Goodness! Finally had the time to continue this! Honestly, I've been distracted too much…gah! Anywho, thank you to all that reviewed! I'm glad to hear all of your feedback! It makes me feel all warm and cozy inside…teehee. Review responses are found at the bottom. And expect the next chapter to come sooner than this had! Or someone help me if it doesn't…do review?
Disclaimer: Do I look like a rich person to you? Oh, yes. You can't see me. You don't know me personally. You'll just have to trust my word that I am but a student in the middle class of society. So, there. Do you think I own any of this?
"If all were to discern rightly, then, surely, prejudice would be but a myth."
-Milky (yes, that's me!)
Defying Prejudices: Submerged
By Milky Etoile
Chapter Four: Little Revelations
Harrie's expression was stuck on confusion.
"Sir? Hog-what, sir?" Her eyebrows were knitted together. If it were even possible (Severus shuddered at the thought), the twinkling of Albus' eyes grew.
"Hogwarts, my dear child, School of Witchcraft and Wizardry," he patiently repeated.
"Excuse me, sir?" Harrie looked up at the old man uncertainly. "'Hogwarts'? A school for… witchcraft and wizardry?" Her eyebrows were furrowed in, impossibly, more confusion. "Surely, there is no such thing…Uncle Vernon said magic wasn't real…" She looked down; crossing her arms across her chest and now muttering to herself. "But what of all these things…?" She shook her head furiously, forgetting that she was not alone. "This must be a dream; it's too good not to be. There's no way this can be true…"
At her small tirade, Dumbledore's expression turned into a bit thoughtful one. His blue eyes met the dark orbs of Snape, whose blank look had a hint of curiosity. From what she said, the child had been told the exact opposite of what she was supposed to be told. Surely the Dursleys didn't keep that vital knowledge from her? Was she speaking the truth?
"My dear girl," the Headmaster's gentle voice broke Harrie out of her stupor, "Magic does exist!" At the girl's blinking expression, he smiled at her and took out his wand. With a wave, colorful sparks sprouted out of it, followed by a flock of birds that, in a pop, turned into bubbles. Harrie's green eyes went (possibly) wider than saucers.
"Wicked!" she explained after she recovered in a moment. "So everything I've seen here is magic!" She looked so excited that Dumbledore couldn't help but let out a chuckle.
"Yes, child!" The twinkle in his eyes seemed to increase. "And you are a witch," he added simply, his smile never wavering.
"I am?" The statement made her recall some situations in which things happened without an explanation. Realization dawned upon her, showing even on her features clearly.
But then, a little doubt was still inside her. She looked up at the kind man again and asked in a skeptical yet hopeful tone, "Sir, are you certain about this? I mean, my uncle kept on saying that magic never exists. And his face turns into an awful shade of purple whenever he hears just the word…"
Then, realizing what she just said, she covered her mouth with her hands, eyes widening.
"I'm sorry!" she blurted out. "I'm not supposed to speak ill of my relatives…I'm sorry…" She trailed off, now refusing to look at anything but her worn-out sneakers.
Snape raised an eyebrow from his seat behind the young girl. Her attitude strongly reminded him of a house elf's, minus the physical, self-afflicted punishments. Maybe she was taught great manners?
"It is quite all right, child," Dumbledore chastened. "I assure you though that you are truly a witch, capable of doing magic, just like your parents." Harrie's eyes, once more widened at the mention of his parents.
"M-my parents, sir? They were…they were magic?"
"If you would stop acting like a parrot, Potter," Snape couldn't help blurting out in impatience, "you would realize that it is obvious."
Harrie flinched and looked down in shame. She should have thought of that. But her relatives said they died in a car crash, which would never happen if they were that. Or, at least, she thought it wouldn't.
"Severus," Dumbledore said in a warning tone. The younger man only turned away in response. He was surely not going to apologize.
The Headmaster sighed. It seemed that there was a lot more explaining to do than he expected. And Severus' presence did not even help the situation one bit. Still, he couldn't force the Potions Master to leave for he was the one who brought the girl to Hogwarts. A proper explanation was, at least, owed to him.
"Harriette," a cough echoed from behind the girl, "Your parents, James Potter and Lily Evans were accepted into this school when they became eleven and learned quite a lot from then on." A look of sadness crossed the old man's face. "It is unfortunate that your family had to suffer that way, my dear child."
