A Rewritten Life
Disclaimer: I do not own any of the characters and am making no profit from this whatsoever.
Note: This is for all the Chimera reviewers. I'm sorry I pulled it off the web, but I hope you enjoy this fanfic anyway. Thanks for all your support, it means a lot.
Albus pinched the bridge of his nose and pushed up his spectacles. He grimaced as he watched the mail start sorting themselves into piles from urgent to junk. It was a special spell he had created to help him with the vast quantities of post he'd gotten since the demise of Voldemort. The spell saved him a bit of time; unfortunately, it still didn't get the letters read or answered.
It had only been a week, he thought. It wasn't like this was going to stop any time soon. Albus sighed and picked up another parchment, untying the string, and spreading it open. The letterhead was unmistakably that of the Ministry of Magic. Albus didn't have to read it to know what they wanted. No doubt it was another formal request to transfer the custody of Harry James Potter to them.
They simply didn't understand the tenuous situation Harry was in. There were still Death Eaters out there; dark wizards and witches who would only be too happy to kill the young Savior of the Wizarding World. Albus forced his hand to relax. If the Killing Curse failed on Harry for some unknown reason, Albus was certain a prolong Cruciatus Curse would work. He took a deep breath and shoved the scroll aside.
Albus was about to pick up another one when the alert ball flew from its position next to Fawkes' perch straight at him. Albus caught it and peered deeply into the picture it had to show him. He was a bit confused as to why the ball had activated when he saw Petunia carrying a quiet baby with bright green eyes in the back of a car. A moment later Albus understood, once she got out and headed up the steps of… an orphanage.
Now was really not the time for further complications, but of course, there it was—staring him in the face. Albus sighed and got up from his desk to floo Minerva. She whirled around with narrowed eyes. "What do you want?" she asked, gesturing to the pile of parchments she had on her desk. "I'm in the process of grading some second year exams."
"I have something that needs to be discussed," Albus said.
"Can it not wait until dinner?" Minerva inquired with thinly veiled irritation. "There are twenty exams I still have yet to do."
"It's about Harry Potter."
Minerva's eyes widened. "What about him?"
"Will you floo to my office?"
She nodded curtly. "I'll be there in a moment."
True to her word, she arrived brushing the ashes off her robes. Minerva straightened up and scowled at the fireplace before marching over and taking a seat across from him. She looked at him without wavering and stated bluntly, "Tell me what is the matter."
Albus pushed the watcher orb toward her and she cupped it with her hands, peering in much as he had. He was fairly certain he knew what she was looking at—a very young Harry Potter sleeping on a sterile white cot. It wasn't the sort of bed a baby should be sleeping in. No railing, no sides to catch the boy if he were to roll over.
"Those Muggles," Minerva muttered, "didn't even bother to get him a proper bed."
"It's more than that," Albus remarked.
Minerva lifted her head and raised an eyebrow. "I told you those were the worse sort of Muggles, but do you ever listen to me? No. It's too bad we need the blood sacrifice protection."
"Unfortunately," he said with a grave voice, "the protection is invalid if his Aunt or cousin isn't around him."
She narrowed her eyes. "What are you saying?"
"His Aunt has left him at an orphanage."
Albus reached for the glowing ball and set it aside. "Yes. I saw it," he stated. "Harry is now at a children's shelter somewhere in London."
"And?" Minerva snapped demandingly. "What are we going to do?"
"Harry needs the blood protection."
"You cannot mean to send him back to those Muggles!" Minerva exclaimed. "Look at what they've done. They've sent him to an orphanage. Why, that's exactly what happened to Tom Riddle! And you know how he turned out…"
"I didn't say Harry must have the blood protection."
Minerva narrowed her eyes. "What are you saying then?"
"There is the Fidelius Charm."
"There is that," she murmured with a faint smile. "All we need is a Keeper."
"It would be best if I was," Albus murmured, peering wearily over his glasses. "But I thought you might like to pick Harry up."
