AN: Chapters 1 and 2now Beta-ed!
I was floating, surrounded on all sides by warmth and love. I did not feel hunger or thirst, nor did I experience any pain. So you can imagine my discontent when my refuge was suddenly shattered.
"Push, Lily, push!" James said.
"If you say push one more Merlin-forsaken time I will shove your wand so far up your arse you'll be spitting sparks," Lily said. Her normally dulcet tones were strained from the effort of giving birth. In James's carefully considered opinion it only made his Lily flower more beautiful. No matter that her eyes were practically lighting him on fire, such was the power of her glare, and even ignoring that her face was nearly the color of her beautifully flowing red locks. In James's eyes his wife—his wife, even now he could hardly believe she'd said yes—was the very definition of beauty.
"I can't believe you did this to me, you bastard. If you ever try to put that thing in me again I'm going to tear it off!" Lily said growling.
"N-now Lily flower, you don't mean that," James squeaked. The high pitched squeal that followed Lily's pronouncement was completely called for, given that sometime during their exchange her left hand had drifted down and was currently gripping a certain sensitive part of his anatomy.
Maintaining her vice like grip she pulled him close, ignoring the slight whimper that escaped his clenched lips and practically growled in his face, "Yes I do," before releasing her hold on his bruised anatomy.
"I can see a head, one last push should do it Mrs. Potter." The calm voice of the mediwitch was a welcome distraction.
"Ok, Mrs. Potter, one more push, just one more."
And such was the story of my birth…
"Congratulations, it's a girl!"
Growing up is difficult enough the first time, going through it a second time with the mind of a twenty-something year old adult was practically torture. Soiling myself was humiliating in and of itself, but having two or more strangers undressing my newborn—and as time passed, toddler—self, and talk about it as if it were some sort of accomplishment (new parents are weird) was the height of embarrassment in my new life. If one ignored feeding time, that is.
On an unrelated note, full body shudders of disgust, at least when a baby gives them, are apparently very cute and are responded to with copious amounts of hugs and kisses.
Humiliation aside, my early childhood—my second early childhood that is—was not that bad. I mean Potter Manor was swank for the few months that we stayed there.
Then one day, after we moved to Godric's Hollow, we got a visit from Albus Too-Many-Titles Dumbledore. Knowing what was coming I attempted to get his attention.
"Beard man," It wasn't my first time calling him beard man but it was the first time I said it in such a demanding tone. Unfortunately, demanding tones from a young toddler are at best cute and at worst a reason to cast a Calming Charm to quiet the child.
Did you know that excessive use of Calming Charms on children—especially when more effort and magic than necessary is put into said charm by overworked, tired, stressed-out, and quite frankly fed-up first time parents—has been known to have an effect not dissimilar to narcotics? So I, in essence, spent the majority of the first two years of my new life stoned out of my little mind. You know, that may explain a few things.
In all fairness Calming Charms are not generally the first response of a magical parent, but unfortunately for my new parents I was a crier, and until my vocal muscles developed enough to talk my only way to express my discontent at finding myself trapped in the body of a female toddler was to scream my little head off. Even more unfortunately I refused to be soothed by any other means, so my new parents had to make frequent use of them.
Even then Lily, or should I say mom, would have held back from charming away my attitude problem. If I had simply refrained from trying to climb Dumbledore's beard.
I don't know if it was that I was consistently ignored or the fact that I spent more time dreading Voldemort's eventual arrival than actually being able to do anything about it, but I could not restrain myself from trying to tell Dumbledore about Voldemort's impending visit.
Of course simply telling him was out of the question. I could barely wrap my lips around 'beard man' let alone Voldemort, so that meant I would have to get Dumbledore to read my mind. I knew that my plan to get the headmaster to read my mind had a very low chance of success, but given that my attempts to warn my new parents about Voldemort's coming attack were continually ignored and frequently left me crying tears of frustration—which of course lead to more Calming Charms—I simply had to give it a try.
This of course did not happen. Instead, after attempting to scale Mt. Beard, I was hit by an especially powerful Calming Charm, a necessity given that I was beginning to develop something of a resistance to them, and summarily tucked into bed.
I didn't know if it was because of my past life where I had no magic or if there was some other reason, but whatever the cause I was able to sense something. First and most strongly in Potter Manor, and then again when we moved to Godric's Hollow, especially once the Fidelius Charm was cast, I could feel the very magic in the air. Even knowing where and who I was, it took an embarrassingly long time for me to realize that it was magic I was sensing.
