Filler: Harry Potter is dead, Hermione Granger has fallen deep into depression, and the Triwizard Tournament is in limbo due to the death of its fourth champion. One week after Harry's death, his alter ego, Dante Cross, officially awakens. He will officially begin life at Hogwarts, meet Hermione, and Severus Snape will show a side of himself that was previously kept hidden. The question becomes: Will Dante be a stronger Harry, or will he become worse than Voldemort?
Find out in this chapter!
"I am an anti everything man
A scab on the lips of the Lord
My caustic dismissal
Is all I need to get you
To fall on your sword
It's easy to live fast
It's harder to live
I woke up today with a gun
Ignoring your history
Is killing your past
You might run forever
If death never lasts
So do me a favor
Is just a reason why
There is no savior
When you're wasted
Let's face it
There's a side of you that
Knows you're a failure
Lives for the danger
Feels like an enemy but looks like a stranger"
-"Do Me a Favor" by Stone Sour
Chapter I: Tremble Before the Cross
St. Mungo's Hospital Morgue, 30 November 1994
Where am I? A young boy thought as he awoke feeling disoriented and dealing with the atrophy in his muscles due to lack of activity. As far as appearances go, he is Harry Potter, but with some subtle differences. Groaning, the boy sat up, allowing his body to re-adjust to being mobile after a long period of inactivity. He then took stock of his surroundings. It looked like a morgue, but he couldn't be sure. What he definitely realized was that he'd need clothes, as he was in his birthday suit, or, basically, stark naked in a bloody cold room. The next thought to run through his head was:
Who am I?
His actions alerted a Healer who happened to be down there. Said Healer, John Grey, walked into the morgue to see Harry Potter, who'd been dead for a week, standing on his own two feet! Imagine the surprise on his face when he sees the sight before him!
"Mr. Potter?! How... How are you up and moving?! You've been dead for a week!" John cried out in indignation.
The nameless boy didn't know who this "Mr. Potter" character was, but he was certain that the man was sorely confused. Politely, he replied,
"I'm sorry, sir. But I don't know who you're talking about. Who are you, where am I, and how did I get here?" His voice was raspy from disuse, but still conveyed the message.
Is this kid joking? John thought to himself in disbelief, How can he NOT know who he is? Unless... no, I need to do some tests. Could he have amnesia? That would explain the confusion.
"My name is John Grey. I am a Healer for St. Mungo's Hospital, where you are located. More specifically, you are in the hospital's morgue. About a week ago, you, formerly known as Harry James Potter, died after taking two tail spikes to the chest. You had been participating in the Triwizard Tournament, and had to face a Hungarian Horntail, a very nasty breed of dragon. This, unfortunately, led to your death."
The lad looked severely confused. He had died? Dragons were real? And, apparently, he was in a hospital that used magic, of all things, to treat people. Is this a dream? the boy asked himself, still wary of the man standing in front of him. However, his musings were cut short when John spoke again.
"Right. Before we get any further into this conversation, let's get you out of here and clothed. Must be awkward talking to a man stark naked, after all." John said, holding out a white hospital robe to Dante.
The young man caught the Healer's meaning, and quickly took the robe he was being offered. Then, he followed John out of the morgue and to his office, where they resumed their chat.
"So. lad. What can you tell me about yourself?"
My name? The boy thought, I don't remember. I might as well come up with one... but what? Wait, Dante. Yes, Dante's my name. Dante Cross.
After a few minutes of silence, the boy said,
"My name is Dante Cross."
"When is your birthday?" John replied.
"I don't remember."
"Do you have any friends or family?"
"If I do, I don't remember."
Well, this certainly gives support to my theory that the lad's an amnesiac. John thought. He spent the next three hours talking with Dante. Through that conversation, John was able to determine that Dante was at one point known as Harry Potter. He then came to the conclusion that Harry's escapade with the Horntail left his memory erased.
John was certain of another thing as well.
Someone had bound Dante's magic when he was still Harry Potter.
And that person was Albus Dumbledore.
