A.N. Read this! For whatever reason, I am suddenly inspired to actually work on this! (partially thanks to blueyesangel1186, and mainly to almost every single person who's reviewed, and the several who have begged for an update over and over). Sorry for the delay. I could give you a bunch of excuses, but it boils down to the review from curlytop shook my confidence, then I was busy with a move, and then I took a creat. writing class and realized that this needed work. I have been procrastinating said work for quite some time, and now that it's summer, I think its time to get something done. Ten thousand apologies. Please forgive me for the delay.
Okay, this is the second revision of the first chapter. I've actually changed some details, relevant to the story that might cause confusion later if you don't know of them. I recommend rereading the conversation with Dumbeldore on, as I haven't made any changes to the first 'scene'. Oh, I got rid of that fainting bit (looking back, I can't believe I wrote that).
Harry Potter and the Alliance of Blood
Harry sat patiently in the living room of Number Four Privet Drive, his trunk resting on the floor in front of the sofa and Hedwig in her cage on top of it. He had been rather rudely awakened at 5 o'clock that morning by a barn owl. The owl carried a hasty-looking missive from Dumbledore that basically said, among the how-are-yous and we'll discuss this soon-s, that he had to come to Hogwarts now and he was to be ready to go by eight. Someone would floo over and bring Harry back to the school. It was 7:59. Promptly, a rushing noise came from the fireplace Harry had cleared in preparation for his deliverer, and moments later a very dusty-looking Remus Lupin stumbled out. He gave Harry a warm smile.
"Hello, Harry. Ready to go?" he asked, not bothering to brush himself off as he walked forward. Vernon and Petunia stared at him from the kitchen doorway, looking utterly horrified. Dudley was conspicuously absent. Of course, when Harry told them he'd be leaving through their fireplace again, they hadn't dared to protest lest they incur some displeasure from one of Harry's wizarding friends.
"Hello, Remus," Harry replied quietly with a weak smile, standing and taking hold of his trunk. After a few days of utter solitude (Harry didn't consider the Dursleys company), the events of the year had jumped back into Harry's mind uninvited, and inevitably melancholy had invaded... and rage. Harry was used to anger, he felt it all the time (he was a teenager after all), but this blinding, blood freezing rage was so much more intense. It would come upon him inexplicably, with thoughts of Sirius, Dumbledore...anything really. When Harry felt it, he was quite sure that in that moment, he could conjure up enough hate and pain to cast the Cruciatus...or even something much more permanent. He was so fucking tired of death, of people dying because of him. His parents, Cedric... Sirius. And he was tired of being helpless, being kept in the dark so he could be protected. Tired of learning useless cooking charms instead of learning what he was slowly realizing he needed to know. He needed to know how to kill, and to hurt, and to withstand death and pain...something no one would be willing to teach him. He was afraid he would have to learn himself, the hard way, at the end of the wand of a Death Eater or Voldemort. He was…so afraid.
Harry blinked himself out of his reverie when he heard Remus speak.
"Hm?" he inquired absently.
"I said, I'll carry your trunk. It's nothing to me," Remus repeated, giving Harry a strange look. A thought occurred to Harry and he gave a rather wicked grin.
"Yeah, I don't guess it is, what with you being a werewolf and all," Harry said, raising his voice slightly and shooting a look at the Dursleys. Remus chuckled.
"Woof woof," he muttered, giving a rather toothy smile to the Dursleys. Petunia let out a tiny shriek and hid her face against Vernon's shoulder. Harry's uncle turned a rather nauseating shade of grey.
"See you next summer," Harry trilled, lifting Hedwig's cage and standing by the fireplace. Remus took out his wand, muttered "Incendio" at the grate as he pointed his wand (the revealing of which made Vernon whimper) and tossed some Floo powder into the flames.
"Harry, give me Hedwig. I can just Apparate to Hogwarts and let her fly to the Owlery," Remus said.
"But you can't Apparate on Hogwart's grounds," Harry pointed out.
"Hogwarts: A History?" Remus asked with a grin.
"Hermione." Harry corrected, smiling back.
"I'll go to the gates and walk the rest of the way."
"Well…okay." Harry handed the owl over.
