Just a little experiment I'm thinking of doing once I've done a bit more to Legacy. Just want to know how it gets received so please leave your reviews and constructive criticisms somewhere so I can read them. Thanks, and I hope you all enjoy.
For all those who don't know, Briar is a female Overlord from my fanfic Legacy of the Overlord. If you're interested, go an have a read.
I've started a poll on my Profile Page so people can vote on whether I continue this story on its own or wait until I complete Legacy. Go on and vote, depending on the response the poll will finish at the end of October.
H- HP -P
Harry Potter and the Dark Prince
Chapter One: The Lady in the Night
Mr Dursley may have been drifting into an uneasy sleep, but the cat on the wall outside was showing no sign of sleepiness. It was sitting, as still as a statue, its eyes fixed unblinkingly on the far corner of Privet Drive. It didn't so much as quiver when a car door slammed in the next street, nor when two owls swooped overhead. In fact, it was nearly midnight before the cat moved at all.
A man appeared on the corner the cat had been watching, appeared so suddenly and silently, you'd have thought he had just popped out of the ground. The cat's tail twitched and its eyes narrowed. Nothing like this man had ever been seen in Privet Drive.
He was tall, thin, and very old, judging by the silver of his hair and beard, which were both long enough to tuck into his belt. He was wearing long robes, a purple cloak which swept the ground, and high-heeled, buckled boots. His blue eyes were light, bright, and sparkling behind half-moon spectacles and his nose was very long and crooked, as though it had been broken at least twice. This man's name was Albus Dumbledore. Albus Dumbledore didn't seem to realize he had just arrived in a street where everything from his name to his boots was unwelcome. He was busy rummaging in his cloak, looking for something. But he did seem to realize he was being watched, because he looked up suddenly at the cat, which was still staring at him from the other end of the street. For some reason, the sight of the cat seemed to amuse him. He chuckled and muttered, "I should have known." He found what he was looking for in his inside pocket. It seemed to be a silver cigarette lighter. He flicked it open, held it up in the air, and clicked it. The nearest street lamp went out with a little pop. He clicked it again – the next lamp flickered into darkness. Twelve times he clicked the Put-Outer, until the only lights left on the whole street were two tiny pinpricks in the distance, which were the eyes of the cat watching him. If anyone looked out of their window now even beady-eyed Mrs Dursley, they wouldn't be able to see anything that was happening down on the pavement. Dumbledore slipped the Put-Outer back inside his cloak and set off down the street toward number four, where he sat down on the wall next to the cat. He didn't look at it, but after a moment he spoke to it.
"Fancy seeing you here, Professor McGonagall."
He turned to smiled at the tabby, but it had gone. Instead he was smiling at a rather severe-looking woman who was wearing square glasses exactly the same shape of the markings the cat had had around its eyes. She, too, was wearing a cloak, an emerald one. Her black hair was drawn into a tight bun. She looked distinctly ruffled. "How did you know it was me?" she asked.
"My dear Professor, I've never seen a cat sit so stiffly."
"You'd be stiff if you'd been sitting on a brick wall all day," said Professor McGonagall.
"All day? When you could have been celebrating? I must have passed a dozen feasts and parties on my way here."
Professor McGonagall sniffed angrily. "Oh yes, everyone's celebrating, all right," she said impatiently. "You'd think they'd be a bit more careful, but no – even the Muggles have noticed something's going on. It was on their news." She jerked her head back at the Dursley's dark living-room window. "I heard it. Flocks of owls... shooting stars... Well, they're not completely stupid. They were bound to notice something. Shooting stars down in Kent – I'll bet that was Dedalus Diggle. He never had much sense."
"You can't blame them," said Dumbledore gently. "We've had precious little to celebrate for eleven years."
"I know that," said Professor McGonagall irritably. "But that's no reason to lose our heads. People are being downright careless, out on the streets in broad daylight, not even dressed in Muggle clothes, swapping rumours." She threw a sharp, sideways glance at Dumbledore here, as though hoping he was going to tell her something, but he didn't, she went on. "A fine thing it would be if, on the very day You-Know-Who seems to have disappeared at last, the Muggles found out about us all. I suppose he really has gone, Dumbledore?"
"It certainly seems so," said Dumbledore. "We have much to be thankful for. Would you care for a lemon drop?"
"A lemon drop. They're a kind of Muggle sweet I'm rather fond of."
