Title: To Achieve Greatness
Character: Harry Potter.
Notes: By far not your usual Slytherin!Harry story. I've tried to keep him as Harry, but he's ever so slightly twisted, and, well, Slytherin. You'll see how this affects the story in little snapshots throughout the years. I sincerely hope you enjoy!
"Not Slytherin, eh? Are you sure? You could be great, you know, it's all here in your head, and Slytherin will help you on the way to greatness, no doubt abou that. You could have a home there, boy, a family. Slytherins look out for their own. And you will be great."
"But I don't want to be great," Harry protested weakly. The hat chuckled.
"Arguing with oneself is the first sign of madness, Mr Potter," it told him, before a brief pause. Harry chewed at his lip nervously. "All Potters are destined to achieve greatness, and I would advise you not to cheat destiny," it whispered.
The moment the Hat went against his wishes, Harry started to have doubts about his place in Hogwarts. Even walking over to the silver and green table that marked the beginning of seven long years there, he felt eyes on him everywhere, watching and judging his every move, as though he had already done something wrong.
"One slip up..." Harry mused to himself, sitting next to the stuck-up Draco Malfoy from the train journey. He shuffled along slightly, and was faced with the dangerous smile of Pansy Parkinson. He shrunk a little in his seat.
The last Slytherin to be Sorted, Blaise Zabini, sat down on the other side of Harry.
"Think about it," he said to Daphne Greengrass, a girl in their year, "this is - excuse my Gryffindor reference - a golden opportunity for us." Harry raised his eyebrows in surprise at the boy.
"How so?" Malfoy drawled, taking a dainty sip from his goblet and coughing not-so-daintely.
Zabini smirked. "We have a chance to corrupt the Boy Who Lived."
The Slytherin table all laughed, but Harry tapped his chin thoughtfully. Corrupt. What a... musical word. Corrupt. That's what the Dursleys called him; the corrupted freak. No way was he going to corrupt little Diddy-kins. He was corrupt.
"I don't know," Harry mused aloud, and all eyes on the table turned to him, "I think I may have already beaten you there."
He raised an eyebrow at the shocked faces, and took a sip of his pumpkin juice.
"Well, it'll be an interesting year for sure," Nott commented dryly.
"Won't it just?" Harry agreed, already planning his night time stroll to the Forbidden Forest, and a detour to the third floor corridor. He wondered if he could find the kitchens before the week was out. That would give gossping Slytherins something to talk about. "Treacle tart, anyone?"
"Heir of Slytherin? Oh, how I wish," Harry snorted to Blaise, who toasted him with his goblet in return and returned to eating his mash potatoes. Mash potatoes for breakfast; honestly. "But it's nice to have a bit of fear for once. Too much respect can go to the head, if you know what I mean."
Harry thought about the end of last year, where he had walked into the locked room of the third floor and found a strange harp playing. He had kicked it over and walked back to the door.
Harry had turned, however, just in time to see "Fluffy" happily chewing on the bloodied turban of Professor Quirrell.
And to think, he had just been taking a stroll.
"So you're going to keep, ah, playing the Quidditch pitch, as it were?" Draco asked with interest. The brat was rather tolerable once you had beaten him a number of times in illegal duels. They hadn't become fast friends, far from it, but they tolerated each other. Just.
"I think I might for a while," Harry nodded, taking a bite out of his toast. "D'you reckon I could bewitch our house emblem to come alive too? It would be too much of a wasted opportunity otherwise."
Daphne Greengrass gave an unladylike snort from the other end of the table. She raised her goblet in greeting when they all turned towards her.
"If you can get Lockhart fired while you're at it, Potter, we may just have to come to an agreement of some sort!" She called, laughing and turning to talk to the unfavoured Pansy Parkinson. Harry wondered whether or not he could do it. He already had suspicions about the fabled tale of Slytherin's Chamber of Secrets and had been itching to try out his theories.
He tapped his chin thoughtfully, then called back to his classmate, "I think you've got yourself a deal, Daphne! Give me two weeks!"
"You're on, Harry!"
It only took him five days to return from the Chamber with the bloodied diary of Tom Riddle, a blathering, insane Lockhart, the Sorting Hat, Dumbledore's phoenix and a vial of basilisk venom for recreational purposes only.
"Sirius Black?" Harry asked, twirling the wand in his fingers. The man on the floor of the Shrieking Shack grinned and nodded. He looked towards the Gryffindor prat, Ron something-or-other and his pet rat.
