Title: The One True King
Author: Shara Lunison
Pairings: eventual HP/LV, JP/LE, HP/everyone, ever
Warnings: AU; OoC; character death; insane, promiscuous, Slytherin Harry; pseudo incest
Summary: Harry is James' younger brother, a jealous Slytherin who wants the Potter birthright for himself. He joins the one man who can make it happen, and willingly betrays his own blood in the process. (HP/LV) A twist on other-BWL/abusive Potter parents fics.
Disclaim Her: This story is based on characters and situations created and owned by JK Rowling, various publishers including but not limited to Bloomsbury Books, Scholastic Books and Raincoast Books, and Warner Bros., Inc. No money is being made and no copyright or trademark infringement is intended.
Notes: I have fudged up the relationships between all characters. Some of the things I am going to do might cause you to perform a double take, but I hope you'll enjoy them. As for this chapter, I have made Dorea and Charlus Potter James and Harry's parents, rather than grandparents. According to the Black family tree, Dorea dies in 1977, and is born in 1920. As far as I'm concerned, Jo must have made a mistake in the dates there. There's no way Dorea and Charlus' son could be James' father in 1960 and be "elderly" and die of old age/wizarding illness in 1977. Even if Dorea gave birth to him at the age of 16-18, he would only be 41 or 43 circa James' parents' date of death. It makes more sense for them to be his parents to begin with, given the dates we have been provided with. Especially given the "coincidence" that they all die around the same time.
A/N: Beginnings are hard. Endings are harder.
Chapter One of Ten:
~We Are Born Like This~
When Dorea Potter found out she was pregnant for the second time, it was as though she and Charlus had been blessed with another miracle. Little James, only nine months old now, was their little darling—their heir—and they spoiled him as only elderly pureblood parents could.
Dorea hoped for a girl. A little angel to dress in frilly things. A little sister for James to dote on. Charlus wanted a girl as well—to marry off when she was old enough and secure an alliance for the Potter family. Dorea couldn't fault him—she was a Black, and their marriage had been arranged in much the same way.
But a second pregnancy so soon after her first difficult one with James, and especially at her age, took its toll on her body. By her sixth month, Dorea was bed-ridden and under constant Healer supervision. Her body had grown gaunt from her inability to keep food down, while her stomach was distended with the still-growing child as it stole whatever nutrients her body could provide. Charlus begged her to abort, desperately afraid that he would lose them both in the end. But Dorea refused, determined to give birth to her baby girl—by then she was sure it was a girl—and that promise was what kept her going.
Finally, late on the night of the thirtieth of July, and more than a month before her due date, Dorea went into labor. After the first six hours, she lay white and limp on the bed. After twelve, she was rushed to Saint Mungo's despite the family's desire for a home birth. By the time nearly twenty-four hours had passed since she began labor, Dorea was barely conscious, both her own heart rate and that of the unborn child feeble and unsteady.
Only the intervention of a doctor who had studied the Muggle method of Cesarean births managed to save mother and child. In this way, Harry Henry Potter was born into the world.
His father would hate him because of Dorea's health, which would never recover.
His mother would hate him, because he was not the girl she had dreamed of.
His brother would hate him, because his parents did.
And everyone else would hate him for what he would do to that family, and to the wizarding world.
~Let's Pretend We Never Met~
Harry watched from the compartment window as James said farewell to their mother and father. His eyes narrowed on the happy, familial scene and an unconscious sneer twisted his lips. None of them noticed that he was gone already. And none of them cared.
With practiced carelessness, he pushed away the twinge of pain that stabbed his heart at the thought that his family hated him.
A gaggle of other second years gathered around James when he left Dorea and Charlus. Harry spotted the familiar face of Sirius Black and another boy with shaggy brown hair and gentle eyes, who must be Remus Lupin. A werewolf, if his brother's diary was to be believed. Nearby, he spotted the startling red hair of another Gryffindor girl, staring at James and his friends in clear disapproval. That could only be the mudblood Lily Evans. James was rather disgustingly in love with the chit, though she was thankfully best friends with a Slytherin. There might be some hope for her.
