Title: Potter's Unfortunate Return
Summary: Dead people just didn't appear on your doorstep with smiles and hopeful eyes… until now that is.
Warning: No Pairing, Little Angst, and Weasley's on Harry's side. If you're expecting Harry to hug his parents and be all 'happy' in this fic then hit the back button. Enjoy!
Potter's Unfortunate Return
As a young boy sleeping beneath the steps Harry had always dreamt of his parents bursting through the front door, demanding him to be returned, and he living happily ever after with a full tummy and lots of love… but those were children fantasies. Fantasies Harry hadn't indulged in, in quite some time. He had always known his parents would never save him from his evil relatives because they were dead, dead people just didn't appear on your doorstep with smiles and hopeful eyes… until now that is.
Harry stared. His breath was caught in his chest as he took in every line, every curve, every indent of the faces he had only seen in pictures except they were aged, they didn't look like his parents but Harry was sure the two before him were no doubt Lily and James Potter. He couldn't breathe; he couldn't think all that well. It was all he could do just to remain standing.
"Who's there boy?" Vernon's gruff question bounced off him as he stared, the pounding of his heart and rushing blood leaving him deaf. A meaty hand clamped on his shoulder and he was moved aside, for once he was grateful for the girth of his uncle who unintentionally hid him. Silence stretched as Vernon's face seemed to pale and his hand slid to the knob of the door tightening until his knuckles skin stretched and shook. "Who are you?" he all but growled.
Harry could feel himself begin to shake, was it shock? "Vernon, dear, who's at the door?" Petunia who was wiping her hands on her apron stepped out of the kitchen.
Vernon didn't bother to acknowledge, he merely stepped aside, the front door opening wider as Harry slid farther into the gap. Petunia stared, her nostrils flared and the shock quickly left her as the deep well of anger and resentment she held locked away opened, "How dare you darken our door!" her cheeks colored in her rage, "Leave!" deep breadth, "Now!"
Lily glanced at her husband, "Now Petunia…" she tried to continue but Vernon without so much as a word slammed the door shut into their faces. "That went better than I expected." She muttered.
James, not one to be ignored raised his fist ready to pound on the door when he and his wife heard, "Dobby!" both glanced at one another, each fully aware just who Dobby was and knew who had spoken, it was their son, the one they came to retrieve.
"Quick James!" Lily urged as she reached into her muggle purse for her wand.
A screech rushed them and as they both spoke the unlocking charm they were caught by surprise when their spells sizzled against the painted wood. Again they tried, and then again, until James who had enough shouted a blasting spell. Only instead of the door forced off its hinges or the spell sizzling it rebounded knocking him off his feet and sending him flying through the air until he landed unmoving between the grass and stone walkway. "James!" rushing to her husbands side she let out a moan seeing the dark scorch mark where the spell hit, thankfully her husband was wearing a vest if not he would have been seriously hurt or Merlin forbid dead.
The commotion should have woken the curious neighbors that faithful night but the Potter's had taken the necessary precautions. They each with the help of a friend placed a temporary charm on the street, one that forced everyone to suddenly tuck themselves between the sheets, each blissfully unaware of Lily reaching for the pendant on her necklace and with one last look at the Dursley's home she tugged hard, the thin gold cord breaking and the emergency Portkey activated. "Harry…" were her last words in the night.
Dobby had always held his personal savior Harry in high regard. He would do anything for his new master though Harry had refused him to call him that, Harry Sir was enough. Working at Hogwarts while pleasant wasn't what Dobby wanted, Dobby wanted to serve Harry Sir, he wanted to be what all house elves dream of becoming, a Companion. It was the ultimate high status and Dobby was sure, so very sure he would bet his favorite sock that he would reach that level of importance. For that to happen he needed to be trusted, he needed to be able to hold secrets, he needed to be all that Harry Sir wanted him to be and luckily Harry Sir wanted him to just be, well, himself.
Hogwarts wasn't his place and he knew it was temporary until Harry Sir reached Maturity and became Lord Potter officially with the family rings and all. His dreams and aspirations were put to a stumbling halt when he found out that Harry Sir's parents were alive. On any other occasion it may have been a joyous, Harry Sir so did want his parents, but as Dobby had pressed his overly large ear against a door designed for house elves – the school was full of elf passageways – he overheard the great Headmaster himself speaking with the Potter's. What was said didn't sit well with Dobby, not well at all.
