October 2, 2007: Minor revisions, corrected spelling and grammar.
This little thing came about because of an evil image of Harry looking like my Spider-Boy. Okay, so he's not really my Spider-Boy, but he's really hot and I have a tendency to daydream about him. For an image of Spider-boy, think of your average brown-eyed black haired fifteen year old boy. Now, he's about five three, and fairly slender. Sometimes his clothing looks like it's trying to swallow him - He's got classic bishounen features, and is always wearing black. Always black. I have never seen him wear anything that wasn't at least half black. And he's got this black collar that has this big-ass spider charm on it. Can you guess why I call him Spider-boy?
So, yeah, I imagined Potter looking like that, then I need a reason for it, and this thing came about. I'm going to apologize to all my buddies who ever thought of the Soldier of Chaos being a certain black haired redhead. They all seem to run along the same thought process, I just decided to apply it to a different area. La-la-la-la-la-la-la-la-la-la-la
Oh yeah: this is my first HP fic. I don't own any of the HP characters-- Rowling does. I do own "The Old Man", though. I have to come up with a name for that guy. He actually has a roll to play.
Chapter One: Return
When they entered the Great Hall of Hogwarts School of Witchcraft and Wizardry, they found quite the surprise.
By 'they' it is, of course, meant the students, for the professors had all been seated in the Great Hall with this little 'surprise'. For there, seated at the Gryffindor table, was one Harry James Potter.
Two years ago, this certainly would not have come as a surprise. Of course, two years ago had been the beginning of his fourth year at Hogwarts, and this is what should have been his sixth. Should have, for Harry had vanished sometime during the summer hols after fourth year. He hadn't been at the school for even a minute of his fifth year, and Slytherin House had relished in his absence. They had taken to tormenting their rivals, chanting and singing about the cowardice that Potter was showing.
By the end of the year, it was no surprise that even the staunch Gryffindors were beginning to wonder if it were true.
Taken all into account, it was no wonder that the student body were shocked to find the Boy-Who-Lived sitting at his house table. The teenager did not look happy in the slightest meaning of the word; in fact, he looked downright pissed off. His year-mates were afraid to sit near him, and even Hermione and Ron hesitated. This boy who sulked at the end of the table was not quite the friend they had so dearly missed.
Harry had never watched the sorting with such glassy eyes, and though many a person had stared and watched Harry over the years, never had it been quite so blatant, and in many cases with gazes glittering with an edge of concern.
Some of these watchers noted how pale and withdrawn he looked: his skin almost frighteningly white, his eyes large behind his glasses, and his hair falling in dirty tangles around his face to his chin. Others whispered to themselves about the piercings that dotted his face, the sharp glint of metal running through lip and ears and nose. More muttered about the ragged state of his robes, and yet another group wondered at the look of furious rebellion and icy hate that glimmered in his eyes.
Few, if any, noticed the leather collar around his neck, or the chain that ran from it. It was tucked carefully into his robe so that only a minimal amount of it could be seen, and slipped out through his left sleeve to connect him directly to the table. If Harry wanted to leave, then he would have to take the table with him.
And that was the reason that he was currently glowering—and in some cases, growling—at those who came near him. He most certainly did not want to be at Hogwarts. He had been perfectly fine and healthy where he had been before! There was no need to worry about the deaths that he could still feel weighing down on his shoulders. When he was in the Workshop with his caretaker and learning oh-so-many ways to do things that Wizards had never thought of… that was the place he felt safe. There he had been protected, comfortable, and above all calm.
Here, in this place that had once been his refuge, his home, all he could feel was the unnerving itch to run. To bolt away back to his home: back to his safety and never return. Yes, the Workshop where he had lived for the past year had become his beloved home, and he chewed his lip in wondering that the Old Man would think. He had just gone out to purchase some items for him, and an accidental meeting with Snape resulted in… this.
That blasted Potions Master, Harry growled to himself, his eyes catching on the familiar hook-nosed form of his least respected professor. If that bastard hadn't seen him right then and there, he would have gotten off scot-free.
But no, here he was at Hogwarts once again. And it was all that asshole's fault.