Magic, at least the way I felt it, did not directly translate into the usual five senses. Instead it manifested as a mixture of pressure and, at times, taste and smell. It was all these feelings and just more in a way that I cannot adequately explain.
I bring this up now so that I can explain just how it felt when Voldemort came for me that fateful Halloween day.
I woke with a start. It took me a while to wake up enough to realize just what had disturbed me enough to shake me out of my magically assisted slumber. There was nothing amiss as far as I could tell in my nursery, nor could I hear anything from the rest of the house—which unfortunately meant nothing given that my mother had set a one-way Silencing Charm on my room in an effort to help me sleep, so while they could hear me I could hear nothing from beyond the bounds of my room as long as the door was closed.
Still, something was very wrong. My eyes widened as it hit me; the wards were down. No. No. No, it's too soon, he can't be here yet, we weren't ready! A few more days and I was sure I could get them to leave, even if it meant revealing myself to them, even if it meant risking everything this new life could offer, if I only had more time I could have gotten them to leave, I was sure of it!
It was then that Lily—no, my mom came running into the room, and behind her came this cloying feeling. That could only be Voldemort's magic. Normally if I wanted to get more than an ambient feeling of the local magic I would have to really focus on it, but I had no such problem feeling the magic Voldemort projected.
His magic was horrible, it felt as if it were trying to smother me where I stood at the bars of my crib. It reeked of death, of rotting corpses at high noon, and tasted of schadenfreude, as if he took great pleasure in seeing his enemies suffer. More than all that, though, was a sense of overwhelming power.
I had tried to feel my new parents' magic before, but all I could get from them was a slight feeling of love. Occasionally I even tried to get a feel of Dumbledore's magic on the rare visits he paid my parents, and aside from a slight taste of lemon strangely enough, all I could get from him was a bare hint of power. That, while more than I could sense from my parents, was mere embers compared to the fire of this monster.
If I had not been paralyzed by his power I would have thrown up. As it was, all I could do was watch while Lily set down… nothing? As she placed it on the floor I saw part of her hand disappear. An invisibility cloak—or rather, the Cloak of Invisibility. Before I could start to wonder what she was doing with the cloak, aside from grabbing me and using it to get the hell out of here, she waved her wand and activated some sort of runic diagram that she must have prepared beforehand. There was scream that went on for several long seconds before I heard a loud crash from below.
"Obsecro domine benedicere vili mors animae est admissus,"Lily had started chanting. Thump "Si placet tibi ut redirem legitime" Thump "tu autem Domine mortem rogo tantum ut serves hanc filiam meam." Thump. Thump. Thump. "quaeso"
Thump. Voldemort had stated up the stairs.
"Hoc unum petit vestra"
"Si placet tibi ut redirem legitime"
"tu autem Domine mortem rogo tantum ut serves hanc filiam meam."
Thump. Thump. Thump.
There was a flash and then the diagram, and the cloak with it, disappeared. With a quick wave of her wand Lily removed the last traces of what had transpired before moving to stand in front of my crib.
There he was, coming down the hall, calmly as if he had all the time in the world. Tall, even for a man, with strong shoulders and a chiseled chin with a twisted smirk adorning his face. His eyes shone with an unholy red light, but in spite of it all he was beautiful. I could easily see how he could draw a following.
"Stand aside, Mrs. Potter," Voldemort said. His voice was low, each word carefully pronounced so that there could be no mistaking his meaning.
"No, take me instead!" Lily's voice on the other hand was shaky. In fact, her whole body was trembling. I could not see her face from here but, if how tight she held her shoulders was any indication, I would say that her face was drawn and her lips would be pinched.
"I will not ask again," Voldemort said. There was a palpable menace in his voice, and his magic, which I had slowly begun to acclimate to, surged with renewed strength. If he always projected this feeling it was no wonder that no one except Dumbledore had been able to stand up to him. I could see the effect it had on her. Lily hunched inward before throwing her arm forward with a speed that I had never before seen from her and, for a moment, I thought she had a chance.
Voldemort didn't speak, barely even moved. A nearly imperceptible twitch of his wand and the Killing Curse hit her before her arm could even finish extending. Just like that my new mother was dead. I felt a bit of me die with her. I already had parents and she wasn't one of them, but she loved me unconditionally as a mother should and I couldn't help but return it even if I missed my other life.
