Author's Notes:

Now, I feel the need to reply to an anonymous reviewer that left me a pretty good review. The story itself is labeled Adventure/Romance because romance will come into play once Harry is at Hogwarts. This is not a crack story by any means, but I will admit the second chapter was a bit over the top and it was supposed to be. That said, pretty much all of my stories will have snippets of humor here and there, unless it's just a pure humor one-shot (which in my eyes is pretty just crack – pure humor, that is).

Merry fucking Christmas, people – this chapter is my gift to you all! Huh, disappointed? You didn't get me shit. So yeah, ahem, enjoy the chapter.


This Fire

His chambers were dark and chilly and devoid of unnecessary light and sunshine. It fit him well, he knew, as did everyone in the castle who could claim they held half a brain, from his colleagues teaching to the students learning to the ghosts gossiping and the elves serving. He liked to believe his colleague Minerva McGonagall wore her lion's heart there on her sleeve for all of her pride to see, yet he did much the same, leaving the shriveled black thing he called his heart for any and all to see. The only thing truly hidden from prying eyes was the actual level of dislike and enjoyment he took in at certain things.

If the gods truly knew just how much I enjoyed quiditch and teaching, they were certain to take it away from me, he thought, with a bitter certainty that came only after living a life filled with loss.

He had once thought it all the Dark Lord's fault – Dumbledore too, for quite some time – but placing the blame on a single man was not enough. The Dark Lord did not make his father a bastard of a man any more than Dumbledore had made his mother a cowardly excuse of a witch. That son-of-a-whore James Potter was another matter entirely and both the Dark Lord and Dumbledore had unknowingly played a part in making him the monster he had been in their shared time in the hallowed halls of Hogwarts.

No, a higher power was clearly at fault for making his life as miserable as it had been. Someone(s) out there hates me almost as much as I hate myself. He pulled his dark cloak tighter around his thin frame, shivering as a cold wind from some far off corridor in the castle finally reached his quarters – placed under the lake, his chambers did not have any windows, muggle or magical so the air often remained stale and still.

His room, however, was thankfully dry and devoid of any dampness one might expect considering his duties to the school. A fire had already been placed in the room for him, a conjured one – a piece of magic any first year worth his weight should be able to create before their year was out.

Well, not entirely, he thought, gazing intently into the large fireplace, complete with a writhing fire the color of emeralds – a unique twist on the basic spell, something he was particularly good at. If one were to look long enough, it looks very much like cursed fire

The flames brought with it both ice and fire, a gentle warmth that kept the chill out his bones, but did little for the frigid cold that swept through his breast at the sight of the flames his elf Gilly had created for him, before he spelled it a different color without a second thought, stirring a memory constantly resurfacing since his talk with the headmaster.

It was the first spell she had truly learned, on her own and going entirely out of her way, and it had been for him.

Hearing his tales of the less than warm Slytherin dorms she had learned and produced – though he did not have the heart to tell her he had already known the spell and just how to call forth the flames – magical fire for him, to keep him warm when need be. On her very first try she had produced green flames, something not even he could boast, his looking entirely like a common fire. His housemates had cruelly japed he did not possess enough magic to make anything but a muggle one.

And now, most of those he had once called friends were dead, or rotting away in Azkaban with only the coldness for company and dementors to warm their beds at night. The rest, like himself, had escaped justice to live out the rest of their days, never truly free of the memories or the mark.

He raised the tumbler in his hand and drained it of the whiskey within before silently allowing the conjuration to fade away, the glass disappearing like so many other things magic had created.

His hand free, he rubbed tenderly at the mark on his forearm that was little more than a blemish these days, chasing away the phantom searing pain that still remained. On some days he wondered if the tingling sensation was just in his head, others if the Dark Lord had purposely spelled it so when marking them as a way to always remember.

Like turning the babe of the woman he loved into a living-legend wasn't enough.

Harry Potter, Severus Snape thought with severe distaste.

The name alone turned his stomach like milk gone sour. Such a common name, with a Potter slapped onto the end of it. It was no better than placing an air-freshening charm on the rotted corpse of an inferius.

His task that lay ahead curdled that same sour milk and left his stomach burning. Had his glass not vanished, he'd have thrown it into the fire before him.

I am no errand boy! he thought, dark eyes glaring resentfully into the smoldering green embers that seemed to stare back at him. I have traded one psychotic master for but a senile one! Make peace with the brat? Ha! I'd sooner take up residency at Azkaban in the cell alongside that whelp Black!

He fumed a moment longer, nostrils flaring dangerously, before calming himself with several deep breaths, allowing his prodigious skill in occlumency to wash away the emotional war waging within him – pleasant thoughts of Black suffering at the isle of Azkaban helped him along, though he would admit that particular thought to no one, not even Dumbledore, though, if it was possible, the headmaster seemed to resent the man responsible for betraying Lily and fooling them all even more than himself.

