Prologue; also Tom's Curse
Author: Lutris Argutiae
Harry glared at the prefect boy in front of him, dressed in Slytherin robes and looking entirely too smug for his own good. The young memory of Tom Riddle smirked a knowing smirk at him, and continued to fiddle with Harry's wand, which he had taken from him a few minutes prior.
He stopped twirling the wand between his fingers, and held it in both of his hands like a mantis would grasp its prey. He paused, as if to think of what to say next, and opened his mouth to speak.
"You and I are more similar than you'd care to believe, Harry. Both of us were hated and scorned as we grew up- I had the orphanage, and you your… precious muggle relatives. Both of us speak the great language of Salazar Slytherin, the snake language- we even look alike!" The boy exclaimed loudly, as if speaking to a whole audience full of people.
Harry continued to glare at him with a burning anger etched into his eyes, but the older boy ignored him to continue.
"Both of us have great power; yes, why else would my future self go after you, and be defeated? Because you were a threat, Harry. You, a mere baby with no apparent unique powers, posed some kind of threat to the greatest sorcerer of all time! But there must have been some kind of power that you had- I'm sure of it. Lord Voldemort does not attack needlessly and recklessly as a filthy Gryffindor would!"
Silence followed for a few seconds.
"You're not, you know." Harry abruptly retorted, "You're not the greatest sorcerer of all time. You're not nearly the greatest sorcerer at all.'
A look of fury settled on Tom's face, and a soft, pinkish flush came across his pale cheeks. He quivered madly, and gritted his teeth.
"Oh? And exactly who is that greatest magician then? Dumbledore?" He spat dangerously, "Don't make me laugh, you filthy, insignificant little mudblood! Where is he now? He's fled from the mere memory of me at Hogwarts! He's turned craven, and fled! Where's your greatest sorcerer now, Harry!"
"Dumbledore's not the greatest wizard of all time… but he IS the greatest wizard of the age! He's not a coward either!" Harry remembered Dumbledore's words earlier in the year, in Hagrid's hut, and continued, "He'll never truly be gone until there's no one loyal to him left in the school, and you know what? He's not gone at all. Not while I'm still here."
There was a frigid silence, and then Tom hissed as a cornered serpent would; and with a snarl, contemptuously threw Harry's wand at the Gryffindor boy. Harry saw as it came flying towards him, and quickly snatched it out of the air, not one to lose such a chance. He pushed his glasses up the bridge of his nose, and he raised his wand and pointed it towards Riddle.
Tom blinked, and then growled, "So be it then, Potter. Let's match the power of Lord Voldemort, Heir to Salazar Slytherin, against Harry Potter, the Boy-Who-Lived! Speak to me, Salazar Slytherin, greatest of the Hogwarts Four!" Tom practically screamed-- the last words in parseltongue.
The statue of Salazar Slytherin's mouth dilated, the stone blocks rippling and contorting until his jaw touched the ground. There was a dry, slithering sound, and Harry heard a voice calling in parseltongue: Where issss the prey, young massster? I ssssmell it, I sssmell the blood in the man-flesssh. Where isssss it?
"Kill the boy! And make certain he does not escape! Go!" Tom, Voldemort, ordered the basilisk.
Harry blindly shot several spells at the serpent without aiming properly; to look in the gaze of a basilisk was to invite death into your body. He heard his explosion hex impact the basilisk's hide with a clang, but after a quick glance, saw the spell shoot back towards him, ricocheting off of the snake's skin.
Panicking, he rolled out of the way of the spell's trajectory, and narrowly avoided having his legs blown to smithereens by his own spell.
All right, he thought, spells are a no-no. What the hell am I supposed to do against that thing?
The basilisk shot forward towards him, and Harry ran without looking back; he ran like his life depended on it, for once again, it did. The snake was several dozen times larger than him though, and was, therefore, also much, much faster. The king of serpents was soon right behind him, and Harry could even smell the faint scent of decay and poison that wafted off from the basilisk.