He studied the Slytherin students he could spot next. He was sure he was going to be in Slytherin. He certainly would not be a Gryffindor like his brother. Hufflepuff was for the loyal, which he was not. And he knew he was not interested enough in studying and learning to be a Ravenclaw.
But cunning. And ambition. Those, Harry certainly had in spades. He would enjoy his time in Slytherin. And he would become powerful enough to rival even the newly risen Dark Lord, Voldemort.
Because what Harry wanted, more than anything, was power. His family had tried their best to take what little power he had away. One day he would show them. And they would regret ever having pushed him away.
The compartment door opened, and Harry snapped his eyes away from the window to study the boy coming in. He was clearly a Black, having the high cheekbones and icy blue eyes of that line. And his uniform was not marked for a house, which meant he was a first year.
"Regulus Black?" Harry asked confidently. There were no other Blacks beginning Hogwarts this year.
Regulus nodded and motioned one hand towards the seats opposite Harry. "You must be Harry Potter. You look just like your brother. May I sit?"
Harry's mouth tightened at the mention of his resemblance to James, but nodded. They were nearly identical, except for their eyes and James' ridiculous glasses. James had the blue eyes of a Black, while Harry had somehow managed to get the pale green eyes that his great-grandmother Ursula Flint was said to have had.
Regulus, as Slytherin as the rest of his family, had noticed the slight grimace on Harry's face. "You don't like your brother?" he asked.
"The feeling is mutual," Harry prevaricated drily. "We do well enough by ignoring each other." And then some, he thought.
"I don't much like my brother, either," Regulus admitted. "He's like a badly trained dog. Always barking and getting into things you want left alone. It was nice last year, with him away at school all the time. Now I'll have to get used to being around him all the time again."
"You won't be in the same house, at least," Harry consoled him. "And Gryffindor and Slytherin don't get along, so you probably won't have to deal with him at all. That's what I'm counting on, at least."
"You think you'll be in Slytherin?" Regulus asked, surprised.
Harry just raised an eyebrow in disbelief.
Regulus blushed a bit and looked away. "Sorry. It's just, no Potter has ever been sorted outside of Gryffindor. It's hard to imagine."
"I found it hard to believe that Sirius was sorted into Gryffindor after James wrote home about it last year," Harry said reasonably. "No family can have every child end up in the same house forever."
A comfortable silence descended on the compartment as the whistle sounded outside on the platform, warning any dawdling parents or students that the train was about to leave. The compartment door opened again quite suddenly, a short boy with slicked down brown hair and wild eyes dragging his trunk irritably through the opening. He was also a first year, no house designation anywhere on his impeccably neat uniform or tie.
He licked his lips with a quick swipe of his tongue, and shut the door behind him. "I don't care if you don't want company, I'm staying. Everywhere else is full up."
Regulus moved over a couple of seats obligingly, and Harry studied the new boy in contemplation. He had a bit of the Black look to him, though it was clearly at least one or two generations back.
"What's your name?" Harry asked bluntly. "I'm Harry Potter, and this is Regulus Black."
The boy gave a formal bow, surprising for someone so young. "I'm Bartemius Crouch Jr. But please, call me Barty." A pleading smile cracked through his proper pureblood façade.
"Don't bother bowing and scraping with us," Regulus said drily. "Neither of us are the Heirs."
Barty blinked several times, his tongue darting out to wet his lips again. "Right. Sorry. My father just insists that I greet everyone like this. Now that I'm finally out of that house, I'll try to stop."
Harry barely managed to stop his eyes from narrowing shrewdly. He didn't want either boy to notice him speculating. Three boys in one compartment, none of them particularly happy with their families. He could use this.
