I never normally put author's notes into the chapters of my stories, but I feel that one is needed here.
This is an adopted story, so I wanted to establish that the first chapter is not my work. However, from this chapter onwards, it is all my own ideas and work. This first chapter is to establish myself as the new author of the story and to project where it is going to go.
"So, let me get this straight." Harry met his Father's gaze in the mirror of the car as it continued its path down the road. "Everyone there knows about the Supernatural and Demons?"
"Yes, that is what we are telling you, son."
"Erm," Harry shifted slightly in his seat, trying to not wake up Danielle. She was spread across the back seat of the car, cuddled up by Harry's side, fast asleep. She had been like that for the last two hours. "How?"
David rolled his eyes and shared an amused glance with his wife in the front seat next to him. Harry had been part of their family for almost three years, and they were still discovering parts of his personality. It had taken a while, but he had become comfortable around them and it now felt like he had always been a part of their small family. The best part of Harry's personality (and it was something that both of his parents agreed on) was his biting sarcasm and wit. But his parents had noticed right away that Harry had an amazing ability to read people. Harry could read minds, but he worked hard to block the voices out. He told them that he could never violate a person that way and didn't feel right forcing his way into their private thoughts. Even when he wasn't using this ability, Harry had a way of being able to read a person. It would turn out useful in their family's line of work.
"I'm sure I've explained this to you before." David glanced back and saw his son's stubborn gaze meeting his own head on. He sighed and launched into his explanation again.
David had been offered a job as the new priest at a Parish in a small town, close to the middle of nowhere. It wasn't strange for priests to move around to different churches as places became available, but this town was unusual. Around four years ago, a coven of vampires had moved into the town and had begun to terrorise the local people. Hunters had gotten word about it and sorted it out, but not before the entire town had found out the truth and learnt that the things that went bump in the night weren't just stories but were very much alive and real. The Hunters that had dealt with the vampires had explained things to the locals carefully and recommended that they read up on a few things just in case they came across any other Supernatural monsters. They had done so enthusiastically and the entire town had almost become passive, amateur Hunters – minus the actually Hunting, of course.
The last priest had died of old age, and a few contacts of Nathaniel's had made sure that David had been offered the job first. The town had made it clear that they wanted a priest that knew about the Supernatural. Nathaniel had gone ahead to work on the house that came with the church and position (Danielle had insisted her room be pink by the time she got there, among other things) and had met some of the curious people that lived there. After their less than subtle questioning about him and the new priest, Nathaniel had just come out and told them that he knew what had happened in their town and that he was a Hunter. The people in the town had been delighted, impressed and slightly awed that their new priest not only knew about the Supernatural, but was a Hunter from an old family of Hunters. Rumours spread fast in the underground Hunting community and the townspeople had somehow found out that their new priest also had a son who was psychic.
"Cool." Harry's voice was quiet, but David could hear the unsaid excitement in his son's voice. There was no more talking in the car as they passed nondescript country and roads. Harry's gaze perked up slightly as they travelled over the threshold of the town. Harry took in everything as they passed – the small diner, the combined coffee and book shop and the town hall. It was all very quaint and Harry found that he liked it. Back in his old world, Harry lived either in a large neighbourhood with his relatives, in the centre of London or at Hogwarts. The last church that the Ward family lived at was in a town as well, but it was a large town with many people and shopping centres. Living in a small town was a massive change for Harry, but it was a welcome change. He was looking forward to living in a town that knew about Hunting and would act as a supportive community to each other.
David gently pulled the car to a stop on the other side of town, just outside the church. It was a medium sized building, made of old stone with stained glass windows. It was certainly the prettiest church David had ever worked in. Just down the path was a walled garden, connecting the church and the house, which was made of the same stone and surrounded by leafy trees. Harry gently unbuckled his belt and slipped out of the car, careful to not wake his sister up. He smiled slightly as his father quietly picked up his daughter, who instinctively wrapped her arms around the warm object cuddling her. Harry shook his head and briskly made his way into the house, eager to see the new home he would be living in. His entire family knew how excited he was to be moving into a new family home. The last house the Ward family lived in was already full of memories as a family before Harry joined them. This house was brand new – a place where the family could make new memories with them all together.