The orphanage was located in a very shabby area of London. It was somewhat better than Knockturn Alley, but not by much. Minerva took a large step over something that looked like vomit near the steps up to the main entrance. She surveyed it with slight dismay. The doors were in desperate need of some paint, and the building looked like it was close to falling apart with well-defined cracks in the bricks.
She walked up the treads and entered into the dimly lit hallway. She followed the sound of people talking, of children whining, and of babies crying. Her eyes clouded over with a hint of tears when she caught sight of a baby on a cot much like she seen in the orb, rolling around and screaming. It wasn't just in search of attention; there was pain on his—her face.
"Miss?" Minerva jerked her head to look eye-to-eye at a much younger woman in shabby clothes with hair messily tied back. "Can I help you with something?"
"I…" Minerva began, her voice cracking a bit, "I wish to adopt a baby."
"Oh!" the younger woman exclaimed. "Oh, that's wonderful. Have you been here before?"
Minerva shook her head.
"Hmm… we'll have to file paperwork of course."
Minerva nodded and took out from her satchel a stack of papers. Albus had assured her that these were all the documents that she would need to adopt a baby out of a Muggle orphanage. She hoped he was right. There were times when she wasn't quite sure if Albus was… quite there anymore. The war with Voldemort had taken a great toll on him.
"The initial paperwork," the young woman amended. "It might take months for this to go through, or only weeks—depends how your references check out. But why don't we go into the nursery and you can look at the children. Do you know if you want a girl or boy? How young?"
"A young boy about one," Minerva said carefully, her hand drifting into her robe and fingering her wand. Albus somehow had forgotten to tell her what a lengthy process a Muggle adoption was. "Is there anyone like that here?"
The young woman seemed to be thinking hard before a bright smile came onto her face. "I know just the boy!" she cried. "He came in yesterday, actually. A very beautiful child, very sweet."
Minerva felt her heart beat a tad faster. It had to be Harry. How many other children came in a day to an orphanage? Especially fitting her description? She didn't know, but she doubted it was that many.
"He has the greenest eyes you'll ever see," the young woman rambled on. "Unlike the other babies, he doesn't really cry. He just looks at you with those big eyes of him, but I think he's scared. He's just trying to be brave. He cried last night and he wouldn't stop. Poor boy."
Minerva nodded and swallowed her choked emotions. "It sounds like he needs a good home."
The young woman nodded enthusiastically. "Yes, he certainly does. If you adopt him, he'll be quite lucky. His stay will be one of the shortest ever in the orphanage. I hope there's nothing wrong with your paperwork."
Minerva smiled, curling her fingers around her wand. "I'm sure nothing will be wrong."
She cradled the sleeping baby close to her heart, shielding him from the autumn chill in the thick warmth of her robes. A useful Glamour Charm had made her appear to be younger and dressed in proper Muggle attire. A quick memory charm along with the paperwork had made the young woman believe Minerva had already been through the initial screening and had brought the final papers to claim Harry Potter.
It had taken an hour too long, Minerva thought, but Harry was now in her arms and he would be at Hogwarts soon. She wandered into a back alley and looked cautiously around to make sure no one was around. When she was certain, she pulled the portkey out of her pocket and activated it.
The sinking feeling in her belly confirmed she was being whisked back to Hogwarts.
"Hello Harry," Albus said like he was speaking to an adult. The bright-eyed baby looked at him and blinked. "I'm going to be performing a spell on you to keep you safe."
Minerva cradled Harry closer to her. "You should get the spell over with. It's been a long day for him and me, and I still have exams to grade."
Albus flicked his wand over Harry, pronouncing the incantation that would protect the child from all who would seek to harm him. It was not a terribly difficult spell, not for one of his power, but Albus still needed to focus on who he was protecting. Looking into Harry's green eyes, Albus found it easy to wish to protect this child from harm. As long as he told no one where to find Harry, the young child would remain hidden.
"Oh dear," Minerva remarked after the spell had settled onto Harry, "we hadn't thought of who will care for Harry or even what to do with him."
