• Published 8th Dec 2020
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If Wishes Were Ponies, Book II - tkepner



Harry Potter and the CMC are ready for their second year at Hogwarts. Tom Riddle is not pleased.

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Ch. 01. Summer Hols

Professor Lupin was Sirius Black’s best friend, and had a pale face with premature lines, and light brown hair. He was also quite tall, standing six feet, two inches. While Sirius had accompanied Harry and his herdmates over to Equestria at the end of their first school year at Hogwarts School of Witchcraft and Wizardry, Remus had stayed behind to finish off some the loose ends regarding grades, schedules, and planning for the next term. He also had to make more permanent arrangements for being absent from his home not only for most of the summer hols, but also for the coming school year.

As a result, he was delayed until the middle of July, almost in time for the full-moon.

Full-moons were a problem for Remus Lupin — he had a “condition” that made it very difficult for him to function at those times. The days before he was always more irritable and touchier about what people said or did around him. The days after, he was usually very tired and depressed. The night of the full-moon could be quite violent, if he wasn’t extremely careful.

Not much unlike what most women go through once a month, but much, much worse.

That had been lessened, somewhat, by him finally having access to the new potion that held those things to a minimum — Wolfsbane Potion. It tasted terrible, and had a regimen requiring its use for a full week before the full moon. Missing even one dose made it useless.

Remus was, to his misfortune, a werewolf.

The professor had been one of those invited to visit Ponyville over the summer hols. Mainly, so he and Sirius could work out a few of their differences in a neutral location.

Sirius had spent almost ten years in Azkaban, the terrifying wizard prison, without being charged with a crime. He had been thought to be guilty of betraying his best-friend and his best-friend’s wife in service to a Dark Wizard. Remus had been convinced of his guilt, and never sought the truth.

Sirius, despite being good friends with Remus, had thought him in service to the Dark Wizard.

Their first meeting, months before, in the wizarding world had started awkwardly, moved to yelling, and ended with both sobbing on each other’s shoulders. The only reason their reunion hadn’t dissolved into spell fire had been because their friends had relieved them of their wands.

However, Sirius had many medical appointments with mind healers. His long imprisonment in Azkaban, the wizarding prison staffed with creatures that inspired despair and hopelessness in the prisoners, had done untold damage to his psyche. It would take years of therapy before he could be said to have recovered — not that he wouldn’t have lingering effects for the rest of his life. Long-term false imprisonment took a toll no matter who one was. Especially in Azkaban.

Complicating things since then, of course, had been that Remus had to live at the castle during the school year, and his duties there severely limited his opportunities to meet with his old friend.

Which was why they wanted to get together over the summer.

Remus had prepared as well as he could for travel to Equestria. His luggage consisted almost entirely of a small bag that fit easily in his pocket. He knew that clothes would not be a problem, as most ponies in Equestria never bothered — and why should they? They were already wearing fur coats!

So, he packed his toothbrush, a camera, a few other incidentals, and that was it!

Passing through the Equestrian Embassy, and the three security checkpoints, he found very interesting. Most of those in the Embassy were ponies, with a smattering of those in human form, plus human visitors and employees. The checkpoints to the Portal, however, each had six well-armed guards, three human and three pony.

It was rather intimidating, actually, especially as the ponies were all equipped with saddle-mounted mini-guns. Astonishingly, they had managed to make sure every traveller, muggle or magical, was discretely scanned for illusions, poly-juice, animagus, and other magical methods of fooling people into thinking you were someone you weren’t. No one would be sneaking in or out of Equestria. The scans were extended to their clothes and possessions, too, and included a few spells he had never heard of or seen before.

There was even a checkpoint immediately before the Portal, itself!

The muggles never noticed the magic.

The equestrian scheme to hide all their magic use under the term of “highly advanced technology” was paying off, as the non-magicals uniformly misinterpreted the magic they did see. The “pretend” tech devices they waved around or had people stand in front of were more than enough to fool the muggles. It was quite clever, he had to admit.

To his dismay, however, his arrival in Equestria, was not without drama. He had collapsed almost immediately after transiting the portal, convulsing on the ground, for several minutes. Then he had passed out. As he was now a unicorn, like all the other wizards and witches to come through the portal, no one knew what the problem was.

Their doctors did the best they could to stabilize his condition, and quickly moved him into quarantine in the Portal Hospital. He had awoken briefly, in his room, only to once more go into convulsions just moments later. Before anypony could get into the room, he had passed out, again.

Sirius, Harry, his herdmates, and his friends had all gathered in the waiting room for news on the wizard who was either a friend or their Professor.

By this time, they had both doctors from Equestria and healers from the wizarding world on-site trying to determine what had and was happening.

It was one of the healers who noticed that his second set of convulsions just so happened to coincide with moonrise. Not hard to do for the healer once they knew their patient was a werewolf and that the full moon was due back at their home.

Luna had decided to synchronize her moon’s phases with that of the Earth’s moon, so it was a full moon she brought up.

Once the connection was made between the moon and Remus being a werewolf, word was sent to Canterlot. Luna was quick to respond, and for the first time in centuries, Equestria, and the rest of their world, had a moonless night.

No doubt there would be complaints from the neighbouring countries about the Royal Sisters playing games with the celestial bodies, again.

It was another hour before Remus settled into a deep slumber that appeared to be natural. The doctors discussed waking him, but decided it would be better to let him wake naturally. If he woke up at all.

In the meantime, the wizarding healers cast spells and dithered over the results. They showed Remus to be a normal wizard, but they weren’t sure if the spells were performing correctly in the magical environment of Equestria. Having the moon pop up and down like a yo-yo was not normal, as far as they were concerned, and who knew what that would do to their moon-based spells?

It wasn’t until the next day that Remus sluggishly rolled over and weakly said, “Where am I? What happened?” He stared at the doctors, healers, nurses, friends, students, and Princesses. Princesses! They stared back from the other side of the reinforced glass window separating the quarantine room from the observation room.

All he could remember was stepping through the portal, seeing the sun low in the sky, and then a pain that encompassed his whole body had hit him, and he had collapsed to the deck under his hooves. He remembered briefly opening his eyes, but being almost immediately overcome with pain once more.

Which is what he told them after getting a drink and taking a few moments to finish waking up and gather his thoughts.

The doctors then told him of what had happened, and what they had done. On hearing that he had gone into convulsions when Luna rose the full moon, his eyes shot wide open for a moment. He should be a werewolf, right now, not a pony! He tightly shut his eyes and frowned as he thought.

“I can’t feel the wolf!” he suddenly exclaimed. “He’s gone! There’s nothing there!”

Sirius, and several of the students, were gobsmacked.

“Are you sure? No sign at all? Maybe it’s in a deep sleep?” one of the healers said almost in sync with Sirius.

The healer then moved to casting their diagnostic spells, again. They all returned the same answer. Remus wasn’t a werewolf.

Except for Sirius, his visitors headed for home. It had been a long, sleepless night and they were exhausted.

Remus, on the other hand . . . hoof . . . had had a good nights sleep. Much better than anything he had managed as a werewolf on a full-moon night, that was for sure! He spent the rest of the day in the quarantine room, probing his mind, trying to see if it was a trick — and talking things over with Sirius.

He also spent some time adapting to walking on all fours. While the werewolf was based on wolf-like attributes, werewolves spent most of their time on two legs, not four.

Partway through the day, the healers and doctors came to him and told him what they thought had happened.

His “furry problem,” as Sirius liked to call it, had been responsible for his first collapse at the outside of the portal. His new body, a unicorn, had tried to adapt to the problem of being magically required to transform into a non-pony at some point. The animagus, the wizarding ability to change to another animal, was not available to ponies.

Oh, they had spells to change into other animals, just as the wizards and witches had spells to do the same thing.

But being a werewolf was different. That was now a part of his animagus magic.

That had been responsible for his first collapse at the outside of the portal. His unconsciousness had been the result of his magic and the unicorn body’s magic working at that problem — attacking each other viciously, trying to drive the other out. Or, perhaps, merely subjugating the other. No one knew.

The full-moon rising, which should have triggered a wizard-to-werewolf transformation on the other side of the portal, came into an immediate conflict with a unicorns’ nature of not being able, innately, to transform in such a manner. It simply didn’t have that native ability. The werewolf curse tried to use an ability that wasn’t present. The werewolf curse, though, now had to devote part of its magical energy towards accomplishing that transformation. The unicorn magic just continued trying to evict the foreign curse.

If not for the full-moon that night, who knew what the unicorn’s magic might have come to as an accommodation? Perhaps it would have kept the curse subjugated as a potential problem that didn’t need a solution. The full-moon, though, in the midst of the conflict, had required a complete resolution.

Wizards and witches have the ability to transform into a specific animal as a part of their nature. Those wizards and witches that are infected with the werewolf curse have their animagus form replaced with that of the werewolf. Otherwise, those wizards and witches would have an animagi form in addition to the werewolf — and they don’t. Even if they had had an animagus form before getting the curse, afterwards, they only had the werewolf form once a full moon.

The werewolf curse, on the night of the full-moon, takes advantage of the wizarding animagus ability to force the wizard or witch to transform into the werewolf form. It traps them like that until sunrise by submerging their reasoning ability. The curse replaces their reasoning with rage at the humans who had done this to them. Which spread the curse, if the wizard or witch didn’t isolate themselves in time to prevent them from hunting down and attacking the humans they hated with such passion.

Ponies don’t have the animagus ability. While they do have spells to transform into other creatures, they don’t have an innate ability to do so. In Remus’ case, the curse tried to force a change with a magical ability that didn’t exist in the pony. It had destroyed itself in the ensuing fight with Equestria’s unicorn magic.

They verified the curse was gone the next night, when Luna rose a full-moon as a test and Remus had failed to react at all. They had even let him out of the room into the grassy area that fronted the hospital. He had spent hours staring at the moon and stars.

Then, the next morning, he and Sirius had gone back through the portal and went to the Department for the Regulation and Control of Magical Creatures. Once there, they went to the Werewolf Registry of the Beast Division to perform the official check on his werewolf status. After three tries, the last by an Unspeakable, the Department Head was forced to conclude he was no longer a werewolf. The next full-moon on that side of the portal, only a few weeks later in July, would be conclusive proof that he wasn’t a werewolf.

Sirius got Lyall Lupin, a member of the council in charge of the department to agree that an official statement to that affect would be published in the Daily Prophet, and a letter officially declaring his status as “not a werewolf” would be issued at that time.

Had he, inadvertently, discovered a cure for the werewolf curse? It was painful, true, but not nearly as painful as the transformation into a werewolf was itself.

He spent the remaining weeks of July back in the wizarding world contacting a few of the more trusting werewolves and telling them what had happened. Because they knew he had been a werewolf, yet the werewolf-detection spell now indicated he wasn’t, they were willing to give it a try.

^-_-^

The explosion caught them all off guard. The Unspeakables were quick with their magic shields, as were Headmaster Dumbledore, Princess Twilight, Magical Law Enforcement Department Head Amelia Bones, and the three aurors that were with them. Fortunately for Harry, Twilight’s shield covered both of them. However, they were all still momentarily blinded by the flash.

Dazed, Harry sat up from his new position on the floor. He blinked furiously, trying to see what had happened. His ears were still ringing when Harry’s eyes started to recover from the brilliant blast of white light. The room slowly emerged from the white fog that seemed to surround him. He took a quick look around to see if anything had been damaged.

They were in a large, rectangular, dimly lit room, with a sunken circular stone pit in the centre about six yards deep, just like before. So, they hadn’t been transported to anywhere else — which is what probably would have happened if they had been in Equestria. That was just the way his and his mum’s luck worked back home.

The pit was lined with stone benches and descended in steep steps toward a raised stone dais at the bottom. On the dais was a free-standing ancient crumbling stone archway. The archway appeared to be hung with a tattered black curtain. The curtain was fluttering very slightly as though it had just been touched by a faint wind, the explosion not even disturbing it. The air in the room was still and cold.

As Harry’s eyes recovered and he began to recognise more details, everything in the room looked exactly as it did before, except the people were half-crouched and blinking in reaction to what had happened. There was no sign of the box he had just thrown into the Veil.

The Unspeakables had been in the room for at least an hour before he had arrived, making unspecified “preparations.” Harry, and those accompanying him, had arrived only a few minutes before the explosion. As the adults had planned a month ago, the Headmaster Dumbledore and Twilight had brought Harry directly from the Weasley homestead to the so-called Death Room, where they had met the Unspeakables, the Head of the Department of Magical Law Enforcement, and her aurors.

He-Who-Must-Not-Be-Named, also known as Voldemort but actually named Tom Marvolo Riddle at birth, had been captured by Dumbledore and Twilight in a tremendous battle weeks ago. They had kept his spirit — the wizard he had been possessing had died — in a special “spirit trap” in the Headmaster’s desk. They had had to wait this long because they had wanted to make sure that they had destroyed the things that Tom Riddle had created to ensure his survival after death — his immortality. Those horrible items, called horcruxes, anchored him to this plane. As long as one of them existed, he would be held back here.

The hunt had been difficult, but they thought they had destroyed all of the monster’s soul anchors: the Gaunt family ring, Ravenclaw’s tiara, Slytherin’s locket, and Hufflepuff’s cup. They believed that Lord Voldemort had rendered his soul into five pieces, counting himself, a magically powerful number.

Harry’s desperate parents, knowing that the evil wizard wanted to kill their son because of a prophecy, had used old, ancient, nearly forgotten to create a protective spell for Harry. When the evil wizard had tried to kill the helpless infant that fateful Halloween night, that spell had reflected the wizard’s killing spell back at him, instead. Unfortunately, his spell had accidentally fractured his soul a sixth time when it did that. To avoid dissipating, as it should have, that piece of soul had latched onto Harry as the only living thing close to it. Weakened by the attack, the protective spell from his parents couldn’t eliminate the intruder, but it had prevented that soul-piece from harming Harry.

Ironically, the soul-piece had been accidentally destroyed by a magic-consuming villainous centaur in Equestria, Tirek, over a year ago.

Now, with all his anchors destroyed, they had thought they could safely pitch the box containing Lord Voldemort through the veil. The Unspeakables believed the portal led straight to world of the dead, and that someone who went through the Veil would be forever trapped in the world of death.

Well, at least, nothing thrown through had ever come back.

Some people, Harry had been told previously, could hear voices from behind the Veil. The Unspeakables claimed that the voices were the whisperings of the dead, trying to talk to their loved ones still living.

Harry was one of them, he had discovered on entering the room. The had the urge to go closer, that maybe it was his parents trying to talk to him, had been powerful, indeed. He could almost make out the words he heard. However, Twilight, his adoptive mother, was right at his side. She had put her arm around his shoulders to help him resist the temptation.

As planned, Harry had approached the Veil. After a quick look at his mother, who nodded, he had tossed the box in an under-handed throw at the curtain in the archway. He had been confident that evil Lord Voldemort would be no more.

The explosion had occurred at the very instant the box had touched the non-corporeal curtain.

“What happened?” Harry said hesitantly, standing up, still blinking and rubbing his eyes.

“I’m not sure,” Twilight said, just as hesitantly as she, too, regained her feet. She looked around suspiciously. “Based on the lack of debris, I think that either the box has been destroyed entirely, or it has gone through the Veil.” Copying the Unspeakables and the Headmaster, she, too, began to cast spells trying to determine what had happened.

After several minutes, she sighed and looked over to the Headmaster. “Well, the spells sealing the walls against spirits seem to be intact. And my spirit detection spells merely cause the arch to glow. Which they did when we first came in here.”

One of the Untouchables nodded in agreement.

“I guess the explosion was the result of the spells on the box coming into conflict with the Veil’s curtain.” She worried her lower lip for a moment. “Perhaps spells can’t cross the boundary. Or, at least, those spells can’t.” She shook her head and frowned worriedly. “I can’t detect any signs of Tom Riddle’s soul in the room, though.” She sighed and stared at the arch. “That thing is so magically bright it’s hard to tell.”

Again, one of the Unspeakables nodded his head in agreement. “There are permanent spirit detection spells in this room,” he said. His despondent tone, made it sound like he was disappointed at that fact. “Should it have remained outside the Veil, and escaped our detections at the moment, the instant it tries to move from wherever it might be hiding, we will know it.”

She nodded her head. “There is the distinct possibility, too, that lacking the soul-anchors, unless it can possess something soon, it will just fade away, anyway.”

The Unspeakable nodded a third time. “I believe that Tom Marvolo Riddle, also called the Dark Lord and Lord Voldemort, is no more.”

It was her turn to nod, as did the Headmaster.

“I agree,” Dumbledore said. He smiled at Harry. “A job well done, my boy. The prophecy is fulfilled. Tom Riddle, the self-styled Lord Voldemort, has been vanquished by your hand.”

Harry wasn’t so sure, but let himself be reassured. He smiled up at his mother. She was still worrying her lower lip and looking around the room with narrowed eyes. He could tell she wasn’t nearly as confident as the Headmaster. She slowly turned and headed for the exit. Harry followed her off the dais.

The Untouchables wandered around the room and continued casting spells.

“Princess Sparkle, Mr. Potter,” Miss Bones said as they approached. “I don’t believe either of you have visited the Ministry before. Would you like a tour?”

“That is an excellent idea!” said Dumbledore. “Twilight was here, briefly, regarding Mr. Sirius, but she didn’t see much more than a quick glance.”

Harry sighed heavily. Wizards. Can’t live with them, can’t live without . . . well, actually, he could live without them. Much as he might want to hex them . . . he was a good pony. He glanced up at his mum and smiled.

