Dark Knight/Light Wizard
This is another little bit of writing I did on a certain story here. It's nowhere near complete, but I'm thinking of doing more with it, if I can just get the time to catch up on that, along with my new job duties, and the family at home( kids, love 'em, but they can eat your time faster than Pac-man eats his dots. Anyway, take a look at this, if anyone likes the story enough to adopt if, just PM me and let me know. I know I most likely missed some stuff, and while I've had some folks look at this for me, it's nowhere near perfect as far as I'm concerned. Again, I'm wanting to post, get some ideas of where I'm going wrong, or right possibly, and correct things from there on out. Hope everyone has a good weekend, don't forget to set those clocks back, so you can enjoy that extra hour of sleep, or gaming, or whatever. No pairings, they're only eleven and twelve, and just experimenting to see if I'm capturing the characters all right. Cheers!
London, Bruce Wayne thought to himself, was an acquired taste. In some ways, it reminded him of Gotham itself, even though compared to London proper, Gotham city was still in its infancy.
However, it was nice to be able to get away from the MISSION on the rare occasion, and this was one of them. Wayne Enterprises had negotiated a contract that was all but set in stone, when the owner had balked unless Bruce would come to personally sign it. Why had never been explained to his complete satisfaction, but, knowing that sometimes eccentricity can be overpowering, Bruce had hopped on a quick flight across the pond, and signed the contract himself. Afterwards deciding to take a bit of a stroll around town and see a few sights, before he had his jet fly him back home in time to be ready for the upcoming patrol later on the next night.
Even though Bruce usually didn't do any of the tourist type things, he still found himself doing some of them, like catching a ride in the taxis, visiting the Tower of London, and taking a look at the guards, (though the first time that he turned his full glare at the poor fellow, the man found himself cringing back somewhat, making Bruce wonder exactly what the man might have been hiding to himself.)
Still the day had went on, and Bruce found himself walking down through the relatively empty streets, the aura he gave off enough to make most people stay away from him. One strange thing he did see was a couple that appeared to be staring at a shop window, wearing what appeared to be very old-fashioned clothes.
The man seemed to carry himself like an aristocrat. He had long, blond, almost white hair, with a sharp nose, and a haughty look to him, acting for the entire world as if he had to lower himself to be even in this posh part of London. The lady with him was strikingly beautiful, with long, straight blond hair that flowed down her back, and also dressed in old-fashioned clothes, though just as the man did, she seemed to wear them completely naturally.
Bruce caught her eye for a moment as he passed by, and was struck by how close she resembled the one true love of his life, Silver St. Cloud. In fact, if her hair had been a bit closer to who he assumed was her husbands own, she could have almost been her twin. The lady caught his gaze and well, and he could feel her weighing his mettle as well, before she turned back to give her husband her undivided attention again.
For just a moment, Bruce found himself wishing that he could just be an ordinary man, with the same problems that other people had, such as taking the garbage out, feeding the cat, and going to the office. However, that wish, like every other time he experienced it, was quickly crushed by the weight of the MISSION, the one thing that kept him going whenever he had felt like giving up.
Bruce knew that he wasn't entirely right in the head, the time he'd spent overseas, training in the various forms of the fighting arts, learning how to counter different types of physical attacks, and how to hurt people in way most normal humans wouldn't even consider in day to day life had warped his perspective a little bit, hell, it would likely warp anyone's.
Still, the MISSION was what drove him from day to day, with the hope that he could stop one more crime, save just one more person, gave him a hope that no one else could see or understand. Yes, it drove him on, controlling his life and giving him a purpose that he'd been lacking ever since he'd help to cause the death of his parents, simply because he had wanted to go to a damned movie. Bruce hadn't been to the cinema since that night, and had no intention of ever going to one again.
Shaking his head to get himself out of his melancholic mood, Bruce went down the steps to catch an underground train. Being fairly late at night, he didn't expect many people there, and was therefore a bit surprised to see a family across the way, on the opposite side of the platform from him. There was a, to tell the truth, obese man standing there with his rail-thin wife, for a moment bring up to his mind the old nursery rhyme of Jack Sprat, only in reverse.
The lady was someone that might have been pretty at one time, but it appeared that some bitterness had pinched her face to the point of harshness, making it seem more like what he always pictured the wicked stepmother in Cinderella to look like when his mother read him the story before bed. The husband bore quite a resemblance to a walrus, and his face was an alarming shade of purple, and making Bruce wonder how long it was before he was due his first heart attack.
The couple appeared to be accompanied by two children, one a…heavyset young boy that in some ways resembled a piglet, though politeness would keep him from ever pointing that out. The other young boy was a puzzle though. Bruce found that he could usually read everyone that he met; it was one of the things that kept him alive from night to night after all.
The smaller child wore old glasses that reminded Bruce of the type they called birth-controllers in the military, and had dark hair that seemed to stick up all over his head. It worried Bruce a bit because it seemed that he couldn't read him at all and that bothered him somewhat. Compared to the other boy, the smaller child appeared to be rail-thin, and wore clothes that were clearly too big for him, as well as was threadbare in some places. He seemed to take in his surroundings stolidly, acting more like someone that knows no matter what they do, there would be no help for them.
The whale of a man was obviously angry about something, though Bruce couldn't make out what it was, standing away from them. The next thing that happened made his blood boil, though: the man had smacked the smaller child solidly across the face. The little boy had raised his hand up to his own face, but only for a moment, before he lowered it again, and stood there, obviously fighting tears if his quivering lips seemed to indicate.
The large man bellowed something else, and Bruce caught the words…"freakish…waste of space…all I've done for you…mess up my Dudder's night!" before the man reached down and smacked the boy again, hard enough that Bruce could see that the handprint glowed somewhat, and enough to galvanize him into action.
Running up the steps, he took only a moment to get his bearing, before running across the street, his mind racing with the possibilities of what he planned to show the man. There were only a few things that really made Bruce lose his temper, and deviate from the MISSION; these included rapists, pedophiles and abusers of any kind. The inhuman calm that he usually carried around him like a cloak would invariably fall away when he went after one of those "people", always making him hope that he wouldn't go too far whenever he caught up to the perpetrator.
Still, even as he crossed the street, he heard the rumble of the subway cars underneath, and wondered if he'd get there before the "family" left together. Just as he started down the steps, he felt the rumble as it started back up, and jumped down the last few steps, hoping that he'd be on time. To his shock, as he turned the corner, he saw in some ways, that he had.
The little boy with the messy hair was now standing there on the platform by himself; his family having gone off by themselves. Bruce slowed down, before he stopped and gathered himself, after all, it wouldn't do to go ahead and scare the kid to death by letting him see his "war" face, the face that he used whenever he donned the cowl and cape of the BAT. Walking slowly and relatively loudly, so he wouldn't be sneaking up on the lad, Bruce came up behind him.
"Hello there," he started out, "Are you all right young man?"
The little boy, who'd been holding his hands over his face, obviously trying to sooth both the physical and emotional sting of the abuse, turned up and stared warily at him, and Bruce again found himself unable to read him clearly. The boy had the most brilliant green eyes that he'd ever seen, with a young looking face that made Bruce estimate his age at around four or five. The child stared up at him, nervous but not afraid, for a few moments, before he answered.
"Teacher says we're not supposed to talk to strangers," he spoke in a quiet, but polite voice, "She said that we should go find a police officer if a stranger comes up to you."
"Well, your teacher is very smart," Bruce said after a moment's hesitation, "There's a police phone box right down at that column. If you promise to wait here, I'll give the police a call, and let them know that you're here. Then I'll stay right there till they arrive, okay?"
The little boy stood there for a second, fighting the tears that had been threatening for the last few minutes, before he nodded, and Bruce walked over to the emergency phone, picking it up, and telling the operator the name of the platform station number. That done, Bruce set the phone back in its cradle, and stood there, watching the little boy, who seemed more lost and in shock that anything else, for a moment making him remember a time when he had been kneeling in a dirty alley, between the cooling bodies of his mother and father.
It was less than three minutes when two police officers, an older man and a younger woman came down the steps to the platform, and Bruce waved to let them know that he was there with the young man. The older man came up to him, and after establishing his credentials, told them everything that he'd seen on the platform.