Harry slipped on the wet stone floor, and tripped on his own feet, sending him crashing down to the ground. He feared for the worst, as he couldn't hear the snake move behind him anymore; he fearfully glanced backwards from under his arm, taking care not to meet the basilisk in its gaze. Sure enough, the basilisk was not ten feet behind him, reared up like a cobra waiting to strike its prey.
Suddenly, the snake lunged towards Harry, with its jaws wide open and slavering, striking swiftly and with mechanical precision. Harry really thought that he was dead when he felt something softly shove him to the left.
Blinking, Harry realized that the basilisk had missed him by a few feet to the right, and then he noticed that he seemed to have rolled out of harm's way. Then he realized that he wasn't on the ground anymore.
It was Fawkes, Professor Dumbledore's phoenix.
The sword in his hand sang with a deadly beauty as Harry swung it in the air towards the basilisk; Fawkes had pecked out its fatal eyes a few minutes prior, soon after the phoenix's arrival. The blade made contact with the underbelly of the snake, and a ragged, thick line of red split itself open along the yellowish-green skin.
The basilisk screeched and lunged blindly towards Harry once again.
Harry deftly jumped to the side to avoid being mashed into a pancake à la Harry, and brought the sword up to slice at the basilisk a second time, only to be caught in the back by the massive snake's equally large tail.
Harry was powerfully thrown several meters forward; he felt as if a bulldozer had run over him several times, and then had a stampede of large bovines charge over his ribs. The air was completely knocked out of his lungs, and there was a distinct and harsh pain in his ribs; the bones were probably broken. If Madame Pomfrey were here, then it would be fixed in a few moments, but alas, he mused absently, she wasn't.
I'm going have to get up there to get it fixed then, Harry thought, after I'm bloody through with this slimy monstrosity.
The basilisk whirled around on its tail end, and didn't seem to notice that it was trailing a substantial amount of blood from its many sword-inflicted wounds; the pools of water formed in the eroded stone blocks were turning a deep crimson. Disgruntled and exhausted, Harry thought that, considering the size of the thing, even the blood loss that that the basilisk was experiencing wouldn't do much to hinder its movements.
As if to prove Harry's point, the ground suddenly shook, and the basilisk lunged once more, intent on finally slaying its quarry. As it rapidly approached, Harry hardened his resolve, yelled with all his might, and rearing his arm back for a powerful sword strike.
For a moment that lasted too long for his comfort, Harry briefly pondered the long-in-use cliche involving time getting slower in the most inopportune moments. He then found that that moment was quickly finished, and time had not, contrary to popular opinion, slowed down at all.
The silvery blade sank easily into the flesh inside of the basilisk's mouth, and smoothly breached the bony barrier of the upper jaw. If the snake still had its huge yellow eyes, and it was just a little bit more congenial, Harry was sure it would blink a few times in absolute shock- but before he could form another coherent thought, excruciating pain erupted from the elbow of his sword arm. Shocked, he looked upon it for an instant, and saw a fang sticking out of his arm, and a copious amount of blood soaking through the material of his Hogwarts uniform.
The basilisk whined a horrible, pained whine before thunderously collapsing to the ground. The impact sent a huge tremor through the stone, and the basilisk took Harry down painfully with it, yanking him off of the ground by the fang that was stuck in his arm.
Harry found himself flying into the air, and in a moment that seemed to last for a very long time, he realized that time may indeed have the ability to slow down at the most inopportune moments. Before he thought anything else, however, with a huge impact, he crashed into the ground.
A loud snap issued upon his contact with the stone floor, and Harry knew that something else had broken again. He couldn't care less at the moment- he was in considerable pain from his other wounds, and, well, he knew he was going to die from the fang stuck in his arm. It was poisonous, very much so, and so Harry jammed his teeth shut, and feeling a scorching white pain, wrenched the fang out.
Of course, that didn't change anything, he knew that; Hermione had left another note on the back of her scrap of paper, adding that the venom of the basilisk could-
"…kill a man in less than a minute. Yes, Harry. I must admit; I'd never expected to have you kill my pet so… easily, but then again, you are the ever so-great Harry Potter- the Boy-Who-Lived!" Tom drawled contemptuously.
