Me: Hello again. This is another story idea that's probably going to be strange, but I hope you'll enjoy it. This came to me purely of fan wank and thinking about Harry's home life, about Draco's family, and about how little screen time Ginny got as Harry's love interest, and the question hit me - what if Harry ran away as a kid? And then the idea just kind of kept flowing. It's also a female!Harry fanfic.
So, I do not own Harry Potter and...enjoy!
Chapter 1: Escape
It was cold outside, though Claire Lily Potter never really noticed it. Rain lashed down on her and lightning lit up the sky, but she wouldn't turn around now that she had started walking.
In which direction she intended to go, and what she was going to do next...that she didn't know. The sense of loss and pain and confusion was too great; she could not stay there any longer. Nor could she simply go for help, her perpetual fear of the 'grid' as Theo, her conspiracy theorist classmate, called it, meant that she needed to get away from the cameras and the prison she'd called home.
Could she do it? Live unidentified, on the edges of society. Become an Unperson. At least you'd be able to mind your own business, right? You didn't have to be afraid to go to sleep. She could write out her stories and pictures on the walls and the floors without fear. She could say whatever she wanted to, eat her lunch without it being stolen by Dudley, she could walk around where ever she wanted without Vernon telling her she was a freak who shouldn't be seen by anyone and Dudley couldn't chase her with his friends, 'Claire hunting' was long behind her.
There was a tremendous feeling of owning her own life that Claire could deeply appreciate right now; there was no more fixed passage or stations of the life that she had to think about; there was only now, the road and her dreams to accompany her. She was really, honestly free. Not just from the hatred of her aunt and uncle, but of the fear and the pain that had characterized her life for so long.
Claire allowed herself to smile for the first time in weeks, she started to skip down the sidewalk, Petunia's stolen wallet and money in her pocket. The happiness was bubbling up inside her and she felt like singing. She'd always been a good singer; Vernon called it a useless skill. He used to love to rant about professional singers being 'cheaters' who used their prettiness to get absurd amounts of money while hardworking people (like him) had to slave away to get half the pay they did.
Not that it had stopped him from entering her in talent contests to win money off her that he proceeded to use for Dudley.
Well, the joke was on him now. She had his credit cards, and since Vernon pretended he had no niece he could not prove she was using them. Besides, since he started letting Dudley use his cards he'd figure it was him or one of his friends who was using them. She could get her money back.
Claire let her head bob to a beat only she could hear, her mouth silently forming words as she walked into the clothing store to get herself something new to wear. Good thing she didn't appear on security cameras, whatever the reason for that.
The black haired girl went through several stores, and eventually when she looked at herself in the mirror she was amazed by what she saw. She saw a waify, pale angel in the reflection. She looked exotic, a word she never would have associated with herself before.
She also ended up looking through stores to see what might entertain her. She'd been pretty much forbidden from having pleasant things, and since this wasn't on her dime she was going to have a good time. She bought a portable disk player and a few Leona Lewis albums. She loved that singer pretty much from the first time she heard a song of hers on the radio.
It was at this point, leaving the electronics shop, that Claire allowed herself to think about her 'special abilities', which was the main reason the Dursleys had hated her. Whatever they were, Claire was smart enough to realize that she wasn't ordinary. She didn't know what exactly she was capable of. She had wondered if it was telepathy or telekenisis initially, but it kept doing things that those powers didn't cover, so she ruled those out. She was fairly certain she wasn't a sorceress, because she didn't remember making any deals with Hell.
And with these thoughts came a vague, nagging feeling that there was something that should be holding her back, and it all lead to the note that had been left with her when her aunt had opened the door and found her. Perhaps there were other people like her? Something had happened to her parents, but they had been jobless layabouts who died in a drunk driving accident, according to aunt Petunia. The note, however, claimed they had been killed by some 'dark lord' and she had been saved by her mother's sacrifice.
It was all very strange, frightening and mysterious. But despite the ominous tone to it, it didn't trouble her now. Her spirits, despite the fairly tenuous position she was in, were higher than they had ever been.
