Chapter One: What Was, What Is
It was early morning. The boy- no, the young man had just finished his morning jog, and was currently walking through the small village, which hadn't yet awakened. His wrist watch showed six A.M. He was quite tall, a bit more than six feet perhaps, muscular but yet not too much muscle. You could see he was tough, a man you wouldn't like to end up in a fist-fight with. He was good-looking, with short, dark brown hair, not entirely straight, but not curly either, and ice-blue eyes. His skin had a slight tan, and his mouth seemed to be constantly curled in a small half-amused and half-mischievous smile. His ID-card and driver's license showed that his name was Christian M. Atos, and that he was eighteen years old, born the sixth of April. If you looked at his academic records, they showed him to be an absolutely brilliant kid. He had graduated from the University of Oxford, with high honours in all his subjects, even though he was just eighteen years old. He had started at seventeen, had graduated the year before from Secondary School with top grades in all subjects. And then he had graduated from Oxford after only a year, something that had his teachers fainting in utter amazement.
He was still unemployed, and he had few chances of getting a job in the small village where he lived, located somewhere in south Scotland. He lived in a small flat on the first floor in the house of an old lady, who lived at the ground floor. He was almost a celebrity in the village. It hardly had any newcomers, and the residents were constantly wondering why he was there, and the girls were giggling every time he passed any of them.
But Christian Atos wasn't just a normal guy. He was a wizard in fact, and though his ID-card showed age eighteen, he wasn't even that old. He had just turned seventeen. And if you were a witch or a wizard, and asked about his past, he would probably refuse to tell you anything. But if you became a friend of his, and he started to trust you, he would maybe tell you. And then you would wish you'd never asked.
Christian Atos's history wasn't a pleasant one. You know everything about He-Who-Must-Not-Be-Named, and the Death Eaters, his followers of course. Christian's parents, Michelle and Eric Anderson, were two of them. They tutored him at home and taught him everything about the Dark Arts. But Christian was a clever boy, with opinions of his own, and he didn't want to become a Death Eater. However, he couldn't just tell that to his parents, and being the brilliant child he was, he thought out a plan.
On his first mission with the Death Eaters, at age fifteen, shortly after Voldemort's return, he was supposed to prove for the elders that he was worthy of the Dark Mark. However, he had beforehand anonymously warned the Aurors, and they were there when the Death Eaters arrived in the small French town. Unnoticed by the others, Christian threw off his mask and cloak, and stupefied himself with his wand, so it would look like he was a victim.
When he woke up, he was in a Wizards' hospital in France. He told them everything, about his parents and the Death Eaters. Then he was told that his parents had been killed during the attack by Aurors, so now he had nothing to go back to anyway. That way he became the orphaned Christian Anderson, thought dead by those he knew.
And so it happened that he ended up in Beauxbatons as Christian Atos. He had been taught by his parents, and had to go through tests to determine which year he should start in, and if he was good enough to start in fifth year, as his age suggested he should. However, he showed himself very brilliant, and he ended up being put into seventh year. After a year he graduated at the top of his class, the youngest student to graduate ever.
After his graduation he went to England, made up some fake Secondary School papers and a fake muggle ID-card. He entered Oxford, where he studied languages, philosophy, history, math and science, and his professors found him very gifted. He graduated after a year, also here with top marks, praised by his teachers.
But why should a wizard care about muggle studies? Well, so would many wizards think, but Christian was brilliant beyond words. He had, with his knowledge in science and magic, managed to invent a kind of shield-charm which could stop the killing curse. But no one knew that of course, he kept it secret. No one in England knew him, and if any wizard had seen him, he'd merely assume him to be just a plain muggle. But looks can be deceiving. Oh yes, deceiving indeed. Though he had his papers from Beauxbaton and Oxford, Eric and Michelle Anderson never had a son.
Meanwhile, at a stony island near the Orkneys, a thin, scrawny boy sat alone in his cell. He looked to be about fifteen years old, but in reality he was seventeen. He had ebony-black hair and emerald-green eyes. He wasn't insane like the other prisoners, he didn't scream or yell, neither did he hammer on his door with his fists. He sat calmly, watching the sun play with the dust in his cell. A half-smile played on his lips, and he seemed un-bothered by the Dementors.
Christian walked silently up the stairs so as not to disturb the old woman. It was a small flat: A bedroom with a bed, a bookcase and a desk, a kitchen and a bathroom, nothing else. On the kitchen table lay a pile of newspapers, most of them The Daily Prophet, something which made it clear that Christian was a wizard indeed. But the papers were centred on one single event.
THE-BOY-WHO-LIVED A MURDERER! One read. HARRY POTTER KILLED HOGWARTS STUDENT! Another headline screamed. One of the papers was tattered and seemed to have been read many times.