Harry gaped at the teen memory of Voldemort in front of him. How had he…
"…read your mind? It's not that hard, you know. What with your pitiful mental state, even if you had the best shields in the world I could get through without much hassle." Tom scoffed. He stopped speaking for a moment, then blinked; apparently, he noticed something.
He walked closer to Harry, and crouched down by him, reaching into Harry's trouser pocket. His hand closed around Harry's holly wand, and Tom quickly yanked it out, brushing his hands off on his own Hogwarts uniform, saying, "Thank you Harry, for the wand; with the same wand core as my original wand, I expect that it shall work fabulously for myself as well. Well, aside from it being contaminated by your filthy mudlood hands!"
Tom laughed harshly for a few seconds; then the laughter evolved into full-blown hysterics as he clutched his stomach in joyous pain.
"Soon, Harry. Soon. Soon, little Ginny Weasley is going to die, you know that? She's going to die a sweet, painless death, you see? Siphoning her life into mine, all year long, the foolish little girl. Now, my rejuvenation is nearly complete, and Lord Voldemort will return; VERY MUCH ALIVE!" Tom cackled madly, falling into hysterical laughter once again.
I'm going to die, Harry once again thought with remorse in the midst of Tom's madness. I'm going to die, and I'm going to let that… that thing do what he wants? He paused. No way in hell! No! I'm going to stop him! How… wait, he said that he was in the diary… and since he's coming out of it, if I can destroy the diary, then he's going to die too!
"Of course, Harry." Tom said as if lecturing to a small child, "If you can get to the diary, which is over there," he then pointed with the wand to a few meters away, by Ginny's deathly still body. "And if you destroy it, then you might be quick enough that you could kill me before I drain all of Ginny's life force into me. Of course, you're going to die from the basilisk's venom in about all of twenty seconds, so you might as well give up, you know." He continued.
Harry gritted his teeth.
"Oh…" Tom said, as if noticing for the first time. "You're a bit too late now, Harry. Ginny Weasley… has ceased to exist… and from her ashes stand- once more powerful, the Dark Lord Voldemort. Tough luck, Harry." Tom smiled.
Damn it! Damn it all!
A fiery red, swan-sized bird sat perched upon the top rim of the stone face of Salazar Slytherin. He chirped worriedly, and hopped from one leg to another, as if in anxiety. In the direction of his gaze, was a smallish boy no older than twelve years old, with shaggy black hair sticking up in all directions and determined emerald green eyes.
The shaggy-boy fought bravely and valiantly against his grossly over-matched opponent, crossing left and right across the floor of the Chamber of Secrets, slashing here and then slashing there all over the massive basilisk.
Fawkes himself had aided the shaggy-boy by poking out the snake's eyes- if he hadn't, then the boy wouldn't have had as much chance of winning against the snake as a gnat had of escaping a hungry phoenix on a hunting spree.
So, naturally, once he had tracked the shaggy-boy down through the loyalty bond between himself and his Albus, he quickly deposited Godric's hat to the ragamuffin, and proceeded to peck the monstrosity's eyes out.
Thank Magic that he did; he wouldn't have been able to stand the stench of the beast otherwise.
But as the boy finally vanquished the evil serpent, he saw that the snake had bitten him- meaning certain death for any human, no matter how powerful.
Unless he intervened.
He saw the memory-boy point the shaggy-boy's stick to the black book (Albus sure had a lot of them anyhow) then gesture at the shaggy-boy once more. The memory-boy then spoke- and Fawkes heard the words 'venom', 'die' and 'less than twenty seconds', and knew that he had to act.
The tears of a phoenix were a very powerful healing agent indeed.
Harry's vision was growing foggier- blurrier and more faded by the second. He had less than ten seconds to live, and he was lying on a cold and wet stone floor. Uncomfortable, it was. Well, the numbness in his legs was a slight bit comforting, actually. The broken bone not hurting anymore; must have had something to do with that.
