A/N: Alright ladies and gents, I'm back once again! Due to the lack of any sort of feedback on this story, I'm going to plow right on through with the project. Having lost my beta, I'm going to be a bit slower with updates and all the other good stuff that goes along with tackling this story.
A note on the disclaimers.....this one is going to have to suffice for the beginning and the rest of this story. I, HakushoRurouni, being of sound mind and body, do regretfully admit that Harry Potter and Percy Jackson belong to their respective authors.
Remember feedback is definitely encouraged and greatly appreciated, especially in the form of a critique!
Ch. 4- Denial and Persistence
The trees were green, the sky was blue, the air was fresh and there was not a sign of the Dark Lord's continued existence at all. And he loved it; everything seemed perfect to him and he was sure that everything would remain perfect once he received all the acceptance letters from the new first years.
Yes, Albus Percival Wulfric Brian Dumbledore was indeed a happy man. Being headmaster of the most prestigious wizarding school in the world had its perks, as did being one of the most famous wizards in the world.
Being in the position of power that he was, Dumbledore was able to keep all the prospective students closely documented. However, there was one dark spot in all this; he had lost Harry Potter, The-Boy-Who-Lived, and he could not find him. He had absolutely no idea, let alone an inkling, as to where the boy could be or what condition he was in.
Granted, he hadn't been in the best condition at his previous residence, Number Four Private Drive, but that had been a necessary sacrifice on the boy's part. It was either put up with his relatives or risk the lives of any family, Wizarding or Muggle, that he was placed with.
Besides that obvious fact, Dumbledore's ever calculating mind had figured that a rough upbringing would prepare the boy for the hell that he'd been selected to go through in place of his life.
Dumbledore would not wish the child's fate on anyone, especially a little orphaned boy who had been beaten mercilessly by his relatives for the first ten years of his life. Still, his hands were tied.
When he had realized that Harry had vanished from his relatives house, he had been in a panic, gathering the Order as quickly as possible and sending them out, even going so far as to call in a few of his favors with some of his rather shady acquaintances. But he had found nothing .
The boy had simply disappeared and Dumbledore was the one thing he hated to be; stumped.
Where could he have gone? Who could have taken him? How could they have taken him? None of it had made any sense and now, six years later, it still puzzled the man.
However, when Harry's name had appeared on the Hogwarts registry, Dumbledore knew that the child was alive. The book could detect the children of its former students, and would only list them if they were magical and alive. And when the envelopes had gone out with the owls, Dumbledore had made sure that Harry's, which was addressed to Harry J. Potter with no location, went with the smartest owl he could find.
Confident that the owl's sense of direction to its recipient would result in Mr. Potter's acceptance and reemergence, Dumbledore was now allowing himself to rest easy and enjoy what was left of his summer holiday.
He had just settled down beneath one of his favorite trees on the school grounds when his Deputy Headmistress, Minervra McGonagall, came bursting out of the Entrance Hall, the giant doors swinging dangerously on their over-sized hinges.
'Well this can't be good' he thought as he remained seated, looking over at the fuming woman advancing on him. Considering her age, Minervra made it to his spot in a rather short amount of time, without any visible side effects. Dumbledore decided to speak first, "Ah Minervra what a pleasant surprise! Would you care to join me? It is a beautiful day."
She looked at him like he had grown a second head, before she blinked. Whatever retort had been on her tongue died as she realized that he had no idea what she had come to get him for.
"No Albus, I'll have to decline the offer," she sighed, "I'm afraid that we have a problem."
"Really," Dumbledore said, "What seems to be the trouble?"
She didn't respond, instead reaching into her robe pocket and pulling out an envelope. She handed it to him as she spoke, "Albus...I have just received this letter...and...well-just look at it!!"
Taking the proffered envelope, Dumbledore saw that it was addressed to his Headmistress. Opening it, he saw why she was so distraught. Scrawled on the paper, in black ink, was a messily neat scrawl which read:
Deputy Headmistress McGonagall,
Harry J. Evans
Dumbledore stared at the letter with his mouth open in shock. Never before had he been rendered speechless by anyone, yet here he sat, speechless at the whim of a letter.
He looked up at McGonagall completely nonplussed. "...Mr. Potter sent this?"
McGonagall nodded. "Then there is a chance that we can discover his location by using a tracking charm." McGonagall shook her head, "I've tried that Albus, but I didn't get a specific direction, my wand just went every which way."
Dumbledore sighed, "There are other ways of course..."
"Albus, we've already tried talking to his relatives and they refused to tell us anything. He's gone and we can't find him, and unless he comes to us, we won't even see him!" Minervra countered, confirming what Dumbledore already knew.
If Mr. Potter did not want to be found, it appeared that he would not be found. Something else had caught the Headmaster's attention in the letter however, despite its short length.
"Minervra, do you know why he would sign it Harry J. Evans? Why would he use his mother's maiden name as opposed to his birth name?"
