Title: Journal Entry
Disclaimer: J. K. Rowling and associates own these characters. I am writing this story for fun and not profit.
Pairings: None, gen
Content Notes: Angst, AU in which Harry was raised by Dolores Umbridge, first-person, references to violence
Summary: AU. Harry keeps a journal as he moves through his first year at school, and even his guardian would be shocked if she knew what was there.
Author's Notes: This is an Advent fic for jtsbbsps_dk's request; they wanted a one shot sequel/small epilogue to The Daring Win from Harry's PoV. So that I don't give any spoilers for the story The Daring Win, you can consider this an AU of a AU. Relevant background knowledge for this story is that Harry was found by Dolores in the company of his Aunt Petunia when he was seven, and she adopted him to further her own political ambitions. At the current point in the main story, this has included allowing Sirius and Remus—whom Dolores does not know is a werewolf—a place in her household, with Remus as Harry's tutor.
This story is not necessarily the future of The Daring Win. But it is a possible one.
September 1st, 1991
Miss Dolores won't be surprised to hear that I went into Slytherin. She was always predicting it from the moment I got my Hogwarts letter. But I think Sirius and Moony might be a little disappointed.
It doesn't matter. When I sat on the stool and the Hat sat on my head, I didn't even have a chance to say anything. It said my name, and then it said "SLYTHERIN!" so loudly that I think it broke some rafters. So here I am.
Draco's here, too, and he's nice as always. He kept off some of the people who wanted my autograph. He can stare people into submission when he wants to.
It's good he did. They don't want to find out what would happen if they kept asking me for it.
September 6th, 1991
My head aches like fire. And it's not my scar. I know how to deal with that. It's because that bastard Snape tried to peer into my head.
(I almost crossed that out. But this is my journal, and I used that spell Sirius taught me which keeps anyone else from reading it. They'll just see lists of shopping if they try. I can swear if I want).
I don't know why he hates me, except that he was a Death Eater, and mostly they hate me. I think Draco's father would hate me more if he knows how often we meet. But Sirius makes sweet faces at Draco's mother and sneaks him out of the house too often for that.
But Snape couldn't see anything. The Occlumency shields Moony taught me took care of that. I hate that he tried, though.
Time for that extra bicorn horn I bought at Slug and Jiggers to come in handy, I think.
September 16th, 1991
It took forever, but I finally managed to slip the bicorn horn into Snape's tea that he drinks at breakfast! Well, the bicorn horn combined with wild rose petals. It's not like it would have much effect on its own.
Snape only took one drink before his eyes bulged out and he shoved the mug away from him. And he started gasping like someone was strangling him. Dumbledore tried to help him, but even he couldn't do much about a potion that had already been ingested. Snape had to run to the infirmary once his ears started bleeding.
Draco thinks it was me. I just smile and don't deny it or confirm it. Miss Dolores taught me that. And Sirius taught me the potion. And Moony taught me to keep secrets.
It's not like Snape would die. But after this, then maybe he'll be a little more respectful. At least of someone who knows how to treat house-elves.
September 30th, 1991
Dumbledore called me to his office today. My only concern was what was taking him so long.
He told me that he was concerned about me. "About you being in Slytherin, dear boy. You might have enemies in your House, have you thought about that? And of course, your parents wouldn't approve of you being raised by one of their enemies."
I just said what Miss Dolores told me to say—that she was really young when my parents were killed, and she didn't fight in the first war because she didn't like feeling pressured to choose a side. And I told him I have lots of friends in Slytherin. Which is true. Some of them are real friends like Draco and some are just afraid, but they would still protect me if someone tried to hurt me.
Like Snape. I don't think he realizes how he's turning Slytherin against him by picking on me in class all the time.
Dumbledore told me I had to think hard about the kinds of pranks I play. That means he knows I put the bicorn horn and rose petals in Snape's drink. But so what? The prank is done, and Sirius and Moony played them, too. If he gets too insistent about it, I'll just tell him I want to follow in my father's footsteps.
He seems like the kind of person to get misty-eyed when I mention my father.
Dumbledore finally let me go with a pat on the head and a reminder that I can come to him any time I have questions. As if I would.