"Such a waste, Severus will be so disappointed." His words held a mocking edge. I froze as he turned his gaze to me. "So you are to be my end, hmm? The spawn of a blood traitor and a mudblood whore. I think not. Avada Kedavra!"
When the spell hit me I finally, mercifully, lost consciousness.
8 years later, 2001
Privet Drive was a study of contrasts. Its houses were, to the last, identical in every way. The lawns were all neatly trimmed, the children were all well behaved lest they suffer their parents' wrath, and its residents were all very, very normal. Some, though, went to great pains to ensure that they were more normal than the others.
Take for example the Dursleys. Their hedges were trimmed, the grass was never more than an inch and a half in height, and the garbage was always put on the curb no more than one hour before pick-up. I knew this because it was my responsibility to ensure that it was so, just like it was my responsibility to cook breakfast twice and lunch once a week. Sundays were my usual lunch days as only good normal folk went to church, at least if one believes what uncle Vernon has to say on the matter. Whatever his opinion of me, though, it certainly did not stop him from inhaling the food I cooked for him, no doubt contributing to his already significant and robust form.
I for one was glad to have the time to myself. Even if most of it was spent preparing a veritable feast for Sunday brunch I could use it as time to plan for the future.
I had long since gotten used to the fact that I had somehow wound up in the Harry Potter universe. The fact that I was now a girl was something that I was okay with, and the fact that I was okay with it was a little disturbing to me. Not that there was anything wrong with being a girl, but you'd think a sudden shift in gender would have bothered me, but no matter how hard I tried I could not manage to feel uncomfortable in my own skin. To be honest, though, I didn't dwell on it much, I had more important things to worry about.
Such as how I found myself in what I had thought to be a fictional universe. Not simply as a nice safe background character, but as the stand-in to Harry Potter himself. What it did mean, though, was that I—joy of joys—now had a destiny.
It might have been easier if I had by some miracle managed to be dropped in here as a minor side character like Luna Lovegood, or say Sally-Anne Perks, who managed to go to Hogwarts, get an education, and leave before the second war with Voldemort really got going again without anyone even noticing. Which incidentally would have been my plan. With the minor revision of leaving Dumbledore a list of the Horcruxes, their locations, and the best ways to deal with them. Which meant she had stolen my plan. Bitch. She stole my plan without even leaving clues for Dumbledore. Lazy bitch.
Given that I'm the bloody Chosen One, though, that plan is closed to me. Hence my current plan, which at the moment consisted mostly of a list of possible friends and supplies I thought necessary to survive the coming ordeals.
Speaking of, I glanced at the clock, it's almost time for the Dursleys to get back from church. I finished the sausages before placing them on the table with the rest of the food. A quick look around the table revealed nothing amiss. With a satisfied nod I cleaned up what little mess there was. The kitchen was to be kept as clean possible at all times, especially when expecting company.
Just in time I hear the cars pull into the drive and I head to the front door. Opening the door, I greeted the family that my own family was trying to impress today.
"Good morning Mister Jensen, how are you today?" I said. Tall, fit, and incredibly smart, Mr. Jensen was on the short list for CEO of Grunnings for his work as the Vice-President of International Markets. Which meant that he was someone that Vernon needed to impress if he ever wanted get that promotion to Senior Manager. A feat made easier because of Mr. Jensen's weakness for my homemade blood pudding. How anyone can eat that stuff I don't know but he loves it.
"Quite well Miss Alex, and you?" Mr. Jensen said. As we exchanged pleasantries I took his and his family's outer wear to hang in the cupboard under the stairs. My chores, of which this was one, were a part of my understanding with my aunt; as long as I completed them in a timely manner, kept my grades up—and Dudley's grades as well, not that Aunt Petunia was aware of just how much of Dudley's good grades were my doing—and kept out of the way, I was left mostly to my own devices.
"Oh, I'm doing well. The food is ready. If you just head to the dining room you can seat yourselves, and I made extra blood pudding for you and put it in the fridge." I say this without ever dropping my pleasant smile, which was mostly genuine if slightly wooden. With that he headed to the dining room at a faster clip than was really necessary.
Vernon passed me with barely a glance and Dudley followed close behind, though he did keep enough presence of mind to give me a respectful nod, a feat that took him bringing home good grades for once and seeing just how pleased it made Vernon and Aunt Petunia.
"Everything's perfect?" Aunt Petunia asked.