HARRY POTTER SENTENCED TO AZKABAN FOR THE REST OF HIS LIFE!
'Fifteen year old Harry Potter, who fourteen years ago defeated He-Who-Must-Not-Be-Named got his doom today. He was found guilty of having killed a fellow student, and sentenced to life in Azkaban.
Two weeks ago, Colin Creevey, a fourth year student at Hogwarts was murdered by Harry Potter. Potter was found at the site, and every evidence pointed towards him. However, during the whole trial Harry Potter has done nothing other than claim his innocence. We thank Merlin that the jury didn't believe him, and that they didn't let the fact that he was the Boy-Who-Lived let him get off easy. Potter is clearly a psychopath, and it is very likely that he, during the Triwizard Tournament also killed Cedric Diggory, who rumours say had stolen his girlfriend. Potter however claimed that Diggory had been killed by He-Who-Must-Not-Be-Named, who had returned. It is lucky that he at least was discovered and removed before he could do more harm.
The Daily Prophet, 19th of September, by Rita Skeeter'
Christian emerged from the shower, his hair wet, wearing only pale blue jeans. A sudden wind blew through the open window, and caught the paper, which blew through the room. Christian picked it up. The picture showed a fifteen-year-old, black-haired boy with emerald-green eyes being led out of a court-room, flanked by Dementors. The boy held his head high, but his eyes held such a sadness. Christian gritted his teeth, his hand clenched around the paper. He curled it into a ball and threw it into the trash can. His blue eyes blazed angrily, but did they, for just a tenth of a second, turn an intense, emerald green?
Smoke. Fire. Running humans. Screams. Aurors and Death Eaters. A village in southern England was attacked by Death Eaters, who were torturing and killing people, both wizards and muggles. The Aurors had shown up only minutes ago, but were already on the defensive; the Death Eaters were too many.
A boy, only thirteen years old or something ran for his life, crying. His father had told him to run, while he tried to hold off the Death Eaters. Suddenly, two of them appeared out of the heavy smoke that covered the whole area. They saw him, and green light missed him by inches. He turned right and ran in between two houses, ran and ran for his life.
Dead end. And no going back. He turned and saw the black-cloaked people come towards him, one of average height, the other short and plump. His eyes widened in fear as they approached him, wands raised.
"Crucio!" the short one shouted. The curse sped towards him, and he could do nothing. Couldn't dodge, couldn't run. He was going to die, he thought, and closed his eyes. He was going to die. They would torture him until he was insane, and then kill him.
A flash of gold and red, and a figure stood between the boy and the Death Eaters. The curse hit him in his stomach, but he didn't fall over and scream, he didn't even flinch. The curse seemed to be absorbed in a weird way. The two men stared at him. It was a man, that was sure, but they couldn't see his face, as it was covered by a golden mask. With a flick of his wand the two men lay out cold.
The boy, who had expected the pain of the curse to hit him, opened his eyes cautiously, and stared at the man and the two unconscious Death Eaters in awe.
"Are you alright?" the masked man asked, his voice hard as steel, but yet it had a strange warmth. He could only nod, as the man bent down to examine the bodies. As he removed the mask of the short one he could hear him growl angrily, and in the next moment he was tied up, with a small note fastened on his forehead. The same thing happened to the other, without the note, before he turned to the boy again.
"Stay here, don't go anywhere before it's safe. OK?" The boy nodded mutely again, and the man dashed out on the street, looking for more Death Eaters, and the boy couldn't see him anymore.
But three minutes later he could feel the ground shake, and lightning leaped from the clear sky. Well, previously clear sky. Now, smoke and dust covered the sun and the sky completely. And then, silence. The boy didn't dare to go out yet, but after an hour or something, still in the same place, he could hear someone approaching. Fearfully he looked around the corner, and to his great relief it was one bearing the Auror uniform. He stepped out so the Auror could see him. He jumped and pointed his wand towards him before relaxing when he saw it was just a mere boy.
"What are you doing here?" he asked.
"I fled, and then I came to this dead end, and one of the Death Eaters shot a curse at me. But then came this man in gold and red and saved me. He tied them up." He talked fast and the words were almost stumbling over each other. The Aurors head snapped up as he heard 'man in gold and red', and followed the boy. He raised an eyebrow as he saw the two; the boy spoke the truth, there was no way he could have done this by himself. He noticed the piece of paper on the short one's forehead. Curiously, he took it down and read it, before turning white of shock. It took him a few minutes to recover, and then he quickly levitated them off the ground, making them follow him.