October 8th, 1991
I know now that something's off about Quirrell. I thought it was Snape making my scar hurt, but he's never been in the Defense classroom at the same time as me. And Quirrell stares at me when he thinks I don't notice.
He never looks weak then. He looks scary.
I wonder if he was a Death Eater, too. I should try to find out.
(I would say that I would be surprised if he was, because not even Dumbledore would hire two Death Eaters to be professors here, but then I remember who I'm talking about, and I don't want to say silly things even in a journal that no one else is ever going to see).
October 21st, 1991
It took me this long, but I finally confirmed that Quirrell is visiting the third floor corridor. That's the one that Dumbledore said no one is to visit on pain of death. But there aren't even as many protections on the door that Quirrell keeps going to as there are on Miss Dolores's garden to keep the rabbits from getting at the lettuce.
It's like someone wants children to visit there…
I listened to Snape threatening Quirrell, but I couldn't tell what he was after. Something valuable. And probably not just in the money kind of way, since Quirrell has a home and plenty to eat and fancy robes. Something he wants more than anything.
Enough to risk Snape. Enough to risk a nasty death.
October 31st, 1991
Quirrell came running into the Great Hall, shrieked something about a troll being loose in the dungeons, and fell over. Then we were supposed to go back to our common rooms, but Snape stopped us from walking into the dungeons until the troll was cleared out. It's more sensible and concerned than I expected him to be. We were supposed to stay in the Great Hall under the guard of our prefects instead.
But I'd been listening to the group of chattering Gryffindors who passed us by on the way to their Tower, and I knew that one of them was still missing. Hermione Granger, this girl who seemed pretty smart on the train and still demanded that the Hat put her in Gryffindor.
(I cast eavesdropping spells when she was under the Hat. I was really curious about what was taking so long).
The last place they'd seen her, Patil said, was in the girls' bathroom on the first floor. And she might sit there until the troll came along and smashed her flat, for all they cared. They just kept going up to Gryffindor Tower.
This is one of the reasons the Hat didn't put me in that House, I suppose. I went after Granger.
The troll found us, of course. I mean, me and Granger. It could probably hear her crying, and smell me. I came around the corner of the corridor at the same moment as it did, and it headed towards the bathroom, but turned its head to look at me.
Thank Merlin for that Tripping Wire Jinx that Sirius taught me. It doesn't just trip someone by focusing on their feet. It creates an actual wire along the ground in front of them, and because the troll was looking at me, it never saw the wire.
It fell so hard. I heard Granger shriek in the bathroom, and then she came running out with her wand in hand.
I suppose she does belong in Gryffindor, after all.
The troll hit the floor hard enough to break its nose and knock it unconscious. Granger stared around for a second, and focused on me. I shrugged and put my wand away. The professors were coming, I could hear them, and I knew they would probably blame me for having my wand out at all, instead of cowering in the corner like a good little first-year.
Granger did say, before Snape showed up and started cursing me for making his life miserable, "Why?"
"Because I think you're smart," I said. "And it's wrong that people hate you just for being raised by Muggles." And because I wanted to make sure that her parents were taking care of her right. Her not having any friends didn't really suggest she was living in a good place.
But now I think it's her intelligence keeping them at bay. She does want to have friends, but she doesn't really know how.
And if I can be her friend…
It made it worth losing points for Slytherin and having some of them glare at me when I went back to the common room. Dumbledore will be less suspicious of me now that I have a friend in Gryffindor. And I saved someone who could be intelligent and an asset in the future.
Miss Dolores is going to be proud of me, even if I had to risk my life.
November 3rd, 1991
She isn't as proud as I thought she would be.
I didn't get a Howler at breakfast, the way Draco would have if he'd tried something like that, but I did get a sternly-worded letter that reminded me Dumbledore and his Ministry flunkies are always watching. What would have happened, she asked, if I hadn't been able to take care of the troll? Or if I'd got killed trying to save a Muggleborn who isn't being abused?
Sometimes I think she should know better than to ask those questions. But then, I never doubt she cares about me.
I got a scolding letter from Moony, too, about how it would help them keep me alive if I didn't charge into danger all the time. It was only the once! And Sirius didn't write to congratulate me on using a prank to save my life. Moony must have persuaded him not to.