"No, thank you," said Professor McGonagall coldly, as though she didn't think this was the moment for lemon drops. "As I say, even if You-Know-Who has gone -"
"My dear Professor, surely a sensible person like yourself can call him by his name. All this 'You-Know-Who' nonsense – for eleven years I have been trying to persuade people to call him by his proper name: Voldemort." Professor McGonagall flinched, but Dumbledore, who was unsticking two lemon drops, seemed not to notice. "It all gets so confusing if we keep saying 'You-Know-Who'. I have never seen any reason to be frightened of saying Voldemort's name."
"I know you haven't," said Professor McGonagall, sounding half exasperated, half admiring. "But you're different. Everyone knows you're the only one You-Know- oh, all right, Voldemort, was frightened of."
"You flatter me," said Dumbledore calmly. "Voldemort had powers I will never have."
"Only because you're too – well – noble to use them."
"It's lucky it's dark. I haven't blushed so much since Madam Pomfrey told me she liked my new earmuffs."
Professor McGonagall shot a sharp look at Dumbedore and said, "The owls are nothing next to the rumours that are flying around. You know what they're saying? About why he's disappeared? About what finally stopped him?" It seemed that Professor McGonagall had reached the point she was most anxious to discuss, the real reason she had been waiting on a cold, hard wall all day, for as a cat nor as a woman had she fixed Dumbledore with such a piercing stare as she did now. It was plain that whatever "everyone" was saying, she was not going to believe it until Dumbledore told her it was true. Dumbledore, however, was choosing another lemon drop and did not answer.
"What they're saying," she pressed on, "is that last night Voldemort turned up in Godric's Hollow. He went to find the Potters. The rumour is that Lily and James Potter are – are – that they're – dead."
Dumbledore bowed his head. Professor McGonagall gasped.
"Lily and James... I can't believe it... I didn't want to believe it. Oh, Albus..."
Dumbledore reached out and patted her on the shoulder. I know... I know..." he said heavily.
Professor McGonagall's voice trembled as she went on. "That's not all. They're saying he tried to kill the Potter's son, Harry. But – he couldn't. He couldn't kill that little boy. No one knows why, or how, but they're saying that when he couldn't kill Harry Potter, Voldemort's power somehow broke – and that's why he's gone."
Dumbledore nodded glumly.
"It's – it's true?" faltered Professor McGonagall. "After all he's done... all the people he's killed... he couldn't kill a little boy? It's just astounding... of all the things to stop him... but how in the name of heaven did Harry survive?"
"We can only guess," said Dumbledore. "We may never know."
Professor McGonagall pulled out a lace handkerchief and dabbed at her eyes beneath her spectacles. Dumbledore gave a great sniff as he took a golden watch from his pocket and examined it. It was a very odd watch. It had twelve hands but no numbers; instead, little planets were moving around the edge. It must have made sense to Dumbledore, though, because he put it back in his pocket and said, "Hagrid's late. I suppose it was he who told you I'd be here, by the way?"
"Yes," said Professor McGonagall. "And I don't suppose you're going to tell me why you're here, of all places?"
"I've come to bring Harry to his aunt and uncle. They're the only family he has left now."
"You don't mean – you can't mean the people who live here?" cried Professor McGonagall, jumping to her feet and pointing at number four. "Dumbledore – you can't. I've been watching them all day. You couldn't find two people who are less like us. And they've got this son – I saw him kicking his mother all the way up the street, screaming for sweets. Harry Potter come and live here!"
"It's the best place for him," said Dumbledore firmly. "His aunt and uncle will be able to explain everything to him when he's older. I've written them a letter."
"A letter?" repeated Professor McGonagall faintly, sitting back down on the wall. "Really, Dumbledore, you think you can explain all this in a letter? These people will never understand him! He'll be famous – a legend – I wouldn't be surprised if today was known as Harry Potter Day in the future – there will be books written about Harry – every child in our world will know his name!"
"Exactly," said Dumbledore, looking very seriously over the top of his half-moon glasses. "It would be enough to turn any boy's head. Famous before he could walk and talk! Famous for something he won't even remember! Can't you see how much better off he'll be, growing up away from all that until he's ready to take it?"
