A/N: Unless others complain, chapters will be shorter, but more frequent. I have summer school (physics) coming up and am studying to make sure that I don't fail. Plus I'm working. I've changed the prologue (which is now being called chapter one as well.) I'm working on the stories that I have inspiration for right now, so no; I'm not abandoning the others, or putting them on hiatus. The poll is still up. Next chapter is about Diagon Alley.
Chapter Three: Explanations
Harry stood there, staring at the letter in disbelief; he completely ignored Dudley when he came to get the mail. Harry was more than a bit disturbed by the address on the envelope.
Parchment and green ink? Who the fuck uses that sort of thing nowadays?
He looked at the large wax seal made of red wax that bore a shield with four different animals: a lion, badger, eagle, and snake, with a large H in the middle. He liked the snake and eagle best. Breaking the seal, he opened the letter, glancing one last time at the address on the front of the envelope.
Mr. H. Potter
Second Largest Bedroom
Number 4, Privet Drive, Little Whinging, Surrey.
Hogwarts School of Witchcraft and Wizardry
Headmaster of Hogwarts School of Witchcraft and Wizardry: Albus Percival Wulfric Brian Dumbledore
(Order of Merlin; First Class, Grand Sorcerer, Chief Warlock, Supreme Mugwump, & Member of the International Confederation of Wizards (ICW).)
Dear Mr. Potter,
We are pleased to inform you that you have been accepted at Hogwarts School of Witchcraft and Wizardry. Please find enclosed a list of all necessary books and equipment. Term begins on September 1st. We await your owl by no later than July 31st.
Deputy Headmistress of Hogwarts School of Witchcraft and Wizardry
Harry glanced over the enclosed list, his eyebrows shooting upwards.
Where the fuck was am I supposed to get all of this shit? What the fuck did they mean by 'we await your owl'?
He had a sneaking suspicion that they meant an actual owl. He narrowed his eyes at Dumbledore's name. Dumbledore had far too many names and titles. Self-important, the man must be self-important.
Dudley froze at the sight of his demonic cousin staring at a letter as though it held all of the answers to the universe. He gulped; snatching up the letters and bolted back to the kitchen when he saw the look of anger begin to form on the freak's face. Dudley dashed into the kitchen, eyes wide with fright.
"Dudders, what on—."
"Did. You. Know?" The three Dursleys froze, staring at the miniature demon masquerading as a human in the kitchen doorway.
Harry's face was twisted in fury, his hand clenched around the letter, knuckles white. Aunt Petunia's eyes locked onto the shaking letter in his tight grasp. She, if possible, paled even more. Uncle Vernon looked at the letter as well; now a nasty greyish color rather than his trademark purple. Dudley had tossed the mail on the table and was hiding behind his mother, once again displaying how few brain cells he actually had.
Claws began to form, and his teeth sharpened slightly. Harry was unaware that these changes were only going to grow as he aged. The changes disappeared not long after, leaving Harry feeling suddenly tired.
"Y—ye—yes." Aunt Petunia stuttered, flinching as the light bulbs began to explode.
"Tell me everything." The two adult Dursleys shared a look, pale faced and trembling.
"Diddy, why don't you go play in your room." Dudley didn't need to be told twice, and scurried out of the room as fast as his fat legs would allow him.
"My sister was a witch, as was her husband." Petunia's voice was trembling, barely able to be understood. Harry sat in a kitchen chair, leaving his back to the wall. He stared at his aunt, arching a brow.
"Sh-she always did freak—odd things. Flying off swings, causing flowers to bloom in the winter, many things." Petunia's eyes were looking at some long past memory, glazed and unfocused.
"Then the letter came." Her eyes snapped to the parchment on the kitchen table. Something ugly flashed through her eyes. "From the moment she opened it, she was no longer my sister." Harry didn't react, keeping a tight leash on his magic. Vernon was red faced, puffing up in righteous anger.
"Our parents were so proud of her, buying her everything she wanted and acting like they too had received letters." The bitterness in her voice grew, and Harry was left without a doubt that his aunt was being eaten by jealously.
