And thus it came to me, an epiphany. So magnificent, so terrible in its greatness, that I now wonder if I had been blind not to see it before me this entire time! I look back on my actions and laugh. It took me so long to realize that, in reality, I was merely a pawn in a well-played game. Well, that is going to change. Soon, I will be the one watching the game – controlling it. Mercury was blessed with the gift of intellect and speed. I have both, that I know. It is just that it is about time I put the gifts of Mercury that I possess to good use…
The ceiling was certainly an interesting object of thought, wasn't it?
No. He couldn't deceive himself into trying.
He would never have thought he would have the pleasure of seeing paint dry. Yet here he was. And he had to admit that it was as dull as the old expression said it was.
The behavior of the Dursleys never ceased to amaze him. They had repainted the entire house – per Aunt Petunia's orders – then gone out to wait for the paint to dry. They left him, their nephew Harry Potter, behind. Never mind the fumes. He's a freak. Let him get brain damage. It wasn't as if he didn't have any already. For he couldn't leave the house or else the other freaks would come anyway. They weren't doing anything wrong. And no one said anything about them leaving, did they?
Yes. Typical Dursley behavior would never cease to amaze Harry Potter. They were more civil to him than they had been before. Well, as civil as they could get. Vernon and Dudley had barely said a word to him the entire summer, other than "did you send the ruddy letter?" or to ask for him to pass some sort of food at dinner towards them. Petunia only mentioned directions to do his chores, gave him a few snacks, and asked only a few times if he was feeling alright. Of course, he answered that he was fine. She didn't look as if she believed him, but she shrugged and looked to come to the conclusion that she really shouldn't care.
The sixteen year old scowled as he sat on a chair by a completely open window, attempting to breath in air that fresh, not full of paint fumes. It wasn't as if his room was made any different by the new shade of white that coated the walls, glistening slightly in the dim light of the sunset. The room was clean, painfully so. He really had nothing better to do. The rolls of parchments and the pile of books that were lying neatly on top of his rickety desk signified that he had finished his homework. Truthfully, he had gone beyond what he was required to do. Boredom could be an effective motivator for study: there wasn't much to do.
The dark-haired teen with the apathetic green eyes had not gone far from number 4 Privet Drive since he had arrived at the doorstep from King's Cross. Not that he didn't want to. Far from it, in fact. The truth of the matter was that he wanted to be alone, to think. And unfortunately for him, 4 Privet Drive was the only place that offered this small blessing. He had no desire to be followed around or be asked if he was doing all right, or be drawn into some inane conversation. What he wanted was a bit of peace. And his room in this hated excuse for a home was all that gave it. The irony of it all.
Hedwig was out, delivering the letter to the Order. Every single letter he had received back consisted completely questions on his health and well-being, they'd come to get him soon, and that Sirius' death was not his fault. He, according to them, needed to move on. 'It was Sirius would want, they claimed, and it isn't your fault. Accept it.' He would have loved to say it was a repeat of how they treated him after fourth year, but they hadn't even bothered to contact him at that time, just leaving him alone to stew and fume. Oh, he did accept it, alright. It was his fault and he had no problem taking full responsibility for it. If he had done things differently, without a doubt there would not be so much of a mess. It was because of him that Voldemort managed to manipulate him, that he led his friends into a veritable death trap, a death trap that closed and caught his godfather, the closest thing to a parental figure he had in his sorry life.
The wizarding world was now up in arms since the announcement that Voldemort had returned was confirmed by that ever-pathetic excuse for a government, the Ministry of Magic, under the leadership of the ever-idiotic Cornelius Fudge. Accounts of terror and loss were featured almost everyday in the Daily Prophet, usually side by side with articles that proclaimed support of the ministry and what a 'fantastic job' they were doing to contain the threat. When he saw this for himself with his own eyes, he had to laugh.
What really got him though was how the media completely turned around their descriptions and epithets for him. For nearly an entire year, he was 'disturbed and dangerous' as well as a 'delusional, attention-seeking delinquent'. Then, once he was proven right, he was seen as a lone voice against dissenters, trying to inform the public of what was a serious concern. Yes, in their eyes, he was a hero again.