Professor McGonagall opened her mouth and changed her mind. She was about to agree with Dumbledore when she remembered something Lily had said at the last Order meeting the young woman had attended. "If anything happens to me and James, I want Briar to raise Harry." Lily didn't speak often about this mysterious woman but it was obvious that she respected this person greatly. When they had asked more about this Briar person, Lily simply said "A good friend." Lily had met Briar a few years before Lily had come to Hogwarts but the young redhead explained little else apart from the fact that Briar was a powerful magic user, though showed very little interest in the events outside of 'her influence'. The members of the Order had come to the conclusion that Briar probably belonged to one of the more ancient pure-blood Wizard families; those who tried to distance themselves from the turmoil taking place and keep a neutral ground.
Professor McGonagall thought back to that last meeting that Lily and James had attended. Lily had said so suddenly and with such conviction that it caught everyone off guard. "If anything happens to me and James, I want Briar to raise Harry."
McGonagall swallowed a sudden lump in her throat and then said, "What about that friend of Lily's? This Briar? Lily said she wanted Harry to go to her if something happened."
Dumbledore closed his eyes and shook his head "I sent owls to every one of the neutral and allied families asking if they knew anything about Briar, but alas, each wrote back saying they knew no-one by the name." Dumbledore explained. "It could be that Briar was part of a family sided with Voldemort but perhaps didn't agree with her family's decision and split from them."
"Do you think this Briar may have been the one to inform Voldemort on the Potter's whereabouts?" Professor McGonagall asked, anger seeping into her voice.
Dumbledore picked himself another Lemon Drop. "No, I don't." He said simply "Even if she had told Voldemort where they where, they were protected by the Fidelius Charm. Besides, I believe Lily when she told us Briar had no interests in choosing sides."
The severe-looking woman cast a glance at Dumbledore's half-moon spectacles and saw that he was intent more on his lemon drop. "What about Lily's desire?"
"After sending letters to the old families I used my most trusted links in the Ministry to look for any reports about magical pulses in the Muggle settlements. I thought maybe Briar had moved into a non-magical area to keep her tracks obscure if Death Eaters were trying to find her. This fits in with my idea she may have been from one of the Dark-sided families. All the information that I received only pointed to Death Eater or Ministry activity, the few anomalies found coincided with our own Order's missions."
" After that, there were little options open to me." Dumbledore explained, swallowing the lemon drop he had been talking around. "I consulted what magical creatures I could converse with and the Goblins went into a frenzy trying to find someone from the ancient families who didn't use Gringotts. Old Hobbletoad certainly liked the challenge, given I had no other name or family name to give him. When those failed I addressed letters to Briar with the little information I had on her. The entire roost of Hogwart's owls and even some wild volunteers flew to the four corners of the globe to find one woman in a day, I'm very impressed with their tenacity."
"The letters Albus? What about the letters? Surely one must have found her."
"All eight hundred letters were returned to my desk this morning, not one of them had even been touched by another witch or wizard. It is as if Briar doesn't even exist." Dumbledore sighed. "Lily may have wanted Harry to go to this woman but without being able to contact her to inform her of these events or without hearing anything from Briar herself, I'm afraid Harry must go to his next of kin. Hopefully Hagrid should be here soon."
Professor McGonagall closed her eyes trying to think of the reason a woman would be so secretive and cursing Lily – Merlin bless that poor woman – for not giving more information to go on. It certainly sounded like Dumbledore had exhausted all his options on finding her. They had no choice but to hand Harry over to these Muggles – even it one was related to Lily, Minerva still wasn't happy about it. They were the worst sort of Muggles imaginable.
A low rumbling sound broke the silence around them, an engine. "What is that?" McGonagall asked. It grew steadily louder as they looked up and down the street for some sign of a headlight; it swelled to a roar as they both looked up at the sky – and a huge motorbike fell out of the air and landed on the road in front of them.
If the motorbike was huge, it was nothing to the man sitting astride it. He was almost twice as tall as a normal man and at least five times as wide. He looked simply too big to be allowed, and so wild – long tangles of bushy hair and beard hid most of his face, he had hands the size of dustbin lids and his feet in their leather boots were like baby dolphins. In his vast, muscular arms he was holding a bundle of blankets.
"Hagrid," said Dumbledore, sounding relieved. "At last. And where did you get that motorbike?"
"Borrowed it, Professor Dumbledore, sir," said the giant, climbing carefully off the motorbike as he spoke. "Young Sirius Black lent it me. I've got him, sir."
