I was going to write a buffer of finished chapters before uploading this – was being the key word since I decided that I most definitely have to know what you think ;)
Minerva McGonagall could proudly state that she had worked as a professor at Hogwarts School of Witchcraft and Wizardry for the past 40 years, and during those years of teaching, she had seen and experienced everything when it came to the lives of youths. At least, that was what she had thought until she stepped through a pair of iron gates, dressed in a black suit jacket over a white blouse, a matching pencil skirt and a pair of heels clicking against the asphalt. A grey block of a building loomed before her, the empty squares of the windows staring down at her as she read the sign above the entrance: St. Brutus's Secure Centre for Incurably Criminal Boys.
"If you'll follow me, Mrs. McGonagall," the burly guard who had admitted her instructed disinterestedly.
He led her over what she realized must be the school yard, but there was no grass, no relaxing area to breathe the fresh air or enjoy the sunny day. Not that there was any fresh air here in the outskirts of London, and this concrete courtyard surrounded by high fences could hardly bring any stimulus to the students. All there was for the children to enjoy themselves with was a basket hoop of linked chains attached to a windowless wall and a picnic table where a group of teens were gathered. She was shocked to note that they were openly smoking, and even thought the guard could not possibly be ignorant of the fact, he did nothing!
The elderly teacher pursed her lips disapprovingly as her gaze lingered on the gathered boys. From this distance, she could not be sure of their age, but she would guess that they were in the middle of their teens. Most of them were rather big, tall and brawny with the arms of the shirts rolled up to show their muscular arms and their pants hanging low on their hips, showing the lining of their boxers – how inappropriate! They were all sitting or standing around the picnic table, with the exception of one boy.
Even while seated, Minerva could see that the boy was shorter than the others, and his built appeared to be the opposite; a thin, lithe frame underneath a hoodie, his fingers long and thin around the cigarette as he brought it to his lips. He was the only one seated atop the table, giving him an elevated position when compared to the other, and Minerva could only wonder if this was intentional and held meaning or if it was simply coincidental.
"This way, ma'am," the guard called for her attention, and she turned to see that he held the entrance door open for her.
"Thank you, dear," she answered primly and entered the slightly cooler interior of what was supposed to be a school. The walls were all concrete painted white with a grey line in height with her waist, and the floors were of linoleum in a hue matching the line. The unforgiving fluorescent light glaring from the ceiling hardly made the place look more cheerful, and Minerva found herself missing the ancient halls of Hogwarts as the guard led her past one door identical to the next and up a pair of wide stairs where some teens were reading muggle comics.
"This is it," the guard indicated a door, and before anymore could be said, he'd turned and left the way they came.
Minerva frowned after him before schooling her expression into a polite smile and pulling a bit at the skirt, finding it a good thing that she was alone in the corridor. While the skirt would be considered more than proper in muggle standards, it was far shorter than the robes she usually wore that tended to brush the floor at her feet. Raising a wrinkled, old hand, she knocked the door before her firmly while reading the plaque that announced this to be the office of some K. Blake, director of the institute.
"Come on in!"
The office behind the door held the same white walls and grey floor as the corridor outside, but the desk was of fine, polished wood and there were framed diplomas on the wall behind the corpulent man in the office chair.
"Who are you?" he asked, looking the strict professor up and down with a look that evoked Minerva's immediate dislike.
"My name is Minerva McGonagall. I believe I have a meeting booked," she answered coldly and gave the man a hard look that had made many unruly students better themselves.
It would appear the gaze worked just as well on the middle-aged man before her, as he sat a bit straighter and cleared his throat.
"McGonagall? Oh, yes, that, that's," he mumbled, searching among the papers spread out across the surface of the desk.
"I am here to meet with Mr. Harry Potter," Minerva reminded him, the man's disorderliness furthering her dislike for him.
"Potter?" he barked with a frown. "Why ever would you want to see that punk?"
"That would be a matter of confidentiality, Mr. Blake. Now, where can I find Mr. Potter?"
"Eh? Oh, um, well then… JONES!" he bellowed, his voice rebounding from the hard surfaces of the room. No one answered him, however.