Suddenly, a scarlet blur flew over him, and landed by his side, and Harry felt a few drops of a warm, soothing liquid dripping onto his arm.
"You're dead, Harry. You're dead, and even Dumbledore's bloody songbird knows it. Look! He's even crying; how sweet!" Tom giggled maliciously.
But Harry didn't feel like he was dying; quite the contrary. He was feeling livelier, and the blurriness was clearing up. In short, he felt better than he had, well, ever. Aside from the broken bones, everything was fine.
Tom blanched horribly, as if just realizing his mistake. "Get away, you filthy bird! Get away I said! Get away from him!" He screamed at Fawkes.
Tom pointed Harry's wand at the phoenix, and shot a curse that Harry had never even seen before- but somehow, it was strangely familiar. Too familiar.
"Avada Kedavra!" Tom yelled vehemently.
An angry, emerald green spell shot out of the wooden shaft, and the bird reacted quickly, fluttering away from it. Tom growled like a tiger that had been denied its prey, but then clenched his mouth shut.
"No matter." Tom said, as if misfiring the spell had not mattered to him at all. "I much prefer it this way. The healing powers of that phoenix may have cured you of your infliction- but I am still the better. I prefer it this way much, much more. The Dark Lord and the Boy-Who-Lived, locked in a final battle! An eternally remembered battle; remembered as the defeat of the last obstacle between the Dark Lord Voldemort and his Reign of Darkness!"
Harry seethed. Riddle was talking to him as if in third person- showing how little significance he thought in him.
Suddenly, he felt himself being blown backwards by a considerable force; even more powerful than the strongest of the basilisk's strikes.
Tom laughed. "Now that, Harry, is a real blasting curse. Do you want to see some more? No? Well, I guess that I had better end this little mock of a battle."
Tom shot another spell, and another; each met its mark. A crimson curse here, a purple, buzzing hex there. With a sudden realization, Harry understood.
He's toying with me. I'm nothing but a toy to be played with, and then discarded when he gets bored! How am I to even think of matching him?
"You can't, Harry. You can't match me! I am Lord Voldemort, Heir of Salazar Slytherin! No one can match me in a battle of strength and prowess! Not even Dumbledore, and his little pet songbird!" Tom laughed evilly.
Harry made a split second decision, and clambered towards the sword, which he had left in the roof of the basilisk's mouth. Tom watched amusedly as he saw Harry struggling to reach the blade, and he smirked when the younger boy reached for the hilt of the sword.
"A sword against a wand, Harry. You've no hope at all of matching me in power." Tom drawled.
"It doesn't matter! I'm going to end this, once and for all!" Harry yelled at the now living Slytherin.
"So be it," spat Tom. "I'll kill you if only to silence you forever! AVADA KEDAVRA!"
Harry watched as the spell rocketed towards him at breakneck speed. He felt the world become slower around him, and, as the emerald green came closer, readied his sword. The Killing Curse was a few meters from him now, and he stuck his left hand out as if on instinct, and brought his right arm over his shoulder, along with the blade.
The green light impacted into his palm (Tom's grin now closely resembled a particularly vicious gargoyle's on the Astronomy Tower), and he felt the sick, deadly magic worm its way through him, crawling up his arm like a grotesque snake. He clenched his teeth, and then yelled with as much strength as he could muster. The green magic glowed from his body, and then traveled smoothly along his shoulders, and into his other arm. The Avada Kedavra then reached the blade- and traveled up the length of the sword.
Tom's jaw might as well dropped to the ground; he was apparently in deep shock. "IMPOSSIBLE!" He yelled, "No one survives the Killing Curse- not once, not TWICE! No one can! NO! This is IMPOSSIBLE!"
Harry felt all of the green death magic worm its way into the sword, then swung it down as hard as he could at the older boy, and watched as a huge blast of deep green energy shot towards him.
Tom tried to dodge the huge mass of energy, but was too slow, and the spell was too fast. His left arm was caught in the blast, and Harry saw it being incinerated instantly as Tom screamed in pain.