The younger female officer had knelt down in front of the little boy, and was carefully examining where he'd been struck across the face, the handprint still red and raw-looking. Bruce looked at it for a moment, and felt his blood-pressure shoot up again, before he used a meditating exercise to calm himself down. Given from the way the older male officer acted, he wasn't the only one that needed to calm down. After finishing his statement, Bruce watched as the younger lady led the boy away by the hand, before he turned back to the policeman in front of him.
"Excuse me officer," he said, casing said officer to glance up at him, "What will happen to that young man now?"
"Well sir," the officer said, as he put away his notepad, "Most likely we'll find out where he lives, check up on the relatives there, and see how they react to what he says. If there are obvious signs of abuse, he'll most likely be put into foster care, or a home for abused kids like him, where they might get adopted, but more than likely won't."
"Here's my card sir," Bruce said while handing it over, "I have to return to the States this morning, but, if things do go the way you said, I'd appreciate it if you could give me a call, collect of course."
"Well, sure sir, I could do that," the officer stated with a little surprise, "But what interest do you have in the little fellow if you don't mind my asking?"
"He just reminds me of another little boy that lost a whole lot in one night," Bruce answered back, "And I've always been of the opinion that children are sacred, and I just have a feeling that that little guy is destined…for greatness."
August 4th 1991
It was a cool night for the beginning of August, Bruce thought to himself, one that seemed fitting in its own way. He'd been nursing his favorite drink, a gin and tonic without the gin, for the last hour, and found himself wondering why he'd even agreed to speak with these folks. Still he'd spoke with Kent and Inza Nelson over the weekend, and they'd set up what they guaranteed were the best wards available that would keep any magical being or magic user from being able to come any closer than fifty yards from the manor.
He glanced over to see Barnabas settled on his perch in his own little version of a bat cave, apparently sleeping, though it was more likely waiting for his human to show up from the Cave. Bruce almost smiled at the way the little, well not so little bat these days, seemed to have an almost sixth sense about Harry, both in his moods, and where he was.
Harry had found him some two years ago, not long after Bruce had started training him in what Harry had learned he needed to do, in order to assist with the MISSION. Harry had found him not long after he'd first found the Cave itself. It'd been a little over five years since Bruce had met Harry, and not quite three years since he'd adopted him. Bruce had been glad to receive that phone call from the office that he'd met in London on that night.
Bruce had found himself still distracted by the image of the young child that he'd met at the Earl's Court platform almost six months earlier. Even now, not long after he had just caught Two-Face, along with his Molls, Sugar and Spice, and return all of them back to Arkham Asylum, he found himself remembering those green eyes of his, eyes that seemed to almost glow in the darkness, still looking up at him resignedly, so sure that he wasn't going to have anything good happen to him.
Bruce still remembered other eyes like that, his own. He'd had those helpless eyes when he'd met Jim Gordon for the first time, a young policeman that was doing one of his first interviews. He'd treated Bruce with the kindness of a stranger that really doesn't know what to say, but at least it'd been honest kindness anyways That was part of what made Jim Gordon the person that he was. So it was a more than pleasant surprise when he had received an overseas phone call one day, from the male police officer that had spoken with Bruce on the platform, a Sergeant O'Neal. He had let him know what Harry's home life had been like, and frankly, if they'd worked any faster to get Harry from that home, it would have been close to Barry's style of speed.
The family that Harry had been staying with, which consisted of his Aunt Petunia, and husband Vernon along with the that piggish little boy of theirs, named Dudley, had taken in Harry a few years before, and had pretty much be hateful to him ever since then. After getting their son alone for just a bit, they'd heard many stories about how his parents kept the no-good freak put away safely in a storage cupboard under the stairs.
It was the point when Dudley had stated how he and sometimes his Uncle Vernon would stomp on the stairs directly over Harry's spot, just so they could cover him in dust, that the female officer in the room with him had abruptly walked out, and told O' Neal a little later on that she had never wanted so much to go back and give the fat little boy a good smack on his ass, and then go and dump his mother and father in a tank with some of the nastier folks they'd brought in over the night. O'Neal had then told Bruce that Harry had been put into a care program for under-privileged, abused children and if everything went well, his guardians were going to be in jail for quite a long time.
Bruce had gotten a flight scheduled for the next day, and within two weeks, Harry's case had been rushed through the system, and he was now legally known as Harry Potter Wayne, as Harry had not really known anything about his family, and wanted to make a clean break from his old life. Bruce and he had flown back to the States, and with Alfred, the three of them had truly become a family, and Harry had finally gotten to have some of the care, and affection that he had missed out on for so many years, Alfred got to hear some of the joy that had been missing from Wayne Manor for years, and Bruce, well…Bruce had finally started to gain the human element that he had been missing for many years.
Bruce jerked back from his memories when Barnabas flopped down from his perch, and settled down for all intents and purposes on a model of a sofa that looked a lot like the one they had in the sitting room they were in now. More than once, Bruce had come in and could have sworn to Alfred that the little fat bat had been lounging on the little sofa, its gut sticking out; looking like it was watching the television. The first time Alfred had humored him, but the next he had walked away, muttering to himself about too many concussions in a twenty-four hour period would be bad for anyone.
Bruce sat and looked at the bat, just knowing that if he said anything, then it would be just like that frog in those old cartoons, that would sing and dance for the one person, but the instant he pointed it out to someone else, then it would go back to being a plain old frog. It glanced over at Bruce for a minute, with what surely looked like a smirk, squeaked once and went back to whatever it was doing. Bruce leaned back against the mantelpiece, and continued to nurse his tonic water, thinking about the letter that had arrived two weeks ago.
Harry and Bruce were in the Cave working on Harry's calisthenics and helping to build more upper body strength. Harry would never have a bodybuilder's body, but would be more likely to have a gymnast's body, lean and wiry. At that point, Harry was in the middle of his sit up reps, when an owl had flown into the Cave. Bruce stared at it as it sat down next to where Harry doing his exercises, hooted softly, before holding out its right leg to him.
Harry finished up his fiftieth crunch, before he sat up, and waited for Bruce's okay. When the owl appeared to be a non-lethal threat, Harry waited for Bruce to come over before he took the rolled up parchment offered him. Harry read it for a second, before he handed the letter over to Bruce, who glanced over it, a slight widening of his eyes the only thing that gave him away. The two men glanced over at the owl that seemed to be patiently waiting for something, before Bruce picked up the parchment, wrote a reply on it, rolled it up and gave it back to the owl, which hooted once, before it took off and winged its way back out of the Cave.
"Dad," Harry started, "Do you think that this is on the up and up, or more a gag from one of the gang in the Justice League?"
"Well, I wouldn't put it past those two pranksters, Ted and Michael," Bruce looked down, before he grinned and ran his hand through Harry's hair, making it more messy than usual, "But they have no idea of the Cave's location. Only Clark and Diana know that, along with Alfred of course. No, I think that this is legitimate, so we now just have to do what we do best…right?"
"Right Dad," Harry smiled up at him for a second, before he schooled his features again, "First off, we take a look at the evidence available, gather more, and from there, we'll start to make a plan from that."
"All right son," You start to look up materials on magic-users located in the United Kingdom, and I'm going to contact Kent and Inza Nelson. It might be good to have Dr. Fate here to get some type of wards set up. I'd rather we not have a way to circumvent the ways that people can find out about the cave, and it seems like someone could send one of those owls, and follow it somehow, or place a tracking device on it."
"Dad," Harry said as looked up as he started to scour the crime-computer's database, "Do you think this might be the right thing for me to do? I know that you don't get along with many magic-users, and going to this school might hold me up when it comes time to help you or…to take over if I have to."
Bruce stopped what he was doing at that last statement, and turned back to look at Harry, before he walked over and put his hand on his shoulder.
"Harry…Son, I don't want you to think that you have to inherit this…what I do is for what I felt needed to be done," Bruce started, before he sat down next to him, "I just want you to know, that I want you to have your own life as well, all right? You keep it up, and I'll keep training you. I won't be going anywhere for a long time anyways."
"Dad, I'm going to help you out anytime I can, and always will." Harry grinned again before he turned his attention back to the first hits that popped up on the screen, and started to cross-index them all.
