Harry and the Staircase to the Founders' Portal - by teddylonglong
A.N. Originally, I posted this story as a daily-page story; however, due to several readers' requests, I'm re-posting it now in form of a normal chaptered story, so that it will be easier to read for the people who haven't been following the story as daily story with mini chapters.
1 – It was only by chance
1 – It was only by chance
Eleven-year old Harry Potter woke up in a cold sweat, holding his head in agony. 'Oh no, what a horrible dream, and the fifth in a row,' he thought, horrified. He scrambled out of bed and silently left the dormitory, without even realising where he was heading. A short while later, he found himself sitting against a tree beside the lake on the Hogwarts grounds. It was still dark, but he could faintly see the sky getting lighter behind the trees of the Forbidden Forest, even if it was only in his imagination.
'Thank God it's the weekend. I'm so tired, but I don't want to go to sleep again. What if I have another dream?' he mused, when all of a sudden, a sharp voice penetrated his ears.
"Potter, what do you think you're doing here at this time of the night?"
Shivering unconsciously, Harry looked up straight into obsidian eyes that were observing him with a mixture of anger and concern. "I'm sorry, Professor; I had a nightmare and..." He slowly trailed off as realisation set in to whom he was talking.
"And your brain got lost in your dream?" Snape sneered. "How can you come out onto the grounds in the middle of the night at the end of September just in your pyjamas? I'm sure your relatives must have taught you to dress properly."
"They didn't teach me anything," Harry mumbled wearily as he stood up from the ground.
It wasn't a suggestion. It was a request, Harry realised as he followed the teacher into the dungeons and in what seemed to be the professor's office.
"Tell me about your dream," Snape said as he placed a steaming mug of tea in front of his student.
Harry hesitated. Why would he tell anyone, let alone the professor, who obviously hated him more than Muggles, about the worst nightmares he ever had in his life? "There were several," he spoke up undecidedly. "Five so far. They were different each night, but they always involve the same persons."
"Ah?" the Potions Master asked indifferently, pointing to the mug. "Drink, if you don't want to spend the weekend in Madam Pomfrey's care with a bad cold."
"There was a man with red eyes," Harry began, noticing that the teacher's look intensified.
"And?" Snape urged.
"There were always fights. He fought against me. At first he was an ugly creature, then he became a man and fought against me. Then, in the next dream, we met in some building and fought again, and then, he was there with many men in black clothes, and I saw you as well. He tortured you. That's all I think." He glanced unsurely at the professor, whose expression had changed to a mixture of fright and disbelief.
"Potter..." Snape obviously tried to compose himself. "This is strange. Do you know what a Pensieve is?"
"No, sir," Harry replied anxiously.
Snape glanced at the clock. It was five o'clock in the morning, a time that the Headmaster normally used to read the Daily Prophet. "I'll Floo call the Headmaster. I'll be back in a minute. Stay here." With that he headed to the fireplace in his living room and called the Headmaster. "Albus, I need your Pensieve for a moment. Potter had strange dreams of the Dark Lord, which must have taken place in the past or are going to occur in the future."
"Sure my boy, just make sure to show me the memories later on," Dumbledore said gently, handing Snape the Pensieve.
"Think of the dream you had in the first night," Snape instructed Harry as he pointed his wand against the boy's temple.
Harry watched in amazement as the professor brought something silver from his own head into the Pensieve. After repeating the process five times, he felt absolutely exhausted and couldn't hide a yawn.
Apparently realising that he couldn't keep his eyes open anymore, Snape transfigured the chair into a sofa, motioning Harry to lie down. "Potter, go to sleep. I shall watch the memories and, if necessary, show them to the Headmaster. We'll speak about them later on."
"Okay, sir," Harry replied, yawning, too tired to remember his fears of another dream, and drifted off to sleep in the blink of an eye.
The Potions Master couldn't believe his eyes as he watched the memories. 'When did the Dark Lord fight against James Potter?' he thought in surprise, before he came to watch how an older version of the Dark Lord, who looked differently than in his own memory emerged from a huge bucket on a cemetery. 'That must be the future,' he realised in horror as he saw himself kneeling in front of the red eyed monster, before the Dark Lord cast a spell at himself, causing him to wriggle in pain. 'The Cruciatus curse,' he thought, terrified.