Harrie wasn't quite sure what to make of that. One part of her suddenly insisted to ask…
"How did…how did they die?" she asked in almost a whisper.
Dumbledore sighed again. It seemed, at the moment, that he looked as old as he really was.
"What were you told that they died of?" he asked in an almost tired-sounding tone. Harrie stared at her hands as if they were the most interesting things in the world.
"Aunt Petunia told me they…they died in a car crash."
An exasperated sigh and a low growl were elicited from that.
"They most certainly did not die in such a pathetic way!" Snape exclaimed in a sharp tone. While he still did not like James Potter, Lily was a completely different story to him. He had no intention of having her name tarnished by saying that she died by a mere muggle cause. And her own child (he still couldn't bring himself to say 'daughter') believed that for all of—for a whole decade, presumably?
Harrie couldn't hold back another flinch at the clipping tone. Dumbledore let out another sigh.
"Severus," he started in an exasperated tone, "please, calm yourself." He sent the Potions Master a look before turning back to the girl. "My dear child, it is time you heard of the truth." This statement made Harrie lean forward in her chair. Dumbledore cleared his throat before he continued.
"Years before you were born, a dark wizard, who called himself Voldemort," he ignored Snape's grimace at this, "wanted to come into power. He would have succeeded fully already—people grew to fear even just mentioning his name, as if it were a Taboo—if something had not happened."
Harrie held here breath unconsciously when the Headmaster paused.
"Almost ten years ago, he set his eyes upon the Potters," the young girl let out a gasp, "who have been forewarned and had gone into hiding with only one person knowing their location. Unfortunately, they were betrayed and were found."
Blue eyes were locked in gaze with green ones.
"Harriette, your parents were killed by Voldemort. They both died noble deaths for they died for your sake—because they loved you."
Harrie felt relief wash over her. So her parents didn't abandon her like the Dursleys often told her; they loved her dearly enough to die for her as well!
"Indeed, your mother's love was so great that it protected you when Voldemort had tried to use the same curse he used on your parents on you. And it even made the curse rebound upon its caster, destroying Voldemort and giving you that lighting bolt shaped scar on your forehead in the process." The twinkle in the Headmaster's eyes had diminished as he told the tale. "You, Harriette Lily Potter, are the first and the only one so far who has directly escaped the Killing Curse and because of this, you're in more than a couple of history books."
The young girl let the words sink in her head…so, she survived a, what? Killing curse? That was nice…so she was famous now…
…wait, she was famous?
"Sir? Does that mean I'm…famous?"
Snape resisted the urge to roll his eyes. Surely, if the girl was to be told, her head would become as swollen as her idiotic father—
—did he just admit that she was a girl by using female pronouns?
"I'm afraid so, child," Dumbledoe answered before the younger man could retort. That didn't stop Snape from coming up with a sarcastic remark in an instant—
—but the said remark died just as fast on his lips at the question.
"Why am I famous for something I did not do?" Harrie continued, "It should be my mother who is famous, not me!" Surely, people had more sense than that!
"That is true," Dumbledore started, leaning back into his chair with another sigh. "But you must understand that those were tough times and that led people to believe things rashly." His expression became thoughtful. "Perhaps people were more at ease with a living savior rather than someone who has gone on." He turned back to the young girl with an apologetic look on his features.
"I cannot give a justification for them, I'm afraid."
Harrie and Dumbledore stared at each other for a moment before the former slowly nodded in understanding. It was not his fault other people were like that, even if he could've had the power to persuade them. It would've been fruitless anyway.
"Headmaster," Snape broke the silence in an impatient tone. "You said you were going to—"
"Yes, Severus," he cut in without even turning towards the Head of Slytherin. He held his gaze with the young Potter. "There is another important matter I must discuss with you." This earned him a curious look and a cautious nod from Harrie. He did not let his gaze falter though.
"Harriette," he started slowly, as if he were still weighing his choice of words. "When your parents had found out that they were going to be sought after by Voldemort, they decided to take measures for their child's, your, further safety." Dumbledore coughed to clear his throat.
"Lily and James decided that they would hid your true identity so that if ever anything were to happen to them, you would be safe from the various dangers that you could face." He, again, stared straight into Harrie's emerald green eyes.
