The Ten That Were Taken – 1
Summary: This is the sequel to Harry Potter's first year, which was covered in `The Roaring Snake'. This story will cover years 2 and 3. Both the years will somewhat follow the events of canon, although they not completely. Like the previous story, the tale will feature a smart, observant and resourceful Harry, with plenty of initiative, but not a mighty, or a super-rich one, or a political genius. Logical!leader!Harry is what I am aiming at, and like the prequel, will be heavily politically charged. But rest assured, the villains are as smart as Harry Potter, and every faction in the story will display at least a respectable degree of competence. The accent in this story is more on developing Harry and his friends from uncertain, irresolute boys and girls to toughened, determined creatures, wizards and witches aware of new found resources, and well worth having by one's side.
Dumbledore, Snape and Malfoy lovers – please note - none of the three will be pleasant. You have been warned!
Disclaimer: I don't own Harry Potter. I am merely playing in the world created by JKR. As usual, all criticism is welcome.
The journey back from Hogwarts was uneventful and soon it was time for them all to alight at King's Cross station. Harry inwardly groaned at the thought of having to return to the Dursleys and bitterly resented the fact that the headmaster had condemned him to this hell. No matter what the headmaster averred, Harry was not comfortable going back to the Dursleys. He had asked if he could go visit his friends, but the headmaster had washed his hands off the matter saying that he had promised not to intervene in the Dursley household when he persuaded them to take Harry in and that he still felt bound by his promise. He counselled Harry to make his appeals to his uncle and aunt. As his magical guardian, Dumbledore even expressed approval for Harry's plan to get lessons over summer from the Rosiers and the Greengrasses.
Harry, however, knew better than to simply approach his relatives. The muggles would never consent to Harry learning more magic unless they either saw an advantage for themselves in Harry learning more or else, were terrified of forbidding Harry to learn it. Therefore, his hopes rested to a large extent on the plan Narcissa had devised.
The students all alighted and found themselves on the platform. Harry quickly spotted Priscilla, Berenice, and Andromache standing in a corner, chatting among themselves. They all greeted each other, and after a rather effusive welcome, Berenice and Andromache left with Sakarbal and Morag respectively, bidding Harry goodbye and wishing him a happy summer. After that, Harry, Priscilla and Daphne marched off to the muggle side of the platform, where Harry's loving relatives would be waiting.
Vernon Dursley, Petunia and Dudley were impossible to miss. Or rather, the former and the latter, given their inordinate size, were, although scrawny Petunia was almost eclipsed by the bulk of the two males. However, all three were glaring daggers at Harry for daring to bring a couple of freaks in tow. Both Priscilla and Daphne were still in wizarding robes, recking little of what others might think of them. Even less impressed were they by the death glares of the Dursleys. Priscilla ignored their hostility, and spoke, "Mr. Dursley, I am Priscilla Greengrass and my daughter Daphne is one of your nephew's classmates. I wanted to speak to you all and I think we had best go for a lunch .."
Vernon cut her off rudely, "Sorry, but we've got other business. Come, boy – we haven't got all day!"
Priscilla spoke coolly, "Mr. Dursley, your supervisor would be most displeased if you were to skip this meeting with myself and a friend of mine, who I believe has visited you a few months ago. I think we will waive your objections." She stared icily at Vernon, daring to contradict her, but Vernon's courage was the sort that wanes as the opposition waxes. He gulped, and Priscilla stifled her laughter with some effort. She nodded unemotionally, "Please follow me."
Giving the Dursleys no time to object, she casually turned and walked towards the exit, with Harry and Daphne in her wake. The three Dursleys gazed with an admixture of horror, anger and hatred at the freak who had dared command them, but her shot about Vernon's supervisor had not escaped the gross man, dense as he was. Biting back a curse, Vernon gestured to Petunia and Dudley to follow him, and started off after Priscilla.
A short walk of a few minutes brought the entire group to a comfortable restaurant. Leaving Harry and Daphne, Lady Greengrass went to make arrangements for all of them, but Vernon, whose courage seemed to have revived somewhat in the meantime, remarked waspishly, "Don't the freaks have restaurants of their own?"
