Author's Note: Re-posted chapter, with a summary, so you know what you're in for.
Summary: When Liam Carpenter began his fourth year at Hogwarts, he didn't expect to be participating in a legendary tournament, not least one that would be modified to be even more dangerous. He certainly didn't expect people to find out that he was Harry Potter, the Boy-Who-Lived. And he did expect that he would walk the path to greatness alone, however much it hurt, but he did not factor in a little sister who's determined to knock some sense into him, and who is too hyperactive for her own good...
When Albus Dumbledore took up the Elder Wand so many years ago, he thought that he'd finally be able to change the world, for the better. Yet, nearly fifty years after he defeated Grindelwald, he found himself at the helm of a country which never managed to recover from a War, a country riddled with prejudice and corruption. But the Wand tells him different, never mind that he knows that it's eating away at his psyche...
Darkness looms over the horizon as the prelude to the Second Wizarding War begins, a tale filled with betrayal, lies, drama, anger and pain. Will Harry, in his misguided belief that he is truly alone, fall to the same darkness that had taken the Dark Lord so many years ago, or will Dumbledore fall prey to the seduction of the Deathstick first, despite his best attempts at resistance?
Magic, Rituals, Secrets, Weapons, Discoveries, Creatures, and worst of all...the prospect of a date to the Yule Ball. Welcome to the world of Harry Potter.
Chapter 5: Alone
He awoke groggily, casting a Tempus and squinting to see what time it was. His eyes widened as he read 10:13 a.m., and he fairly ran out of bed, still in his crumpled robes from the day before. He had no time to change; he was already late for class!
Halfway through lifting the charms on his doors, he realised that it was Saturday, and there was no school. Sighing in relief, he sagged back on the bed, stretching lithely. Taking a change of clothes and his toothbrush, he lazily made his way out towards the fourth year bathrooms. A long shower later, he descended to the common room, his mind still on the events of the day before –
Only to find himself face to face with the entire Slytherin House.
He sighed. Of course, this was inevitable.
The silence stretched out for a long moment, and Harry finally asked, "Can I be of any help to you, ladies and gentlemen?"
In reply, Marcus Flint, Quidditch Captain, threw a Daily Prophet at him. The elder Slytherin raised his eyebrows as Harry nonchalantly snatched it out of the air without even a second glance.
Opening it, Harry immediately saw a full page photo of him on the paper, with the Headline – "Return of The Hero – Harry Potter Alive!"
Wincing at his photo, which in turn was wincing right back at him, he opened to the next page, with another photo of the sword of Gryffindor. Ignoring it, he began reading the article instead.
He raised his eyebrows as he went further down the page. His idea had paid off – he had been shown as a brave child who hadn't managed to cope with the pressure of being hunted, and had vanished to try and protect his family. While not the best choice, the paper lauded him for thinking of others before him, blowing his valour out of proportion.
There was also an article about him being the Fourth Champion, and the changes it would mean for the Tournament. And next to the sword, there was another paragraph –
His eyebrows shot into his hair.
Indeed, if the tales are to be true – and what less can we really expect from the only person to ever survive the Killing Curse, Potter pulled the Sword of Gryffindor out of the Sorting Hat. While investigation into this matter is ongoing, and the Prophet promises to keep you going, we at the prophet cannot wait to see what this young Wizard has in store for us. While cynics remain unconvinced, Mr. Potter was able to give an accurate description of the serpent, and furthermore, call upon the sword of Gryffindor (bottom right) at will. Also, as he had said, the sword indeed carried traces of Basilisk venom, less than 2 years old – which coincides with his tale.
This reporter, however, is questioning what Mr. Potter is doing in the house of serpents at Hogwarts, if he indeed did kill the King of Snakes in his second year? Of course, the old maxim of "hide in plain sight" can be called into play – after all, who would expect Harry Potter to be in the very house You-Know-Who himself had been in, and is notorious for producing Dark Wizards every generation. As a former Gryffindor, and an ardent fan of the Boy-Who-Lived, would it be too much to ask for a resorting?
He looked up, sighing. Lucas Carrow narrowed his eyes, "Well, Potter? The Snakes not good enough for you?"
"That's not written anywhere here. I have no loyalty to any house here," was the calm reply.
Hissing and whispers filled the Common Room, but Harry simply shook his head. "I stand before all of you as the Boy-Who-Lived," he said, "already one of the most influential wizards of the generation. You speak to me now, but what about when I was Liam Carpenter?" he asked. "I was shunned by my house, even though we were told to put up and united front. That led to me being ostracized by the entire school – if you've noticed, I have no friends."