Confused Minervra took another look at the letter in Dumbledore's hands, before looking to her long time friend, "I didn't even notice it before Albus. It does call for questioning doesn't it?"
Dumbledore however, had ceased listening as he had had a rather brilliant thought. "Minervra, why don't we just place a tracking charm on the envelope and send it again?"
For the second time that day, in a matter of thirty minutes, McGonagall looked at her superior in a way that suggested he'd grown some sort of abnormality. But then she blinked, "...You know Albus...that just might work. Should I get to it then?"
Dumbledore nodded and with that, the Deputy Headmistress left to see to Harry's second letter.
Yes, Albus Dumbledore was really enjoying his day.
Two days later, Dumbledore had just settled down to a nice dinner of steak and kidney pie when a resounding BOOM! disrupted the quiet of the Great Hall and caused him to spill his pumpkin juice all down his front.
"Albus, we've gotten the reply from Potter!" Minervra called, waving another envelope above her head as she ran up to the Head Table, oblivious to the fact that she had startled the man into sloshing his drink all down his front.
"Well?" Dumbledore asked, grabbing a napkin from the table and dabbing at the already staining material.
"I haven't opened it yet Albus, but as you know his location should reveal itself once I've performed the revealing charm on the letter." She pulled out her wand and murmured the spell and then stared waiting for the words to show themselves.
Five minutes later, there was still no sign of the hidden words that should have been there. The purpose of the charm was to track the owl's route, the delivery point of the letter and once the owl had returned, reveal the recipients location.
Dumbledore sighed as did McGonagall. It seemed that this would require a personal voyage, although it would not be either of them that ventured with the owl.
"Let's at least check what he wrote. It' can't be any worse than what he sent last time." Dumbledore said, gesturing to the envelope.
McGonagall opened the letter, scanned it briefly and rolled her eyes in annoyance before handing the letter to Dumbledore.
Deputy Headmistress McGonagall,
I am disinclined to acquiesce to your request.
Harry J. Evans
Dumbledore let his head hit the table. He raised it after the pain took hold, and then turned to his Deputy, "Minervra contact Kingsley Shacklebolt, tell him that I need his assistance."
McGonagall nodded and was turning to go when she saw the stain on his robes. She clucked at him, "Really Albus! You need to be more careful when you're eating, honestly, staining your robes with pumpkin juice. Scourgify!"
Rolling his eyes, Albus mourned over the loss of his once warm meal.
Headmaster of Hogwarts Albus Dumbledore was on his last frame of the game, staring down all ten of the bowling pins. They seemed to stare right back at him with their evil Hospital Wing-like paint and annoyingly bright single red stripe that was there purely for distraction in dire situations such as this. They were mocking him, telling him that he couldn't get them all. For that was all he needed to have bowled the first perfect game of his life.
'Concentrate Dumbledore, come on man!! Just focus, FOCUS!!' He thought to himself, before he stepped into his throw.
Just as he was going to release the ball, his office door banged open, startling him and causing him to release the ball a fraction of a second too early. With a resounding CRASH! The ball made contact with the wooden alley and rolled straight into the gutter, completely missing the pins.
The aged Headmaster could only stare in horrified fascination as his perfect game was lost. He stayed that way for a good two minutes before it dawned on him that somebody was in his office and that somebody was responsible for the tragedy that had taken place.
He quickly dismissed the charm he'd placed on his office that had granted him the alleyway, and it returned to its normal business like appearance. The portraits on the wall grumbled in irritation, as they had been used as the pins, and sent some choice words to Dumbledore, which he pointedly ignored.
Looking to the entrance of the room, Dumbledore saw that the villain who had robbed him of his game was none other than Kingsley Shacklebolt himself. Surely the man could have given some kind of warning?
But as he inspected him further, he noticed that the seasoned Auror was shaken up badly. Concern quickly overtook his crestfallen features as he addressed the Auror.
"Kingsley my dear boy, what happened?"
Seeing that the man was about to collapse, he quickly transfigured one of his beloved Lemon Drops into a rather tasteless yellow chair that made up for its tacky appearance with plump cushions.
Kingsley collapsed into the chair and shuddered. He took a deep calming breath, but couldn't finish before another shudder brought around a bout of shivering.
Dumbledore quickly grabbed one of his Lemon Drops, infused with a Calming Potion, and held it out to Kingsley, "Here Kingsley, take the Lemon Drop, it will calm your nerves."
The Auror took the proffered candy in a shaking palm, and ate it. The effect was instantaneous, and the shivering stopped allowing the man to take in a deep breath. He looked to Dumbledore, before he shuddered yet again.
"Kingsley, what happened?" Dumbledore asked with worry. The Lemon Drops were not weak by any means, far from it. He usually had to deal with infuriated parents or frantic children so he had had Severus brew him the strongest Calming Potion that he could. That an experienced Auror who had seen combat and death, was put off by something even after he'd taken the Lemon Drop was something indeed.
Finally, it seemed as though Kingsley was ready to talk. "Albus, I followed the owl as you insturcted. It lead me overseas and to America, but...that was as far as I got."
