Rating/warnings: M for child abuse
Canon: AU. Begins post-OotP, ignoring future canon. The HBP/DH stories and backstories are all discounted. Aberforth is not as he is in canon.
Ships: No outward ships, but undertones of Albus/Minerva, Harry/Poppy, Harry/Luna
Making a Mentor
Prologue: A Storm in Time
When Harry was a child, he had always been terrified of storms. He couldn't help it. The slightest bit of thunder sent him scurrying into his cupboard, where it was at least dry. As he grew older, he had lost the fear and even, to a point, liked storms—he couldn't help but be awed by nature's power.
The one currently shaking the Burrow to bits was the most powerful he had ever seen.
It was almost impossible to hear each other. The rain was pelting down so hard Harry swore he could hear the roof creaking under the pressure. Thunder was cracking the purple-grey sky open every few seconds. The wind was shaking the house, tiles being whipped off the roof and scattered. Harry sat at the window, looking out in apprehensive awe, until—
He jerked around in time to see Mrs Weasley grab him by the scruff of his neck and drag him into the centre of the room, jerking the curtains shut behind him, as a huge clap of thunder sounded and the room was lit up with lightning.
"Hasn't anyone ever told you to never look at lightning?" she fumed. "Idiot, Harry, you could have been blinded!"
"Sorry," Harry muttered, "I didn't know." Which was true—the Dursleys wouldn't have cared to warn him. He sighed and turned his back on the window, instead looking down at his Potions essay.
"This is useless," he muttered, scratching a line through the last few words. "I'll never make it into Potions NEWT."
"Give it here," Hermione sighed, "I'll see where you've gone wrong."
"Hermione, he really should be doing his own essay …"
"I know, I'm not doing it for him Mrs Weasley, just giving pointers." Hermione skimmed through the introductory paragraph. "That's not too bad, but you need to write more on the aconite …"
The storm outside raged on. Mrs Weasley glanced anxiously upwards as the wind rattled the roof. Ron and Ginny huddled by the fire, Crookshanks squashed between them and a bag of Chocolate Frogs. The rustling was driving Harry mad.
Mr Weasley was at the Ministry and Fred and George on an Order mission. Bill was at Headquarters and Charlie back in Romania. Mrs Weasley was sorting through old photograph albums she'd rescued from the attic after the roof began to leak.
"Oh look," she exclaimed, "my Hogwarts album! I forgot I had this. I wanted to be a photographer in my third year," she explained to Harry, brushing the dust off the cover. "I went everywhere with a camera and drove my teachers up the wall. Except my Potions Master, he encouraged me for all he was worth."
Harry smiled politely and looked back at his OWL results. He'd passed them all, save for History and Divination, which he didn't care about—the only thing he was disappointed by was the E for Potions. But, with the results had come a note from Snape, saying that due to "unexpected results" (Harry figured that meant no-one had got an Outstanding) he was setting a summer essay to determine which students were to sit the NEWT. The roll of half-written parchment on the worn kitchen table was Harry's last chance at becoming an Auror.
"There he is!"
Mrs Weasley turned the book round so Harry could see. "My Potions teacher, Professor Evans. And the headmaster as well."
Harry peered at the old photo. A younger, not-completely-silver-haired Dumbledore was standing with an arm round the shoulder of a shorter man with grey hair and glasses. Both were grinning widely at the camera, and by the look of things were standing by the lake.
"Lovely man," Mrs Weasley said with a sniff. "Arthur and I were his favourites, he was ever so nice – a little eccentric at times, and a bit accident-prone, but a wonderfully kind person. He died in my fourth year, everyone missed him. And poor Albus was distraught – they were brothers, you know."
"Really?" Harry couldn't see any resemblance between the two of them at all. "That's Dumbledore's brother? What was his name again?"
"Aberforth Evans-Dumbledore. I never did work out why he had a different surname. Maybe I should ask Albus next Order meeting. Anyway, they were very close, and Aberforth was such a good teacher. In fact, more Potions students got Outstanding in the first decade he taught the subject than in the century leading up to it."