"Of course Aunt Petunia, I know how much this promotion would mean to the family." My smile shifted to something more genuine as I turned to face her. Aunt Petunia looked nothing like the actress that played her in the movies or how most fanfictions portrayed her. I never read the books, but it was a safe bet that she didn't look like that either. Instead she was actually quite beautiful, with long strawberry blonde hair and symmetrical features. Honestly, why she chose to marry Vernon of all people is beyond me, but love is blind.
Loud guffaws rang from the dining room... And deaf. Love is blind and deaf.
"Thank you, dear. Are you going to the library today?" Aunt Petunia asked.
"Yes ma'am," I replied.
"Good, good, here's 20 quid. Be back by dark and make sure you get something to eat for dinner," She said. With that she went inside.
I gave the money a long look as I headed upstairs to get changed. It was far from the first time that Aunt Petunia had gone out of her way be nice, but I found myself surprised each time. In most fanfictions the Dursleys were portrayed as negligent at best or so abusive that Lifetime would jump at the chance to make a movie about them. In reality, or at least in this reality, Aunt Petunia was consistently kind, Dudley was respectful which admittedly took a lot of effort on my part, and Vernon was the worst of the lot with him just ignoring me.
What could have caused that change I didn't know, but I had my suspicions that it had something to do with just how different Aunt Petunia looked compared to how I expected her to be, which did lend credence to my theory that this was universe was not canon compliant.
I shook my head. Whatever the truth I was I wasn't going to figure it out by wool gathering.
I had not been entirely honest with Aunt Petunia; while I did plan on going to the library, I would only be going if my other plans fell through. Which, admittedly, they had an unfortunate tendency to do. So I did not in fact feel guilty about misleading her as to my whereabouts. Now, if only my stomach would stop turning I might actually be able to call the Knight Bus this time.
Once I was far enough away from Privet Drive I ducked into an alley and, after looking around to ensure that I was all alone, pulled out my hand mirror. Looking at my refection I thanked my lucky stars that I had read more than a fair bit of Harry Potter fanfiction, because if I hadn't I may have never discovered that I had some latent Metamorphmagus abilities. It only let me change my skin color and hair length as well as my hair's color. Nowhere near a versatile as the full list of abilities that some fanfics gave Metamorphmagi. Still, I was very happy with it, and because it was the only form of magic I could get to work I practiced with it at every opportunity.
I had gotten so good at it that I could give myself multiple contrasting color patterns both on my hair and skin. My favorite change though is making myself look like a Zabrak, the red alien from the first Star Wars prequel. It took me forever to get my hair to look like bone, and it was still not quite right, but you would only be able to tell that if you actually touched one of the spurs.
As it was I spent the majority of my time looking like a picture-perfect recreation of my mother. I had already looked almost exactly like her, eerily so, and it only took a slight darkening of my hair and a slightly brighter shade of green for my eyes to make them match, which was my plan to ensure Snape saw my mother when he looked at me and not his hated school rival.
Still, once I finished turning my hair black and shorting it to just below my shoulders, I darkened my skin a few shades and finally moved my curse scar from my forehead to my back. Given that it was one of Voldemort's Horcruxes I could not simply get rid of it. My preparations complete, I put my mirror away and left the alley to try to call the Knight Bus again.
When I said that the only bit of magic I could get to work was my Metamorphmagus abilities I was being entirely honest. At least once a month the past year I would leave Privet Drive and attempt to summon the Knight Bus and each time I would be met with failure. I had tried focusing on my magic, calling for it, driving myself into a panic before calling for it and still the damned thing refused to show up.
It was supposed to come to any Witch or Wizard in need. I was in need, dammit, so why the hell was it ignoring me?! I stayed there for ten minutes before finally giving up and going to the library, where I checked out a few fun reads and a book on meditation.
Dear Ms Potter We are pleased to inform you that you have a place at Hogwarts School of Witchcraft and Wizardry. Please find enclosed a list of all necessary books and equipment.
We are pleased to inform you that you have a place at Hogwarts School of Witchcraft and Wizardry. Please find enclosed a list of all necessary books and equipment.
My Hogwarts acceptance letter had finally arrived a few days ago. I knew it was coming, but... I was comfortable. I was safe. I was loved and treated with respect. Did I really want to go to Hogwarts? A place where, if canon was anything to go by, I would be expected to be some larger than life savior? And where, when I inevitably failed to live up to those expectations, I would be reviled for my perceived failures.