"It's me, Harry. I'm your godfather." He cackled madly. "But I assume you already know that. And as soon as I get that cowardly little rat, I'll be free."
"What do you mean, cowardly little rat? Ron maybe be quivering, may be holding a rat and squeaking in an awfully rodent-like way, but he's by no stretch of the imagination little."
"Oh, shut it, Ronald," Harry sighed. "I presume you mean his pet - Scabbers, right?"
"Scabbers," Black laughed. "I think, by now, he would appreciate the use of his real name. The Animagus, Peter Pettigrew."
"The only thing left was a finger," Harry muttered to himself. "It all makes sense now! He framed you. You both made everybody believe that you were the Secret Keeper so that they wouldn't go after Peter. Anybody who could prove otherwise is dead."
"Exactly." Black's eyes gleamed in his skeleton-like face. "Harry, we prove this, and I'm free. We could be a proper family."
"Family," Harry repeated in a monotone. "You do realise I'm a Slytherin? Would you want a Slytherin godson? I was under the impression you hated us."
"Slytherin or not," Black said slowly, "you're still my godson. I was almost a Slytherin after all, as I know you were almost a Gryffindor. We're equal, in a way. Azkaban may have changed me, but I still believe that."
Harry tapped his wand against his chin, then turned to Professor Lupin.
"It was Peter, Harry," Lupin reassured him. "I'm sure of it. Sirius didn't tell me they'd switched Secret Keeper's because he suspected me, and I, him." He pointed his wand at the rat that was leaping out of Ron something-or-other's arms and towards the door.
Scabbers transformed into a pudgy, white-faced man, and Harry watched in amusement as Black and Lupin restrained him.
Ron, however, looked on perplexed. Harry had only followed him in here because he'd accidently taken his time turner. He hadn't realised Black would use the Gryffindor as bait, no matter how effectively it worked. McGonagall would hang him if she thought he had lost the time-turner.
"Together?" Black asked, looking from Lupin to Harry. He smirked.
"I don't think my dad would want his two best friends to become killers after this rodent," he mused aloud, before straightening his Slytherin tie and inspecting his hands whilst staring straight at Pettigrew.
"And?" Black leant forward, bloodlust evident on his face.
"And I don't think he would've wanted a Slytherin son either, but you kind of have to give and take. Goodnight, Peter."
"You tricked the cup, didn't you, Potter?" Draco demanded when Harry waltzed calmly into their dorm room after his confrontation with Dumbledore.
The old fool; didn't he realise that Harry had fame and riches beyond that of any stupid tournament?
Unless he wanted Harry to win for his campaign. Unless he thought it was vital for Harry to get in the news. Well; Harry didn't particularly feel like being manipulated today.
"Now now, Draco. Surely that's a bit of a presumption? It could have been a little misunderstanding," Harry commented, inspecting the dirt underneath his nails with a grimace. He really was turning into Draco Bloody-Better-Than-Everyone Malfoy. He really needed a file. He laughed to himself, and shook his head as he walked over to his bed.
"No, no, I'm pretty sure it's misunderstanding, though my French is a little hazy."
"No, I mean, my name is Malfoy, Potter, not Draco; we're not on first name basis. You've yet to impress me." Draco sniffed pompously and vaguely reminded Harry of that stuck up Gryffindor Prefect, Percy.
"Draco," Harry drawled, reclining on his bed and threading his wand through his fingers, "we've lived with each other for well over three years. I think we're on first name basis." He paused. "And what do you mean I haven't impressed you?"
"Well, you've had a few lucky turns, but nothing spectacular," Draco said resignedly.
"Oh, yeah?" He taunted, then he got up, and faced his half friend, half enemy. "Then how do you propose we lose this tournament?"
Draco's answering grin was enough to convince Harry that he had, finally, been impressed.
"We here at the Inquisitorial Squad seek to help our schcool and its students. Meeting with be on Thursdays, at six, at the location we talked about in our previous meeting. We don't want any spies getting in, which is why I limited it to only two meeting in my office before we confirmed the time and place." Umbridge gave a sickly sweet smile and handed out the badges.
"The Inquisitorial Squad is a place for the most dedicated and determined of students to prove their worth..."
Only when Umbridge's speech trailed off and Harry slunk away did he allow himself to smirk. Prove his worth, yes. Be dedicated to its cause? Not so much.
