd put on this morning without thinking. But now he wanted to take them off. And Dobby was here, so he did. When they were outside the greenhouses, he took his socks and shoes off and handed them to Dobby.

“Place these by the cloth nest I dream in, please.”

The elf looked confused. “But sir is needing his socks and shoes, is he not?”

“As the caged bird cries for freedom, so do my feet.”

Dobby nodded with a look of grave understanding on his face. “I understands. I will put them away safely for sir. Just calls for Dobby if you needs anything, sir!”

With that, the elf was gone. Chandra turned around and went into the greenhouses.

Professor Sprout looked at his bare feet and then at his face in confusion before recognizing him from McGonagall's description. She looked at a loss for words.

“Er, Mr. Rahasyamay?” she asked, “are you aware that you're not wearing shoes?”

“Yes.”

“And why are you not wearing shoes?”

“They sang to me their desire for freedom.”

She opened her mouth to speak, closed it, paused, then said, “Well be careful not to step on anything dangerous.”

“Understood, Green Thumb.”

The class went reasonably well. Professor Sprout's instructions for the Bouncing Bulbs did not require any previous knowledge to follow. Chandra did worry that his lack of memories would still impair him, but surprisingly, it didn't much... yet. He had to pause now and then and get help from Ron or Hermione, but otherwise did pretty well.

Things were slightly tense from the Hufflepuffs. The Potters' names had, after all, come out of the Goblet, but between Al's earlier defense of Cedric Diggory and the oddness of Chandra, they were too off balance to really be angry with him. Ron and Hermione, of course, supported him; they'd seen the lengths Al had taken to try to avoid this tournament, after all.

Care of Magical Creatures was different, of course. Draco Malfoy had been shocked and enraged to see his family's old House Elf, Dobby, guiding Chandra around.

Dobby?” shouted Malfoy.

Dobby held up his nose at Malfoy. “Yes, I is Dobby. And you is not my master anymore.” He turned back to Chandra. “Later, sir,” he said with a bow, and disappeared.

“You stole our old house elf from us! It's bad enough you freed him, now he's yours?!”

“The small elf serves no master. Money is his reward from the silver grandfather, with the fire-bird.”

Malfoy looked confused for a moment. “Wait, Dumbledore is paying him to work here?” Malfoy said, in the tone one might use to confirm that someone had really said he was having sex with his own mother.

“Yes.”

Their conversation was soon cut short as Hagrid informed them that they were taking the blast-ended skrewts for walks, because they'd started to kill each other. Malfoy, of course, was quite vocal against this idea. But Chandra was looking at his own skrewt with a horrified expression on his face, backing away slowly.

“Wha's the matter? Er... sorry, don't know yer name.”

“His name is Chandra,” Hermione said, once it was clear Chandra wasn't going to answer.

“Wha's wrong, Chandra?”

Chandra pointed at the skrewt, in horror.

“W-what did you do? What did you do?

Hagrid looked very nervous. “Dunno whatcha mean. Evryone back ter leashin up yer skrewts, there's good kids. Go on, they need their exercise.”

Chandra began to cry silently, tears streaming down his face as he continued to stare at the hideous monsters. His whole body shook.

“If yer scared of em, yeh can take the day off, I won't mind,” Hagrid said.

ABOMINATION!” Chandra screamed, pointing at the skrewt. “PAIN! CONFUSION! RAGE! WHAT DID YOU DO? HOW DID YOU DO IT? WHY did you do it???”

“Calm down there, alrigh? No need ter shout about it. Sorry, evryone, he's just in a bit of a state. Better get 'im a calming draught.”

Chandra's brain was going at high speed, trying to find the right image, the right words, to express his feelings, to express the truth of the skrewts. He couldn't, at first, find anything that fit, that was even close to what he needed to say.

“They howl in mental agony! They rage in confusion against themselves! Blind creatures; two beings, afraid and angry in the darkness! Two creatures trapped in one body, fighting in the darkness! Cornered animals, all their lives, with no escape! Every moment they live is Hell! It's... IT SHOULD NOT BE!”