Bruce sat there a moment longer, before he picked up the phone, and dialed up a number he didn't normally use.
With that memory on his mind, Bruce glanced over to see the hidden panel in the next room over, that led down to the Cave. He'd had Kent Nelson, a.k.a. Dr. Fate come over, and place wards that he guaranteed would make the manor completely un-plottable to any magic-users of any type, unless they were more powerful than he was, and considering he gained his power from a three thousand year old Egyptian wizard, and Bruce felt that he could back that statement up.
Currently the only people or maybe beings might be a better word that he knew might have been more powerful could be the Stranger, and The Spectre, and the Spectre was considered the Right Hand of God. Even Clark at full power wouldn't be able to stand up to either of them. With that assistance, Bruce felt a lot more secure now, though of course it would be up to Harry to make the final decision on what he wanted to do. Fate had examined the boy, and afterwards told Bruce that if everything went right, Harry could be one of the most powerful magic users in the world, bar none.
Bruce was glad that he had met Harry all those years ago, since Harry had filled a place in Bruce's heart that he found himself glad to be there, and he'd hate to have thought of what he might have become if he'd been alone for all those years. Silver had been killed by Hugo Strange about a year after he'd met Harry for the first time, and he'd never really connected with anyone else since, though Selina Kyle, a.k.a. The Cat-woman, had been trying to sink her claws in him for years.
Well, Selina, and along with Harlene Quinnzel, when she hadn't gone on a killing spree with the Joker as Harley Quinn, had used her love-mallet on him more than once. If he was partial to red-heads, that weren't filled with toxic poison and criminal's geniuses, then he'd probably feel something for Pamela Isly, or Poison Ivy, though he still felt the faint scratches from her newest man-eating plant.
Still, there had been more than one discussion with Alfred on maybe Bruce trying to settle down somewhat, and find a mother for the young lad, as well as someone to give him a better excuse to come on during the night. Bruce had thought of that on occasion, but he'd never met anyone that would be able to put up with him, for lack of a better word. He and Diana had had an off-and-on again relationship over the years, but nothing had ever really come of it. Well that and her beating the crap out of him a few years ago when he tried to return a fugitive had messed things up a bit as well. The two of them had made up in a way, but decided to keep the relationship on the professional side for the time being.
Bruce was brought out of his musings by the sound of the doorbell ringing, and he waited for Alfred to bring in his guests. He was getting ready for another life-changing event, and he pulled the earpiece out and set it away, as he continued to mentally file away what he'd heard as they walked up to that door. Just as Alfred opened the door, he wrapped himself in his persona of Bruce Wayne, playboy billionaire, and prepared to bring his formidable mind to the task ahead.
*Ten minutes ago*
The portkey had dropped the four Hogwarts House head, along with the Headmaster of Hogwarts fifty yards from the front entrance of Wayne Manor, and the group was making their way to the main doors now. Even this small distance was causing some griping, though the majority of the bad-natured kind came from one figure dressed in a robe that swirled around him.
"I can't believe that we have to be forced to walk this ridiculous distance in order to put up with Potter's own pampered lifestyle!" the figure snarled, as he grumbled to anyone that would hear him.
"Really Severus," an older woman wearing flowing green robes and what would be considered a traditional witches hat reprimanded, "We were lucky to be able to find Harry at all, and if we had kept an eye on him from day one, as I requested more than once, then we might not have had to come to the States in order to bring him back home!"
"Minerva please," the oldest man in the group said, "Recriminations do us very little good. Now, all we need to do is bring Harry back with us, place him back with the Dursely's, and get him back into wizarding society."
"Excuse me Albus," the shortest of the five stated, "What is supposed to happen to Harry's guardian if we take Harry back to Britain? Is it right…just, for us to do something like this? Harry appears to have been take well care of since he was brought here, and who are we to decide that he should be taken away from his current family?"
"Family?" sneered Severus, "Filius, I'd say they're more like pansy's that spoil him rotten, making him into a pampered prince that doesn't know the meaning of an honest days work! Well, when he's in my classroom, he'll learn what it is to have to face the real world."
"Severus, I do wish that you would please drop this…this…asinine hatred of all things Potter," A heavyset middle-aged woman said, "It is quite unbecoming of a professor to carry around so much anger, as well as the way you treat the other houses. I have half a mind to go to the board of governors and see what can be done about this anyway!"
"Please, everybody please." The oldest wizard said, "We must stand together in these dark times. Now Pomona, it would be best to let this lay for the time being. Severus is under quite a bit of pressure from all sides, you know that. All we must do is…"
"Albus!" the older witch snapped, "We are under no obligation except to provide the best education for the children in out care. Why is it that you seem to have lost that line of sight? Just as you brought that object to school…"
"Enough!" Albus snapped again, "We are here, and we must provide a united front. This arguing gets us nowhere. Now, Pomona, will you be kind enough to ring the doorbell?"
Unfortunately, for Pomona Sprout, that was much easier said than done, and after a few moments of fumbling around, Severus snarled and pushed her out of way, ringing the doorbell himself. The group waited for a few moments, and just as Severus reached out to ring the bell again, the door opened, and they found themselves facing a middle-aged balding male. He stood there for a moment, before he moved aside, allowing the others to enter the manor proper. Though none of them showed, the group as a whole were somewhat impressed by the opulence of the interior, and they all took a moment to gather themselves, before the man that had let them in spoke.
"Good evening," he introduced himself, "My name is Alfred, and I am the Wayne family gentleman's gentleman. If you would accompany me, the master is waiting in the smoking room."
The group all moved together, though some faster than others, as the pure-blood wizards found themselves staring at many of the modern conveniences, with the heavyset witch, Pomona, finding herself fascinated by the clickable light switch in the rooms she passed. It took a few times of Albus calling her name, before the other witch, Minerva, grabbed a hold of her arm and made sure she accompanied them. It only took another minute after that, for the group to enter the smoking room, where Alfred had a ready pot of tea and cups waiting for them, and they found themselves introduced to their host.
"Good evening," Bruce said with a smile that was guaranteed to knock the ladies out, and did the same with the two witches that were there, if he could gauge by their blushes, "My name is Bruce Wayne, and I'd like to welcome you to Wayne Manor. This home has been in my family for seven generations, as it was taken apart, and moved from our old home in Wales. May I offer you something more than what you have here, a snack perhaps?"
Just as the shorter man started to hold up his hand, he was cut off by the oldest of the group.
"Ah yes my dear boy," he said in a grandfatherly style that at first made Bruce want to trust him, and which set him on guard in the next moment, considering what he had heard as they walked up to the door. He would have to keep his wits about him; this old man looked to be as sneaky as Ras Al Ghul. "Let me introduce myself and my companions. The lady to my right is Professor Minerva McGonagall, head of Gryffindor house, while the other young lady is Professor Pomona Sprout, head of Hufflepuff house."
Bruce took each of the witch's hands, giving a small kiss to the back of their hands, though Professor Sprout seemed more affected by it than Professor McGonagall, as she blushed again.
"The two gentlemen with me are Professor Filius Flitwick, head of Ravenclaw house, while the taller man here is Professor Severus Snape, head of Slytherin house," the old man paused while Filius enthusiastically shook Bruce's hand, while Severus gave a cursory nod and sneer, "And I am Professor Albus Dumbledore, Headmaster of Hogwarts School of Witchcraft and Wizardry. Now, let me thank you for allowing us to come to your home tonight, but I wonder if we might impose upon you and see young Mr. Potter?"
"I beg your pardon, my dear boy?" said Dumbledore.
"His name is Harry Potter-Wayne," Bruce said with a little less joviality than earlier, "He took my family name officially when I adopted him four years ago. I would ask that you remember that, please."
Dumbledore was nothing else if not a bit flustered by what Bruce stated, and the others shared various degrees of horror, with Snape looking the least bothered by it, while McGonagall looked like she couldn't believe her ears.
"My apologies dear boy," Dumbledore started, "I assumed that Harry would have wanted to keep his own family name, no matter what. Would you mind telling me why he switched to yours?"
