I don't own Harry Potter and don't make any money with this fic.
Hello again:) As you can see, I have started a new story. This one will be quite long (perhaps even as long as 'Psychosis') and at times rather dark. But as always, there will be a happy ending.
Harry and Snape will be the main characters (mentor/guardian relationship), but I have a few other characters in mind that might play an important role later on (Luna, Mad-Eye,...). If you have suggestions who would fit into the story, feel free to point them out to me. I have written a complete summary of the story and its chapters, so the main events and the ending are set, but there is plenty of room for adaptions and additions. No bashing, but several characters are portrayed differently than in canon.
This is a third year story, but I haven't yet decided whether Lupin and Sirius will play an important role or only be mentioned in passing. I tend to the latter, though. However, Sirius does escape and everything, so you can assume that this is canon up until the beginning of Harry's third year. But even after this time I will include canon elements, as I love to play with them...
The basic idea of this story is that after Voldemort attacked the Potters, a whole day passed until Harry was placed on the doorsteps of his relatives. We see this in book 1, there is a whole day where the wizards already celebrate before Dumbledore, Hagrid and McGonagall meet at Privet Drive.
I hope you like my new story, and I would be thrilled if you left me a review;)
First Pieces of the Puzzle
Harry leaned back into his seat, closing his eyes. The familiar voices of Ron and Hermione – who had once again started their customary bickering – and the soft vibrating of the train as it made it's way through the southern part of Scotland finally managed to convince him that this was, in fact, not a dream.
No, the awful summer was really over and he really was back with his friends, back on his way to the one place he considered home: Hogwarts. Now everything would be all right and he didn't have to worry about the Dursleys for nearly ten months. He was a bit wary about whether there would be new nasty surprises – Harry hadn't forgotten what had happened last June – but surely nothing that might happen could be as bad as staying with his aunt, uncle and their son for two whole month, could it?
Well, of course, there was Sirius Black... The man had been in the muggle news quite regularly over the summer, but Harry hadn't paid much attention to it. What could a lunatic murderer possibly want in a town like Little Whinging, where people would call the police when someone who looked only remotely foreign or unusual rested on a park bench for more than 5 minutes, 'since we don't want any riffraff in a respectable neighbourhood!'? And then, after the Marge-incident, as Harry kept calling it, when Uncle Vernon had forbidden him to leave the house at all, he had had no reason whatsoever to be concerned about assassination-attempts.
His obliviousness about what the escape of a mass-murderer from a high-security prison might mean for him and his upcoming year at school had only been shattered the previous evening, when Harry had accidentally overheard Mr and Mrs Weasley talking about the very Sirius Black Aunt Petunia had been so hysterical about.
Apparently, the man was a wizard and had been a high-ranking Death Eater during the time Voldemort had still been at large. That wasn't what Harry was worried about, though. After everything he had read about the war and its aftermath (and he did have read quite a few books about this subject, even if Ron and Hermione didn't know about it), Harry knew that there were plenty of Death Eaters who had escaped justice, who could have attacked him whenever they wanted when he had been in Diagon Alley or at school.
No, what had shocked Harry was that it had been this man, this criminal, who was responsible for Harry having to grow up with the Dursleys.
Sirius Black was the one who had betrayed his parents to Voldemort, who had told Voldemort everything he needed to know in order to annihilate the Potter family. If it hadn't been for Sirius Black, Harry would still have his parents, he would have grown up knowing about magic, having friends, and he probably would never have been beaten black and blue for doing accidental magic.
Harry wasn't sure why a Death Eater had been friends with his parents, how Lily and James Potter could have been so blind not to notice that they were entrusting their life (and the life of their child) to the right hand man of their enemy.
From what he had overheard from Mr and Mrs Weasley's argument, much of it had been kept secret after that fateful night in Godric's Hollow, but apparently, not even Dumbledore had managed to prevent the Daily Prophet from reporting that an old friend of James Potter, the heir of the Old and Nobel House of Black, had been thrown into Azkaban for assisting Voldemort in at least two counts of murder.