"If you are calling for the guard, he has already left," Minerva saw fit to inform the man, and he shot her a glare.
"Bloody incompetent bastard, should have given him the boot a long time ago, good-for-nothing is what he is," the director grumbled as he heaved himself up from the chair and walked over to the door. Minerva followed him a few doors down the corridor, where the man threw open a door to a smaller office where a worn man sat behind a rickety desk, talking on the phone.
"Stevens!" Blake shouted, his voice unnecessarily loud seeing as they were in the same room. "Hang up that blasted phone, a woman is here to talk with the Potter kid."
"Harry?" Stevens asked in confusion while hanging up the phone.
"Yeah, you're his mentor, ain't ya?"
With that, Blake left, and Stevens blinked at Minerva in surprise.
"Good day, my name is Minerva McGonagall and I am here to speak with Harry Potter. Mr. Stevens, was it?"
"Oh, yes, good day, Mrs. McGonagall," the younger man answered politely. "May I ask what you want to talk to Harry about?"
"I am a teacher at a private school, Mr. Stevens, and we would be very interested in having Mr. Potter, which is why I have been sent to speak with him today," Minerva answered kindly, finding this young man far more likeable.
"Really? A private school?" Stevens asked, looking unsure of what to believe. Still, he nodded and rose from behind his desk, glancing at the ticking clock on the wall as he came over to her. "Well, Harry should have a break right now, so I can show you to a room where the two of you can talk privately and then get him for you."
"Thank you – that would be lovely," Minerva replied and followed the man as he closed the door and walked down the corridor. "Are you responsible for Mr. Potter when he is here at St. Brutus, Mr. Stevens?"
"Yes, I am. He's a good kid."
"Oh? How come he ended up in this place, then?"
Stevens glanced at her over his shoulder, no doubt picking up on her dislike, but he did not seem the least bit offended.
"Problems at home, I've understood. Apparently, he was adopted by his aunt and uncle when his parents passed away, but his relatives… were not happy to have him, so to say."
Minerva's brows shot up in surprise. She'd known that Harry had lived with his relatives, at least for a while seeing as she had been there when Albus left the boy, but they had thought he had left the Dursley household some time ago. Apparently, that was not the case, but then why had they not been able to find him until yesterday?
"How would you say Mr. Potter's home environment has affected him, Mr. Stevens?" she asked after a moment.
"Well, he's a good kid, as I said, but he doesn't trust easily. He's clever, too, really smart, but studying isn't among his priorities, you know?" Stevens answered truthfully.
"Yes, I think I understand. How does he interact with the other children?"
Stevens glanced at her again, before stopping outside a door identical to all the others they had walked past.
"What you must understand, Mrs. McGonagall, is that none of the children who come here stay children for very long. The same applies to Harry," he explained, his tone serious. "When he first arrived, we thought the other boys would give him a hard time since he was really small for his age, and in the beginning, they did. As I said, Harry is smart, and it didn't take long until he gained the respect of the other boys. I have no idea how he did, and frankly, I'm not sure I want to know, but today, Harry is on top of the food chain, so to say."
Minerva was startled into silence, the words unexpected. Before she could question Stevens further, the man opened the door to a small room with blank walls, a table in the middle and a chair on each side, making the room look a lot like an interrogation room.
"Please, take a seat while I go find Harry," Stevens said before leaving, and Minerva did as instructed.
The man's words had taken her completely by surprise, and she found herself unsure of what to expect. Was Mr. Potter criminally inclined, or was he here only because of his relatives? And how had this harsh environment changed him?
About ten minutes passed in silence as she mulled it over, then the door opened and she rose from her seat to greet the boy Stevens had brought along. To her surprise, it was the boy she had seen sitting atop the picnic table, his posture slouched and his gaze guarded as he looked at her. The scar on his forehead was visible through his bangs, and now that she knew who he was, she could see James in his tousled, black hair and his eyes were all Lily's, but there was a hard edge to him, a darkness lurking just under the surface that she could only ascribe to his upbringing.
"Harry, this is Minerva McGonagall from, um, a private school. Mrs. McGonagall, this is Harry Potter," Stevens introduced them, and Minerva stepped forward to shake hands.
