Disclaimer:I do not own Harry Potter. I do not claim to own it. All unoriginal characters are property of J.K Rowling.
The stillness, the complete and utter lack of movement, was somehow more intimidating than any other factor of the room. More frightening, somehow, than the green flames-green for Slytherin-which flickered and danced in torches and swept eerie shadows around the room. More unnerving than the large snake, silently watching the procession with an almost satisfied gleam in its eyes. More scary, more hair-rising, just more worse than anything else, was the silence.
The cloaked figures stood, waiting quietly-respectfully- for their leader to speak. Yes, respect; that was it. That was the cause of it all. No robe twitched. No body dared shift. They were frozen, utterly still, only to be released of their self-induced paralysis upon His entrance. This respect-and the fear that accompanied it, the fear it symbolized, the fear it must have come with-was what made this silence so horrific. It was not something one consciously would think, upon seeing the scene, but the hairs on the back of their neck would rise, oh yes. And a shiver would travel down their spine, feeling like ice, and though they would not think it they would know.
And miles away, so far but still so close, a hooded figure watched this… and he laughed. His laugh, had the cloaked figures hear it, would have made them tremble. Because they knew what a cruel laugh was; and this was certainly that. They had thought no one could be worse than their master.
They were wrong.
July 7th. He would later reflect upon that day, not long after he left. Why the 7th? Was there something special about that day? They did say seven was the most magical number. He would decide, yes, that was it; it was appropriate the beginning of the reshaping of the magical world would begin on the seventh.
Harry Potter awoke on July seventh still feeling weary, and for good reason; it was, after all, not even two in the morning. He blinked a few times, grimacing at the clock, and wondered why he had woken at such a time. The sound of tapping at the window answered that, though. He moved out of his bed lethargically, stumbling a little as his head cleared. He opened the window and an odd looking owl flew in. It was huge, pure white, and had purple eyes. Hedwig looked a little interested, but the owl flew off as soon as Harry untied the letter. She ruffled her feathers in a disappointed way and settled back down to sleep.
Harry looked over the letter carefully. The envelope was stiff and official looking, but even had it not been the seal would have been enough to make him pause. A grey picture of Gringotts bank was on the letter.
"Why would Gringotts be writing to me?" he wondered. "And so early!" Hedwig opened one eye and hooted in an irritated way that plainly told him to shut up and let her sleep. "Sorry."
He sat down on his bed and grabbed a flashlight from the floor. He shined it on the letter carefully, glanced at the door for signs of the Dursleys, and opened the letter.
To Mr. Potter,
We at Gringotts bank request your presence on July 10th for a discussion of your affairs. If it is to your convenience, please arrive at noon and ask for myself. If the time represents a problem, please owl to reschedule.
Worker of Gringotts Wizarding Bank, London
Harry frowned down at the letter. Was this really from Gringotts? Or was it from death-eaters? He pondered this for a moment, but it wouldn't make sense for it to be from death-eaters. Really, it wasn't like Griphook was going to help them kidnap Harry. Goblins wouldn't do that, no matter how much gold they may receive.
But why did it come so early? Goblins certainly weren't friendly, at least not normally, but they tried to be civil with their clients-rudeness certainly would not help them in the area of gold, and goblins were all about gold.
Hmm… Maybe there were wards around his house? He had suspected that for some time; with all the emphasis Dumbledore put on his safety at home, there had to be some kind of wards protecting Privet Drive. It would be incredibly foolish to leave the Boy-Who-Lived in a muggle area for months with absolutely no magical protection. There were ways to track people magically-if there were no wards, he'd surely be dead by now. Harry tried not to dwell much on this, considering it only served to remind him that a psycho was after his blood, and to make him think of how close he had come (repeatedly) to dying. But to be honest he thought it was pretty hard to not dwell on the fact. When you're locked in your room all day, there's not much to do. On the plus side, though, Hermione would be proud of him… He read all of his course books already.
The ones for his fifth year had been mailed by Dumbledore. Apparently, if he was going to the Weasley's Dumbledore thought the risk too great for him to go to Diagon Alley himself. Harry wasn't stupid- he had noticed the 'if' there. With that little hint-and the fact he had barely gotten a single letter from his friends-he was willing to bet he wouldn't be seeing the Weasleys all summer.
Oh, yes, this summer was turning out to be just great.
His thoughts were turning off subject again. Anyway, the wards might have caused the owl some problems. He had wondered about owls, too-he was a celebrity and he though it odd he had never got any letters from anyone he didn't personally know. When the Prophet had talked badly about Hermione the year before, she had received dozens of letters. And yet, he had never gotten one-not for his good deeds nor his bad. He had read the papers Hedwig brought it so often-the wizarding world thought him a joke.
It was probably Dumbledore's doing. Dumbledore-the man who seemed to have complete control of his life. Oh, who was he kidding- Dumbledore did have complete control of his life. He meddled with Harry's life so much it wasn't even funny.
But… why did he have to listen to Dumbledore? Dumbledore was just his headmaster, that was all, and as far as he knew it certainly wasn't normally for headmasters to set out plans for their pupils' summers…
But it's Dumbledore! A voice in his mind protested. Dumbledore! You can't just go against him like that! Not when he's done so much for you-
Like what? Harry argued with himself. Like sending me to the Dursleys'? Like hiding the stone in a bloody school?! Or how about the snake, how about letting Sirius wilt away in Azkaban with no trial, how about making me participate in that damned tournament and let Voldemort capture me? Let a death-eater teach right under his nose? Dumbledore's not that great. In fact, I bet he wouldn't even notice if I left here… He wouldn't even notice, in fact, if I left right now on the Night Bus and went to Diagon Alley and waited for the tenth…
And that was how Harry Potter came to stumble into the Leaky Cauldron at almost three in the morning to get a room. That was how his defiance of Dumbledore began. And that was the beginning of the beginning, the start of a completely new wizarding world.
A/N: This is just the prologue; i promise the other chapters will be longer. Please review!