Blueowl's What-If Challenge
Message from Blueowl: I've had this tiny plot bunny for a while now but know I will never be able to finish it due to real life and other writing projects. Thus, I have decided to give what I have with a challenge because I'd like to see what comes of this 'what-if' - What if Dumbledore really had been too late at the end of Harry's first year?
Here are the must-have-details of the challenge:
1. Dumbledore is moments too late to save Harry at the end of first year and Harry dies—he does manage to force Voldemort away and save the stone though.
2. Harry comes back to life sometime later and now has a seer ability that relies on touch, allowing him to see a snap-shot of the past or future
-Think 'The Dead Zone' by Stephen King
-He can receive a vision by touching anyone or anything with no warning
3. Harry was dead for at least one day, causing the blood wards to fall so he must live somewhere else from now on
4. No bashing – We've all enjoyed them from time to time, but for this challenge I want the focus to be on the 'what-if' and not 'let's bash [insert character] so hard Rowling will feel it'. Thanks (Minor bashing.)
5. No pairings – I've found, more often than not, romance negatively distracts from the plot and ruins characters. And again, I want the focus to be on the 'what-if'. If you can't restrain yourself, please at least save it for the epilogue :P (This is where I will deviate. This will have romance, but it will be a side-feature, not the main aspect of this story.)
Optional details of the challenge:
Harry wakes after arrangements have begun for his funeral, so isn't in Hogwarts when he 'comes to'.
Now, I've had a review where someone pointed out that Dumbledore's arrival didn't mean Harry's safety at the end of First Year. In this case, it's different. Realizing that Harry's magic couldn't always power the Love Ward as it would drain his magical core (the reason he fainted in the books), Voldermort decided to do it the old fashioned way and strangled Harry. Yes, the contact killed Quirrel. Normally, Harry being strangled or his magical core being drained would be fine. But combined together, his body (don't forget, he is only 11/12) couldn't take it and he died.
To add to this, the Killing curse doesn't kill a person. Well yes, it does. But it takes away all magic from a person, and a person with no magic, dies. It works on muggles by targeting what would have been their magical core, but what really was their 'life core'. A wizard's 'life core' is their magic; if a wizard has a large core, they live longer. If it's extinguished, they die. Harry's core was completely drained (passively, the Love Ward uses a drop of magic, actively it has to use more to protect him), and as if he'd been hit by a Killing curse, he died.
Hope that clears it up.
The first 2 chapters are based off the chapters Owl put online, but will be changed from there. Goblins shall be involved. Manipulative!Dumbledore (not OTT though), my OTP (guess who!) will pop up at the end. Omakes will handle the relationship side of things if need be.
Whelp, let's get started!
Dumbledore was running, possibly running faster than he ever had in his entire life.
He dashed past the defeated troll, already having gone through the previous protections from the other teachers, before entering the room with Severus' test. He quickly downed the proper potion to allow him passage through the flames before charging forward again, a terrible feeling that something horrible was about to happen gripping his entire being…
He heard yelling and screaming even before he had fully exited the fire, and his heart fell even more as he saw what was before him. Quirrell, Voldemort, and Harry.
"KILL HIM! KILL HIM!"
"AAAAARGH! Master, it burns!"
Dumbledore cast as quickly as he could, his wand already having been out, easily breaking all of his previous records of speed casting as fear rose within him, but not fear of Voldemort.
Voldemort rose out of the form of Quirrell as Dumbledore's spells made contact. Dumbledore didn't pause as he continued forward, mercilessly casting several more golden spells at the dark form while his free hand threw Quirrell off Harry, wrenching him away from Harry's grasp and quickly pulling Harry towards himself as he briefly saw Voldemort's eyes glow a furious red before immediately fleeing.
Dumbledore looked down to Harry, finding his barely open bright green eyes gazing up at him for what felt like an eternity before they finally closed.
"Harry! Harry!" Dumbledore shouted, Harry limp in his arms.
He cast several energizing and healing charms and spells, desperately hoping that at least one would help in some way. Having cast everything he could think of, he refused to give up and used the muggles' method of resuscitation — CPR. But it was no use, and he knew it. Despite that though, he continued as several people dashed into the chamber and stopped.
The majority of his staff.
They were at the top of the stairs and were staring at the scene below. Dumbledore sat up and became still.
The mirror remained in the middle of the room, yards of rope resting on the floor between them and the mirror. Harry was completely motionless, laying partly on Dumbledore's lap and in his arms — the old man's wand now equally still — the red stone just brushing against Harry's unmoving hand.