There was a part of her that was still angry with the Dursleys, but the further away from them she walked the less she thought about them. She supposed her hate had been so strong it eventually transformed into apathy. Whatever happened to them next, whether they became famous, got into a fight or had a jet turbine land on their house it was beyond her worry. It just didn't matter. They didn't care about her so why should she care about them?
She found she wasn't even angry at whoever had left her there, saying that this was the only possible family that could properly raise her. Of course, she'd been angry at the beginning; scratch angry, she'd been downright furious. So, whoever out there who was close to her parents couldn't be bothered to take her in, they had to leave her with Petunia and Vernon. Judging by the tone of the letter she had a feeling they knew what they was like, but they left her there anyway.
Sometimes she did wonder if they would keep insisting on her staying there if they knew how they treated her, but she didn't feel like testing that particular theory.
She couldn't imagine what kind of people thought being regularly beaten up for things beyond her control constituted a safe, happy environment, but when she thought about it she decided that if that was the case she simply wouldn't get involved with them.
If that was their thoughts on how to treat children then it would be better if she never got involved with them. They could find whoever killed her parents themselves. It wasn't her worry. Experience had taught her to expect the worst of strangers in situations like this. And if they were ready to leave a girl in an abusive household just to keep her from getting a big head, then they could do without her.
Whatever it was could sort itself out; there was nothing worth staying with her aunt and uncle for. She had nothing and no one to hold her there. The only one who had cared had been her parents, who died for her, and it was going to be a long time before she could see them again.
The old nightmares of the woman, the monster and the green light were surely just that, an nightmare, just one of the many things that happened around her that she could never explain. At least, where she was going, uncle Vernon couldn't hurt her for having the dream. Or for making glass explode when she was upstairs, or for making Dudley grow donkey ears after he kicked her a few times, or for puncturing the car tires despite standing six feet away from them with nothing in her hands.
The streets always seem to go on forever, but eventually Claire found the bus stop. She pulled up her hood again and stepped on. The bus driver raised an eyebrow but was mollified when she said that she was going to visit her father, and that she did this all the time. She picked a seat next to the window and pulled on her headphones, setting her backpack on her knees. 'Bleeding Love' started playing as the bus drove off.
It would take her to the airport, where she would go to Norway. It was the first place that came to her, and the old viking stories had always fascinated her. She felt drawn to it, the fire and ice, the ancient monsters and warriors that set out to fight them. There was a strange, fearsome beauty to it. She wanted to see the old ruins and hear the old stories.
As far as she was concerned, the worst was behind her.
The airport wasn't that crowded, and it was here that a strange thing happened to Claire. In retrospect, it was actually an extremely pleasant coincidence and she certainly grew to appreciate it fast.
She was just walking to put her suitcase onto a conveyor belt when she was accidentally shoulder rammed, causing the perpetrator to drop her stuff.
"I'm so sorry!" a young voice said, and Claire blinked a few times to see a red haired girl probably a year younger than her frantically collecting the purse, bag and necklace she had dropped. Standing next to her was a dreamy-looking blonde girl and a decidedly unhappy-looking blonde boy.
Claire knelt and handed the girl her stick. The girl smiled and said, "oh, thank you so much, I didn't see you there I was in such a rush."
"Don't worry about it," Claire said. She looked around. No one seemed to be following them, although the kids looked to be her age. "Uh, were are you parents?"
The blonde boy cringed and glanced over his shoulder as though he was being hunted, a gesture Claire herself had made many, many times over the past few days. "I hope not. We're running away from them. Well, except Luna." He glanced at the blonde girl, with an expression like there were emotions in him that he was trying to get over.
Luna nodded. "My parents died." She explained. "They were killed by a couple of Death Eaters."
Claire was shocked, both by the story and by the girl's bluntness. "I'm so sorry."
"It's okay. Mummy took most of them with her. Although," the girl frowned, "the aurors were supposed to be there but they didn't show up, the Crouch person said they had been needed in more important places."
Claire was simultaneously stunned and disgusted. Who said that to a girl who had just lost her parents? "That's terrible. I'm sorry to hear that."
"Thank you. I'm sorry too." Luna smiled sadly. "I wish Britain wasn't so messed up."
"Hey," The blonde boy said, "we don't care now, remember? Whatever happened back there is over and done with and not our problem."