Several people had tied their skrewts to a tree, to come closer, the better to see Chandra's freak-out; even Ron and Hermione did this.

“What's the matter?” Hermione asked.

“Fire-crab fights manticore, manticore fights fire-crab! They fight each other, it fights ITSELF! That thing SHOULD NOT EXIST!

As Chandra screamed those words at the top of his voice, pointing at the skrewt, there was a flash of golden light from Chandra's finger, a whooshing sound, and the skrewt fell to the ground, dead. But this did not change Chandra's mood. He whirled around, looking at the other skrewts, and got out his wand.

“What did yeh do? It's dead! You k-killed it!” Hagrid looked like he was about to cry.

“Its fighting ceases. Its Hell is ended. Its two beings have woken from their nightmare. Better the peace of death than the endless nighmarish Hell you forced them into! Their creation, your crime, heinous despite your ignorance. But for that ignorance, Mother would smite you, were She not so merciful.”

He started shooting golden light at another skrewt, and Hagrid bounded forward to stop him.

“NO! DON'T HURT EM!”

“THEY HURT JUST BY BEING! I am ending their agony!”

She didn't know if it was a trick of the light or what, but for a moment Hermione thought Chandra's eyes had changed color to blue, then to green, then to purple, before going back to their normal brown. And as it happened, a freak wind came out of the calm sky and blew Hagrid over onto his back, then started rolling him along the ground.

Chandra looked surprised, but took advantage of this odd occurrence to shoot golden light – which Hermione realized now was being cast non-verbally – at the other skrewts, until they were all dead. At least, she hoped Hagrid didn't have any more of the foul things hidden away somewhere.

Ron and Hermione spent the rest of the class consoling Hagrid on his loss, even though they privately agreed with Chandra for killing the foul creatures. Everyone else had left, certain that Hagrid wouldn't be able to continue for the rest of the day, if not longer.

Chandra came over to the large man, keeping his distance in case Hagrid attacked him.

“I am sorry, Tall Father. I know you loved them. If you had seen and felt what I did, your love for them would have had you at my side in this action. They were in great pain. They should never have existed. Fire crabs and manticores were not meant to mix. Do not do it again, I beg you. I would not want to hurt you a second time. But what I did today, I would do again, for it was Right.” He paused, then continued, “Please do not treat the others differently for what I have done; they are not here, they are hiding. They will not know what I've done until they return.”

Just then, Professor McGonagall and Professor Dumbledore came running into the area, looking very anxious.

“What's going on?” McGonagall demanded. “The wards said there was someone using Killing Curses out here!”

“Tall Father created abominations. They were in agony, fighting themselves in endless internal battle. I could not bear their pain, so I unmade them. They should never have been made to begin with, so I unmade them.”

You were casting those Killing Curses?” she said, bewildered.

“But that couldn't have been a Killing Curse!” complained Hermione. “I mean yes, it did kill them, and there was that whooshing sound from the time Professor Moody showed us the Killing Curse, but the Killing Curse is green, and the light coming from Chandra's wand was golden!”

“Can you corroborate that, Mr. Weasley?”

“Yeah, it was golden. Like, bright gold. But otherwise it acted the same and sounded the same as the... as the Killing Curse.”

Chandra stared at his wand, examining it as though he'd never seen one before. “Yes, I did as they speak. And I am unsure how. I do not know the words to the spell. All I know is they were in such pain and terror that they needed release, so I fed that need into the wand, and it released them.”

“Most astonishing,” Dumbledore said. He then nudged one of the skrewts with his toe. “Are these the creatures you killed?”

“Yes, Silver Grandfather.”

“I see. Hagrid, I know you're very upset right now, but Mr. Rahasyamay has a point. You really should not have engaged in illegal breeding experiments. Please do not do it again.”

“R-r-right, Professor,” Hagrid choked out between sobs.

“Again, Tall Father, I am sorry to hurt you. But I had to.”

Chandra then turned to Dumbledore. “If I am to be punished, then so be it.”

“I shall leave Professor McGonagall to comforting Hagrid, then. Mr. Weasley, Miss Granger, please go back up to the castle. Mr. Rahasyamay will join you later.”

They nodded and left. Professor Dumbledore said, “Come,” to Chandra, and led him to his office, where they'd just been last night. They didn't speak until after they were both sitting down.

“Mr. Rahasyamay, before we get to the matter of your punishment, would you please tell me what you were feeling when you cast that curse?”

He pondered a moment, then said, “Sadness, mostly. Horror, yes, but sadness. Those poor creatures were in such agony. Their being was a crime against Life, and against them. They were begging for release from their agony and their terror.”

“I see. Tell me, would it be accurate to say you felt love for these creatures? In the sense that their pain hurt you because the pain and suffering of life-forms in general hurts you because you love Life?”

“Yes, that does sound true.”

“A Killing Curse powered by love rather than hate? Fascinating. Still, no matter its power source, it was registered as a Killing Curse by the wards. You used a curse that could have killed a student or teacher and landed you in Azkaban for life if you had miscalculated your aim. I don't know what punishment fits that crime, to be honest. I think I'll start with a week's worth of detentions, though, and 50 points from Griffindor.”

Chandra nodded. “Understood.”

“And if you ever use an Unforgivable again, no matter what you're aiming at, I'm afraid I shall have to expel you. Our leniency only goes so far. I won't expel you this time because you were clearly emotionally distraught by those creatures, and you are... new. So some allowances must be made. But as I said, the points I took from Griffindor, and a week's detentions. You'll come to my office at 6 o'clock sharp tonight, understood?”

“Er... But Brave Father, who is also a black dog, wished to speak with me after dinner today.”

There was a pause as Dumbledore worked out his meaning, before he said, “Your godfather will just have to speak with you another time. Detentions come first. He will understand, he had plenty of them in his days at Hogwarts.”

“I understand. Six of the clock, here.”

“Good. Then you may go now.”

~

After a lunch consisting mostly of steamed vegetables and some cheese, Chandra went on to Divination, still with bare feet. On his way up, though, he got stopped by Filch.

“What's this now? Why don't you have any shoes on, you little worm?”

“They needed to be free. So I let them be free.”

“Where's your shoes at, then?”

“Dobby took them to my room for me.”

“Dobby? Who's Dobby?”

“Dobby is a house elf.”

“Oh yes, the new house elf. The weird one. Well call him back and tell him to bring you your shoes! And god help you if you tracked any mud into my clean castle on your filthy soles!”

Chandra checked the bottoms of his feet. “They appear clean.”

“I doubt that they started out that way; you've probably tracked in mud somewhere, and now I have to go hunting for it. But I've had enough of you for now. Don't let me catch you going barefoot again!”

Chandra nodded. Filch stayed behind to make sure Chandra called Dobby and got his socks and shoes back on. Then he left.

Far from being angry with the man, Chandra was relieved. He hadn't thought to call Dobby again, after all the commotion earlier. But he would have gotten lost if he had forgotten.

“Be my north star again, Dobby? I need to find the seer's classroom.”

“Right away, sir! Follow Dobby, sir!”

To his surprise, Chandra remembered Professor Trelawney. Apparently she'd left such a powerful impression on the others that the memory persisted even with them all hiding. So when he first saw her, and remembered what she was like, he took out his drawing materials and went to work. But where he'd used two pens and a lot of dots to make his art before, this time he was just using a pencil and drawing like normal.

The professor didn't care for this, of course. She kept looking his way, clearly annoyed to be disrespected by yet another Potter.

“Hello there, young man. What is your name?”

Without looking up from his drawing, he said, “If a man tells you he is blind, check to make sure he is not simply closing his eyes.”

This drew laughter from some of the other students, which she shushed with an angry glare. Then she turned back to Chandra.

“The Sight is not always clear on little details such as names, you should know. So with that in mind, young man, what is your name?”

“Chandra Rahasyamay.”

“Good, good. Now if--”

Dropping his pencil, he grabbed her arm and stared up at her with a sorrowful expression, almost pitying. She stared back at him, speechless, and his look of sorrow intensified as he shook his head, making sad clucking noises with his tongue, then sighed heavily, and let one tear roll down his cheek.

“Do not let the toad cow you, in the school year to come. She will make your life miserable in a way Alastair never could. You must be strong.” He stood up and whispered in her ear, “Sherry is not a strength potion, it is a weakness potion. Resist its siren song. Dumbledore will protect you, if you but remain strong.”

And in the next instant, he sat back down and went back to his drawing as though nothing interesting had happened.

She was stunned speechless, and stared at him for almost a full minute before wandering off like a tired toddler over to her usual seat, holding onto it for support. After a few minutes, she finally got back, with difficulty, to the business of teaching class. She did not speak to Chandra Rahasyamay again that day.

~

After dinner, Chandra went to the headmaster's office as instructed. Or rather, he went to where the gargoyle was. He pulled his drawing from the night before out of the storage container embedded in the portable desk strapped to his chest that he had manifested the night before, and looked at it, then put it back. Once it was secure, he gave the gargoyle the password and went up to Dumbledore's office.

When he knocked on the door, Dumbledore told him to come in.

“Mr. Rahasyamay, I was not expecting you to remember the password. I was about to meet you down there.”

“Lead or follow, Silver Grandfather?”

“I shall follow you down, then lead you to where your detention is to be served.”

Chandra nodded, and they made their way down and out from behind the gargoyles. Then Dumbledore led him to Professor Snape's office.

“I do hate to do this to you, but you did quite a serious thing, so you will be taking your detentions with Professor Snape.”

“Understood. But I do not understand why you are sorry for it.”

“Do you not remember Professor Snape?”

He shook his head.

“Maybe you will when you see him.”

Dumbledore knocked on Snape's office door, and it opened at once, Snape glaring out. His face relaxed a little when he saw Dumbledore, then he grimaced and glared down at Chandra.

“So this is the new Potter you spoke of?”

“Yes, Severus. His name is Chandra Rahasyamay. He, er... is a little hard to understand at times, his manner of speaking is somewhat unusual.”

“So I have heard. No matter, he will not be speaking much. I will have him scrubbing out cauldrons without magic.”

“Good. Just do not torment the boy unduly.”

“I want as little to do with him as possible, I assure you, headmaster.”

“Good. I shall see you later, then.”

Dumbledore turned away and left. Snape gestured for Chandra to follow him, and he led the boy to another room full of filthy, stinking cauldrons.

“Well, what are you waiting for? Get in here now.”

“Yes, sir.” Angry Vulture Man, he thought but did not say aloud. The man still glared at him as though he had heard anyway.

“These cauldrons have been brewing particularly nasty failed potions in them. You will scrub out these cauldrons until they are all spotless, without using magic. When they are clean, I will inspect them, and give you something else to do, if time has not already expired. You will not speak except to tell me you are done with the task I have assigned you. Is that understood?”

“Yes, sir.”

“Good. Here are some dragon-hide gloves, some scrubbers, and cleaning solution. Now get to work.”

Snape sat down at his desk, grading papers, and Chandra set to work.

It did not take Chandra long to realize that the job was actually pretty easy, insofar as he could do it on automatic and let his mind wander as he did. This was not so bad a price to pay for doing the right thing, in his view. Snape could have been really evil and assigned him to kill some poor creature for potions ingredients, which would have been quite impossible for him to do. Perhaps Snape had already heard enough about him to guess this, and didn't want the stress of fighting with him to try to get him to violate his principles.

