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Chapter 1 – Hell Hath No Fury...
"I have come to accept the feeling of not knowing where I am going. And I have trained myself to love it. Because it is only when we are suspended in mid-air with no landing in sight, that we force our wings to unravel and alas begin our flight. And as we fly, we still may not know where we are going to. But the miracle is in the unfolding of the wings. You may not know where you're going, but you know that so long as you spread your wings, the winds will carry you." - C Joybell C
"I'm going to curse you Albus Dumbledore, Mr All-Mighty, Mr I-give-my-deputy-two-days-notice-of-being-absent. Curse you again and again and again and oh-oh bloody Merlin", Minerva McGonagall muttered deep in the bowels of Hogwarts within it's record keeping room, wiping up an ink stain from those thrice-damned truth quills that were in mandatory use when making any and all alterations to student records.
It was a week into summer break and Albus Dumbledore had announced that 'something urgent' had cropped up and that his presence would be needed not just at the Ministry, but after he would have to join the International Confederation of Wizards bi-annual get together that had oh-so slipped his mind.
"Slipped his mind, he said, he's bloody Supreme Mugwamp, he must have had to sign a dozen or more notices about it", she muttered into the dank room.
As deputy, she had had to take up his additional duties, which meant reviewing over all the active student records for the year, updating the scores, and reading any reports that were required and making adjustments or additions to the records that were kept on every student since Hogwart's own founding. All in all, that meant just under a thousand records that required reviewing.
"Thank Merlin for Filius and Pomona", she said with a sigh, stretching her cramped muscles, "If they hadn't... well, it would be a right mess"
"Indeed", said the sorting hat, the adjudicator over all revisions and reviews to ensure proper procedure and fairness.
"Tell me again why Godric didn't make you into something more useful than a hat?", she replied in a stern and annoyed tone.
"Because times change, and had I been made into something, say like a doll, I would look really ridiculous when it came to sorting the new students", the hat replied good naturedly to the snort of derision from the Deputy Headmistress.
"Well at least Filius and Pomona are overseeing the Hogwart's letters and the Muggleborn visits this year, Merlin knows I would have been hard pressed to complete them with this mess of paperwork. What on earth was Albus thinking letting an entire years worth of paperwork build up?"
"Beats me", replied the hat with a verbal shrug, "That man is as mad as a hatter, get it?"
"Oh Merlin", Minerva groaned at the obvious.
She had been sorting through the various reviews, paperwork and documentation for over a week and slowly the pile was diminishing. The odd spell here and there helped to file away some of the information, however each record had to be noted into the contents of the students record, so whilst she did not have to physically file each piece, preferring to wave her wand and have the paperwork automatically file itself, she did have to review over each and every bit of paperwork and add it into the record. It was boring and tedious work. In addition, she was also cursing Severus for his constant deduction of points, all of which also had to be recorded in the students file.
"Oh look, Severus' record of points lost for young Harry. When will that man learn that the sins of the Father are not the sins of the Son", waving her wand she attempted to summon Harry's file but to no avail.
"Strange", Minerva said, "Where's Harry's file? Accio!", again, nothing appeared.
"I've seen the Headmaster reviewing it often in his office, I gather young Potter is a favourite of his, perhaps it can be found there?", the hat supplied.
"Yes but no records should be kept anywhere but the records room, there are spells that prevent such. Oh well I suspect Albus is above such things. I believe I have thoroughly had enough for the day and I would like to find that file...", Minerva said picking the hat up not so gently and exiting the room.
"Ouch, you're not so rough when it comes to the Sorting's. Perhaps I will have to add something to my song this year about evil heads of Gryffindors...", the hat complained.
"Oh posh! You know very well that you will not, and I've put up with your cheekiness for the last week and more with much more tolerance than some. Are you truly sure that Godric didn't just transplant his childhood self into you..."