Was it all Snape's fault? Certainly not. No, as much as Harry would delight in laying all the blame at the feet of the irritant known as Severus Snape, it was not entirely his fault. Harry himself could take some of the blame in this case, as he had made the mistake of using one of his particular talents to get away—it was McGonagall who had figured it out, and it was Dumbledore who had cast the spells. They'd tracked him down using Sirius and snapped the enchanted collar and chain around his neck.
It's hard to fight back when you're sleeping; something Harry was going to have to change. He had already started to do so, in fact, by sleeping less and less every night that he was trapped within these castle walls. And trapped he was: chained to a table with a magic chain that he could not escape from… a low, animalistic growl could escape, however, and the teenager continued to glare at the Head Table.
The few first years that had gathered the courage to sit near him quickly scrambled to get as far away from him as they possibly could.
A few hours after the rest of Gryffindor House had gone off to bed, Harry glided into the common room. He glowered at the floor, his arms crossed protectively across his chest and his teeth grit in anger; the chain that had kept him locked to the table had been long set free, and it trailed down his chest free of any restraint; even that of his clothing. With the collar clamped around his neck, he couldn't do anything. The only reason that he had been chained to the table was to ensure that he was present for the Sorting Ceremony.
Goddamned holier-than-thou teachers.
Ha! Teachers! Yeah right. They couldn't teach him anything worth knowing, he was sure of it. You couldn't brew a potion in the middle of a battle, after all. Charms that changed mittens into kittens or something as insipid at that were absolutely useless! They couldn't protect you if you got into a fight, and to Harry Potter, everything was in terms of "useful in battle" and "worthless in battle". The Old Man had caught him that.
He had taught Harry many, many things. The least of which that was that insanity, once harnessed, was a power unlimited.
The boy sighed, looping his chain around one hand and drifting up the stairs in the direction of the sixth year boys' dorm. Who cared if he was "supposed" to be in fifth year due to missing it in its entirety? If they were going to force him to attend their school, he would do things his way, no ifs, no ands, and certainly no buts.
Pushing open the door to the dorm room, he was only partially surprised to find that the other sixth year boys were still sitting up and talking. They could be chattier than a group of gossip girls when they really wanted to be. The conversation, however, fell silent as he entered the room, their gazes and faces expressing their confusion at his presence. There was also an undercurrent of mistrust, especially as they watched Potter strip off his robe and revealing the items beneath.
He wore clothing of course—a simple pair of black muggle pants that seemed about ready to fall off of his hips, and an oversized but clean black t-shirt reading "doesn't play well with others" in glaring red text. It was the other items that drew stares. The brown leather belt that was the only thing holding his pants up was paired with a second belt that only went through one loop of his pants and fell limply from one hip. There were the thick black leather gauntlets that stretched from elbow to wrist and over the hand; the leather only thinning in the fingers. Something black and metallic was tucked between his arms and the gauntlets.
The chain and collar were certainly much more visible like this, as were another set of 'collars' that were wrapped around his upper arms. Magic seemed to waft off of these collars, so powerful were the enchantments. If any of the boys had the ability to sense these things, they would have noticed that the enchantments were actually reducing Harry's overall magic power level. But they didn't.
A simple gold chain lay curled around his throat, and disappeared beneath his shirt. As he pulled said shirt off to change into his pajamas, the golden image of a lion's head thumped solidly against his chest at the end of the chain. Harry shucked off his pants, revealing a set of shin-guards that matched his gauntlets, and a pair of pale blue boxers. Against all the black, the blue seemed shockingly bright. He tugged on a pair of pajama bottoms 'rescued' from one of the other boys' trunks, and with a raised eyebrow he smirked: "Show's over, boys."
As one they seemed to flush, with Neville stuttering something about not actually watching, while Dean and Seamus seemed to be content with staring awkwardly at the wall. Ron, after his own bout of stuttering finally passed, got up the nerve to as the one question they had all been wondering: "Where were you last year?"
They did not get what they had expected. What they got was a Harry who growled angrily, looking for a moment more like a caged animal than a human being. His green eyes flashed dangerously, and he spat out a furious curse. "What does it matter?" his voice was sharp, "The Professors refused to let me go back, so why bother talking about it?
"You've been gone for a year, Harry!"