The Potter's had been hiding all this time, that much Dobby could understand. The excitement of wanting to tell his Harry Sir had plummeted to dread. He would still need to tell only Harry Sir wouldn't be happy. It upset him to see his Harry Sir cry as was often enough. To tell would be difficult, he would need to wait for Harry Sir to call on him; while he served Harry Sir he was temporarily a house elf of the school and as such couldn't pop in and out of muggle homes unless he was called in by his Master.
To his credit as Dobby was called by none other than the Headmaster himself he did nothing but glare at the Potter's who he himself had held in such high regard. Their anxious smiles faltered as Dobby's glare remained and he crossed his thin arms. He was not loyal to Dumbledore, he was loyal to his Harry Sir and for the moment he may find himself tethered to the school he was in no way doing any favors for these wizards! "You is bad people." Oh he was going to give them such a tongue lashing. Just wait until he's called on by his Harry Sir and if need be, he would pop into the train just to let his Harry Sir know the truth.
His knees banged against aged floorboards and he felt as if he was drowning. His head swam and his lungs burned, he couldn't get enough air into his already strained lungs. Merlin he felt so sick and the world began to tilt as the edges of his vision grayed…
When morning came it was a disgustingly beautiful day. He had to pull his pillow over his face and groan. Hell, even the birds were chirping! A hand shook him and he turned over, face still buried into his pillow and he hoped to smother himself… perhaps it was all just a bad dream? One could hope right? "Harry, mate, you have to get up."
"Go away Ron."
Ron merely sat on the edge of the bed, his warm hand still a little sticky from breakfast syrup tried to give an awkward sort of comfort. This was Hermione's sort of thing, she was the girl after all. "We know what happened."
Harry really didn't want to think about it let alone talk about it. Turning his head, he faced the wall, not willing to look his friend in the eye. "They were here?"
Ron smirked; it looked odd on his face. "Oh yea, Mum went right mental." Deep breadth, "Dobby wouldn't tell us what happened; only it was his Harry Sir's decision to tell. We couldn't get in contact with Madame Pomfrey so dad called in a favor. Dumbledore came in this morning with them, you missed it."
Curious, "What happened?" he mumbled, still unwilling to turn over.
"Mum dropped the bowel of scrambled eggs and dad choked on his tea. I'm surprised the screaming didn't wake you up. You should've seen her Harry; she cursed them all out of the house and dad just glared at them."
Harry's fingers plucked at the edge of the blanket, nervous. "So you're not going to tell me how stupid I'm being?"
Ron rolled his eyes, "Of course Harry, you should forgive and forget the fact those arses left you to some horrible muggles." shaking his head, "We're not kids anymore Harry, you'll be a seventeen soon, your own man, for them to waltz back into your life and just expect you to open your arms is very… stupid."
Smiling Harry turned over, "And your parents?"
"I bet you all the gold in Gringotts my parents have a plan of attack ready to go and no doubt the twins will be in on it once they hear. Trust me Harry, you may not have red hair or freckles but you're a Weasley and we take care of our own."
The cake was huge and lathered in chocolate frosting. To top it off Harry couldn't quite see over it which wasn't a bad thing really only he had to stand to blow out the candles. Standing wouldn't have been so bad if he didn't have the seat he was in sing and blow raspberries. It took a glare from Mrs. Weasley but the twins were gracious enough to lower the volume and allow the rest of the family to sing to him. It was official. Blowing out the candles he couldn't quite believe he was seventeen. He had actually made it to another birthday!
Anger, such a deep bubbling well of anger he couldn't get rid of. He could feel it in his chest, the heaviness of it was acidic and it burned. School had barely started and Harry came face to face to his greatest dream only for it to turn into a nightmare. What had he done… what could he have possibly done to be cursed so? He breathed deeply through his nose but it seemed never enough and his eyes prickled but he was determined as ever to not show such weakness. His piercing green eyes stared at the corner of a portrait, all the portraits were awake and judging by their expression neither one was too happy as well. He ignored the conversation around him, the twists and turns of their truths and just how their world turned.
What about his? What about his own world, the world that he had grown into, the world that he was tossed into? A world he didn't have to live in… a world… a world where he had been cold, hungry, an unforgiving world that left him lacking. Left him feeling like some sort of freak who didn't deserve what he wanted more than anything.