"No he did not Minerva McGonagall, and I care to remind you that I contain a little of each of the founders and am more than capable..."
"Yes yes I know, Gryffindor, Ravenclaw, Hufflepuff and Slytherin, four of the greatest minds of the age, you have told me thrice this week", Minerva replied testily, "And like you so eloquently put it earlier, times change, there have been plenty of great minds since. I do wonder if you aren't regressing however with all those young minds to peruse each year..."
"What are you insinuating, that I am not performing my job correctly, that I am mis-sorting students, you know the rules as much as I do, prevalent personality unless they choose otherwise, but I would never allow them into a house where I did not thinking they would thrive, Nerdz", spoke the hat as they reached the secret entrance to the Headmaster's office, a direct route of which lead back and forth from the records room.
"I would never insinuate as much, I am just tired and annoyed by Albus' lack of filing. I had plans this summer, I had thought to return to Ross manor, visit with Malcolm and Robert, it has been many years since we have spent any time together, not since Elphi's... yes well, it has been some seven odd years", Minerva spoke in tired tones.
"Ah, I am sorry Minerva, I'm a hat, I do not always know how to read the subtleties unless I am placed upon your head. Alas, the red folder over there on the green bookshelf, that appears to be young Potter's file", the hat offered in gentler tones.
"Thank you, where would you like to rest?", Minerva replied. Give a little, gain a little.
"Ah, I believe a nice view of the lake would be appreciated"
Placing the hat on a book shelf overlooking a window to the outside, she retrieved Harry's file and upon opening it knew that something was drastically wrong. Slumping into the chair beside the book-nook, she rubbed her eyes tiredly, tapped on the contents list to ensure that nothing was hidden and let out a stifled gasp.
"This cannot, this cannot be!", Minerva McGonagall exclaimed.
"Ah", the hat replied, "I did wonder what the old man was up to with his file. I've seen him place reports in, as per is required, but I did think the file was unusually thin bearing in mind the boys prosperity for trouble"
"There's no medical information, at all, there's not even a MSR scoring in here. I know he had one as a bairn, I performed it myself!", Minerva replied, her accents and words slipping into broad Scottish as she worked herself up.
"I'm going to see Poppy, she will have kept copies I'm sure", Minerva replied, exiting the office in a rush. Fawkes flashed into the office in a flash of flame and trilled to the hat.
"Indeed Fawkes, it looks like everything is going to plan. Minerva has discovered Harry's file, and she is good and proper wound up about it also. Hell hath no fury as they say, and that woman when she finds out the scope of it all, will definitely be a woman scorned. You know how close she was to the Potter's, Albus' nuts will be roasting on an open fire. Has he made it to the ICW?", the hat said in reply.
Fawkes trilled sadly, then chirped several times in succession.
"Good, then he will be away for nearly a month. Hopefully Minerva can make some headway into young Potter's situation then. I will gift her with the spell to automatically update the rest of the records and highlight any others who may be an issue and that will save her much time. In fact, if you can persuade Filius up here, I will try and get him to take over her duties for the moment, what do you think?", the hat asked of the Phoenix.
Fawkes trilled happily and leapt off of his perch, sweeping around the room and left in a flash of flame.
"Thank Merlin for small mercies. It's taken nearly three years young Harry, but hopefully someone will be coming for you soon", the hat said to the empty room. Wisely, the portraits kept quiet, the hat was, after all, the living embodiment of the founders of the walls that they themselves hung upon, and wielded much more power than any other hat would ever be able to accomplish.
"Poppy, Poppy!", Minerva McGonagall yelled upon entering the hospital wing.
"Minnie?", a voice replied, sounding pensively worried.
"Poppy... oh there you are! Poppy, do you have young Mr Potter's medical file. His student record is missing everything, and I mean everything. There's nair a stitch of a record in'e here. Nay eve'n a MSR ann'e did it m'self", McGonagall said upon seeing the mediwitch and long time friend, her accent once more coming out strongly with the mix of emotions happening from within.