"No problems, were there?"
"No, sir – house was almost destroyed but I got him out all right before the Muggles started swarmin' around. He fell asleep as we was flyin' over Bristol."
Dumbledore and Professor McGonagall bent forward over the bundle of blankets. Inside, just visible, was a baby boy, fast asleep. Under a tuft of jet-black hair over his forehead they could see a curiously shaped cut, like a bolt of lightning.
"Is that where - ?" whispered Professor McGonagall
"Yes," said Dunbledore. "He'll have that scar for ever."
"Couldn't you do something about it, Dumbledore?"
"Even if I could, I wouldn't. Scars can come in useful. I have one myself above my left knee which is a perfect map of the London Underground. Well – give him here, Hagrid – we'd better get this over with."
Dumbledore took Harry in his arms and turned towards the Dursley's house.
"Couldn't we wait a couple more days to see if Briar contacts us?" asked Professor McGonagall.
"If Lily's friend does contact us I am prepared to pull Harry from his aunt and uncle and place the wards elsewhere," the aged wizard answered "but servants of the Dark Lord still roam and Harry must be given the protection we've placed around this house."
Professor McGonagall nodded sadly.
"Could I – could I say goodbye to him, sir?" asked Hagrid.
He bent his great, shaggy head over Harry and gave him what must have been a very scratchy, whiskery kiss. Then, suddenly, Hagrid let out a howl like a wounded dog.
"Shhh!" hissed Professor McGonagall. "You'll wake the Muggles!"
"S-s-sorry," sobbed Hagrid, taking out a large spotted handkerchief and burying his face in it. "But I c-c-can't stand it – Lily an' James dead – an' little Harry off ter live with Muggles -"
"Yes, yes, it's all very sad, but get a grip on yourself, Hagrid, or we'll be found," Professor McGonagall whispered, patting Hagrid gingerly on the arm as Dumbledore stepped over the low garden wall and walked to the front door. He laid Harry gently on the doorstep, took a letter out of his cloak, tucked it inside Harry's blankets and then came back to the other two. For a full minute the three of them stood and looked at the little bundle; Hagrid's shoulders shook, Professor McGonagall blinked furiously and the twinkling light that usually shone from Dumbledore's eyes seemed to have gone out.
"Well," said Dumbledore finally, "that's that. We've no business staying here. We may as well go and join the celebrations."
"Yeah," said Hagrid in a very muffled voice. "I'd best get this bike away. G'night Professor McGonagall – Professor Dumbledore, sir."
Wiping his streaming eyes on his jacket sleeve, Hagrid swung himself on to the motorbike and kicked the engine into life; with a roar it rose into the air and off into the night.
"I shall see you soon, I expect, Professor McGonagall," said Dumbledore, nodding to her. Professor McGonagall blew her nose in reply.
Dumbledore turned and walked back down the street. On the corner he stopped and took out the silver Put-Outer. He clicked it once and twelve balls of light sped back to their street lamps so Privet Drive glowed suddenly orange and he could make out a tabby cat slinking around the corner at the other end of the street. He could just see the bundle of blankets on the step of number four.
"Good luck, Harry. I hope Briar comes for you." he murmured. He turned on his heel and with a swish of his cloak he was gone.
A breeze ruffled the neat hedges of Privet Drive, which lay silent and tidy under the inky sky, the very last place you would expect astonishing things to happen. Harry Potter rolled over inside his blankets without waking up. One small hand closed on the letter beside him and he slept on. For half an hour it remained quiet in Privet Drive.
The breeze turned colder and all the street lamps along Privet Drive began to flicker and sputter before they went out completely allowing the night to overcome the row of houses, dousing them in shadow. Footsteps could be heard and from the same corner that Albus had appeared from, a woman in a black dress and long coat turned into Privet Drive. Tucked under her thick coat she wore a red shawl which covered her head in a hood and hid her face in a darkness so thick that her icy blue eyes seemed to glow from the shadows. She walked with a regal stance and held her head and limbs with a noble's air of control and grace. She passed the first few houses of Privet Drive like she had a destination in mind – strange since this woman, like the other three persons before her, wasn't the sort that associated with the neighbourhood of this street. She passed houses eight, seven, six, six A and five; then turned into the driveway of number four.
