AU: Blaise Zabini was the Black King, just as his mother had been the Black Widow; behind his back they called him Black Death. But he may have finally met his match. Warnings for slash. Blaise/Harry.
NOTE: NO VOLDEMORT, SLTHERIN!HARRY
For my 200th reviewer of 'World Enough and Time', Dreamers0rule0the0earth, who requested a Slytherin!Harry and this fantabulous pairing (o: Hope you enjoy!
The wizarding world wasn't quite sure what to expect, but the reality of Harry James Potter certainly wasn't it. No one had seen the miraculous Boy-Who-Lived since before that fateful night when Voldemort had been obliterated out of their world, but legends had begun circulating even before the dawn had broken, about a handsome, heroic boy who commanded scores of phoenixes and dragons with a finger and gurgle. Surely, only such a figure would have been worthy of defeating the most powerful Dark Lord in history at the age of one. Even Albus Dumbledore, for all his eccentricities, was an undeniably charismatic man. That he had been left with Muggles- for his safety, of course- just left the whole wizarding world on tenterhooks on what their saviour would be like.
The year Harry James Potter was slated to arrive at Hogwarts was the year the station at King's Cross had never been more packed. There had been an explosion of children after the war, and even though none of them would be attending Hogwarts the same year, they all wanted to catch a glimpse of the famed Boy-Who-Lived. They pressed into the station from all entrances, filling in the nooks and crannies with wide eyes and expectant faces, on the lookout for a Ministry escort, at the very least, or perhaps an unaided apparition (ignoring the fact that the boy was just eleven), or even an arrival by phoenix.
None of that happened. In fact, it didn't even look like Harry James Potter had arrived at all.
Aboard the train, students scoured every single compartment for their saviour, but had found nothing. There had been no trace of him, not until the Sorting, where Minerva McGonagall abruptly called out, "Potter, Harry!"
Children clambered over each other to spot their saviour, to figure out which one of the firsties left was him. Then the unimaginable happened.
This thing shuffled forward, with a mop of messy black hair that concealed nearly all traces of his face except a pale chin, swathed in oversized clothes and unmatching ripped shoes. Everyone gaped. This was their saviour? What exactly had happened-
He'd been sitting on the stool for a good half-minute before McGonagall recovered enough to place the Sorting Hat on his head. And then something else completely unexpected happened.
The hat needed barely two seconds to draw in a breath and yell, "SLYTHERIN!"
There wasn't any applause. Too many people were too stunned to even process what had truly just happened.
And so in a single night, all the legends of the Boy-Who-Lived were destroyed. He'd been living with Muggles for the past decade, for Merlin's sake, who'd apparently seen fit to psychologically abuse the boy to this extent- the Muggles had destroyed their saviour. The wizarding world went wild. They were going to find the person who did this to the poor boy, and then crucify them-
But, as these things were wont to do in the wizarding world, the whole fiasco blew over without the slightest bit of improvement. England seemed resigned to this mousy, pathetic saviour whom no one could find hair or hide of half the time. Of course, there were still underground groups that kept pressing for the incarceration of the boy's guardians, but without the open advocacy of the Boy-Who-Lived himself, there was little they could do. And Albus Dumbledore breathed a little easier, at least for another day yet.
It looked as though Voldemort were vanquished for good, thankfully; the wizarding world would never stand for a Slytherin saviour- other than himself, of course.
And so life went on at Hogwarts School of Witchcraft and Wizardry. Harry Potter became part of the furniture in Slytherin house. He would have been a target, simply because of his seeming weakness, mixed blood and apparent Light tendencies, but his title protected him somewhat, not to mention the apathy in the boy's eyes that just never disappeared no matter what was said to him. Within a month, Harry Potter had been forgotten.
No one saw the full marks on every test, the first place academic standings year after year, the perfect practicals. They didn't see the almost sylph-like ability he had on a broom. They saw nothing at all.
When Hermione Granger burst into an angry tirade about her placement in her O.W.L.s. as second place over all, despite her having taken all ten classes and only achieving three EE's, no one could give her a name. Even the professors somehow seemed to have forgotten just who occupied the elusive spot before her.
The Slytherin Fifth-Year boys' prefect had apparently turned in his badge, unobtrusively leaving it on Snape's desk one day after Potions. Only the sallow Potions Master had an inkling about just who that had been, but even that wisp of a thought was soon dismissed in the opportunity to gift his godson with this position. Of course speculation spiralled round the Slytherin house about just who this absolute git was, to turn down such power, but no one could supply a name. Harry Potter wasn't even considered as a candidate. Even in his own dorm, none of his yearmates seemed to remember that he lived there. The hangings around his bed were always drawn, hiding their interior from sight.
There came a change, though, in the school year of 1997/8, sweeping through their school and their world so fast it left them all wanting for breath.