"Wh-, Minnie, what on earth are you going on about. You're so broad I can barely understand you!", Poppy said in gentler tones, trying to calm the close-to-irate deputy-head.
"Sorry Poppy, it's just, ack! Oh blow it, I'll start afresh. I was reviewing the files that Albus had left and I came across Severus' points deductions for Mr Potter, and I went to retrieve his file and it wasn't in the record room. Thanks to the sorting hat, who had seen Albus with it within his own office I went in search and found it on one of his bookshelves, would you believe. When I opened it, well look!", she said thrusting the thin portfolio at the mediwitch, who took it with a strange look on her face, flipping through it.
"Minnie, I don't know what you're going on about, everything's here", she said, blank look passing over her features just before she handed the record back.
Minerva McGonagall was no fool. She had seen that look many-a-time, both with her time at the Ministry, and throughout the war with He-who-shall-not-be-named. Her friend had either a compulsion spell on her, or had been obliviated, worse, she highly suspected both.
"Poppy, do you have a copy of young Mr Potter's medical file, I would like to make sure that it matches this one here, I believe Albus may have mislaid a record from one of his Quidditch accidents", she asked in a gentle and hopeful tone. If she knew Poppy Pomphrey, she would have her own private records that Albus would never have had access to.
"Of course, which accident is it? Come with me, they're in the cupboard in my quarters, personal files you know, can't have any of the children accidentally getting a-hold of them now can I, could you imagine?", Poppy scoffed. Minerva's alarm signals were now blazing, clearly her friend had remembered none of their previous conversation. She slipped the record into a protected pocket in her robes lest it have an influence on her also.
"Potter... Potter... Potter, ah yes, Harry James, here he is. Been quite accident prone that boy, and always comes back at the beginning of the year...oh hell. I remember! What on earth is going on Minnie?", Poppy said staring at the thick file full of reports and reviews.
"Poppy, do you have any dragon-hide gloves about?", Minerva asked.
"Of course, Accio!", she intoned. Seconds later a pair of well worn gloves appeared which her promptly given to the deputy-head along with a puzzled expression. Putting them on, Minerva reached back into the protected pocket and pulled out the file. Removing the gloves, and asking the matron to place them on and look in the file, she sat back and pondered over the spells that could have been used.
"But-but there's nothing here Minnie. Since his first medical, I've sent reports to Albus, I've even asked that his home life be investigated. Last year in particular, he came back with old injuries, of course, I have said little to him apart from the fact that he needs to eat more, but he always explains it away that he isn't hungry in the summer months, it's too hot, I loose my appetite, all the usual things. Minnie, he's had several broken bones before, including ribs. As much as the young boy gets into trouble, something is going on somewhere. He has scars Minnie, scars. I've tried my best when he's been here to slowly remove them, but like all young boys, as soon as he's capable, he wants out of the hospital wing, and Merlin knows... oh Minnie, his MSR, it was top of the scales, all of them bar one!", the mediwitch rambled in apparent shock.
"You'll have to explain it to me Poppy, I've never know the workings of MSR, just how to perform the spell and it's been many years since I have done that! We'll get back to the rest in a moment when I've figured some things out"
"MSR, Magical Scoring Ratio. It shows the latent talent, or aptitude to use one's magical core, as such. As you know, the core is replenished much like any living creatures, energy conversion, and that magical beings have the extra ability to be able to convert some of that into magical reserves, what is held in your core. The MSR tests on four different ratios, current magic levels out of 100 per cent capacity. The size of the core, with the founders all being up and around the 200 mark at their peak, which is considered the top of the scale for modern history. Finally, it's the channel reading, which related directly into your ability to be able to use your core, again out of 100 and to it's potential and the rate of replenishment in units per minute, the higher the units, the quicker you refill to your level", she said waving a wand over the deputy head, who felt a slight tingle that reminded her of the first time she entered Hogwarts, and every magical medical exam she had had since.