More important though was the fact that as long as I stayed here the blood wards would ensure that I was safe, at least from Voldemort. That was the crux of the matter, wasn't it? I did not want to face him again. The night he came for me was the worst night of my life, in this life and the last. He walked through some of the strongest wards as if they were nothing and killed my parents almost without breaking stride.
I could feel my chest tightening and my breath was starting to come in loud gasps. He murdered them, and I couldn't do anything about it. To this day my feelings for the Potters were a confusing mess, but they had died trying to protect me. They had died for me and they had damn well earned the right to be called my parents. If I had just tried a little bit harder I could have gotten them to leave, if I had stopped worrying about them finding out about my past life I could have… goddammit, I could have done something!
I reached under my bed for the paper bag I kept there for occasions like this. This was not the first time I had required it, unfortunately.
I did not want anyone else dying for me, but really, what choice did I have? It's not like the Wizarding world would simply let me not go to Hogwarts. Okay, deep breaths Alex, just calm down and think. It took a few minutes but I was able to, slowly, get my breathing under control.
Voldemort was not the type of person to just let things go, so simply staying here was out of the question, because if I did stay here he would find a way through the wards. Even if, and it was a big if, he was unable to find a way to bring the wards down there was only so long that I could hide behind them. Food would quickly become an issue, admittedly not as quickly as it would for most other houses—it took a lot of food to keep Vernon fed. Even that would only become a problem if Voldemort or one of his minions didn't manage to catch me outside the wards first.
With that in mind I dried my tears, took a deep breath and headed downstairs to find Aunt Petunia.
"Aunt Petunia, we need to talk," I said.
"Okay dear, I'll be there in a second," She said. It was a good thing we were alone today, Vernon was at work and Dudley was at Piers' house. This talk was going to difficult enough without having to deal with them on top of the emotions this talk was sure to generate.
"So what did you want to talk about?" Aunt Petunia said. Having joined me at the table she gave me a concerned look. Okay Alex, it's time. With a deep breath I reached into my shirt pocket and set my Hogwarts letter on the table. "Oh," her voice was soft as she stared at the parchment.
"Aunt Petunia?" I asked. Are you ok? Do you still love me? Please don't hate me.
I knew that I was being emotional and that it wasn't like this was going to make her reject me. Probably. Hopefully. Right?
"I had hoped that with the way they dumped you here that there was something that kept you from being one of them." Aunt Petunia said. I had wondered, given how different things were, if Dumbledore had just left me on the front step like he did in canon.
"Dropped off?" I asked.
"They left you on the front step all bundled up with a letter stuck to you saying Lily was dead and to take care of you," Aunt Petunia said. I cringed. Really Dumbledore, her sister is murdered and you just leave a note? Your sister's dead, but here's your consolation prize.
"As if I needed a note to tell me to take care of you. She was my sister and after everything Lily did for me… Anyway, taking care of you is the least I could do," She finished. True, but I was not expecting you to be so nice about it. I mean Dudley was blatantly the favorite but I received my fair share of love and attention. From her at least; Vernon was another matter entirely. I got clothes bought just for me, something Vernon grumbled about, but he came around when Aunt Petunia pointed out that dressing a girl in Dudley's old things would raise more than a few eyebrows. More than that though were the presents I would sometimes get from her, small things but they were sweet and showed me that she cared.
"Of course it wasn't long after you started living here that I knew that you would be going back one way or another," Aunt Petunia said, her smile bittersweet. "You are not as discreet as you think you are." She cut her eyes to me and her smile turned devious.
"W-what do mean?" I asked. What does she know? How could she know? I was always very careful to make sure I was alone before I started practicing.
"What do I mean? Two words: Star Wars." She said. Okay, so she knows. But how in the hell does she know?
"I'm sure I have no idea what you could possibly be talking about." I turned my nose up and closed my eyes trying, and failing, to stop the blush working its way up my neck and the smile tugging at my lips. I had never been a good liar. I suffered from the condition known as liar's delight, which meant that any time I felt like I was getting away with something I wasn't supposed to I started smiling. Not a small one either, a big face-splitting grin that gave me away to even the most oblivious of people. My Aunt is many things, normal foremost among them and she would happily choke a bitch if they implied otherwise, but oblivious is not one of them. So it was no surprise when she let loose an unladylike sniff and rolled her eyes at my words.