Making sure that Harry was still fast asleep, Snape stepped into the fireplace with the Pensieve in his hand to share his findings with the nonetheless stunned Headmaster.
"Harry must be a Seer," Dumbledore breathed, "and the future looks horrible." He leaned back in his seat and offered Snape a lemon drop, before he thoughtfully unwrapped one for himself. "If Tom receives Harry's blood as we could see in the first memory, the child won't be safe with Petunia anymore. Severus, my boy, I need you to protect the boy. You must become his guardian."
"What?" Snape spluttered in surprise. "Albus, you know that I'll do anything for you, but you can't ask me to take the boy in. He is a Potter." He spat the last word.
"I know my boy, I know," the Headmaster replied gently, sucking on his lemon drop. "Get to know the child, Severus; I'm sure he is very different from his father, and he is also Lily's son. Come to see me tonight. In the meantime, I'll think about what to do regarding his dreams."
Severus remembered right in time not to slam the door behind him as he left the Headmaster's office to return to his office through the corridors in order to cool down a bit before seeing the boy. 'Why does it have to be me and not his doting Head of House or anyone else? People would fawn over the child. But no, it has to be me.'
Harry jerked awake up by a door being slammed harshly. "I... I'm sorry, sir," he stammered as he hurriedly brought himself into a sitting position.
The professor sighed, taking his usual seat behind his desk. Bringing both index fingers towards his forehead, he fiercely rubbed his temples in a vain attempt to soothe the headache that had begun to pester him since his conversation with the Headmaster. "It's all right, Potter. I told you to sleep, while I went to speak with Professor Dumbledore," he pressed out, trying not to let his anger show.
"Did he... err... Does he know what is in my dreams, sir?" Harry queried in a hardly audible voice, anxiously averting his eyes to the floor.
"The Headmaster is well aware of the content of your dreams, just like I am," Snape replied curtly.
'Something is off,' Harry mused. 'He is speaking to me in a normal voice without any sneer or malice.' He thoughtfully rubbed his eyes, before he hesitantly addressed the professor again. "Do these dreams have any importance, sir? Who is the man in my dreams? Is that Voldemort? Is there anything I can do to avoid this dreams?"
"Potter, did you have any dreams that showed you the future before?"
Harry remained thoughtful for a moment, before he replied, "No, sir; only during the last five nights; well, since I came to Hogwarts, actually. I had a strange dream during the first night here, but it wasn't as bad as the others, and I fell asleep right afterwards, so I don't remember exactly what it was about."
Severus slowly exhaled the air he had been holding during Harry's explanation. "The Headmaster believes that you might be a Seer. It could be possible that the strong wards surrounding Hogwarts have triggered this ability enough for you to begin to see dreams of the future."
"The future?" Harry interrupted the teacher, gasping.
"Yes, Potter, these events are obviously going to take place in the future as I assume you didn't already fight the battles of your dreams as a toddler?" Snape sneered, raising an eyebrow at the boy, who was fighting back the tears at the prospect of his own future as realisation set in.
"Professor, is there anything I can do to avoid getting these dreams?" Harry threw the professor a pleading glance.
"Tonight I am going to have another conversation with the Headmaster concerning the matter. Potter, come to see me again tomorrow before breakfast. For tonight I shall give you a Dreamless sleep potion, which will make sure that you won't dream anything." He summoned a phial, and Harry watched in amazement as the small green object flew into the professor's outstretched hand. "You can take a small sip in case you want to nap during the day to catch up with sleep, and then you drink the rest before you go to bed tonight."
"All right, thank you, Professor," Harry said gratefully and blushed as he suddenly became aware of the fact that he was still in his pyjamas and didn't even have robe pockets.
"Potter, don't speak about the matter with anyone, not even with your friends," Snape said sharply, throwing the boy a stern glance.
"I won't, sir. Thank you so much for your help," Harry replied and slowly left the room. 'I can't believe it,' he mused on his way back to Gryffindor. 'During the three weeks since I came to Hogwarts, he always behaved as if he hated me for some reason, and then, all of a sudden, he is the one who helps me with my dreams.'
