Misadventures of Neville and HarryDisclaimer: None of the characters are mine, but belong to Joss Whedon or Joan Rowling.
Note: The Phasm belongs to DnD™ instead.
“So, Faith, have I ever told you how much I appreciate for you and your Watcher to come along with us?” Neville Longbottom asked with a small, somewhat ingratiating smile. “’Cause I, for one, really, really do.”
“Don’t mention it,” Faith (also known as V’era Nocturna Lestrange in some of the wizarding circles) shrugged and looked slightly askance at the Watcher in question, i.e. Rupert Giles, even as the latter was helping Harry to steer the horses that were drawing their wagon. “I didn’t expect for this sort of transportation, though – I thought that your British wizarding types weren’t big fans of the wheel?”
“We’re not,” Harry admitted crossly, even as the chestnut-coloured horse snapped crossly at its bridle and continued to defy the Boy-Who-Lived and Who-Was-Having-Issues-With-Steering. “At least the pureblood ones aren’t – they prefer apparating, or brooms. Still, this sort of occasion calls for a different sort of transportation...”
At that moment everybody else – including Giles, who was busy reading one of his mystical books – gave Harry a look, reminding the latter of the realities of their mission. “Yes, yes, I know that the occasion I’m currently talking about is just to check an old mansion, to see if there are any salvable magical valuables and to ensure that there aren’t any magical vermin, but still-“
“Yes, Harry, we know,” Neville replied, “it’s just that why did I have to come? I’m neither an Auror nor a Watcher – certainly not a Vampire Slayer...”
“Hey, you were bored and wanted to tag along – plus you’re needed to play intermediary be-tween us and him if a need arises,” Faith sighed. “You’re needed, Longbottom, and that’s that.”
“Really? Thanks!” Neville said, sounding happier than before, before turning his attention back to Harry. “Are we there yet?”
Harry (who had been asked by Neville this question at least 45 times already), just groaned.
“Yes, actually, we are,” Rupert Giles said suddenly, startling the others. “We’re here.”* * *
And here was... foreboding. A typical, sprawling, rather run-down mansion, uninhabited by people (or goblins, trolls, etc), it did not inspire any positive feelings. “There’s a muggle song, saying ‘Wish you were here’,” Faith said conversationally. “This place, then, is its’ anti-thesis, or something.”
“Duly acknowledged,” muttered Harry, before opening the doors with a timely Allohomora
spell. That proved to be a bad idea, however, as the doors opened outwards, allowed a large brown bear to fall right on top Harry, raising clouds of sawdust dust into the air – fortunately, the bear had been stuffed a long time ago...
“...Harry? You okay?” Harry heard Neville’s concerned voice ask him, even as somebody – probably Faith – lift the remains of the bear off him. As he tried to reply, however, a powerful sneezing fit took over him – the result of the cloud of dust and other debris, no doubt – and so he was unable to reply straight away.
“...Should I slap him?” Harry heard Faith say between the sneezes, followed by the slap itself – a powerful force that almost caused him to blow his lungs through nostrils; on the other hand, it did help him to stop sneezing...
“And that’s that for now,” Harry said firmly when he was able to speak. “I’m in charge here, remember?”
“Splendid. What do we do with the bear?” Rupert Giles said dryly. “And there’s a matching grey wolf inside, too.”
“Duly acknowledged,” Harry said flatly. “Neville, write them down on your list, and let’s proceed.”* * *
Fortunately, after the stuffed-bear-at-the-doorway incident, things began to calm down some-what. The mansion was rather spacious, and not very cluttered. There were plenty of books, and Rupert Giles had greatly appropriated that fact, by beginning to investigate them almost straight-away. Faith and Neville, however, had wandered off, looking for anything else interesting that they could find. Harry didn’t attempt to prevent them from straying, figuring that they could handle pretty much anything that they could encounter here – only Faith and Neville did not know that...
Still, for a while they did pretty well, wandering from room to room recording everything that they saw – not very exciting, but Faith, and even more so Neville, could handle it. And then they came to a table with locked drawers. Normally, Neville would’ve tried to Allohomora
it open as well, but after Harry’s misadventure at the front door, and since Faith was closer, he let her rip the door open and... release something out of it.
“What is that?” Faith asked Neville.