Why the hell would Dumbledore bind a fourteen-year-old's magic? John asked himself silently. Shaking himself out of his reverie, John continued his interview of Dante.
"What do you know of magic?"
"Because you're a wizard."
"I am? How do you know? What is a wizard?"
"A wizard is someone who can use magic to influence his surroundings, and I discreetly tested you for magic as I asked my questions. The results were that you are highly powerful, but your magic is bound."
"Who bound it?"
"Albus Dumbledore, current Headmaster of Hogwarts."
"What's Hogwarts?" came Dante's question.
John replied, "Hogwarts is the premier school in Britain for witches and wizards like us. The teachers there teach students to control their magic beginning at eleven. There are four Houses, or groups, that students are sorted into. They are Gryffindor-of which you are a former member- Hufflepuff, Ravenclaw, and Slytherin."
John paused, allowing Dante to process the information. He didn't know if the amnesia was permanent or not, but he could try.
"Does any of this sound familiar to you, Dante?" John asked.
Dante shook his head, this was all new to him. His reaction emitted a sigh from the Healer. Looks like the amnesia is permanent. John thought dejectedly. He then tried a different tactic.
"You also had a wand. An eleven inch Holly and phoenix feather. If you'd like, I can get for you."
"Very well. Please do so."
With that, John went and grabbed the aforementioned wand. When he came back, John handed the wand to Dante. However, Dante immediately recoiled and pulled his hand back before even grabbing it. Puzzled, John asked,
"Is something wrong, Dante?"
"It didn't feel right." came the reply. "Is that normal?" Dante asked.
"No, it's not." John said before becoming lost in thought.
Didn't feel right? John repeated mentally. Could Dante have a different preference, or was his magic simply no longer compatible with its original focus? I'll have to have a few words with Ollivander. John told himself. After telling Dante that he would be taking the boy to Diagon Alley tomorrow, he led the amnesiac to a room that Dante could use for the night. After settling in, Dante quickly fell asleep. Meanwhile, in Scotland, a young Gryffindor fourth year spent her days merely trying to cope with the death of her now-amnesiac best friend.
Hogwarts, 30 November 1994
Hermione Granger was sitting at her usual spot in the library. Having done all of her homework, she was merely doing some leisure reading before dinner. Despite her best efforts, Hermione could not for the life of her not think about her only best friend. She missed him so much, and an infinitesimal part of her still hoped that she would be able to see him standing beside her once again. Hermione craved to hold Harry just one more time, to laugh with him, study with him, or even kiss him. Stop it, Hermione! Harry's dead, and he' s not coming back, no matter how badly you want him to! Hermione silently berated herself. But she still hoped against hope. Despite her best efforts to remain composed, Hermione eventually broke down into quiet sobs, tears streaming down her face as the pain of Harry's death slammed into her at full force yet again.
Hermione knew she needed to talk to someone, but she didn't feel comfortable speaking of this to anyone. Not even the talk with her parents had brought her much comfort. Resigned to her grief, Hermione returned to reading. When she finished, Hermione left the library in order to return to her dorm and avoid the stares and comments from her schoolmates. She had hoped to pass through unseen by anyone. Unfortunately, this would not be the case. Immediately following the stairs leading to the library stood Ron Weasley. Spotting her, the youngest Weasley male made a sneering expression at Hermione before speaking.
"What's the matter, Granger? Still crying over Potter are you?" Weasley sneered, relishing the pained look that came across Hermione's face at his words.
"What do you want, Ronald? Surely you have something better to do than gloat over the death of someone who used to be your friend." Hermione ground out, feeling a sudden bout of anger at her ex-friend's insensitivity.
"Now why would you care about what I do with my time, Granger? Besides, I was never friends with Potter because I wanted to be. I mean, who wouldn't want to be mates with the famous Boy-Who-Lived?"
Now Hermione's anger was rapidly mounting, and she could feel her magic begin to burn in her veins, begging for release. Speaking in a low, deadly tone that was alien to her, Hermione hissed,
"Leave now, Weasley, if you know what's good for you. Harry trusted you, and truly believed you were his friend. Instead, his 'best mate' turned to be nothing more than a jealous prick and a glory hound with an inferiority complex."