Before Harry could answer that comment, Daphne returned with the same icy coolness that her mother possessed in abundance, "Perhaps Mr. Dursley, my mum thought that you would be a little more civil if she treated you decently." She shrugged indifferently, before continuing, "It doesn't seem to be working."
Harry shot her a warning look, but she returned a reassuring glance, which seemed to say that things were under control. Or perhaps, it may have been principle for Daphne – though she was a rather pureblood, she did not take condescension from repellent muggles well.
Vernon was about to retort when Priscilla returned with Narcissa close at her heels. Vernon turned a nasty shade of green on seeing Narcissa. Narcissa had already shown her mettle once before, and Vernon did not care to fight a battle with the icily tranquil witch, who, though smooth as silk, was poisonous as a cobra and had the ruthlessness of the grave.
She greeted the muggles with perfunctory politeness, and began inquiring Harry about his needs for the summer, while food was brought to the table. Priscilla discreetly placed a silencing ward and a notice-me-not charm around their table. Harry told Narcissa and Priscilla that he had whatever he needed, but she cut him off. "Harry, tomorrow Mr. Tomlinson – your uncle's supervisor – will be interviewing you about your needs. Please feel free to tell him what you require. I take it that Daphne has told you about the lessons that we are planning for gifted children?"
Harry nodded, and Narcissa continued, "We'll arrange transportation for you, Harry. You can leave your uncle's home ..."
At this point, Vernon cut in loudly, "I forbid it! The boy's not going anywhere in summer. And no freaks are coming near my home!"
Narcissa and Priscilla exchanged an exasperated glance. It appeared that Vernon Dursley was extremely stupid and didn't know whom to oppose and whom not to oppose. Narcissa returned, "Dursley, if Potter wants to attend lessons in summer, he'll do just that. You've no business stopping him from continuing his studies. He's one of the most gifted students in the year and you won't be getting in his way."
"Now look here, you people have got no business coming near my home to pick him up ..."
"Harry Potter's education is far more important than your inane prejudices!" snapped Narcissa, her eyes flashing with anger. "He'll be picked up in the morning and he'll return at nightfall ..."
"Over my dead body!" roared Vernon, rising to his feet, forgetting where he was. It had been very sensible of Priscilla to ensure their isolation, or else, every eye in the restaurant would already have been fixed on them.
Narcissa retorted contemptuously, "That can be arranged!" Both Priscilla and Narcissa had their wands drawn and pointed unwaveringly at Vernon Dursley, as he rose. Sparks hissed from Narcissa's wand and Petunia screamed, while Dudley fell off his chair with a resounding crash, one of the chair legs snapping off as his weight centred wrongly on the chair. Petunia screamed again, and jumped to help the fallen Dudley, while Priscilla repaired the chair with a casual flick of her wand. Vernon Dursley subsided into his chair under the menace of the two wands, but his fists were still clenched. Also, the power of Priscilla's demonstration – repairing the chair without any effort – was not lost on him. He loathed the two witches, but he also feared them.
Narcissa continued, "As I said, Harry, you'll need to come for the training."
"Where is it going to be, ma'am?"
"At my home," answered Priscilla. "There are strong wards around our property, so you'll be safe there. You can take the Knight Bus." Seeing Harry's lack of understanding, she explained, "It is a magical bus that appears whenever you need it. Just get out of your home into the street, stick your wand out and it will summon the bus. It can bring you just outside our wards."
"Are Hermione and Justin also coming that way?"
"No, Harry, their families are more accepting of magic than yours. They have the floo installed in their homes, and will be arriving by floo. We didn't think Mr. Dursley would agree to having the floo installed at your home."
Harry nodded, before questioning, "What'll we be studying, ma'am? And who's teaching?"