Their apologies meant nothing… they meant nothing to him. His fingers curled, tuck beneath the fold of his arms at his chest. How dare they? How dare they just assume he would simply forgive and forget? His memories, all that he had left, were tarnished. The illusions he held of just who and what his parents were, the kindness and general coolness of Remus, the sparkling laughter and jester that was his godfather… it was all gone.
To think, he had thought his hatred towards Voldemort was limitless, but the people before him they deserved every ounce of that hate. Voldemort was nothing compared to these people who thought nothing of him, because that was it. What parent? What father, mother would do such a thing? He had mourned Sirius, he defended Remus, he had looked up to Dumbledore, he had fought in his parents name… and it was for nothing. He was worth nothing…
Harry opened his mouth not to say anything but to breathe, he needed to breathe. It was a game, a trick, one of the greatest pranks ever concocted by the Marauders to them it was something to smile over but Harry felt such despair. It was a punch to the gut, a kick in the ribs, a painful curse all wrapped into a tight bundle and flung at him, the joy he had felt when he first saw that yes Sirius was alive and to see Remus after so long… it shattered.
Agony, pure unadulterated agony; he couldn't think, couldn't breathe, his life was spinning out of control… did they think he would grin and bare it? Did they honestly believe… "Dobby." The name spilled out before he could think. The chatter around him hushed and again Harry called out, "Dobby!"
"Harry Sir?" Dobby's wide worried eyes searched deeply into his masters and sadness drooped his ears; he ignored the order from Dumbledore and took Harry's hand in his and they were both gone.
There was only one safe place that no one knew; no one could bother him and that was the Chamber of Secrets. It was the one place in the school that not even the great and lustrous Headmaster could find a way in. House elves on the other hand weren't barred from many places, it was their greatest boon, and something Harry took much pride in understanding and using to his advantage. He fell to the floor as the chair hadn't popped with him; Dobby hovered around him, keenly aware of the swirl of emotions that wrapped around his master.
"Harry Sir?" Dobby reached out, his touch as gentle as his tone. His wide eyes were filled with concern and worries as his ears drooped and fell even further as the tears Harry fought so hard to keep within fell.
"Please Dobby." Harry's voice was strained and his breadth hitched, "Leave me for a while."
Dobby didn't want to, it was all he could do to not argue and stay and watch but he did as he bided. With a silent nod he quietly disappeared and appeared at the entrance of the door that led to the Chamber. Moaning Myrtle who sat quietly on her ledge frowned at the house elf, the same elf she knew belonged to the boy who occasionally visited and spoke to her.
She wanted to question, wonder why the house elf seemed so sad but her sensitive ears picked up a scream. It was a scream filled with such despair and agony that it sent chills through her. Looking away she stared up and out of the only window into the clear sky above, it didn't take much for her to guess who it was that made such noise and she was sure that the other ghosts at Hogwarts felt it even if they couldn't hear it.
From where he stood Dobby twisted the cotton of his plain robes that his young master had given him, "Master Harry Sir…" and Dobby found himself crying, the deep sadness of his master had crept upon him as well. It should have been a joyous occasion, the bond he worked so hard for was coming true, slowly but gradually his dreams wouldn't be just figments of his imaginations… only he wished it wasn't like this… not like this.
Two days, two long days had passed and Harry Potter was missing officially. The calls of the Headmaster for Dobby were left unanswered and the other house elves that were so kind and willing to please were cold and distant to the wizard, in fact, the Potters and what was left of the Marauders found their selves snubbed as well. Little things began to occur; their teas would arrive cool and meals didn't seem as tasty as they remembered and it didn't matter if they conjured plates for themselves and used them to dish the steaming hot food that smelled divine... the dishes were barely warm and the Butterbeer! Their drinks would be sour even if they sipped from another cup; it was a dreadful two days.
The third day arrived and as Hermione and Ron dragged their feet from class to class they skipped their last period of the day to sit in the common room and worry themselves over their friend. Unnoticed Neville hurried down the stairs from the boy's tower and to his friends. Leaning between them his lips moved, his words were hushed, but it must have been something important, the Gryffindor's never seen two people run so fast, tripping over one another as they scurried up the stairs and then, "Harry!"
The common room gave a collective gasp and like a burst damn, there was a rush of noise.