SMACK! Enraged by her words, Ron had begun stepping closer to Hermione. When he reached her, and she finished speaking, he slapped her hard across the face. He then growled into her ear,
"Don't talk to me like that, you filthy little Mudblood."
Big mistake. Hermione thought as she clutched her cheek from where Ron slapped her, Hermione turned to look the Weasley boy in the eye before whipping out her wand and blasting him into the wall with an overpowered Banishing Charm. Before he could react, she then sent out the "Duelist's Hello", which is a chain consisting of Expelliarmus, Stupefy, Petrificus Totalus, and Incarcerous. Then, in a voice colder than an Arctic wind, she threatened,
"If you know what's good for you, Weasel, you'll stay away from me. If you don't, I will kill you. Slowly, painfully, I will make you scream yourself hoarse while I tear you to shreds."
With that threat hanging, Hermione left the Weasley boy where he lay and headed for Gryffindor Tower, rage still smoldering. When she reached Gryffindor Tower, she didn't even bother chatting with her housemates, instead opting to head straight to bed. Hermione fell asleep as soon as her head hit the pillow. Within her slumbering mind, Hermione made herself a single promise, one that she would never break.
She would never allow herself to be bullied again.
1 December , 1994
Hermione awoke the next morning in a particularly foul mood. The events from last night had caught up to her. Ronald Weasley had had the audacity to hit her and call her a Mudblood. Never again, Hermione told herself, I'll never let myself be bullied again. The biggest thing was learning as many spells, jinxes, curses, and hexes that she could use to defend herself. And, if need be, she could look into the Dark Arts to scare people away so they couldn't hurt or take advantage of her. Finishing her morning routine, she grabbed her books for Potions, Charms, Arithmancy, and Ancient Runes before leaving her dorm to eat breakfast.
The first class of the day was a double Potions period, which meant an hour and a half of jeering and jibes from the Slytherins with added stress from the presence of the nit-witted redhead known as Ronald Weasley. Therefore, she didn't notice Professor Snape looking intently at her as she worked on her potion, a magical antidote for arsenic. In fact, she paid no heed to anyone, not even Draco Malfoy could elicit a reaction from the brunette. When he spoke, however, his words caught Hermione's undivided attention.
"Now, I want two feet of parchment on the uses, function, and brewing process in your own words on the Arsenic antidote. It will be due on Monday, and I will expect it on my desk no later. Dismissed."
As everyone packed their things to head to their next class, Snape spoke again.
"Miss Granger, I would like a private word with you before you leave."
Normally, these words would have worried Hermione, but since Harry's death, she only felt numb, so the Potions Master's words had no emotional effect. When Severus finished preparing for his next class, she was ready. Her reply was said in an emotionless voice and a neutral expression on her face.
"What would you like to speak to me about Professor?" she said when Severus looked Hermione in the eye.
Severus, knowing the look Hermione had on her face, as he had worn it many times when he studied at Hogwarts, asked,
"I wish to speak to you about the aftermath of Mr. Potter's death."
Even this blunt statement didn't cause Hermione to react, as she somewhat anticipated someone asking her about life after Harry died. However, the young Gryffindor figured nobody would truly care to know, and already had a prefabricated answer ready.
"There's nothing to-" she began before being cut off.
"I don't believe you, Miss Granger. Since the First Task, you have become distant from everyone that wants to speak to you. Not even Mister Malfoy's usual remarks don't get a reaction out of you. I know what it's like to feel the numbness you feel, as I have felt it multiple times."
Now this news shocked Hermione. So much that she was doubtful of her Professor's truthfulness. Severus seemed to know this, and was quick to allay her concern.
"I know that it sounds far fetched, Miss Granger. However, we are not here to discuss my feelings. We're here for yours. So, I would recommend you start talking."
The Potions Master's tone brooked no argument, and Hermione hesitantly began telling her story. The initial grief at Harry being dead, the shock of seeing him fly into the arena wall, and the consuming depression following the news of Harry's death.