Priscilla answered, "All of you will have basic lessons in Astronomy, Charms, Potions, Transfiguration, Herbology and Defence. But some of you are showing promise in certain subjects. You, Harry, are very good at Transfiguration and Defence, so you'll receive extra lessons there. Also, you, Granger, and Finch-Fletchley will receive lessons on Magical culture and society. It should help you blend in better in our world, and expectations are sky high for you, anyway."
Priscilla took a sip of the coffee she had ordered before continuing, "I will be teaching Potions, my husband, Herbology, Berenice Rosier Charms, Hamalcar Rosier Astronomy, Andromache Wilkes Defence, and Regulus Black Transfiguration. Narcissa will be teaching Wizarding Culture."
Harry had one more question, "Who else is coming, ma'am?"
"Overall, we have chosen a dozen students. It is based on your scores in your first year as well as students who have special talents." Seeing his expression, she almost smiled, "Don't worry, Harry, all your friends in your group are going to be in the classes. Also, we're going to have Theodore Nott, Draco Malfoy and a girl named Mandy Brocklehurst. She's a muggleborn, so she'll be sharing your
classes on Magical Culture."
Harry was surprised, "I thought Padma Patil would be there – she was one of the better students around!"
Narcissa and Priscilla exchanged a significant glance, before Narcissa discreetly replied, "Let's just say that she's unlikely to attend any classes we conduct!"
They all enjoyed a good meal – or enjoyed it as much as they could with the Dursleys still glaring fearfully at them. Finally, the witches bade Harry goodbye and left, leaving him with the Dursleys. Without a word, Vernon walked back to his car, leaving Harry to run after the Dursleys, even as he struggled with is heavy trunk.
The Dursleys had allowed Harry to keep his stuff in his room, not daring to lock up everything in the cupboard under the stairs. The next day, Joseph Tomlinson arrived at Privet Drive and he and Harry had a long conversation on what his needs were, and the meeting ended with a shopping trip that got Harry new clothes for the first time. Tomlinson also promised Harry that he would call again next week, gave the boy his phone number and told the boy to call him should he need any more assistance. Vernon Dursley had lost face heavily with his supervisor and he did not relish the fact. Several times, Harry had seen Vernon gaze with an almost hungry expression at him, his fingers curling and uncurling as if he wished to wrap them around Harry's throat, but the fact that Harry was a wizard who might turn him into a toad if annoyed combined with the knowledge that Joe Tomlinson was monitoring the situation closely prevented Vernon Dursley progressing further than fantasies. Harry was alive to the changed situation and knew that, no matter the principle or what the purebloods might feel about the muggles, he, Harry, still had to live with those selfsame muggles. Harry, therefore, was being quite cooperative and doing whatever was asked of him without any real fuss.
Harry still wrote his friends and they replied, and all in all, Harry was, for the first time in his life, having a decent summer.
The first week passed without further incident. It was on Sunday that Harry got a distressing bit of news from Narcissa via Rosier. It was late in the evening, when Harry's communication mirror warmed up and Harry picked it. Rosier was calling him from the other end. He spoke curtly, "Hello, Harry. Are you alone?"
Seeing Harry nod in acquiescence, he continued without preamble, "Auntie Cissa learnt some distressing news. Mr. Tomlinson – your uncle's supervisor – suffered from an automobile accident while travelling on factory work. He's dead. Auntie wanted to warn you – for the moment, there is no one supervising your uncle."
"Heavens!" muttered Harry, paling. His first reaction was one of sympathy for the bereaved family. But soon his thoughts returned to himself. His uncle had been looking more and more vengeful with each passing day. If he learnt that Tomlinson was out of the picture ...
Harry's fears had probably communicated themselves to Rosier, who sighed wearily. "I'm sorry, Harry, it seems that you are really unlucky. Auntie says she is working to see what she can do to fix the problem. In the meantime, you'll need to keep your head down."
Harry had recovered some of his composure by this time. He queried, "How did the accident occur?"
"All we know is that his car skidded off the road and hit a tree as he was driving last night. He was killed almost immediately, before emergency services could reach him."
Harry digested the news with a grim face. Finally, he asked, "If Tomlinson isn't around, I doubt my uncle will let me come to the lessons."