It was still early, and Harry realised in relief that his dorm mates were still fast asleep as he let himself sink onto his bed. Remembering the professor's words, he took a small sip of the potion, before he hid the phial in one of the drawers behind his bed. 'Thank God I met the professor this morning, and miraculously he didn't even take points from Gryffindor after catching me out on the grounds,' he thought as he drifted off to sleep with a small smile playing on his lips.
Harry was pulled out of his fitful rest to someone shaking his shoulder. "Hmm?" he queried sleepily, rubbing his eyes as he recognized his red-haired friend hovering beside his bed. "Ron?"
"Get up, mate. Lunch is going to begin in ten minutes."
"Yeah Harry, you've been asleep the whole morning," Neville threw in. "We were really worried, because we couldn't wake you up. You aren't ill now, are you?"
"I'm fine," Harry replied, annoyed at his room mates' fussing. 'I haven't felt so refreshed and well for a week,' he mused as he stumbled into the Great Hall right in time for lunch to start.
However, as soon as he took a seat at the Gryffindor table, his Head of House appeared out of the blue, throwing him a stern look. Harry felt his stomach churn at her expression. 'What did I do now?' he thought frightfully.
"Mr. Potter, the Headmaster wishes to speak with you. Come to me as soon as you have finished eating."
"Yes, Professor," Harry replied, feeling his stomach grumble as he turned back to the table. "Dumbledore wants to see me," he explained on Ron's questioning look.
"All right; I'll wait for you in the common room. You remember we wanted to go and visit Hagrid, right?"
"Oh right, I completely forgot about that," Harry replied, wolfing down his meal, before he stood up and hurried to the Head table, noticing that the Headmaster had already left.
He silently walked beside his Head of House, anxious to meet the Headmaster, who so far hadn't called any of his classmates to his office, at least as far Harry knew. 'Well, it'll probably be about my dreams,' he thought, recalling that Snape had spoken with the Dumbledore about the matter.
"Don't worry, Potter. Everything will be all right," McGonagall said in a surprisingly soft voice, gently patting his shoulder.
"Thank you, Professor," Harry replied, throwing the teacher a weak smile just when they arrived in front of the gargoyle guarding the Headmaster's office.
"Future's raisins," McGonagall told the gargoyle, and an instant later, Harry found himself behind the professor on a moving staircase that took them up to the office.
"Hello Harry, my boy," Dumbledore greeted him gently, motioning McGonagall and him to take a seat, before he offered him a lemon drop.
Harry took one of the sweets in surprise. 'I wouldn't have thought that an old man like Dumbledore ate drops,' he thought, chuckling inwardly as he observed the wizard pop one into his mouth as well.
"Harry, Professor Snape showed me the memories of your dreams, and Professor McGonagall has watched them as well," Dumbledore began thoughtfully. "Since none of the scenes in your dreams happened in the past, we believe that you must be a Seer, able to see into the future. Of course it could merely be fantasy dreams; however, the persons appearing in the scenes really exist, and we are afraid that the happenings of your dreams are likely to occur in the future."
"I'm sorry, Harry," McGonagall said gently as Harry's face took on a terrified expression. "Please don't forget that you're not alone in this. We're all here to help you."
'No, you won't be there,' Harry thought in desperation, 'I was always alone with the bad people, in each of the dreams.'
"Knowing what might be going to occur gives us a chance to try to prevent these things from actually happening," the teacher continued.
"Harry," Dumbledore once more addressed the boy. "Considering the events we observed in your dreams, I'm afraid you won't be safe at your home anymore."
'Safe from whom?' Harry mused, 'From my uncle?' He shrugged, causing the Headmaster to throw him a questioning look. "I've never felt really safe there, if you mean my relatives' house. For me, Hogwarts has already become my home," he mumbled, unaware of the pointed look McGonagall gave Dumbledore.
"Very well, my boy, then you won't mind if I appoint a different guardian for you. I considered the matter together with Professors Snape and McGonagall and decided to make Professor Snape your guardian," Dumbledore explained, carefully glancing at the boy.