In the end, his chaperone trip was still months away and that thought alone won out. There was no use wallowing on the terror to come when the horrors of his past were still fit to be wallowed in.

Rising, he gave himself a halfhearted once over and prepared for the day of teaching that lay ahead. Thankfully, today was a Slytherin day and he would need not deal with the clumsy puffs or foolish lions – the two idiotic houses deserved each other, especially in potions; one student to bravely stand before the ruined potion fit to explode, shielding the masses while the other held their savior's hand in a show of comradely.

Moving through the shadowy corridors as though he was one with the darkness, his thoughts now landed on one subject and one alone: to which house would the boy belong?

There was no doubt in his calculating mind that any son of James Potter would be a foolish Gryffindor with no regard for anything but his justice – and honor, he thought, sneering. A son of Lily Evans, however, was another thing entirely.

Perhaps this is why Dumbledore tasked me with this? he thought, nodding after a moment. It will be done, and I shall see with mine own eyes just who you truly are, Harry Potter…


As Mrs. Figg slept, surrounded by her personal guard of cats, he devoured everything the book had to offer him with the type of enthusiasm Dudley only showed to a properly cooked meal – any meal, really, when it finally came down to hunger.

Hunger, he thought with a wry twist of his chapped lips, turning another page of the book resting in his lap.

It was amazing – only 'amazing' didn't truly capture the gist of the book and give a nice, clean and simple review. There was a better word that was much more fitting than amazing.

Magical…

Magic, his mind whispered with reverence again and again, magic, magic, magic

Dragons, ghosts, ghouls, giants, goblins, hags, hellhounds, trolls, vampires, werewolves and zombies…

It was the stuff of legend and the things that birthed nightmares – the creatures that crawled in the dark and avoided the light of day; the monsters beneath the bed and the ones hiding in your closet. It was terrifying and he should wish to avoid it at all costs and remain in the muggle world and live a normal, careful life and yet –

Abraxan, elves, fairies, leprechauns, mermaids and mermen, phoenixes and unicorns…

It was the stories banned religiously at Number Four because they were not normal or simply could not be real. The stories Dudley did not care for, but the ones he had feasted upon in secret, memorizing those precious books word for word spending long hours alone in the school's library with no one for company but the old librarian. The stories he would find himself captured by for hours on end until his stomach ached horribly and his eyes burned fiercely.

Like now, he thought, turning another page of the precious book before him. He was drawn in like a moth to the flame, hopelessly ensnared. Must keep going

The book went on forever, or so it said – self-sustaining the index had informed him. It would – by the grace of magic – update itself year after year and day by day, filling the blank pages with new tales of adventure. It was impossible, and yet he saw, drawn upon the blank, yellowed pages by an unseen hand, Marcus Flint of Slytherin house gaining five points towards the house cup due to a perfectly concocted pepper-up potion, awarded by Severus Snape, graduate of the same house years prior and their current head of house and potion's master, succeeding one Horace Slughorn in both regards.

If it was not proof enough, he decided to give the book one final test. For all the marbles, his uncle would say.

With quivering lips, he lowered his face until his nose brushed against the musty pages and whispered, "Harry Potter."

For one fleeting moment, bone-chilling screams, blinding green light and a cruel, murderous cackle filled his head – and then it was gone. And suddenly, everything he knew up until that point and time took a backseat to the knowledge before him. That he was the poor, orphaned boy of Privet Drive known for his broken glasses and ragged clothing mattered little anymore, as did the matter of a fictional car crash he had heard false tales of, or the unsavory descriptions his deceased parents – and I, he added – had been slandered with.

Because he was Harry Potter – the Boy-Who-Lived – and he would be heading off to Hogwarts upon the September after he turned eleven. He was the last surviving member of the Most Noble and Ancient House of Potter – a wealthy line known predominantly for producing members of the Gryffindor house, which was known for courage and chivalry. He was the son of Lily and James – both Gryffindor graduates and in their time, chosen heads of the school in their year. He was the vanquisher of Lord Voldemort, the last remaining heir to the Slytherin line and a dark wizard of mysterious origins, responsible for killing his parents and so many others during one of the bloodiest wars in wizarding history – the attendance rate was still struggling to reach its former numbers, years later. People still feared to speak his name – Harry, however, would not allow the mere memory of a murderer that last pleasure.