"Aunt Cissa is working on the problem. She'll try to find another hold over your uncle. But you'd best be prepared."
Harry thanked Sakarbal, and quickly thought of he position. There was no doubt that he was in a precarious situation. While the most important hold over his uncle was gone, there still remained his own skill. And as far as the Dursleys knew, his skill was quite formidable. They did not know that he could not use his magic outside school. But that would only help him so far. His uncle knew that Harry would not push beyond a point, and it might even be dangerous for Harry if he did. Therefore, he decided to act soon. If he know anything at all, his uncle would be back from work tomorrow, and he would confiscate all of Harry's magical paraphernalia.
Harry leaned back and considered his options. First, he could try to run away from the Dursleys. He had no doubt that his friends would happily host him. But there was the question of pride – he didn't want to be a burden to his friends, no matter how welcoming and well-intentioned they might be. Further, he was uncertain how much they could protect him, and Harry had learnt the hard way, since the earliest days, to rely only on himself. Finally, there was the question of legality. Harry was still under the guardianship of his uncle and Dumbledore. If they came up to the Rosiers, or the Greengrasses and demanded that Harry be handed over, would they be able to protect him? On balance, Harry was not sure. Running to Narcissa was much more feasible – the woman was eminently capable and she might be able to stand up to Dumbledore. But Harry did not get along with either Lucius Malfoy, or Draco, and he did not want to put himself in an obligation towards the Malfoys.
With a sigh, Harry wiped his brow and put away the mirror. Running away was always an option, but that was the last resort and there was no need yet to have recourse to such desperate means. There were, however, other measures he needed to adopt, before uncle Vernon learnt of the fate of his supervisor.
Harry's predictions turned out to be very true. Uncle Vernon returned from work the next evening, glee stamped all over that face. A few vicious insults later, Harry was dragged back to his room and locked inside with a promise that he would not be allowed out at any time, except to do the chores. They fed him twice a day through a cat flap they installed on his door. All his magical equipment, along with the new clothing that Joseph Tomlinson had bought was seized and locked in the cupboard under the stairs. Dudley would often taunt him from outside the room – throwing him scraps of food as if he were a dog. Harry also got the unhappy 'privilege' of watching the Dursleys consume the food he cooked for them, while he himself got but crumbs of what was left over. Being locked up, and not willing to risk doing magic over the holidays, Harry could not even steal what he wanted.
After Rosier's warning, Harry had taken the precaution of hiding his wand and his communication mirror, along with his transfiguration book and some parchment and quill, under the loose floorboard in his room. He was very sure that the Dursleys would not check his stuff to make sure that he had indeed put all his magical stuff inside the cupboard. The Dursleys were too terrified of magic to actually sift through the wizarding equipment. As long as Harry did his work during the night, or when the Dursleys were otherwise engaged, his 'perfidy' was unlikely to be noticed.
Harry endured the situation for a few days, and finally informed Rosier of his situation, and the latter was horrified. Sakarbal knew that Harry's relatives disliked magic, but from there to actually locking up Harry in a room day in and day out was something unthinkable for him. He promised to talk to his parents and Narcissa and see if anything could be done. In the meantime, he counselled patience.
In the sitting room, Priscilla and Berenice were poring over their notes for the coming sessions. Sakarbal descended the stairs from his room, and addressed his mother, "Mum, there's a serious problem. Harry's relatives have locked him up in a room and are barely feeding him. He says there's no way he can come to the lessons."
The two witches were perplexed and Sakarbal explained Harry's situation. After they had overcome their horror, Berenice reflected, "We can't appeal to Dumbledore – he won't help Harry."
Sakarbal protested, "Mum, these muggles have locked up Harry ..."
"Makes no difference," returned Berenice coolly. "The old man probably knows of it already."
Priscilla murmured, "Why is Dumbledore doing this? What has he to gain by putting Harry with those ogres?"