Harry panted hard, and grinned. Tom lay on the ground, out of energy and breathing in short, ragged breaths. "This isn't over, Potter." He seethed. "Not over by a long shot. I'll come and get you someday, rest assured! And my older self as well! Not even you will be able to bear the combined strengths of two Lord Voldemorts! But sadly, you won't remember to warn your precious Headmaster, whelp! OBLIVIATE!"
Harry remembered what the spell was from Lockhart's mishap earlier in the Chamber- but he couldn't find the energy in himself to dodge. With increasing dread, he saw the slow moving spell approach him, and then he saw white.
As he was drifting into the pearly, cloudy white of the Obliviation spell, he heard Riddle saying, "Until we meet again, mudblood! But next time, you won't be so lucky!"
It is a widely unknown fact that the Obliviation spell utilized by the Ministry of Magic's Obliviation Squad is in reality a derivative of the Imperius Curse. It subjects the victim's will to the caster's, forcing them to forget or be inclined to forget select things specified by the caster.
Since the Imperius Curse can be resisted through a strong enough will, it stands to reason that the Obliviation spell also can be avoided through the possession and use of considerable amounts of will power.
Harry Potter possessed an inordinately strong will. So did Tom Riddle. In fact, one could even venture the proposition that they were in fact, equals in will power and strength. But sadly, Tom Riddle was around a great deal longer than Harry Potter, and also had the desperation succeed in his Memory Charm.
But Harry was not one to be subjected to defeat by a mere Memory Charm. Although forgetting many points of his conflict with Tom Riddle, he was able to remember one train of thought: Tom Riddle is an enemy. Tom Riddle is stronger than you. Get stronger. Get stronger than Tom Riddle.
"First of all, Harry, I want to thank you," said Dumbledore, eyes twinkling again. "You must have shown me real loyalty down in the Chamber. Nothing but that could have called Fawkes to you."
He stroked the phoenix, which had fluttered down onto his knee. Harry grinned awkwardly as Dumbledore watched him.
"And so you met Tom Riddle," said Dumbledore thoughtfully. "I imagine he was most interested in you…"
Suddenly, something that was nagging at Harry came tumbling out of his mouth.
"Professor Dumbledore… Riddle said I'm like him. Strange likenesses, he said…."
"Did he now?" said Dumbledore, looking thoughtfully at Harry from under his thick silver eyebrows. "And what do you think, Harry?"
-Page 332, Harry Potter and the Chamber of Secrets, American Edition
"I'm not sure," Harry replied uncertainly. "I feel as if I… Professor, I'm a Parseltongue… and the Sorting Hat told me I'd have done good in Slytherin. Then there was just that whole period earlier in the year when everyone thought I was the Heir of Slytherin. Riddle said I was almost exactly like him. He…he said that he was orphaned too, and well, he didn't have the best childhood either. I guess I might be more like him than I would like… I couldn't even save Ginny! What would Mrs. Weasley say? I'm just like him; I brought death into their home! But then, what separates me from him? What if I turn out like, like he did? Like Voldemort?" Towards the end, Harry's tone started to convey more and more anxiety.
Sensing his discomfort, Dumbledore heaved a great sigh, and pushed the frame of his glasses up his crooked nose. "It is the choices that we make that make us who we are, Harry. You chose to be in Gryffindor, did you not? You chose to aid Ginny Weasley, instead of standing by, did you not? You chose to fight against Quirinus Quirrel to protect the Philosopher's Stone, did you not?"
Harry scrunched his face, and frantically replied, "But… anyone would have done the same, if they were in my position! I mean, and the Stone! Ron came too! And so did Hermione! Anyone would have!"
"Not Voldemort." Dumbledore tiredly, but pointedly said. "Harry, you might have been like Tom- indeed, I believe that he is the cause of your Parseltongue powers, but it is because you chose to exercise your strengths in the name of good that you have set your self apart from him. You may yet turn Dark in the far future," Harry gaped at the old man, but Dumbledore continued, "…but that is your choice, and your choice alone. You are special, Harry. You have more power than you know- and should you choose to use those powers for good, then your heart will always stay pure- not like Riddle's."