The house was beautiful. There was no other way that Harry could describe it. The hallway was large, with a sweeping staircase, all in wood. Although it was dark outside, there were large windows that would let the light stream in during the day. There was a large dining room and kitchen on the left of the hallway and a large reception room on the right. Gliding up the stairs, Harry found his father putting Danielle to bed in a pink room that was every little girl's dream. His uncle had gone all out on the house to make it comfortable for the family. David and Sarah's room was also on the first floor, as was David's office, a room packed with Hunting books (including a large cupboard of weapons and other Hunting essentials – it was essentially a Hunter's armoury) and the family bathroom.
Not finding his room, Harry looked at his uncle with a frown. All he received was a smile in return and was led up a narrow set of stairs that were hidden behind a door that he had originally written off as a closet. They led up to an attic space that was all for him. He had his own bathroom and an office, which Nathaniel had carefully filled with books about mythology, creatures and psychics. Harry's family had discovered almost straight away that Harry was the resident expert in the Supernatural and was like a walking dictionary. He knew more than even Nathaniel and David.
Harry loved his bedroom. He felt his eyes filling with tears at the care and consideration that his family had taken when creating his bedroom. At the Dursley's, Harry had no choice in how his tiny bedroom was decorated. The dorms in Hogwarts had been the same for centuries and in Grimmauld place, his room was decorated to fit with the house, not his own personal taste. This room was everything he wanted. A large double bed was against one wall, the frame all in black leather. Around the room, there was built in black furniture made of silver metal and black wood. It was modern, with clean lines. It was Harry's personal space – a place where he could go to be himself and practice his gifts.
"Do you like it?"
Harry spun around and gave his uncle a huge smile. "It is great, Uncle Nate. I love it."
"I'm glad that you like it." Nathaniel took a step towards his nephew and put his hands on his shoulders. He looked him square in the eye. "You are a part of this family and always will be. Nothing – not Hell, Heaven or Earth- can change that."
"I know. You are my family." Harry found himself pulled into a bone-crushing hug.
"Ok, ok." Nathaniel pulled away when he was reminded that his nephew needed oxygen. "You should get to bed. You have a big day tomorrow." Nathaniel closed the door on his way out, secretly grinning at the scowl that Harry sent his way.
Harry stood, silently watching as the crowds of people entered the building. Taking a deep breath, he made sure to reinforce his mental shields. The thoughts of the swarm of teenagers in front of him would be overwhelming. Harry was unsure if he was making his shields too strong, but he would rather block most of his emotions that were swirling around than lose control of himself. That would just ruin his first day of high school.
Harry had been with the Ward family for three years and he had been spending that time catching up with everything that he had missed in his own muggle education. It wasn't just the basics that he had to be taught; he had a lot of catching up to do. As a wizard, there had been no need for him to learn the science of how the world worked. Magical people just accepted that 'it works' and thought that science was just something crazy muggles did. Harry was just beginning to see how much the muggles had advanced. They managed to do a lot of what magic did, with only the use of technology. Now that Harry understood how nature worked on a fundamental level, he was able to use his psychic abilities better.
Harry and his Mother had spent the three years enthusiastically catching up with all his missing education. Harry had never thought that learning could be so much fun, but he was determined to make a good life for himself in this world. He wanted to make his new family proud. Harry had never had a real family before. He had never been as happy as the time he saw the look of pride on his parents' faces when they were told that Harry had worked hard enough to be accelerated up two grades.
Harry hadn't just being working on his muggle education. He had been training to become a Hunter. There was the fitness training that his Father subjected him every single day - the running, the martial arts, weights, yoga and millions of other kinds of exercise that Harry never knew existed. It amazed Harry how unfit he really was when he first started. His old life in his previous world wasn't exactly the quietly-sit-down-for-afternoon-tea kind of life. He was active, but apparently not active enough.
Whilst Harry was being subjected to torture through exercise, his Father also made sure that he knew as much he as he himself did about Demons and the Supernatural. Harry knew about Demons from when he was in Auror Academy, but he had never met one in his old world. Wizards used to battle them and had succeeded in banishing them from England for good way back in the sixteenth century. And as Harry learnt more about other kinds of Supernatural creatures from his Father, he found that there were only small differences between them in this world and his previous one. All the background myths and legends surrounding the creatures were the same as his old world.
With his original knowledge, and the fact that Harry's old world used Latin everyday like it was a normal thing and not a dead language, Harry could perform an exorcism in his sleep. His new family were Demon Experts and had been for centuries. But Harry could manipulate the exorcism to make it go quicker because he could read, speak, write and understand Latin almost as well as he could understand English.
