A/N: Cause I forgot to mention it last chapter: I'll be doing my best to post this up every month. It helps that I've finished until chapter 6, though I may occasionally forget. (Like I did yesterday.) Of course, reviews that help remind me are very much appreciated. Grins Actually, I was going to send this to my beta - Professor Spector - for vetting, but I forgot until today, and I very much want to keep to my schedule. So another un-beta-ed chapter, though I swear I'll actually remember for the next one. XD
Summary: When Sesshoumaru received an invitation from Lucius Malfoy to become a professor at Hogwarts, he expected dark lords and politics involved. What he did not expect was for his brother to travel 500 years into the future, bringing with him wars and demons that should have stayed in the past. Non HBP compatible, all pairings are canon ones. (Though any extra ones can be intepreted any way you want.)
Rating: T (For language and a general blood bias that might corrupt young children. We ARE talking about Slytherins, Inuyasha and Sesshoumaru, after all.)
Harry Potter was sulking. Not that he'd admit it, of course, but he was sulking nonetheless. He huddled up in a corner of his room, glaring at the dirty whitewashed walls around him. The walls offended him. In fact, everything offended him today. Even the rare silence at the Dursley's was offensive.
"Boy!" Vernon's shout resonated through the house. Speak of the devil. Harry's glare intensified. Come to think of it, he'd prefer being deaf to being subjected to that pig's horrendous clatter. "Bo-o-y!"
Punching the floor, he got – or rather, stomped – to his feet and flung open the door. "I'm coming!" he yelled downstairs. He slammed the door behind him, imagining the doorframe to be Vernon's face, and plodded down the stairs with a din that would make Dudley proud.
Upon seeing Harry, Vernon opened his mouth, as though to say something, but thought better of it and closed it again. The very motion seemed to take a lot of effort, and his face turned a brilliant shade of purple.
He looks like a purple slug, Harry thought ungraciously. He imagined what it'd be like to squash that face beneath his feet, and decided that it would be extremely pleasant.
"Eat." Vernon gestured towards the plate on the table. "Before those…friends" he choked on the word "of yours decide to accuse us of starving you again."
"I'm not hungry," Harry muttered, preparing to go up the stairs again.
"Bullshit. You haven't eaten for five days already. I don't want those freaks popping in on us again and claiming that we haven't been feeding you." Vernon snarled.
Harry could feel the anger rising up in him like a tidal wave. "Well, I'm not hungry! It's not as though you care anyway, and if Lupin cares whether I've been eating, he can bloody well check!" Apparently Vernon was not one to take being shouted at lightly, for he leapt to his feet, large frame towering over Harry. "And besides, what can you do anyway? You don't even dare lay a finger on me," Harry taunted, feeling satisfaction in knowing that Vernon, so used to bullying those smaller than him, could do nothing in the face of his defiance save brooding on his cowardly ass. After realizing that a few days after he returned to Pivet Drive, his favorite pastime had quickly changed from taunting Dudley to taunting Vernon.
Harry spun on his heels and headed for the stairs. "And don't stomp!" Vernon's voice was grating on his ears.
"You didn't mind when that fat pig of yours do the same!" The response was out before he realized it, delivered with a vicious malice that managed to lift his spirits. He had been waiting for so many years to say that, and even if he couldn't see the expression on Vernon's face, there was great pleasure in imagining that cow-like face twisting in anger. Sirius would be delighted to see it.
As quickly as it had spread, the smile slid off his face. Sirius… despite the weeks that passed, his godfather's death was still as raw and painful as an open wound. His steps slowed, and every movement of his feet felt like they were dragging a thousand ton of heavy chains along with them. If it weren't for him, Sirius would still be alive now. Who knows, he could even be free. The Ministry would have cleared him of all charges, but what use was that now that he was dead? He punched the banister. It should have been him instead, but Sirius tried to protect him, and now he was alive but Sirius was dead.
It wasn't over until it's over. And then there's the Boy-who-always-bloody-Lived and his dead dead dead godfather.
Harry dragged himself up the stairs and back into the welcoming confines of his self-imposed prison. Ironic, that now when he wanted to be locked up, Vernon had taken off all the locks and deadbolts. But then again, life had always been ironic when concerning him. He was the bloody Savior of the Wizarding World for heaven's sake, and yet as far as he was concerned, he had done nothing save endanger those around him.
He stared up at the peeling ceiling above him from where he lay on the thin mattress for a long time, hoping to clear his mind with the not-quite-patterns in the dirty white, not noticing when his sight started darkening before him.