The people he was sent to live with, the Dursely's," Bruce spat out with no small venom, beginning his spiel; but he stopped, taking a deep breath and got control of himself. Were you aware that they hadn't told Harry his real name until just about a year before I met him, and the only reason for that was that they had to fill it out on his form when he went to school? He only knew himself as 'Boy' up to that moment in time. He has no real memory of his family, had no one to tell him about them, and it seems that someone placed him with an abusive and sadistic family. Now tell me, why do you think that his family name would mean so much to him, when it apparently didn't mean anything to anyone else?"
Bruce had started off saying all of that with his usual light-hearted playboy style, but the more he spoke, the more the BAT crept into his voice, giving at least three of the people there a good case of the willies. Strangely enough, this group included Severus Snape, who was put more on guard immediately, not from what he was hearing, but in how it was being delivered to them. For one reason or another, Pomona didn't seem to be affected like the others, and Dumbledore let the implications wash over him, or so it seemed. Actually, he was more than a bit worried about how this American might end up affecting his plans, both in dealing with Voldemort and Harry. Still he fell back on what worked best when dealing with muggles, and that meant going with the old grandfather routine.
"Mr. Wayne, I can assure you…"was as far as he got before Bruce interrupted him.
"Did you know that Ms. Smalls from Salem Academy got in touch with me two days ago?" Bruce stated casually, while he swirled his drink in one hand, keeping an eye on the others as they sat there, "She was surprised that no one from England had ever contacted me before now about Harry, and when I called her, she faxed me a list of all the courses available. In the days since then, I've also been contacted by several other schools, including Beuxbatons, Durmstrang, The Great School of the Cherry Blossom in Japan, and the Cradle of Life Academy in Africa. All of them have stated the same thing, that they be delighted to have Harry Potter Wayne, The Boy Who Lived ion their schools. Tell me; what do the mean by that name, the Boy Who Lived?"
"There was some…unpleasantness in our world a few years ago." Dumbledore started off warily, "A Dark Lord decided that he would wage war against both the wizarding and Muggle worlds, and caused many deaths. He finally decided to target Harry's family, and struck at them, killing his mother and father. However, when he attacked Harry, for some reason, his spell apparently back-fired on him, killing the Dark Lord, and causing Harry to receive the title that the other Head's of the school told you."
"Yes, they told me of this person, what was his name…Voldemort?" Bruce took stock of all the people there, as all of them with the exception of the headmaster shuddered somewhat when they heard that name, "Though what he means by calling himself 'Flight of Death' makes little sense, unless he's just a pretentious fool. However, if he were using the name and translating it as 'Flight from Death', now that might give someone a bit more insight into his mindset"
Bruce stared again, when he had thrown that line out, every one of the heads of houses had shuddered, but that Snape person, even as he shuddered, he also narrowed his eyes fractionally, and Bruce reminded himself to let Harry know to be making sure that he was always aware of him. With that thought, he turned back to look at the headmaster, when he felt something like a ticking behind his forehead, and let the MISSION come to the fore. When he was in mission mode, it was nearly impossible for an empath or telepath to read him.
Albus Dumbledore was growing increasingly frustrated with this young whippersnapper, why didn't he just let things alone, and let him do what needed to be done, for both Harry's and the wizarding worlds own sake. While Mr. Wayne had seemed to want to shock everybody for one reason or another, he decided to do a Legilimency probe, nothing major, but maybe he could pick up something valuable concerning how his mind operated. He had just started when it seemed like an iron door slammed closed on Wayne's thoughts, and then Albus could read nothing, except for a fleeting image of a giant bat, before it was all darkness. Albus frowned for a second, before he decided that maybe he needed to be a bit more forceful.
"Mr. Wayne, maybe it would be for the best if we continued this discussion in private…" only to be forcefully interrupted again.
"No, I think that it would be best for all of your house heads to hear this Mr. Dumbledore," Bruce said with just a hint of malice, though, as he let the BAT come forward a bit more, even as he kept up his light-heartened voice, "I think there are things that they need to know, that maybe if they had known before, maybe things might have went better for Harry long ago."
"Oh for crying out loud Headmaster, let's just cast a memory charm on him and take the spoiled brat!" Snape growled as he pulled his wand, and started to point it at Bruce, before he found himself wishing he'd stayed in bed that morning.
The reason that he wished that was that just as he'd pulled his wand, he found his face full of tonic, and then there was a strange hand holding his own wand hand, while he found another one around his throat, and he found himself looking into eyes full of menace. At that point in time, there had only been a few moments that Severus Snape had found himself scared spit-less: the first time that his father had raised his hand against him when he'd been coming off an alcoholic bender, the next when he'd been caught in the Shrieking Shack and James-bloody-Potter had saved his life, and the first time that he'd met Voldemort, and truth be told every time after that, but this was a new one for him.
At this moment in time, he found himself staring into the blackest eyes that held neither warmth nor pity, eyes that would be a match for Voldemort's as far as intensity. Snape found himself wondering if it would have just been better to have stayed home that morning, and what might happen to him in the next second.
All the other professors were gobsmacked as well, though at least three of them held their grins back, and Dumbledore found himself wondering when he had lost control of the situation this badly. He had started to pull his wand, when Bruce turned sharply to glare at him, and he carefully put it back. Bruce turned back to look at Snape, and when he spoke, whatever joviality that had been there before was completely gone now, replaced only by a coldness that didn't seem possible from the person that had been speaking a moment ago.
"Now, you listen to me Professor Snape," he growled out, "My son, Harry Wayne, has gone to public school the whole time he has been with me. He is neither spoiled, nor a brat, and has been through a lot to get to this point. Now, I have spoken to a lot of acquaintances that have informed me that Hogwarts is one of the better schools in the world, not the best. However, as his family was from there, I would be willing to let him return to England. I think, though, that there will be some negotiations to say the least. Now, I will have Alfred bring in Harry, and you will be polite to him at the very least. If you find yourself unable to do that, then you may leave. Have I made myself clear?"
Snape found himself nodding his head rapidly, and Bruce let him go; Snape straightened his robes, and moved over to stand next to the Headmaster. Bruce pushed a button, and a bell rang throughout the house. A few moments later, a young boy walked into the room, to stand over next to Bruce, who put his arm around him for a moment before he let him go. Harry looked up at him, and nodded, before he walked over to the females, shaking their hands firmly, before he walked over to each of the men, offering his hand as well. Dumbledore and Flitwick both shook his hand with enthusiasm, while Snape took his hand for only a second before he pulled away abruptly.
"Good evening everyone," Harry said with a quiet voice, "My name is Harry Wayne, and I'm glad to meet all of you. Dad and I have enjoyed learning about Hogwarts, and I look forward to being able go there, and learn all I can to help me make my way in the wizarding world. It's a pleasure to meet all of you."
Harry said that in the way that he and Bruce had rehearsed, concealing the small smirk as they ate it up, though the two witches and the small wizard seemed to be people that he would like to get to know. However, the tall dark one, Severus Snape who'd been speaking ill of him and the one that was trying to project the grandfatherly image, Dumbledore, well, he decided that it was best to keep an eye open and remember what Inza had told him when she and her husband came to the Cave to set up their wards. He resolved to keep it in mind always, and see her again when he returned the next year. If anything else, Harry knew that this year was going to definitely be interesting, to say the least. He did notice that all of the professors were staring at his forehead, obviously looking for the scar that used to be there.
"If you're looking for my scar, I had an operation to remove it back when I was nine years old," Harry said with a hint of sarcasm, while Bruce kept his face impassive just to see how the rest of the professors reacted. Dumbledore reacted with the most surprise off all of them, and it seemed like he was going to be the most trouble.
Arrival at Hogwarts
The platform was becoming a crush of people at this time of morning. Harry groused to himself a for just a moment, as he waited to see who else was waiting for the Hogwarts Express, before he grinned at the thought of making new friends, unless they were like certain people he had met on his shopping trip to Daigon Alley. Funny thing though, as the place seemed to be taken out of one of those elaborate renaissance festivals. People were dressed like he thought they might have in the middle ages, and wore it naturally. Granted, the professors that he'd met at the manor had been dressed the same, but he thought it was just sort of an elaborate fancy-dress thing. He recalled what it had been like that night, with the rest of the professors, and how they'd reacted when he showed that as far as magic went, Harry was more than aware of it.
