They had finally called the search off. Search for Potter. Dumbledore himself had found his old allies, whom had given an oath that the disappearance of Harry Potter would stay a secret.
If only the brat had known what Severus had been through.
Having been tortured with guilt the entire night, Severus had made his way early in the morning to make sure that the arrogant and spoilt child was not thinking about skipping breakfast in the favour of sleeping in. Or at least that was Severus's excuse.
However when he had entered, the room was empty. Even worse, everything that was made out of glass was broken, everything made out of wood was ashen and burnt.
And their fight the previous day did not help Severus settle the feeling of dread.
Dinner found all current occupants of Hogwarts in the Great Hall, eating in an uncomfortable silence. No matter how much the teachers tried, Harry evaded every single one of their questions.
It was on the second day of Harry's return when some got a clearer picture of what was going on.
On that rather ordinary day the doors of the Great Hall opened and entered a solid Rowena hands on her hips.
"Hadrian, I do hope that you don't forget that Godric is waiting for you at half past seven?"
Harry glanced at his watch and sighed.
"No I haven't."
Rowena smiled. "Good. Since we can't use the Great Hall anymore we will use the training area in your quarters."
Harry nodded. "Good. Don't forget to eat a good dinner. The two boys were planning to put you on a challenge."
She left leaving Harry give out a pitiful whimper.
"I swear I'm gonna hex those two," Harry muttered.
The door opened...again...and in came Salazar and Godric. Harry groaned. Everyone turned to look at Harry curiously.
"Harry-" But the rest of the words of Salazar were drowned by a shriek of surprise. Godric turned to look at Harry surprised. "Thanks Harry. I've been wishing to do that ever since I met him."
"That was not funny!" Salazar snarled.
"Excuse me, but who are you?" asked McGonagall.
"Salazar Slytherin and Godric Gryffindor! I hope we don't have to introduce young Harry here, do we?" said Salazar, picking himself up from the floor and sending Harry a hex that Harry deflected.
Salazar mock glared at Harry.
"Anyway we need to see Minerva McGonagall and Severus Snake...oh oops sorry I meant Snape-"
The rest of the words were drowned by a bang. Harry hit his head against the table.
"Aww...come on Harrikins. It's not so bad...is it?" asked Godric, grinning.
"Anyway, I should go before the stupidity of the people around myself affects me. Do not be late Potter," said Salazar. He vanished. Harry sighed. Godric stuck his tongue out at the spot where Salazar had been moments before, winked at Harry and disappeared as well.
"Well, we'd better get going or Rowena and Helga will have my head for being late," said Harry dully. They trio walked out of the Great Hall. It was obvious that the two Professors were confused, but Harry wasn't really planning on elaborating.
"Harry, you know them?" asked McGonagall.
"You try not knowing them when they steal you from your own time, try to kill you by teaching, close you in a room with monsters "in the favor of training"," said Harry, using his mocking voice at the last part.
The pair shot each other glances, but followed the teen to the 6th floor to a blank wall. Harry tapped a stone and the picture of Hogwarts appeared.
"I seek the entrance to my quarters," said Harry.
The painting opened and the three entered it.
"Where are we?" asked McGonagall.
"Welcome to my quarters," said Harry in a false-cheery voice.
They went past the living room into the corridor. Harry stood in front of two big oak doors and pulled out his wand.
"What are you doing?" asked Snape, raising his eyebrows. "Knowing Salazar, he will attack me as soon as I enter."
Sure enough when the doors opened they were met by a red light that Harry immediately deflected and sent his own curse at Salazar. The duel began.
Then Harry smiled wickedly and shouted "Hogwarts bind him!"
Ropes burst from the wall behind Salazar and wrapped him up.
"Perhaps you were right, Rowena," said Harry. "Your theory is indeed sometimes important."
The woman laughed as Salazar struggled against the ropes.
Salazar cleared his throat.
"Not bad, Potter," he said with an air of importance. Harry released him and stepped back. "But still needs improvement."