Claire was surprised, she'd been reminding herself of that for the last 48 hours. They really were running away then, not just from home but from their entire country.
The redhead nodded. "Yeah, I'm also running away, because..." She cast her eyes down. "My parents...don't accept me." She swallowed and said, "sorry, I just noticed you were here alone -"
"It's okay. I'm running away too." Claire said.
"Oh," the girl said, startled. "Really? So are we."
Clarie smiled at the girl. It had been the first time in a long time she remembered smiling at someone else. "It's a bit risky, but I think I'm going to be okay."
The blonde boy had been studying her for a few moments before his eyes found her scar, he then exclaimed in surprise, "You're Claire Lily Potter?" He sounded shocked and amazed, though thankfully he managed to keep his voice down.
Claire's eyebrows shot up. "What? How do you know my name?"
The redhead looked equally shocked, but Luna just quirked an eyebrow and didn't seem particularly shocked or starstruck. "I'm sorry," the girl said, "you – you were just really famous where we used to come from." she promptly gave the boy a death glare before saying, "Didn't you just say we didn't care about that stuff anymore Draco?"
Draco gulped and said, "I'm sorry blood-sorry, I meant Ginny." he muttered an imprecation directed at himself, as though he was trying to break himself of a habit and had nearly slipped up. "I was just surprised and forgot myself." He glanced around before saying, "shouldn't we wait in the – what did the muggles call it? The waiting area?"
Ginny nodded distractedly, "I think so, I keep getting lost, muggle places and phrases are confusing me."
Claire smiled and said, "I know which way to go. Come on, I can show you. There's only an hour until boarding, we should start moving again."
All three kids nodded, looking relieved and grateful.
Claire checked their tickets, somehow they were on the same plane. It was a chance coincidence; she hadn't been allowed to have friends before since Dudley would scare off whoever tried to talk civilly with her.
She bought them all snacks for the plane ride, which would be several hours. She was really delighted that magic, as she discovered, could massively screw up electronics, especially if she directed it to do so. Petunia would think that it was her spending on this credit card and couldn't prove otherwise, that thought alone put a satisfied smirk on her face.
"You really don't know anything about magic?" Ginny asked, flabbergasted. She was born Ginerva Molly Weasley, but she absolutely detested that name and would dope slap Draco whenever he used it. "Anything?"
Claire nodded. Draco's jaw dropped and even Luna dropped her dreamy quality to look funny at her. "I thought I was crazy – or some kind of freak, like my aunt and uncle always said."
"Your aunt and uncle call you a freak?" Luna asked, sounding puzzled, but understanding. She had been born Luna Marcus Lovegood to Maia and Xeno Lovegood, a moderately well-off pureblood family well-known (and therefore, well-mocked) for their eccentricities. "I could see the muggle kids calling you that, I get that all the time from other kids but the grown-ups never call me that."
Claire snorted. "They just do. And I'll be damned if I understand why. It's why I ran away – I was just so tired of being mistreated, kicked, screamed at, punished for accidents or mistakes I didn't mean to make, getting beaten up or just for existing. I just don't care what happens to them now, whether they win the lottery or have a meteor fall on their house it's their problem, not mine." Claire then smiled and raised the credit cards, "Though I did expect dear Uncle Vernon to refund me after using my music money to buy presents for Dudley, like he didn't have enough already."
Draco made a face of disgust, "so that's why my father doesn't think muggles are fit to raise a magical child, what the bloody hell was Dumbledore thinking, leaving you with people like that?" He had been born Draco Albatrax Black-Malfoy to Lucious Malfoy and Narcissa Black, two staunch pureblood and supporters of Voldemort, the Dark Lord who he told Claire had killed her parents.
"Dumbledore?" Claire asked, confused.
"Oh, he's an authority figure back in Magical Britain," Ginny explained, "Headmaster of Hogwarts, Cheif Warlock of the Wizardot, Order of Merlin first class, he used to be Supreme Mugwarp but he lost that title about two days ago. I remember my mum ranting about it but I was packing and didn't pay close attention. Very power wizard, probably one of the most powerful out there. Highly respected."
"Was he related to my parents?" Claire asked.
"No." Draco snorted. "Your father on the other hand, James Potter, was practically Dumbledore's attack dog, he did everything the man asked him too. Which was probably why Dumbledore had any say in where you grew up." The blonde boy's mouth curled into the start of a smirk, "It almost would have been worth staying in Britain a few more days just to see his face when he found out that he placed you in an abusive home and you left."
Claire admitted that thought amused her too. She handed out the start of the snacks, muffins chiefly. "Try these, they're muggle treats, filling though. Should keep us until we get to Norway."
Luna started eating one right away, Ginny and Draco both eyed it speculatively before trying them. "Not bad," Ginny said, before digging in.
"So why are you guys running away?" Claire asked. The three other wizards exchanged a quick look, as though trying to decide who wanted to go first. Luna volunteered.
"I lost both my mummy and my daddy," Luna explained sadly, "and everyone else who I know besides Ginny thinks I should be put in St. Mugo's, no one understands the things or sees the world the way I do. I didn't want to stay in a hospital forever so I contacted Ginny. She was going to run away so I decided to go with her, I think there are all kinds of creatures in Norway. Loki liked to go down there a lot, I wonder if we could catch sight of his spectral form at some point."
Claire had privately thought Luna strange when she'd been directing them, now she was glad she hadn't voiced that thought out loud, despite her calm way of saying it she could tell Luna was unhappy.
The announcement for young children to start boarding sounded, and Claire helped Draco, Ginny and Luna get to their seats. Ginny magically switched their tickets so they were sitting together in a group of four.
Draco told Claire that they were avoiding using magic as much as possible to avoid setting off the Ministry Underage magic trackers, which would only break when they crossed the border, where they would (in normal circumstances) register with the Norway magical government. They had no intention of doing that, since it would open an avenue for their old people to find them. Accidental magic, on the other hand, wasn't monitored, so they could use it sparingly if they could urge it to do so.
Together, the four of them magicked their seats so they could sit across from each other around a table when in flight. The muggles were none the wiser to any of this.
Ginny sighed, "I might as well go next. I'm from a poor but pureblood family. Draco, you were right about one thing, though only one thing," she scowled at the boy in question, who merely raised his hands defensively. "My mum's a social climber, so when it comes to me she adheres to all pureblood standards. That meant I would be nothing but property, a baby machine, nanny and political chip for my parents and then my husband. I couldn't bear a life like that." She closed her eyes, "My mum threatened to cast me out onto the streets unless I complied, she was going to pick a suitor for me and we'd marry just after I did my OWLs, after that I grabbed whatever I could gather that belonged to me and took off. I found Luna almost immediately and we ran into Draco further down the road. He picked our destination."
Claire was, once again, utterly appalled to hear all this. "Geez, Ginny..." She hesitantly reached out, took the girl's hand and squeezed it comfortingly. Ginny smiled gratefully, allowing Claire to breathe easy, she'd been worried she'd done something wrong.
Draco sighed, "I suppose that leaves just me. I was born a Malfoy in one of the big Pureblood marriages - you know what I'm going to call it alliance because that's what it really is. Anyway, as I told you before my parents are staunch believers in the Pureblood greater good, i.e. A philosophy that only those who have two wizards for parents are worthy of ruling and running society. I had...a weird life, I'm both spoiled and abused, I was totally brainwashed by those ideals, I thought power and respect was mine by birthright. I was a right bastard, even as young as I was."
Claire frowned, "We are young,"
Draco gestured in a self-deprecating manner, "Well, younger. I had these friends named Theodore Nott and Blaise Zabini. Theo's parents weren't as hardcore in their belief as my parents were. They betrayed one of the most important belief that my parents and their ilk upheld – they set up a marriage contract between Theo and a half blood, Colleen Lamb I think her name was. Anyway, dad flipped out. I tried to protest on Theo's behalf but he didn't listen, I ran to Theo's house to find it on fire. His parents were hung and burned with a sign saying "REWARDED AS A TRAITOR DESERVES" next to them. They killed Theo too, I found his body on the stairs."
By this point Claire felt right sick. Draco gave a weak nod and continued, "They hated Blaise and his mother because they're Italian, they also hate foreign blood because they have different ideas on blood purity. They tolerated them before because they wanted to leech of their riches; if dear mother had a daughter they probably would have married her to Blaise to get their fortune before killing Blaise. They told me to direct me to his house, but I had learned my lesson, I sent a firecall ahead and warned Blaise they were coming. They were long gone by the time the Death Eaters found their original house. My dad-" he was sure to use as much sarcasm as possible on the word, "was beyond furious. He hit me with his staff and roared at me to tell them where the Zabinis had gone, and that I was already in a lot of trouble for helping filth like them. I spat in his face and told him I would never give up my friend, even if I knew where he was."
"That's when we found you," Ginny said, her eyes betraying that she had been worried sick, "Lucius beat you something bad and then forced you to take Veristrum." To Claire she said, "it's a kind of truth serum, it's very dangerous to take in other than small doses, especially for children."
Horrible, all of it. Claire was sickened. "How is Lucius not in prison?" She asked, "You said he supported You-Know-Who, he killed Theodore and his parents, and he could have rendered you braindead from that little thing."
Draco snorted derisively, "My dad is rich. He just claimed Imperious on his actions during the war and paid off/eliminated anyone who questions or tries to stick up to him. My family is just fucked up Claire. Be glad you weren't born a Malfoy or a Black."
"I most certainly am." Claire said in disgust, "how'd you get away?"
"Help from Ginny and Luna," Draco said, offering the two girls a slight, hopeful smile. The two girls returned that with a radiant smile, it changed their entire faces, made them beautiful and happy. "They found me on the street where Lucius had left me and revived me. Despite me being a pureblood and I wouldn't have blamed them for just leaving me there, I was such an intolerable little asshole back then. That ordeal had me whistling a different tune. I suggested we go to Norway; they wouldn't think to look for us there and it's fabled that the four Founders got their magnificent skills and extra powers when they went on a journey there. Lucky for me," he smirked, "Lucius forgot a few things when he disowned me."
"Like what?" Claire asked.
Draco's smirk widened. "My mother's family expressed quite strenuously in their marriage contract that should anything happen, all the Black money would go straight to me, since the only other direct Black had been disowned, when dearest Lucius disowned me he cut himself from the Black money. Most of his money and power come from the Black marriage, the Malfoy family used to be quite poor and connived to get the money that they had so far, and Lucius has gotten far to used to having millions of gallons to fall back on now that it's mine to use. Until such time as Sirius Black is released – which I highly doubt, since it is Azkaban we're talking about – I basically have the whole fortune on my back."
Claire snickered. "Serves him right." She said. "But can't the wizarding bank trace your money to where you're using it?"
"We went to Gringotts to check that," Draco replied. "They don't give up banker information to wizards unless they're family – which, as Lucius put it, we aren't anymore – and even then, only under extreme circumstances. I asked for anonymity regarding everything and for my vault to be transferred to the Norway branch. Thankfully, there's an old Black house here, so we're pretty much set. I had the bank teller check everything, the legislation is iron clad. Looks like wizarding Britain is strangled by the very chains it uses to control it's citizens!"
All four runaways got a good laugh at that. After that, they all descended into friendly, lighthearted talk, Claire telling them about the muggle world while Ginny, Luna and Draco told them about magic and its uses. By some unspoken agreement, after that last conversation about Gringotts they halted any talk of Britain. By now the country was miles behind them and out of their minds, they'd just have to handle things without them there.
"You want to live with us?" Ginny, Draco and Luna asked all at once, Claire was delighted, "Of course, I'd love that."
"You should know what we're looking at, grand house, no adults and no grid to be trapped in. Lovely countryside, only dragons and house elves for company, just us and the world." Draco said.
"Sounds almost like a fairy tale, doesn't it?" Luna asked. They then had to explain what a house elf was to Claire. Ginny made Draco swear up and down to treat Dobby and any other house elf they got fairly; apparently most wizards didn't treat house elves kindly despite them working for the family and treating them kindly. Claire vowed that she wouldn't be like that, and whatever elf she found she would treat like part of the family.
