Nine years later, September 1st

Harry kicked his feet impatiently, waiting for the Headmaster—Dumbledore—to get to the office. Professor McGonagall stared at Harry; for the whole time she'd been unable to do anything besides give short orders of "No, not that way," and "The Headmaster's office is this way, Mr. Potter." He'd already had to correct her on his name more than once. Perhaps, he reflected, she knew his birth parents. They'd been a witch and wizard after all, so they had gone to this school. Yes, Harry decided, Professor McGonagall must have taught them.

He wondered, for a moment, what they were like.

His wait was over as Professor Dumbledore came into the office, several others followed him—Professors Snape, Flitwick, Sprout, and Hagrid, if he remembered correctly. No, he recalled, Hagrid wasn't actually a teacher. Most of them joined McGonagall in her near jaw-dropped staring. Hagrid went on some sort of rambling apology to Harry ("No good Dursleys…on their doorstep…should of crashed into their bloody house…") while Dumbledore sat calmly, looking Harry over; he paid special attention to Harry's scar.

"Mr. Potter," Dumbledore began.

"Mr. Romanoff-Barton," Harry interjected. Hagrid looked surprised; perhaps he didn't consider that Harry wouldn't use his birth parents' name.

"He insists on using that name," McGonagall explained. For a moment the room was quiet as the occupant registered that.

Dumbledore smiled. It was a slightly bitter smile that showed his age better than his beard (which Harry was a little in awe of; even Odin didn't have a beard like that). "I suppose this is a good sign," he remarked. "If you would rather use your guardians' name than your parents', they must have treated you well."

Harry nodded his head vigorously. "They did. They are my parents," he said, perfectly imitating a British accent. One would have never realized that he hadn't grown up there. Everyone absorbed this for a moment.

"What do you know, Harry?"

"I've always known that magic exists. That my parents were Lily and James Potter, and they were a witch and wizard. I know that they were murdered on Halloween, 1981, by a Dark Wizard. I know that I was then dumped at the doorstep of some relative who would have treated me like—sorry, Uncle Steve tells me not to use that word. And then my mother found me, took me and decided to raise me."

"You've read my letter, I presume?" Dumbledore asked.

"Yeah," Harry responded, raising an eyebrow. "No offence, sir, but that was incredibly stupid. I mean, really, leaving me alone at night, in November—and, what, you couldn't be bothered to make sure I made it in? Haven't you ever heard of a doorbell? You push it, it makes a sound, and the inhabitants come out to the door? That way I'd have at least made it inside, or better, you'd have realized how much they suck, and I wouldn't have needed to be kidnapped. But, no, pushing a button is too much work for the greatest wizard of the age." He tried to glare at the headmaster—for his mother, of course, because she clearly wanted to. After a few moments however, he remembered the comments he'd gotten from his family every other time he tried to glare. (Nice pout, was the usual.)

Harry could hear the other professors stifling laughter. Hagrid, usually defensive of Dumbledore, was most prominently heard. Only through many years of occulumency and spying was Snape able to refrain from smirking; he'd been waiting for this moment for years.

Dumbledore gave a passing glance at one of the many knick-knacks that littered his office. Seemingly satisfied, he smiled at Harry, nodding. "You are correct, Mr. Romanoff-Barton. It was foolish, poorly thought, and most certainly not fitting to a wizard of my reputation. For that, I owe you an apology. I also hope to make it clear, that it was not my intention to place you in a…unloving household. I am glad that you've found a proper home. And I promise that I have no intention to interfere with that."

Harry shrugged. Really, he wasn't about to disregard the headmaster's stupidity; he wasn't one to hold grudges, either.

"I don't suppose that I could ask you more about the people who raised you? Where you've been the past ten years?"

"No," Harry dismissed. "You can't. Sorry, but while I believe that you wouldn't intentionally hurt me or my family, I still don't trust you not to kill us with your stupidity."

Harry had expected Dumbledore to get upset; he had insulted him many times within the last five minutes, and with a title like "Greatest wizard of the age," surely Dumbledore would have some arrogance, wouldn't allow an eleven year old to come in and nonchalantly insult him over and over.

But, once again, the old man smiled and Harry could tell the man's eyes were twinkling. "Of course, I understand, Mr. Romanoff-Barton. I can only say that I hope I can earn your respect and trust as you learn at Hogwarts. Professor Sprout, would you please take him to his new dormitory?"

She nodded. "Come this way, Harry, follow me." As she left the room, the other broke their silence.

"Is that all, Albus?" Flitwick asked. "You really don't want to know where he's been all these years?"

"Dursley," Hagrid growled the name. "Said that an assassin took Harry. How do we know they haven't hurt him? Maybe he's only pretending to be happy, 'cause he's scared of them!"

Dumbledore tapped the knick-knack from earlier. "I created this about four years ago," he explained. "In collaboration with a healer at St. Mungos. It identifies injuries, even healed ones if they were notable, and shows it on the viewing side. This is one of five currently in existence. I assure you that Harry is in perfect health; if anything, I'd accuse his guardians of sheltering him. Seeing as he's in good health, and is clearly happy where he is, I see no reason to try and remove him from their care."

"Assassins," Minerva prompted.

"You can observe him, if you like, and report to me if he seems overly aggressive, or shows similar behavior, but I get the feeling that we jumped to conclusions about his guardians' behavior."

The other occupants dissipated, leaving Snape alone with Dumbledore. "I must admit, this was one of the more amusing conversations I've heard," Snape announced.

Dumbledore looked at him though his glasses. "I am glad to see that you aren't comparing him to his father."

Severus gave a terse 'hm' of acknowledgment. "He is different from what I'd expected," he admitted. "And while I think that his friendship with that Longbottom boy will only drag him down, he does seem to lack the traits that his father boasted." His lip curled. "Dare I say I may wish I had his wit in my House? This year's additions to my house are hardly exemplary."

Dumbledore had gathered parchment and ink, and had begun writing letters. "I'm informing the Order," he announced. "Beginning with Alastor and Elphias." He looked at Severus, who nodded.

"I'll inform Lupin," he announced. And he left.

The 1991-1992 year had begun.


So I'm nervous about this chapter. First, cause of the time skip. Was it too sudden? Too much? Is it easy to get your bearings, or are you all lost and confused? If you are, is it a good confused that makes you want to keep reading, or a "this is badly written" confused?

Seriously, tell me what you think about the time skip, cause if you all hate it, then I'll delete this chapter and build up to this with minor time skips (but that will really draw out the story BEFORE it reaches the main plot). If not, then I WILL be putting in flashback to tell what's been going on up to this point. Kay?