Harry sighed. He took off the black cloak with Hogwarts emblem on it and hang it on the wall.
Godric smiled at Harry as Helga rushed to hug him.
"Helga, it's only been two days!"
"Two days for you, young man!" she said. "An entire week for us!"
"Oh yes, terrible," Harry muttered, but inwardly he was glad that they missed him. No one ever had before.
"I must admit, Helga is indeed correct," said Salazar still acting like a royal prince. "You know well that you could have been dead by now."
"Sal, if you missed me you could have just said so," said Harry teasingly and ducked as Salazar aimed a slap at his head.
"I did not miss you!" he said in horror. "Well, maybe. But just because there's no one else on whom I could experiment my potions on."
Godric rolled his eyes and turned to the professors that had stood there, forgotten.
"We need to talk..."
"Now. Where do we start?" asked Salazar.
"From the beginning should be fine and remember; secrets have to stay secrets- so Godric keep your mouth shut," said Harry. Godric actually pouted.
"Yes, the beginning. Hang on where was the list? Ah yes!" Godric pulled out a very long piece of parchment which trailed on the floor. He cleared his throat.
"Harry James Potter, the Descendant of the Founders has received the Hogwarts Crest on the 21st of July."
"His training began on the 31st of July exactly ten days after the receiving of his Mark. The training ended 60 days later, successfully. His specialty shows in Parcelmagic, Mental- oh, excuse me- Elemental Magic, Runes and Potions (Here Harry gaped at Salazar, who ignored his stare). His has three known animagus forms of-"
Godric skipped a part and started reading again.
"H.J. Potter has shown incredible power, loyalty and respect and thereby he has finished the Advanced Magic course and is ready to go on the next stage."
"You told me those were the basics!"
"They were basics...just...advanced."
"The further education might bring unexpected traumas emotionally and physically. Therefore H.J. Potter is required in a Guide. Since H.J. Potter does not own any magical relatives and is currently underage, the Guideship will go to someone that H. is related to by magic; someone who is capable in helping Mr Potter with the education, willing to offer him support and make sure he passes the required tests, exams or experiments.
By the decision of the Founders, with the acceptance of Magic, we have chosen Severus Tobias Snape as the primary Guide for Harry James Potter, whose name is now changed and is now Hadrian James Phoenix Potter. Since his position is important, Magic herself has employed two Secondary Guides: Minerva Felenia McGonagall and Remus John Lupin."
"There's a lot more rubbish, but these are the basics," said Godric swishing his hand as the paper disappeared.
"So whaddaya think, Harrikins?" asked Godric.
"No," said Harry, completely pale. "Tell me it's a joke."
"I'm afraid it is not, Phoenix," Salazar said softly. "You need someone to be there for you, even if that person is someone you do not entirely like. I had a Guide as did Godric, Rowena and Helga. Training is not easy and in fact is entirely not possible to pass without a Guide."
"Did you have to do it?" he whispered, mostly to himself. He stood up and said coldly "I will be back for the training."
Then he left shutting the door with a bang that shook the entire room.
"Are you willing to become a Guide for Harry?" Rowena asked, raising her eyebrows at Snape.
"He doesn't wish for me to become his guardian," began Snape, but Salazar cut him off. "You will not become his Guardian. You will be his Guide. There is a difference. While a guardian is like a parent, a Guide is someone who helps in learning and guides him through the tasks."
"There is also Albus-too-many-names-won't- bother-to-learn-them-Dumbledore-"
"No! Not that old coot!"
"Then you accept?" asked Rowena raising her eyebrows.
"I won't accept until Harry does."
"Fine. We have a training in half an hour that will last for two hours. After the training we wish to hear your decision."
"And you're welcomed to watch," said Helena.
In half an hour Harry came in. He hang his cloak on the wall and greeted the Founders, ignoring Snape and McGonagall.