It's only the ninth week of school, and already I have a whole bunch of people doubting me.
That's okay. I love them, but they're not going to stand in the way of what I want to do.
Which, right now, is to keep an eye on Quirrell and make Dumbledore start to ask the right questions about me.
November 15th, 1991
Quirrell has been back to the third floor corridor three nights in a row. And the last time, I heard him muttering to someone, even though he was clearly alone. If he's not mad, he's close to it. Maybe he's communicating with someone who's not there. Miss Dolores has already taught me a spell like that.
(Pity it doesn't work at the distance between her house and Hogwarts).
He calls the other person "master." And he's shivering when he does it. I really do think he might be a Death Eater, but Sirius checked for me and his name was never on any trial records. Maybe there is one who didn't get caught the way Draco's father and aunt did, then.
I'm going to plant a few clues, since Dumbledore and Snape (who thinks he's so smart) haven't picked up on what Quirrell is doing themselves. Yes, Snape threatened him that one time, but he doesn't seem to understand that if Quirrell has help and keeps looking at those wards, he could get through eventually.
It's amazing how much you can get away with when you're already an expert at the Disillusionment Charm and no one expects you to be.
November 29th, 1991
I can't believe how long it took Snape to follow my trail. Some of the older Slytherins told me he has monitoring spells that warn him when anyone opens the door of the common room after curfew, but he sure didn't appear before this.
Anyway, when I was sure he was there, I led him up to the third floor. Quirrell was writhing on the floor because of something his "master" was doing to him. I stepped out of the way and let Snape listen and observe.
Snape finally came to some decision, because he scooped up Quirrell and took him to the Headmaster's office. I noticed the smell was worse than ever when they passed me, and it didn't smell like garlic. So Quirrell was using the garlic and the vampire that he was afraid of as an excuse for something else. I knew it!
I hope that the adults finally learn what they're supposed to, because this is bloody tiring.
December 8th, 1991
Well, it took them this long to announce—and Hermione is panicking because she thinks our exams in Defense are going to be harder with the classes being canceled for more than a week—but Dumbledore finally stood up at dinner and explained what was going on with Quirrell, and that he would take over our Defense classes himself for the rest of the year.
(I think I could hear Hermione's sigh of relief all the way across the Great Hall).
Quirrell was serving Voldemort. Apparently he had him on the back of his head. (Even the older Slytherins who like to swank around and say that they'd be serving Voldemort if he was back now looked revolted at that). That was why he wore the turban all the time. And the smell. They trapped Voldemort's spirit in a bottle, because they couldn't destroy it. They're trying to work out what to do with him.
Quirrell is dead.
I didn't really expect that, but I can't say I'm sorry.
And Dumbledore wants to talk to me in a few evenings in his office. Good. Finally he's asking the right questions.
December 12th, 1991
That was strange.
Dumbledore began with apologizing. He said that he didn't really trust me when I was placed in Slytherin. He doesn't even make sense. There are a whole bunch of Slytherins who didn't have parents who were Death Eaters, and there are Gryffindors he thought were Death Eaters, like Sirius. So I don't know where he gets off making these judgments.
Then he told me that he knew I had been "sneaking around the castle" to help capture Quirrell, and I wasn't to do it anymore.
I said, and I think I was very polite, "But then no one would have caught Voldemort, Headmaster. I know you didn't know about him, and neither did Snape, because he kept showing up to that door by himself."
"Professor Snape, Harry."
That was all he said about that. And then he went on scolding me for risking my life and taking chances when I shouldn't.
It was gentler than one of Miss Dolores's scoldings, but no one can scold like she can. And I actually care about what she thinks of me, unlike Dumbledore and Snape. I can pretend, though. I pretended to be very sorry, and said I wouldn't do it again.
And then Dumbledore smiled at me, and took out something shimmery and silvery from behind his desk. I had to squint, because I thought it was transparent at first, but then I noticed the way it made his hand disappear, and I knew what it was.
My father's Invisibility Cloak. The one Sirius and Moony talk about all the time. They never found it in the cottage at Godric's Hollow, and they could only say that maybe one of the Death Eaters came along later and stole it. Or Pettigrew hid it somewhere.
