THE DARK CASTLE
Welcome to this story, thank you for reading. A good story builds slowly…, I was once told. Keep that in mind.
Disclaimer: I do not own any of the known characters, they belong to J.K Rowling.
Warnings: There will be m/m and bi sexual themes. Harry will return to Hogwarts during chapter 3. This will be a Harry-centered fanfic. DC will be in the background.
Pairings: Nothing is written in stone. The pairings may be Harry/Snape or Harry/Draco, maybe both, the readers will have a chance to decide as the story continues on.
Reviews are much appreciated and keeps this story going.
It was an eerie sight to behold, looking down the wicked street of the infamous Knockturn alley. Normally the street was full of activity during the hot summer nights. There were usually things to be traded, favors to collect and mindgames to be played. Tonight however, the street was empty and silent. While Knockturn alley was not known to be a loud place, it was certainly known for its echoes of jumbled whispers coming from within the shadows.
Tonight there were nothing of those. It was silent. A lonesome stranger made his way down the street, only the quiet shuffling of his feet disturbing the silence. The stranger's black hood was up, casting shadows over his face that even the full moon couldn't light up with its dull mixed orange and silvery rays. The stranger paused for a second and seemed to be watching said moon from underneath his hood. The moon was very close tonight, it seemed rounder and fuller than ever. It was a huge glowing orange globe hanging so close, you could almost imagine reaching out and touching it. A cat screeched loudly, breaking the silence and making the stranger jump ever so slightly. It seemed to break him out of his trance, and he kept on walking down the street.
Eventually the stranger came to a stop near a few dumpsters. Knockturn Alley was a filthy place to begin with, and the overfilled dumpsters with the littering on the ground next to them was not an unusual sight at all. The stranger did not seem to react to it when he stepped in the trash and knocked on a small wooden door next to it. Despite the knocks being quiet the sounds of them echoed down the street, multiplying between the walls and increased in sound. The stranger jumped back when the door was wrenched open. Like magic, the door enlarged from being quite small to a more generous size.
"What is your business here?" A hoarse voice hissed aggressively. The light from inside illuminated a filthy old looking man, who was clearly missing a few teeth. It was a long way from a warm welcome, but the stranger did not seem too faced by this.
"I was told I'm expected tonight," he said quietly. "Won't you let me in?" he continued when the man simply glared at him without moving an inch.
The stranger's voice was soft, but something more threatening was embodied in soft undertones. Perhaps if he had hesitated for even a moment the old man would not have let the stranger pass, but since that never happened the man reluctantly stepped aside with a grunt.
"I do not like the look of you, and should you ever reveal this place to anyone you'll be sorry boy! You hear?" the man wheezed. The stranger took a step back from the other man's foul breath.
"It's all quite clear," he said dryly while sidestepping the man. They were standing in a gloomy reception area, which was very small and haggard looking. The stranger had clearly just entered a very run down and haunted looking hidden hotel, which was probably accommodating the worst kind of shady costumers. It was quite clearly the worst spot in Knockturn alley you could chose to be in.
"I was wondering... I am supposed to meet a Mr Damien here tonight. Do you know where I can find him?" he asked in a polite and well measured voice. The old man grumbled, looking put out from being asked a question.
"I do not meddle in people's business, no matter what character it may be of," the old man said while limping behind the reception desk. "At the Crow we have a certain sense of... discretion," he finally said in a scratching voice.
The stranger nodded slowly. He seemed to be contemplating his next move when heavy footsteps descended from the narrow stairs next to the reception. The stair was crooked, so they had to wait and see whom it could be. It certainly couldn't be a ghost making all that racket, but in the magical world you could never be too certain of anything. Therefore the stranger straightened up, and gripped his wand tightly. His moves were hidden underneath the cloak.
"There you are," a man said when he came in view. "I have been waiting for you. I hope you did not run into any trouble getting here. I know this place can be a bit... difficult at times," he finished, looking at the stranger with an amused smile. The stranger let out a quiet breath of relief, the only sign of how tense he really was.
"I'm glad you've found me. Seems like a good place to hide, with all the discretion and whatnot," he said with a hint of disdain and earned himself a glower from the old man. The man standing on the stairs let out a low laugh, but it wasn't a warm one. It was cold and reserved.
"Follow me then, please. We have much to discuss tonight." Without looking behind him to see whether the stranger was following him or not he started to climb the stairs. Without as much as a glance at the old man, the stranger followed silently.
There are times when the body wants to break out in a panic, but the mind won't let it. It is not often accomplished, because the body is traitorous in nature and rarely allows the mind to rule, but at the moment the stranger was struggling very hard to remain calm and he managed it too, if only barely.
"Won't you please sit down?" the man asked the stranger, once they had wandered through several dark corridors until they had reached their destination, room 512. The man pointed towards one stale looking armchair standing next to an open fire. The flames were the only light- source in the room. The flames danced, making all kinds of creepy shadows play out in the room. It was hot, almost unsustainable so since it was already a hot summer night outside.
The stranger sat down after a moment of hesitation. Then he waited. The other man took his time, ridding himself of a dark green cape, revealing a simple black dress-shirt and slacks. He went over to a rickety night table and picked up a long dark brown stick. A wand. The stranger who had been following the other man's movements across the room flinched and scrambled to straighten himself, pulling out his own wand in the process. The other man laughed quietly. "No need to be alarmed," he said. "I am not here to bring you any harm." The stranger sat down slowly again, but he didn't let go of his tightly gripped wand. He was starting to sweat, and not only because of the heated room. He was cursing himself silently, for putting himself in this situation to begin with. Then again, he always rushed head first into things without a second thought. It was his main flaw... the one thing that had gotten his god- no. He wouldn't think of this now. He needed to concentrate on the other man.
"Imagine my surprise when we ran into each other the other week. What would the society say if they knew what you have been doing, hmm?" The man asked and sat down in the armchair opposite of the stranger. "My... it is quite hot in here, don't you think? Surely it would be a lot more comfortable for you if you'd take off your cloak?" the man hinted.
Slowly the stranger undid the clasp to his cloak and hood, and it fell off revealing wild jet-black hair, curling down to his chin and defiant green eyes meeting amused ones, belonging to the older man.
"Harry Potter... It is nice to see your face again," the man said with a smirk. The stranger... or Harry as it turned out to be, leaned forward.
"I am here," he began bitingly. "Because I know you didn't lie the other day when you said you didn't work for Voldemort. If you were I would already be dead," he reasoned. He continued when he other man inclined his head, signaling for him to go on. "That however doesn't mean I trust you. I am here tonight because you said you have important information that might help me win this war. You have five minutes to catch my attention or I am out of here," he said with a false sense of confidence. Truth to be told, he had regretted his decision of coming here a million times over already. He supposed it was despair that drove him to it. Ever since he had returned to the Dursley's earlier in the summer he had once again been cut off from the rest of the wizarding world. Despite the fact that he had made it quite clear to Dumbledore and everyone else around him last year that he needed to know what was going on, they still shut him out. He had lost Sirius because he had been left ignorant by their choice. He could not understand why they kept on doing this to him yet again, after everything that had happened. He'd thought Dumbledore had understood, by the end of last year in his office when they had talked about it all. Apparently he was mistaking, the thought bitterly. This summer had proved to progress exactly like the one before it. He kept owling every three days despite the fact that he knew people from the order were guarding the house outside. He never saw them, but he knew they were there nevertheless.
He had received letters from his friends, but neither one of them told him anything of importance. No news had been shined a light on at all. The only thing Dumbledore felt like sharing was the fact that his occlumency lessons with Snape would continue upcoming September. He remembered it well, reading those words on the parchment. He'd felt a fury, like nothing he ever had felt before well up inside of him, consuming him red- hot until he hardly knew his own name anymore. He had promptly passed out from the adrenaline rush, which was just as well or else he might have experienced an accidental burst of magic and he might have made the house explode like he'd made the office do a while back. He was still angry when he had waken, and he'd silently vowed to himself to never let ignorance kill off another person close to him. If no one was willing to share the information with him, he simply had to attain it himself. From that moment on, it took him a few days to formulate a plan. The best he could come up with at the time, was to place an owl order to come by some floo-powder. The fireplace had never been restored to an electrical one, since the time when Mr Weasley had blasted his way through it.
"Come now, no need to be defensive with me. After all I am here to help you Harry.,. may I call you that, Harry?" The man continued on, clearly amused by the situation. The man opposite of him sat perfectly relaxed and didn't seem at all bothered by anything, not the conversation nor the heat. Harry was plenty envious of that.
"Go on and call me whatever you want, just tell me what it is you know!" He sighed. The man stapled his long fingers in front of him and put them to his lips in thought.
"If I tell you this now there is a chance that you might walk out that door before we are finished here," the man said slowly. "I could… no," the man said dramatically and looking away. "That wouldn't be safe…" the man whispered deep in though. Of course Harry's interest was piqued by that. How couldn't it not? He was never one to resist mysteries.
"Alright, I'll bite. What is it?" he asked and leaned forward to hear the man's low voice.