Dumbledore then reached for the sword, still covered in the basilisk's blood, and with a wave of his hand, floated it over to Harry. "If you still have doubts, Harry, then I suggest you look at the name engraved on this blade of yours."
The Gryffindor youth grasped the handle of the sword out of the air, and turned it over. On the blade were inscribed the words: Godric Gryffindor.
"Only a true Gryffindor could have pulled that out of the Hat, Harry," Dumbledore chuckled.
Harry stood still for a moment, staring at the sword in the palm of his hand. After a while, his eyes widened, as if realizing something, and he slowly looked up, and faced Dumbledore- and looked him in the eye. "Is that why Voldemort attacked me all those years ago, sir? Because I'm what you call a true Gryffindor, and he's the Heir of Slytherin? Why did he choose to attack me? Why not someone else? Please, Professor. Tell me. Why did he kill my parents? Why did he try to kill me?"
For a while, neither of them spoke. Then Dumbledore sighed a tired sort of sigh, and quietly gestured towards one of the seats in his office, and summoned it in front of his desk. He pointed his hand towards the chair, and in a resigned manner, said, "Sit down, Harry. It seems that it is time we talked of this matter."
Harry stepped towards the chair, and slowly sat down on the red velvet seat, and with a clatter, gingerly placed Gryffindor's sword on a cleared space on the desk in front of him.
"I had hoped not to reveal this secret to you until later- much later. It is the reason for your parents' deaths, and it is also the reason for Voldemort's fall eleven years ago. Last year, when you asked me why Voldemort wanted to kill you, I neglected to tell you. I felt that…no, believed that you still had to enjoy your childhood innocence while you could- but here, a year later, you ask me the same thing after facing a much more difficult challenge. No child is completely innocent after having to kill to save a friend in need; I see that while you still have your childhood, you are mature enough, and have faced far more than enough to bear the consequences of this information. Do you still wish to know, Harry?"
Harry stayed silent for a moment, then with a determined expression said, "I do, sir."
"Very well then." Dumbledore stood up, and walked over to a cabinet behind his desk. After taking his wand out from a pocket in his burgundy robes, mumbled a long-winded incantation. With a click, the wooden doors opened, and the headmaster reached in and retrieved a stone basin, with a rim covered in etched runes.
Dumbledore, with the stone bowl clutched in both hands, came back to the table, and set it down on the hard wood with a clunking sort of sound.
"Sometimes, one finds that there is entirely too much on their mind. Thus, people such as I use this item. This, Harry, is a Pensieve. It allows me to deposit my memories, and to peruse them at will; what I am going to show you is not to leave this room, for it ties in directly with you and Voldemort- and both of your fates." With that, Dumbledore touched his wand to his temple, and furrowed his brows. After a few moments, it appeared that he found something, and pulled. A long and silvery strand of something was attached to the end of the wand, and he plucked it out of his head, as one would a hair. He placed it in the stone basin- the Pensieve, and swirled it around with the tip of his wand.
He beckoned over to Harry, and the boy walked over to the other side of the desk and peered into the Pensieve, across the bowl to Dumbledore.
"Hold on to my shoulder Harry, for we are now entering the Pensieve, and into the misty back streets of memory." Said Dumbledore, and before Harry could register the meaning of 'entering the Pensieve', he could feel himself being sucked in towards the stone bowl, like the feeling of being squeezed into a bottle.
There was a rushing sound, and Harry felt rather than saw the furnishings of Dumbledore's office melting away and swirling into a myriad of colors. Looking up, he saw both himself and Dumbledore peering into the basin, as if he were looking up at his body from under a microscope.
With a sudden sense of vertigo and panic, Harry realized that he was falling, and the ceiling of Dumbledore's office seemed to fly further and further away from him, when quite suddenly, his feet touched the ground.