The graveyard was empty save for four figures, all dressed in dark, hooded robes that cast their faces in darkness. Two of them were bowed before a third, seated on a 'throne' in the shape of a twisted grim reaper. The forth cowered behind the throne, almost invisible in the thick fog, and would have been unnoticeable if he didn't emit a few squeaks every minute.
"So Lucius," The voice that emitted from the figure on the 'throne' was thin, high-pitched and raw, like that of an infant who screamed too much. "How is it going?" Only his mouth and chin was visible, the waxy skin splitting apart when he talked to reveal a mouth that might as well have been the black hole itself. Beneath the skin, red veins protruded in clear contrast against the pastiness of his face, mapping out the skin in sections of small red lines.
One of the two before the throne stood up upon being addressed, hood falling behind to reveal piercing blue eyes and a sharp, pointed chin set on a pale face. "All is well, my lord. The other candidates have all…backed out, and that old fool will go according to our plans." Lucius voice was barely a murmur, heard only in the silent stillness of the place, but there was a cold smile on his lips that lent malicious intent to his words.
"Excellent. And you, Severus?"
The other bowed figure straightened. "I am working on it, my lord. He will agree to it. It is only a matter of time." The silky voice carried confidently across the empty graveyard.
"And if he doesn't?"
"Then we'll just have to use other methods of…persuasion." Black eyes stared straight into the dull surface of the grim reaper's scythe, death reflected in the ebony depths.
"That's not the reply I want. Crucio." As blood dripped onto the floor from Severus Snape's hands where the silver mask he was holding pierced his palms from the pain, Voldemort finally looked up and laughed, his red eyes glowing like embers.
"Harry. Harry!" In the midst of darkness, there was a blurry figure with brown hair shaking him. Weakly, he tried to grasp the hands holding his shoulders, but he found that his fingers could hardly grip anything, and they slipped uselessly back onto rough material of the mattress. "Wake up, Harry!"
It was Remus' voice. Harry squinted at the face before him, vision finally clearing enough to allow the view of a pair of amber eyes, currently staring at him in concern. "Re-Remus?" His throat felt raw and parched, and the words came out in hoarse gasps of air.
"He came in when you were screaming your head off." Petunia Dursley leaned against the doorframe, arms crossed and face pinched. She looked as though she would rather be dead than here watching them, yet she made no move to extract herself from their presence.
"Are you all right, Harry? It's been three days and we still haven't heard from you and we were worried, so they sent me, only to find you here thrashing and screaming." Remus' hands kept themselves busy, checking his pulse and temperature with one hand and casting diagnostic and warming charms with his other.
It was only then that Harry realized how cold he was. His hands were red and clammy, and he had not even enough energy to even sit up. Remus' words reminded him, however, and his previous anger cut through the blanket of sleepiness enclosing him. Of course, the letter. How could he forget? The last time he didn't write, they had sent Severus Snape down to check on him. Snape, of all people. Snape! He had come swooping in with those black robes of his, stared down his nose at him, and started lecturing him.
"While I'm sure, Potter, that you enjoy being the center of attention, I regret to inform you that the Order comprises of busy people who cannot cater to your every whim and fancy. So if you please, do take some time off your…busy schedule," and there his eyes swept across the messy room disdainfully, "to inform us of your progress in the miserable art of self-pity." He flicked his wand at Harry, raising a contemptuous brow at the diagnostic results of his spell. "Starving yourself now? Is anorexia the new claim to fame, Mister Potter? I would have thought better of you than wasting the life your fur-bitten mutt of a godfather died for."
Rage boiled within him. How dare he? "You bastard!" He yelled, lunging at the potions professor. "You're just jealous because Sirius will forever be a much better man than you can hope for, even in death!"
Severus Snape merely dodged the poorly coordinated blow, aggravatingly confident in Harry's inability to hit him. Just before he fell, however, Snape reached out and grabbed his shirt collar, practically hauling him until they were face to face. Harry raised an arm to strike at him again, only to have a vial practically shoved up his nose. "Drink it." Snape murmured, though coming out of his mouth, it might as well have been a command.
"What's thi-" Harry demanded, but the moment he opened his mouth, Snape tilted the vial and tipped the contents in, taking advantage of Harry's shock to force his mouth shut, long, strong fingers keeping his lips sealed until he swallowed.