"That boy was so smug." Harry perked up. Boy, what boy? "Severus Snape, a nasty little boy with a black heart. He hurt me with his magic once; he dropped a large tree branch on my head. Oh, Lily was so mad, but she forgave him." Petunia spat out. Harry decided that he would try and locate this Snape fellow.
"Were they good friends?" Petunia had a sour look on her face, well, more sour than usual.
"They were as thick as thieves. They spent almost all of their time together, trying to become even bigger freaks." Vernon nodded his head, agreeing with his wife. He sneered at his freakish nephew.
"They left, going off to the school for freaks, only coming back for the holidays and leaving as soon as they were over. Every year she became more and more of a freak, forgetting her family in the process." Aunt Petunia was staring at Harry's letter, fury etched on her face.
"Then she met that Potter boy, and left the family for good." Aunt Petunia was slightly exaggerating of course. She didn't know that Lily had left to try and protect her family. "It wasn't long after that that you were born." Here she paused and shot a sharp look at Harry that left him completely unruffled.
"Then they went and got themselves blown up! We were saddled with you, your freak kind leaving us no choice but to take you in. That Headmaster, Dumble-something, left you on our front porch sometime during the night of November first, with only a letter and blanket!" Her screeching by all rights should have shattered the glass in the room, but by some miracle didn't.
Harry tensed, sending his aunt a withering glare in response to her latest admission. So Dumbledore was responsible. Harry decided that he hated the man. Petunia wilted under the icy gaze burning into her. Vernon went to yell his own opinions, but a nasty shock from Harry's magic changed his mind. He settled for making odd faces that were meant to be insulting, but looked ridiculous on his face.
"Where is this letter?" The two adult Dursleys tensed, not making eye contact with the freak.
"I burned it." Harry stood abruptly from his chair, and the temperature of the room plummeted.
"You. Did. What?" His voice ripped into the petrified Dursleys like shards of ice.
"I—I bur—burned it." Her voice was but a whisper, and Harry's normally blank face contorted in fury.
"What was written?" He was standing in front of the Dursleys now, arms crossed and eyes turning red.
"The Head—Headmaster thought it a good idea to pawn you off on us for protection. He said that Lily created some sort of blood ward thingy that would protect us from harm so long as we took you in and you considered this your home. He threatened us with magic, and said that he would bring you back if we tried to get rid of you. He said that he would know if we did within a day." Her voice was trembling with fear and fury.
A slow smirk curled Harry's lips. A devious plan began to percolate through his brain; one that he decided would be one of his best. "So, so long as I call this place home, I have to stay here?" The two Dursleys nodded warily. "How…convenient." Harry would wait and see what other options he had before effectively kicking himself out.
Harry turned away from the terrified Dursleys abruptly, conjuring a pen and piece of paper from thin air. He sat back down at the table and began to write.
Dear Deputy Headmistress McGonagall,
I graciously accept your invitation to Hogwarts School of Witchcraft and Wizardry, but I am afraid that I know nothing about the world of magic. I was shocked to learn that such a thing exists. My relatives have proven to be less than helpful, and I will need someone to guide me to the place I need to go to buy my school supplies. I am also unsure of how my parents died.
Harry James Potter
Harry read over the response and nodded his head. Standing, he paused, not knowing what to do next. Fortunately, luck was on his side today. A large owl started pecking at the window, prompting Vernon to shout in alarm and Petunia to shriek in terror. Rolling his eyes at his idiotic relatives, he strode over to the window, and opened it. The owl hopped inside, not having a screen in its way. Harry stared at the owl blankly, and held out the letter, feeling rather foolish. The owl hooted and took the letter in its beak, before turning and launching itself out of the window. Harry smirked when he spotted several neighbors peeking at the house in curiosity. No doubt that tongues would be wagging over the owl.
Harry knew that he could do nothing more than wait at the moment. Shooting a disgusted look towards the kitchen, he trudged up the stairs.
