Hiding at Hogwarts

~ by Healer Pomfrey ~

All recognizable characters belong to J. K. Rowling, and I am not earning anything by writing this story.
I am not a native speaker of English. Please excuse my mistakes.

1 – The Stunt

Harry sighed when the Hogwarts Express pulled into King's Cross and his friends jumped from their seats in excitement. To tell the truth, he was a bit excited too; of course not because he was going to meet his beloved family, but because he was going to do the first real stunt of his life. He had planned everything in detail. Now it was just a matter of being extremely careful, and maybe he needed some luck, although he deemed himself quite lucky if he considered what had happened during his first two years at Hogwarts and how he had managed to get away from everything unharmed.

He quickly followed his friends out onto the platform, allowed Mrs. Weasley to pull him into a bear hug and said good-bye to his friends, before he stepped away, unobtrusively threw his invisibility cloak over and re-boarded the train, sighing in relief as he let himself sink into a seat. 'I wonder if the train is leaving again soon, or if it'll only leave at eleven tomorrow morning,' he thought, just like he had questioned himself several times since he had made the decision to not return to the Dursleys a few weeks ago. As soon as he had made the decision, he had practised a shrinking charm as well as an enlargement charm and had managed to shrink his trunk the previous evening, so that he could carry it in his robe pocket.

Harry held his breath in shock when suddenly people began to board the train. However, he was lucky and no one entered his compartment. 'Well, at least I know now that the train will be leaving again soon,' he mused. 'I have to be very careful in case someone comes in here though, considering that they can't see me.' He had to try hard to keep himself awake during the travel, especially when it became late evening. 'I should have hidden before boarding the train this morning,' he thought, 'but I had to keep up appearances. It was important that everyone saw me on the platform.'

It was already after midnight when the train finally reached Hogsmeade. Hidden under the invisibility cloak, Harry stumbled out of the train and tiredly headed home, unaware of the fact that a faint alarm could be heard in the Headmaster's office.

Headmaster's office ~

"Albus, what is that sound?" Professor McGonagall asked in surprise.

Professor Dumbledore stood from the armchair in front of the fireplace in his living room, where he was playing wizard's chess with his best friend, and stepped down into his office. "The wards around Harry's home seem to come down," he said in concern, staring at a small device on his desk in disbelief.

"Will Harry be all right?" McGonagall asked in concern, stepping behind him.

"Probably. The wards are still up, just not as high as usual. I have no idea what caused them to come down so much."

"Maybe Harry's uncle is abusing him again," McGonagall said angrily. "If you only saw reason and allowed anyone else to become his guardian instead of sending the sweet child back to that hellhole."

"Now now, Minerva. The Dursleys won't be so bad..."

"Albus," the Scottish lioness sighed in exasperation, "do you really believe Harry would come to ask you if he could remain at Hogwarts instead of going back there if they weren't so bad? He asked you last year, and he asked you this year, and I know for a fact that he absolutely hates to draw attention on himself. He wouldn't have asked you if not for a valid reason. And you know very well what Poppy told you about his health and that he is showing all the signs of an abused child. Why don't you let me take him in? Or at least someone else? Even Severus would be a better guardian than those horrible Muggles."

The Headmaster sighed in defeat. "Very well, Minerva. Let's see how everything develops, and if something happens this summer, I promise that I'll do something about it."

"Thank you, Albus," McGonagall said in relief and allowed herself to be pulled into a hug.

"You're worrying too much, Minnie. Harry will be all right. He is strong," Dumbledore said soothingly. "Let's go to bed. It's late, and we still have two months of holidays."

Harry's new room ~

At the same time, Harry finally reached his aim, a deserted office far into an unused part of Hogwarts, which he had found on his search for a place to spend his summer holidays. He closed the door behind himself and waved his wand at one of the torches that turned the dark room into sparse light. 'Thank God, I'm finally home,' he realised as he took his invisibility cloak off and neatly draped it over a chair, feeling very happy at the thought.

"Hello, little one," he suddenly heard a voice. "What are you doing in my office?"

Harry glanced around in shock, before he became aware of the fact that it was a portrait that was speaking to him.

"Hello," he said in a small voice. "I'm sorry for intruding your office. I thought it was deserted and belonged to no one."

"It belongs to me, but you must be my heir; otherwise you wouldn't have been able to find and access it," the older witch in the portrait replied kindly. "For all other people, the wall outside in the hall just appears as normal wall. They can't see the door and open it."

"I'm sorry, Madame, but... who are you?" Harry asked hesitantly. "I am Harry by the way, Harry Potter."

"I know who you are, my boy. I have seen you around during the school year."

'I don't think I've seen the woman before,' Harry mused, throwing the friendly witch a curious look.