Ron sounded a bit annoyed, Harry thought a bit distantly. Though there was an undercurrent of concern and worry, it just wasn't enough to make the Potter Heir give a damn. He was just feeling so tired all of a sudden, and a yawn fought its way free. He blinked tiredly, "Look, Ron, I'm about to fall asleep standing. Can I get some sleep first?"
He didn't bother to wait for an answer, instead just dropping himself into his designated bed, barely pausing to heft his covers over his body, and drift off to sleep.
At precisely four-oh-five am, a yawn broke the sounds of gentle sleep and a pair of green eyes blinked open to stare up at the canopy over his bed. He frowned at the copious amount of red for a long moment, and then nodded to himself. "It looks too much like blood," was his grumpy mutter, "a different color would be fantastic."
He stared at it for a few longer moments before he sighed and forced himself up into a sitting position. He struggled through his blankets to the end of the bed and reached down into his discarded muggle pants. A quick search of the pockets produced his wand, and he pointed it at his bed with a half grunted, "No more red."
It wasn't really a charm or spell, per say. Harry simply did not want the bed to be red anymore, and so he told it that. His lips twitched with glee once the colors had cycled to something that he actually liked. The comforter and the canopy were a nice shimmery gold, while his pillow case and the sheets were black.
Again, it was one of those "if I have to be here…" things.
Once this 'monumentous' task was completed, Potter finally dragged himself fully out of his bed and stretched. A quick warm-up of his muscles and he was pulling his pants back on in minutes. The shirt he'd worn the night before was left on the ground, and instead went to his trunk. A helpful house elf appeared to have brought it from the fifth year dorms to the sixth year during the night, for which Harry was grateful.
While he had been taken without warning from his home, Harry had been taught to bring his belongings with him in all cases. As such, the trunk had been with him only shrunken down and kept in his pocket. For like every other student in Hogwarts, his belongings were stored in his trunk, but some of those possessions were not the sort of things that a student generally had access to.
These he strapped to his arms and chest or tucked into his pants before he swept his Invisibility Cloak on and over his head.
He moved swiftly through the halls of the magical boarding school, using route that he hadn't taken in over a year, and yet remembered with startling accuracy. His goat was the Quidditch Pitch, and as he had expected for four in the morning there was no one else on the pitch. The teenager stepped out onto the field, drifting towards the center of the pitch before sliding into a ready stance.
It was here that he began to dance. It was a dance that had been taught for generations, a dance of lethal grace and beauty as he fought the invisible opponents conjured in his mind. This is what he had been taught, day in and day out, for the past year, though if it had truly only been a year, then his skill should not have been as great as it was. He moved as one who had trained for years and years would move—and certainly not with an open hand.
He danced with blades: a sword that flashed ruthlessly with every graceful sweep and stab, a pair of knives that carved silvery trails in the rising sun, a thin stiletto that peeked out for a jab, then disappeared once more…
With one final move, the teenager slid his sword back into the scabbard across his back, and his favorite dagger was tucked back into the sheath at his hip. A whispered word, and all the throwing knives that he had used whisked back to him; another dance of deadly beauty had him twisting and flipping in order to catch the knives in their respective sheaths without harming himself.
In the early morning light, the arcane symbols that were embossed into the leather of his collars glinted and nearly glowed. Obviously, these were professionally crafted slave collars of the highest degree.
Sweat glistening at each hard plain of his lithe form—he was thin and lanky, but he was a thin and lanky package of hard muscle—the Boy-Who-Lived took a whiff of his own body odor and pulled a face, "Shower. Definitely need a shower."
Once more he pulled his cloak around his shoulders and entered the building, cheerfully and skillfully avoiding both Mrs. Norris and McGonagall's feline forms. Ah yes. The showers they do a call. He couldn't wait to have a hot shower and scrub off some of his sweat and grim. There was nothing quite like a shower to make one feel alive.
He stopped off in his dorm first, putting all of the weapons but for his favorite dagger, back into his trunk. The Invisibility Cloak was dropped somewhat carelessly on top of it all, and he picked up a shirt and his robe.
Erm, if it sounds slightly psychotic, it's not my fault. Honestly. I'm sure that there's a reasonable explanation for that, I just have to think one up. In the meantime, I'm going to go play some videogames. Laterz.
October 2, 2007:
So, what do these revisions mean? It means there's a cabinet in my bedroom with an outline in it. Take that however you wish to.