“Well,” Neville replied, trying to sound more thoughtful than his usual manner, “it looks like a giant boggart.”
“Are they dangerous?” Faith asked quietly, as the boggart/not boggart seemed to reveal its true nature by shapeshifting in lord Voldemort, of all people.
“Not really,” Neville muttered, glaring at the not-Voldemort. “Ridikkulus
The not-Voldemort visible shuddered and transformed itself into... a giant serpent-dragon with two heads – and one of those heads lashed at Neville and would’ve bitten him in two, if Faith wasn’t able to tackle him (and herself) out of the way – and out of the room.
“Oh Giles!” she shouted even as the two of them fled from the serpent-dragon. “We’ve got a monster!”* * *
“What monster?” Giles asked crossly, as Faith and Neville burst back into the lobby, red and out of breath. (Well, Neville was.) “I hope that it wasn’t full of stuffing and sawdust, as Harry’s bear was?”
The next moment the serpent-dragon itself made an appearance, and it clearly wasn’t full of stuffing and sawdust, far from it. Rather, it was quite strong and muscular, as it lunged out with one of its heads, knocking Harry down.
“That’s it!” Harry shouted, sneezing at the same time, and – transformed into a bear. A very similar bear to the one that had fallen on him, i.e. – a very big bear.
And a very loud and angry bear too, as it raised itself on its rear paws and roared in challenge to the serpent-dragon. The latter hissed, shifted, and became a very big... wolf. The wolf charged at the bear, which swatted the wolf away, only for it to become a tiger. The pair rolled on the ground, with the bear on top, even as the tiger became a walrus instead, but then-
!” Neville finally pulled himself together and stunned the two combatants with a spell. The bear did freeze, but the walrus instead transformed into a giant boggart and flew away to the top of the bookcase instead.
Silence fell, as Faith, Neville and Giles just stared at the now-frozen bear. “Now what?” Faith asked.* * *
“First things first,” Giles admitted, even as he made himself comfortable alongside the other two. “What you have met is a phasm, a rarer cousin to the boggart. It doesn’t feed on fear and can take on any form that it wants.”
“Is it dangerous?” Neville asked, even as he peeked at the top of the bookcase.
“Only in its unpredictability,” Giles admitted. “That, I admit, is nothing to be dismissive off, but it bears no intentional malice towards us.”
“So, no slaying?”
“So, no slaying,” Giles nodded. “Now as for Harry, I’m afraid that he got cursed. It’s an ancient Norse curse, similar to lycanthropy: it transforms its victim into a berserker.”
“Berserker – an ancient Viking warrior-wizard, who usually transformed into a wolf or a bear in the heat of battle,” Faith said thoughtfully. “That’s sort of similar to lycanthropy, save that it is not transferable through biting.”
“That’s good,” Neville said, rather weakly. “How do we get Harry back to normal, though?”
“Actually, he should revert back to his human self – for now – once had calmed down... which should be about now,” Giles said thoughtfully. “Dispel the spell, please, and we will see.”
Gulping, and thinking what Ginny will say, once she found-out that Harry became a bear on Neville’s watch, Neville complied.* * *
“What has happened?” Harry asked dizzily, still weak from the result of Neville’s spell cancel-ling-out his berserker state.
“Well,” Neville said weakly, “you got cursed with an ancient Norse curse. From now on, when you become angry, you became really angry... and a really big bear. A brown one.”
“...Well, that probably par for the course for an Auror,” Harry decided, feeling surprisingly not angry at the moment. “I mean, considering how Moody looked like, this isn’t too bad. And your monster?”
“A kind of a super-boggart, called a phasm,” Neville admitted. “Faith’s sitting on the top of the bookcase, talking to it right now.”
“About the house, mainly,” Neville admitted. “And just for the record? Apparently, since 1893, these phasm-creatures were given equal rights to goblins that include the right of owning property-“
“So this may be its house?” Harry asked flatly, as two and two finally added to four in its mind.
“...Maybe?” Neville said, weakly.
“Well, that changes everything! Let’s floo Kingsley, and tell him that this mansion may not be as available to the state as we first thought it would be,” Harry said firmly, and walked to use the local fireplace to contact Kingsley Shacklebolt. That didn’t go as planned either, but that is another story.