But the best part of the training was the weapons. From his time at the Dursley's, Harry knew what a muggle gun was and what it was used for. But he never knew how it worked and how to use one himself. He also had no idea the kinds of weapons that muggles had created. Harry's Uncle, Nathaniel, arrived a few weeks after Harry was officially adopted by the Ward family. Nathaniel had immediately taken a shine to Harry and began to teach him everything he knew about weapons and how to use them. Which was a hell of a lot. Harry never knew there were so many different weapons from so many countries around the world. He was confused at first, but then he pulled himself together and became determined to meet every challenge his new Uncle set before him.
Harry found that there were so many similarities between this world and his last that he sometimes found himself saying something and then his family giving him strange looks. It was like when he was learning about the Second World War with his Mother. Harry had made a comment about how it was only a short war – less than two years in his old world. Hitler had gathered power and then was taken control of by a Dark Wizard. Once Magical Communities around the world found this out, they stepped in and stopped the Wizard. It was then only a matter of the muggles moving in and stopping the war during the confusion that this left. Sarah had been confused as to why Harry thought the War was so short and ended how it did. Harry decided right there and then that he would tell his new family the truth. He had been so scared that they would hate him for what he really was or that they would be angry at him for lying to them. But they had been understanding and remarkably accepting about the entire thing. They believed him without question.
Harry shook himself and pulled his thoughts from the past few years, back to the present. He had a massive day in front of him – one that he was both dreading and looking forward to. Although Harry wasn't sure who was more excited – him or his parents. He had barely managed to convince them that his Uncle Nate would be best to drop him off. With him, there would be no embarrassing parental scenes. He had simply dropped Harry off and left with a quiet 'Good luck'.
Before Harry knew it, he was being directed to his first class of the day by an enthusiastic middle-aged member of the office staff. She kept up a running commentary about the school, which Harry was glad for because he didn't trust himself to speak. He was abruptly shoved through a classroom door and felt many pairs of eyes turn to look at him.
"Erm, I'm new here. Mrs Etchells from the office told me she had sent around a notice to all my teachers with all my details on."
Harry watched as the man at the front of the room pulled his gaze off him and began to shuffle around papers on the cramped desk. Whilst he was searching, Harry had the opportunity to study the man. He was in his fifties, with his hair greying and receding around his temples. He wore a smart suit, but his tie was off-centre and his glasses perched haphazardly on the end of his nose. He gave off the distinct air of eccentricity.
"Ah yes." The man pulled out a crumpled piece of paper triumphantly. "Yes. Harry Ward, joining the junior class. Ah, you were home school for the last few years. Hmmm, you did well enough to be accelerated by two years. Before that, you…..oh. Dear. Well, erm….."
Harry grimaced, knowing the part of his record that the teacher had come to. Social services had put in all the relevant paperwork confirming his adoption by the Ward family, but they also had paperwork to explain why Harry only started to exist a few years ago. The official paperwork explained how he was raised in some kind of occult and pagan cult and that he had managed to escape. Harry really hoped that the man wouldn't tell the entire damn class about it.
"Well, take a seat Mr Ward."
Harry breathed a sigh of relief and sat down next to a tall teenager with some kind of school sports jacket on. Maybe high school wouldn't be so bad.
Why did school lockers have to be so damn small? And be so close to each other?
Harry viciously contemplated these questions as he pulled his gym kit bag from the bottom of his locker and tried to stop all of his books and folders from falling out. The day hadn't been going bad so far. His Latin class in the morning had been really easy and Mr Locker was amusing to watch. After that he had English, which was alright bar a minor bit of confusion between American and English spellings. He now had gym class and he wasn't afraid to admit that he was nervous.
Harry was very fit due to his Father's and Uncle's intense training routine. It wasn't that part that he was nervous about. No, he was nervous because he had no idea how to play any of the sports. In his old world, he had played Quiditch at Hogwarts and a little English football (Harry wondered why they called it soccer in the US) in muggle Primary school. But there was no Quiditch here and he didn't remember any of the rules for soccer. He was just going to try and see what happened. The teacher all knew about his past in a 'cult' anyway, so he doubted that he would need to know any specific kind of information.
"Oops, sorry." Harry had pulled in his gym bag too hard and had bumped into the guy next to him by accident.
Harry expected the guy to shrug, or nod or do something. But he didn't expect for the guy to turn with a sneer on his face at the sight of Harry. "Yeah, you should be sorry."
