Harry's relatives never raised him. In fact, they abandoned him the day they found him on their doorstep. It's going to be a very different Harry Potter than Albus Dumbledore expects who shows up at Hogwarts ten years later...
Warnings: 1.This is a slash fanfiction. It won't come until MUCH later on though – remember that Harry is just turning eleven when the story opens up.
3. There will probably be character deaths. Please, do not flame me if your favorite character dies – this warning is here for a reason.
Disclaimer: If I owned Harry Potter…that would be fan-dabby-babulous.
The night seemed a perfectly ordinary one. Clouds hid the moon and stars from view – the only light came from the streetlights and the occasional car that swept by and was gone in moments. The windows of the houses on the narrow street were dark, their occupants peacefully sleeping, unaware of the world around them. Children had been tucked safely into bed by loving parents some hours earlier.
It was safe to say that the child had never had real parents.
He crept along in the shadow of a much taller figure; the older man, for his size, moved swiftly and silently, his boots making barely any noise. The child had been raised on the streets, and taught to distrust all strangers. He had grown up knowing one person as his protector and family – a young man, who couldn't be older than his early thirties, and looked to be in his late twenties. The man had never revealed much about himself, except that he'd grown up much the same as the child – on the streets, stealing to survive. It seemed he had chosen to live his life that way - an existence frowned upon by members of "proper" society.
"Keep up, kid. You want food? We have to be quicker than this, or someone will see." The man was several paces ahead, and his voice startled the smaller male out of his thoughts. He kept his voice low for fear of waking anyone or attracting attention, as it was the dead of night. They tried not to be out and about too much in the daytime. People might see their faces.
The boy quickened his step. He hated to disappoint the person he saw as his big brother. They had to eat to live, and they had to steal to eat; they didn't dare try to steal anyone's money, though the child had never asked why. He was the lookout, when his brother decided they needed to raid a store in the quiet and stillness of the night. His brother was the one who did the stealing, as he was far more experienced – and was the only one of the two who owned gloves, so as not to get caught.
Now, the boy stood motionless in the shadows, watching while his brother broke into the store they'd picked out with as little forced entry as possible. Sometimes they were very lucky - sometimes the owners forgot to lock up the store, and those were the times when the boy and his brother ate well for a while before they had to steal some more. Most of the time though, they had to break in and had minutes at best to get in, grab what they needed, and get out. They didn't eat so well those times, and they'd have to move on to a new place and steal again within a few days at best. At worst, they had to ration the food and water they took – they only ever stole water because anything else slowed them down too much – so that it lasted more than just a day. Sometimes the older of the two went without food, to make sure the boy didn't.
If the boy saw the police coming, he had to whistle as loud as he could, to make sure his brother heard it. It had taken him months to get it right, and sometimes they only just got away, thanks to his brother's speed and sharp ears and eyes. Really, people shouldn't go rushing around with flashing lights and loud, wailing sirens if they wanted to catch criminals.
The boy had just one weapon - a dagger, given to him by his brother when he was younger. "Don't ever use this against another person," the man had told him seriously, looking deep into his eyes, "unless you have absolutely no other choice. If you use it in any other way except self defense, one day it will hurt you in return. But always keep it close...you never know when you might have need of it."
He never had used the dagger, but it was strapped to his waist, within easy reach. Sometimes he kept a hand over the dagger's hilt, fingers just barely brushing the metal to remind himself that it was there.
Familiar flashing red and blue lights caught his attention - they were still far down the street, but getting closer. He let out a loud, sharp whistle and turned to see his brother darting from the store, the bag they used on raids like this clutched in one long-fingered hand. Not a word was spoken - they'd done this so many times in past years that there was no need to speak. They slipped into a side alley as swiftly and silently as a pair of cats would, their steps light, their breathing controlled.
The cops arrived just seconds later, but were still too late to catch the burglars.
The boy looked up from caressing the blade of his dagger, slightly surprised that his brother was awake so early the morning after a raid. Normally, the man stayed where he slept until well after noon – though whether he was actually sleeping or just brooding, the boy could never tell. The older male knelt beside him, gripping his chin gently so he could look the younger full in the face. "I know I've never asked you this before now...but do you remember anything before the night I found you?"
Oh. So that was it...the teen probably wanted to know if he remembered his name or something...
"No..." the boy answered, being completely honest. "Nothing."
The man sighed and ran a hand through his wild chestnut-brown hair. "Well, that makes things a bit more difficult to understand, then...because this" - he held up an envelope, showing it to the boy - "was brought here by an owl, of all the unusual things, and it's addressed to a Mr. Harry Potter."
The boy blinked. "I don't know a Harry Potter," he said, bewildered. "Do you? Is it an old friend of yours?"
The young man actually snorted. "I've never known anyone named Harry," he replied. He stood and tapped the creamy envelope against his hip, the motion a thoughtful one. "Hmm...well, anyway, I've decided I'm going to give you a name. I can't go around calling you 'boy' for the rest of your life." He tilted his head and studied the child thoughtfully. "Trouble is I don't know what a good name for you would be...I hadn't thought about it."
The boy stared back, curious. "Well…I heard someone call someone else 'Shithead' really loudly once. Is that a name?"
There was a long, awkward pause, before the child's big brother burst out laughing. He laughed long and hard, making the boy wonder what he'd said that was so funny. When he'd calmed to the point where he could speak again, the brown-haired man said between chuckles, "No, child, that's not a name…and you mustn't say that again, until you're a bit older at least."
The boy pouted. "You say that about a lot of things I hear."
"Because they're not things a child should repeat." The older man affectionately flicked the child's forehead with a finger, right over a jagged scar that had been there since he found the kid on the street. "I think I've got it, by the way…how do you like Zephyr?"
"Zephyr," the boy echoed, tasting the name on his tongue. It felt….right. He nodded. "I like it…so, what do I call you?" the newly-named Zephyr asked.
His older brother looked away, multiple emotions briefly crossing his expression before he replied, "Living alone, one doesn't need a name. But a long time ago...the people I knew called me Evan. Now, shall we read this letter? I think it deserves a reply."
With sure fingers, Evan opened the envelope and pulled out several sheets of paper.
"'Dear Mr. Potter,'" Evan read, with a swift glance at Zephyr. "'We are pleased to inform you that you have been accepted at Hogwarts' School of Witchcraft and Wizardry.'" He paused. "How...very interesting..." After a few seconds of scanning, he went on, "'Term begins on September 1. We await your owl by no later than July 31.'"
Evan set the letter down and turned his head to stare at Zephyr curiously. "What do you make of that?"
"I think whoever sent this is playing a well-thought-out joke on us," Zephyr muttered. "Really, an owl? Witchcraft? Are these people mad?"
Evan chuckled. "You're probably right." He ruffled Zephyr's unruly black hair in a somewhat playful gesture. "Well, let's burn this and see if we can hit that new clothing store later tonight. You've hit another growth spurt, shrimp, and those clothes obviously don't fit anymore."
Albus Dumbledore, Headmaster of Hogwarts School of Witchcraft and Wizardry, was nearly giddy with relief. It was a very simple reason as to why; Harry Potter had finally been found.
The boy had been missing for ten years. He hadn't been seen in all that time, and now they'd finally pinpointed his location. He was living with an older man, who had apparently taken care of him since he was abandoned by the Dursleys. But that was beside the point. Even though the signal letter had given had been to alert the school that it had been burned, they had still found the boy. All that was left was to get him away from whoever he was with.
Life on the streets was no life for the Boy-Who-Lived, after all.
Damn the Dursleys...they were supposed to take care of Harry until he was old enough to come to school! Instead they'd dumped him as far from their home as they dared and left him to die.
Except…the boy hadn't died. And that was very, very good news indeed.
"Ready, Zephyr?" Evan breathed next to the raven-haired boy's ear.
"Go. I know the drill," Zephyr murmured back.