"Please Alex, I opened the bathroom door to put some linens away and what do I see but my niece trying to win a staring contest with the mirror while the shower is running," here she paused to give me a brief glare. "I was about to say something when all of a sudden you started changing color and posing," Oh God, she didn't... "and saying, what was it?" She did. "Oh yes, 'Tremble fool, for you do not know the power of the Dark Side!' Did I get that right?" By now my face had met the table and my blush was visible from space, even from behind my arms.
"So that's why you got me that Extended Universe book," it all made sense now. Aunt Petunia just smiled.
3 days later
After that it was just a matter of sending a request for someone to come to the house using the PO-Box that Aunt Petunia used to write Mom when she went to Hogwarts. Professor McGonagall's response came yesterday saying that a representative would be by tomorrow at noon on the dot. So of course Vernon made me return my library books and I, of course, lost track of time reading.
I looked at my watch as I made my way down the alley. 11:51, bloody hell I'm going to be late. If I run I might make it in time, but if I run I would undoubtedly arrive a sweaty mess. Late or mess, mess or late, nether one was a good option. Professor McGonagall was sure to be annoyed either way and if they sent Snape my whole plan to avoid aggravating him would be over before it could even begin.
As I was debating the pros and cons of sweaty vs late I noticed someone walking down the alley. I thought nothing of it, this was a frequently traveled shortcut after all. Not to mention that it was still daylight so the odds against a perv trying to get his jollies, at least in this neighborhood, were low.
So I was completely surprised when, as we were passing each other, he whirled around and slammed me into the alley wall.
"Potter," he practically growled at me. Potter? So not a perv, joy. I hadn't even gotten my wand yet. Does this guy have no sense of decorum? If his breath was anything to go by the answer was no.
"Tic-Tac," I snarked. His hand was squeezing my neck, in fact he was holding me up by my neck. Air was rapidly becoming a problem. Even so I couldn't give up an opportunity to quip in the face of death. It was traditional.
"What?" he said. I wasn't imagining it, he was growling at me and with how easily he was holding me with just one hand clued me in that he may not be human.
"You need a Tic-Tac." I attempted to say this in the most condescending upper crust accent possible. His grip was so tight though that what came out was less posh and more 'I smoke ten packs a day'. Still, I got the point across if I was reading his expression right.
"I was already going to kill you, but now I'm going to take my time," He said, his grin impossibly wide, before he leaned close. I had not been idle during our exchange. While I distracted him with my stunning wit I had pulled my switchblade from my pants pocket. Once I got it out I waited until he'd leaned forward enough, then I rammed it straight up through the bottom of his jaw, which should have put him out of commission. Regrettably no one told him that, because as soon as I finished ramming it in he threw me down the alley.
"You bitch!" He reached up and casually pulled my knife out of his jaw and tossed it aside. Okay, this fight is way out of my league. Time to run.
"Well now, that's enough o' that now isn't it?" How I missed him I have no idea, but Hagrid had suddenly appeared behind my attacker holding a sword of all things. As surprised as I was, my attacker was even more surprised. He spun around raising his fists as he did so, but before he could do anything Hagrid gutted him with a swift cut before stepping back to avoid the flood of blood from his stomach, and then he removed his head.
At this point the thing had stopped looking human and, as I looked, his entire body turned black before catching fire and quickly turning to ash. I turned to face Hagrid and gave him a questioning look.
"Red Court," Hagrid answered my unasked question. Red Court vampires were recurring villains in the Dresden Files. They walked around in a skin suit and regularly made slaves out of people using their addictive saliva. "They're bad little beasties." Hagrid was tall, twelve feet if he was an inch, with a beard more like a scraggly lion's mane than anything else, and he had a strong West Country accent.
"Sword?" I asked stunned. I honestly had no idea how to react, wasn't Hagrid supposed to be a nice gentle soul?
"Sword? No this is jus' me belt knife," Hagrid answered. Belt knife, sure. He finished cleaning his s-belt knife and put it away. "So, ready to go? I already talked to yer Auntie, said I'd be comin' by to get yeh before headin' over to Diagon Alley."
"… Yeah, sure." My mind was running in overdrive. Red Court vampires. They're not part of canon, hell they're supposed to be part of another universe entirely. I shook my head to clear it and grabbed my knife before following Hagrid out of the alley. I really need some history books.