Godric pulled out his sword and so did Harry. The battle began. It felt good to let off some steam. And following Helga's instructions, he used his anger and hurt not to blind his senses, but to use it in his favor; his power. In ten minutes he had already disarmed Godric. Then the duel with Salazar began.
Snape and McGonagall watched in awe how Harry fought with one of the best wizards in the history. The entire fight was similar to a snake's tantrum. The silence ruined by the hisses in the Serpent language.
Suddenly Salazar crouched down and rolled something on the floor. Once it reached Harry, he realized that it was a Potions vial. Suddenly the vial began to smoke and produced thick fog that made Harry cough and splutter. Slowly it disappeared. Still in a coughing fit, Harry raised his wand and shot a hex somewhere where he knew Salazar was.
"Enough," said the man's voice somewhere. He felt an arm on his back, rubbing circles, and saw someone offering a glass of water.
Gratefully he took it and drank deeply. He felt the hand stop rubbing circles and come around his shoulder's instead.
He was slowly led towards the chairs, where Snape and McGonagall sat watching in horror.
Salazar sat him down on an empty chair and knelt before the child.
"You did well," said Salazar softly. The other Founders left them in peace, knowing that Salazar liked to talk to his student after their practice.
Harry shook his head.
"I should have done something, instead of simply standing and staring at the vial."
"Another experience gained," said Salazar.
"I doubt you will ever do the mistake again," he said more dryly. Harry snorted and shook his head.
"At least you tried to continue fighting. Godric merely crumpled to the ground, crying and whining that he was dying."
Harry chuckled, feeling better. He loved the way Salazar was different when they were away from others. In fact he was the closest to the man.
"Ok Harry. Now wand away," Godric called, seeing the two finished. Salazar squeezed his shoulder before standing up.
Harry did as told. He stood facing Snape and McGonagall while Salazar was with his back at them.
"Now, don't forget to relax your body and close your mind," said Helga.
"Open and close your channels of magic as you see fit," Rowena reminded him.
"Today will be trying with the killing curse as well," said Godric.
Salazar shot him a look and Harry saw Godric nod determinately.
"Ready?" asked Salazar, his voice soft.
Harry stood still, his eyes unfocused. Then he looked up at Salazar and glared at him. Nothing more nothing less. They stood there like that glaring at each other, before Salazar nodded.
There was a pause.
Harry fell backwards, Snape and McGonagall tried to run forward, but Helena, Godric and Rowena held them still.
"STOP!" Snape shouted, but his eyes fell on Harry. He wasn't twitching. He was getting up.
"CRUCIO!" Salazar shouted again. This time Harry toppled backwards a bit then stood still again, a proud smile on his face.
"Are you hurt?" asked Helga, worriedly.
"Well, if you'd fall down onto the floor, would you be hurt?" Harry joked, but regretted it as the witch began fussing over him. Godric grinned and patted Harry on the back.
"Now that's my boy!" he said proudly.
"Nope, still Sal's," said Harry, grinning.
"Bu—B—B—Bu—But," started Godric, looking like a lost puppy. Harry hugged him briefly, which made Godric sigh, but ruffle the boy's hair fondly.
Salazar merely gave him a smile.
Snape and McGonagall were staring at Harry worse than ever.
"What?" asked Harry.
"Now for the final duel!" shouted Godric.
Godric, Salazar and Harry bowed. Salazar and Godric would be against Harry. The duel began and lasted 35 minutes. By the time Rowena stopped the duel Harry was exhausted.
He nearly fell over. He walked over to his cloak pulled it off the hanger on the wall and growling walked towards his living room, the two professors following.
"That was not fair, Sal!" Harry whined on his way.
"Oh how so?" Salazar mocked him.
"Two against one," grumbled Harry. "'T's not fair!"
"Life's not fair, brat," said Salazar and once again full of the "royalty" he began talking to the other Founders.
Harry threw the cloak on another hanger in his living room and walked over to the wall where his sword stayed until Harry needed it.