He was in a shabby looking room, with aging and cracked wooden walls around him. The wind howled outside making the building creak on its foundations, and hard rain splattered harshly against the windows and the walls of the building. The faint smell of alcohol wafted about in the air, and Harry thought he saw a rat scuttling about in a fist-sized hole in the wall by the door.
He turned, and strangely enough, the floor didn't creak at all from his step; and then Harry noticed that Dumbledore was still standing next to him. He turned to face Harry and said, "We are in the Hog's Head Pub, in Hogsmeade. If you did not know, third years and above are permitted to visit the town, though I'm sure you've noticed that some of your older friends have been missing on some days throughout the year. Now, follow me, Harry."
The headmaster motioned for Harry to follow him into the next room, and walked out into the hallway. Harry quickly followed him.
Dumbledore walked down the hallway a little ways more, and stopped in front of another door, this time half open. As Harry caught up, the old man turned towards him, and solemnly said, "This is your last chance to turn back, Harry. Are you still sure you want to know?"
Harry gave him a glare that said everything.
"Very well then." Said Dumbledore, and he opened the door completely, and entered the room. Harry quickly entered as well.
Inside, Harry's eyes were greeted with a surprise; a younger Dumbledore dressed in lavender robes covered with silver stars sat in a wooden chair in front of a table, unconsciously tapping the table with his fingers. Harry looked at the older Dumbledore, and was told, "Yes, that is indeed a younger version of myself. This night was the 29th of June, 1980; a month before you were born."
Dumbledore continued, " My previous Divination professor had just retired, and I was hiring for a new one to replace the old Professor Berman. This was the only applicant to the job, and despite having no previous accurate predictions, she was a direct descendent of Cassandra Trelawney, who as I'm sure you know of from your History of Magic class, was one of the most successful and celebrated seers of all time."
Here, the door slammed open again, and a frail looking witch with extremely large, round glasses and frazzled hair as though shocked by lightning came tumbling into the room. "I'm dreadfully sorry, dear Professor Dumbledore, but I had a feeling I would be late. My Inner Eye had ordained it so."
For the next few minutes, she babbled on about her heritage and abilities, while apparently not convincing the younger Dumbledore at all on the positive merits of her employment. In fact, it looked as though he were contemplating canceling the class of Divination all together, from what his furrowed expression was like.
"I immediately saw that she was a joke in her predictions- a two-bit actor." Said the older Dumbledore. "I was about to send her back when she fell into a deep trance, and recited to me a true prophecy."
Harry gulped in anticipation. This was the reason he had been orphaned; why he had been called the Boy-Who-Lived.
Trelawney suddenly seized up (unknowingly interrupting her own chatter about her divining techniques using tea leaves), and her eyes bugged out of their sockets; she froze, and in a voice not of this world, she suddenly recited: "The one with the power to vanquish the Dark Lord approaches... Born to those who have thrice defied him, born as the seventh month dies... and the Dark Lord will mark him as his equal, but he will have power the Dark Lord knows not... and either must die at the hand of the other for neither can live while the other survives".
And suddenly, for poor twelve-year old Harry James Potter, the Boy-Who-Lived, it all made awful sense.
"Now, are you satisfied, Harry?"
Harry could only nod dumbly as the two of them (he and Professor Dumbledore) took their seats once more in the Headmaster's Office.
"So that's it? That's why Voldemort attacked me? Because of this… this prophecy?" Harry exclaimed after regaining his wits.
"I'm deeply sorry, my boy- you are indeed, the One in the Prophecy, and for that reason, and that reason alone, were you attacked on Halloween eleven years ago. So yes, it is." Dumbledore said.
Dumbledore nodded, and grasped a handle on his desk to pull out a drawer, and extracted a small wooden box, before gently setting it on the table.
"There is another thing I've been hiding from you as well, Harry. In this box, are contained the deeds to your old home in Godric's Hollow. I believe that you may want to see it; I had planned on showing it to you on your 17th birthday, as that is the day of your majority. But, I think that you are prepared enough to visit the house, knowing the prophecy." Dumbledore continued with a nostalgic smile.