Now, however, the headmaster's insistence that Harry stayed with his relatives during the holidays had played right into Dumbledore's hands. If it hadn't been for Ron's forgetfulness, Harry would never have overheard the Weasley's argument about whether or not he, Harry, should be told about the fact that Black had likely broken out of Azkaban in order to kill the last remaining Potter. And if Mrs Weasley was to believed, that was exactly what Dumbledore had intended, to keep Harry ignorant of the danger he was in, in order to allow him to have a carefree childhood.
As if he had ever had something remotely similar to a carefree childhood...
Well, Harry supposed that he must have been happy for the first 15 months of his life, but after he had been dumped on his relatives' doorstep, he had hardly had any happy day.
Sure, it could have been worse. The Dursleys hadn't exactly starved him or beaten him to a pulp on a regularly basis, no. On the other hand, Harry had never been allowed to eat as much as he wanted to, he only always got Dudley's leftovers. And while the slaps Uncle Vernon often gave him didn't result in broken bones, they did leave bruises.
At least this had been the case until this summer...
When he had blown up Uncle Vernon's sister Marge, the man had been more furious than Harry had ever seen him before – and this included the incident when he had released a Boa Constrictor in a London zoo.
Harry had thought that the man would surely kill him, but just when he had torn open the front door in order to escape certain death, two wizards had appeared out of thin air on the pavement directly in front of Number 4 Privet Drive.
As it turned out, the two of them were employees of the Ministry of Magic, members of the Accidental Magic Reversal Squat, to be precise. In less than 5 minutes, the men had sorted out Aunt Marge, including altering her memory so that she would have no recollection of what had happened to her after insulting Harry's parents.
As one of Harry's guardians, though, Uncle Vernon had every right to know about magic, so of course, the wizards hadn't bothered to obliviate him, despite Harry's pleas. They had just admonished him that just as any child who was unable to control his magic, he would have to live with the consequences of what he had done, which included taking whatever punishments his guardians thought fit.
Even though the murderous rage was gone from his Uncle's eyes when the fat man had approached Harry once he had made sure that his sister was safely tucked into bed, recovering from the ordeal, Harry had known that this time, locking him into his room and feeding him through the cat-flap wouldn't be enough for the man.
Later, when he had been lying on the thin mattress in his cupboard, cradling what likely was a broken arm to his chest and trying not to breath in too deeply to minimize the pain from his ribs, Harry numbly thought that last summer hadn't been so bad after all.
Fortunately, his arm as well as the black eye he had spouted the next morning had healed rather quickly. Harry supposed it had something to do with him being a wizard. When he had arrived at the Leaky Cauldron the previous evening, neither Ron nor Hermione had mentioned anything that suggested that they suspected that their friend's summer had been even worse than the last one. And when he had used his left arm to drag his trunk across King's Cross, Hermione had been satisfied by the explanation he gave her, which included a made-up game in the streets of Little Whinging with some made-up muggle acquaintances.
"Well, boys," Hermione's voice pulled Harry out of his (rather depressing) thoughts, "we better get changed into our robes, it cannot be much longer."
With that, the young witch raised from her seat, and, after she had managed to get her robes out of trunk that was filled to the brim with books, left the compartment.
Ron gave Harry a questioning glance.
Harry shrugged his shoulders while pulling his own robes out of his rather empty trunk. He hadn't had time to buy more than absolutely necessary. "I suppose it's, you know, a girl's thing. We're in third year now, so we aren't little kids any more, are we? And they say that girls get weird when they grow older..."
Ron turned a little green. Unlike Hermione, he hadn't grown much over the summer, neither physically nor mentally.
"So, mate, uhm," Ron stammered, trying to direct the conversation into a less embarrassing direction, "have finished your homework? The essay Snape gave us was nasty, wasn't it? I didn't even manage two foot, and the greasy git has assigned four!"
Harry's stomach gave an unpleasant jolt. His trunk along with all his books had been locked into the attic when the cupboard under the stairs had once again become his room. He hadn't even so much as glanced at the summer work the teachers had assigned at the end of last term. Which meant that he probably wouldn't get any sleep the following night. Life just wasn't fair.
Harry whirled around, his heart beating fast and blood pumping in his veins. If the last few weeks had taught him anything than that is was absolutely vital to be alert of his surroundings at any given time. You never knew when Dudley would come to the decision that his cousin's life wasn't already difficult enough or when Uncle Vernon would decide to check in to his family during the day to make sure that his nephew hadn't done anything freakish to his dear wife or his precious son.