Barty shoved his trunk into one corner and plopped down beside Regulus, not leaving an empty seat between them as might be expected. Regulus shifted uncomfortably, then settled as Barty pulled out a slim volume and began reading without another word.
"Ravenclaw," Regulus mouthed across the compartment at Harry.
Harry nodded with a slight smile. Good, someone who would be in a different house. Even better.
The train finally started to move out, and Harry returned to his view from the window. A few families were lingering on the platform to wave at the students, his parents not among them. The station blurred past, and within moments they were out into London itself. The steady clacking of the train wheels on the track lulled him into a daze. And without really intending to, he fell asleep.
~It is Just the Beginning of the End~
He woke instantly at the touch on his shoulder, and looked up into the wide brown eyes of Barty Crouch Jr.
"We're nearly there," Barty whispered. "But there was some kind of fight in the aisle a moment ago. It sounded like your brother…"
Harry was up and on his feet in an instant, throwing open the door of the compartment. It was dim in the aisle, but he could see a second year Slytherin sitting slumped against one wall and nursing a split and bleeding lip. The boy looked up when the door opened, then visibly flinched when he caught sight of Harry, raising his wand in his right hand by reflex.
"I'm not my brother," Harry snapped. "Get in here, and I'll heal your lip."
The boy hesitated, then seemed to spot Regulus and Barty hovering curiously behind Harry. He seemed startled for a moment, then gave Harry a considering look.
Impatiently, Harry stepped away from the door and opened his arm in invitation to the half-empty compartment.
Finally, the boy levered himself off the floor and limped into the room. Clearly, Harry would have more than a split lip to tend to.
Unceremoniously, Harry shoved the Slytherin into an empty seat and drew his wand. He was rather proud of it—Ollivander said it was a brother to the Dark Lord's wand. To Harry that meant he could be just as great if not greater than Voldemort.
Pointing the tip of his wand at the boy's lip, Harry muttered, "Episkey." Instantly, dried blood flaked away and the wound closed into a mostly-healed pink line. "Where else did James get you? And what's your name?" Harry asked, bending to examine the ankle the boy was limping on.
"Just the ankle. Twisted it when I fell the first time."
Harry looked up at the boy through his lashes. The first time? He would see if the boy would accept help with his bruises after a night sleeping on them.
The boy flushed, taking the look as admonishment for not sharing his name. "Severus Snape. My mother was a Prince."
Harry looked down at the ankle, determined not to react. Snape was not a pureblood name. It also didn't belong to any other wizarding family he could think of. And the Prince line, while pure, was dead and gone now. Still, at least he was a halfblood. A slow wave of his wand and another spell mended the ankle for the most part.
"That'll be a bit tender for a few days," Harry said. "I haven't had much practice with sprains."
"How did you learn to heal?" Snape asked, a hungry, almost desperate look entering his black eyes.
It was strange, Harry realized, that a second year Slytherin was speaking to him as though they were equals. "You're not the only one James finds it fun to beat up," he said instead.
"Will you teach me?" Snape asked greedily. He seemed to remember then that he was speaking to a first year, not even sorted into a house. And something of Harry's resemblance to James must have sifted through his mind. "Never mind. I need to get going. We'll arrive soon and I need something from my trunk before tonight." He stood, stumbling a little on the hurt ankle, and stalked to the door. He paused long enough to say, "Nice to meet you, Potter, Black, Crouch," and then left.
"He didn't really meet us if we didn't introduce ourselves," Barty muttered, wetting his lips once more. It seemed to be a nervous habit of his.
"Whatever," Regulus said, flopping back into his seat ungracefully. "What should we do until the train arrives?"
"I'm going to continue reading," Barty said, snatching up his book once more. Harry managed to glimpse the cover this time and read the title as something like Griselda Marchbanks' Guide to Perfect NEWTs.
Shaking his head, Harry turned to Regulus. "What did you do while I was sleeping?"