"Come here, boy. We have to find your family," he said. The boy followed, his mind on the blazing, intense, emerald green eyes he'd seen. Eyes blazing with power. Emerald green with a tinge of…gold?
DEATH EATER ATTACK! TOWN SAVED BY MYSTERIOUS MAN!
'Yesterday a town right east of London was attacked by Death Eaters. Aurors apparated in as soon as they noticed the huge magical activity, but were overwhelmed by the Death Eaters, which were twice their number. However, when everything seemed to be totally hopeless, a mysterious man, clothed in red and gold robes, with a golden mask made an appearance. He single-handedly fought and caught thirty-nine Death Eaters, and saved numerous lives.
"He could really fight! I saw him finish off five of them with a single Stupefy! He whirled around and knocked the wind out of some of them with his feet!" says a onlooker. Another one claims to have seen the man in red and gold shoot light from his palms.
The most curious thing is, however, that suddenly, lightning appeared from a previously cloud-free sky, and it took out fifteen Death Eaters, something which ended the fight. The Golden Mask, which he is now called by those he saved, disappeared shortly thereafter.
The Daily Prophet, 2nd of July, by Marice Newman'
PETER PETTIGREW CAPTURED!
'Two days ago, the Golden Mask captured thirty-nine Death Eaters, and among them Peter Pettigrew, a man thought dead for sixteen years!
Sirius Black, who escaped Azkaban four years ago, and is still on the run, presumably killed him. Now, the Ministry must re-consider Black's charges, 'cause a year after Black's escape some people began to claim his innocence. The Ministry denied this, but could there be something true in it after all? The Ministry has said they will question Pettigrew under truth potion, and they are willing to give Black a fair trial if he turns up. This was the information given to me by a Ministry worker, who wishes to remain anonymous, as the Minister himself does not approve of this proposal. However, the same person tells me, he cannot stop it, as he has almost no real power left, for reasons we all know about.
Another source, Professor Albus Dumbledore, assures me that Black will turn up. He himself states that he has believed in his innocence for three years, and that he knows where Black is currently in hiding! The questioning is going to take place in two days, and the Daily Prophet promises to keep you updated. Soon we will know if Black really sat twelve years in Azkaban, completely innocent. If so, can we really trust our courts?
The Daily Prophet, 3rd of July, by Marice Newman'
Sirius's eyes widened as he read the paper. He looked up at the old man sitting in front of him.
"What?" was all he managed to utter, and it came as a weak whisper. "Is this really true?" he asked the old man, who nodded, and had a smile twitching at the corners of his lips. The merry twinkle however, which once inhabited his eyes, was gone. It left two years ago, when one of his most promising students was found guilty of murder and sent to Azkaban.
"It is indeed, Sirius. In two days you will be cleared, and you will be able to live freely again," he said.
The younger man sighed."What does it matter? I have nothing to live for any longer," he said bitterly. It was Albus Dumbledore's turn to sigh. They had gone through this so many times, but Sirius just refused to accept it.
"Sirius," he began. "He was found at the site. The jury found him guilty of murder, and he was sent to Azkaban. I know it is a horrible place, but he had to be locked up, and it is the only wizard-proof prison Britain has."
"But he wasn't guilty!" Sirius said forcefully. "The whole time he kept saying he was innocent, but no one believed him! And I couldn't do anything! I should have saved him and taken him away! You honestly can't believe he was guilty?"
"All evidence pointed towards him, Sirius," Dumbledore argued.
"It was never proven! What if, despite what you believe, Harry really was innocent? Then you put a fifteen year old innocent boy into Azkaban!"
"Sirius, stop it!" Dumbledore said firmly. "Harry really did murder the child, nobody else could have done it. And if we'd let him go, he would have joined Voldemort. We couldn't let that happen." Sirius gave up. He knew that when the Headmaster spoke that way, it was useless to argue with him. But Sirius had long ago sworn to get Harry out of Azkaban and get him cleared. Harry had told him he hadn't done it, and Harry wouldn't lie to him, he knew that. Years on the run had taught him to know when people spoke the truth, and when they lied. But he just couldn't understand why his former Headmaster refused to believe it; He had always been open to possibilities, but he simply refused to consider that Harry might be innocent. It confused Sirius beyond words.
Less than two hundred miles away, Christian Atos stood with the same paper in his hands, stroking his black owl absentmindedly. A small smile played on his lips.
"Finally," he muttered to himself. Then, something else something caught his attention.
'Job as Defence Against The Dark Arts Teacher at Hogwarts free. If you want to apply for the position, contact Minerva McGonagall, Deputy Headmistress.'