But Dumbledore had it all this time.
"Use this when you want to sneak around, Harry. It will protect you much better than a mere Disillusionment Charm can."
I took the Cloak and managed to thank him politely, even though I was choked up with fury. And then I went away to write a letter home right away. I won't be able to keep up this journal when I'm there, because there are things in it I wouldn't want Miss Dolores to see, but letters are a good start.
We have to do something about Dumbledore.
January 8th, 1992
There's apparently still something hidden in the third floor corridor. A few of the older Weasleys brothers told Hermione that; they're some of the only Gryffindors who talk to her. I wish there was something I could do, but she told the Hat she wanted to be in that House, which means I can't.
Hermione wants to find out what it is. I don't really see why. I mean, we don't have to do anything about it, so why get involved?
We have to do something about Dumbledore, though. I had a nice Christmas, but it was marred by the thought of what Dumbledore was doing with my dad's Cloak, and Sirius and Moony talked for a long time about what we could do.
Miss Dolores was the one who came up with the best idea, though, when we were sitting over dinner one night. "Dumbledore relies on this Order of the Phoenix, doesn't he?" she asked.
Sirius nodded and tried to go on talking to Moony about pranks, but Miss Dolores interrupted. "And it depends on secrecy? And many people not even knowing there is such a group?"
Moony was the one who saw where she was going first. He gasped a little. "Tell people about the Order of the Phoenix?"
"Why not?" Miss Dolores had a small smile on her face as she ate the last of her ham. It's when she looks like that that I'm most scared of her. "He's the one who involved Harry's parents, who was at least partially responsible for their deaths in the war, and the one who borrowed a priceless Cloak for ten years. And the one who's prejudiced against Harry simply because of what House he was Sorted into. I think we need to do something to hurt him."
"But we might need the Order of the Phoenix when Voldemort comes back," Sirius argued. He doesn't flinch when he says that name anymore. But he's absolutely convinced that Voldemort is coming back. "We were the only ones really fighting the Death Eaters in the first war."
"The Aurors were, too. But they were not a secret vigilante group controlled by the Headmaster of Hogwarts."
The conversation got so fast after that that I can't remember the rest of it word-for-word, even though Miss Dolores has told me over and over again what a useful skill that is. But Sirius and Moony agreed, in the end, to tell people about the Order of the Phoenix.
Now we just need to figure out how to do it.
February 2nd, 1992
Not much to write here. Just classes and lessons that I mostly know already, but Miss Dolores thinks it's a good idea for me to do the work as if I didn't. There's no need to let everyone see your every advantage, she says.
And I haven't come up with a good way to get the news of the Order of the Phoenix out, or get Hermione to stop worrying about what's behind that locked door.
Hermione is a frustrating friend, sometimes. I like it when she can tell me things about Gryffindor that make me laugh, and some of her scoldings make me laugh, too. But then she starts talking about studying and the thing that's hidden behind the door like we have some duty to bring it out, and…
The door's locked. The guardians are still there, whatever they are other than the dog. Quirrell isn't trying to steal it anymore, and I know now that Snape isn't trying to, either, even though I don't like him. Why does Hermione have to worry about it?
I swear, sometimes I don't understand Gryffindors at all.
February 8th, 1992
I finally found something I think will work! There was a letter for me this morning from a new Daily Prophet reporter called Rita Skeeter. Or I suppose she's not new, but she must have been promoted recently, because the ones who used to report on me aren't writing articles anymore. She wants to know if I'd give her an exclusive interview.
Miss Dolores always tells me to be careful who I talk to. But I don't think I need to deny myself to Skeeter. As long as I can make a mutually beneficial deal with her.
And if there's one thing Miss Dolores taught me to do, it's that.
February 15th, 1992
Ugh. Yesterday was horrible. All these people sending Valentine's cards to me, and then watching to see if I liked them.
I don't want to talk about it.
I managed to distract Professor McGonagall so she left to deal with all the Gryffindors stuck to the walls on the second floor while I was in her office talking to her, and then I opened the Floo instead of leaving the way she obviously thought I would. Professor McGonagall is very fair and tries not to be prejudiced against Slytherins.
Sometimes, she should be.