"Nutrient replenishing potion, Potter. And you have until seven-thirty on Thursday to send a letter before the order sends someone to check on you again." The stressing on the 'again' left nothing to the imagination about how Snape felt to be there, but before Harry had a chance to even open his mouth, there was a soft 'pop' and the potions master disapparated, leaving only Harry there with the bitter taste of the potion on his tongue.
Snape! Of course! Bits and pieces of his not-quite-nightmare returned to him and he sat up straight, trying to voice out the events all at once as his anger resurfaced with a vengeance. "Voldemort! He…he's planning something! And Snape! In it together, crucioed, Malfoy-Dumbledore is tricked! They're planning something! They-"
"Hush, Harry. Hush." Remus gently pushed Harry onto his back. This may be just a delusion. You haven't eaten for many days, and Severus' nutrient replenishing potion should have run out by now. Here. Drink this." The familiar vial appeared again, and Harry had no choice but to gulp the foul tasting liquid down.
I bet Snape made it foul just to spite me, he thought sourly as he fought back the automatic wave of nausea rising up within him. The moment he could feel the potion taking effect, he fought against Remus' hands. "I tell you, it wasn't a delusion! Voldemort's planning something, and Dumbledore's walking straight into his trap! Snape's blackmailing someone into doing something, I saw him talking to Voldemort, god damn it!"
"Calm DOWN, Harry!"
Harry shut up.
"Listen, Harry. I know this is very tough for you right now, but you must hold on. We're going to the Weasleys, they've put up all the necessary wards, you don't have to stay with the Dursleys any longer." Remus was rambling. For the first time since he woke up, he registered Remus' appearance. He was thinner, Harry saw. In the dim light of his wand, shadows danced in the hollow of his cheeks and he looked as though he hadn't shaved for a week at least. His hair was disheveled and his face dirty, and beneath his brown eyes the eye bags stood out like bruises. His shoulders, once always held square even in the face of his resignation from Hogwarts, were now sloped with a despair and bleakness that showed in the hunched back and downcast eyes.
He wasn't the only one Sirius left behind, Harry suddenly realized. The sudden understanding sapped away the remnants of his anger, leaving him a hollow figure with nothing to support himself with. He may have lost a godfather, but Remus lost more. Sirius was the last of the four Marauders that Remus had left, save Pettigrew, but he didn't count, and now, Remus was alone.
"I'm sorry, Remus." He grasped the rough – when had Remus' hands turned so coarse and withered? – hands in his, trying to communicate with his eyes what he couldn't say. You still have me.
"Harry, I know losing Sirius hurt, but we have to-" Remus choked, his voice breaking at the sobs that tore its way up his throat, "-to move on."
Harry could feel his throat closing up, and, for the first time in weeks, his vision blurring. Crying was a relief, he found. All the pent up despair and misery found their way out of his throat in wrenching sobs, and together with his tears, he found all his bottled-up hatred leaving him.
"Mum! Harry's here!" Ron's shout from the window was followed by a commotion, and within the next minute, most of the Weasleys were on the lawn in front of the rickety Burrow. It was just the same as ever, with its thatched roof and precariously balanced stones that made up the walls, and Harry felt a swell of warmth at the familiar feeling of home.
"Oh Harry!" The moment Mrs. Weasley laid eyes on him, she went from wiping her hands on her apron to enveloping the scrawny boy in front of her into a hug. Harry allowed himself to sink into her embrace, breathing in the scent of flour and cream that had always surrounded her. Two slaps on his back caused him to look up, straight into the identical eyes of the two twins.
"Heard you were coming back, mate, so thought we'll come and check it out." Fred/George/Fred grinned at him, giving him a 'thumbs-up' sign. "Not looking very good, but I'm sure mom will fatten you up in no time." He dodged the smack on the arm from his mother, winking his trademark grin at Harry.
Ginny stood behind her mother in her nightgown, smiling at him through tired eyes. Harry mouthed a 'hello' to her, and, turning, his face broke into his first true smile since the Ministry of Magic incident when his eyes landed on the familiar figure of Ron.
"Glad to see you, mate." He grinned.
The grounds of Hogwarts hadn't changed much since the last time he was there, Sesshoumaru mused, save a particularly gnarled tree that stuck out in the middle of the field like a sore thumb. With its crooked, smashing branches, it served neither aesthetic nor security purposes, but when he questioned Severus about its presence, the Potions Master merely raised an eyebrow. "I am rather certain, Sesshoumaru, that I have not yet fallen to that level of insanity as to figure out the conundrum that is Dumbledore's mind."