"She probably wouldn't speak to me for months if I flooed her," Harry said. "I'll see you at Hogwarts, all right, Hedwig?" he cooed to the bird. He really was quite fond of her. The owl gave a soft hoot and nipped Harry's finger affectionately through the bars of her cage.
"Say 'Headmaster's Office, Hogwarts,' all right? He wants to see you immediately," Remus instructed as Harry started towards the flames. Harry felt his heart jump.
"Is everything all right?" he whispered fearfully. Was it Ron, Hermione, Hagrid…? Before he could think of any more names, Remus gave a sigh.
"No one's hurt, if that's what you mean. Other than that..." Remus's shoulders rose and feel in a helpless shrug. Harry felt the anger start to build, but he forced it down. It wasn't Remus's fault Dumbledore insisted on continuing to keep secrets.
"All right," Harry said with a sigh, and stepped into the flames, intoning his destination clearly. As he experienced again the less-than-pleasant sensation of flooing, Harry wondered just what could possibly go wrong now, and then wished he hadn't as his brain began to conjure up scenarios.
When Harry brought himself to his feet in the room that the revolving staircase arrived, he was rather glad he didn't have company. Harry could feel the awful anger at the edge of his mind, building and biding its time like an awful wave, ready to wash over him in a burning rush. He cleaned himself off as best he could and knocked on the door to Dumbledore's office. There was a faint 'come in' and Harry pushed open the door. It was a familiar sight by now -- Dumbledore sitting behind his desk, the instruments around the room and dazzling array of metal, noise, and smell, Fawkes sitting on his perch, looking small and mostly bald. Harry supposed he had recently died.
"Hello Harry. Please sit down," Dumbledore greeted, gesturing to the seat pulled in front of his desk. Harry closed the door and sat down, looking at the Headmaster patiently, who was currently studying his hands folded on his desk. Harry was reminded again just how old Dumbledore was, because he looked so tired and worn. Harry felt that anger disipating as if it had never been there. He couldn't feel angry when Dumbledore looked so upset. After a moment, the Headmaster sighed and looked up at Harry.
"I have done something I don't enjoy, Harry. I regret it because I have meddled in your life again. But I had to do it. The task was distasteful, but it was necessary," the Headmaster began, paused, then continued again, his voice a mixture of urgency and sadness.
"You are not a child anymore, Harry Potter. Something that took me a long time to realize." Another pause. Those blue eyes were not twinkling. They held a look of such determination and seriousness that Harry was taken aback.
"This is war, Harry. In war, sacrifices and hard decisions must be made. Difficult, but necessary decisions. You will hold a position of authority once the battle between Darkness and Light becomes more straightforward, something I wanted to avoid, but have resigned myself to. I have finally realized, after the events of last year, that because of who you are, those traits that make you so suitable for Gryffindor House, will never allow you to take a back seat in this battle." Albus Dumbledore stopped speaking again, looking at Harry, an unreadable expression in his eyes. Harry didn't know what to say. He felt a profound relief that Dumbledore was actually taking him seriously, sorrow that he was the reason for the usually merry man's resigned voice, and a mixture of curiosity and dread of what might come next. After a long moment, Dumbledore spoke again.
"In the war, you will have to make decisions such as I have had to make. It is likely many of these decisions will force you to sacrifice lives for the greater good. Of course, I'm underestimating you again. I'm forgetting those qualities you possess which almost made you a member of Slytherin." Harry eyes widened at that statement, and he began to protest, before he realized the futility of it. One couldn't fool Dumbledore, and he realized rather abruptly that he was a little tired of fooling himself as well. He would have been a good Slytherin. He remained silent.
"I only need to look in your eyes to realize that you know what you have to do. You might be preparing yourself for it. And if you are not, you will have to. The battle must end this time, Harry, because my time is running short, and I might not be around for the next rising of Voldemort, and I fear...oh I do fear it... what will happen if I am not here to provide a hope for the wizarding world. Because the hope others hold for your success is based entirely on your successes that were acquired through luck and others underestimating you. You are not ready to face this on your own. Maybe one day you will be, though I shudder to think of it, but not yet, Harry Potter."