Still ignoring his teachers Harry flopped down the couch and placed his head in his hands.
Then he waved his hand and a vial with a potion flew into his hand. It was a pain reliever.
"Are you in pain?"
Harry snorted. "I wouldn't need a pain reliever if I wasn't."
He sighed and drank the vial. He snapped his fingers and the vial vanished. Then he looked at his shoulder and the professors's eyes followed. McGonagall gasped again.
On his shoulder was a very deep cut. The shirt was a bit torn there.
Harry sighed again and pulled out his wand mumbled something carelessly and the wound healed easily making him gasp in pain. Then he mended his shirt and looked up at the professors.
"Come and sit down."
Snape took a seat next to Harry and McGonagall on his other side.
"Would you accept if I became your Guide?" asked Snape suddenly looking at Harry. Harry didn't respond immediately, but gazed into the fire.
"It...will be...fine," he said slowly. Then looked at his professor who winced inwardly at the emerald eyes. They had their right colour back.
"You, are a grown-up. You can do whatever you wish. It does not concern me. Godric, Salazar, Helena, Rowena, you...just do what feels right. I don't care anymore. I seriously don't."
He stood up and walked to the door. "There are three rooms in theses quarters. One for the primary guardian the other two for the two secondary'. When you finish speaking with the Founders, they will show them. Tell them that whatever they decide is agreeable with me."
With that he left for his room.
"Harry really did change a lot since we mentioned the Guides. Are you sure of what he said?" asked Rowena sighing.
"But you are agreeable to become his Guide?"
It was midnight. Harry, walked casually towards the living room. He opened the door and hissed in Parseltounge pointing his hand a the ceiling. "/Light/!" (A/N Words in / mean they are spoken in Parceltounge)
A ball of light flew from his hand and stopped at the ceiling lighting the entire room as thought it was day.
He collected his cloak and was taking down his sword when a voice asked "What are you doing?"
Harry took off the sword then turned sharply at the speaker.
"I have a job to do."
"And what may be that important to go sneaking out at night?"
"That, professor, is none of your concern."
"It is," said Snape, pulling out a piece of parchment. Harry glanced at it.
"So you became my primary Guide? Congratulations," said Harry pulling on his cloak and putting away his sword.
"That means it is my concern."
"As far as I know, you are to support me not play my parent," Harry said coolly. A house elf came wobbling into the room.
"Dobby has Master Harry's things, sir! Dobby hoping that Master Harry is more careful than other times, sir! Master Harry must look after him, sir! Dobby will have a nice hot-chocolate waiting for him! Master Harry must hurry back!"
Harry chuckled and said "Don't worry Dobby and thanks! I will be more careful than last time don't worry."
"What do you mean, more careful than last time?" asked Snape. Harry shrugged. "It's a rough job." With that he turned and left through the door. As soon as he got out he turned himself into a panther and sped off, quiet as a shadow.
The 1st September. Everyone was hurrying onto the train.
"Where do you reckon' he is?" asked Ron.
"I don't know," said Hermione, worriedly.
The train sped past the fields, as the two friends continued their seach. Their worry got worse when the feast began, but Harry was nowhere in sight.
"As you all know, Sirius Black has escaped Azkaban. Therefore the ministry has applied us with special protection. Dementors. Our school has our own protection. It will not be visible to those who forget to look, but it is very powerful indeed. Now off to beds! Go on! Off you trot!"
The two friends however made no move to go into their dormitories.
They walked over to the staff table instead.
"Professor McGonagall! Where is Harry? He wasn't on the train and he didn't attend the feast!"
McGonagall exchanged looks with Snape, who shook his head in warning. That didn't go unnoticed by Ron and Hermione.
"What happened to Harry?!" demanded Hermione. McGonagall patted Hermione's shoulder and said "I'm sure he's fine." Snape gave a curt nod to McGonagall.
Two of Harry's friends however returned to the Gryffindor Tower, although they didn't go to sleep. At two o'clock at night the portrait hole opened and in came a very exhausted Harry, with a man with black hair.