"A pleasure to meet you, Mr. Potter."
The boy eyed her offered hand as if it was something dangerous, before hesitantly shaking it. He withdrew as quickly as possible.
Stevens gave Minerva a questioning look to which she nodded in answer, and he said: "Well then, I'll leave you to talk. Harry, you know where to find me if you need me."
Harry only grunted in answer, and then the door closed and they were left alone.
"Let's sit, shall we?" Minerva suggested kindly and took a seat, Harry following her example after an uncertain moment.
"Who are you?" Harry asked as soon as he was seated, his legs spread and his elbows resting on his knees with his hands hanging limply in between as he leaned forwards and stared at her.
"Did you not listen to Mr. Stevens?" Minerva chided. "My name is Minerva McGonagall and I come from a private school-"
"You're not from some private school," Harry interrupted impatiently, and Minerva raised her brows questioningly.
"No? How so, Mr. Potter?" she inquired, letting his bad manners slide for now.
"It's not like I've got top grades or anything, and I don't have a shitload of money, so a private school has no business being interested in me," he reasoned, a hard edge to his tone, telling her to that he wouldn't accept anything but the truth.
"But, you see – we are more interested in your abilities than your grades," Minerva explained and green eyes narrowed.
"What abilities?" he asked guardedly.
"Magic, Mr. Potter."
"Magic?" Harry repeated skeptically, but there was something in his eyes, something that disappeared after only a moment, but was enough to let Minerva know that the teen before her wasn't as disbelieving as he sounded. What held him back rather appeared to be his lack of trust in people and unwillingness to throw himself at something new that he had yet to verify.
"Why, yes, Mr. Potter," Minerva replied, amused. "Allow me to reintroduce myself; I am Minerva McGonagall, Deputy Headmistress of Hogwarts School of Witchcraft and Wizardry."
"So that would make me…?" he asked, his gaze still doubting.
"A wizard, Mr. Potter – just like your father was a wizard and your mother a witch," Minerva replied, expecting the teen to inquire more about his parent. To her surprise, he did not.
"You expect me to believe that?" he asked instead, his body tensed as if he was readying himself to leave.
Realizing the importance of convincing him so as not to lose him now when they had just found him, Minerva quickly asked: "Have you ever experienced something… unusual, Mr. Potter? Something you cannot explain, cannot understand? Strange things tend to occur around those with magic."
The teen did not answer, but she could see it in his eyes, see the recognition and comprehension even though he tried to hide it. Yes – he knew what she was talking about, and now she had his full attention.
"That is your accidental magic at work," she explained. "At Hogwarts, we will teach you how to control you magic and have it do your bidding. Most students begin their education at the age of eleven, but I am sure we will be able to fit you into the curriculum."
"Prove it," the teen demanded, his eyes slightly narrowed. "Prove that you're really a witch or whatever."
Minerva cocked a brow at him in humor, then turned into her animagus form of a cat without further ado, drawing a gasp from Harry as all he saw from his seat was her disappearance. The chair scraped against the floor as he stood and leaned over the table to see the black tabby looking back at him from Minerva's chair, and his eyes widened in shock. Satisfied with his reaction, the animagus turned back to her human form and smiled at the young man before her. Reaching into her inner pocket, she withdrew his Hogwarts letter and pushed it over the table to come to rest before him.
"How about it, Mr. Potter? Would you like to learn how to use magic?"
The room was white and square, identical to every other dorm room at 'Brutus with beds and closets for two people. The room's bareness was countered by the overflowing personalities inhabiting the room, posters attached to every centimeter of wall with pins and a mess of clothes and things spread over the floor. Music blared from the speakers precariously positioned on the windowsill, the heavy bass shaking the walls, pulsing with the bodies moving on the floor, two men occupying one of the beds, their hands roaming freely without care for the other people in the room as they snogged, one of them having trust his tongue down the other's throat.
Harry was sitting on the other bed, his body completely relaxed as he leaned back against the wall, his legs loosely folded before him and his eyelids on half-mast. The music pulsed with the blood pumping through his veins, the rhythm of his heart attuned to the beat as he raised the joint to his lips and took a drag, the smoke curling through his insides. In his other hand, he had a bottle of booze, half of its clear contents already gone.