But thinking became tedious after a while, so he just went into a meditative state as he worked, humming a little tune. If Snape could hear the tune, he gave no sign.

This went quite well for several minutes before it went a little wrong. He was partway into the third cauldron, humming along, when the air suddenly began to smell of lavender, and the cauldron cleaned itself completely, all on its own. Chandra stopped and blinked at this. He knew he had done accidental magic, and he knew Snape would not be happy.

Alerted by the sudden silence, Snape looked up at him.

“What is it? Why have you stopped?”

“Um... sir? I...”

“What did you do?” Snape snapped at him, standing up to come see what was going on.

Snape stared into the cauldron. “I thought I told you no magic!”

“It was accidental! I was humming, my mind blank, and it just... happened.”

Snape sighed, pinching the bridge of his nose. “I see.” He paused to collect himself before speaking again. “Well, Mr. Rahasyamay, no more humming in that case. And, while I understand it will be difficult for you to do this, please try to not let your mind go blank. If it happens again, I shall find something more difficult for you to do.”

“Yes, sir.”

“Good. Now get back to work,” Snape demanded, sitting back down again.

Without humming, and with trying to force his mind to think about something other than going blank, Chandra went back to work. And between the lack of distractions and having to focus on keeping his mind occupied, the task became much more difficult. Much more like punishment. But at least he didn't provoke Snape's ire again that night.

~

Tired from his cleaning, Chandra returned to his room at 11 PM and found that Hedwig had a letter for him from Sirius.

Dear Chandra,

If you don't mind waking up an hour earlier, we can meet before breakfast tomorrow, since you've got detentions for a week, according to Dumbledore. You can tell me what happened if you want.

Looking forward to seeing you.

Love,
Sirius

Chandra smiled, and wrote a quick letter back to him agreeing to the meeting. It would mean less sleep than he usually got, but he could manage it at least once. So with that to look forward to, he sent Hedwig back with the reply, stripped out of all his clothes save his underwear, and curled into bed.

End note one: Some of Chandra's difficulties in classes during this chapter are inspired a little bit by an experience our own collective had some years ago. We used to work at an inbound customer service call center, and Alex was the only one of us any good at it. One day something upset him so badly that he vanished for a week, and we spent the whole week trying to make up for him being gone. It took all the rest of us working in concert to do a fourth as good a job as he did, calls took 3 or 4 times longer to complete, and it took so much parallel processing power for the brain to do that every night after work we spent hours recovering from the exhaustion, where Alex had never been more than mildly tired after work. We were very grateful when Alex came back. Alex didn't remember anything that happened to him down there, or if there was anything to remember. It was like waking up and not remembering whether or not you dreamed.

Also, yes, I skipped Chandra and Sirius talking before breakfast. They didn't talk about much of any importance.

End note two: I've been planning Chandra Rahasyamay for a long time. He was inspired by an idea a reader sent me, I forget who. I've had a lot of ideas about him, but I have to say that the way I write my characters, they basically write themselves. I come up with ideas about them, and something in my mind points out what to keep and what to throw out, and then sometimes comes up with its own stuff that it doesn't tell me about until I'm actually writing the scenes. Chandra was one such character; when I started writing this chapter, what came out surprised me as much as it probably surprised you. It made sense, and it still does. If it hadn't, I would have scrapped it and tried again.

Something else I have to say about Chandra: I have no bloody clue why he is the way he is. I know the in-story reasons why he is, but I don't know where he came from in my mind. I don't think I've ever read about or written of a character remotely like him before. Getting into his headspace to write him is surreal. And getting back out of his headspace after putting the story away, or stepping away, is difficult. It's not a new sensation, this headspace inertia, but thinking like Chandra is definitely a unique and bizarre experience for me.

Honestly, I don't really want anyone else in my head with me, but I wouldn't mind someone like Chandra moving in.

Also, I hadn't planned the scene with the skrewts. It just came to me when I got to that part.

One last thing re: the skrewts = “Big bwuhthuh?” *evil grin*



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