It was in this moment that time seemed to stop for Dumbledore . . . a moment that numbed all of his senses as he was suddenly hit with an overwhelming realization.
He was too late.
Fudge couldn't believe it.
When he had been alerted to there being something that demanded his immediate attention, he was stunned to learn it concerned the Boy-Who-Lived, but his surprise quickly caved to appalled shock.
He was dead.
Murdered by none other than the Dark Lord himself!
Disembodied, yes, but with Dumbledore and his staff's memories having been shown to himself and the others of the Wizengamot in the emergency meeting, there was no denying it.
The Dark Lord, who they had believed to have been defeated and permanently destroyed by the Boy-Who-Lived, was not dead. He was still alive, for lack of a better word, and still able to do harm, and he had come dangerously close to regaining full power, and the only reason why he hadn't was because of Harry Potter….
A boy who had given his life in preventing that horrible event, given his life in carrying out one last heroic deed to protect the Wizarding World and everything they held dear.
Harry Potter had been gone for a few hours now, and the lad's body was currently in an empty room in St. Mungo's morgue, waiting for the Ministry to decide what to do — the news of his death not yet having spread.
Fudge hung his head in sorrow, defeat, shock, terror, and a dozen other feelings that were in danger of completely overwhelming him.
Dumbledore was clearly in shock and saturated in despair, having been the last to see Harry alive, but unable to save him.
Fudge shuddered, too overwhelmed to cry or shout in fury or anguish.
Why? he wondered, before getting up and making his way to the morgue, knowing the others were waiting for him there.
There were things they had to do now, including plan for a funeral that would take place later that week — one that would possibly be one of the largest that had taken place in over five hundred years….
They would pay their respects to the selfless hero who had given more than any of them could ever expect, fully thank, or comprehend.
Fudge entered the waiting area beyond the room Harry Potter had been placed, finding Dumbledore, McGonagall, Mr. Weasley, Madam Bones, Madam Longbottom, and several other prominent figures in the Wizarding World, including the Flamels, Malfoys, and Diggorys. His eyes also caught sight of three obvious muggles: a large walrus of a man beside a skinny woman with a chunky boy between them. Realization came to him quickly. These three were Potter's only living relatives: his uncle, aunt, and cousin.
He went forward, finding the beefy man mutely trying to console his sobbing wife, the boy slightly before them muttering, 'can't believe he's actually gone' under his breath, clearly stunned.
Dumbledore stiffened, barely able to hide his lost and pained expression as he turned to Fudge, his eyes still revealing deep sadness and regret.
Merlin, help me, Fudge thought, before they sat around the table to discuss what to do now.
Harry found himself resting on something rather hard and cold, but not painfully so. It was as if this 'bed' was merely a slab of metal with a few sheets over it, but what was truly bothersome and rather uncomfortable was one sheet in particular.
The sheet that was draped completely over him.
Harry opened his eyes, able to see that the sheet over him was white and that there was some light above him.
He blinked, taking in a slow deep breath, deciding panic was not the way to go as he idly wondered why anyone would have placed a sheet over him. Was there something scary on the other side of the sheet or something? He was also glad the sheet wasn't too thick, or it would have been difficult to breathe.
Unsure about what he should do, he just laid there, trying to process what must have happened as he also tried to determine where he was.
Thinking back, he quickly remembered the stone, Quirrell and Voldemort, but that did nothing to help answer where he was now or why.
Closing his eyes, he tried to remember what had happened after someone had pulled him away from Quirrell.
Had Voldemort gotten the stone? Had he been kidnapped? Who had shouted his name? And where had he been before waking to this place? He knew he had been somewhere, talking to at least one person, though for the life of him, he couldn't remember who he had talked to or what they had talked about. Heck, he didn't even know if it was one person or several people.
Coming to the fact he couldn't find out anything if he stayed under the sheet, he slowly pulled it off himself and sat up, feeling stiff and rather sore for some reason as he looked around the empty room.
The walls were plain, as were the ceiling and floor, save for a few counters, shelves, office drawers, and a vast amount of large metal drawers on the far wall, stacked and aligned.
What the — ? he thought.
He hopped off what he was on, his bare feet softly landing on the floor. He looked down at himself, quickly realizing he had been stripped of his clothes.
Grateful no one was around, he looked about, hoping his clothes, or at least his wand, would be close by. Looking back to the 'bed' he had been on, the top sheet now in a sort of mound on the floor, he decided the sheets were better than nothing and wrapped himself with them before searching through the office drawers for something else that might help him.