Headmaster's Office that evening
Albus Percival Wulfric Brian Dumbledore was a man with many names. He was also a man with many titles, but most importantly he was a man with many masks. His favorite was the one he spent the most time cultivating, that of the doting if eccentric grandfatherly teacher. His entire office was designed to enforce this image.
"Come in, Hagrid," Dumbledore said. Portraits are useful things if you manage to befriend them or if you could command them. He tried to make friends with them but if that failed he could, as Headmaster, command them. Thankfully that was rarely necessary, as with the hidden portrait he had in the stairway to his office that let him know who was coming. That, and a simple charm let him know when someone was about to knock. A small trick, but one he quite enjoyed.
"So how was your trip with young Miss Potter?" Dumbledore asked.
"It was grand, it was. Looks exactly like her mother and she kept asking questions the whole trip, especially 'bout the Vampire Courts. Real curious, that one, jus' like her mum," Hagrid responded. Now why would she be asking about the Vampire Courts? Dumbledore knew that muggle literature was filled with so-called good vampires, but for her to take such an interest in the real thing was somewhat disconcerting. What could have prompted her to ask about them in the first place? It wasn't as if Diagon Alley was likely to have anything about them. Except, perhaps, in the history books.
"Why, that is good to hear, Hagrid. So do you think she'll follow her parents' example and go to Gryffindor? Or perhaps she's more of a Ravenclaw?" Dumbledore inquired.
"Gryffindor fer sure. She handled the Red Court beastie like a champ she did! Had him on the run before I even got there," Hagrid said. You could hear the pride in his voice as he described the encounter.
"I'm sure she did, my boy. Now if you'll excuse me I have some paperwork to do," Dumbledore said.
"Of course, of course. Have a good one, Professor," Hagrid responded. With that he left.
"That's not good. That's not good at all," Dumbledore muttered aloud. Fawkes let loose a hard trill from his perch where he had been for the entire conversation. "You may be right, my friend. Perhaps it is time to get back in touch with some old friends." Now how best to phrase this. Taking his quill he wrote a short letter before giving it to Fawkes. "Would you be willing to deliver this, Fawkes?" An affirmative trill was his only response before Fawkes burned away.
The Silk Rose, late that night
The Silk Rose was the place for the elite of magical Britain to come and wash away their stress. From simple massages to deep tissue potion treatments and a full service staff, the Silk Rose offered everything its clients could possibly want. On the off chance that they didn't have exactly what you were looking for the staff would happily acquire it for you and, for a nominal fee, would ensure that they had it on hand for future visits no matter what or who your taste might be. But most importantly the staff did this with complete confidentiality. It was for this reason that the Silk Rose had been serving its customers' needs for nearly five hundred years.
"Thank you for the tea my dear," Dumbledore said as he sat in Madam Sofia's office, which was tastefully decorated in a soothing combination of black and purple.
"It's a pleasure to serve the Chief Warlock," Madam Sofia said. Some women were cute, others were beautiful. Madam Sofia however was someone who's every action screamed sex. She caressed each word as she said them, giving her the best come hither voice Dumbledore had ever had the pleasure of hearing. "Though I must admit some surprise to seeing you here. You've never graced us with your presence before, but I'm positive that whatever you desire we here at the Silk Rose are more than able to meet your needs."
"I can't tell you how happy that makes me, because, you see, I have a slight problem and I think that you're the only one who can help me," Dumbledore said and Madam Sofia made an inquisitive sound that did things to her lips, while subtly shifting her posture to better emphasize her considerable assets. Dumbledore's voice changed as he continued, taking on a harsh edge. "Some fool attacked one of my students today."
"Oh my, that's awful! I hope the poor dear is alright, but I don't see what that has to do with me," Madam Sofia said, a slight tightening of her eyes the only indication that his words had affected her.
"It has to do with you because it was a member of the Red Court that attacked her," Dumbledore said, his normally twinkling eyes shining with rage.
"That's impossible. As you well know, I'm the only one of my coven that has sufficient age to walk in the light of day. If by some chance one of my kin did attack one of your students it was not by my order nor was it one of mine that did so," Madam Sofia protested.
"Your story would have more merit had I not used a Time-Turner to go back and observe the attack myself." Dumbledore tossed a ring on her desk, taking a dark pleasure in her slight flinch. "Once Miss Potter had made it to safety I examined the scene and found this little trinket. It took some digging, but I managed to divine its purpose. It strengthens any glamour derived from the Nevernever."