Some of the students looked mildly ashamed, but the rest wore stoic expressions. "Why hide yourself?" asked a seventh-year Prefect, whose name eluded him. "What is the real reason? Surely, if you were noble enough to save a pathetic Blood-Traitor from a Basilisk, and to hide to try and save your family, why not be in Gryffindor?"
"The same reason most of you aren't there – I am ambitious, I confess. The Hat told me Slytherin would lead me on the path to greatness, and that was an offer I could not pass up. Besides, I had certain...talents, that made me ideal for Salazar's house."
"Yet you stopped Salazar's work! You should have stood aside and let the Heir finish of all the Mudbloods and filth, but you killed the King of Serpents!" Lazarus Carrow almost screamed in anger, his veins popping. "You're a half-blood, but you come from one of the oldest lines of Britain! Surely you know of the importance of blood!"
"No, I don't, actually," Harry said coolly. "Blood has no meaning to me."
"You dare go against Salazar's teachings?"
"Nowhere in history is it written that Salazar was a Pureblood Supremacist. It has merely been said that he did not want Muggleborns to attend Hogwarts. Maybe he left Hogwarts himself to isolate and teach the Muggleborns magic!"
"Why you little piece of shit!"
Harry's wand was out and pointed at Carrow in a flash, and the older boy suddenly found himself wary. Liam Carpenter had been exceptionally good in studies, but Potter here was a wildcard – no one knew his true strength.
"At the time Hogwarts was founded, Muggleborns had to face intense persecution from all societies – Muggles, because of their Magic, and Wizards, because they were identified as Muggle supporters to the narrow minded Purebloods. There are theories that Salazar sought to isolate them to protect them from both parties, but alas, no one pays them much heed."
Harry was surprised to see some people actually look thoughtful at his words, and not for the first time since last night, he began to realise how common people looked up to celebrities.
"You lie!" said Draco Malfoy. "You have no proof!"
"And neither do you!"
"Of course I do! The greatest wizard from our house –"
Harry cut him off. "You mean Lord Voldemort?"
"You dare speak his name?!" hissed Carrow, losing control and sending a stunner at Harry. Calmly, he put up a shield and deflected it away from him, the spellfire lighting up the room.
"Yes, I dare. I've earned the right, don't you think? And Malfoy, as to your question, you're sorely mistaken. The greatest Wizard from Slytherin house was a supporter of Muggleborn rights, and in fact, he wasn't even a half-blood, he was a half-breed. Born of the last line of Incubi and a Muggle Woman –"
"Merlin," breathed Tracey Davis, from her corner of the room, flushing slightly when his eyes ran over her.
"Indeed," said Harry, "think on that. And if you can, look up the First and Second World Wars. Slytherins are meant to appreciate power – perhaps that will open your eyes to the power Muggles wield."
And he walked smartly past the crowd, leaving them all with something to think about.
And yet many in the crowd swore to take revenge against him for defiling their house.
He already knew the day was going to get worse. Hedwig, his beloved owl, was short with him in the library, when he sent a letter to the Prophet – a rather long one. Despite what he had said, he had always been a great fan of Merlin, or old man Emrys, as the Goblins called him – and he was truly proud to be part of his legacy.
Rain was beginning to fall when he made his way back to the Castle. His temper was already short from Breakfast – even though he'd arrived late, plenty of people pointed at him and whispered incessantly. Thankfully, none of them had made an effort to speak to him, or else he was sure he'd grow curse-happy.
He was just going to enter the clock tower when a severe looking Owl descended. Recognizing a letter from Gringotts, he eagerly took it from the bird. Perhaps his master would have some words of advice...
He was rather stunned when he saw an empty sheet of parchment, though. A moment later, the parchment glowed blue, and he found himself being pulled through a vortex of time and space.
He was deposited roughly on the cold floor of a chamber – he had not been expecting the Portkey. Standing up, he saw rough stone walls around him, lit by torches. He was in the mines, he realised. And standing before him, looking livid, was Strongarm.
"What have you done?" hissed the Goblin in anger, his eyes burning.
"What?" asked Harry, confused, and hurt at the way his master was acting.
"THE SWORD!" shouted Strongarm. "Ragnuk's Sword! You gave it away to the Ministry!"
"Gryffindor's sword?" asked Harry, bemused.
A hand came sharply down, slapping him across the cheeks. Touching his face disbelievingly, he looked up at his master in horror.
"Don't play dumb with me, Harry! I told you great tales of the sword, and what it means to us – that it was stolen by arrogant Wizarding thieves, and never returned to us!"
Harry's heart sank. Of course, he had forgotten. The sword was Goblin-made, the only remaining work forged by Ragnuk, the greatest Smith and first Monarch of the Goblins. Strongarm had said many times how thieving Wizards had only promised they'd borrow it, and ended up hiding it from the Goblins.
