Plot Summary: This is an AU story, which centres on what would have happened if Petunia Dursley had not been Harry's only living relative. What would have happened if his father had not been an only child? I know it's been done before but this is just my take on it. Hope you enjoy it.
Disclaimer: I own nothing. Everything belongs to Jo Rowling. Except Elizabeth. She is my own creation.
Chapter I - Betrayal
Albus Dumbledore was sitting quietly at his desk, gently stroking Fawkes' feathers with two fingers. School would start again in a week, and the usual buzz of students moving around would return to the school. Which was how it should be. After all, Hogwarts was not meant for quietude. He was interrupted from his reverie by his door bursting open.
"Albus Percival Wulfric Brian Dumbledore! Do you know how hard it is to shout at you when you have such a long name?"
The man in question looked up from where he was sitting, and smiled at the young lady who was now standing on the other side of his desk. At the look on her face, however, his smile faltered and he was almost grateful for the presence of his desk, which was seemingly the only thing which was currently preventing her from strangling him.
"Miss Potter, what a pleasure it is to see you again. Did you have a pleasant trip?" Apparently that was not the right thing to say...
"Pleasant trip? Pleasant... Albus, you sent me away all those years ago, prevented me from taking care of my own nephew, didn't even attempt to get in touch! Do you know what happened last week? I was in France, and I saw Lucius Malfoy, who of course was extremely eager to tell me that, in the time that my nephew has been at Hogwarts, he has faced You-Know-Who - NO I WILL NOT SAY HIS NAME - and almost died not just once, but TWICE! And I had to find this out from LUCIUS bloody MALFOY!" As she spoke, Elizabeth's voice was getting louder and louder, so much so that by the time she had finished, she had used up all her energy, and she fell onto one of the large chairs in front of the Headmaster's desk.
"Miss Potter, perhaps you could allow me to explain?" He paused momentarily, looking at her with a questioning look, and at her brief nod, he continued. "You see, Miss Potter, I had told you then and I shall tell you again that it was necessary that Harry was brought up by a blood relative... yes, Miss Potter, I am aware that you fall under this category, but at the time, I had felt that it would be best for Harry were he to be raised in an environment where people would not immediately worship him due to the mark on his head, but rather reserve their judgements of his character until they were acquainted with him. As you know, he is a celebrity in our world, and for that very reason, I felt that Petunia Dursley and her family was the best for the job. As to the matter in hand, I was sure that if I had told you about Harry facing Voldemort, then your reaction would have been much the same as it was just now, with the exception that perhaps you would not be angry at me but rather at yourself for not doing anything. For there really was nothing you could have done."
Elizabeth's anger seemed to have subsided by now, and she looked up at him with a hint of sadness in her eyes. "I would have left it all, you know. Everything. I would have lived as a muggle, if you had let me take care of him then. And I know there's not much I could have done, but I would have been there for him."
"I have no doubt that you would have done, Miss Potter. However," and at this, Albus removed his glasses and pinched the top of his nose. He then slowly brought his glasses back to his face. "However when I discovered what Black had done, I felt completely responsible. You see, it was I who suggested that Black be made secret keeper. I came and found you as soon as I could, but you... there you were with Sirius Black. He was comforting you. Holding you in his arms. And you were allowing him to, knowing that he was secret keeper, and knowing that he, if anyone, was responsible. I took you away from him, brought you to Hogwarts, but by then you seemed to harbour no feelings of ill-will towards Black. How could I let Harry stay with someone who would so easily forgive the man who had betrayed his parents? Would it not, then, be better for him to be raised without any knowledge of the dark events of his past?"
Albus looked at her over the top of his half-moon spectacles, his brilliant blue eyes piercing her dark brown ones. As he caught sight of the shame that seemed to be plastered across her face, he could not continue, and the tears welling up in the corner of her eyes told him all there was. He let the subject drop. "But that is neither here nor there. I stand by my actions, but there is one thing I regret. I should have contacted you. As a matter of interest, what did you do, these 12 years?"
Elizabeth looked up at him, relieved to see that the twinkle had returned to his eyes, and was just about to answer, when the door to Dumbledore's office burst open, for the second time.
"Headmaster! How could you hire Lupin as Defence Against the Dark Arts professor? He is just not suitable! Can you not see? You reject my application yearly and I say nothing, but LUPIN? You cannot expect me to remain silent at that! It is utter foolishness!"
Albus smiled slightly. "It appears that it is my day to be shouted at. Calm down, Severus. You know the rumours that the job is cursed. You are one of the most capable professors at this school. I cannot risk the possibility of losing you after a year. It is simply not possible." Hearing the genuine compassion in the headmaster's voice, Severus balked slightly, though he was unwilling to give in just yet.
He cleared his throat. "Thank you, headmaster, but you could have hired anyone. Why Lupin? I am not suggesting that I am the best person for the job, but I... he... he is a werewolf! And do you really think it is wise, with Black..."
Severus became silent and paled at the anger which had taken precedence in the older man's eyes. "That will do, Severus," he said, quietly. "I would ask you not to tell me how to do my job. I have made the mistake once of trusting Sirius Black over Remus Lupin, and I will not make that mistake again." The anger left Albus's eyes as soon as it had entered them, and Severus audibly heaved a sigh of relief. "Incidentally, I had wished to speak to you about Professor Lupin. He absolutely refused to endanger the students by working here, until I managed to assure him that our Potions Master was qualified to make the Wolfsbane potion. Of course, that was a very long time ago, therefore if it would be too difficult, then I am sure an alternative could be arranged."
Severus scoffed, and Elizabeth smiled inwardly at Dumbledore's underhanded techniques. "It is not too difficult. It is simply a very time consuming potion, and as you are aware, I am already extremely busy."
"Of course, Severus." The twinkle had once again reappeared in Dumbledore's eyes. "But might I suggest giving out fewer detentions this year? That should allow you to have significantly longer to work on the potion."
Severus frowned, seemingly not amused. "It shall be as you wish, Headmaster. However, I shall need Lupin's cooperation, and should he not be willing, there is not much I can do." Why the headmaster had not been in Slytherin, he still did not know. Never had he met such a manipulative old man.
As he began to sink into the large chair behind him, he heard a squeal, and he extracted his wand, alarmed at the unfamiliar noise. However, when he caught sight of the woman, who was sitting on the chair and resisting the urge to burst out laughing, his lips parted slightly, and his eyes widened in shock...
Well, that's all for this chapter, folks. How did you find it? Would appreciate any reviews. Thanks :)