"Harry, you have to stay here. Not every night though, just every few nights."
"Why? I want to stay...where I always stay."
"Harry, you will have to stay here when I'm away and I can't look after the Tower. It's best if you stay awake, Phoenix."
"And I will be expecting a full report in the morning!"
"No I'm not kidding! Good Luck!" Then he vanished. "I hate you Rick!" Harry mumbled.
Then without even turning towards Ron and Hermione he tapped a brick on the wall and murmured "I swear by my heart and by my wand, to guide Hogwarts, and not be on my own!"
The wall shuddered and Hermione gasped causing Harry to pull out his sword and by instinct to bind the threat.
"Hermione!" Harry growled then released her. "Never do that again!" Then he put away the sword.
He turned to both of them and snarled "How much you heard?" his eyes glinting literally.
"Not much," said Ron. Harry nodded, turned around and pulled out a book a piece if parchment, ink and a quill.
Then he walked over to a table and laid them down as the wall closed.
"Master Harry called?"
"Dobby, I need a pain reliever and a calming drought."
Dobby disappeared and then returned with the two vials for Harry, who gulped them down.
Then he once again turned to Ron and Hermione. "You should go to bed!"
By the morning when Ron and Hermione went downstairs...Harry was nowhere to be seen.
"Where is he?"
Harry's trunk had been in the dormitory, but with only a few possessions in there. Ron felt a bit bad for snooping around, but at that moment all they cared for was finding that boy.
Harry wasn't at breakfast, he wasn't at the lessons or anywhere else. Harry was simply missing. A whole week passed and there was no sign of Harry anywhere. Or so they thought. Every evening before retiring himself Harry checked each house to see if everyone was safe and sound as required. On Saturday night he decided to go to a night routine in the library.
He stood up, summoned the Cloak and left his quarters.
A quiet whimpering sound made him stop. There on the sixth floor a small first year was crying. Harry crept nearer.
"Hello, youngster!" Harry said softly. The child gave a squeak and stood up trembling.
"H...H...Hello," said the boy shyly. "Are you a ghost?"
"I don't think that I am transparent. Do you?"
"Sorry. Who are you?"
Harry sighed and thought for a moment. "I'm Phoenix."
"Maximus. But my friends call me Max. Well used to..."
"What do you mean used to?" asked Harry.
"I don't have any friends."
Harry took the boy by his arm and said "Come, Max!"
He pulled Max to the entrance of his quarters and entered it, pulling Max behind him. They entered the cosy living room and Harry motioned for the younger one to sit on the couch. Then he left for two hot chocolates.
"Here. Now tell me everything from the beginning."
"My parents are Muggles. But my twin sister and I got here. My sister went to Slytherin and I went to Gryffindor. She was very nice to me, but now...she pranks me and she stopped talking to me!" Max burst into tears.
Harry sat down next to the boy and wrapped an arm around him.
"Your sister will come around. All you need now is confidence and time. Don't treat your sister coldly, but the opposite. If she sees light in you, she might get affected by it."
The boy nodded and asked "But why are you here not in your dormitory? I thought students are supposed to be in bed."
"Yes, they do. Unfortunately or maybe fortunately I am no longer a student of this school."
"But then who are you?"
Harry thought for a moment then smiling he turned to the boy. "I am a Hogwarts Guard."
The boy looked at Harry thunderstruck.
"Remember, as a Hogwarts Keeper of Secrets, I will tell you that help will always come for those in Hogwarts, who need it."
"What do you think Maximus Ploaten?"
The boy's mouth fell open. "How do you know my last name?"
Harry chuckled. "I am always there. You will not know it, but I am always there." Then he winked again and the boys mouth fell open again. "You are invisible sometimes?"
Harry nodded. "Now come on, youngster! You need sleep!"
That way Harry led the way to the boys dormitory, made sure he was asleep, then left.