His gaze drifted lazily to the guys on the floor, raising their own bottles of alcohol to their lips as they moved to the music, as few of them eyeing him but none courageous enough to approach him – at least not yet. The corner of his mouth curled upwards at the thought, and he closed his eyes and let his head fall back against the wall, comforted by the familiarity of the situation. This, he knew. Here, he was in control. The booze flowed freely and the drugs were accessible to anyone who wanted some, both of which had been smuggled in by some teacher. They didn't have to worry about being found out since it was the kind of secret that everyone knew about, and those who were bothered by it knew to look the other way.
The thin mattress of the bed dipped and if the music hadn't been so loud, he'd have been able to hear the squeak of the springs. Opening his eyes just enough to see though his lashes, Harry looked down his nose at an older teen who'd put his knee on the mattress, glazed, brown eyes staring back at him. A moment passed between them, then Harry dropped the bottle and reached out to put his hand on the other's neck and pull him into a kiss, the older teen quickly yielding to his dominance. He might be short and thin, but no one had challenged him since Stan left. The kiss was wet, tasted of alcohol and smoke and lacked all traces of tenderness.
Soon, Harry felt how the other's hands – he didn't even know the guy's name – fumbled with the zipper of his jeans. Moving his hand from the guy's neck to his shoulder, Harry broke the kiss and pushed him downwards and the guy went willingly as clumsy hands reached into his boxers. Wet, searing heat engulfed him and Harry threw his head back, his hand finding purchase in strawberry blonde hair. Whoever this guy was, he obviously knew what he was doing and he was good. The last word probably slipped over his lips, for he could feel the other smirk and renew his efforts, drawing a heartfelt moan from Harry, his hand clenching in the guy's hair. His body shuddered and he felt his abdomen quiver, his cock pulsing as he came, the lack of contact with anything but his right hand shortening his endurance.
Sliding sideways, Harry collapsed limply onto the bed, his limbs heavy and his mind pleasantly blank in post-orgasmic bliss. He felt the joint being plucked from between his fingers and opened his eyes to see the guy take a drag on it before leaning down, clearly aiming for a kiss that Harry denied by turning his face away. The guy frowned and grabbed Harry's bony hips, his intentions obvious, but Harry wasn't interested in anything more. Roused from his blissful state, he raised himself up onto one elbow and grabbed the other by the throat, his movements quick and practiced, his fingers hard and unyielding as the older teen tried to pry them away to draw breath.
Hard, green eyes met shocked, brown ones, and Harry manipulated his magic, as that old woman had called it, into rising around him. He knew it could not be seen as anything more than the slightest shift in the air around him, but it could most certainly be felt. Brown eyes widened in fear and panic, pathetic, strangled whimpers escaping him, and when Harry released him, he immediately scrambled away and fled, the others in the room barely noticing.
Harry huffed and rubbed his face before reaching down to tuck himself in and zip up, the first signs of headache and nausea manifesting. Beginning to feel bad, he got up from the bed and moved towards the door, a big, bulky guy catching his eyes as he went. Harry simply waved his hand dismissively, signaling for them to continue without him as he went out into the corridor and over to the communal bathroom. The harsh glare of the light cut into his brain and he hissed in pain as he went over to the sink and splashed some cold water onto his face and into his hair, the coolness soothing against his heated skin.
Once he entered his own room, he felt seriously bad and did most certainly not think about that guy who had had a bad trip and died of the mix of drugs and alcohol a year ago. The fact that he would feel even worse tomorrow did nothing for his mood as he threw off his shirt, kicked off his shoes and collapsed onto his bed, the room blissfully quiet in comparison even though the beat still pulsed steadily through the wall. The world disappeared in a swirl of colours as soon as his head hit the lumpy pillow.