Minerva McGonagall sighed in dismay. Her desk was covered with parchment. Albus had pushed off several of his duties onto her in the past month for reasons she was unaware of. He would be getting an earful, that was for sure. A tapping noise on her left drew her attention and she glanced over at the closed window. Grumbling, she hauled herself out of her comfortable chair and walked stiffly over to the window.
Normally, she would just open the window with magic, but she had been sitting for so long that she needed to move around for a bit. The owl dropped the letter from its beak, giving a hoot of hello before flying off to the Owlery.
Minerva paid the no attention though, far to preoccupied with staring at the letter in shock. Fury shot through her, and she stormed out of her office. The portraits called out to her, asking what was wrong, but she ignored them all.
Albus Percival Wulfric Brian Dumbledore sucked absentmindedly on a lemon drop. His phoenix familiar Fawkes was pecking at a treat, making soft noises of contentment. Dumbledore stared at the spinning and smoking instruments on his shelves, noting that nothing had changed. The portraits of the past Headmasters and Headmistresses of Hogwarts looked down at him in boredom.
Harry Potter was attending Hogwarts this year. He would have to send Hagrid to retrieve the poor boy. Dumbledore had a bad taste in his mouth as he thought of the torture he had condemned young Harry Potter too so many years ago. He just couldn't risk Harry going dark or be spoiled and subsequently become arrogant due to his fame. No, Harry had to desperate for affection and approval. He, Albus Dumbledore, would be seen as his hero, rescuing him from his horrible relatives. Dumbledore firmly ignored the little voice whispering that he had made the worst mistake of his entire life. Nonsense, he was Albus Dumbledore, defeater of Gellert Grindelwald and Leader of the Light. No, he had done the right thing.
He had little warning before an infuriated Minerva McGonagall stormed into his office.
"Albus Dumbledore! You have some explaining to do!" Dumbledore looked at her in confusion and dread.
"I am terribly sorry my dear, but I have no idea what you are talking about." His calm and jovial voice only enraged her further.
"Explain this!" Banishing the letter onto his desk, she folded her arms, foot tapping impatiently.
Dumbledore picked up the paper, noting that the writing seemed far too much like Tom Riddle's had. If he didn't know better, he would say that this was Tom Riddle's handwriting, but Voldemort would never lower himself to using Muggle paper or ink. Dumbledore read over the letter, paling as the words registered in his brain. This didn't sound like a child desperate for affection and approval. No, this sounded like an independent and strong child.
Severus Snape chose that moment to enter, and almost gaped at the sight of a furious Minerva looking ready to eviscerate the Headmaster. Minerva whirled to face him, her nostrils flaring. "Severus, the Headmaster is an idiot." Severus actually gaped this time. Had he just misheard what she said? Judging by the look of absolute fury on her face, he had heard her perfectly fine. Dumbledore glared at McGonagall.
"Severus my boy, perhaps you could go get Hagrid and tell him that I want him to take young Harry to Diagon Alley?" Minerva blew up at that.
"No! Absolutely not! If anyone is to go, it will be Severus or myself!" All of the other professors were either busy or unavailable to fetch Harry. Albus scowled at her, frustrated that she was suddenly displaying such backbone again. "Hagrid isn't a professor Albus; he is not allowed to guide students into the magical world!"
Severus had taken a step back, wanting to flee the room and avoid McGonagall's wrath. He also wanted nothing to do with the Potter brat unless it involved humiliating him. Albus looked like he too was about to start yelling. Severus decided to just leave them to it. Fate had other ideas though.
Just as Severus had turned and started to walk out of the office, Minerva grabbed his arm. "Not so fast, you are coming with me." Severus gave her a fierce glare, and began winding himself up for an argument. Minerva summoned the letter Harry had sent and shoved it at him. Snape sneered at the aging witch before reading it. He breathed in deeply through his nose, and looked at McGonagall with ominously glittering black eyes.