Regulus shrugged. "Mostly just looked out the window and daydreamed. There was a witch who came by with a cart of snacks, so I bought a couple of cauldron cakes and ate them. I've still got a chocolate frog if you like."
Harry shook his head and looked out the window himself. It was dark out now, the faintest glow of the setting sun shining over the horizon in the far distance. They were in the moors already, heather and gorse blooming in the still-hot weather.
A chime sounded through the train, and he cocked his head to the side, listening. "We'll arrive at Hogwarts in ten minutes. Please don your robes and ensure your luggage is locked and secure. It will be taken to the castle for you."
Barty put away his book in a pocket and opened his trunk in its vertical position, threatening to let the whole pile of books and other things inside topple out. He tugged a black robe free and deftly shoved the lid closed once more, snapping the latches securely. Harry didn't comment when he spotted the corner of a cloak or another robe sticking out of one hinge.
Regulus hadn't brought his trunk into the compartment with him. "Sirius put it in the compartment with his friends," he admitted. "That's how I knew you look like your brother, Harry." From a pocket of his trousers, he pulled a shrunken robe that might have fit a doll. He deftly unshrunk it with his wand, a nearly white and thin length of ash, then brushed a neatening charm over it. Harry wondered how any of the mudblood students managed with not knowing any magic before Hogwarts.
Harry opened his own trunk where it was resting on the rack. His best robes were lying on top where he had left them, and he shook them out lightly before donning them. They had a permanent grooming charm built into the fabric, so he didn't have to neaten them as Regulus had.
By the time they were all dressed and standing there, the train was slowing down. Opening the compartment door, they saw students piling into the aisle and pushing their way towards the exit. Quickly, the three first years joined the throng.
The train slowed to a complete stop, and the doors opened. The students poured out, and in the press Harry was separated from his new friends. A booming voice drew him, calling out, "Firs' years! Firs' years, over here!" Following the voice, no matter how uncultured and common it sounded, Harry soon founded himself at a small dock on the edge of a large lake. Dozens of tiny boats were moored to the dock, each mast holding a lantern. All of the other first years were gathering there for their first journey to the castle.
Harry remembered hearing all about the boats and the lake and the castle from James' letters. His brother had tried to scare him, saying that every year someone drowned in the Black Lake, or there was someone the Sorting Hat couldn't place. Harry, having had long experience with James, knew that all of it was a load of rubbish.
He still couldn't see Regulus or Barty nearby. He recognized a few of the other children as belonging to this or that family. Most of the ones he knew would probably end up in Slytherin. But there was Rodger Robins, whose family was all Gryffindors. And Rupert Bones, who would undoubtedly end up in Hufflepuff. There was a dreamy-looking blonde boy who he thought might be a Lovegood, and no telling where he might end up.
Turning, Harry spotted Regulus waving at him next to a nervous-looking Barty. They were standing beside one of the boats further from the giant of a man still calling all the "firs' years" to come to the dock. A dark-haired and refined boy was standing with them, and Harry recognized Reginald "Reggie" Greengrass, one of the few Heirs he had been allowed to associate with as a child.
"Hello, Reggie," Harry said as he approached. "How are you?"
"I'm doing well, Harry," Reggie said with a grin. "What sort of pranks do you have planned for your dear older brother?"
Harry's lips twitched. "Oh, you'll see." In truth, Harry didn't have any pranks planned. But he did happen to know every single prank that James and Sirius had come up with over the summer, thanks to his regular reading of James' diary. A word or a note to the right person, and…
"Is this everyone?" The giant man, dressed in a grotesque moleskin coat, held his lantern a little higher to cast the pool of light as far out as possible. "Right then, everyone in. Only four to a boat, now."
Harry, Regulus, Barty, and Reggie all clambered into the boat they were standing next to, and untied the rope from the dock as the giant man directed them to. Soon, they were jetting across the glistening black surface of the lake, sticking close to the shore as they followed the outline of the coast.