Harry nodded dumbly as Dumbledore handed the well polished wood to him across the desk.
"I've restored the residence as best I could, Harry. It was completely destroyed in the attack eleven years ago, but I find that I have a very good memory." The professor smiled with a twinkle in his eye, and gestured towards the Pensieve.
"There was a letter for you from your parents, in the event that they died and you survived; though it was thought unlikely that that turn of events would occur, your parents were nothing if not well organized people. I found it amidst the rubble of the home, and found that I hadn't had the heart to bring it here with me- I have left it in the house, in a safe place." Dumbledore said quietly.
"Now, off you go. Have a rest; you've earned it."
The days flew by, and soon, Harry found that it was time to board the train 'home' to Privet Drive.
But he felt so different from last year; of course, he dreaded the return to his awful relatives, but this year, the weight of the prophecy hung down on his head- and whenever he thought of it, all he could think of was a voice in his mind chanting: get stronger, get stronger.
Harry sighed in a depressed manner, and dragged his trunk down the cobblestone pathway that lead to the courtyard of the school. The trunk rattled horribly against the bumpy stones that paved the path, and Harry winced at each clash, his ears reacting to the slightest noise.
He had come down before Hermione had; Ron wasn't speaking to him ever since the Chamber- since Ginny died. Seeing his first ever friend desert him had hurt him deeply, although the hate was probably well placed. .
And the voice in his head -the one that told him to get stronger- its presence was only getting larger and more powerful in his own head each time it came, which was every time he thought about Tom or the Prophecy… and so it came again.
The voice started to chant loudly in his head, ringing harshly in his ears.
Get stronger than Tom Riddle. Get stronger than Tom Riddle. Get stronger than Tom Riddle. Get stronger than Tom Riddle. Get stron…
"WILL YOU SHUT THE BLOODY HELL UP! I WILL GET STRONGER! SHUT UP!" Harry exploded ferociously. A pair of first years standing by the carriages were startled by his voice, and yelped loudly, jumping into their carriage in fright.
Harry snorted harshly, dragged his trunk a few feet of ear-rattling clangor further. He paused, and in irritation, pulled his wand viciously out of his jeans pocket to banish the thrice-damned trunk towards the rather large pile of its brethren in the center of the courtyard, before realizing that Riddle still had his wand. The wooden case chose to explode in a spectacular shower of splinters and scraps of cloth and paper anyway instead.
Harry screamed into the cloudy sky, quite resembling Tom Riddle in his fits of madness.
Stupid, idiotic, slimy Tom Riddle. The Heir of Slytherin, the Bastard-Who-Killed-My-Parents.
Wait. Oh not again…
Get stronger…get stronger… get stronger…
All right. Scream if you want. It'll make you feel better. Trust me. I tend to do it a lot these days.
Anyway, about Crouching Lion. I'm working on it. Really. School work is getting itself into high gear, and I don't have the time. Don't blame me, blame the Architecture teacher. Even if I did have the time, the fudge packing muse is off pushing for daisies on the moon at the moment. In other words, the frickin' thing won't hit when I need it. I can't get past the 2000 word mark.
So, I pulled together this bunch of muck using the time I did have. Yeah. Go Muse Ver. 2.0!
And if you can spare the time, please send a bunch of flowers or a big round of applause to myharlequinromance598 for a wonderful job at betaing. Thanks again. Oh, and give her reviews. She might like that.
This story is completely original for me; CL,HS started out as a discussion on DLP last year. Expect an update of approximately 5000+ words every week and a half to two weeks; the load of homework is lessening much.
Darkish!Harry seems to be a favorite of mine; also expect a not-so-human!Harry. Not a magical creature or a vampire, to be sure though, if the title threw you off.
Next chapter: Platform Nine and Three Quarters and the Weasleys; Dursley trouble and Godric's Hollow, and a surprising revelation.
Oh, and I'm fifteen now. Yay for me. And I'll cut back on the Author's Notes next time. Please excuse the length.