Albus sighed and pushed his glasses up his nose. "I will watch him for tonight while you grade your exams."
"But what of the other days?" she inquired. "We can't watch the baby continuously. We have responsibilities… if only it weren't the middle of the school term."
"We will need a caretaker."
"But the Fidelius Charm," Minerva spoke, "it only works if Harry's whereabouts remain a secret. If we hire an outside caretaker, then we will have to risk exposing the secret to someone—"
"A matter of trust," he murmured.
"What of a house elf?"
Minerva's eyes widened. "You've been thinking."
"Yes," Albus confirmed. "You know of how loyal they are."
"And fiercely protective of their charges," she whispered.
"It would only be for the day," he stated. "At nights, we could share the responsibility."
Minerva inclined her face. "That we could."
"Does this plan garner your approval?" he inquired, raising his eyes to her.
"You know it does."
Albus smiled only a little.
Albus touched Harry's pert little nose and smiled when Harry giggled. The baby—the young toddler, actually—was well-adjusted. He didn't seem too startled by all that was happening to him. Albus held up a finger and Harry's hand grabbed it.
"Have you started talking yet?" Albus murmured. "You're over a year, some children are quite precocious. Have you learned to walk? I do think I remember Lily telling me you were crawling at six months or so. She said you were an active baby, but very quick to smile."
Harry stared at him with calm green eyes. "She said you were a good baby," Albus continued. "She loved you very much, do you know that?"
Albus was certain that Harry understood some of what he was saying, if not all of it. Harry made a sweet cooing sound, but his eyes were quite serious and intent—never wavering in their gaze. "I don't know why your Aunt gave you to the Children's Shelter," he remarked. "From all accounts, she appears to adore children, especially her child. But it seems Minerva was right. They are not the very best of Muggles.
"But you won't think badly of them, will you?" Albus inquired, resting his back against his cushioned chair. "Not all Muggles are like that. Some can be quite good in many ways. Your mother always spoke fondly of her parents, your grandparents. I'm sure if they were still alive; they gladly would have welcomed you into their house.
"Maybe it was your Uncle, who was not keen to have you in the house. I felt certain your Aunt would want you. Lily didn't often speak of her sister, but she did seem to love her. But sometimes things don't turn out the way you expect." Albus peered at the droopy-eyed baby. "After all, no one would have thought a baby would bring down the darkest wizard since Grindelwald."
Harry blinked and then yawned softly. Albus glanced at the clock on the wall and saw that it was about 9:00. Not very late, but for a baby it was quite a reasonable hour to go to sleep considering how much Harry had been through already. Albus stroked Harry's soft cheek. "By all the power I have, I promise you will be safe here."
Minerva stared dubiously at the spoon in Albus' hand as well as the plate of food in front of him. "Are you sure that Harry can eat solid foods?"
Albus scooped up some of the mashed pumpkin. "There's only one way to be certain," he answered and placed the spoon next to Harry's mouth. "Aaah."
"Aaaa?" Harry mimicked, looking quite confused but closing his mouth over the pumpkin filled spoon. "Mrrmmm." Harry opened his mouth again and then closed it, but some of the pumpkin dripped out.
Albus cleaned Harry's chin dutifully and smiled when Harry opened his mouth again and none of the orange pumpkin was seen. "I would say an emphatic yes to your question."
Minerva snorted. "I suppose I will feed Harry during lunch and you can attend to your Headmaster's duties, but what are we to do about dinner tonight? You cannot miss it and as Head of House, I cannot either."
"Remember the house elf?"
She nodded stiffly. "But which house elf?"
"I think Yenty will be a good choice," Albus remarked. "And of course, Fawkes will watch over Harry."
"Yenty," Minvera murmured. "Yes, I suppose she's the best, very loyal to Hogwarts and very… sweet."
"Kind too," he responded. "Fawkes will alert us if anything goes wrong and we are needed." He patted her arm. "Don't worry." He raised another spoonful of pumpkin mash to Harry's mouth. "Aaaah."