"Good evening everyone," Harry said with a quiet voice, "My name is Harry Wayne, and I'm glad to meet all of you. Dad and I have enjoyed learning about Hogwarts, and I look forward to being able go there, and learn all I can to help me make my way in the wizarding world. It's a pleasure to meet all of you."
Harry held back a smirk, keeping a polite smile on his face instead. As far as he was concerned, he was well-versed in the ways of magic, and had been for a while. Ever since he had performed his first bit of accidental magic a month before his seventh birthday, he'd been training hard on the best way to control it.
His teacher had been in a bad mood that morning, something about how men were pigs or something like that. She had alternated between sitting that her desk looking sad, and snapping at one of the students, including scaring one of his best friends at the time, Janie Irving. When Harry saw her crying, he had felt a righteous rage fill him for a moment, until he faced his teacher, and saw the look on her face, a combination of fear and sadness, and she even had a few tears welling in her eyes. Harry looked a moment longer, before he found himself wishing as hard as she could that he could make his teacher happy again, when it happened.
He had been wishing that thought, when his saw his teacher's hair turn a bright blue, almost a mix of violent and sky. He gasped out loud, which broke the floodgates of the other kids that had been staring as well. The chuckles turned to outright howls of laughter, with the confused teacher wondering what was wrong with her charges. She looked at Janie who was too helpless to do more than tug on her hair, making the teacher pull on her own to see what might have been the matter. Her eyes opened wider than Harry had ever seen, and she stood up to stare at the mirror on the classroom wall in disbelief. Harry worried for a second about what might happen, before she started to giggle, then laugh out loud as well, causing the rest of the class to howl even louder, and making Harry break out in a grin that could have rivaled the Joker's.
Harry stood on the platform a moment longer, before he noticed more people that were dressed in the robes that wizards and witches seemed to prefer, for one reason or another, though he was definitely going to have the Gadgeteer tailor them when he returned the next summer so that they would be easier to move in case he needed to do some strenuous maneuvers. Harry followed behind the group of what he presumed were witches and wizards, four boys, a girl maybe a little younger than he, and led by what appeared to be their Mother, all of them with bright red hair. He stopped by a pillar where he could overhear them without getting too obviously close, and waited while the Mother seemed to be looking around for somebody.
"Oh, what was that platform number again?" the Mother stated in a worried tone, which made Harry wrinkle his brow in thought.
"9 and ¾!!" The little red-haired girl spoke up before she started to beg, "Mom, can't I go…?"
"You're not old enough Ginny, now be quiet," the Mother admonished, before Harry saw her try to glance around again, so obviously trying to look inconspicuous that he had to hold back a screaming fit of giggles.
He wondered how Bruce would have acted for a moment, before he calmed himself, and waited some more, then opened his eyes in amazement as the oldest red-haired boy started to charge at what looked to be a solid wall, before he simply passed through it. The twin boys seemed to like to get their mother wound up, if what he could hear was any indication, but they stopped after just a few seconds, and then the both of them charged and went right through the same way. Finally, the youngest of the four boys went through, and the mother and little girl moved on some, appearing to be looking for someone, most likely him.
Harry quickly walked over; made sure everything on his cart was still undisturbed, before he pushed it over to the train entrance. Gathering his courage, and mentally preparing himself in case this was an elaborate trap of some sort, he waited, and when he saw that the mother wasn't paying attention to him, charged full ahead.
For just a moment, he felt a bit of dizziness as he passed through the gateway, but it was gone only a second after he felt it, before he looked over and saw the train. It was very much an old-fashioned steam engine, though the thing that stood out even more was that the people that painted it were very fond of primary colors, especially red. Harry grinned to himself before he started toward the passenger cars, careful to keep from bumping into someone with his cart.
He glanced behind him to see the mother from earlier come through the gateway, followed by her daughter, and moved quickly to get onto the train. Harry could see the way the magic interacted with the surrounding elements, but was still unable to figure out how it did so directly. He looked forward to being able to speak with Mister E. about that when he went home again, the guy might have major mad-on about women, but he was able to use his mage sight to figure out just about anything in the world concerning magic.
Harry kept walking, and stopped near the last passenger car, feeling for a second a bit of nervousness, before he proceeded to swallow it down, and then gasped out loud as someone put his hand on his shoulder.
"Be of good cheer, young Harry" spoke a calm male voice from his right, "Fear can be a good thing, as long as we do not allow it to control us to the point of unreasonableness."
"Harry turned to the man, before he started out solemnly, "Hello sir, but my Dad always told me that I shouldn't speak with strangers."
Harry finished that last part of the sentence with a bit of a grin on his face, as he had known this person ever since his first encounter with magic. The man that stood next to him was as tall as Bruce, and wore blue trousers, with a matching jacket, and hat, along with a white shirt with a bit of frill. The most unusual thing about him though, was that the hat created a shadow that completely covered his eyes, to the point that nothing could be seen when he looked at you, just that darkness. The Stranger gave Harry one of his own small, but rare smiles, before he spoke once again.
"Too true, young Harry," he said in that same calm, measured voice, "However, are we not all strangers with one another at one point in time? Still, you have only started your training in the magical world now, not counting your upcoming journey."
"Thank you sir" Harry nodded, before he and the Stranger started to walk onto the car, looking for a relatively empty one, Harry secure in the knowledge that he was the only one that could see his companion. "Still, I do wonder why I need to go to this school, Hogwarts. It can't be for what I'm going to learn, every trainer I've had has said that while it's a decent place, it's nowhere near the top of the schools in the world, or even in the United Kingdom. Can't you and the others teach me all that I need to know?"
"Harry, we can teach you all that we know, and more," the Stranger said, as he helped Harry settle into an empty compartment, "You must know though, you are a child of DESTINY, and that means that you must fulfill certain parts of it in order to move forward. You have only begun to scratch the surface of your potential, and while the world of wand-using magic-users is a different world, it is just another one to get used to, and when it has been determined that your training is finished in that world, then you will move onto another."
Harry sat down, and opened Hedwig's cage, letting her out to settle on the seat next to him. She hopped over next to the Stranger, before she hopped up onto his knee, and looked at his face, before she gently head-butted him, seeking the attention that she received only a moment later. The Stranger continued to rub her feathers for a few seconds more, before he stood up, as the trains whistle blew. Hedwig settled back down next to her human, and the two of them stared up at the mysterious being.
"Harry, there will be many tests and trails ahead of you," the Stranger said, looking at Harry from behind the darkness that covered his eyes, "You will meet new people here, make friend and enemies most likely, and will do your best. Your father believes in you, and all of your teachers do as well. Still, do not fear that you will be completely alone, there are others that will be watching as well, some much more powerful than anything in this part of the magical world. Now, I must be moving along, but be aware, your allies and friends will always be keeping an eye open for you and be a part of your life, young Harry. Goodbye for now."
With that the Stranger opened the compartment door, and stepped out into the hall, before he headed to the back of the train, as the final whistle blew. The cars rocked as they lurched into motion.
Harry sat back, going over what he had been told, mentally compartmentalizing everything for further analysis later on, before he closed his eyes, and leaned back, his snowy owl resting against his chest. Harry opened his eyes a little later, and saw that fifteen minutes had gone by. He glanced around, mentally cursing himself for letting his guard down like that, as Bruce would have put him through he wringer for that.
He sat up, and saw that Hedwig had gone back into her cage, and was dozing herself. He grinned at the beautiful creature for a moment, before he pulled out what was supposed to be the school's first year potions textbook, along with some others he had picked up at the bookstore in Daigon Alley, and stated thumbing through it. The potions in the texts reminded Harry of the chemistry classes that he had enjoyed both at school and the Cave, and made him wonder how much leeway there was with them, as well as what he could do to add on to what he was learning. He had gotten to a sleeping potion that could simulate death, when he heard a knock on the door to his compartment.
He looked up to see two girls that appeared to be his age standing in the open doorway with their trunks. The first one was very nice looking, about his height, with light brown hair cut in a pageboy style. The second girl was much larger and a little taller than him, with long dark hair pulled back into a ponytail, and with a bit of a cross look on her face.
"Hello there," the first girl spoke up, "It seem like there's not much space on the train like we thought, and, well, would you mind if we sat with you?"