He was exhausted from living and it scared him. It exhausted him from ignoring the mere presence of those who insisted to be around him when it was clear he wanted nothing to do with them – ever. It had taken a public threat of leaving the school for the Headmaster to keep his distance. He wasn't up to talking; all that mattered was that he had his friends to keep his mind occupied.
The days were beginning to blur and he was lost at random times. He smiled, laughed, while in the Common Room. He was allowed to relax because the Portrait of the Fat Lady refused adamantly to allow anyone but the Head of House to enter and Harry was pleasantly delighted to learn that McGonagall wasn't exactly thrilled with the situation – none of the Professor's in fact.
The Portrait opened and was barely closed as Hermione rushed over to her friends who were playing yet another game of chess – of course Harry was losing. "We need to talk." Hermione eyed her boys, her tone was serious and Harry wanted to hide, bury himself between the sheets of his bed.
"What's wrong?" Ron asked as he moved his queen which quickly took down the night with brutal delight.
Hermione settled her hands on her hips and huffed, "Ronald, in private."
The red haired teen rolled his eyes, "Fine. Merlin woman, you're more annoying than my own mother."
Harry felt his lips twitch; he stood as well and followed the bickering friends and wondered how long it would be before they simply killed one another or stuffed themselves in a broom closet?
"Give it a rest woman." Ron spelled the door locked and expertly placed a much used privacy ward on the room. Since the room was small on its own it didn't take much to do the task. "Now, what's so important that it couldn't simply wait 'till the game was over?"
Hermione hesitated and she looked truly upset. "Harry, please sit down." She finally managed to say.
Harry clenched his jaw, it took a moment but he sat. Not on the bed but on the floor, arms resting on his knees. "What's going on now?"
Fingers fiddling Hermione took a deep breadth, "That detention I was given by Professor Snape this morning, it wasn't a detention." Licking her lips, "Professor Snape felt it would be best if you knew first hand that the Potter's will be taking you to court so you can prepare yourself."
"Court? Why would they take Harry to court?"
"Because Ron; Harry's an emancipated minor." Yet again the silence but both of the young guys stared at her as well. "When Sirius was proclaimed dead in his will he stated you were to be your 'own man' and as he was your legal guardian he could give you that freedom. Technically you've been free since the summer of sixth year."
"I never knew Black had a will." Harry blurted out eyes staring at the dusty floor, "I was emancipated? I didn't have to stay with the Dursley's?"
"Emancipated is just a funny word for letting you take care of yourself financially and making some decisions." Ron quietly spoke up, "You're bound by law to remain in your guardians care unless they kick you out or you marry but you can forfeit their allowance. That should make them angry enough to ditch you."
Harry shook his head, "The Dursley's didn't receive an allowance. They always told me what a waste of space I was or how I was some leech that was using up their savings."
Ron frowned, "That doesn't make sense. You're a Potter; the Potter's are an old pureblood name that follow pureblood tradition, and tradition states that a trust must always be in place for the children as a safety net. We don't have the funds for such a thing but I doubt the Potter's wouldn't build a trust just in case they did die to help whoever it was that was going to take you in."
"I do have a vault for school… I always thought that was it."
Hermione couldn't hold it in anymore; she knelt and settled herself on the floor, making sure her skirt was in place, "Harry, listen to me." Pause, "Look at me Harry." Harry did as he was told, confused. "When you were emancipated it became public knowledge. You should have gotten owls from the Goblin's at Gringotts with at least your monthly bank statements. Haven't you received them?"
Harry shook his head, "Nothing. Not a scrap of paper."
"Then we have no choice." With a firm nod she gave a small smile, "I didn't want to believe it, not even after everything happened but I think you've been royally screwed."
"Oh hush Ronald. Professor Snape gave me a few recommendations and an owl address to a really good attorney. He's assured me that the Potter's are worth more in gold than salt and with some digging I will only guess you yourself have another vault; a singular vault that pays into your school vault, and pays for the allowance of the Dursley's. The Potter's wouldn't have done what they did without knowing they were financially set.
At the moment we have the upper hand so Harry you write to your Gringotts and ask for a private meeting with the Goblin who take's care of the Potter's vaults, Ron you write to your parents, and I'll get us some dinner. We have a lot to do and not much time to get it done. Professor Snape said we only have a few days if we're lucky before you're served with papers Harry."
And with that Hermione ushered her friends to do as she bid, the hours she spent scouring the library for a solution was about to be put to use.
End – Part 1.
Posted 11/21/09 - Edited 1/22/10