"They made a fake birth certificate with the name of Harry James Potter and submitted that to the Ministry of Magic, the government in the wizarding world, instead of the one that held your true name, Harriette Lily Potter." Again, he donned an apologetic look. "I'm afraid I let the secret be kept until now. Not even your parents' closest friends knew about it."
A whole minute passed without anyone saying anything. Even the portraits that had first pretended to be asleep were now silent with their eyes peeled.
"So…" Harrie finally started, "let me get this straight. My parents died saving me and I'm famous for something my mother did. AND I'm known by everyone as a male." The Headmaster nodded when she looked at him for confirmation and barely concealed a smile of amusement. The girl sighed at that.
"I understand that this is a lot to take," Dumbledore continued as if he didn't even pause, "but I must ask—no— plead to you if you could please keep up the charade for a while longer—"
"What?!" Harrie interrupted sharply, standing up, and was about to continue until the Headmaster put up a hand to stop her protest.
"I must ask you to consider it seriously." He was with a serious look as he stared yet again at her. "The truth, after being kept for so long, will shock the whole wizarding world, and possibly, bring an uproar from the more unpleasant factions in the society." The sad expression came back on his features. "Please consider it, Harriette, as much as I do not have the right to ask this of you."
The young girl imagined it for a moment: male looks, different clothes (or maybe not, seeing as she didn't really have any feminine garments except for her under-ones), different… restrooms?
A look of pure horror crossed Harrie's face before she shook her head furiously, forcing the thought out of her head. Honestly?!
"Headmaster," she started after she managed to get over the idea (though not completely), "is it possible that you can give me some time to think about it? It's all rather surprising and…I'm not sure." She looked down on her lap, hoping she'd be allowed.
Dumbledore smiled faintly. "Of course. I cannot force you to do something so soon. I've already pushed it enough, I daresay." He sighed yet again. Then, after a moment of thought, he was back to smiling with the same annoying twinkle that never ceased to annoy Severus almost to tears.
"Now, there is a matter of your living arrangements." Dumbledore didn't miss the stiffening of Harrie's figure. Neither did the Potions Master. "If you'd wish, you may stay here at Hogwarts for the remainder of the summer; or, at least, until you decide. Of course, I'd understand if you'd want to go back to your—"
Both the Headmaster and the Potions professor were startled by the suddenness and intensity of the young girl's exclamation.
"I mean—no, it's quite all right with me," Harrie quickly amended. She wasn't sure she ever wanted to go back to a place she had been thrown out of, even if it was in the owner's rights to make her leave when he wished her to. More so was she unsure if the Dursleys would ever want her to step even just an inch into their property. "I don't mind if I stay here for that long—as long as you don't mind."
"Well, we must inform your family then. It wouldn't be good for them to worry without cause." Dumbledore reached for some parchment and took a quill from his drawer. He was just about to write when the now-familiar small voice interrupted him.
"Don't, please, sir." Her voice was almost a whisper. She bit her bottom lip and looked down, hoping in her head that what she was about to say would suffice. "I…I ran away from them, sir."
If there was anything either of the adults had expected her to say, what Harrie just uttered was not it.
"Child, why did you do that?" the Headmaster asked in a gentle yet chastising tone after he had put down his quill to stare again at her. "Your family would surely be worried."
Harrie nervously fiddled with the end of her shirt. Would they believe her?
"I was…upset. I got angry because of something and…I just ran away." She didn't look up once. She didn't know how she managed to keep her voice steady enough when she was speaking of the opposite. Why did she feel the need to make her relatives look good to them?
Oh, right. Pity. She could take self-pity but if it were pity from others—it would completely ruin all of her meager confidence.
"I know I shouldn't have done that," Harrie continued, almost mumbling. "It was very rash of me. My aunt and uncle would probably think me an ungrateful brat." There was something bitter in the tone she held for the last two words. It was too close. Too close.
The twinkle in Dumbledore's eyes were almost gone again. He let out a sigh.
"You would do well not to ever do this in the future. But this instance will not stop me from informing them of your whereabouts." The old Headmaster held up a hand at her upcoming protest. "In fact, I think it would be more important to do so if what you had said was the case. They would surely be worrying more than they should."
Harrie felt the urge to retort that her relatives didn't even worry if she was still alive in her cupboard after a couple of days locked in it—oh.
'Wrong chain of thought. Keep away from depressing ideas, Potter! Focus on the fact that you're alive and have something to look forward to now...oh, the old man's saying something again.'