Dragons also sounded like fun, one of Ginny's six older brothers had a job as a dragon handler and she had been rather looking forward to joining him in that lifestyle. It was high paying and highly sought after, as only the very wealthy could afford a dragon and it was considered a symbol of incredible power, especially if you got one as a familiar.
"Yeah." Claire agreed. "I always wanted a dragon for a pet." The four laughed again and daydreamed over what their former guardians might do if they saw the kids with dragons for pets/familiars.
"So what are you guys planning to do?" Claire asked after they broke out lunch. The plane fight was about halfway across and, as Luna dreamily informed them, thirty minutes to the ward line where the tracking charms would be terminated. Ginny, Draco and Luna were very excited about this, and were pouring over muggle chips, sandwiches and pop with new-found interest and excitement. "I want to be a singer."
"You know, I've heard of some wizards with the empath talent were capable of amazing feats when they imbued their magic with singing," Luna remarked, "because it's just such raw, expressive and completely unlimited emotional statement, the magic can flow freely and quickly in it."
"Cool," Claire said thoughtfully, "Maybe I should try that."
"I want to be a dragon handler, like Charlie," Ginny said. "I always love exotic creatures, and excitement and some degree of danger. Maybe I could even get a dragon familiar." She then launched into a long tirade about other magical creatures, including Unicorns, giant spiders, Basilisks, Cockatrice, Manticors and Hippogriffs, stopping only to catch her breath.
Draco looked amazed, "How do you do that on three breaths?"
"Draco, when you have six older brothers, you have to be loud and fast if you plan to be heard at all." Ginny said. She'd told them about her brothers, with Fred and George nice to her but often in trouble for pranking, Bill and Charlie almost always out of the country, and her father distracted by his fascination with muggles that left only Ron Weasley. Ron hated being just 'the fifth Weasley boy' and felt threatened by the illustrious careers of his brothers and wanted to win acclimation of other people, and most of all their controlling mother, and he often took this out on Ginny. Ginny got the most attention from their mother due to her attempts to groom her to get a highly placed husband, and Ron resented this and bullied her because he couldn't take it out on any of his other brothers.
Luna sighed, "Listening to you two makes me with I had one but only one sibling who was just like me, I can't imagine having several siblings or being only children with parents like yours."
Claire shrugged. "I'm sure there are decent, loving parents out there. We just weren't raised by them."
"Some people get all the luck," Draco muttered under his breath, causing the girls to laugh again.
"You're in the right place," Draco said, harking back to Ginny's chosen career, "Norway is a haven for dragons, apparently. There's some sort of raw magical mine, for lack of a better word, in this country. Magical creatures flock to it and wizards often come here to strengthen themselves."
"Awesome!" Ginny squealed. She didn't mention her mother never would have allowed her this career. She didn't have to, the picture she had painted was clear as crystal and besides, she was back in Britain and none of their concern.
"I think I'm going to be a reporter." Luna said. "Or maybe a writer. Then I can tell everyone about the world they don't see."
"I want to be a curse breaker. Or a lawyer." Draco said. "Or maybe a politician, so I can make sure what happened to us doesn't happen again."
All four of them nodded. They agreed muggle food was quite nice.
Taking Claire's lead, the four young wizard and witches crammed themselves into the back of a cab which Draco directed to the outskirts of town. They were tossed about as it swept through the countryside, the cab driver blaring Miley Cyrus over Draco's muffled threats of severe bodily harm if he continued to play her music.
Eventually, after much cursing and cramps, Draco shouted over the radio, "great, stop. This is the place."
The cab driver stopped and stared out the window, frowning, "You sure, kid? I can't see a footpath."
"Yeah, this is the place. Don't worry." Draco said.
Relieved, Luna, Claire and Ginny disentangled from the pile they'd been stuck in and went outside. Draco paid the cab, which sped off. Draco glared after it and said, "Claire, if all muggle music is as awful as that, I may have to invest in earplugs."
Claire laughed, "It's not all that awful, Draco. That's just Miley I'm-Massively-Overrated Cyrus. Leona Lewis is much better, I'll play my disk when we get settled." She glanced out. A cool wind ran through her black hair, she could see the sea and hear the crashing of the waves against the shore. The sun was starting to set, causing a beautiful picture. Claire wanted to paint it so badly. "We here, finally?"