And then suddenly, they rounded a slight bluff and there it was: Hogwarts. Hundreds of brightly lit windows shone yellow and warm down on them, reflecting off the lake and making the stars seem dim by comparison.
Harry's breath caught in his throat as he stared at the castle in wonder. Home. This place was home for the next seven years.
Already, it felt more like a home than the one he had left only a few hours before.
~If My Heart Was a House~
"Potter, Harry!" The stern-looking witch, the Head of Gryffindor if he recalled correctly, called his name and he stepped forward. Several whispers broke out around the room, many of them sounding surprised. Of course. Not many families even knew there was a second Potter son.
Sitting on the absurdly short stool, Harry allowed the Sorting Hat to be placed on his head. It sat there barely a second, just long enough for him to hear, "Oh, my!" from whatever consciousness inhabited it, then a cry of "SLYTHERIN!" exploded across the room.
The Slytherin table clapped decorously, not cheering and hollering like the other houses—especially Gryffindor—were wont to do. Calmly, Harry removed the hat from his head and stood, making his way to his new table. Out of the corner of his eye, he saw the betrayed and hateful look on his brother's face, as well as the shocked expressions on many of the other Gryffindors. James was surprised and disappointed in his Sorting? Preposterous.
Sitting down, Harry took the seat beside Regulus at the end of the table. Severus Snape was sitting near them, apparently the lowest rung among the second years, but not quite low enough for him to be forced to join the first years. Barty had been sorted into Ravenclaw, of course, though the hat had taken a curiously long time with him.
Harry mostly ignored the rest of the sorting, only clapping when Rowle and Yaxley were sorted into Slytherin after him.
Before the feast could begin, the Headmaster stood and addressed them all in a kind and grandfatherly tone, although his hair was only starting to go white. "Welcome, welcome to another year at Hogwarts! Now that we've all been sorted properly, I have only a bit of housekeeping before we can eat."
He warned them about the Forbidden Forest, about the list of banned items on Filch's—the squib caretaker whom James loved to torment—door, and about the rules on curfew for every student who was not a prefect or head boy or girl.
And then, finally, they were allowed to eat. Feeling ravenous after missing the trolley witch on the train, Harry loaded his plate with all of his favorite foods and slowly ate his way through it all. He never forgot his table manners, no matter what. Father had made sure of that.
A series of gasps further down the table made him look around, and he was surprised and intrigued to see the Slytherin ghost, the Bloody Baron, drifting through the center of the table towards the first years.
Aside from the startled exclamations, no one seemed to be particularly surprised, so Harry assumed that this was a yearly ritual where the ghost of the house inspected the new students.
He waited until the Baron was looking at him before giving a small and proper bow from his sitting position. The ghost paused, staring, for several long moments. Harry didn't flinch. Seemingly satisfied, the Bloody Baron bowed in return to him before continuing his appraisal of the others. There were five boys and three girls in their year, which seemed to be the same for the second years. In fact, there seemed to be more boys than girls in the entire house.
Aside from Regulus and Reggie, whom he knew, there were Yaxley, Bulstrode, and Davis who would share the boys' dorm with him. And Dolohov, Mulciber, and Rowle were the only girls.
Yawning hugely, Harry suddenly felt completely exhausted despite his long nap on the train. It didn't come a moment too soon when the Headmaster dismissed them, the Slytherin prefects rising to escort the first years to the dungeons.
Following along, Harry barely remembered to make note of the twists and turns, and paid close attention to the prefect's instructions on how to remember which patch of wall opened into Slytherin.
She was a Black, he thought. One of Regulus' many cousins.
Once in the common room, though, he stumbled through to the dorm on autopilot. The large square room held five beds staggered on either side. His was one of the two on the left, closest to the door. He only had the ability to notice that the other belonged to Regulus before he was changed into pajamas and under the covers, sound asleep.