So I spoke to Skeeter through the fire, and honestly, I think it went well enough. I told her all the little tidbits Sirius and Moony had released to me about the Order of the Phoenix down the years, and Skeeter was scribbling so fast most of the time that I couldn't even see her quill.
"This will be precious," she was whispering to herself, sounding delirious, by the time that I stopped speaking. "It will be precious." She looked up, and suddenly she was as suspicious as Miss Dolores got when I told her I didn't have any homework over the holidays. "What do you want for this?"
"The same thing you want."
It took her a moment to work it out, but then her eyes widened. "Dumbledore embarrassed?"
I shrugged and let her think that was all it was. That's as far as she's looking, I'm sure, except for the fame and money this could bring her.
For a minute, Skeeter sucked her lips and was quiet. Then she said, "It'll take me a while to find other sources to corroborate this. And I have to. I can't release a story like this on just the Boy-Who-Lived's say-so."
That surprised me a little, because she struck me as the kind of person who just wanted to make a flash and a bang and didn't care much about the truth. "But you could convince people with what I just told you."
"But it wouldn't last long enough."
There was a gleam in her eyes that convinced me she had some personal grudge against Dumbledore. Maybe he refused to give her an interview or something. So I nodded and said, "Well, as long as you're like that, I can introduce you to a few other people who would be willing to speak anonymously."
And that's how I ended up getting Sirius and Moony to talk to Rita Skeeter.
March 5th, 1992
It took even longer than I thought to get the interview set up. Skeeter had to check with her sources, and Moony and Sirius had to meet her someplace neutral where no one would see them, and there was all this worry from Miss Dolores—I don't think she likes Skeeter—and I had to sneak around a few times and get to someone's Floo again.
But the article came out today.
It was worth the wait.
Draco nudged me when the Daily Prophet fell down on the table in front of him. I don't get my own copy, because Miss Dolores said people would think I was vulgar if they saw me reading it in public. But I can always look at Draco's copy sideways and make people think that I have to pay attention because he's forcing me to.
"Look at that," Draco said, and nodded at the headline.
VIGILANTE ORDER—WHAT HAS OUR REVERED HEADMASTER NOT BEEN TELLING US?
I snickered. Skeeter really did get them to put in multiple question marks. "It's impressive, all right," I said, and then turned around and ate some more of my porridge so no one would think I was looking too long.
Draco's parents didn't train him to think of vulgarity the way Miss Dolores did me, or maybe they just don't think a Malfoy can ever be vulgar. He was skimming the article and reading the best bits aloud to me, and even Vince and Gregory were leaning in so they could listen, gaping a little.
It meant I had to look up at their mashed-up food in their mouths. I didn't particularly enjoy that, but that's all right. There are lots of things I don't enjoy, and manage to live with anyway.
"…known as the Order of the Phoenix…Headmaster Dumbledore felt that he should be not only the Head of the Wizengamot and the most important person in Hogwarts, but the general of a vigilante army…impression that he cared less about the safety of his people than the Minister did…unplanned, unprovoked assaults on those merely suspected of being Death Eaters…undue influence in the Ministry…" Draco laughed like a doxy and shook his head. "I don't think that Dumbledore is going to recover from this easily!"
I looked up at the Head Table and found Dumbledore looking at me in that gentle, disappointed way he's tried on me before. I smiled back and looked away. I don't think he could use Legilimency from this distance, but I don't want to be wrong.
"Think he'll come and talk to you soon?" Draco sounded as if he'd like to be at that meeting.
"Oh," I said, and ate some more porridge while Dumbledore tried to make me look at him by sheer force of will, "I know it."
March 8th 1992
"I am very disappointed in you, Harry."
Honestly, he had said that before. I just folded my hands and twiddled my thumbs a little and looked at the portraits on the wall. Some of them stared at me, and some frowned. One or two winked when they were sure that Dumbledore wasn't looking at them. I thought most of those were Slytherin Headmasters.
Dumbledore went on and on about disappointment and how he'd thought I was a better person than that and so on, until I got tired of it and decided to speak. When I did, I interrupted him, and he stared at me as if he'd never thought that could happen.
"I asked my guardian to join us here, Headmaster."