The prefects had gathered in their compartment, all of them present save the Head Boy. Most of them knew they were positions based on academic excellence, but no one could quite figure out just who the Head Boy was. The Ravenclaw, Gryffindor, and Hufflepuff Seventh-Year male prefects all represented the top in their house. Draco was second, of course, but neither he nor Daphne Greengrass had a name. It was rare that a Head Boy or Girl be chosen outside the current group of prefects, but as they were positions of academic excellence, such circumstances weren't unheard of.
Suddenly the compartment door slid open, and all of the girls- and some of the boys- held their breath. Perfectly framed by the narrow opening of the door was a five foot eleven inch god. He had alabaster skin, a clean, angular jaw, high cheekbones, and a straight, unbroken nose. His long tousled hair was darker than night and looked freshly sex-mussed. He pierced them all through with electrifying eyes of emerald, a glint of gold in his hand. He glanced down at it, then dismissed it from his attention.
"Here, I believe this belongs to one of you." Some of them actually swooned. Even his voice felt like a dark caress, sinking its hooks into their very souls and reeling them in powerfully. He flipped the badge up, and eyes widened at the 'HB' engraved in the tiny shield. The compartment descended into a feeding frenzy as the boys all dove for the title and the girls fought for memorabilia of the god that had just entered their cabin. No one saw him walk away with a smirk drifting across his face.
Every single tabloid in the country exploded in a fury of speculative gossip. Now that the war was over, no one had anything else to do. It was like their memories were gradually being restored by the enigmatically seductive touch of the Boy-Who-Lived. They suddenly remembered his unparalleled grace on a broom, and Draco Malfoy paled at the realisation about just how much easier it would've been for his team to clinch the Quidditch Cup if Potter'd been Seeker since his Second-Year.
Hermione Granger suddenly recalled Potter's flawless classroom performances and realised he'd taken every class she had Third-Year, but without dropping Divination, or Muggle Studies. Apparently he'd gotten O's with Honours for every OWL achieved, and it was only now that she could remember a shield of his hanging in the trophy room, with his name beside the only other boy in Hogwarts history to achieve that honour, a Tom Marvolo Riddle. She couldn't hope to compare to that.
Suddenly eyes were boring into Harry Potter as if they'd never seen him before.
And none of them had.
And yet when certain factions tried to corner him, they found him uncannily slippery. He was never where they thought he'd be, never anywhere at all except in class, and the moment the bell rang he was gone, swift as the wind, and not a sight or sound heard from him. But for every second they caught a glimpse of him, they fell in love with him that much more.
Was it his magical heritage that he'd suddenly come into over the summer? Questions like that spread like wildfire over the castle. Potter could never be cornered for a straight answer. But then just before Yule, Daily Prophet reporter and gossip columnist extraordinaire Rita Skeeter found herself sent a collection of unlabelled Pensieve memories. Finding little else to do, she looked through each one of them, and emerged a furious, sobbing wreck, ready to unleash her scathing Quick-Quotes Quill on a truly deserving person.
Over the Yule holidays, a series of articles documenting the Muggle-abused childhood of their saviour was published. The British public was whipped into an unstoppable frenzy. Where the earlier movement lacked exactly that, there was no inertia to this second coming. Investigators ripped through decade-old documents and dug into closeted skeletons, all to unearth that elusive creature at the heart of all this. Speculative whispers of who could condone such actions to any child, let alone their saviour, sprang up in every corner. Some thought it was the Minister, Fudge, who saw the legendary baby as a political opponent. Others had darker thoughts of the re-emergence of a shadow in the east. No one was prepared for the name that sprang out in the end.
Albus Dumbledore. Albus Percival Wulfic Brian Dumbledore, guilty of child endangerment and second-degree child abuse, both of the emotional and psychological kind. It didn't matter that a truly heroic Boy-Who-Lived had finally emerged. What mattered to the public was the sixteen years they'd missed out on him.
The various political parties were quick to capitalise on this momentary weakness of Dumbledore's. They stripped him of all his titles, including his Order of Merlin, and before anyone could even suggest otherwise, they had snapped his wand and shipped him off to Nurmengard, to a cell right beside a familiar old friend of his.
More stories began to circulate, about how Gellert Grindelwald had driven Dumbledore to insanity by the end of their first night together.
Harry Potter was untouchable. No one, it seemed, could get close enough to have a conversation with him, let alone strike up a camaraderie. But they told themselves they understood it now. Harry James Potter, the Boy-Who-Lived, was a beautiful, tragic figure, destined to be forever alone. They would watch him from afar, forever content at marvelling at his otherworldly grace.
After graduation though, they didn't even have that, since Harry James Potter disappeared from England altogether.
Thus concludes the prologue. There will be four chapters after this one, posted each week. Cheers (o: