REVISED February 16, 2005
Summary: Harry Potter is famous, envied, and handsome, so why is he so miserable? The Potions Master is set out to find the reason, but can he save Harry? Will Harry allow himself to be saved? And what is the secret of the Potions Master? Rated PG-13.
Disclaimer: I do not own these characters, as you all well know. But anyway, I don't, because they belong to the genius in J. K. Rowling.
Author's Note: I have written fiction before, but never like this... please do not be harsh... but do review for me! Ignore spelling or grammar mistakes, please... I do the best I can, honestly. Flamers welcome, I suppose...
2/16/05: I'm going through these old chapters that I find I'm now dissatisfied with. At the moment I'm at something of a block in my writing, so I think it may help to go back and fix whatever problems I have with my past works. And I need to fix a few things that I had slipped in here when I had different plans for the story. Especially since I, with one of my good friends, am currently attempting a sixth year story as well. (Concordia Discors by Frangar-non-Flectar.)
Now that that's all out of the way... On with the show!
The boy shivered in the cold alleyway. He was sitting in a cardboard box, not exactly the most comfortable or convenient of settings. Only hours before had his aunt and uncle driven him here and left him. They had blindfolded him, driven him somewhere he did not know how to return home from, and left him to die. At least, he assumed that's what they had wanted to happen, given the rather extreme circumstances.
Dark was setting in, but the light hadn't quite given way yet. Which is why the boy with the silky black hair was especially surprised when a big owl swooped down in front of him, dropping a letter on his lap in his box.
He read it quickly, a mildly puzzled look on his face morphing into an all—out confused frown. "Hogwarts," he said. "What's Hogwarts?"
"He's coming to school this year, Headmaster."
"I know that, Severus. Minerva recently sent out the letters to the new first years." Albus Dumbledore didn't even look up from a paper he was reading as he conversed with his employee.
Potions Master Severus Snape paced in front of Dumbledore's desk. "When the school sees him, they'll notice." He scowled. "Dirty brats won't keep to their own business, I promise you that. They'll be swooning over the famous Harry Potter. Of course they would notice."
"Severus," Albus sang in a tired voice. "Stop worrying. We'll worry when the time comes, and not a second sooner, alright?"
Snape stopped and turned towards his Headmaster and boss. "What!"
"Calm down, or leave my office," the Headmaster said in his almost-always-calm voice. Sensibly, he explained, "We have nothing to worry about. The castle has wonderful wards. Mister Potter will be quite safe, as will the other students. Stop fretting, Severus. Really."
Severus reluctantly agreed. Albus took a thin stick of wood from the folds of his robes and flicked his wrist. The papers on his desk flew away neatly and were replaced with a chessboard.
"Sit, Severus. Join me for a game of Wizard's Chess."
Severus smirked at a chance to change the Headmaster's record. Their long-standing competition gaining his attention. "Today we break your winning streak, old man."
"We'll see, Severus. We'll see. I may be old, but the years make one much wiser."
The boy stuffed the letter into the folds of the oversized sweatshirt his uncle had supplied him with. "Deal with this later," he said, his stomach rumbling loudly. "Should find food now."
He stumbled out of the alleyway into a place he knew was London. Where in London, however, he couldn't tell. He hadn't been there much, because his aunt and uncle seemed ashamed of him and had rarely taken him anywhere. But he had been in that area before, and recognized most of the stores. There was one that stood out among the others, though, one he didn't recognize.
He walked over to it, catching a few glares from pedestrians because of his appearance, with the oversized clothes and slightly scarred body. Looking up at the sign of the building, he read, The Leaky Cauldron.
He stepped inside. A little bell went off to signal his entrance, and everyone looked over for a second, then continued with their food, drinks, and chatter. A man in an apron walked over, scrubbing a glass while walking.
"Can I help you, sir?"
The boy looked up, surprised. No one had ever had the respect to call him sir. He brushed some silky black hair out of his eyes and watched as the man's eyes flickered to his forehead where a scar shaped like a lightning bolt reside.
"You..." he sputtered. "You're Harry Potter!"
All eyes of the room returned to him, and the boy known to the wizarding world as Harry Potter smiled, a lopsided smile that resembled a sneer. "Yeah." The boy's expression turned confused. "But how did you know that?"
The man did not answer and instead ushered him into a private room with a fireplace.
Albus moved his queen over two spaces and calmly stated, "Checkmate."
"Sorry. Guess that continues with my streak and sets a new record, eh?"
Suddenly a head appeared in the Headmaster's fireplace.