Despite the lack of light the woman saw the little bundle of blankets and a crumpled letter, clenched in a tiny fist, clearly. The dark clothed woman gathered the bundle in her arms and with a gentleness which hid the true strength of her hands took the letter from Harry's fingers.
"You will not be needing this any more, dear Harry." The woman told him and the letter seemed to just burst into flames in her fingers and its ashes disintegrated to the breeze. "Your mother did not want for you to come here did she?"
The baby just gazed at her from his blanket, he knew what he had lost the night before. The dark lady turned and left number four, its occupants none the wiser of their night-time visitors, and walked back past five, six A, six, seven and eight. Harry held securely in her arms.
"She lied to us, didn't she?" the woman asked the baby boy "She lied to the both of us."
A sobbing noise was her reply, but it was silenced when the little boy saw his tears reflected in the icy eyes of the woman carrying him into the darkness. Behind them the street lights flickered back into life and the breeze lessened its chill. She walked to a nearby park that was built next to a small wood and here she sat on a bench overlooking the abandoned playthings, the warmth and joy gone from them until tomorrow when children would return. Wrapped by the warm arms of someone who wasn't a stranger to him Harry fell back to slumber and the lady's arms wrapped tighter around his blanket.
A movement by the slide caught her attention. "Get out of the shadows, Gloob." the woman hissed "Before you scare the boy into waking. Everyone else too" The pattering of feet scampered to her and a sizeable force of minions of every colour gathered around the bench on which she sat. There were several brays with them, the cloaks hiding their furry forms and horns. The tattered, greying ears of Gloob, one of her most veteran brown minions, bowed before her.
"Is the gate ready?"
"Yes, Mistress. Ripper sent me to find you. Minion Master Gnarl worried, you left so suddenly without bodyguard." Gloob explained. Briar got to her feet and with her horde she started to walk towards the trees. When the Dark Lady stopped suddenly the horde stopped too.
"Gloob." came the commanding voice of the Dark Lady. "Take a force of brown minions and return to the house I went to. Take the three occupants inside that house to The Farm in Mellow Hills."
Gloob's wicked grin was enough to see how pleased he was to get to do something in this dull realm and a shiver of excitement coursed through the other browns as well. The browns spilt off from the horde and followed their Dark Mistresses' scent back through the park and along the empty streets.
Briar and the remainder of her horde walked on deeper into the woods. For some reason she felt that the Dursleys deserved some form of punishment. She didn't know why she felt like they deserved punishment, but she had learned years ago to trust her instincts. Several minutes later a column of blue light shot into the sky and Briar and Harry were gone.
H- The Dark Prince -P
Dumbledore was aghast. He would not have believed it if he had not seen it with his own eyes. Number four Privet Drive was in ruins. The Dursleys and Harry were no where to be found and the belongings in the house were broken and smashed, the front door hung on only one of its hinges, the weaker doors inside the house were in even sorrier states, several were just shattered splinters.
Some five hours after he had dropped Harry off with his relatives Dumbledore decided he couldn't leave young Harry alone; not left on some doorstep with a family that wouldn't show him any acceptance. Blood relations or not, the wards could be set up elsewhere. He had gone back to Privet Drive with the intent to take Harry back and await for Briar to come and collect him, and – if she did not – prepare for him to be adopted by a Muggle family who had a magical child.
Yet five hours after he, Professor McGonagall and Hagrid had left Harry on the very doorstep that now lay strewn with remains of a carpet and a chair from the kitchen, something terrible had happened. The most worrying thing for Dumbledore was that the wards had shown nothing, something had attacked the house but the wards wouldn't reveal to him what had attacked the house, there were obvious signs of struggles in the bedrooms, but no blood. The wards on Harry were even more worrying. Harry's wards were broken.
The shock that the wizarding world felt after learning that its young saviour was now missing was terrifying. People were scared once again that perhaps the Dark Lord had not been destroyed and the Ministry began to prepare its people once again for the worst. Only the worst never came. The Death Eaters didn't march onto Muggle settlements, the Ministry hunted down the worst of them and the rest fell into disarray. The Dark Lord was gone, but the apparent price was deemed too high by many.
Harry Potter – the Boy Who Lived – had disappeared off the face of the Earth and not even the Dark Arts seemed to be effective in finding even a trace of him. Most, including Dumbledore, feared the worst.
H- HP -P
Chapter has been edited for spelling mistakes.
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