Two days later, in the Ministry's Headquarters. A group of people were gathered, among them Arthur Weasley, Remus Lupin, Minerva McGonagall, Albus Dumbledore, Minister Fudge, and a large black dog. They were in a large room with seats along the wall, and in the middle of the room stood two chairs. A short and plump man sat in one of them, which was charmed with an anti-transfiguration spell, as a note, left by the Golden Mask had told them that he was an illegal animagus, a rat to be exact. The other chair was empty. When everyone had settled, a man, about forty years old, in Auror uniform rose. He turned to Dumbledore.
"I thought you said Black would be here," he said. But before Dumbledore could answer, a tall, black-haired man with blue eyes had stepped out of the shadows.
"I am here," Sirius stated calmly. The man's jaw dropped, but he closed it quickly again.
"Um- Very well, Mr. Black. Please sit." The questioner watched as Sirius seated himself in the chair beside Pettigrew.
Sirius was questioned first, and told them about Peter being the Potters' secret keeper, and what had happened since he had escaped. When he was finished, more than one was staring open-mouthed at him. But he had been under Veritaserum, the truth potion, so there was no doubt: Sirius Black had spent twelve years in prison, innocent of the crime he was framed for.
Then it was Pettigrew's turn. After the Veritaserum had been forced down his throat, he confirmed Sirius's story. But then he said something which was going to shock the wizarding world. He was asked about his master's further plans.
"He's going to attack Azkaban, free the prisoners and get the Dementors over to our side. And he's going to get Potter. His plan worked perfectly, and now he thinks Potter is ready to be 'converted'," Pettigrew anwered. At this Sirius jumped. He had been allowed to sit among the people along the wall, and now he jumped out of his seat and took three steps forward before he was stopped by two Aurors. He calmed down quickly.
"What plan?" he asked, with a forced calmness.
"His plan was to get Potter into Azkaban. A simple polyjuice potion and a faithful student to kill the kid, and then a mind potion for Potter, to assure that he was found at the murder site. It worked too, though it surprised my master that his friends turned against him so easily. My master thinks that by this time, Potter is either bitter as hell, or an insane lunatic. He can be used anyway." Pettigrew smirked evilly, and hadn't the Aurors held Sirius back, he would by then have been glued to the floor, and if looks could kill, Peter would have been dead, rotten, cremated and buried six feet under.
The room was silent as a grave. Then it erupted in shocked and angry yells, it was a chaos of voices. Only a few remained calm.
"Quiet!" roared Sirius. Everyone turned to look at him. "I think it is time to retrieve my godson from Azkaban, and maybe even ask him a few questions under the influence of Veritaserum," he glared at the Minister who cowered backwards. "Then there will be no doubt that what has been revealed here today is true. Any objections?" He turned to Remus and Professors Dumbledore and McGonagall. "I guess you now can believe in Harry's innocence," he said, bitterly, with a plagued look in his eyes. He knew Azkaban, and Harry wasn't an animagus like him. He couldn't 'escape' the Dementors like he'd done in his dog form. He was right. Harry could do something better.
Two hours later three Aurors and a young boy arrived at the Headquarters. He walked between the three Aurors, and his robes were tattered and dirty. He was thin and pale, and greasy black hair hung down in his face. He lifted a hand and shuffled it away, and they could all see the lightning shaped scar on his forehead. This was Harry Potter, the Boy-Who-Lived, after two years in Azkaban. Sirius's knuckles whitened, and he had to restrain himself not to go and give his godson a bone-crushing hug. He was so young! He met Sirius's gaze and a small smile graced his lips. He was led to one of the two chairs, and sat down.
"Mr. Potter, do you know why you're here?" the questioner asked. Harry shook his head. "You are here, because today we have got proof of your innocence. We are going to ask you a few questions, and then we want you to join the wizarding world again, and start your seventh year at Hogwarts. Do you agree?"
"Why should I? You turned against me once, and you will do it again." The boy stated calmly.
The Auror sighed. "We are sorry for what was done to you, and you will be pardoned. The Ministry will make sure that everyone gets to know. Besides, you are still underage, you have no choice," he told the boy. The young wizard smiled lightly and stood.
"I'm afraid it's impossible."
"Why?" the Auror asked.
"Because I'm not Harry Potter," he stated calmly. Oh, no! Sirius thought. He's gone insane! He could have cried.
Harry smiled at their faces. "Harry Potter never went to Azkaban, he has never been there, and isn't planning to go there either." He turned and walked right through the chair and back again. People stared, speechless. He walked up to the questioner, and right through him. Wide-eyed and completely lost, people could do nothing but stare. "Azkaban has, for two years, housed nothing but a mere illusion of Harry Potter."
Disclaimer: JKR owns everything except the plot, which is mine. Beta-read by the-dreamer. Go us all.
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