Harry frowned, but the guy couldn't seem to keep his comments to himself. The guy's sneer got bigger and a malicious glint appeared in his eye. "Well, well, well. Look who it is." The guy's voice carried down the corridor and everyone turned to watch the encounter.
"If it isn't the little cult guy. The genius that everyone keeps talking about – you're so smart that you got accelerated two whole grades." The sarcasm dripped off his voice. Whispers began buzzing at the word 'cult' and Harry felt the pressure of the thoughts surrounding him increase against the mental shield he had. "What, none of you knew? Harry here was raised in a cult until a few years ago. So, Harry, don't you have goats or something to sacrifice on an Altar to your occult God?"
Harry opened his mouth to reply, when a new voice joined the conversation. "That is enough, Smyth. He said he was sorry, so move your Goddamn ass somewhere else."
"I might have known you would stick up for him. You guys from That Town all stick together. Tell me, why is it you are all so quiet with information about the Town? No information or gossip leaves that damn place."
"We are private people."
"Sure." The guy – Smyth – snorted in derision. "I bet it is because all of you are related. Don't forget my invite when you marry your sister, ok?"
"Don't be stupid, Smyth." Another guy in the group spoke up with a calm and collected voice. "Zane doesn't have a sister. You on the other hand…are you trying to tell us something here?"
Smyth scowled harder, but slammed his locker shut and stalked away in silence. Harry watched his go and then spent a minute building his walls higher and stronger. He couldn't afford to lose control of his powers, or to let his walls crumble because of all the teenage hormones swirling in the crowds around him. Once he was sure he had complete control, he silently closed his locker and turned to head towards his next class. The group of guys was still there though.
"Hi." The guy that had spoken to Smyth first took a step forward and smiled at Harry. Harry realised that it was the same guy that he had sat next to in Latin. "I'm Zane. We have Latin together and I live down the road from you. My Dad is the local doctor for our town."
Harry gave him a small smile, even as he was looking him quickly and efficiently over for threats. Hell, who could blame him. He had been abused for most of his childhood, then he was thrown into a war and he had spent the last few years being trained as a Hunter of the Supernatural.
Zane had brown hair and grey eyes and he was taller than Harry. He had an open and kind face, but Harry could see that he was hiding part of his emotions. Harry's smile grew when he realised that Zane was looking him over for threats in the same way that Harry had been doing. So, he really did live in the same town as Harry. He was scoping out a new person like any Hunter would.
"I'm Harry. Pleasure to meet you." Harry nodded to the teenagers in front of him and watched as their gazes all dropped as one to his arm that was clutching his gym bag. Harry knew where their gaze was going without looking. They were all looking at the tattoo on his arm. The social workers had all assumed that the 'cult' Harry was part of had put it on him as a sign of ownership, but Harry had gotten when he was drunk on a night out with friends after the downfall of Riddle. They had all gotten similar tattoos but had added custom parts to their own individual tattoo. Harry's was a lightening bolt crossed with a dagger. Around both a rearing snake was wrapped, poised to attack. It was all done in black and stood out against his fairly pale skin. The only part in colour was the glowing green eyes of the snake and the small detail of red blood dripping down the edge of the blade. Harry loved his tattoo, although it had taken some time for the shock to go when his drunken stupor had worn off the next morning.
"You may as well just ask me." Harry's voice was quiet and controlled. He would rather get all the details out of the way right now, rather than have rumours and whispers following him for weeks or maybe months.
Zane hesitated and looked at his group of friends for support. He quickly glanced around to make sure no one else was watching, but all the other students were hurrying to get to their next class in time. "We heard about you and your family before you arrived. It is true that they are one of the oldest Hunting families in the country?"
"Yes. They came from Europe with the colonists to help rid the new world of all the evil that was found here."
"And….." Zane swallowed and steeled himself. "Is it true about you? That you are a psychic and were….born and raised in a cult?"
"Yes." Harry's voice was matter-of-fact. After the last few years of social workers wanting to know everything about the 'cult' Harry had come from, he felt detached and used to the questions by now. "I was born into a cult and I am psychic – although I can't see the future. That is a common misconception among most people. Everyone I was with in the cult had powers like mine."
"I'm not sure what to say to something like that." Zane glanced at his feet for a moment, before looking back up. "So, you have gym class now? We have as well."
Harry smiled and nodded. "Yeah, although I'm slightly nervous." Seeing the questioning look on everyone's face, Harry explained. "I was never taught sports growing up. I've played a little English football – soccer – but I don't really remember the rules. Other than that, I only do training with my Father and Uncle ."