"To put it in perspective, today you are reading at 99, 179, 95 and 6.1. For your age and health, you're up in the top percentile. You are at almost full replenishment, so you have undertaken some magic today, but your rate of replenishment means that you could in theory replenish you entire core, given optimal conditions of course, in just a little over 30 hours. You have a good sized core, and you're using the majority of your channels so you have good access to that magic. Harry however, was reading 61, 191, 93 and 10.4. Although he replenishes magic at a phenomenal rate, he's constantly using it to keep himself going, and because he has such a large core, it takes more time for him to achieve the same level of replenishment, and his channels are only slightly lower than yours, and that was at the age of 12. Can you imagine..."
"He's going to be seriously powerful, is seriously powerful if he got enough food, did enough exercise, if he was treated well at home during the summer you mean?", Minerva said in a low voice.
"Exactly, and I don't know why it's not in his file. Like I said, I've raised numerous reports to Albus-"
"Exactly, I think, Albus has been monitoring young Harry himself, and if I'm right, there is a slew of magic on his report to prevent people such as yourself from remembering his vital information. You always send a copy of the medical to Albus, and place a copy into the files directly correct?", she asked the matron.
"Of course, I always duplicate, triplicate everything, you know that"
"Then I believe that Albus has placed a series of spells on the file to make you forget the record the second you place it into the file, and a compulsion to not investigate further into the memory gap afterwards. If I may, I would like to try and break the spells, but I will only know if I am successful by you picking up the record and attempting to add one in yourself after the attempt-"
"Just do it Minnie, and I'll back you all the way with whatever you're going to do about this mess as well"
"Thank you Poppy, sincerely", she replied one second, and flashed her wand at the record the next. After several minutes she had broken several spells, and broken into a sweat of her own. Albus was powerful, but he hadn't used as much finesse as he should have with the record, and if there was anything Minerva McGonagall was good at, was finding the gaps and the breaks in the spells. Her time from the war with Voldemort had taught her as much. It's all in the details.
"Ah ha, got you!", she exclaimed, finally breaking through the last spell sequence after around another ten minutes, "Phew, that's meddlesome old coot, I got you"
"Minnie?", Poppy asked, looking concerned for her friends health.
"Nothing that won't wait. Go ahead, try it", she gestured.
Picking up the record Poppy felt no different, she could detect no influence or tingles or mental intrusions. Taking the very first of Harry's records, from when he was a baby, and like Minerva said, performed and recorded by herself just hours after the youngsters birth, she placed it into the file, and added it to the contents list, which she noted, was exceptionally short. Grumbling, she grabbed another record, and another, and over the next half an hour, added in all of the records she had ever had for one Harry James Potter.
"There, and yes, I do remember what is going on, and I will be adding in another record in just a few moments. I'm going to record this session, my own experiences and place it in for posterity, if for nothing else. Minnie, will you keep possession of the record afterwards?"
"I'm glad that I was successful, and yes, I believe it may well end up in my office for the foreseeable future, I will discuss it with the Sorting Hat, of all 'people' and see if it can be allowed. I do not believe that the Headmaster should ever have possession of it everagain", the deputy head said with conviction.
"And of Mr. Potter?", the matron asked.
"Oh ho, don't you worry about young Harry. He's my next stop, I will be removing him from the Dursley's tonight, and he'll never see them again if I catch even a whisper of the threat of abuse. Should I find what I believe I might, then, well that will be up to Harry. Poppy, how would you feel about having young Harry here for a few weeks?"
"I'd be delighted"
"Good, we'll need to plan, once Albus returns, he's going to want to send Harry back, and most likely obliviate us all. Could I leave the record here, could you duplicate it, and find somewhere to hide it, somewhere should the worst happens that we can come across it again. Could you also let Filius and Pomona know. I may be gone for a day or so depending on how it all goes..."
