Disclaimer: I do not own Harry Potter. I do own the Staff Draconis and a few other things to be mentioned later. Otherwise, it all belongs to J. K. Rowling.
Author Note: Well, well, well, won't this be fun! I must say, this is probably the most ambitious project I've done so far, but still, it should be an enjoyable experience for me, I only hope it will be as enjoyable for you. As you have probably guessed, this is the story of Harry's fifth year at Hogwarts. I'm going to do my best to spare no detail in making this the best damn story I can. That means it's going to be long. Oh well, no rest for the wicked!
Harry Potter and the Staff Draconis
1. Dudley's Guest
Harry's eyes snapped open in surprise. He sat up in his bed and threw his disheveled sheets aside. After a moment of groping around on his nightstand, he located his glasses and pulled them on. The room pulled into focus and Harry blinked a few times, trying to sort out what he had just felt.
His hand drifted up to brush his scar, but it was not hurting at all. But if his scar was not hurting him, why had he awoken so suddenly? The loud snores of his uncle Vernon and his cousin Dudley drifted through the house. Harry glanced out the window but he saw that Privet Drive appeared as it always did at, Harry glanced at the clock, three o'clock in the morning.
Harry groaned and flopped back onto his bed. Once again, his birthday had caught him unawares. He looked across the room and finally noticed what had awoken him. Hedwig had returned. She sat on top of her cage and hooted softly at Harry and proffered her leg to which a scroll of parchment had been tied. Harry shook his head and rolled out onto to the cold wooden floor. The street lamps cast odd shadows across his room as he shuffled toward the waiting owl.
Hedwig nipped his finger lightly as he untied the parchment. Harry shuffled back to his bed and flicked on the light switch. The parchment looked dirty and scratched, and Harry could see ink blotches through the back. Shrugging, Harry unrolled the letter and sat down to read it.
Time is short and it is difficult to acquire parchment in my present circumstances. Therefor, I shall be brief. Since our first meeting we have had our differences and I certainly bear you no more liking than I have in the past. This in mind, I am warning you on behalf of Albus Dumbledore to be especially on guard this year at Hogwarts. The Death-Eaters are moving quickly and gaining power faster than expected. The ministry is still glossing things over and so far, no measures have been taken to check them. Hogwarts is no longer safe Potter, and let us hope that your penchant for crossing lines does not land you in a most regrettable position.
Harry's eyes widened in disbelief, Snape? What was Snape doing sending him a warning? Why in the world would his least favorite teacher be sending him a warning? Harry let the parchment fall to the floor and massaged his temple. His fingers brushed his scar and he wondered, not for the first time, what it would be like to live an ordinary life.
For, you see, Harry's life could not have been less ordinary. Harry was a wizard. Where a normal fifteen-year-old would have a life filled with school, cars, and perhaps, girls, Harry's was filled with spells, Quidditch (the most popular sport in the magical world, played on broomsticks) and perhaps, girls. But Harry was not even ordinary for a wizard. When he was only a year old, his parents were killed by the most feared Dark Wizard in recent memory, Lord Voldemort. But when Voldemort had turned his wand on Harry, his spell was reflected by the protection of his mother's love.
Harry had been whisked away to live with his Muggle (non-magical) relatives who had then determined to squash all of his "abnormality" by treating him horribly. It hadn't worked, and now, Harry was only a little over a month away from his fifth year at Hogwarts school of Witchcraft and Wizardry.
Harry felt his stomach settle uneasily. But Voldemort was back now. His minions were on the march and secretly gaining power. Several teachers from Harry's school, Snape the potions master and Hagrid the Grounds-keeper, had been sent by Headmaster Dumbledore for parts unknown at the end of the last year. And now, Harry glanced down at the dirty scrap of parchment, Snape was trying to warn him. It occurred to Harry to wonder why Dumbledore had not sent the warning himself and why he couldn't have been more explicate in what exactly the danger was.