Yes, he admitted that he had changed. Now he was at a more modest height of five foot, seven and a half. He had finally hit his growth spurt fully and was around the same height as his peers. His black hair was still as messy and untamed as ever. Vivid green eyes, so much like the color of the curse that gave him his famous scar, were contemplative and thoughtful, the loss of innocence within those emerald depths evident in their coolness. Though, he still held a thin and scrawny frame, what muscles he did have weren't bulky or large. He wasn't too upset over this, since it would be advantageous to his Seeker position of the Quidditch team. If I ever play again, was a thought that came unbidden to his mind. He could only wish the worst for one Dolores Umbridge in her life.
But he also had to admit that he had also changed in other ways. He was no longer a child, if he ever was one to begin with. Certainly he had experienced trauma before. But the death of Sirius had hit home directly. The emptiness he felt was nearly all consuming in its black oblivion. He, however, was determined not to be dragged down by it, by the taunts that came daily from the foe that invaded his mind nightly. Sure, he should tell the Order of the Phoenix, but he felt no need to. Voldemort had gotten no information from his mind due to the practice Harry had put into strengthening his mind (on his own, since Severus Snape would never and never could be a good teacher to begin with). He had gained a bit of access into the monstrosity's mind himself, helping himself to the knowledge while keeping his identity separate, fast, and unnoticed.
As a result, he was now quite a bit more knowledgeable as to how the enemy works, as well as in spells and curses. He had played around with the thought of sending the Dark Lord a nice thank-you card, complete with one of his Aunt Petunia's 'lovely' strawberry strudel, but despite the joy that would have brought, it wouldn't pose to well with those incessant people that watched over him.
And besides, he now knew that Voldemort preferred chocolate brownies. With chocolate fudge. Who knew? Also add to the list rippled potato chips. Hold the sour cream and onion dip.
It was at this point that he believed his mental state was honestly and truly deteriorating into insanity.
He knew that he had grown a great deal more…for lack of a better word, Slytherinish…during his imprisonment in this disturbingly Muggle town. But this cynicism and attitude allowed him an improved focus to study and hone his abilities. All those years he had spent not worrying over his future, over what was going on, had cumulated into the demise of two people, one of which was the last hope of having a normal, happy life. And he'd be damned if he was going to let Voldemort get away with that and taking more of his life away. Thus, he was keeping this change.
This would never have happened if people had just listened to him.
But they hadn't. Just because he was the bloody Boy-Who-Lived, meant that he was just a figurehead, a symbol. Never mind what his opinion is, let's just get a picture and autograph! Smile, Harry! Now, let's put in the papers that he is insane or dating so-and-so!
He wanted to be heard and be influential in the way he was supposed to be. To be taken seriously, not like some inexperienced idiotic child, have some complete and total influence himself over his life and fate for once! Destiny was against him. It didn't seem as if that were possible.
As for the moment, the only person he could adequately say was listening to him was one of his best friends, Hermione Granger. Unlike the others, most notably his other friend Ron Weasley, she told him on no accounts that she valued what he wrote, read and responded to it with her own opinions. She treated him as an equal, something he appreciated greatly. She was the one that told him pointblank that he wasn't going to be removed from the Dursleys this summer, after he had raved to her about hints that Ron kept dropping arrogantly in his letters and Remus' half-hearted attempts to change the subjects in his messages. Harry didn't understand Ron's behavior, really, but Hermione seemed to come up with an explanation for it, giving it to him in her last letter.
…He seems to have gotten a great deal more arrogant lately, Harry. The battle in the Department of Mysteries seems to have persuaded other members of the Order to train him in dueling and magic. They even got him a waiver from the Ministry, if you can believe it! I think they hope that Ron could serve as a type of bodyguard to you or something. I don't know, but he's doing well. I guess. I've been finding it hard to stay in the same room as him anymore, with him going on how far he's gotten. There was even a time when he mentioned that he was probably better than you are! Honestly…
Ron's letters constantly telling of his progress – practically throwing it in his face – supported Hermione's theory. Most of the time now, he just wrote back vague letters of congratulations and rather mundane, boring content. He had been happy for his friend at the beginning, but now it was getting just plain annoying. Harry knew his friend was probably just reveling in the attention he was getting, seeing that the redhead was nearly always overshadowed by someone, whether they be the reputations of his five older brothers, Hermione's intellect, or Harry's notoriety and infamy. Though if continued on like that, Harry was definitely considering measures.