Zane gave a slow nod in understanding. He knew instantly what Harry meant when he said 'training'. He, along with every other person in his new town, knew that those things that went bump in the night were very much real and would kill you given half the chance.
"Well, I wouldn't worry about that." Zane slung an arm around Harry's shoulders. "I think it is time for us to initiate you into the wonder that is American sports."
"Come on Harry; get your lazy ass out of bed!"
Harry groaned and pulled the cover further up over his head. Goddamn him for having such annoying friends! Harry grinned slightly to himself as he thought of the friends he had made over the last two years. They were all the same age as him, or two years older and in the same year as him in school. Zane, his first real friend in this reality, was the person he could confide in the most among his friends and Harry mentally put him on the same level as his family. Harry's new friends in this reality could never replace the friends he had unwillingly left behind in his old world, but he trusted his new friends with his life.
"I swear, if you don't get out of bed, I will shoot you!" Zane gave an angry growl and pulled the covers off his younger friend. He was met with a half-serious glare. Zane had to look away from the intense emerald eyes. He would never admit it, even on pain of death, but his friend could sometimes be scary. Especially with a glare marring his features, even a mock glare. It was like Harry had a dangerous side just hidden beneath the surface that made even the older and toughened Hunters weary around him.
"Need I remind you," Harry's voice had a playful edge to it that once again aptly covered the dangerous aura that he seemed to exude. "that we only got back from that Hunt with Uncle Nate last night. Late last night. And," Harry pulled himself out of his bed. "you wouldn't even be able to shoot me. You are too scared of what my family would do to you."
"Not to mention you would use you powers to avoid the damn bullet." Zane muttered as Harry pulled on a t-shirt, causing Harry to roll his eyes at his friend's antics. Harry's family was already somewhat of a legend among Hunters and they were avoided by even the most 'hard-core' Hunters unless they really needed something. And because Hunters liked to gossip like old women, they had found out about Harry's 'intense and unbelievably powerful psychic abilities'. This coupled with the Ward family reputation meant that even hardened Hunters would avoid him - he was a 16 year old for Christ's sake. Although Harry found it both annoying and humorous, he reminded himself that he was only physically 16. He was a war veteran and now a Hunter.
"Anyway," Zane sighed dramatically and held up an envelope. Seeing his friends look at it in confusion, Zane rolled his eyes. "This came for you when we were away on the Hunt and your Mom asked me to give it to you as I was coming up to your room."
Harry took the letter in confusion, which was quickly replaced with both panic and excitement. The letter was from a college that he had applied to. Not only that, it was from the college that he most wanted to get into. Harry, Zane and three other friends had made a pact to try and get into the same college after finding out that they all wanted to go to the same one. They had all decided that Yale was the ultimate college for them and were determined to all go together.
"Have –" Harry swallowed hard and turned the letter over and over in his hands. "Have any of you guys heard yet?"
Zane hesitated for a moment, before deciding to tell his friend the truth. "Yeah. Chris and Andy found out about a week ago and Niamh got her letter a couple of days ago. Mine came this morning, like yours." Seeing Harry open his mouth to ask the all important question, he beat him to it with the answer. "We all got in."
Zane could see Harry's hands shaking minutely as he carefully tore the envelope open and pull out the paper from inside. Zane knew that Harry wanted to go to the same college as his friends – they had made a pact with each other and even their parents were happy with the arrangement. They all liked the idea that their child was with other Hunters who they could trust with their life and had known for years. Their parents had even agreed to let them all live together and Harry's Uncle Nate (who was considered extremely cool by all the teenagers of the Town) had promised to pull some strings and find them a cheap house to rent where they could have as many weapons and questionable book on the occult around with no questions being asked.
Zane saw Harry's eyes darting across the paper in his hands and unconsciously held his breath. Harry had applied to do Ancient Languages and Religious studies, all subjects that were handy when you were a Hunter. Harry may have been fluent in Latin (something the Town put down to growing up in a satanic cult, although Harry had never confirmed that this was where he had become so fluent in the dead language) and knew a hell of a lot about demons, supernatural creatures and everything else that came with Hunting, Harry said he wanted to do that particular course at university because he knew he would be good at it and having more knowledge of those areas could only be a useful thing.
Harry was taking a long time to say anything, or to even look up from the paper clutched in his hands, so Zane took this as a bad sign and was trying to find something to make Harry feel better. He was spared this difficult task by Harry's small voice.
"I got in."