Harry sat there for a second, before he remembered his manners, and stood up, offering to help them both get settled in the compartment. Both girls thanked him, though the first girl blushed a bit when he spoke, while the second one scowled a bit more, as though Harry was trying to sweet-talk her, and she could see through his tricks. However, as they kept on talking, she seemed to loosen up a bit before they introduced themselves.
"Hello again," the first girl spoke after she sat down opposite Harry, "My name is Tracey Davis, though all my friends call me Trace."
The other girl spoke up, and she had a deeper voice, though nowhere near a man's own, but it fit her well, "My name is Millicent Bulstrode, and you can call me Millicent."
Harry wondered at that for a moment, before he saw the girl give him a wink, and knew that she was having him on a bit.
"Hello," he spoke as he reached over and shook their hands, "My name is Harry Wayne, and it's a pleasure to meet the two of you. Re you going to Hogwarts for the first time, or do you already go there?"
Millicent frowned a bit though she spoke up as she shook his hand, "No, we're both first years. Pardon me, but I don't recall meeting anybody with your style of accent in England before?"
"I doubt that you have," Harry chuckled, "I'm from England originally, but was adopted when I was seven years old, and went to live in America with my new father. Our butler is from England, but I was around more people at school than him, and found that my English has become a bit bland. Alfred tells me that I sound like a newscaster now."
Both of the girls giggled for a moment, and Harry was glad that they seemed to have gotten the joke and he took the time to look at them more carefully. Millicent had a very distinctive shade of pretty blue eyes, while Tracey's eyes were a light hazel color. Both of them seemed pleasant enough, though he got the feeling from Millicent that she only let people in that she trusted, while Tracey was a more outgoing person, but would shut you down if you betrayed her.
The three of them continued to chat for the next hour, with Harry giving some vague details about his home life and muggle public schools in the States, while the two girls told of being home-schooled, and being groomed for the wizarding world. Tracey had got to the point where she was telling the others a story about the day she turned her nanny's hair a bright orange when the door to the compartment was yanked open. Two young people stood there, one a boy a bit on the heavy side with a round face, who looked a bit upset and the other a girl that had brown bushy hair, that seemed to sparkle with energy, and who was wearing her school robes already.
"Neville's lost a toad," she said in a bossy sort of voice, "Has anyone seen it?"
The tone of voice immediately turned Harry off; he had met many like her in some of the advanced classes he had taken in school, the kind that always thought they knew what was best for everyone else, no matter what the other person thought. Still, he had been taught to be polite and he was dang well going to do so.
"No, none of us have seen a toad," he said, looking over at the other two girls, and getting nods, "If we do, we'll hang onto him for you, okay? By the way, what's your name so I can ask for you if one of us sees him?"
Just as the other boy started to speak, the bushy-haired girl cut him off, "His name's Neville Longbottom and my name is Hermione, Hermione Granger. Is this the first time for any of you to be going to Hogwarts? It is for me, no one in my family has ever shown any bit of magic before now, but I was ever so pleased to get my letter of course. I mean, it supposed to be the very best school of witchcraft there is in the world. Have you had a chance to look through your textbooks, I've gone ahead and learned all of them of course, I just hope it'll be enough. Oh by the way, I forgot to ask you your names?"
Harry, Tracey, and Millicent all sat and blinked for a second, trying to catch up with what Hermione had said, along with the surprise that she'd been able to say all that with one breath. He glanced over at Millicent and Tracey, who nodded at him before she spoke up.
"Hello there, his name is Harry Wayne, my name is Tracey Davis, and my friend is Millicent Bulstrode," she stated out warmly, before she turned a bit cold, "And we were just a bit surprised that you could say all that with one breath, as well as that you seem to have barged in here without even asking or being a little bit polite about introducing yourself."
Hermione looked a bit abashed for a moment, before she looked down, and then back up at the others, including Neville. She walked over next to Harry, and waited for him to nod before she sat down next to him, with Neville sitting over on the opposite side with Tracey and Millicent.
"Sorry, I guess I let myself get carried away," she said in a smaller voice, "I just got so excited, that I wanted to show off a bit, you know? I mean, I've read all about Hogwarts, worrying about what house I could get sorted into, things like that. I mean, when I found out that I couldn't use my wand outside of school, and my parents started to wonder if this was just an elaborate prank by one of their friends, then I got to the point that I didn't know exactly how to handle it."
Harry nodded in understanding, and he, Millicent and Tracey, continued to introduce themselves to Hermione and Neville, though Harry didn't notice the glares Hermione was getting from both Millicent and Tracey. As Hermione was explaining to Neville about the finer points of dentistry that she had picked up from her own parents, the door opened again, and three boys came into the now crowded compartment. Harry recognized the pale smaller of the three boys at once, as he'd met him in the robe shop a few weeks ago. The first time that Harry had met him, he had gotten a bad taste in his mouth. The boy had been telling Harry about how his father was doing this, and his mother was doing that, and just reminded Harry of too many of the boys whose parties he had been invited to, who seemed bound and determined to show off their wealth to any that would be around.
"Is it true what they're saying up and down the train?" the pale boy spoke in a demanding way, "They're saying that Harry Potter is on the train. I've gone to every other compartment, and no else has fessed up to being him. So, is it you?"
Harry sat there, taking the measure of the three invaders. The pale boy looked like he had never done more than be waited on hand and foot. The other two were hulks, the kind of muscle that someone like the Penguin would hire just to slow Bruce down a bit when he was getting too close to catching him. Harry knew he could take them, though he did figure that it would be better for him to avoid a fight if at all possible. It would be best to be careful around the girls and Neville, until he knew more about what they could handle, though he did have hope for them if they were willing to train hard.
Noticing Harry looking at the two behind him, the pale boy said carelessly, "Oh, this is Crabbe, and that's Goyle, and my name is Draco, Draco Malfoy."
There was a slight snort from the opposite side of the compartment, as it appeared that Tracey was holding back her laughter, which brought Draco's attention to bear on her.
"So, you think my name's funny do you?" he sneered at Tracey, "No need to ask what's up with a half-blood like you wanting to hang around with the lowest of society. Now all we need is a Weasley in the compartment, and things would be just about perfect, as far as being around the dregs of wizarding families. You'll find that there are some wizarding families that are much better than others. I'm sure you want to make friends with the right sort, don't you?"
He held out his hand for Harry to shake, but Harry stared at it coldly before he said, "I think I can figure out who the wrong sort of people are by myself, thank you. Considering that I never admitted to being Harry Potter, you sure seem quick to jump into a situation without thinking it through don't you?"
Draco turned an unhealthy shade of red that made his white-blond hair stand out even more, and when he spoke again, it was with heat in his voice, "I'd be careful if I were you Potter. Unless you're a bit more polite, you'll end up the same way as your parents, because they didn't know what was good for them either."
Harry turned a cold glare on Draco as well, one that had the pale boy backing away from him.
"I think it would be best for you to leave now Mr. Malfoy," Harry said in the voice Bruce had taught him when he wanted to intimidate someone without having to fight them if he could avoid it, "I don't expect to see you or your 'friends' again for the rest of this trip, understood? Oh, and by the way, the name is Harry Wayne, and you would do well to remember that."
Draco stared at him like a mouse caught by a snake, before his eyes cleared, and he gave a practiced sneer before he backed out of the compartment with his two thugs. Harry kept his eye on them until they had left, before he turned around and found that the other four students were staring at him in a bit of shock. Sitting back down, Harry held out his arm where Hedwig came and sat on it, before she hopped over and gave him another affectionate head butt, causing Hermione and Tracey to giggle, Neville to let out a breath that he didn't appear to be aware he was holding, and Millicent was looking at him with a bit more respect than she had earlier.
Nothing happened for the rest of the trip. Right after Draco and his goons left the compartment, the young red-headed boy that he had seen on the boarding platform, who introduced himself as Ron Weasley, came in and sat down without any invitation after hearing that Harry 'Bloody' Potter was on the train to Hogwarts. Harry corrected him concerning his name, and waited for the standard questions that it seemed the others wanted to ask him, but were afraid to, such as why he didn't have the scar, what he thought of the wizarding world, and what he wanted to do when he graduated from Hogwarts.