"Sorry, mate," Ron apologized before bending down to pick up the large red object that seemed to have fallen out of his trunk when he had rummaged through it to find his least threadbare robes.
"What's this?" Harry asked curiously, leaning forward to examine what turned out to be a figurine reminiscent of a cat made of red and golden stone.
"It's from Egypt, bill found it in one of the old graves the goblins wanted him to break into. He had to hand over all of the really valuable and nasty stuff, of course, but he was allowed to keep anything the goblins weren't interested in. When we visited him during our vacation, he told us we could each take a souvenir from all of his adventures. He has a whole room stuffed with things like this. I thought this critter would fit into our dormitory, being red and gold and everything."
Harry gave a non-committal grunt. He didn't want to insult Ron and his choice of decoration, but truth to be told, the cat was ugly.
Despite its unsightliness, though, there was something fascinating about that creature. He reached out to touch one of the cat's deep-brown eyes, which seemed to stare right back at him, and for a brief moment, Harry thought that he had seen them twinkling at him.
Shaking his head at his own stupidity, Harry took the figurine from Ron, who seemed to be proud to be the owner of such a, well, 'unusual' artefact. As soon as he had touched the cat, however, Harry drew in a sharp breath, which fortunately was covered by the opening of the compartment-door when Hermione, now wearing her black Hogwarts-robes, re-entered the room.
"Oh Ron!" she exclaimed, her voice a mixture of annoyance and amusement, "stop showing off Goddy already! Honestly, is there any person alive you haven't yet shown that ugly beast?"
"Goddy?" Harry asked blankly, immensely thankful that Hermione's arrival had provided him with an excuse to give the cat back to Ron, whose cheeks had become slightly red at their friend's word.
"Well, it's obviously a cat, even if whoever chiseller carved this beast clearly wasn't very talented. As you should know, cats and lions belong to the same family, and since red and gold are the colours of Godric Gryffindor I thought that 'Goddy' would be a good name for Ron's new pet." Hermione explained, having fallen into lecture mode.
"Ah. Hm," Harry nodded, indicating that he had understood her reasoning. His mind, however, was occupied with a completely different question: Where had that hideous stench come from that had suddenly filled the compartment when he had touched the stony creature? Non of his two friends seemed to have noticed anything unusual, Hermione hadn't even raised her eyebrows when she had walked into a room filled with an odour compared to that the meals the Nearly Headless Nick had served at his deathday-party had smelled positively delicious.
"Scabbers, no, go back into my pocket or that monster will eat you!" Ron yelled, when his old pet made an attempt to escape escape the close confinements of the boy's breast pocket.
"Crookshanks is in his box, Ron!" Hermione huffed, "and he isn't a monster, he's a cat with completely natural instincts."
In his attempts to grab his unwilling pet, Ron was a bit too enthusiastic and suddenly, the rat was soaring through the air, landing directly into Harry's lap.
For the second time in two minutes, the messy-haired boy drew in a sharp breath and barely managed to prevent himself from shouting at his best friend to get that critter off him. He didn't know why but somehow, this rat disgusted him. Which was strange, really, as normally, he liked animals, even spiders and beetles and other creepy-crawlies other people would give a wide berth. But this rat... there was something about it that made Harry's skin crawl, that caused him to feel physically ill, that made him want to run as far away as possible.
He barely managed to fight the impulse to simply throw Scabbers out of his lap. Ron wouldn't take it kindly if Harry killed his pet. Taking a deep breath to squeeze the nausea that threatened to overcome him, Harry carefully picked up Scabbers and returned the rat to its owner.
What was the matter with him, Harry thought when he finished buttoning up his robes. First that stench, now him almost panicking only because a rat had used him as a padding... perhaps his head had taken one two many blows from Uncle Vernon this summer.
Just then, the train started to slow down.
"Oh good, we're there. I hope they have the feast ready," Ron said brightly.
However, Hermione frowned. "Theoretically, we cannot be at Hogsmeade yet."
"Well, then, why has the train stopped?" Ron, obviously hungry, argued.
"I don't know. I suppose it might be because..."