"You've got the information then?"
The person who asked the question, Hermione Granger, was a know-it-all Gryffindor who was designated as the head of academic research in the Army - known simply as that when Harry had turned down the role as its head, and had forbidden Draco from doing the opposite.
On the outside, the Army had over fifty members, spanning from first year to seventh, and consisting of all four houses. It was a secret organisation lead by the ten select members of what had been dubbed as the inner circle.
The Army's inner circle consisted of Harry, Draco, Blaise and Daphne on the Slytherin side, Hermione, Ron, Ginny and Neville on the Gryffindor side, and Luna as a representative for Ravenclaw and Hannah for Hufflepuff.
In some ways, Harry trusted the other nine of them with his life. In others, he sincerely regretted Ollivander's decision to let any of them buy a wand.
"Thursdays at six, in Filch's old office." Harry smirked to himself. Who would suspect a Slytherin spy, after all?
"We'll get Umbridge fired for sure, and at least shake old Dumbles up a bit," Blaise added, attempting to lean causally against the wall, but the fluttering movements of his hands betrayed his excitement.
"I can't believe he would ever be so manipulative," Mini-Weasley, or Ginny, said with a shake of her head, "Dumbledore always seemed so trustworthy. But he knew we would do this - relied on it, even. And I bet he didn't even really want you to learn Occlumency; he wanted to use your connection to Voldemort."
"Well, at least you're safe for now, Potter. Dumbledore won't suspect you of turning against him and Voldemort."
"Harry," Harry corrected Draco faintly.
"It's all because of the Nargles," Luna told them earnestly, "Professor Dumbledore is a fan of mistletoe ever since his illicit affair with Gellert Grindelwald."
The other nine members of the Army's inner circle rolled their eyes.
"You think I'm a Death Eater," Draco drawled carefully. The rest of the Army - still continuing, especially with the impending threat of Voldemort, and the knowledge that this was no longer just a children's war - gasped, even though they were all thinking the same thing.
Harry, though, rolled his eyes. "I know your father is a Death Eater, as well as your aunt. I know that Malfoys pride family above everything else, including social status and those who are pure of blood."
"So what are you suggesting?" His friend asked, confused.
"I'm suggesting," Harry replied softly, "that your father expects something of you, in order for you, and him, to keep your lives. I'm suggesting that you don't want to do it."
"He wants me to kill someone," Draco whispered. The Army's inner circle quickly gathered around the two boys at these words and ordered the others away. They left the Room of Requirement dutifully, knowing there would be hell to pay if they didn't. They would be informed later, anyhow.
There was a sharp intact of breath, though no one could identify it. Harry nodded solemnly.
"The old fool's dying anyway," he commented sadly, looking round at the people he trusted; the people he called his friends. "It's something to do with the Horcruxes. We all know how weak he is. I also know that Snape is a double agent. We don't know what the two of them are planning, but we can take into account that both of them want to keep me alive.
"Therefore, the only logical conclusion is to let me kill him for Draco."
"What? Harry, no!" Ginny yelled, tugging at his sleeve. The boy smiled softly at her, and all of them felt a shiver run down their spines, as though someone had walked over their graves.
That was Harry's Gryffindor smile.
"My soul is already damaged," he said, "and I know Dumbledore intends to die, no matter what. It would most likely be doing him a service. Draco can pretend to cast the spell, whilst I hover behind in the invisibility cloak and cast it myself."
"Harry, mate," Ron said, awed and more than slightly scared, "do you know how to do an Unforgivable?"
Harry thought of strangling Peter Pettigrew in his third year.
He remembered how he had purposefully lost the Triwizard Tournament, letting Cedric Diggory take the portkey. Luckily, the Hufflepuff had thought to actually re-grab the cup and tell people of the Death Eaters he had seen gathered in the graveyard. Voldemort never returned, but neither Cedric nor Harry had been the same since.
He thought of Arthur Weasley, left to die in the Ministry because Dumbledore didn't trust his word, because they had all been hesitant to believe a Slytherin with connections to Voldemort.
He had been tricked into going to the Department of Mysteries under the pretence of finding Sirius under the control of Barty Crouch, Voldemort's right hand man after he had escaped capture during Harry's fourth year.
Voldemort rose again.
Sirius had been put under the Cruciatus for seven minutes by his delightful cousin, and now resided in a ward at St. Mungo's, where it was unlikely he would ever be the same.