Harry dutifully opened his mouth and closed it over the sweet mash.
"Good boy," Albus said and took a bite of his own porridge. "You have good taste. I quite enjoyed this pumpkin mash when I was younger. My mum said I devoured it. Yes, yes, open wide. Aaaah!"
"Yenty understands Headmaster," the small, large eyed house elf said while nodding. "Yenty feed Master Harry and put him to sleep. Yenty will do this."
Albus handed Harry to Yenty and she cradled the baby close to her. Harry looked much bigger when Yenty was holding him, Albus mused. "If anything happens and you need my assistance, Fawkes will send your message to me. All right?"
"Yenty will," she promised. "Yenty take good care of Master Harry while Headmaster eats."
Smiling Albus said a few words to Fawkes and his phoenix inclined his head. Albus swept out of his office in a rush. He was a bit late and dinner didn't start until he arrived. With Harry, life was much busier, but he didn't mind the extra responsibility. It was the least he could do for Harry, considering how much he has already lost at such a young age.
Albus entered into the Great Hall and took his seat at the head of the table, between Minerva and Filius. He glanced at the empty table and snapped his fingers. Immediately plates of food appeared in front of each table.
The eyes of most of the students were on him. He nodded and raised his goblet up. Some grinned; some merely started grabbing at the food right away. But in most, he saw the reason why he was here. Children were the future and for the difficult times ahead, they deserved to be happy while they could.
Harry spewed the green mush out of his mouth and his eyes were most definitely defiant. Albus suppressed a smile when Minerva started clucking her tongue. "Now Harry," she said, holding the spoon up with the green colored food, "this is broccoli and it's quite good for you. Aaaah!"
Harry shook his head and refused to open his mouth.
"Minerva," Albus said, "I think it'd be best to go back to the pumpkin or banana or even carrots. I don't think Harry likes the broccoli."
She glared at him and set the spoon down. "Harry needs a balanced diet."
"Carrots are vegetables."
Albus smiled and snapped his fingers. Yenty popped in with a tray of three very small helpings of pumpkin, bananas, and carrots. "If Harry likes to eat this, I don't see why we can't let him. It's not as if this is bad for him."
Minerva huffed and banished the broccoli with a wave of her wand. "If you keep giving into his sweet tooth, then we won't ever teach him how to eat properly."
"Surely, pumpkin, bananas, and carrots aren't a bad diet," he responded. "I eat them all the time."
Minerva rolled her eyes. "His diet needs to diversify."
"We could add applesauce."
"And we need to cap the sweets."
Albus sighed. "Potatoes?"
She looked like she was going to say no, but stopped. "That might be all right."
The house elf scurried over to his side and look up with her big eyes. "Yes, Headmaster?"
"Would you get some mashed potatoes for Harry?"
"Yenty will," she said and vanished.
A muffled scream rang through the air. Minerva jerked from sleep and quickly got out of bed. She ran to the room where she kept Harry when it was her night to care for him. She took the boy into her arms and hushed him with sweet words. "It's all right, Harry. It's just a nightmare. Everything's fine."
Harry opened up his eyes and peered solemnly at her. It was eerie at how old he seemed, like he had seen so much in so little time. But she supposed he had. After all, he had been in the same room as his mother. Minerva wondered if that was what he was dreaming of. If so, she winced, he had a good reason to be screaming at night.
"Hush little baby, don't say a word," Minerva sang in her coarse voice, "Mama's going to buy you a wizard's broom. And if that wizard's broom don't fly, Mama's going to buy you a proper wand…"
Harry yawned at the end of the song and Minerva tucked him back into his trundle bed. She brushed away some of his dark hair from his face. "Did you know that your father was my very best student? His Animagus abilities were unparalleled, exceeding even your—"
Harry stirred a little and blinked his weary eyes at her. She smiled and bent down to press a kiss on his forehead. "Sleep child, sleep."
Author's Note: Review please and yes, Remus will make an appearance soon. I hope this is original, if it's not—I didn't intend to steal anyone else's idea. Thanks for reading.