"Hey guys, I think someone is entering the Express," Harry interrupted his two friends. Just when the words had left his mouth, the lights began to flicker before going out completely.
"Lumos!" Hermione, always quick in thinking, lit her wand.
"Good idea, 'Mione," Harry said and copied her action, as did Ron.
"I don't like this," Hermione said. She turned away from the window, unable to make out anything in the dark through the wet glass, and made her way to the compartment door.
Harry completely agreed with his friend. Somehow, this journey wasn't going at all what he had imagined it would be like. And now he had even started to shiver as the air suddenly seemed much colder than it had been minutes before. Great, just great. That was just what he needed, getting ill before his injuries had healed enough to prevent the medi-witch from discovering what his summer had been like.
A screech from the door pulled Harry out of his musings. Hermione was stumbling back into the compartment, her face ashen.
"Hermione, what happened?" Ron demanded, but all what the girl could do was to shake her head, unable to express what had caused her such a distress. However, soon an explanation wasn't necessary any more as the door was once again pulled open.
The creature that hovered in front of the three youth was terrifying. It was tall and black and clad in tattered robes and even though its hood covered the being's face, one thing Harry was absolutely sure about: this thing couldn't be human.
With the appearance of the heinous creature the temperature in the compartment had dropped drastically. The breath of the three terrified students condensed into clouds.
Despite the dizziness that had suddenly overcome him, Harry's eyes scanned the being that was at least seven feet high. What appeared to be a rotten hand looked out from under its robes. Harry swallowed convulsively. If the whole body of the creature looked like that – like the body of someone who had been in the water for much too long – the smell that now filled the compartment wasn't surprising.
Dimly, Harry thought that at least this time, Ron and Hermione seemed to be able to smell it, too. Then, however, the being drew in a deep rattling breath and somewhere far away, a woman started to scream.
The scream was unlike anything Harry had ever heard in his life. The woman's voice was so full of despair, full of dread, that he had no doubt that she was screaming for her life – literally. Desperately, Harry tried to turn around to Ron and Hermione, to tell them that they needed to find the woman and help her, fast. His body, however, wouldn't move.
Suddenly, a beam of bright green light was was filling Harry's vision, and equally suddenly, the screaming stopped. The silence that now filled the compartment was ominous.
But wait, he wasn't in the train any longer, was he? And where were Ron - Hermione? That creature that had come into their compartment only seconds ago – what had it done to his two friends?
When Harry looked around, all he saw were thick dark bars in front of his face. A prison cell...
Movements outside of his cell caught his attention. Perhaps there was someone who could help him, or at least explain to him what he had done to end up in a barred room. Harry squinted his eyes, but the blurry outlines of whoever was standing in front of his cell refused to came into focus. He tried to speak, tried to address whoever was there. All what came out of his mouth, though, was a hoarse gurgling.
Then, the someone let out a maniac laugh, and the strange sounds that came out of Harry's mouth died down.
The next thing he knew was that another one of those beams of green light was hurtling directly towards his face, and seconds later, his skull broke apart.
It was a pain unlike anything Harry had ever felt before. The fang of a Basilisk piercing his arm, Uncle Vernon seizing him out of his cupboard on his already broken arm – nothing had even come close to the pain he was feeling now. He wanted it to end, he wanted to die, he was sure that he couldn't be human any more as surely no human being could endure such a pain. Then, everything became black.
For what felt like hours, Harry drifted in and out of consciousness. At one point, he thought that he heard a man crying somewhere next to him. Then, he felt someone prodding and poking his forehead. It hurt, but he was too weak to protest. And it was so cold...
"... need to go... aurors... Dumbledore..."
"NO... the Dark Lord... precautions... isn't dead!"
The voices that were penetrating Harry's ears didn't make any sense. He was still cold, so cold, and he couldn't breath. 'Please someone help me, please,' Harry thought, too weak to utter any words.
Pain. So much pain. Harry felt how his mouth opened on its own accord, heard himself screaming in sheer agony – only that it wasn't his voice. The voice that came out of his mouth was the voice of a child. What-
Harry groaned and tried to move. His body was aching and he was feeling exhausted, as if he had just done yard work for 12 hours non-stop. The surface he was lying on was vibrating slightly, and the room around him was much too bright.