The room fell into a silence so deep that Harry was sure he could hear the beating of his own heart. He ignored Dumbledore's gaze and looked at the empty portrait of Sirius's ancestor, and wondered what was going on at Grimmauld Place. He picked up and discarded several emotions like rocks unsuitable for skipping. He wondered how he really felt. Surprise and a strange happiness of Dumbledore's frankness, dread of what could have brought all this on, and sadness, as he looked at the empty portrait and remembered yet again what his ignorance and blindness, and Dumbledore's fear--for it had been fear that had stayed his tongue--had cost him... and Sirius. Harry decided that he would never make another mistake like that again, and he slowly let go of his hesitation, his longing for a normal life of Quidditch, Hogsmeade, and Halloween feasts, and his need to be his father, to be the kind, gentle, horribly and falsely innocent Harry Potter, Gryffindor, warrior of the Light. He knew that that would never win a war. He had to be who he was; the strong, brave, almost-clever and -cautious Boy Who Lived, Gryffindor with Slytherin tendencies, warrior of the Light who would have to step into the Grey, and toe the line of and dip his fingers in the bottomless black lake that was the Dark.
"All right," Harry said, inhaling a large breath, and exhaling it slowly as he met Dumbledore's eyes, putting all of the determination and understanding he could in his eyes. Dumbledore gave an imperceptible nod, and he looked slightly pleased, and hopeful.
"So. What was it you needed to tell me, Headmaster?" Harry asked with a casualness he didn't feel.
Dumbledore began, "The vampires you study in your Defense Against the Dark Arts class are completely Dark creatures. Voldemort offered them limitless blood of innocents to them for their aid, an offer that they did not refuse, unsurprisingly. I could offer them no better. They are literally soulless creatures. I didn't bother to attempt to acquire their aid. Even if they did agree to an acceptable arrangement, they would probably turn at the last moment. But another group came to my attention, a clan of creatures that have for so long remained silent that they are hardly in books any more. I was always aware of their presence, but they have for so long remained a neutral party that I didn't dare approach them. Instead, they approached me, because they saw that they could not remain neutral on this issue, and they had no interest in joining the Dark Lord, who could offer them nothing. I, however, could." He paused, looking as if he was steeling himself for what was to come. Harry broke in.
"So what exactly are these creatures?" Harry asked, not letting the sense of foreboding he had creep into his voice. Dumbledore looked at him a long moment before replying.
"Daywalkers. Supernatural speed, strength, and senses. Nocturnal creatures that can and will venture into the light of day. They are the ultimate fighters. One of them could defeat fifteen vampires. That was why I had to have them on our side, because if Voldemort acquired their services somehow, this battle would be inevitably lost." Harry nodded, absorbing that, and he approved of Dumbledore's decision for the moment. Harry realized though, his an inward bitter smile, that the decision had already been made, and he would just be fresh out of luck if he didn't agree.
"What did they want?" Harry asked the dreaded question quietly, not able to keep the fear from his voice.
Dumbledore sighed again. "First you have to understand a few things. A new leader of the Daywalkers is selected every three generations, based on the instructions of a Seer who determines who the leader needs to be. In your father's generation, the Seer said that the leader that was needed wouldn't be born until the next generation. The leader of the time, Gabriel, therefore kept his position. Now, the new leader has been born and has come of age, and he would ascend the throne except for one thing." The Headmaster stopped again, and Harry almost let out an exasperated huff.
"What one thing?" Harry asked impatiently. The drawing out really was making it worse.
"For a Daywalker to come into his or her power completely, they need to acquire their...soulmate. They are born for one other person who will be their main supply of blood, who provides them will love, physical satisfaction, and comfort. Another person is born for them who has the capacity to provide all of these things. The other person must be a witch or wizard, and a gifted one, because the Daywalkers don't just feed on blood. They feed on your very life force, and your magic. Those who are born who are able to replenish their magic in a matter of minutes or hours rather than days, weeks, or months as is normal are capable of mating with a Daywalker. And though the Daywalkers aren't very...prudish, they can only reproduce with their mates after the mate has been turned, which is why the population is merely in the hundreds. The next leader, who shall be called the Prince, knows his mate, but the situation is rather delicate, considering the identities of the pair. And that's why they came to me, Harry, because they knew that I had access to the one thing they wanted and needed more than blood or power." Harry exhaled, clenching his fists tightly, realizing Dumbledore wasn't going to finish, that he couldn't.