When she finished, Hermione's eyes were shining from unshed tears and her body was shaking. Severus handed the grieving girl a tissue so she could dry her eyes. Reminds me of how I felt at Lily's death. the Potions Master said to himself.
After about ten minutes of talking with Hermione, Severus escorted her to her Ancient Runes class and told Professor Babbling why Hermione was late.
Meanwhile, in Diagon Alley, a young man formerly known as Harry Potter was being re-acquainted with magic.
Diagon Alley, 1 December 1994
The morning of December first was an interesting one for Dante. He was amazed at the sight before him. He never would've thought of hiding an entirely different world from the one that would be considered normal. Then again, anything was possible. John, seeing the look on Dante's face, chuckled to himself before speaking.
"That's the look most young witches and wizards have on their faces when they first enter the Alley. Now, come along, you need a wand and sort out your finances."
John then led Dante to Gringotts, where they learned that the goblins already knew of the condition Dante was in, saying rather cryptically that the Lordship for House Potter could still be taken up, and that Dante could still access the Potter accounts as he still has Potter blood.
With the Gringotts dealings out of the way, as well as the other purchases, John led Dante to Ollivander's wand shop. When they entered, Ollivander looked as he always did: unkempt silver hair sticking all over his head, misty grey eyes that almost made him look blind, and a gaunt frame that made him look almost starved. His voice, with its ethereal quality, completed the ghostly appearance he sported.
"Ah, John Grey. I remember the day you came to purchase your wand like it was yesterday. Mahogany, thirteen inches. Phoenix feather core. Supple, perfect for healing and defensive spells. And Mr. Potter. Eleven inch Holly and phoenix feather wand. Very powerful, and faced with a great destiny."
Before the old man could continue his rambling, John cleared his throat before speaking.
"Mr. Ollivander, as much as I would enjoy going down memory lane, we don't have the time."
"Then what brings you to my shop, Mr. Grey?"
"As you may have heard, Mr. Potter died last week after an unfortunate encounter with a Hungarian Horntail."
"Yes, I did hear about it. Then, how is it possible that he stands once again in my shop- in a picture of health- might I add?"
"That's the thing. I discovered the lad in the morgue at St. Mungo's, and after a preliminary examination, I have determined that Mr. Potter's magic was repairing his body, but at the cost of his memories. He now goes by the name of Dante Cross, and when I presented him with his wand, he recoiled, claiming that it 'didn't feel right'."
"Curious, indeed. Very well, Mr. Cross, if you'd step forth, I will have you measured and we will find you a more suitable wand. May I also take a look at Mr. Potter's wand?"
John produced the old holly and phoenix feather wand from his robes and handed it to its maker. Ollivander spent a few minutes looking it over, and even brought the wand to his ear, as if it was speaking to him. Five minutes later, Ollivander set the wand down before eyeing the pair.
"It seems that the former wand of the late Mr. Potter has changed loyalties, as it didn't recognize its original owner. You will find her at Hogwarts. Be sure to give it to her when you arrive, Mr. Cross."
With those words spoken, Ollivander soon set to finding a suitable wand for Dante. Three hours passed and Dante had quite the pile of wands stacked up. Finally, Ollivander came from the back of his shop with four boxes.
"Try these, Mr. Cross. First, a fifteen inch ebony wand with a Thestral tail hair core. Fairly rigid, strong, and with an aptitude for defensive spells and curses. Then, we have an ironwood wand. Fourteen inches, dragon heartstring core. Strong and supple, perfect for Transfiguration and Charms. Thirdly, mahogany. Thirteen inches with a phoenix feather core. Compatible with offensive magic. And finally, another ebony wand. Twelve inches with a Basilisk fang core. Rigid and inflexible, with a penchant for darker spells and curses."
The minute Dante touched the Thestral tail ebony wand, black, green and blue sparks erupted from the tip. He had a similar reaction with the ironwood wand and the Basilisk fang ebony wand.
"Interesting. I've never had someone be matched with three wands before. You have a long and hard road ahead of you, Mr. Cross. Use these wands wisely. Good day." Ollivander said.