"Harry! Oh, why isn't there a teacher on board?" a female voice cried next to Harry's ear – Hermione!
Slowly, Harry opened his eyes – only to let out a hoarse yelp and squeeze them shut again when he looked into a pair of incredible big, sliver-grey eyes that were hovering only inches above his face.
"It's all right, Harry Potter, you can open your eyes again, the Eudaimony is gone." A dreamy voice said.
Carefully, Harry opened his left eye. The face with the enormous eyes was still close enough that he could feel the other person's body heat.
"Uhm, who are you?" Harry rasped.
"I'm Luna, Luna Lovegood. And you're Harry Potter, and those-" here, the grey eyes shifted towards the side, "are Ronald Weasley and Hermione Granger, your friends, and on the other side is Ginny Weasley, whom you rescued from the Chamber of Secrets last June."
"Eh, Luna, I think Harry might need a little bit more space so that he can breathe properly and sit up," Hermione interjected hesitantly.
"You think so?" Luna asked with mild interest, not pulling back even an inch, "he is still rather cold, you know. Eudaimony tend to do this to people who're not at peace with themselves."
"Ehm, yes, I have chocolate here, it helps against the effects Dementors have on people. Harry?" Hermione turned her attention from Luna Lovegood to Harry, offering him a bar of chocolate, "you might want to eat this. It'll help, I read about it in our new defence book. Seems as if Dementors are covered in third year, I'm glad that I read ahead. Of course, no third year can possibly fight a Dementor but at least we can counter its effects."
"Hermione, wait," Harry interrupted his friend, slowly sitting up and taking the offered chocolate. Luna withdraw enough to allow him to sit up from where he had been lying on the floor of the Hogwarts Express. Carefully, he leaned against the seats and looked around. On the seat next to him, Ginny Weasley was sitting, looking almost as bad as he was feeling. Across from her, Ron was slumped down in his seat, his face ashen. Hermione was kneeling on the floor next to him, and on his other side, a girl he had never seen before stared at him in a somewhat unnerving manner. He supposed that this must be Luna Lovegood – whoever she was.
"What happened? What are Dementors?" he finally asked.
Hermione hesitated. "What is the last thing you remember?"
"Well, we were dressing in our robes and then the train stopped. Someone was boarding the Express, I thing, and you went to investigate. And then..." it took a while for Harry to remember what hat happened next. Then, however, the image of that vile-looking creature floated back to the surface of his mind. "That – that... there was this... being."
Hermione nodded. "Yes. That was a Dementor. I don't know what it was doing here – well, searching for Sirius Black, obviously," she quickly corrected herself, "It has been all over the Prophet that the ministry has ordered the Dementors to find Black, using whatever means necessary. I wonder whether Dumbledore condoned this, there are first-years on the Express, and no teachers whatsoever to calm them down!" the young witch sounded genuinely furious.
"What if someone had a similar reaction to that monster as you? The Dementor was seconds away from attacking you! If it hadn't been for Luna here..." Hermione gave the blond witch next to her a sidewards glance. Luna seemed to be oblivious to Hermione's words, as she had started humming a soft tune Harry thought was vaguely familiar.
When Luna didn't offer any explanation about what she had done to drive the Dementor away, Harry asked the question that had bothering him since waking up on the compartment-floor. "But what happened to me? Why was I... unconscious? Who was screaming?"
"Nobody screamed, mate," Ron offered, sounding weary.
"Dementors," Hermione started hesitantly, searching for the right words, "they suck all happiness from their victim's soul and force you to relive your worst memories. The screaming your heard, it was probably you mu- someone from your past, a memory."
Harry purposefully ignored Hermione's almost-slip. "What happened then? When I was out, I mean?"
"Well, at first, it looked as if the Dementor would just leave, but then, it seemed to have a change of mind. I don't know what could possibly have caused it to act the way it did, but suddenly, it was inside the compartment, approaching you. You had already fallen to the ground, so it bend down. I believe it was about to kiss you..." Hermione sobbed the last words.
"Kiss me?" Harry asked, completely bewildered, "kiss me?!"
"Honestly, haven't you even looked into your new books?" Hermione was back to her usual self now, "the Dementor's Kiss, the ultimate punishment that awaits people like Black and Voldemort. The Dementors suck their victim's soul out of their body, through their mouth, leaving them empty shells. People who suffer the Dementor's Kiss continue breathing and having a heartbeat, but they don't have their soul any longer, for all intents and purposes they are dead – only worse."