"And, what, exactly, Headmaster, is that?" Harry asked quietly, breathily, his fear rising up and taking over in a cold wave through his soul, because he already knew the answer.
"Oh," Harry breathed, even though he knew it was coming. The cold was rushing through him so fast and he couldn't breath, and his vision wavered as the lights in the room flickered. His breath was coming unbearably fast, and the world slowed for a moment before everything came back into focus. Dumbledore regarded him in concern from across the desk.
"Are you all right, Harry?" Dumbledore asked quietly, looking very sad. Harry nodded.
"It just...came as a shock, you know," Harry replied quietly.
"I imagine it did," Dumbledore replied. After a moment, he looked Harry in the eye. You have the rest of the summer before you meet the Prince, whose identity I will leave for him to reveal." Harry realized suddenly, feeling very silly, that he had just got that another boy was who he would be "mated" with. Harry clapped a hand over his eyes and held back a dismayed groan. Oh, the Daily Prophet was just going to adore this new development. Witches' Weekly was going to have a field day bemoaning the fact that Harry Potter was unattainable, and a sudden rush of fear hit Harry again when he realized he didn't know how the wizarding world felt about such things. He hadn't really noticed romances too much, being too engrossed in Quidditch and his latest death-defying stunt, and admittedly terribly naive about the whole dating thing, which showed in the way the Cho thing had turned out. And he could just imagine a badge courtesy of Draco Malfoy saying something like: The Boy Who Lived to Shag Other Boys, oh yeah, that's Harry Potter.
"Just in case you were concerned, 20 of the wizarding population is homosexual, and it's really quite the norm. Surely you noticed all those couples at the Yule Ball...or maybe not," Dumbledore smiled when Harry shot him an embarrassed look, and his eyes gave a twinkle," You were quite an awful dancer." Harry couldn't help it, he laughed, and he hoped, somehow, everything would be ok. Harry looked at the Headmaster seriously.
"I think I need to start being told things about the war more. And I think I need some lessons...on how to really fight. Because next time, expelliarmus won't work. And I need to know good defense against spells... especially Unforgivable ones. I need to know a way to fight if I don't have a wand. I need to become an animagus." Harry paused. "There's so much I need to learn, and we're running out of time." He looked up at Dumbledore in a kind of dawning horror.
"I have wasted so much time. If I had just thought I could have defeated him that night, Headmaster. But I was helpless," Harry whispered, his voice full of despair. He looked at Dumbledore, who was regarding him with a sad look again.
"I don't want to be helpless ever again," Harry said, his voice hard as steel and very determined. Dumbledore just looked at him in that searching way for a long time before he nodded.
"I'll make the arrangements. You're right, Harry. Time has been wasted." There was a silence, as they both regarded each other across the desk. Harry was hit, then, by a realization. The Headmaster considered him...an ally, and he had spoken of sacrifices to Harry as he would an equal. He felt pride wash over him.
"Perhaps you should go to bed. We will discuss this more at a later time. The password to the Tower is 'hybiscus.'" Harry scowled. Of course, he was still a teenager, and he hated to be reminded of it.
It wasn't until some time later, after an annoyingly lengthly conversation with the Fat Lady, that Harry realized that Dumbledore had never exactly said when the Daywalkers had contacted him, and he wondered how much of his life had been planned, and how much had been a lie. He let that dangerous--and delicious--rage wash over him again for several minutes, as he sat in the window seat staring blindly at the sky, and he didn't notice the pattern of ice that traced across his window, nor the frost that gathered in the water jug, and he certainly didn't notice the figure standing at the edge of the Forbidden Forest, looking precisely up at the silhouette of a person in the dim window of one of the towers, and smiling until the dim light went out, before vanishing into the dark depths of the woods, where more than Acromantulas, werewolves, and unicorns lurked.
Whew! What a ride! I daresay it's my best work. Definitely better than my unfortunately discarded first attempts.
Sooooo...Yes?No?Maybe?Whatever? I mean, is it so horrible you wanna puke, or so wonderful you want to cry and kiss my feet...maybe not.