"I don't know – that is a question Cissy can answer better, I guess," sighed Berenice. They all sat in silence for a minute and then Berenice spoke up decisively, "Tell him to break out. Tell him to open his prison, walk out of the house and take the Knight Bus here. His first spellcasting will only get a warning from the Ministry. Nothing serious. Tell him to leave the place and come here. We can hide him, even from Dumbledore."
Rosier promptly transmitted his mother's advice to Harry, who promised to put the plan in action the next morning. Harry could have left that very night, but he ardently wished to wave goodbye to his dear relatives.
The next morning, as Petunia stamped up the stairs, screeching at the freak to get up and do the chores, Harry casually flicked his wand at the locked door, and it sprang open. He marched out with the wand outstretched. Petunia shrieked loudly seeing Harry toward her. Harry murmured, his voice dripping sarcasm, "Thank you, aunt Petunia, for your loving care. It is time for me to leave here. Let's hope we shan't meet again!"
Her shouts had brought Vernon to the stairs and seeing Harry striding toward him, he bellowed like a hippopotamus and raised his fist, but Harry pointed his wand at his uncle, "Stand back!"
"Where d'you think you're going, freak!"
"Away from here!" returned Harry curtly. As he moved towards the cupboard under the stairs, Vernon moved to shield the cupboard with his bulk. "Out of my way, uncle! I will not ask you twice!"
Vernon Dursley's face as an interesting shade – a curious mixture of red, white and green. His hatred was vying with his fear, and Harry decided to help the latter – sending a jet of sparks from his wand at his dear uncle. Vernon stumbled back and Harry jabbed his wand at the cupboard, muttering "Alohomora!". The door sprang open and Harry began grabbing his things. A few minutes later, he had retrieved all his equipment, and lifting his trunk in his left hand, he strode out the door. 'Everything is going to be fine', thought Harry, as he walked towards the gate. A few yards from the gate, a sudden weakness assaulted him, and almost caused him to collapse. He staggered and sat down on the grass, his trunk dropping from his suddenly limp hands. He could barely comprehend what was going on round him, let along stand. He was still trying to recover from his grogginess, when a huge fist smashed into the back of his head, and he knew no more.
Half an hour later, Harry was back in his room, lying on his bed. Uncle Vernon was glaring at him, an expression of loathing and gloating on his puce face. He whispered savagely to Harry, "A letter arrived about you, freak! From your government! Seems you're not allowed to use magic over summer! Forgot to tell us about that, didn't you?"
He growled and grabbed the front of Harry's shirt, pulling the boy to his feet and the latter gulped. "I've news for you, boy! You're not going anywhere from now on! You'll stay locked here and if you magic yourself out, they'll expel you from your freak school!"
He flung Harry to the floor contemptuously, and strode out, locking the door behind him. Harry glanced around and saw that his wand, his mirror and all other magical items were gone, along with Hedwig. He prayed fervently that his owl had not been killed.
Harry sighed – he was in deeper trouble than ever. He didn't understand what had happened and why he had nearly fainted when he had tried to escape from Privet Drive. His attempt to flee had backfired, Vernon knew the true state of affairs now, and to top it all, now his wand and mirror were gone, and he had no way to contact his friends. Things could scarcely get worse.
Do try to guess where the title comes from. It is based on the works of an author who writes very gritty and realistic fantasy fiction. One hint: Dominator and the Lady. I will give out the answer where the story title comes from in my next chapter.
In this chapter, Narcissa and Priscilla were more than a bit supercilious towards the Dursleys. For all that Priscilla is not too bigoted, even she really doesn't like muggles and even less, close minded muggles at that. This will have some repercussions in later chapters.
Try to guess what happened to Harry Potter and why he was unable to leave Privet Drive. I have always disliked stories where Harry can simply walk/run/fly away or portkey/apparate from Privet Drive without Dumbledore being aware of it or able to prevent it. You can think of the old man as 'good' manipulator or an 'evil' one, but there is no doubt that he is an extraordinarily competent manipulator. In one of my previous stories, I used a different trick for Harry go get away. Here, I will be introducing a different escape for Harry. Nevertheless, there will be no easy escapes for Harry Potter from Durskaban.