"Yup." Draco said. "This way, ladies." He turned and walked down the stone path that had materialized right after the cab had left. Ginny, Claire and Luna exchanged a surprised look before following him.
They didn't have to go far. Claire felt her jaw drop as she saw the massive, grand mansion sitting near a cliff above the sea. It was the most beautiful thing she'd ever seen, except in the Disney movies she'd been shown at Figg's place. On either side of her, adjusted to poverty Ginny looked equally thunderstruck while Luna's eyebrows simply lifted an inch, as though this was no more surprising than seeing a Crumpled Hornshack.
Draco turned and smiled innocently back at them. "Welcome to one of the Black Mansions, girls." He gave a theatrical bow, "I am Draco Black and I wish to welcome you to the Black Norway Residence."
"You two should close your mouths," Luna said, looking at the still-stunned Claire and Ginny, "The Wakersprouts will get inside your head if you leave them open for too long."
Claire's mouth snapped shut and she said, "You're kidding, all this for us and it's just one of the houses, how rich are you Draco?"
"As a Black? Pretty damn rich. Though as the last Potter, you're probably filthy rich as well, you should probably check your finances at Gringotts tomorrow." Draco said, mentioning the second part as an afterthought.
Claire was still struggling to comprehend all this, she had gone from an battered, tormented orphan ready to take life as a street rat over living with her abusive aunt and uncle to having three friends, a gorgeous house, total freedom, discovery of her real identity, more money than she could shake a stick at, a new life and a chance to get a familiar. It was overwhelming and that added in with her running away two days ago and the long flight and she was dead tired.
"Come on in, it's time to get some rest," Draco said, clearly sharing her thoughts. The girls ran after him and into the house.
It was just as gorgeous inside as it was outside, when they entered the door Draco yelled, "Dobby!"
There was a crack and a small elf appeared in front of them, "please prepare the master bedroom and two others, also get Kreacher and tell him to help you clean this place up." Draco instructed.
"Yes young master sir," Dobby said earnestly, before disappearing with a crack. Draco turned and called, "Missy?"
Another elf appeared, this one unmistakably female, "You called young master? You are the new Black heir," she said.
"Yes I am, I would like you to clean the dining hall, set it for four people, and start on dinner. These are the preferences." Draco handed Missy their dinner lists. "If you need to buy anything, make a withdrawal, I've registered the elves that belong to me with my vaults."
"Yes young master." Missy bowed and vanished with another crack.
A moment later, Dobby re-appeared with another elf – Kreacher – and asked, "anything else young master?"
"Yes, after you're finished your first tasks the two of you please clean up the music room, and re-open the dragon stables, we're going to upgrade them tomorrow." Draco said. He turned to the girls, "Anything I missed?"
Claire was dazed, she still couldn't believe everything was happening this fast, "Uh, nothing's coming to mind,"
"Great. Hop to it, then, Kreacher take our luggage to outside the Master bedroom." Draco said. Both elves nodded and vanished again.
"Wow." Luna said, summing up everyone's feelings again.
Draco clapped and said, "Obviously there's other setting up that needs to be done but for now I say let's have dinner and figure out where we're sleeping. This way!"
Dinner was also a lavish affair. They entered a hallway that was clearly meant to house a lot of guests, but was currently just set for them with plenty of food. Ginny and Claire dug in like starving sharks; they hadn't been allowed to eat too much at their old homes so they were happy to have all they could need. After much arguing they finally conceded that Draco and Luna would share the Master bedroom (him being Head of House and all) while Ginny and Claire would get their own rooms. Claire was too psyched about having her own room, as opposed to a dingy cupboard under the stairs that she halted complaints after that.
So, free and full of food, Claire and her friends walked up to their respective bedrooms. Claire was once again starstruck; her room was huge with a king-sized bed, several bookshelves, an exotic rug, some beautiful paintings, a desk and a massive dresser with several shelves. The entire room was spotless, the house elves clearly took any instructions from their masters very seriously. Her suitcase seemed miniscule and almost pathetic in comparison.