Harry answered each of those questions, though he could see that Hermione was just bursting at the seams to ask him questions as well. About fifteen minutes before the train was scheduled to arrive, Harry and Neville stepped out of the room, while the girls got ready, and then went in and got their robes on too. Hermione and Neville went back to their own respective compartments, while Harry got his trunks set up and Hedwig back in her cage, and then helped Millicent and Tracey with their own things.
As they exited the train, they heard a voice calling out, "First years, First years over here!"
Harry smiled and waved as he recognized the large man named Hagrid that he had seen in Daigon Alley when he had first arrived in England. He quickly got together with his two new friends, and they joined the group of new first year students down a narrow path that led to a lake. The group stopped there, and Harry saw that there were a small fleet of boats waiting at the dock. Harry climbed in with Tracey and Millicent, where they were joined by Ron Weasley. After the giant man took a glance around and made sure that all of them were in the boats, he yelled out, "FORWARD!"
The little boats glided quietly through the water, with no one in them making a sound at all. At the end of the journey, with Harry having seen the castle, which looked much like some kind of fantasy castles he had seen in books, the boats pulled up to a dock at the edge of the castle, where a huge door could be seen. All of the students clambered out and stated to make their way to the door. Harry glanced over and waved at Neville, just as he was stopped by Hagrid, who apparently gave him his missing toad. They all stopped at the doors, and Hagrid banged on them with his fist.
The doors swung open silently, and Harry saw the older female professor, McGonagall standing there wearing dark green robes. She still seemed the same as when he had first met her, giving off an almost visible aura of sternness mixed with a strong sense of fairness. She reminded Harry of some of the tutors he'd had over the years, both magical and non-magical
Just then, Hagrid spoke up, "The First years, Professor McGonagall."
"Thank you Hagrid," she nodded to the large man as she opened the doors wide enough to let them all in. The new students all followed her across the stone floor, and while they were all silent, they could hear the droning of voices from another room. Several times, Harry found Tracey in his personal space, and once Hermione was able to, she fell into pace beside him also. Millicent stayed back a bit, giving Harry the impression of a bodyguard, not that he felt he needed one, but it was still nice of her to do so.
They stopped in front of another set of doors, and the professor turned around to face them, before she gave a small speech about each of the houses they were to be sorted into at Hogwarts, what they meant to the history of the castle, and what would be expected of them as students. After giving them her speech, she made her excuses, and told them to wait for her to return, before she opened the doors, and went through them, leaving the first years alone.
Harry couldn't help but wonder how exactly the sorting was to be done, and he could see Hermione standing near him, apparently going over spell she had learned. He turned back to ask if Tracey had heard of what they were supposed to do, when a strawberry blond girl closest to the doors gave out a yelp, as a swarm of ghosts came into the room. They were various kinds; one looked like what he always pictured Friar Tuck from the Robin Hood stories, making him wish that he could ask him who he had been before.
Harry already had met a couple of ghosts in the last few years, top among them being the ghost of Boston Brand, known as the supernatural hero, Deadman The ghosts all appeared to be gossiping over something, only acknowledging them after a few minutes. Just then, the great doors to the Hall opened up, and the group as a whole moved like a group of ducklings following McGonagall.
The students all walked up next to McGonagall, as she commanded them to form a single-file straight line. Harry was definitely impressed by the Great Hall, and took his time trying to take everything in. He stared up at the ceiling, which was reflecting the night sky, just as he had read about in the book about the school, Hogwarts, a History.
The group all walked up to the front of the hall, where Harry could see an old battered witch's hat sitting on a stool. The hat twitched for a moment, and then a rip in its brim opened up, and it began to sing a song. The tune was very catchy, and Harry found that it had gotten stuck in his head when the hat finished singing and took a sort of bow at the applause it received.
Professor McGonagall pulled out a piece of parchment, and stated, "When I call your name, you will come up here, put the Hat and be sorted into your House…Abbot, Hannah."
A girl with her hair done up into pigtails walked up and put the hat on, were after a few seconds, the hat called out "Hufflepuff", and she happily skipped over to the table with her new housemates. The professor continued to call out names; Millicent went to Slytherin, as did Tracey, Hermione took a little longer, but the Hat eventually sent her to Gryffindor, along with Neville a few minutes later. The pale boy, Draco, was sent to Slytherin almost as soon as the Hat touched his head, and finally, it was Harry's turn.
"Harry Potter Wayne," which left Harry feeling a bit chuffed, as he knew McGonagall didn't have to say his whole name for him to go up there. He walked up, sat down on the stool, and the Hat was put over his head. At that moment, all the noise that he had heard previously vanished.
"Hmm, Difficult," Harry heard a voice say.
"Who are you?" He whispered back to the same voice.
"I am the Sorting Hat," the voice said, "It is my job to make sure you get placed into the right house, but you, you are going to be difficult to place indeed."
"Why?" whispered Harry.
"You have all the qualities that the Founders of the school desired for their students, the Hat spoke up, "You are brave to be able to train and know what you will face someday, which would do you well in Gryffindor; your desire and seek out knowledge would mean that Ravenclaw would fit you nicely also. You are loyal to your new family, and to the secret you keep for your father, which would mean that you would fit Hufflepuff quite nicely and you are cunning enough to be able to survive well in Slytherin. I can also see that you have been receiving training from, oh my, the Right Hand himself, and from others that would qualify as demigods as well. So, you would do well in any of the Houses, therefore, what do you think would do well for you?"
"I don't want to make waves, not right away," Harry whispered, But I do want to make a difference, but I don't want to take the chance that what I do could harm my Dad or his secret over time, do you know what I mean?"
"Hmm," the Hat thought, "then that's why you would do well in…Hufflepuff!"
The silence in the hall was almost deafening in itself.
Harry lifted the hat off of his head, to see that the entire Hall had gone entirely silent, making him wonder if the had had made him deaf for a moment. Tracey was staring at him, her mouth forming a perfect 'O', while Millicent was looking at him speculatively. Hermione was looking shocked as well, and Neville gave him a weak thumbs-up. He heard a cough from the Teacher's table, so he knew he hadn't gone deaf at least, and turned to McGonagall, giving her the Hat, before he turned back and walked back over to the Hufflepuff table.
Sitting down next to the first years that he had seen sorted before him, he looked about for another second, watching the pale boy from the train, Draco Malfoy, along with his friends sneer at him once. Harry shrugged his shoulders before he formally introduced himself to the other first years. The silence stood for another moment, before the Hufflepuff table broke out into wild cheering and laughter, before the other students all started to crowd around him trying to shake his hands and clap him on the back.
When the uproar died down a bit, he turned to see McGonagall's face had turn a pale color and her hands were shaking a bit as she held the hat. Aside from her, Snape had the same scowl on his face as seemed to be usual, Hagrid gave him a friendly wave, Sprout looked as though she wanted to burst, and Flitwick looked to be his usual cheery self. Dumbledore was the biggest surprise, as he seemed to be looking at Harry as if seeing him for the first time. The last person Harry got a glimpse of was a younger-looking man, who along with the standard robes had a turban wrapped around his head.
After another moment, Ronald Weasley was called, sorted into Gryffindor, and finally, another boy named Blaise Zabini, who was sorted into Slytherin. After Dumbldore rose to his feet, and made a small speech, before he uttered some nonsense words, and a thank you, and then the feast was underway. Harry stared at the table as the serving dishes on them suddenly filled with all kinds of food. He decided to try a bit of everything, and got small serving of various meats and veggies, though they were all cooked to the point that needed lots of flavorings to get the taste back. Everything was pretty good, though he did wish that he'd be able to eat more of the healthy foods that Bruce required for him at suppertime.
After it seemed the main courses were finished, a variety of desserts appeared; again all of them a lot richer than he was used too, except for a bowl of assorted berries that he grabbed before anyone else could, loading his plate up with them. He had just started to take a bite out of them when a burst of pain from the area on his head where his scar had been caused him to wince and clap his hand to his forehead.
"Is something wrong Harry?" Hannah Abbot asked him as she held a scoop of pudding in her hand between the bowl and plate.
"Nah, it's just a headache," Harry said after a moment, "Maybe I ate something that was too cold, you know?"