The creased pages seemed to know him better than he did himself and that struck something deep within him. No, this book merely knows of me, it does not truly know me

Harry carefully placed the book on the floor next to him and cradled his head with still trembling hands. Still, I should have known! he thought furiously, and it took him little more than a second to realize exactly why he did not know. Their treatment was never normal no matter how hard they tried to pretend it was. Dudley was spoiled horribly, but he was never treated like me. No one was treated like me – I was different among all the other children. I was unique. I was always

"Special," he whispered, his emerald eyes shining in the inky darkness of Mrs. Figg's living room.

No matter how hard they tried to break me, I remained special, he thought triumphantly, understanding of their treatment finally dawning on him. No matter how much they spoiled Dudley, I alone was special, he thought, a savage pleasure warming his chest and banishing what little, childhood jealousy – of toys and clothing and money and hugs – he had once held towards his spoiled-rotten cousin. They were always just good for nothing

"Muggles." Despite knowing them for mere hours, the terms felt like old friends to him. "Gryffindor, Hufflepuff, Ravenclaw and Slytherin." The words rolled off the tip of his tongue smoothly, never missing a beat or sounding incorrect and out of place – he was meant to know them. "Azkaban, Gringotts, Hogsmeade and the Ministry of Magic."

He searched the pages once more before finding the passage he was looking for: the one detailing school supplies and several popular hotspots for shopping. "Diagon Alley," he said with confidence.

I will need to go there, he thought with absolute certainty. Soon, he added after a moment, sluggishly. I will need supplies, and most importantly, I will need a

"Wand," he murmured tiredly, flexing his right hand, knowing instinctively that was where his focus would soon reside.

A wand: a focus created from a piece of magically saturated wood with an imbedded core of different varieties – blood, bone, feathers, hair, scales and skin just to name a few – from various creatures, some he knew of and others he had never even heard whispers of.

Without much effort, memories of earlier displays of magic without a proper focus – accidental magic, he corrected himself – swam through his mind. A horrible sweater being forced upon him by his aunt, suddenly no longer fitting him – possible use of a shrinking charm; his hair growing back over a single night – possibly linked with a rare magical race known as Metamorphmagi; suddenly reappearing on the roof of his school – a form of magical travel known as apparition; talking to snakes – an ability possessed by the Slytherin line and this Voldemort character allowing the one in question the power to speak with serpents.

Not soon after, another thought swam through his head as he searched for more displays of magic – and I haven't even begun my training yet nor have I had any assistance

He so wished to curse the Dursleys then. Even the grotesque Marge and her little dog, too, whom he only saw on the rare occasion she visited them.

He wanted to show them what it meant to be deprived of your true nature – to be forced to live your life as the wolf you secretly were, only among sheep. Only they're sheep for all of time, he thought, even Vernon, with all of his bluster – like a giant blowfish, swelling but never advancing against a foe he knew was out of his league.

But that was just the Dursley way to go about things. Make noise and a brave show of courage, hoping for the best, praying that the bad man – never the boogeyman, because he was not real, and anything fictional could possibly give Harry subtle reminders and hints of the dangers awaiting him where he truly belonged, because for Harry Potter, the monsters lurking in the shadows were very much a reality – would go away.

Harry would never confuse the Dursley family with the word normal. They were the farthest thing from it and it was sad how hard they tried to be it, grasping at the very goal they continued to blindly shove away.

Snide comments from what seemed like a life already slipping away prodded his sleepy mind. Freak, good for nothing, worthless

They were all truly pitiful – nothing more, nothing less – and Harry forced himself to look at his situation from an outsider's perspective of unbiased opinion. He weighed the legend of Harry Potter against the Dursley family of Number Four.

"Who is worthless now, aunt Petunia?"

The words came out tired and without much heat. He would need to think up a form of proper retaliation when the time was right, to settle the score and let them know their place and where he now stood. The revenge would be sweet and long overdue, but it would need to be done correctly – nothing too over the top, rather simple and to the point. Merely give them the means and let them create their own nightmares like they have been doing all of his known life.

But that was after some much needed rest.

Harry removed his glasses and rubbed at his tired, green eyes – my mother's eyes, he thought, eyes growing moist even as a yawn overtook him. Sleep, his mind whispered traitorously, a nap would be most welcome

He desired to read more – to learn more about charms, herbology, potions, runes, transfiguration and even the popular magical sport played atop brooms called quiditch – but he was so very tired. The previous day had been taxing and he could not ignore slumber's call any longer.

Lying upon the dusty floor of Mrs. Figg's house, surrounded by cats of various shape, sizes and color, he clutched tightly to the ancient tome, pressing his head to it and daring someone to pry it away from him. Drifting away, Harry knew, without a doubt, he had never felt a more comfortable pillow snuggled beneath his head in his entire life.


"He knows, Albus."

"Does he now?" Dumbledore murmured, the words working around the lemon drop in his mouth whilst he leisurely stroked his phoenix companion. "And tell me, what was his reaction?"