"Perhaps he could have helped me with this essay," Harry muttered. "Sorry, Mrs Weasley, this is really interesting but I've got to finish this."
"Oh, I'm sorry dear. I'll take these elsewhere. Perhaps Ron would like to see them. Ron? … What are you two laughing at?"
Harry looked up in time to have a Chocolate Frog card thrust under his nose. "You might want to see that, Harry."
The words Harry Potter and his date of birth were written above a grinning photograph of himself. Flipping it over, Harry read:
Son of James Potter and his Muggleborn wife Lily Evans. Also known as the Boy-Who-Lived, and more recently the Chosen One, Potter was only a year old when the Killing Curse You-Know-Who tried to use on him backfired, leaving the baby with only a scar. Now in his Hogwarts years, Harry is described as being a wonderfully kind person, if occasionally reckless. He was the youngest Seeker in a century to be picked for a House team and is also very good at Defence Against the Dark Arts. Recent rumours following You-Know-Who's return describe him as being the wizarding world's only hope of salvation from the Dark Lord, but these have been neither confirmed nor denied.
"What?" Harry exclaimed. "I didn't give anyone permission to make a Frog card of me!"
"That would be something historical to show your grandchildren," Ron chuckled. "I'd keep it if I were you, Harry; you might laugh at it in a few years' time."
Harry doubted it but stuck the card in his pocket anyway.
"Can I see the Dumbledores?" Hermione asked curiously, sitting down next to Mrs Weasley. "Is that them?"
Harry zoned out, concentrating on his essay. What else could he write about the aconite? Harry gritted his teeth. If Snape had set them all the task of making another potion, he might have been in with a chance; but theory had always been his downfall. He would be lucky to get a P.
"They don't look anything alike," Hermione voiced Harry's opinion. "Maybe they were half-brothers and that's why they had different surnames. Did you never ask?"
"I never thought about asking," Mrs Weasley admitted. "Look, I've got a better photograph here."
"That's a nice one. Oh! What's he doing?"
There was a pause as Mrs Weasley peered closely at the photo, and then laughed. "They've swapped glasses! Oh, the old joker. My poor Professor, he could barely see without them."
Harry glanced quickly at the photo, intrigued. It seemed Albus Dumbledore had stolen his brother's glasses and Aberforth was waving Albus' in the air as he tried to snatch his own back. Harry grinned to himself and turned back to his essay.
"He has nice eyes," Hermione mused. "They look like Harry's." She paused. "Harry, wasn't Evans your mother's name?"
"Isn't that Dumbledore?" Ron interrupted.
Harry, assuming he was looking at the album as well, turned to answer Hermione, but stopped as he saw Ron by the window instead, the curtains pulled back.
"Ron, get away from the window!" Mrs Weasley hurried over. "Goodness, it's Albus! What's he doing?"
"It looks like he's just standing there," Hermione said nervously. Harry left the table and joined them.
About ten feet away from the house stood a still figure in a cloak, silver hair being whipped by the wind. It was a wonder he was still standing. Before Mrs Weasley could stop her, Hermione threw the window open. "PROFESSOR!"
"Hermione, close it!"
"We can't just leave him out there, what if something's wrong?" Harry said, peering out at the figure.
"It's a trap, Harry!" Mrs Weasley said, exasperated. "Look, he's right on the edge of the wards!"
"Isn't he just inside the wards?" Ron corrected.
Harry picked up his cloak.
"Harry Potter, don't you dare—"
"You can't go out there—"
"If it's a trap, then it's obviously for me," Harry spoke over them loudly. "I'm not letting anyone else get hurt in my place." Grabbing his wand firmly, he pulled the door open.
As he stepped outside, his friends screaming at him to get his backside in right now, a bolt of lightning seemed to explode above his head. Before he could do anything, the world went dark and he felt as if he'd been struck by a powerful force …
AN: With regard to lightning and blindness—that was what I was always taught, that if it's close enough the light can damage your retinas. We always closed the curtains during storms. After a reviewer questioned this, I tried to research it, but couldn't find anything conclusive. Whether or not it's factual, Molly believes it just like my mother does, so that's good enough for me to leave it in there.