The hut of the groundskeeper had been enlarged too, but the extension, which most likely functioned as the main house, was shabbily built. Rocks protruded from the walls at odd angles, and the roof could only be held together by magic. The half-giant standing knee-deep in the pond – "Hagrid," Severus had supplied – who could only be the inhabitant of the hut, turned around from what he was doing and waved upon their approach, a gesture that he reciprocated, inclining his head in acknowledgement.
Dumbledore's office certainly hadn't changed. Walking into it was like walking into a circus. It was still loudly decorated with a wide variety of the gaudiest items in the Wizarding world, nearly outlandish in their lurid colors. Neon bowls of sweets functioned as paperweights, and the one relief from the bright purple table was the parchment that littered the tabletop. Dumbledore was seated on a bright orange chair, dressed in clashing colors of navy blue twinkling with crescent moons. "Professor Dumbledore." Sesshoumaru nodded at him, closing the wooden door behind him.
"Mister Taishio. Please, call me Albus."
"Only if you call me Sesshoumaru, Albus." He flashed an obligatory half-smile, extending an arm in greeting as he walked towards the table. There was someone else there, he noticed. The person – it was a she – was well concealed with charms, but she had not done anything to hide her scent, and the trail or almost cat-like smell was hard to miss, even with a hundred different scents overwhelming his nose.
"Do take a seat, Sesshoumaru. Lemon drops? Or would you prefer tea? Ah, calling you that reminds me of your old grandfather." Dumbledore's hand, despite its wrinkled and decrepit appearance, had a firm grip, which he returned in professional likeness, maintaining eye contact with the twinkling pair opposite him.
Sesshoumaru headed for the most (and only) ordinary chair in the whole office. "You knew my grandfather?" It was the perfect response, complete with eyebrows raised with just the right amount of surprise for a boy whose grandfather died even before he was born. And a "tea, thank you.' as an afterthought.
"You look exactly like him, though you probably figured that out from the family portraits," Dumbledore chuckled. "Indeed, I knew your grandfather. We met at a conference many years back, though I have to say he always aged more gracefully than me. But I can tell you more later. I suppose you're here for the job of Defense Against the Dark Arts position?"
"So tell me, what are your past experiences in the defense of dark arts?" Dumbledore peered at him over the rim of his half-moon glasses, fingertips resting against each other in front of his nose.
"My house butler is a vampire. There was a brief…tussle for dominance over the estate when my late father departed. Other than that, there is only the occasional creature to contend with in my estate. I shall hardly bore you with the exact list. The Taishios are known for harboring many creatures in the manor." Sesshoumaru mentioned the names casually, swirling the tea in the cup he was holding. Truthfully speaking, he probability had more contact with magical creatures in five hundred years than anyone else had in their life, mostly because few lived longer than five centuries, but Dumbledore wasn't supposed to know that. These creatures, created out of pure magic and nothing else, were one of the remaining links to his demonic heritage, and he was not going to let go of that easily. Briefly he wondered why Dumbledore was even asking these questions, and dismissed them as customary formalities. The real questions would come later.
"Ah, that I remember. I've paid less than ten visits to the main manor, and I've already forgotten majority of the creatures I met there. Though, of course, that may just be old age. Your grandfather kept a fine specimen of a Thestral on his grounds. Is he still there?"
"I am afraid I have no idea. However, I can safely say that the Thestral found itself a mate, for now we have a family of Thestral in Taishio Forest." Apparently Dumbledore's eyes had not lost their ability to twinkle, something he had a knack for even in the strangest of situations.
"That's fabulous. I would enjoy visiting Darcy when time permits. But let's not get sidetracked, shall we? I've heard from Severus that you've had little prior teaching experience. Do you think you can tackle a group of teenagers from morning till afternoon?" Blue eyes twinkled at the demon before him. "Especially a group of…say, testosterone-filled teens?"
"I highly doubt they'll be causing too much trouble when I make the rules clear to them. Rest assured, Albus, that I have and will have no other intentions towards children. If there are any…particularly bothersome ones, I will turn to Severus for advice on how to deal with the situation." If he managed to escape from the clutches from female cat demons in heat, he doubted there was anything a human teenager could do to him.
"That's indeed comforting. I'm sure Severus will be glad to offer his assistance. But do tell me, Sesshoumaru, why are you applying for the position?" Dumbledore rested his chin on his fingertips, peering unblinkingly at the golden pair before him. "I believe being owner of Gringotts is a demanding job, and teaching is hardly an easy job."