She offered a half-shrug and then abruptly flushed. "When I woke up it was obvious he had been pouring over that book – Hogwarts a History – for hours. After a while he just started muttering to himself before he fell asleep clutching at it – still is, as a matter of fact. What should I do?" she asked nervously, wringing her bony hands.

Dumbledore hummed thoughtfully. "He will no doubt have some questions and I would suggest not lying to him – do, however, show some discretion with the information you see fit to burden him with." Dumbledore peered curiously at her. "Is there something amiss, dear lady?"

She clutched at her frail arms. "He – he was talking to snakes," she whispered, a shiver crawling up her spine at the memory of him hissing at the snake that had killed her precious Snowball.

The headmaster raised a feathery eyebrow, seemingly unfazed. "Is that so?"

She trembled once more. "Yes. And it – it – oh Merlin I can't take about this right now." A tiny sob tore its way from her mouth before she was able to collect herself. "I should go now – before he wakes. You're right about him having questions, I'm certain."

"Of course," he replied. "Please – when the opportunity arises – do tell me more about the boy as there is a great many of us who are quite curious where young Harry Potter is concerned."

As her face disappeared from the fireplace within his office at Hogwarts, the headmaster wore a contemplative little smile accompanied by the infamous eye twinkle.

"Your learning curve is quite impressive, Mr. Potter."


"I don't know who you really are and I don't know what you want. If you are looking for ransom, I can tell you I don't have muggle money or access to any gold in Gringotts. But what I do have are a very particular set of skills; skills I have just recently learned the true nature of. Skills that apparently make me a nightmare for people like you. If you help me get transportation to Diagon Alley, that'll be the end of it. I will not look for who you truly are and I will not pursue your identity. But if you don't, I will look for you, I will find you, and I will kill you."

After muttering a hasty "Yes" Mrs. Figg collapsed in a dead faint.

Harry nodded his head, satisfied, before leaving her house to grab a quick lunch from the Dursleys. His aunt had likely made something in his absence, no doubt unhealthy and tasting like cardboard, but it would have to do and there was nothing that could dampen his current mood.

Crossing the street, he sung himself a happy little tune. "I've got the magic in me…"


Omake

The funeral was a grand affair the likes he had seldom seen before and the backyard looked as magnificent as ever. Several posts for scratching stood tall and proud along the yard and colorful yarn dangled haphazardly everywhere and anywhere – their mistress had gone all out for their brother's final hoorah.

Tibbles raised his battle-scarred face and watched some of the stragglers still entering, obviously fresh from a midday nap.

A Persian-looking male strutted in like he owned the place, two pretty little things with shiny fur flanking him on either side. He was a member of the Meowth clan from a few blocks away, the one that held court over the dumpster behind the local grocery store where all the excess milk was left. His name was Giovanni, Tibbles knew, and had heard dark tales of backdoor nip being sold for the right price.

His mistress placed an ice cold dish of milk in front of him and murmured her thanks before dashing away to serve an orange half-kneazle with the ugliest, squashed face he had ever seen. With a frown, Tibbles saw the arrogant Persian sniffed indignantly at the milk before allowing his entourage to have at it.

Tibbles turned his feline eyes away and laid them upon his deceased brother Snowball, immortalized and stuffed, his snowy-white fur looking sleek and perfectly clean, the pose he struck looking fierce and intimidating like the warrior he had been before that fateful day.

Tibbles looked away after a moment, sniffling as memories of the better times finally caught up with him. He thought of the time they'd had the most horrible fleas itching at them, the time they had been forced to escape the vet's office before their balls were removed with a sharp blade, their time spent with Mrs. Norris who was much more flexible than she looked, their time spent hunting both mice and men…

Tibbles glanced into Snowball's staring, yet unseeing eyes. We are the watchers on the wall, he thought, thinking of duty and vows, of oaths made and promises now broken, never to be fulfilled, ashes scattered to the wind like the corpse of his brother's murderer had been. He turned away and began the long, solitary walk back to his sleeping mat.

And now his watch has ended


Author's Notes:

Little twist on Hogwarts a History. It's like a live-streaming book of statistics that can tell you basic information on people. In example, since Harry Potter was already signed up for Hogwarts, it knew who he was and the basic facts known to all were right there for him – Harry did once say Hermione knew him better than he did himself, or something like that. Now the branch just kept going from Harry, to his parents, to his magical family that attended Hogwarts and so on – nothing detailed, just broad strokes and names and numbers (years, grades, ages, etc.)

Let me say this now. Harry does not hate muggles nor is he going to be throwing the word mudblood around for fun, he is just a cold, intelligent boy that has been wronged by the muggles closest to him and needs a little time to adjust to his sudden changes.

Till next time…