Damien's eyes pierced him gravely. "The information I have will change life as you know it. It might take you some time to come to terms with it but I will be here every step of the way to help you understand…" the man trailed of. Just get to the "it" already, Harry thought almost feverishly.
"Our history dates back to almost the beginning of the world as we know it today," the man continued and Harry frowned. What was he on about? "I belong to a society, a secret one if you will, that descends from a mighty line of warriors and enchanters of the world. Throughout the ages we have gathered our forces to fight the misuse of magic, must like you yourself has been doing recently," Damien said calmly. Thoughts were spinning through Harrys head. Did this man mean to recruit him or something? He didn't say anything and Damien continued.
"Our forces has always had a leader, a family to rule us. We have never stood without a leader, until recently that is." Damien sighed. He leaned forwards in his chair. "It has been dark times indeed, for many of us out there… I am sure you can imagine?" he asked and Harry nodded slowly. Perhaps Voldemort was affecting more people than he had first thought. The fire kept on crackling in the fireplace. Harry felt himself get lost in the dancing flames.
"It is crucial we get our leader back," Damien said so suddenly in the silence that Harry jumped a little. "Our previous leader died quite recently, leaving only one possible person to take over the position... We have been keeping track of the last heir to the family ever since his birth. Never interfering, just observing." Harry felt cold shivers running down his body. He didn't like where this was going, at all.
"Who is the last heir?" he felt forced to ask even though he had his suspicions already. Damien met his eyes but chose not to answer. Instead he said "One might wonder why we haven't made ourselves known before, but the reason is simple. We were following orders. James Potter," Damien began and Harry closed his eyes. He knew he would be involved in this farce somehow. He didn't quite believe it. "James was never aware of our existence. His grandfather however were our leader. He was the one who died recently at a well-respected age even for a wizard. We have fought a raging war in other parts of the world, until now. Your grandfather didn't want to drag you in to this… he chose to keep you safe. "
Harry snorted at that. Safe indeed. Rarely had a young man such as himself been through so much horrible events in such a short amount of time.
"I guess he lacked in judgment somewhat", he said quietly. Damien pursed his lips and his forehead wrinkled in dislike.
"He did what he thought was best… for you. You may not believe in any of this but I have a way of shoving you the truth," Damien told him in earnest. He is right, I don't believe in any of this. How come no one had told him? People must have known. Things like this couldn't be kept a secret for all eternity. He promptly ignored the little voice at the back of his head whispering that there had certainly been plenty of secrets kept from him in the past.
"In what way could you show me?" he asked, resting his arms on his knees in a protective way.
Damien pulled back his long hair. Hiding underneath was slightly pointed ears. Not obviously so but just enough to make them a bit different. "I am not human. I am from a lineage of dark elves." So they look nothing like in the movies then, Harry thought to himself. "If you want I can allow my elfin magic to let you experience a selected few memories of important events, to let you better understand what it is I have been trying to explain to you," Damien continued. "But heed my warning, it could be dangerous for you. Elfin magic is known to allure and captivate the human mind. You might be out of it for days, depending on how resilient your mind is. If so, I will watch over you, but this is your decision to make Harry."
Harry bit his lower lip worriedly. Should he leap and take this chance or let it pass him by? For years now he had wished for some higher power to help him in his quest to get rid of Voldemort. Was his prayers finally answered or was this just another obstacle? He truly didn't know which way to go from here. His recklessness had caused some terrible outcomes in the past. Was this just another mistake he was about to walk right into? He needed more time. To stall he asked "You say you belong to a society but you have never once told me if it has a name", he said. He might have heard of it. Oh who was he kidding? He probably hadn't. Perhaps Hermione would have, not him.
"We don't have a name per se. We do however belong to the dark castle, our main base if you'd like to call it such. For short we sometimes refer to ourselves as DC, but it is not a given name. And before you ask who we are, as you have already seen I am a dark elf and there are more of us out there as well as vampires and werewolves, magicians too. Now, enough of this. Are you ready or not? " Damien asked him, raising up. Harry took a deep breath. Was he ready indeed? Slowly he nodded his affirmative. What's the worst that could happen? He wondered.
"Go ahead," he said and stood up when Damien motioned for him to do so. "Let's get this over with." Harry felt vaguely uncomfortable as Damien stepped into his personal space. The elf before him slowly raised both his hands and touched Harry's head. At first nothing happened and Harry began to wonder if Damien wasn't just another crackpot he had the misfortune to meet, but before he could finish that thought he felt dizzy and his legs began to give out underneath him. Darkness was filling his vision and he began to fall. He felt the panic running through him. Had he been tricked?! The last thing he remember was strong arms catching him and a vague scent of pine forest.