"Minnie, go, get Harry and bring him back here. I know how close you were to Lily in particular, just go!"
"Yes M'am", she said with the first smile of the day, "Thanks Poppy". She said as she turned on the spot and left the hospital wing with a determined stride.
"Hell hath no fury, Albus, when you get back, you're going to be neck deep in dragon dung", the Matron said to herself, copying the record and securing both copies away in a little known lock up of hers, alongside the most personal of her precious belongings. Turning from the ward and her own quarters she left to inform the other reliable members of the faculty of their discovery, and to engage their assistance.
Battered and bruised, Harry huddled morosely within the cupboard-under-the-stairs. Following the previous summers' break out courtesy of the Weasley's, he had been confined almost immediately upon entering Number Four, Privet Drive, Surrey.
The ride back from King's Cross had been ominously quiet. His Uncle had yet to speak a word to him. It did not bode well. Arriving back to his relatives house, he dragged his trunk out from the back of the car and reluctantly entered the house. A sense of doom came over him as his Uncle bodily threw his trunk into the cupboard under the stairs. Staring at the new improved lock system that was upon the door, Harry didn't see the fist that smacked into his temple until it was too late. Stars swam before his eyes as blackness quickly overtook his vision and he passed out.
Waking what must have been some hours later, he awoke uncomfortably stretched over a wooden item, attempting to roll off of the structure he hissed in pain as his ribs protested his movement, and landed on an all too familiar surface, the cot from his former years. He was back in the cupboard. There was barely an inch of room to accommodate not only his trunk, but his slightly improved frame, so he curled in on himself and surrendered to blackness once more.
Some weeks later, at least he guessed, he had been surviving on the odd morsel that the Dursley's and deemed to be sufficient for his continued existence. Stale bread, a hunk of mouldy cheese, a half eaten apple, a dog bowl of water. He had been let out once a day to 'freshen up', use the toilet and attempt to drink enough water from the occasional shower that he was allowed so he 'didn't stink the house out'. A surprise attack from his Uncle would inevitably render him unconscious or at least malleable to being placed back into the trunk, where bruises grew on top of bruises and his hellish existence continued. Unable to use magic due to the previous years warning, thanks to a certain house-elf, and despite having limited access to his belongings within the cupboard had up until now maintained what little moral he had left as the days began to blur together. He fervently hoped that someone, anyone would have attempted to contact him by now, and that his lack of contact would be setting alarm bells ringing, but it was a flimsy hope that he had begun to loose as he resigned himself to his situation.
Thankfully, he had let Hedwig out prior to leaving King's Cross, his faithful owl was safe. He hated to think of what either his Uncle, or his cousin could have done to his old friend. Hedwig was smart, she would keep far enough away to keep herself safe, but he did not doubt that she was keeping a keen watch over the household from afar.
A knock at the front door surprised him out of his reverie. It must be early, he thought, as light from the burgeoning day had barely begun to permeate his dark existence within the cupboard. Muffled raised and panicked voices could be heard from the direction of the front door. Unable to move, thanks to his Uncle's latest surprise attack which was sure to have broken a rib or two, he was unable to move himself closer to the door to overhear the conversation. He also knew that making a sound would result in further beatings from his Uncle.
"WHERE IS HARRY?", a raised familiar sounding voice broke through the enclosed walls, and he cocked an eye open and attempted to raise an ear. He knew that voice, and hope surged through him, was this to be his rescue, his release from such a pitiful existence? Calculating the risk quickly he kicked a leg out against the cupboard wall, hoping that it was enough for the familiar voice to question the noise. He kicked again, and again, and his ribs burned from the movement of his body within the cramped space. Burning stretched up from his leg as arguing voices breached the hallway. He could hear his Aunt shrilly defending his Uncle.