Claire flopped down on her bed, once again amazed at the softness and grandness of it. She and her new friends literally had almost anything they could want at their fingertips. Claire wondered if she was dreaming, or if Vernon had once again starved her enough to make her hallucinate. But it was an awful long and realistic hallucination, if that was the case. She doubted it, they always ended before she could really escape. And she had always been rescued by her parents or by the mysterious black-haired person who she only knew as her godfather, not by three other runaways who were also magical.
Claire let out a sleepy sigh and let her thoughts scatter as she fell asleep, the beautiful evening light still shining through her window.
Albus Dumbledore was not having a good day.
A day ago the wards of Privet Drive alerted him thirty minutes late that Claire Lily Potter was no longer in the house. When he eventually reached the house neither of the Dursleys would tell him where she had gone; Vernon Dursley was too busy furiously ranting that someone was falsely charging him thousands of dollars and how dare they do this to him. Petunia finally said that the little girl must have run away.
Dumbledore spent the next day looking for her. But the girl had covered her tracks well; the underage magic trackers were silent and no one on the street or in the surrounding area could tell him where the girl might have gone. But even that didn't prepare him for what happened a day later.
Fifty-Two hours after the girl's disappearance all magic tracking of Claire Potter was terminated. Somehow, the girl had successfully left the country.
The whole Ministry was in an uproar; Cornelius had been futilely raising all kinds of panic and chaos ever since the revelation. Dumbledore's sole consolation was the fact that the Potter Vaults were still active meant that Claire was still alive, being the sole inheritor.
The goblins were also being immensely unhelpful; they adamantly refused to tell him anything that might have helped him find the lass. In fact, their investigation had dug up his seizure of money and land from Potter vaults and he was promptly evicted, he no longer had control over the votes the Potter vaults had held too.
Dumbledore had been calling in favor after favor for people to search for the girl who lived while the people were in uproar over the disappearance of their savior. And yet nothing was turning up. Severus, being even more sarcastic than usual, explained to him that not every child would simply tolerate being treated badly and that he should have seen this coming.
To make matters worse Minerva had been immensely unsympathetic, saying "well what were you expecting leaving her with those kinds of people! And re-directing anyone who tried to remove her from that house – Albus, you should be perfectly ashamed of how you've treated her. Leaving her with those muggles! The fat one was more worried about some inconsistencies with his bank than her disappearance. I'm not an idiot, I can tell just from that why little Claire ran away. You should be very, very sorry!"
Outside of Britain...Claire had left Britain. But she couldn't! She was his weapon against Voldemort. She was needed here.
But, Albus was forcefully reminded, Claire didn't know that. She didn't even know that she was a witch. She didn't know how important she was to the future of wizarding Britain.
But where could she have gone? The outside world was a big place, and the girl would be lying low. The goblins were refusing to help him and his tracking equipment had failed the moment she left the country.
Molly Weasley was also being a very unpleasant distraction. She had been ranting to Dumbledore almost nonstop for the past day, saying that her youngest child Ginny had run away and that he better find her, immediately! Dumbledore had to hit her with a silencing charm, he had more important things to worry about than the youngest Weasley going missing. Although it did leave him a potential clue.
At the ministry, although it was mostly submerged by the chaos of Claire's disappearance, Lucius had been ranting about his son Draco having vanished as well, along with him being cut off from the Black money. That left at least three wizarding children the same age who vanished around the same time.
That suggested that they might have left together.
Was this an elaborate plot for Lucius to get control over the girl-who-lived? But why have Draco leave the country? Why would he be disowned? Why not just have Claire renounce her muggle relatives and then snatch her? Why go through something so complicated instead of just killing the girl?
Albus sighed. The girl was more headaches than she was worth as far as he was concerned. She was supposed to be a meek little thing, not a rebel that would run away rather than tolerate the Dursley's treatment of her. He was supposed to swoop in and fill her with wonder and awe when he brought her to the wizarding world.
She wasn't supposed to disappear.
I always wondered when, exactly, Lucius started caring about Draco. He treated him like crap just because Hermione got higher grades than him! So, that's the first chapter. this might be utterly silly but I hope you liked it.
Read and Review please!