"Yes!" he whispered, never so happy to find clothing, even if they were thin, hospital-like pants.
He quickly got them on, rolling the bottom part up, since it was clear these were meant for an adult, not a child. He then pulled the thin rope within the waist band of the pants as tight as it would go, and tied it. He then draped one sheet across his shoulders, letting the other sheets form a pile on the floor once more. Wouldn't do to catch a cold from being shirtless. He tied two ends together, so they would sort of stay on his shoulders like a cape.
After managing to get himself moderately covered, he sank to the floor and leaned up against the table to rest for a moment. He had decided against calling what he had been laying on a bed anymore. It was too flat and hard, despite the attempts of whoever had placed him on it to make it otherwise with the layers of sheets.
With his legs stretched out before him, he placed his left hand on the floor to keep himself steady as his head suddenly swam with fuzzy and confusing images he couldn't decipher.
Sounds of weeping. Distorted, overlapping images of covered bodies being piled along unkempt walls, damaged by something more ravaging than time — War. Overhead lights flickered, flashes of spells being cast as a distant thunder of something he could only identify as wrath shook the walls around him. The smell of death rose in the air.
He managed to keep down what little was in his stomach as his vision shifted oddly in and out once more.
What's wrong with me? What was that? he asked, taking several deep breaths as he was unable to stop himself from trembling. He closed his eyes, trying to shake away the images that had passed through his mind in less than a second.
He didn't even know what half of what he had seen was, but he never wanted to see anything like that again.
Taking another deep breath, he opened his eyes as he was suddenly able to make out voices echoing through the air vents.
"The boy deserves a monument."
"He deserves to be, first and foremost, beside his parents, Cornelius; he definitely deserves that," an older voice said.
It almost sounded like Dumbledore's, but it was too sad and old to be his, Harry thought.
"We can decide those things later, we have more pressing matters right now," a female voice said.
"We all know that, Madam, but this decision will need to be made sooner or later," a smooth voice said.
Turning away from the vents, he looked around the room again, finding the only door, which was securely shut, a small narrow window down its side. Standing up, he managed to collect enough courage to peer though it.
He quickly stumbled back, his eyes growing wide.
There was a huge black man with an earring guarding the door! And he did not look happy.
Harry was too shaken to bother attempt to identify the expression, only certain it was not pleased and that he was there guarding the door.
Probably to prevent me from escaping… Harry reasoned, suddenly growing angry. Quirrell and Voldemort must have found a way to kidnap me, got help or something. They probably thought I was too weak so figured I'd be sleeping for a while. Well, I'm not going to wait around for them to learn I'm awake!
Harry immediately began looking around for an escape route, his eyes quickly settling on the nearest vent that was about three feet wide.
That'll work, Harry thought, before deciding he needed to find a weapon as well.
He began quietly digging through the drawers. He had no idea where he was, why he was there, or who had taken him, and he certainly didn't know if he was safe, but judging by the man at the door, it was a fair guess those who had him weren't friendly.
He continued searching and found several odd items and things that he had no idea what purposes they served, but soon came upon a scalpel.
Harry recognized this tool from a show on TV, and knew it was used by doctors.
His eyes fell back to the other odd gadgets within the now open drawers, his heart now thundering in horror as his mind was rocked by cold possibilities. His eyes widened.
Who the heck are these people!? I've gotta get out of here!
Harry dashed to the nearby vent after quietly shutting all the drawers, so they wouldn't suspect he was armed. He then managed to pry the grill from the wall enough to squeeze into the vents and to freedom. Once within the ventilation system, he tried pulling the grill back against the wall, so it wouldn't be obvious how he had escaped. He managed this well enough.
Satisfied, he turned and slowly began crawling, his hand still tightly holding the scalpel.
Dumbledore, McGonagall, the Flamels, and Fudge made their way to where Harry's body had been placed.
"Kingsley," Fudge said softly to him in greeting as the approached the door.
"Minister," Kingsley said with a short nod.
With that, he stepped aside, his eyes sad.
Dumbledore opened the door, but suddenly stopped.
McGonagall gasped, horrified.
The Flamels were equally shocked.
"Whe-where is he?" Fudge managed, before turning to Kingsley whose eyes were practically the size of basketballs.
Dumbledore whipped out his wand.
"Point me, Harry Potter."
And Dumbledore could only stare at the Elder Wand, the most powerful wand in existence, as it spun crazily on his palm, unable to point him to the missing adolescent's body.
I blame NaNoWriMo...Review?