The OWL results were reported to him just a few days ago. It was the first time only one owl had come to him on his birthday. He was later told that he would be getting his birthday presents later, after receiving his schoolbooks for the next year delivered to him. It looked as if he wasn't even going to venture into Diagon Alley this year.
Dear Mr. Potter:
We congratulate you on your acceptable score on the standardized OWL exams. You have proven yourself to be quite the acceptable student, according to these grades. As you probably don't know (since it is advised that the professors do not mention this), OWL exams grades are based not only on standard points of knowledge, but as well as on a curve. Because of such high grades that you have received as well as the extra credit that you have shown during your Defense Against the Dark Arts OWL, you will be accepted into the Advanced NEWT level classes.
Congratulations, Mr. Potter.
Name: Harry Potter
School: Hogwarts School of Witchcraft and Ministry
ASTRONOMY: (see first note below)
HISTORY OF MAGIC: (see second note below)
DEFENSE AGAINST THE DARK ARTS: (see third note below)
CARE OF MAGICAL CREATURES: O
- Students were distracted during middle of exam
- Student was required to leave exam due to medical reasons (vouched by Professor Dumbledore). Because of overall high grade, Student will be placed in NEWT level class.
- Student earned extra credit.
NUMBER OF OWLS EARNED: 12
Next Year's Classes:
1. Advanced NEWT Transfiguration
2. Advanced NEWT Charms
3. Advanced NEWT Herbology
4. Advanced NEWT Potions
5. Advanced NEWT Defense Against the Dark Arts
6. Advanced NEWT Care of Magical Creatures
7. Advanced NEWT History of Magic
8. NEWT Divination
9. NEWT Astronomy
If the Student wishes to drop any classes he or she feels is unnecessary to their desired career, they should speak with their Head of House.
Surprised? He certainly was. Though it was a pity that he had absolutely no actual adult figure of his own to tell the news to. Sure, the Weasleys would be happy and gush over the news, but they weren't his real family. It wasn't as if the Dursleys weren't suddenly going to throw a party for him. And Remus was just too…distant, really.
One thing that he was certain of was this: someone must have either threatened Snape to let him into Advanced NEWT Potions. Or got him drunk. Now there was an interesting thought…what was a drunk Snape like? What if he were a "happy" drunk, that let loose once the alcohol was flowing in their systems? That'd be hilarious to see. Severus Snape, drunken party animal.
Either way, he was never heard. And had no way of voicing out his opinion or views without prejudice.
Unbidden, his eyes strayed to the abandoned Daily Prophet lying on the floor. It looked innocent enough, and he had seen the page on the opinion columnists about ten times already (the new editor seemed to be anti-Fudge, judging from the editorial before)…and the little box in the corner…asking for writers…
Next to it on the floor was one of Vernon's Muggle newspapers that he had taken to see the Muggle perspective on it all. Once more, they were asking for writers. He'd take care of that a bit later.
Standing up abruptly, he walked over to his desk and began to hastily write on a fresh piece of parchment that was lying on the side.
It was brilliant. He'd be heard…finally.
The next day that followed would be revolutionary. Everyone who read the Daily Prophet was simultaneously shocked, but couldn't resist the call of the straightforward words written on the page. The word was quickly spreading about this new writer. The Daily Prophet had flown off the shelves by the mid-day lunch hour, everyone absorbing, discussing, amazed.
The same went for those Muggles that read the London Times. Who was this person? Who wrote this, so simple and thought out, yet deep and far-reaching? Like their wizard counterparts, they too began to debate on the topic this author wrote. Everyone had an opinion on it.
Meanwhile, at 4 Privet Drive, one Harry Potter smirked in victory. Yes, he was finally heard. Everyone was listening, or rather, reading, what he had thought and said. He couldn't deny that it was a heady, but cathartic, feeling. Though he couldn't put his actual name on the piece – knowing that, of course, there would be some sort of prejudice if he had.
But it was on this day, that the world first heard of Harrison Evans.
This story was originally posted on my YahooGroup!, but due to demand and in honor of the anniversary of EG, I'm starting to post what I have here. Of course, I did have to change the formatting a bit. This is the first chapter, Prelude of Mercury, which introduces Harry and his plan. In later chapters, you'll see exactly what Harrison Evans has been writing. It isn't as frequently updated on as the Elemental series, but I will continue it. I hope you like this story, as it is one of my favorite stories to work on.