Harry was just setting his mind to send Sirius, his godfather, a letter asking him what was going on when it suddenly occurred to him that he had no idea where Sirius was. While Harry was sure that Hedwig would have no trouble locating Sirius, (she had done just fine the previous year when he was in hiding and on the run from the Ministry of Magic) but Sirius might be in a very tight situation, one where receiving letters from Harry Potter might prove dangerous indeed.
Harry rubbed his face and took off his glasses. All these vague and troubling signs would have to wait till morning when he was awake enough to deal with them. He flicked off his light and collapsed back onto his pillow. Sleep drifted over him almost immediately and very soon, he was contentedly asleep.
* * *
"GET UP BOY! YOU'RE WANTED IN THE KITCHEN!" The hoarse bellowing of Uncle Vernon's voice shattered the peaceful world of sleep which Harry had been inhabiting. He pulled on his glasses and a rumpled pair of jeans as he groggily swung his feet onto the floor. He noticed a bit of parchment sticking to his foot as he stood. Looking down he could just discern the signature; Servus Snape. Harry sat down with a huff. So it wasn't a dream. But even now, in the bright light of the morning it still made no-
"DON'T MAKE ME COME UP THERE BOY!" From the sound of his voice, Uncle Vernon must have turned an extremely unhealthy shade of purple by now.
"I'm coming!" Harry yelled as he pulled the nearest shirt over his head. He stumbled down the stairs and skidded to a halt in the kitchen where his Aunt Petunia gave him an extremely distasteful look before shoving the spatula she had been clutching in her bony hands into his grasp and muttering "Don't ruin the eggs." Then she spun around, pasting a sickly sweet smile onto her horse-like face and screeching, "Duddy-dums! It's breakfast time!"
The house rumbled as Harry's cousin thudded down the stairs. Dudley's attempted diet the previous year had fallen grievously to the way-side and now Smeltings, the boarding school he attended, was forced to have his uniform custom made. Dudley entered the kitchen and grunted in reply to his good-mornings from Uncle Vernon (There's my Son!) and Aunt Petunia (Diddy-Dumplings!) while surveying the table to see at which point he would have access to the most food in the least amount of effort. He finally opted to sit in the chair nearest to him and leer unhappily at Harry who was still busy with the eggs. Uncle Vernon noticed and turned to bellow at Harry, "Get on with those eggs you rotten lay-about!"
Harry gritted his teeth and tipped the eggs from the frying pan onto one of Aunt Petunia's ugly blue plates. He strode over and plopped the eggs down in the middle of the table where, no sooner had they brushed the tablecloth than Dudley had grabbed the plat and shoveled nearly three quarters of its contents onto his own plate. Uncle Vernon bristled at Harry, "Took you ruddy well long enough!" Then he snapped up his paper and disappeared from view.
Breakfast was mercifully silent (save the slobbering sound of Dudley shoveling food into his rapidly masticating mouth) after that point. Harry ate the small amount of eggs and burnt bit of toast he had been given in silence and contemplated the odds of the Dursleys even realizing it was his birthday. He was just preparing to slip quietly from the table and back to his room when the doorbell rang.
Petunia's head snapped up with another sickly sweet smile. "Dudins! Your friend is here!"
Dudley seemed rather non-committal on the subject and proceeded to shovel the remains of his meal into his mouth before looking up at his mother. Then he shifted his gargantuan weight onto his feet and tromped into the hall. Harry slipped onto his feet and followed at a discreet distance. If it was Dudley's friend Pierre, Harry knew he could look forward to a day of being beaten for fun. The door opened and Harry's jaw dropped.
It was not Pierre.
It was Cedric Diggory.
A.N.: Yay! Cliffhanger! So anyway, I love reviews, and I will love you if you review! I've noticed reading around that not many people are accepting that the Dark Lord is back in their renditions of year five. I hope to avoid such oversights and this draft has been written accordingly. We've entered dark times my friends…
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