"Very well. I know how to find them." Minerva looked delighted, while Dumbledore looked horrified for several reasons. One was that he couldn't go, seeing as he was far too busy with his official duties. The second reason was that he couldn't get out of the paperwork he had been putting off, the type of paperwork that he couldn't pawn off on Minerva and would take hours, if not days to get through before due. Finally, he couldn't risk having Snape influence Harry away from Gryffindor, or McGonagall meddle and help the boy become even more independent. He had no idea how Severus could find out where the Dursley and Harry lived, but he sounded far too confident to be bluffing.
This was a complete disaster.
Harry stared morosely at the wall, wondering how long it would take for the letter to arrive at Hogwarts. He flopped back on his bed, the snakes hissing in displeasure. He ignored them, too focused on his thoughts. He sighed, and considered tormenting Dudley, but a knock on the door downstairs jolted him out of his thoughts. He practically flew out of his room, only slowing down at the top of the stairs to make sure he looked unruffled and emotionless, in other words; badass.
Petunia opened the door, curious as to whom it could be. She took one look at the two freaks on the porch and tried to slam the door shut. Severus was faster though, and placed his foot between the door and its frame. He smirked as he forced the door open, pulling out his wand and pointing it at the terrified woman.
"You! Get out! Out!" Petunia seemed to have overcome her fear as her hate for Severus bubbled to the surface.
"Now Tuney, is that anyway to greet an old acquaintance?" Severus smirked maliciously as Petunia cringed at the hated nickname.
"Tuney, now that is something." The three adults tensed and Petunia made a strange squeaking sound before fleeing from Harry's sight. Minerva and Severus felt chills go up and down their spines. The boy looking down at them looked dangerous, like he was a monster hiding in human skin.
"Who might you be young man?" Minerva thought the boy looked like James, but his face was more angular and his hair golden blond, not to mention tamed. The boy smirked at her and Severus.
"Pardon my manners, Harry Potter at your service." Severus hissed out a shaky breath, and Minerva gasped, hand clutching at her heart. He gave a slight bow. Potter was tall, far taller and more muscular than any eleven year old should be. He had an aura of danger and darkness around him, and yet, something drew them in, like a moth to flame. His magic was both painful and soothing, terrifying, yet safe.
"A pleasure to meet you Mr. Potter. I am the Transfiguration professor at Hogwarts, students call me Professor McGonagall, Severus here, is the Potions professor and is addressed as Professor Snape." Harry went very still all of a sudden. Snape felt like his soul was being laid bare as Killing Curse green eyes pinned him like a bug. Harry felt like laughing. Oh, fate and luck must be smiling down on him right now.
"Ah, Mr. Potter, we received your letter and we are here to take you to Diagon Alley. But first, I believe we need to explain a few things."
Harry gave a slow nod and descended the stairs, looking every bit a royal humoring his subjects. A prince, yes that was the air that surrounded Potter, a prince. Severus didn't like it one bit.
"I'll show you to where we can sit." Harry led them into the kitchen, then to the living room, where Petunia had taken shelter. She froze, then practically ran from the room. Harry rolled his eyes. "Don't mind her, she's rather jumpy." Harry sat in the only chair in the room, leaving the two professors to either stand or take the couch. "Tea?" Severus curled his lip and stood next to the couch, while Minerva gratefully sat down. Harry allowed the two professors to have their fill of horrifying pictures featuring Dudley at various ages. One could track his age by his weight far more easily than his features.
"No, thank you though." Severus didn't have to say anything; the expression on his face said it all.
"My cousin." He made a broad gesture around the room, his eyes not leaving the professors once. They soon lost interest in Dudley's mentally scaring photos.
"Ah. Your parents, they, well they were wonderful people." Severus snorted and Minerva glared at him.
"James Potter was nothing more than a bully Minerva." McGonagall looked like she was going to start cursing Severus, but managed to rein in her temper. Harry kept his face blank, though the temperature seemed to have dropped slightly.