"...assure you that they will not be angry at you, nor will they hurt you in any way as retribution to what you have done."
The young girl wondered if he would truly try to protect her from them. She didn't dare voice out her great doubts.
"Though there might be the small matter of punishment for your actions."
Harrie felt her stomach sinking. Punishment? Not good!
'Maybe he'll take me away from them if I ask nicely?'
"Um, Professor Dumbledore, sir?" she heard herself say in a bit of a squeaky voice.
"Yes, Ms. Potter?"
She pondered over it for a moment before she finally sighed and shook her head. "It's nothing, sir. I was...I was just wondering where I'd be staying for now." Well, it didn't actually matter much to her if she was told to sleep in a cellar, on the floor, or—dare she even think—"even a cupboard. She was used to the different conditions and uneasiness from those situations...
"Ah!" Dumbledore lightened up at that before he turned back again to the Potions Master. "Professor Snape here will accompany you to your temporary quarters." He sent the younger man a look that dared him to argue. Thankfully, he did not. "I do think one of those in the East Wing would prove adequate. I will have a house elf ready the room in a few minutes. Is that fine with you, Ms. Potter?"
Harrie nodded absentmindedly before remembering that he was supposed to give verbal answers. "Yes, sir. Thank you very much for your understanding and hospitality." She stood and gave a bit of a bow. (Severus prevented himself from raising both eyebrows at the appalling behavior—proper females courtsied, not bowed!)
"It is nothing, child. I am merely performing my duties for my students."
Snape almost wanted to ask if he spoke of the truth or only said that to cover up his favoritism...
...bad thought. That will surely not keep him in his teaching position if it were voiced out loud.
So, Severus Snape kept silent and led the girl out of the office, noting to himself that losing his source of income was not even an option...if he even had one.
To be continued...
At least that wasn't a complete cliffie. And that chapter's longer than the previous one! Yay, improvement! Hehe…I hope you'll let me know what you think!
Sugarbob, well, I'd like to think that girls are smarter than boys. Hehe. Sorry, guys out there! Here's a proud female! But, seriously, thanks! I'm glad to know I'm not turning this into a copy of Saphire's story. It's hers and I respect that. As to what Severus was doing in Muggle London, erm, did I say that he was planning to buy some potions ingredients somewhere near the Leaky Cauldron? Oh, yes, I didn't. Sorry.
I am the Bane of my Sword, lol. Thanks for the review.
Phantom of a Rose, I'm happy to receive messages from other writers! Why wouldn't I reply? Hehe…thanks for the reviews! Oh, and I hope this was somewhat satisfactory. I wasn't quite sure about this but this is what came out after a couple of tries. Thanks again! –huggles-
Tsubome, honestly? Chill, imouto. Don't let your troubles get ahead of you!
Fallen Dragonfly, or if i was a ninja, yes, I have! Feel free to give your suggestion, I'll be glad to hear it! I welcome all suggestions! I need help sometimes too! Thank you!
Raven Hufflepuff, really? I'm glad to hear that! Thanks for the review!
Angry Girl, you shall see. I'm still wondering which revelations I might use here. If I do reveal something, I won't even mention that I did, in respect for those who have not yet read DH. You'll have to find them, my dear. Thanks for the review!
And I don't know why I didn't come up with this sooner. It would help me decide better! You see, I'm still having second thoughts as to which House this Harrie would end up in since I have ideas that are applicable to almost all four. So, now, I ask for your opinions.
Which House do you think this Harrie belongs to? Or, at least, which one you want her to be? Your opinions on this matter would be greatly appreciated!
Well, thank you again to all those who read this story, especially those who reviewed and put me on their alerts and favorites! They make me feel wonderful even when I'm not! I'll have Severus hug you all but I have a feeling that not all of you like him as much as we, Snape fans, do.
Either way, take care! I hope you find the time to review and make known to me your opinions, suggestions, questions, and even rants! I'll see you in the next chapter! I'll just have to get that file from the other computer to continue writing my fifth chapter…
This chapter was finished on September 19, 2007 at exactly 5:38 am. Posted on the same day.
Oh, and anyone here interested to beta? As much as I beta read myself, ironically, I can't find time to edit my own work when I can do that to others'. And, besides, I wish to be more focused on writing rather than observing proper sentences at all times. Say it in a review or PM me if you're interested! Unfortunately, I cannot pay you though. Sorry 'bout that.