Harry thought of pushing Bellatrix through the veil.
"For Dumbledore," Harry said darkly, "I'm sure I could learn."
A few days later, the door to Albus Dumbledore's office opened with a squeak. Harry observed with amusement as he looked up, surprised - he obviously hadn't heard anyone coming up. Must be his old age, Harry mused.
Draco and the band of Death Eaters, clothed in black, stood in the doorway. The boy's Slytherin robes splattered with the faint, scarlet and brown colourings of new and dried blood. The red stood out starkly against the green and silver of his house tie. Albus gasped, horrified.
Behind Draco, Harry watched as his hand appeared, out of sight of the Death Eaters, and as it did so, it peeled back the cloak to reveal the head of Harry Potter. Harry raised his finger to his lips, telling Albus to stay quiet.
"Hello Headmaster." Draco grinned. "I do believe we have some business to attend to."
The door behind him slammed shut.
"Sir," Harry drawled. He had done it. He had died. But this was not Heaven, or Hell, which, he had to admit, was also a possibility. In fact, it resembled King's Cross Station.
He had met his mother and father, and Arthur Weasley and Minerva McGonagall in the forest with the resurrection stone. They stayed with him briefly; the penultimate Horcrux suitably destroyed now; Nagini never did stand a chance against Professor Trelawney's crystal balls.
Voldemort, going senile in his old age, didn't even see it coming.
So there was only one left; Harry himself. And so, he died.
"Harry," Dumbledore greeted him warmly, "Oh, Harry. For someone so Slytherin, you were a Gryffindor tonight. I'm so proud of you, my boy."
"For someone so Gryffindor," he replied back in a biting voice, "you were a Slytherin for most of your life. Therefore, excuse me if I don't believe the compliment." The old professor nodded sadly, then sat down on a bench, his white robes ghosting across the floor.
"You tried to sacrifice me, sir," Harry said suddenly, looking into those half moon spectacles with something like betrayal weighing him down from the inside. "I think you succeeded, too."
"It was... necessary." Dumbledore stroked his beard distractedly and Harry snorted.
"Necessary to ask a boy to sacrifice his life, his future, all he has known, for an old man who couldn't defeat someone already half dead?"
"Harry, my boy, you have to understand," he begged, "What is one life weighed against thousands?"
"But it was my life."
Dumbledore nodded and a train started to approach from somewhere unseen. He closed his eyes.
"You may return to life, Harry," he told him reverently, "or you may take a train. I do believe this is a train station and therefore, it will take you where you need to go."
"Voldemort's dead, dead and gone," Harry said, as if to remind himself. He shook his head. "I need to go back," he whispered, looking at the train with something akin to fondness in his green eyes; so like his mother's. "I have a feeling that the train will wait."
"It was good to see you, Mr Potter," Dumbledore assured him, then rested a hand on his shoulder. Harry glared at him, causing him to chuckle. "Let an old man have his regrets."
And then, both Harry and Dumbledore departed that life, that world, as equals.
Harry awoke in the middle of the Great Hall, where the battle had occured, as it has in ever future, in every possibility. His friends, both in the Army and not, greeted him gladly.
Harry returned to Grimmauld Place, and married that Gryffindor girl, Ginny, or as he still liked to refer to her, Mini-Weasley . He took weekly visits to St. Mungo's to visit his godfather, who was no better than the Longbottoms, but much, much happier, like a child who had known nothing else.
The ten, the Army, constantly met and stayed in contact. Draco Malfoy graciously married Daphne's sister, Astoria, and Hannah and Neville married later on in life, taking possesion of the Leaky Cauldron with pride. Ron and Hermione stayed together, and Blaise and Luna found that they had achieved a perfect balance in their conflicting relationship. It was a happy life; a better life.
Harry was constantly haunted, of course, by the deaths of Peter Pettigrew, Arthur Weasley, Kreacher the house elf, Rubeus Hagrid, Bellatrix Lestrange, Albus Dumbledore, the man who used to be Tom Riddle.
However, his godfather lived, and Remus Lupin had the chance to watch his son grow up. Regulus Black was honoured as a hero, and Dobby became Head Elf in the Hogwarts kitchens.
Even Hedwig, Harry's beloved owl, took to the skies once more.
In some ways, the world was a better place. In others, it was worse.
However, neither Sorting Hat, either in this world or the other, regretted its decision. After all, all Potters are destined for greatness. And all achieve it in the end.
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