And then Evan was gone, trying doors and windows to see if even one had been left unchecked and open. Zephyr peered out from between the branches of the bush they'd been hidden behind. Everything was going as they had planned, until...
A shout from behind had Zephyr whirling around, hand flying to his dagger. He immediately froze. Two men, wearing some sort of robes, had grabbed Evan.
"Run away, Zephyr! Don't come here, just go!" The teen yelled, as Zephyr took a step toward him. "Go!" There was a shout of a word the child didn't recognize, a flash of almost painfully bright red light, and then Evan went limp and silent.
Terrified, Zephyr looked back once before he sprinted away. He wove back and forth, darting into alleyways and staying out of the streetlights as much as possible to confuse his pursuers, who he could hear yelling after him.
Then there was a loud noise, like a car backfiring, and suddenly someone was right in front of him. He skidded to a halt to avoid a collision. How had that happened? He turned to run, and saw more of the robed people coming up behind him – he realized he was trapped. The tall figure pointed a long, thin piece of wood at him. There was another flash of red light and then...darkness.
"Ennervate. Harry, can you hear me?"
Zephyr groaned and turned his head to the side as he started to come to. He could hear...someone...talking. But who were they speaking to? They kept calling the name…Harry. The name sounded familiar, but his head felt fuzzy, like static on a TV had invaded his mind…he couldn't connect one idea to another.
Evan...where is he? Where's my brother? He forced his eyes open halfway and brought up a hand to rub his eyes. He'd been...knocked out, it seemed. That was why his thinking was so slow – he'd been knocked out before, when he knocked something off of a shelf and it had nailed him in the head. He needed a minute to come to his senses.
Before he could try to sit up and figure out where he was, his vision was filled with the smiling face of an extremely old man. Alarmed, he let old reflexes take over and twisted to the side to get his personal space back...and fell. He didn't know what he'd been lying on, or what he fell off of...all he knew was that he landed on an extremely hard surface. He coughed, the unexpected impact knocking the air from his lungs.
"Now, now, dear boy, there's no cause for alarm."
"No cause for alarm?!" Zephyr repeated, fear making his voice higher than he meant for it to come out. He scrambled to his feet, automatically feeling for his dagger. He felt intense relief when he found it hadn't been taken from him, and wrapped his fingers around the hilt. "Where did you take him? What did you do to Evan?!"
"Calm down, Harry, so I can explain," the old man replied calmly. "I am Albus Dumbledore. I-"
"Like I give a rat's ass who you are!" Zephyr shouted, his terror and anger combining to force some of the words Evan had told him not to say out of his mouth. Oops. "Where are we, and where is my brother?!" He unsheathed the dagger and pointed his blade at the old man. He didn't want to use it, but he would if he didn't get answers soon.
Dumbledore's blue eyes widened slightly at the appearance of the weapon. "We are in the hospital wing of Hogwarts, Harry. Your friend has been taken to my office for questioning."
Zephyr curled his lip, sheathing the dagger. He definitely wasn't happy about being taken away from Evan. It made him feel vulnerable, and alone. "Why did you bring us here?" he snapped. "And why do you keep calling me Harry? My name is Zephyr."
"That's not your name, my dear boy." Zephyr liked this man less and less every passing second. "Your real name is Harry Potter. To make a very long story short, you are the Boy-Who-Lived, the savior of the wizarding world. You've been missing for quite a while, my boy, and we're very glad to find you've been safe."
"My name is Zephyr," Zephyr repeated stubbornly. He narrowed his green eyes at Dumbledore. "I don't know who this Boy-Who-Didn't-Die or whatever is, and of course I'm safe. My brother takes good care of me – and I want him here, and then I want to go home."
So saying, he sat down on what he now recognized as a bed and ignored the man until Dumbledore gave up trying to talk to him and left.
Albus barely refrained from slamming the doors shut when he left the hospital wing. Harry clearly distrusted him, and had been brainwashed into thinking his name was.
Well...this called for some child's influence. When the school year started, he would have to see if Ronald Weasley and Hermione Granger could persuade the child to see things his way.