"Sounds useful, but—" Madam Sofia tried to protest.
"Madam, you attacked a child, one whom I have taken an interest in, and I will not stand for it," Dumbledore said, his voice dangerously low.
"Come off it, Dumbledore! You've certainly never taken notice before when I've done business in the past—" Madam Sofia said her voice scathing.
"Silence!" Dumbledore said, releasing the power he usually worked so hard to keep contained. It filled the room, causing the walls to shake and Madam Sofia to freeze up. "It's true that I have, in the past, been forced to ignore your business practices. Now, though, you have overstepped your bounds. Attacking The Girl Who Lived, have you lost your mind? That poor girl has already lost so much, and I fear the road she must walk will only get harder from here, but I intend to ensure that she has as much joy in her life as possible."
"I have official dispensation from the Wizengamot," Madam Sofia said, her voice taking a panicked edge. It was true that she did have official permission to operate. Before the recent war with the White Council, the Silk Rose would never have been talked about in polite company let alone be given official leave to operate in Wizarding Britain. The White Council's rocky relationship with the official government of wanded magicians though made it politically convenient to give the Red Court a boon that cost the politicians nothing and gave the White Council the proverbial middle finger. "You can't touch me!"
"Grindelwald thought much the same," was all Dumbledore said before he sent a high powered cutting charm at her neck. For a moment nothing happened, then Madam Sofia's head fell from her shoulders and landed on her desk with a sickening squelch. Killing was never easy, should never be easy, but it was at times necessary. Killing Red Court vampires while unpleasant, especially when they used their flesh masks to look human, was entirely necessary. Their entire war with the White Council started because one of the White Council's Wizards in Chicago could not sit idly by and let them prey on innocents, and neither would Dumbledore.
Her death activated the wards Dumbledore had set up earlier. With a final sip of his tea he stood and faced the door, just in time for it to fly off its hinges. A swipe of his wand sent it back through the doorway, pulping the vampire about to enter. Another wave and the three behind that one lost their heads. A slash, and the entire wall exploded, killing the rest of those in the hallway. That done he stepped past the wreckage and continued throughout the building. The wards would ensure that no one would make it out until he was done.
An hour later, outside the Silk Rose
Commander of the Wardens Anastasia Luccio was a professional, she had been to more interesting places and killed more interesting monsters in her life than most people ever heard of. So when she received a request from Dumbledore asking for help with a coven of Red Court vampires she was not surprised. Annoyed that it had taken the wanded idiots this long to realize just what they were dealing with simply for the chance to snub the White Council, but not surprised.
When Dumbledore had contacted her she had wanted to assemble a group of Wardens to hit the Silk Rose. Sadly the only one available was Warden Chandler. A raid like this required at least five Wardens to be done safely. With no other Wardens available she would have settled for a squad of Aurors, but this raid wasn't sanctioned by the Ministry. Which meant that they had to get creative. When she told Dumbledore this the old fool had walked, calmly as you pleased, right through the front door. Calling out over his shoulder for her to ensure the wards didn't fail.
"So, how long till he calls us in, do you think?" Warden Chandler was talented. Sadly he was also young and he knew just how good he was, so he had a tendency to speak without thinking things through.
"He won't," Luccio said.
"There must be at least a hundred Reds in there!" Chandler's voice had turned incredulous. "I know the wanded types think he's the second coming of Merlin but surely he can't have bought his own hype."
"What hype, my boy?" Dumbledore said. Chandler had turned to address Captain Luccio, so he was unable to see Dumbledore as he walked out the now burning Silk Rose, coming to a stop just behind Chandler. As such Chandler loosed a—manly sounding, he'd assure her—squeal while spinning around and launching a bolt of lightning from his cane as he did so. The lightning splashed harmlessly against Dumbledore's shield. "Are you alright? You seem a little high strung. Perhaps a lemon drop to soothe your nerves?" Butter would not melt in Dumbledore's mouth.
"I assume you being here means that the Reds are taken care of." Luccio's only indication of amusement was a slight upturn of her lips.
"Yes," Dumbledore said, his face losing its amused demeanor. "Yes it is. Thank you for the information on the ring and the intelligence on just who was in there. It proved invaluable tonight."
A nod was Luccio's only response. With that she began to walk away and Dumbledore called Fawkes to take him back to his office. Leaving Chandler there with his mouth soundlessly moving as his gaze went back and forth trying to figure out what just happened.