"I am afraid you will have to be disappointed, Albus. I came purely on Severus' request." Any other answer was unbelievable. Had he actually wanted the position, he would have signed up for it a long time ago, not waited for until the ministry found someone to fill the position. "As for the work load, you will be surprised at how efficient goblins are at handling accounting. There is hardly anything for me to do save read through a monthly report, and most of the time I waste my afternoons gazing out into space." Two half-truths hardly made a whole, but he had never been one to have a conscience about lying.
The old man before him chuckled again. "I expected nothing else. Severus was the one who first nominated you for the position, you know."
"He did? Why, he never told me that." Neither did he send a reply when Sesshoumaru returned the owl with the confirmation that he was interested in the teaching position. And when they met earlier that morning, he didn't look surprised, proving that he had heard of Sesshoumaru's reply, but in typical Severus style, he had kept quiet.
"That's Severus for you. One last question, Sesshoumaru. I fear it may be slightly invasive, but I hope you understand that it's for safety precautions." Dumbledore's smile was still there, and so was the perpetual twinkle, but there was now a probing look in his eyes.
"Of course. I understand perfectly." He could feel the power that Dumbledore was so renowned for brushing at the edge of his consciousness, and wondered how often the headmaster's staff noticed his legimency at work.
"You must know of the current war, of course. Pardon the intrusion, but which side are you on?"
Sesshoumaru's smile didn't falter. The hand swishing the tea in his cup didn't even twitch, and there was not a single irregularity in his relaxed pose. He had been expecting such a question right from the start. Knowing Lucius, he would be selected for the position whether he passed this interview or not. Instead, he understood, this interview would be a guide. The previous questions had just been perfunctory appearances, and it was this question that decided what would happen in the next year.
"The same side as before, naturally. I believe that it was made clear when Gringotts started that the Taishios would not partake in any political struggles, much less one that involves warfare." And how he missed it, yet even if he had, there was no thrill in defeating a bunch of humans, and he refused to degrade himself to a battle with them. "Of course, I know that the Death Eaters are rather vigorous in their task of recruiting new members, but I highly doubt that any would attempt to attack me, not when their galleons are in my hands. Of course, I will not do anything that will endanger the name of Gringotts." The words slid out smoothly as though rehearsed, eyes never leaving the twinkling blue ones of Dumbledore as he lay his cards out on the table with selective truthfulness, saying more between the lines than in them. I will not use Gringotts to aid you in this, Albus.
"Of course, Sesshoumaru. I'm not questioning your ability to withstand the Death Eater's offer." Liar. "What I mean is, what is your opinion on purity of blood?"
All humans and half-bloods are abominable and should be terminated. And the purebloods are no different than them. "Trust me, Albus. Whether your pupils are pureblooded wizards or muggle-borns make no difference to me. They are no different in my eyes." They are all weak humans. Did they think that having a pathetic amount of youki that was most likely the result of mutations in the first place, amplified only to the minimum level of sufficiency by their wands, would make them any different from their 'non-magical' counterparts? "There will be no preferential treatment from me." Had it been left to him, he would have ensured that all humans were put out of their miserable existence and that demons were free to do what they pleased on earth. However, as both time and experience had proven, these humans were not just as pesky but as hardy as cockroaches, and there was no way to stomp them out of existence. If you can't change it, then you have to live with it.
"Excellent. If only there were more people like you, my boy. The world would be a much better place to live in." The strains of youki flowing around him vanished, and so did the watchful look in Dumbledore's eyes.
"I am flattered, Albus." No doubt. Had his mother borne more children, perhaps Father would not have dabbled with that mortal, and that half-breed abomination would never have been born. "If this is all, I am afraid I have to take my leave here, as I still have some matters to attend to. If you do not mind?"
"Of course not! Do have a nice day. Minerva, the deputy headmistress, that is, will send you the schedule for the lessons within this week."
"I will take note, thank you." Another half-smile that disappeared as quickly as it came. Sesshoumaru got up, finishing the previously untouched cup of tea in the process. "Good day."
"Same to you too!" Dumbledore's echoed in the spiral staircase long after Sesshoumaru shut the wooden door behind him.
To be continued...
A/N: I hate formatting, I really do. As usual, all crits and comments welcome.
Next Chapter: Dumbledore and Minerva discuss Sesshoumaru, Harry and Ron de-gnomes, OWLs arrive, and Severus and Jaken finally make an appearance.