"As I was saying, your parents were wonderful people. Your father loved to make mischief and pull pranks. Your mother couldn't have been more different. She was a stickler for rules and thought your father to be an 'immature toe-rag' for many years. They were Head Boy and Head Girl, which forced them to actually work together." Here McGonagall gave a wistful smile. "I believe that it was this, and your father finally beginning to mature, that softened Lily towards him. They married right out of Hogwarts, and your father's best friends stuck with them." A sudden dark look passed over her face. Severus looked like he was vindicated of some claim he had made.
"Your parents went into hiding towards the end of the war along with the Longbottom family. V-Voldemort was the Dark Lord who had started the war. He was killing people left and right. There was little hope of him losing the war." She paused, tears gathering in her eyes.
"He suddenly decided to target both families. No one knows why, well, except for Albus Dumbledore that is. Your parents were betrayed and he came to kill you on Halloween of 1995. He tried to kill you after killing your parents, but something went wrong and you survived. You became famous for two reasons: the first is that you destroyed V-Voldemort and stopped the war; the second is that you survived the Killing Curse. No one but you has survived a successfully cast Killing Curse, yet you did, and it rebounded as well. Nothing but a solid object can block it. Because of that, you are known as the Boy-Who-Lived." Harry stared at her, his stony face revealing nothing of the inner turmoil he was feeling. The temperature of the room continued to steadily decline, enough so that it was abnormal.
"Your mother's body was never found, but I can take you to their graves if you would like." Harry's eyes sharpened.
"How do you know she is dead then?" This time it was Severus that answered.
"It is believed that her body was destroyed in the magical backlash that destroyed the Dark Lord's body as well." His voice could freeze hell it was so cold. Harry stared at the ceiling, his hands resting on the arms of the chair loosely.
"You seem to be taking this well." Severus's voice was full of suspicion. Harry glanced at him briefly, before staring at the white ceiling again.
"My aunt told me enough. Besides, you would have to be an idiot to not realize that all of the strange things you can do are anything else other than magic, that or in deep denial."
"Hmm." Harry suddenly pierced McGonagall with glowing eyes. The two professors blinked, having sworn that they saw scales ripple under his skin for a few seconds. "If you tell me where Diagon Alley is, I can get there myself. Where is the bank that I can extract money from that my parents have left me?" The two professors looked at him in surprise. "Our world is hidden from what I have gleamed and the likelihood of the currency remaining the same is fairly low. My parents would have left me some sort of inheritance, or trust fund for school until I come of age when I am eighteen."
"Seventeen." Harry arched a brow.
"So the age of majority is also different then." Severus, despite himself, found the boy to be intelligent and far too Slytherin. By the sour look on McGonagall's face, she too realized that Potter was more of a Slytherin than a Gryffindor.
"I am afraid that we cannot allow you to wander around Diagon Alley unsupervised Mr. Potter. There are still those who want you dead, mainly Death Eathers, V-Voldemort's followers, running about. It is also highly unprofessional to let a new witch or wizard try and integrate into the magical world without a guide." Harry felt like lashing out at the woman. He tightened his grip on his magic, forcing it to back down. The dour man that he had a sneaking suspicion was one of these Death Eaters. It was just a hunch, but his instincts were never wrong.
"How unfortunate." He didn't clarify what he was referring to. "I am ready to leave at any time professors." The room was so cold that their breath was beginning to mist as it left their warm bodies. Severus couldn't believe the brat was so powerful. He didn't have a very good grip on his magic apparently. Minerva was thinking along the same lines as the Potions Professor.
The two professors exchanged significant looks, very much aware of the dangerous boy observing them like a predator its prey. Minerva suddenly had a feeling of foreboding. She wondered if this was what Dumbledore felt when he delivered a young V-Oh for goodness sake Minnie!-Voldemort his letter. McGonagall had found out by accident when she asked Albus about what happened to Tom Riddle when he left Hogwarts. She had never liked him and knew he was just the type to join Voldemort. Imagine her surprise when she found out that Voldemort and Tom Riddle were one and the same.
Severus was unaware of this little fact, the Headmaster not deeming it important enough to make him aware of. He should have, oh the Headmaster really should have told Severus Snape.