"Sorry to disturb you, friends, but it's of urgent matter," the head claimed.
Albus looked at him thoughtfully, recognizing the floating head in the flames. "What is it?"
"Harry Potter just walked into The Leaky Cauldron."
"I beg your pardon?"
Severus watched him in shock.
"He wandered in. Said he just noticed the place and wanted to see what it was. Looks kind of scared. I don't think he knows who he is to us."
Albus glanced at Severus solemnly. "I need to go, Severus. You stay. I'll be back."
"I said, stay!"
Dumbledore threw some powder into the fire, and it turned green. He stepped in and clearly said, "The Leaky Cauldron!" And he was gone.
Professor Severus Snape still sat in shock, the lost game of chess still sitting in front of him. "Er... well. I'll be going then," he said to his boss's empty chair. He stood and exited the office. "Good luck, Headmaster."
The Headmaster stepped out of the fire to face his friend and Harry Potter. "Why, hello there, Harry. It's good to finally meet you." The professor held out his hand to shake Harry's.
Harry shook it weakly with wide eyes. "Nice to meet you, too, er... sir?"
"Professor Albus Dumbledore, Headmaster of Hogwarts School of Witchcraft and Wizardry."
"Oh!" Harry said, reaching into his sweatshirt. "Then you would know what this is? I got it a few minutes ago." He pulled out the letter.
Dumbledore inspected it. "It means you're invited to the school, Harry. You're a wizard, of course. You must know all about it."
Harry looked at him. "A wizard?" The disbelief was evident in his voice. "What? Why would I know that?"
He was examined closely by the Professor. The clothes, the scars on the visible areas of skin, his thinness. "You didn't know Harry? You're aunt and uncle never told you? Surely strange things have happened before that indicated your magic, correct?"
Harry thought back to the moments of his childhood when things happened that he couldn't explain, including when head an intelligent conversation with a garden snake. "Well..."
Dumbledore nodded. "Where has your family gone off to?" he asked, poking his head into the main room of The Leaky Cauldron.
"They aren't here, sir."
"Well, are they in London? I need to speak with them."
Harry shrugged. "They are probably at number 4 Privet Drive, sir. Other than that, I don't know. I know they left me. A few alleys down, actually."
"That's what I said."
Dumbledore looked at him. The wide-eyed look, showing childish ignorance in the same place as the wisdom of an older soul, and the weakness of his current stance as he stared up at the much-elder headmaster—each seemed to hold fear. Even the pale glow his skin let off. At least the bright, contemplating eyes still held life, a curiosity. Sadly, the Headmaster of Hogwarts sighed. "You'll be coming back with me to the school, for now." He turned to the man in the apron. "Alexander. Thank you."
"I'll be seeing you, Albus."
"Likewise, I'm sure."
Then the headmaster Floo-ed Harry and himself back to the castle by way of the fireplace.
Severus ran back to his chambers in a swirl of black robes, almost running headfirst into Minerva McGonagall. He scowled, pulling his best 'jackass' impression with ease. "Watch it."
She glared back at him. "Don't run into me again, Severus. We're on a time basis here, so close to the beginning of term. I can't afford to be hospitalized because of colleague stupidity."
"If you're in such a hurry, sod off."
She gave him a fierce look before pushing past him heading towards her chambers.
He growled to himself exactly what he thought of her, then continued towards the dungeons, where his private chambers were located. He muttered the password and entered his home for the school year. Two more weeks and the school will be bustling with activity, he thought to himself. Two more weeks of peace until the little brats come back. He reclined in a comfortable chair and closed his eyes in a peaceful rest.
"Harry, this is my office. Have a seat." He waved an arm indicating the chair that Severus had sat in during their chess game. Seeing the chessboard, he flicked his wand and put it away, returning the papers to his desk. He offered Harry a platter of gourmet Lemon Drops. "Want one, Harry?" Harry agreed and helped himself. "Well, Harry. You want to explain this to me?"
Harry shrugged, eating another Lemon Drop because of his hunger, and pulled his arms inside his sweatshirt, becoming conscious of the scars as Dumbledore's gaze fell on them.
"Including those," Dumbledore stated.
Harry shook his head. "I don't think..."
Dumbledore leaned forward in his seat and steepled his fingers in front of him. "I would really like—appreciate—it if you told me, Harry."
"Alright," Harry said nervously. What's the harm? "Well..."
Author's Note: I'm really sorry about the semi-cliffhanger... hopefully that will inspire any readers to review and read the next one. The whole story may seem very cliché from right now, but I swear it becomes more original... Thanks Lots!