"I still have my soul – do I?" Harry asked, alarmed.
"Of course you have, you oaf! You were lucky to have fallen to the ground next to Goddy, and the ugly cat seemed to distract the Dementor for a few moments – speaking of it, where is the beast?" Hermione asked, looking around.
"He took it," Ginny whispered.
"He – the Dementor took Ron's figurine?" Hermione asked disbelievingly.
"That bastard!" Ron growled, still sounding rather shaken. "Well, but better Goddy than you, mate."
"Right. Well, the Dementor had just turned his attention back to you, Harry, when Ginny and Luna came into our compartment. There were several other Dementors searching the train and Ginny was in a pretty bad shape. Luna tried to get her away from those monsters, I think. I don't know what she did but somehow, she made the Dementor leave."
All four pairs of eyes turned toward the strange girl who was still humming a tune that Harry was positive about was muggle. She seemed to be completely unaware that the whole compartment had fallen silent and was waiting for her to give an explanation of how she had managed to drive a Dementor – a creature most adults were unable to fight against – away, without even raising her wand.
After a minute or so, Ginny addressed her year-mate. "Luna?"
"Hu?" Luna stopped humming and looked up, not at all bothered at the strange looks she received from the three third-years.
"Can you tell us what you did to get rid of the Dementor?"
"Of course I can," Luna answered brightly, smiling at no one in particular.
"Well, then, will you tell us?" Ginny finally said, when it became apparent that Luna wouldn't start speaking without further prompting.
"I told him that Stubby Boardman wasn't in this compartment and that if I were an Eudaimony, I wouldn't listen to Fudge because it's obvious that he only wants to cover up his own failure to reach an agreement with the Heliopaths about whether or not England should allow them to breed. I don't think I managed to convince him, though, but at least he told me that he would discus the matter with his fellow Eudaimonies before siding with the goblins. Oh, and then I agreed that it could take the Cat of Gryffindor if he would leave Harry Potter alone. He was already rather torn between Harry and the Cat, so it wasn't really difficult to convince him to take the Cat. I hope you don't mind, Ronald Weasley, but I'm sure that if you decide that the Cat of Gryffindor is of more value than the soul of your friend the Eudaimony wouldn't mind to swap." All of this, the girl said in a dreamy voice Harry found rather hypnotising.
For several moments, the three third-years just stared at Luna, not knowing what to think about all of this. To them, it seemed that the second-year was slightly insane. Only Ginny didn't seem to be bothered by the way Luna was speaking – and neither the content of her statements. However, Harry wasn't so sure whether this was only due to the fact that as Luna's year-mate, Ginny was likely used to the other girls oddness, or if it wasn't more because of the after-effects of the Dementors. Considering what Hermione had told him and what had happened to Ron's sister the previous school-year, he wouldn't be surprised if Ginny felt just as bad as he did.
"So you just asked the Dementor to leave and it obeyed to you?" Hermione asked doubtfully.
Luna hummed and nodded her head. "Yes. That's what you normally do if you don't enjoy someone presence. I don't know why people keep shooting spells at their fellow creatures, it's rather impolite, I think. Especially considering the fact that Eudaimonies are highly sensitive beings."
Again, this statement was followed by silence.
"Why do you keep calling the Dementors 'Eudaimony?" Hermione, having finally found her voice again, asked.
"Only people who aren't at peace with themselves and their life have to fear Eudaimonies, hence their naming of these wondrous beings. To the rest of us, Eudaimonies are perfectly harmless creatures. Of course, there aren't many of us any more, so I fear that soon, the poor Eudaimonies will just be another one of those completely misunderstood species."
Harry, Ron and Hermione exchanged meaningful looks. It was quite obvious that all of them were thinking the same thing: Luna Lovegood and Hagrid surely would make great friends.
Everyone who figures out why Luna calles the Dementors 'Eudaimonies' will get a cookie! There is a reason, I assure you, I spend nearly one hour figuring out a suitable name;)
Next Chapter: First weeks at Hogwarts, more Dementor-incidents and a staff meeting