A STRANGE TWIST AMIDST A SEA OF CHANGE By: Carms

Disclaimer: Harry Potter and other recognizable characters are properties of J.K. Rowling and its publishers.

Minerva McGonagall sat up with a frown as one of the numerous owls she sent to the Dursley household returned once more carrying a small twig, a sign that the letter was delivered at the household it was sent to but not received by its intended recipient. With a sigh she picked up the twig and gave the owl a treat before sending it back to the Owlery. As she studied the twig the frown on her face deepened and concern blossomed within her heart.

While normally the twig would not cause much concern but this is hardly normal circumstance. First of all while there have been cases in the past in which the invitation letters were discarded before being read it or given to it's intended recipient it would be a bit difficult to ignore the numerous letters she has sent in the past few days. Secondly, the owls would never have brought her back a twig if there weren't any suspicious reason as to why the letter they carried was not received properly. Third, last but not least, is the fact that McGonagall was still a bit disturbed by the address magically imprinted on the outside of the enveloped dispatched to one Harry Potter, known across the wizarding world as the boy- who-lived.

McGonagall's lipped thinned and her brows furrowed with concern. At first she thought she must have made a mistake but after double-checking the Book of Registration she had to concede that Harry's address is the little cupboard under the stairs.

Clutching the small twig in one hand and a copy of Harry's invitation in the other McGonagall wasted no time to go to Professor Dumbledore's office to inform him of the odd situation.

Professor Dumbledore was in the middle of the never-ending stream of paper work associated with the preparations for the upcoming school year when he heard a knock on his door.

"Please come in!" He called out without taking his eyes from the newest missive from the Ministry. He quickly finished off the sentence he was reading over before looking up to see the pinched and worried face of his Deputy Headmistress.

"Why Minerva! What ever is the matter? You seem troubled. Would you care for a lemon drop?" Albus Dumbledore watched McGonagall's face closely as he motioned for her to take a seat.

"No thank you, Headmaster. I came here to tell you of a very strange string of events that I thought you might be interested in." Minerva McGonagall said in a rush as she sat down and refused the offered sweet.

Dumbledore leaned back in his seat and looked McGonagall directly in the eye before responding. "Oh? Strange you say? Strange how?"

McGonagall nodded her head emphatically. "Yes Albus, strange. As you know I have recently sent off the first year letters not too long ago and in the past few days I have received two sets of twigs from the owls I sent to Mr. Potter's residence and that's not all. Here look for yourself." McGonagall handed over a copy of Harry's letter. "Look at the address. Cupboard under the stairs! What do you make of that? I am very worried Albus. I have a feeling that something might be wrong. You must do something."

Dumbledore picked up the letter that McGonagall laid on his desk and red the address a few times. He carefully set the letter back down. "Thank you for bringing this to my attention Minerva. I'll make sure it is taken care off."

Minerva McGonagall was not satisfied with the headmaster's response but she knew better than to argue with his when he gets that look in his face as well as when he gets that dismissive tone in his voice. She gave a short nod of acknowledgement before standing up to leave.

Albus Dumbledore released a sigh of frustration as he watched McGonagall leave his office. He reached up to massage his now throbbing temples as he once more picked up the letter. He knew the thoughts and doubts fleeting through Minerva's mind regarding Mr. Potter's well being especially in light of the fact that Minerva has never been subtle in her disapproval in his decision to leave Harry in the Muggles' care.

Slowly getting up he approached his fireplace and reached for a pinch of floo powder from the jar sitting on the mantle. He quickly through it into the flame and waited until the flames turned green. "Severus Snape, Hogwarts Dungeons."

It took only moments before the disembodied head of the Potion Master appeared amidst the flames.

"Headmaster, what did you need?"

Albus grinned at Severus' typical growling reply. "Ah Severus would you be a dear man and accompany me at my office there is something important we must discuss."

Snape's head momentarily swiveled away as if checking on something in the background and a flash of irritation at being disrupted before giving his reply.

"Can it wait? I'm in the middle of brewing some healing potions for Poppy and really wish to finish it today."

Albus shook his head apologetically. "I'm afraid not, Severus. It's about Harry."

At the mention of Harry's name the reluctance on the potion master's face was replaced by concern and worry. "I'll be there in a few moments." Snape quickly replied before he terminated the connection. Only a few minutes passed before another knock came from the door. Dumbledore reached for the door to open it but before he could the door swung open to admit a very anxious Snape.

"Is he alright? What is going on? How is he?"

Dumbledore motioned for the younger man to take a seat on one of the chair facing his desk before he took his customary seat behind the massive desk. He reached for the invitation and handed it to Snape.

Severus accepted the envelope that Dumbledore handed him still confused and irritated that the man has not answered his question. He was further baffled by the invitation.

"What is this? Why are you giving me Harry's invitation? Why not send it to him? What is going on? I really must insist that you stop your infernal silence and answer me."

Dumbledore briefly smiled at Severus' trademark surliness before he spoke. "That was given to me by Minerva not too long ago. She was a bit concerned that Harry has yet to receive and open any of the invitation sent to him as well as the fact that the residence listed raised a few more concerns."

Severus looked back down to the letter in his hands his eyes drawn to the aforementioned address and as possible conclusions came to him as to why the letter would be labeled as such his eyes widened and he jumped up to his feet.

"I must go Albus! This. This. Something is not right. I must go." Snape forcefully bit out as he leaned over the headmaster's desk as to emphasize his words.

"Yes of course, Severus. This is why I summoned you. I would like for you to go and fetch Harry immediately. Go fetch your son and."

As soon as he received the permission he sought from Dumbledore, Snape was across the room and out of the door before the head master could even finish his sentence. Albus Dumbledore released another sigh and massaged his aching temples as he tried to imagine what would happen next.