For once, he wished he'd been wrong. Unfortunately, he wasn't, for the next day he envied the guy who'd died and thought he would gladly take his place as he kneeled over the toiled and heaved up the contents of his stomach. His head was pounding, his eyes hurting and his mouth dry and tasting of something rotten as his whole body ached, clearly protesting his treatment of it. Once finished, his stomach empty and cramping, he dried his mouth on the back of his hand and flushed before leaving the stall and shuffling over to the sink to brush his teeth and wash his face with the hope for returning from the dead. In the corner of the bathroom lay a guy slouched on the cold tiles, an empty bottle in his hand. Harry thought he recognized him from yesterday, and vindictively thought that the guy still had the worst before him.
Combing his fingers through his shaggy, black hair, he left the bathroom and went back to his own room to once again collapse onto his bed with a hand over his eyes to block out the light coming through the blinds over the window. The whole building seemed to be silent, but then again, most of its occupants were suffering the consequences of yesterday's partying or still passed out somewhere. It wasn't surprising, really, as the partying was bound to increase with the approach of the summer holidays. Even though few of them actually had a warm home and loving family waiting for them, the holidays were still eagerly anticipated.
Rubbing his hands over his face tiredly, Harry rolled over onto his side and heard something crinkle underneath the pillow. Reaching in under it, he withdrew the thick envelope that the old woman had given him yesterday, addressed to him in green ink. The wax seal on the backside was already broken when he turned it over as he had skimmed through it already, trying to judge if it was some elaborate hoax or if the whole deal with magic could actually be true. If it was true, if being the key word, then the thought of learning to control his magic further was very appealing as he tried to imagine the possibilities it would present him with.
Then again, he didn't know what they meant with learning to control his magic, which might mean that there was nothing for them to teach him – he had, after all, been in control of his so called accidental magic for years now. It had been a must, seeing as it had been one of few things he'd had at his disposal in the fight to stay alive when he first arrived at 'Brutus all those years ago. He'd been the smallest and weakest, an easy victim in the eyes of the bigger, older boys, and so he'd been quick to master his special ability in order to make use of it. Still, he hadn't told the old woman about any of this, as he'd gotten the impression that it wasn't normal to be able to control ones magic without some education or whatever. If this whole magic thing was real, then he needed to stay low and watch until he'd learnt the rules before he started revealing himself, and he most certainly didn't want to stand out from the very beginning.
Harry groaned and stuffed away the letter again as he squeezed his eyes shut, his head protesting the amount of serious thinking when he was already suffering from the worst hangover in his lifetime – at least, that was what it felt like at the moment. Anyway, he usually avoided deep thinking unless it regarded his continued survival, so he had, naturally, not thought much about the future. Doing so seemed generally worthless seeing as 'Brutus hardly fostered law-abiding citizens, not to mention the fact that he didn't know if he would lose a fight tomorrow and be knocked out to never wake up again, or if his body would be able to handle the poisonous mix of drugs, alcohol and tobacco that he filled it with.
Ah, when speaking of tobacco… He reached down between the frame of the bed and the mattress to find a crumbled pack of cigarettes and a lighter, the two expertly employed until he had a smoking death stick between his lips once again, the nicotine swirling through his lungs and calming his erratic thoughts.
With education at Hogwarts or whatever the school had been called, he might be indirectly presented with the opportunity to actually gain a future. Perhaps he would no longer have to live on a day-to-day basis. He couldn't deny that the thought was tempting, and he sighed heavily, smoke rising in a grey haze towards the ceiling to dissipate. He didn't want to leave 'Brutus only to be picked up by some local gang like most guys were, to then be killed in some pointless fight he didn't even know the reason for, his life and existence disappearing into nothing to leave nothing behind just like the smoke from his cig.
Harry rolled over again to put the cig in the ashtray on the windowsill, distant, green eyes watching as the grey smoke rose, reaching towards the ceiling, straining upwards to heights it would never reach. He snorted and closed his eyes. This was why he never thought of these things – it was just too fucking depressing.
Scooting back to feel the wall against his back, he opted for simply going along with it for now. The old woman had said that some representative from the school would show up in the middle of August to take him shopping school supplies in some alley, so he would wait until then and see what it was all about. Once he knew more, he'd take it from there.
I think it's a bit short, but it works as an intro and I can promise that the next chapter is longer :) I had a hard time deciding where to put a break between the two, though…
I hope you enjoyed it – tell me what you think! :D