"Professor Snape?" Harry asked in disbelief. "Are you aware of the fact that the professor hates me, sir? I know he helped me this morning, but for some reason he has hated me since he first saw me."
McGonagall sighed, before she spoke in a soft voice. "Harry, Professor Snape doesn't hate you. However, he disliked you from the beginning, just because you look like the spitting image of your father. The two of them never got along during their time at Hogwarts. I am sure that he'll come around though as soon as he realises that you're not your father, especially since your mother has always been his best friend."
'My mother Snape's best friend?" Harry mused in surprise. "Um... Did Professor Snape agree to become my guardian, sir?"
"I trust that Professor Snape will be able to keep you safe," Dumbledore replied, ignoring Harry's question completely.
"Professor Snape will probably call you sometime to speak with you about the guardianship matter. Please do as he says, and if you ever have problems, don't hesitate to come to me, Harry," McGonagall said softly as she rose from her seat and stepped over to Fawkes, handing the bird a phoenix' treat. "As your Head of House, I am your guardian during the school year anyway."
"Thank you, Professor," Harry said gratefully, observing in amazement as Fawkes bowed his head and allowed McGonagall stroke his head feathers.
#Don't worry, nestling; you'll be fine,# Fawkes trilled in his beautiful voice, glancing at Harry.
"You can talk," Harry blurted out in amazement.
"Yes, but I'm the only one who can understand him, because he is my familiar," Dumbledore explained, thoughtfully stroking his long beard.
'So I better don't tell anyone that I could understand him,' Harry mused as he excused himself and turned to the door. 'I don't want to see Ron and Hagrid right now. I have to think about everything.' Determined to find a spot in the castle, where he would be undisturbed, he left the Headmaster's office.
Harry strolled through the castle, looking around with interest, until he found a very dusty corridor, completely filled with white mist. 'This is dust, but how can I get rid of it?' he mused. 'If I only had my book bag with me! The only spell I already know is 'Wingardium Leviosa', but that can't work of course. Ah, but perhaps the spell Snape always uses to get rid of my potions,' he suddenly remembered and waved his wand around the corridor, whispering, "Evanesco."
To Harry's amazement and relief, most part of the dust vanished. The corridor was still dusty and dirty, but Harry didn't mind. 'This part of Hogwarts seems to be completely unused, but maybe that's more interesting,' he thought and proceeded to explore the castle. The windows at his left side allowed him to see the Forbidden Forest; on his right side he discovered several unused classrooms that looked as if they had been abandoned at least one hundred years ago.
'I wonder why these classrooms aren't used anymore,' he thought, noticing that the people in the moving pictures on both sides had left their portraits or were asleep.
#Hello little nestling,# he suddenly heard a trill similar to the one Fawkes had let out earlier. Harry looked around, seeing a picture with several animals between two windows on his left side. Most of the animals were asleep, but the phoenix that was sitting in the centre of the picture was wide awake, looking at Harry with interest.
"Hello there," Harry replied, smiling at the beautiful bird that looked like Fawkes, but his feathers held different colours.
#I am Marlin. I'm a water phoenix,# the beautiful bird introduced himself. #Welcome to the Founders' Portal.#
"The what?" Harry blurted out in disbelief. "The Founders' Portal?"
The phoenix chuckled. #Of course, my nestling, didn't you know about it? Do you see the portal you came through when you entered this corridor?#
"Portal?" Harry couldn't recall having seen a portal.
#You have to turn back to see it, silly. You can't see it from the normal humans' side.#
Harry looked back to see a beautiful portal in a dark blue colour, covered with golden stars and half moons. "It's beautiful," he breathed in absolute amazement.
#Sure it is,# Marlin chuckled. #Only the heirs of the Founders can cross it, provided they find it, and you're the first to come here in three hundred years. You need to teach your children better than your ancestors did, definitely.#
'Wait a moment; am I stuck in a dream?' Harry mused in absolute confusion.
I'm not a native speaker of English. Please excuse my mistakes or help me to correct them.
All recognizable characters belong to J. K. Rowling, and I am not earning anything by writing this story.