Dumbledore looked at him in confusion, "What do you mean? I was not aware that there were any wards protecting the States."
Shacklebolt shook his head, "No, it wasn't wards. It was some kind of creature, some grotesque...demon." He shivered again.
"Please Kingsley, continue." Dumbledore urged.
The man nodded, taking another steadying breath, "Whatever it was had snakes for hair, all of them deadly and it had wings as well, eagles wings I thought, or at the very least bird's wings. And its fingers and toes were talons Albus, sharp as a sword and long and deadly.
"The thing refused to let me even consider landing, having rushed me right as I got within striking distance. I shot curses at it but the monster was too fast, dodging left and right. And of course there I was on a bloody broomstick, as stationary as can be. Here, look!"
He pulled back a sleeve on his robe, revealing a gash that was already healing, but was pulsating an eerie red.
"I've got them all up and down my back Albus, and a couple on my legs. Anyway, when I got hit the last time, I managed to land a curse, a Cutting Curse mind, but...Albus...it went straight through it! I just didn't get it!
"So I took off back here, and the thing gave chase until I was back over European soil. I've never been so scared in my life Albus...I just...I...was gonna go...I..."
Whatever the Auror was going to say was lost as the man suddenly went in to another fit of convulsions. But he stopped abruptly, confusing Dumbledore even more. Kingsley's eyes widened as he took in his surroundings, before he started to back into a corner screaming.
"NO! NO DON'T COME ANY CLOSER!!! LEAVE ME ALONE! PLEASE, GO AWAY I DON'T WANT TO DIE!!"
Dumbledore rose from his chair, his wand in his hand, "Kingsley, calm yourself! That thing that attacked you is not here! Please, sit down!"
But the Auror would have none of it, "IT'S HERE, I'VE SEEN IT!!! IT WANTS TO KILL ME, AND I DON'T WANT TO DIE!!! PLEASE DUMBLEDORE, SAVE ME!! IT'S RIGHT IN FRONT OF ME!!! NO! NOOOOOOOOO!"
"Stupefy!" Dumbledore shouted, effectively putting the maddened Auror at ease. Once he was sure that Kingsley was unconscious, Dumbledore strode over kneeling next to his friend. "What happened to you Kingsley?"
It was then that Dumbledore noticed that the gash on Kingsley's arm was still glowing an eerie red, only now it had stopped pulsing and was maintaining its ugly hue. Dumbledore raced to the fireplace, grabbed a handful of floo powder from the urn atop the mangle and tossed it in, shouting "Poppy Pomfrey!"
His head was in the fire place in Madame Pomfrey's quarters for all of ten seconds before the kindly matron saw him, "Albus, what can I do for you?"
"Poppy, we have an emergency, please come to my office immediately!" Dumbledore replied, before he exited the fireplace, allowing the medi-witch to enter after him.
"Albus, what happened?" She asked as she laid eyes on Kingsley, running over to the unconscious and pulling out her wand.
"I was hoping you could tell me Poppy. Kingsley has just returned from an errand that I sent him on, where he was attacked by, what he says, was a monster. If you look at his arm, you'll see where the thing struck him." Dumbledore explained calmly, but swiftly.
"My Merlin," Poppy gasped, "that's something new. Nevertheless, I should be able to fix him up as soon as I run a diagnostic spell." She proceeded to do just that, running her wand up and down the man twice, before ending the spell.
"Well Poppy?" Dumbledore queried.
"From what I gathered Albus, the wounds that he's acquired have some sort of spell infused with it. It seems to be a maddening spell...it might take me awhile, but he should be fine within the week, so long as he remains unconscious."
At that, she conjured a stretcher, and levitated it, before opening the door and heading towards the Hospital Wing.
Dumbledore sat down wearily at his desk, his head in his hands. He had tried three times to get Mr. Potter's location, and three times he had failed. Well, technically he had discovered a general location, but that was the United States. Trying to find Harry there would be like trying to find a piece of hay in a needle stack; painful and time consuming.
"Very well," Dumbledore said to himself, "If you wish not to be found Harry Potter, I shall not pursue you any further. However, when you are ready, I pray you return to us, though I fear it might be for the worse."
There was a tap on the glass behind him, and Dumbledore jumped in surprise before he saw the owl in the window. He opened it, letting the bird in and it dropped a letter into his lap, before it took off to the Owlery.
Looking down at the envelope, he saw it was addressed to him. Opening it, he read the same messily neat scrawl.
For the last time, I will NOT attend your school any time soon. You'd have a better chance at getting a perfect score in bowling than you have of getting me there.
Harry J. Evans
Albus Percival Wulfric Brian Dumbledore was speechless for the third time of his life.
A/N: Yes, I know it's been a very long time. I'm sorry, I've just been a little...well, VERY lazy as of late, and so I've put off everything to the last minute. Hope you enjoyed this installment, and I'm hoping that the story will take off from here.