After exchanging farewells, John and Dante left the wandmaker's shop, returning to the Leaky Cauldron to sort out their purchases and pack for Hogwarts.
Within a matter of days, John had contacted Professor McGonagall about admitting a new student to fit Dante's cover story. Officially, Dante was a transfer student from Munich, and was looking to expand on his magical education by studying at Hogwarts. The Scottish Deputy Headmistress didn't even suspect anything, and gave Dante permission to attend. Settling on the fifth of December for the day of arrival, Dante made sure his supplies were all packed.
Hogwarts Express, 5 December 1994
Four days after acquiring his wands, and after boarding the Hogwarts Express, Dante settled himself in for a long ride. To pass the time, he pulled out his Charms, Transfiguration, and Potions textbooks in order to catch up to his future schoolmates. By the time the train reached the station at Hogsmeade, Dante had read through his Charms and Transfiguration texts and was halfway through his Potions book. When the whistle announcing the train's arrival at Hogsmeade, Dante packed his books back into his trunk before disembarking.
Hogwarts Entrance Hall, 5 December 1994
Minerva McGonagall stood patiently outside the entrance to Hogwarts when she spotted Dante approaching. What she saw was a very handsome young man with jet-black hair. He was tall, around six feet, with piercing sapphire eyes that had a cold edge to them. When he came closer, McGonagall spoke.
"Mr. Dante Cross, I presume?"
"Yes, Professor McGonagall. My name is Dante Cross."
His voice was a deep, rich baritone, Minerva noted. Now that she had a closer look, Minerva could see Dante's striking resemblance to Harry Potter. However, instead of dwelling on the thoughts and memories revolving around her now-dead student, Minerva turned on her heel and said,
"Follow me, please."
With that, Professor McGonagall led Dante through the entrance hall and into the Great Hall, where her fellow heads of house, the Sorting Hat, and Headmaster Dumbledore waited. Upon Dante reaching the table, Minerva spoke again.
"Now, I assume you've been told about the four Houses of Hogwarts?"
"Yes, Professor." was the clipped reply.
"In that case, when I put the Sorting Hat on your head, it will decide which house you belong in. When you are ready, merely take a seat on the stool."
Taking a deep breath, Dante walked to the stool and took a seat. Minerva placed the Hat on his head, and soon Dante heard the Hat speaking to him.
"Ah, Mr. Potter. So nice to look into your mind once again."
"I don't know who you're talking about, my name is Dante Cross."
"I know, however, in the eyes of magic, you're still Harry Potter. You merely suffered a permanent loss of memory."
Harry laughed to himself before replying.
"Amnesia, are you serious? As far as I'm concerned, my name was never Harry Potter. But, if you insist, just get on with the sorting."
"Just like the last time I sorted you, you could be anywhere, but you seem to be leaning toward..."
The last word was spoken aloud: "SLYTHERIN!"
Dante then removed the hat from his head, gave it to a gaping Minerva, and went to leave when Dumbledore spoke.
"Now, now, Mr. Cross. Why don't you put the hat back on and be sorted into Gryffindor? Surely you would want to be re-acquainted with your old friends?"
Dante stopped cold before turning around, and in a voice that would have put a Siberian winter chill to shame, said,
"Where I get sorted is none of your concern, Headmaster, if the hat put me in Slytherin, then that is where I'll go. I don't care whether you like it or not, good day."
With that, Dante resumed walking out of the Great Hall, just as students began filtering in for lunch. Many of the girls eyed him with varying measures of interest, while most of the other students, both male and female, glared at the green and silver on his robes. Two students in particular, a redheaded boy and a brunette girl, however, bore looks of recognition before the brunette ran right to him screaming "HARRY!" before barreling right into Dante's arms.
Note: Well, well, well. How do you like this little cliffhanger? Next chapter will cover Dante being re-introduced to Ron and Hermione. And, words with the redhead will end with the Golden Trio ensuring a break, while Ron becomes Harry/Dante's worst enemy.
Enjoy and until next time,