That took care of the rest of the morning. While superficially interesting, after the fourth office that looked exactly the same as the others, Harry was ready to go home. Unfortunately, as Twilight had told Harry before they had left Equestria, part of the mission for the day was to make a production out of showing that Harry was not leaving the witching world. As a result, he was introduced to every department head and given a tour of each department. Somewhere along the line, a photographer had appeared. Every Department Head, and every self-important employee who could brow-beat his supervisor, had his or her own personal photograph with Headmaster Dumbledore, Twilight, and Harry. The only bright spot was meeting with Mr. Weasley.

The wizard was in a bit of a rush, though. He was still settling into his promotion from the Misuse of Muggle Artefacts Office to The Improper Use of Magic Office. With the Equestrians on the scene, the decrees on the Reasonable Restriction of Underage Sorcery and the International Confederation of Wizards’ Statute of Secrecy were going to get quite the workout. No to mention that the department not only had a bigger staff, but had also been given a sizeable increase in budget, too.

Unfortunately, Mr. Weasley was an easy-going manager. Even the janitor succeeded in sweet-talking Arthur into letting him get his picture taken with the famous Boy-Who-Lived.

Before they were halfway done, Harry could feel his hand twitching to pull his wand from its holster. He was getting a headache from resisting the temptation. That, and his face was hurting from all the smiling.

On the other hoof, the lower-level employees were always so grateful he felt like a fraud. He really hadn’t done anything. It had been his parents. He was starting to feel a bit resentful about the whole thing. Stupid wizards.

Minister Fudge, and his Undersecretary, the “pink blob” as Harry dubbed her, were not pleased at being left to the last. However, Mrs. Bones pointed out that portly wizard had far better things to do with his time than act as a tour guide. He was somewhat mollified when she told him that the photo of him with Harry Potter, Headmaster Dumbledore, and Princess Sparkle would be on the front page of the Daily Prophet.

Harry didn’t like being a political toy. However, the Princesses had given him the illusion that he could say no, and that they wouldn’t bring up the subject again if he did. As if.

Harry thought he had met every employee in the Ministry by the time they left. On the other hand, he’d never have to go through that again.

۸-~

Twilight and Harry returned to a very quiet Weasley residence. Molly was in the kitchen, preparing lunch for her brood. The twins, she explained, were in their new building opposite Arthur’s work shed. They spent most of their time working in their new laboratory and supervising their two employees. The employees were fulfilling the many orders for their products in the witching world, while they worked on perfecting the processes for mass-producing Sweetie Belle’s other innovative “discoveries.”

Percy had locked himself in his room. Based on his ink-stained fingers, he was apparently writing the next bestseller novel. Ginny was stretching her wings by the family’ Quidditch half-pitch. Ron was in the orchard exploring his new “green” magic abilities.

After greeting Mrs. Weasley, Twilight declined her invitation for lunch and popped off to the embassy. While her schedule had allocated enough time for the trip to the Ministry, that hadn’t prevented a backlog of work piling up for her in her office there.

Harry looked around the sitting-room. He had been with his family in Equestria for the last several weeks, and hadn’t visited the Weasleys since Easter. The room looked quite spiffy, he had to admit. The shabby and worn furniture had been replaced with new. The walls, ceiling, and floor had been given a good once-over, as well. The new wallpaper and rugs made the room bright and cheerful, and the fireplace fairly gleamed. The twins new income had gone a long way to improving their lives, he could see. Ron would no longer have to make do with hand-me-downs. For anything.

Of course, that didn’t include the few gemstones the fillies had shown the Weasley brood how to collect when they were visiting Equestria earlier that summer. Ron, himself, had a sizeable nest-egg as a result.

Well, he decided, he might as well take a look outside and track down Ginny. He hadn’t seen her in several days. She was one reason Twilight had suggested visiting the Weasleys. The other was, of course, so he wouldn’t be underhoof, as Twilight put it, while a birthday party was prepared for tomorrow. It left him feeling quite strange to know that someone was preparing a birthday party for him.

It was while he was headed for the Quidditch pitch that a house-elf popped up in front of him. For a moment, they eyed each other. The creature was barely as tall as his waist, had large, bat-like ears, and bulging green eyes the size of tennis balls. It abruptly bowed so low that the end of its long, thin nose touched the carpet of grass that covered the ground. Harry noticed that it was wearing what looked like an old pillowcase, with rips for arm- and leg-holes.

۸-_-۸

Author's Note:

Welp, here it is. Hope you like it.

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