Hannah giggled after Harry followed this up with a wink, before he turned and looked at the head table again. Professor Snape was staring down at his plate, poking around his dessert, while the man in the turban was staring hard at him, before he turned to ask Snape something. He turned to another student across from him, and asked who Snape was speaking with.
"Oh, the man in the turban?" the boy said with an easy grin, "That's Professor Quirrell He's the Defense against the Dark Arts teacher. This is going to be his first year. Everyone says that he's big on theory, but not so hot on practical application; do you know what I mean? By the way, I'm Cedric Diggory; it's a pleasure to meet you."
Harry gave the boy a firm handshake, even as his headache continued to fade away, which led to him decide that he was definitely going to keep his eyes open within this world. The desserts all disappeared after a little while, and Harry vowed that while it might be nice to have something like this once in a great while, he was not going to be doing this often at all, else he'd end up more like Clayface, or maybe Malfoy's bodyguards. He turned back to look at the Head table as Dumbledore stood up and gave out some announcements about the start of the term, which included a reminder of banned items, something called Quidditch that people could tryout for, and that the Forbidden Forest was off-limits for anyone that didn't want to die.
"Finally, I must tell you that this year; the third floor corridor on the right-hand side is out of bounds," Dumbledore said with a strange bit of humor to his voice, "Class schedules will be passed out tomorrow, but for now, it's time for bed, so off you go!"
Harry narrowed his eyes; this was supposed to be the safest magical school in the world? He stood up with the rest of his House, and lined up with the rest of them as the prefects led them out of the Great Hall. The group as a whole walked down a corridor, with portraits on either side of them, giving Harry a start when he saw that the figures in them were moving.
Finally they stopped in front of one of the portraits, and the prefect spoke a password, which had the portrait open up, revealing an open passageway behind it that led into a large room. The room was lit up by a row of torches along the walls, along with a large fireplace that should have made the room too hot, but didn't. A moment later, the portrait opened up again, and Harry again got to see his Head of House, Professor Sprout.
"Good evening everyone," she said in a way that made Harry feel comfortable, more than he usually felt around others, "I would like to welcome you to Hufflepuff house. I know some of the things you will hear about our house over the next seven years, such things as; 'Duffers, the leftover House, the House of the people that couldn't make it anywhere else,' and a lot more. Let me tell you now, Hufflepuffs are part of a great extended family. Now, as a family, we will all support the others, even if you don't like a certain person. You will do what's right, as the members of this house live by the golden rule, that you treat others as you want to be treated."
She paused to take a breath, and then spoke again, "Everyone remember, just because we play by the rules, that does not meant that we will allow ourselves to be pushed around, or used by the others, just because we are 'puffs'. We will always be proud to be a member of one of the houses of the four founders of Hogwarts, Hufflepuff house!"
The entire house stood and applauded Professor Sprout, and Harry found himself wishing that she had been his grandmother, she just called to him in that way. After she blushed a bit, she waved at them, and then turned to the prefects, softly giving them their instructions for the night. With that done, she turned back to the rest of her Badgers and wished them all a good and peaceful night. After she left, Harry and the rest of the first year boys and girls were led to their own dorms. Inside the room, Harry saw that the beds were old-fashioned four poster ones, trimmed with a combination of yellow and black. He changed into his sleepwear, and clambered into bed, falling asleep almost as soon as his head hit the pillow.
The cock had yet to crow when Harry had awoken the next day, but after two years of almost relentless training, along with his regular school work and activities that any young boy might be up to, Harry was able to go from a sleeping to an awakened state in the matter of a few seconds. Bruce had apparently picked up the idea of Harry being ready to go at any time from one of his old martial arts masters, and had burst into the room at odd hours of the night, almost giving Harry a heart attack the first time.
After Alfred had given Bruce a thorough scolding, Bruce had explained what he had been meaning to do, and Harry had managed to prepare for it, with the effect that he was now able to wake up at almost the moment his body felt something off in whatever room he was sleeping in. He got up, dressed in his training clothes and with a friendly hello to a yawning portrait, he set off to explore the grounds, and find the best training spots outside, as he was sure there must be places to train inside.
Harry spent the next ninety minutes jogging around the lake, along with his regular calisthenics, before he noticed that the sun had come up enough that he knew he would have to go in and get ready for his first class of the day, and maybe catch some breakfast, though he did hope that it was something relatively light, as he didn't want to doze off in his first class at this school. He cut through the great hall, ignoring the stares of some of his classmates; before he went to take a quick shower. Finishing up, Harry jogged back down to the hall with his book bag in hand, and sat down at the Hufflepuff table, and stared at the heavy-looking food that sat there. It was only a few seconds later when he poured out some water and sat drinking it that a small creature pooped into the space next to him, startling him with it's sudden appearance.
"You is not happy with foods" it asked in a rather pitiful voice as though it was ready to start bawling like a child.
"Um, no, it's not that," Harry said with a quick shake of the head, "It's just that all the food here seems to be so rich and heavy, and I'm used to eating a lighter fare for breakfast, like cereals, fruits and such."
"Oh, that be's no problem," the little creature with the large ears squeaked, "I's be happy to fix what you needs, just tell me what you like, and I's fix it straightaway!"
Harry stared for a moment, before he grinned, and thanked the little guy, and after telling him a list of things that Alfred would fix for him in the morning, the little creature set off to get him what he wanted. It was later on that day that he found out that the little guys were called House Elves, and that one was named Floobsy. Two bowls, one full of warm cereal, and another filled with grapefruit wedges appeared a moment later, and Harry happily set to it. He was in the middle of finishing off the bowl of fruit when he felt the presence of three people approaching, and a moment later, Tracey and Millicent were setting beside him, with Hermione setting across from him.
"Harry?" began Hermione, "Why didn't you tell us that you were really Harry Potter on the train? We wouldn't have said anything if you had really wanted it to be kept a secret."
Harry knew that there was a bit of hurt feelings and immediately went to head them off.
"Hermione, Millicent, Tracey," he started out, feeling less confident that he looked, "I didn't mean to keep it a secret as it were. My name really is Harry Wayne. I took my adopted dad's family name, and never really thought about it anymore. I still sign my full name as Harry Potter Wayne, but I was hoping to try and retain a bit of anonymity if I could, so I didn't tell you. I guess I just wanted you to judge me on who I was, rather that simply by my name, which I get a lot of back home in Gotham."
"Gotham, you're from Gotham City!" Tracey blurted out, "No wonder your name sounded familiar to me on the train. My mom works for Wayne Electronics here in Britain, so you mean you're the adopted son of Bruce Wayne, one of the richest Muggles in the world?"
"Yeah, I guess so," Harry blushed a bit, "I never really thought much of it, though the manor was a bit big when I was growing up, Bruce let me invite friends over, and I got to go visit them, so I never felt like I got it all that different from other kids my age. I hope that someday, I'll be able to make my own fortune, and use the rest of the family fortune to help people that really need it."
Tracey, stared at Harry a moment more, while Millicent looked thoughtful, and Hermione kept her face carefully controlled, though Harry could tell that she had a boatload of questions that she was dying to ask him. She seemed to be working herself up, when Harry took a glance at this watch, and noted the time, which had Hermione and the other girls jumping up to get to their first class.
Harry got up at a more sedate pace, and started off for his first class of the day, which was Transfiguration. Harry was surprised when Professor McGonagall was able to change from an ordinary looking cat to her usual stern self, and Harry found himself caught up in her lecture. She was able to keep the class involved in what she was saying, and took the time to help whoever need it. His first assignment, to change a match into a needle went well, and he found that he was able to do so with relative ease, earning five House points for his efforts.
The next class was Defense against the Dark Arts, which was much harder overall, though that was due to the Professor more than anything else. Professor Quirrell stuttered so much that Harry found himself barely able to follow along at times. That combined with the headache that seemed to be a constant in the classroom, along with the smell of garlic drove him and the other students to distraction.
He did his best though, and asked more than a couple of question, which would make the Professor stop for a second, and stare at him with an intense look once when he thought Harry wasn't paying attention to him. It was only after he turned away and started to speak about doxies that Harry narrowed his own eyes. It seemed like things were not as they seemed, and it would be best to figure it out as soon as possible.