"How dare you betray us like that, after all we've done for you?! We took you in, when you were freezing pathetically that winter! We taught you, raised you, made you what you are today! And yet you dishonour us like this! You give that sword away like it was yours to give, like it was yours to begin with! And now those filthy wizards will never give it back, and the greatest treasure of my house will be lost!"
Of course, thought Harry. Strongarm and his son were the last living descendants of Ragnuk's line.
"Master, please," he begged, "I can get it back-"
Another slap, and this time, his eyes teared up, not from the blow, but from Strongarm's words. "YOU ARE NO APPRENTICE OF MINE, ANYMORE! From this moment onwards, I break all ties with you, Harry Goblin-enemy. The news of your betrayal will spread through all of the Goblin Nation, and we will forever spit upon you and your line!"
All the anger seemed to be seeping out of the Goblin, and this time, his voice was a broken whisper. "Why, Harry? After all we went through together, why would you do this to us?"
"Master, please," begged Harry, and indeed, he truly was sorry. He'd merely been feeling cocky last night, and had called the sword to him on instinct. Out of desperation, he held his hand out like before, and concentrated with all his mind. He screwed up his eyes, brows furrowing, tears leaking down his face, but nothing came.
"It is no use," said Strongarm gravely, recognizing his efforts. "Even as we speak, Wizards study that sword, breaking all Goblin enchantments on it, so it can never return to us. A grave blow you have dealt to us today, and for that, I renounce you, now and forever, Harry James Potter."
The words had a ringing finality to them, and Harry suddenly felt a hollow sensation in his chest, like something had gone missing.
Tears falling fast and thick now, he whispered, "Please, Strongarm – you're the only fam-"
"DON'T YOU DARE SAY THAT, TRAITOR!" and he turned to see Brighteye walk into the room, looking livid, his grey eyes that made his so famous among the goblins on fire. "YOU HAVE NO FAMILY! YOU ARE ALONE, AND THAT IS ALL YOU'LL EVER BE, AND THAT IS HOW YOU'LL DIE! I CURSE YOU, HARRY POTTER!"
The words struck him like a brick wall, and even his tears ceased, as he could only look on in helpless shock. Brighteye raised his fist, and Harry lowered his eyes, but he looked up to see his hand wavering in the air, tears in his eyes.
"Brother- please –"
The fist descended, and he felt blood fill his mouth."You are no brother of mine! Begone, Harry Potter, and bring misfortune elsewhere. Out into the world I cast you, as alone as the day we found you! May your gold dry up and fade away, and may your enemies best you at every turn! Never darken our doorstep again!"
And with that last, and worst curse, Harry felt another pull on his navel.
Opening his eyes when he'd stopped reeling, he found that he was on the steps of Gringotts in Diagon Alley. The Goblins' last parting shot – leaving him deserted here.
He stood up, tears still blinding his vision. He felt none of the confidence he had before, none of the power he felt he'd wielded. Walking unsteadily and blindly about, his jaw pounding, he made his way over to the Leaky Cauldron.
Tom was delighted to see him, "Young Carpenter!" he said, "Or is it Potter now? All this time –" the barkeep stopped short as he took in Harry's bruised jaw and dishevelled state. Liam or Harry, he'd grown quite fond of the boy after he'd spent summers working at Diagon Alley and learning from all the shopkeepers, and he could clearly see that the boy had been in trouble.
"Floo," croaked Harry thickly, not wanting to talk. Sensing this, Tom handed over the pot without any comment. "Do write or visit sometime, Harry," he said, "All the shopkeepers at Diagon Alley talk about Liam, even old Steven. You're not alone, y'know?"
"Oh, but he is!" hissed a voice behind him. He turned to see a hag in a veil, her leer still visible. Her voice changed dropping to a visitor. "Betrayal..." she whispered. "It has begun, and more looms over the horizon. Alone, he shall stand, he shall..."
Feeling sick to the core, unable to take anymore, Harry jumped into the Floo, to end up at the Hog's Head and make his way back into the school through the Honeydukes Passage.
And as green flames rushed up to meet him, he couldn't shake the words out of his head. "Alone..."
Author's Note: Any objections to Ragnuk's spelling will be disregarded. Ragnok was a modern goblin, Ragnuk was the first monarch and forger of Gryffindor's sword.
A/N Edit: Oh for Lord's Sakes, people! Harry Potter is my favourite character, and I'm not about to let him be all alone. This is just one chapter, out of an entire lot. One chapter. In fact, I'll post a longer summary, so you know what you're in for. This chapter, as well as the first.