"How could you—"
"Oh, I have my ways." It exhausts me a lot to cast a Patronus, but it's something Remus insisted on after that incident with Dementors last year, and it means I can send a secure message when it's urgent enough.
Dumbledore didn't even manage to get his mouth open all the way when someone knocked on the door. Dumbledore glared as it opened and Miss Dolores walked over to me and put her hand on my shoulder. He hates her a lot more than me for some reason, even though I'm the one who confounds him all the time. I suppose it's because she was the one to defy him first.
"Is there something you needed to speak to me and my ward about, Headmaster Dumbledore?" she asked. She was simpering. I love it when she simpers. It always means someone is going to underestimate her.
"The secrets of the Order of the Phoenix are out. It can only have been you."
"But I was very young when the first war began, Headmaster. I can't have leaked them."
"The people you have living with you could have."
"You mean that Mr. Black and Mr. Lupin were part of the Order of the Phoenix?" Miss Dolores put her hand over her mouth. "How incredible! They've never given the impression that they were violent, dangerous criminals!"
"The Order of the Phoenix was no more criminal than the Aurors. We were the only effective opposition to Voldemort."
"And the Aurors had the Ministry to keep them in check and take them in hand afterwards. But what kept you in check, Headmaster? I've never heard that you cared much for public opinion."
Dumbledore glared at her, and at me, and I think he would probably have glared at his phoenix if Fawkes hadn't been busy preening his tail. As it was, I smiled back at him, and Miss Dolores simpered, and Fawkes preened.
"If I find out you had anything to do with this, you will suffer," said Dumbledore.
"Threats. Of course. I shall contact my advocate and have him speak to you, Headmaster." Miss Dolores gave me a tender glance. I sat up still and straight. "And shall I have him issue an order of protection for Harry against your threats, as well?"
"I am not involving Harry. This does not involve Harry."
"Then why call him to your office?"
Dumbledore had no answer for that, as I suspected he wouldn't. I shook my head and looked at both of them with the big eyes that Miss Dolores made me practice. "Please, can I go now? I wouldn't want to miss Potions."
"Of course, dear," said Miss Dolores, and managed to make it look as if she was the Headmistress giving me permission. I love it when she does that, too. I stood up and left, and went and wrote this all down so I won't forget. I don't have Potions this morning.
I remember the whole conversation well, because it was so funny.
And hopefully Dumbledore will stop trying to get me involved in his politics, after this.
June 1st, 1992
Well, looking back on things I think it's been a pretty successful year. I was so busy with classes and exams and homework that I had no time to keep this journal, but that's all right. Nothing much of note happened.
Hermione got thoroughly distracted with the Order of the Phoenix story once it broke, and stopped worrying about whatever's up in the third floor corridor. She told me over and over that she couldn't believe she had trusted Headmaster Dumbledore so unthinkingly, and of course magical authorities should have some oversight, the way they do in the Muggle world.
"I need to just stop trusting books and teachers blindly and do my own research," she's told me thirteen hundred times now.
More research probably means more books. But I've kept silent because it seems to make her happy.
Snape's never been as bad as he was that first month. He keeps giving me doubtful glances and detention all the time, but I take the detention and do so well with the cauldrons and lines—like they're anything after the punishments the Muggles used to give me—that he can't find anything to sneer at. He seems to be in a state of existential crisis. I would pity him if he knew what pity was.
Dumbledore stays out of my way. Now and then he glances at me and shakes his head sadly, as if I'd failed some essential test. But as long as he doesn't try to get me involved in those tests, I don't care.
I've made a few other friends in the last months, now that I don't have Dumbledore breathing down my neck and don't have to think about revenge all the time. Blaise is all right. Theo is too quiet, but I'll get used to him. Pansy has a wicked sense of humor when she feels comfortable enough to show it. Even Ernie Macmillan from Hufflepuff isn't too bad, if a little stiff. And Hermione gets along with him better than she does with my Slytherin friends.
All in all, I'm looking forward to the end of the year, and summer, and the years beyond that.
And I'm looking forward to being back with Remus and Sirius and Miss Dolores again. Hogwarts is fun—lots more fun than I thought it might be—but I've been here the better part of ten months.
I can't wait to go home.