Light. Blinding light as the door was ripped from its hinges, an inarticulate pitiful keening sound was heard as he attempted to see through his light-blindness to the figure standing just outside of the doorway. A flash of light, and another silenced his Uncle's protesting roars and his Aunt's shrill attempts to defend her family. Then blissful silence. Blinking once, twice he fixed his blurry eyesight, his glasses having broke some time ago, upon the figure in the entrance to his cupboard.
"Harry bairn", the soft Scottish lilting voice said as she addressed the young boy, swishing her wand and banishing his trunk to places unknown.
"Prof'ser McGonagall?", he replied, his voice raw and broken.
"Oh Harry bairn, what'e done with 'e", his Professor said in a voice so soft he had trouble believing it was indeed his Professor.
"Hurts", he croaked, trying to gently move out of his curled up state. He finally managed to get himself into a sitting position and looked up into his Professor's face, which was lined with concern, ashen grey in shock at the state of one of her school-time charges.
"Stay still Harry, I'm going to summon Poppy, I don't want you to move and do any more damage just to appease me. Rest Harry, you're safe now", she replied swishing her wand as a silvery animal burst from her wand, darting off to places unknown.
"How-how long?", he croaked back. She had knelt down in from of him, desperate to reach out to him and comfort the battered, abused young man but fearful of doing any more damage.
"Since the end of school? Two and a half weeks Harry. Have-have you been in here the entire time?", she said, glancing back and forth to the open front door, and the floor where the Dursley's lay, asleep if the noises out of his Uncle was anything to go by.
"Yeah, grew up in here too", he said, furiously attempting to carefully swipe at his eyes, which were betraying him by leaking tears.
"Oh Harry bairn, why didn't you say anything?"
"Did, to Dumbledore. Can I have some water?", he asked pensively, still swiping at the odd rebellious tear. He was desperately thirsty but still his body leaked fluid.
"Sorry Harry, I want Poppy to look you over first. You're going to need some potions, and the water might dilute them in your stomach", she said gently and apologetically.
"S'ok, I can wait", he said, sighing and leaning his head back onto the cupboard wall.
"Won't be long bairn, won't be long", she whispered.
Blackness encroached on his vision once more as relief and exhaustion overcame his body as he leaned back on the cupboard wall, safe in the knowledge that someone he liked, someone he trusted to take care of him was now guarding his side. He relaxed and embraced the darkness as he passed out once more.
Professor Minerva McGonagall looked worriedly over his young frame, wondering on what hell on earth that Albus had dropped the ball on this one. The saviour of the Wizarding World, forced to grow up as an abused and battered boy, stuck in a cupboard-under-the-stairs for the majority of his childhood, knowing only hate and neglect. It was a miracle that young Harry had turned into the promising, brave young wizard that he was. She was thankful to him for the part he had played, the suffering he must have endured, and was furiously angry at the Dursley's and at one Albus Dumbledore for resigning this young boy to such a fate.
She spotted Poppy rushing up the pathway to the house, and stepped back from the sleeping boy to let the mediwitch do her best to bring him back from the brink.
"Minnie!", the mediwitch gasped upon seeing the young man.
"I know Poppy, I know", she said sadly as she plotted her next moves, after her young charge was fully back in the land of the living anyway.
Hell hath no fury like a witch scorned.
Welcome to the first instalment of Out from under the Shadows. If you haven't guessed this as of yet, this first book (for I intend for it to be more than one) deals with an increasingly independent/powerful Harry with Mentor / Guardian in the form of many known characters. May well have some Weasley bashing eventually, and even possibly from Dumbledore bashing. It is still very much a work in progress, so suggestions on a postcard!
I'm also after a Beta as I'm getting a little angsty about writing a chapter, leaving it overnight, re-reading, re-reading again, and again... well it's not my style!
Thanks and hope you enjoyed – comments / reviews as always are welcome, please keep them constructive at the very least!
Treat others as you would like to be treated yourself.
- Em :) xx