Chapter 1 – The Boy-Who-Lived
On the night of the first of November of 1981 most of the Wizarding World of Britain was celebrating. They were celebrating the fall of the most powerful Dark Lord of the last 500 years. They celebrated cheering the Savior of the Wizarding World. But not once during their celebrating did they think about the price a young baby had to pay so they could have peace.
Not once did they think about the little orphan who was being left on the doorstep of a family who didn't want him. Not once did they think that that little boy had lost all his family that night.
It was on that night that Albus Dumbledore left the little orphan on the doorstep of his aunt's home. Albus Dumbledore, who was considered by many as the greatest wizard since the Founders of Hogwarts, was confident that he had made the right choice. They were after all the boy's family, it was best if he grew up away from all the fame that he was certain to receive, like that when he finally went to Hogwarts it would be easier to guide him in the right direction, because the boy would not have been subjected to the bigotry of the wizarding world. In all his wisdom he saw no problem with his plan, in his opinion there was no way it could go wrong.
It would take ten years for Albus Dumbledore to start to understand how wrong his plan would go, and a few more after that for him to really see just how wrong he was when it came to dealing with the young Harry Potter.
Albus Dumbledore and Severus Snape were in front of a house that had seen better days. It had a old and worn out look, and it emitted a cold and desolated air.
Albus Dumbledore verified the address again, and confirmed that they really were in the right place. The House wasn't a simple house, it was a orphanage, a boy's only orphanage and Albus Dumbledore and Severus Snape were there to see young Harry Potter.
Just like all years the Deputy-Headmistress of Hogwarts School of Witchcraft and Wizardry would send of the letters of acceptance to all the children that were registered and several professors would visit the students that were new to the wizarding world personally. But this year there was something different, this year was the year that Harry Potter would come back to the Wizarding World.
Dumbledore spent several hours pondering on how to deal with the situation. If it were best to send a letter or a professor. And if he did send a professor which one would be appropriate? After several different options he concluded that it would be best if he went there himself. If he went himself he could even talk to the young boy and see what kind of child he was. Having made his choice he waited till Harry's birthday and apparated to Privet Drive.
What was supposed to be a nice afternoon talking with Harry Potter and his family was everything but.
The Dursleys lost no time telling the Headmaster that they had left the freak, it was what they called the child, in the nearest police station and they informed the Headmaster that they wanted nothing to do with freaks and then proceeded to close the door on the Headmaster's face.
It took five seconds for Albus Dumbledore, the greatest wizard alive, to understand what the Dursleys had told him. When he finally understood he did the only thing he could think of; find Severus Snape, Hogwarts's Potion Master, to help him localize the young Potter. He may be the greatest wizard of his time, but even he admitted that talking to police officers and trying too find his way in the muggle world wasn't his cup of tea.
Finally, after a couple of hours, with a little magical help, they were able to locate the young Harry Potter in the orphanage for boys St. Benedict.
And that led them to be siting in a small, stuffed and moldy office talking to the matron of the orphanage.
"You are here to take young Harry to a school for the gifted? Was that what you said?" asked Mrs. Brown.
Dumbledore smiled his usual grand-fatherly smile and had a twinkle in his eyes when he answered. "That's right. He's been registered since birth, since his parents went there as well. Mrs. Brown, if you don't mind, could you tell me how long Harry's been here at the orphanage?"
"Approximately ten years, I think. A police officer brought him, if I'm not mistaken on the fifth of November of 81. he was such a beautiful baby, so calm, we never heard him cry. We never understood why nobody wanted a baby like that... But then..."
Mrs. Brown didn't continue, she seemed to be lost in old memories and Dumbledore started to have a bad felling. He could remember a talk that he had a little over 50 years ago that had started in a similar way. Even Snape started to pay more attention to the conversation.
"Was there something wrong with the baby?" asked Dumbledore calmly.
"It wasn't really wrong... I would say strange to be the right word... Even when he was a baby, those eyes, they seemed to see the darkest secrets in our souls. It was unsettling."
Dumbledore 'hummed' and took another sip from his tea. "And what else could you tell us about young Harry?"
Now Mrs. Brown appeared uncomfortable and the bad felling Dumbledore was having grew.
"Ah... Well... Harry is an excellent student. He has the highest grades in school, he even jumped a couple of years. Most of his professors say that Harry could probably be considered a prodigy."
Albus visibly relaxed, maybe she was uncomfortable because she didn't want them to think that she was exaggerating. There probably was no reason for him to have a bad felling, and Albus had almost convinced himself that that was the case, until Severus ask a question that destroyed any conviction that Albus may have had.
Mrs. Brown became even more uncomfortable, but she managed to smile and say. "Ah... Harry never was very social... and you know how children are... sometimes they can be really cruel..."
Snape had to contain the growl that wanted to escape his throat, he hated bully's, and the brat appeared to be following his fathers footsteps. "He's a bully? Is that it?" he ended up asking.
"Oh, no, on the contrary. The other children were often cruel to him. You know how it is, we are a small orphanage, with little funds, the children do everything they can to be adopted. And suddenly Harry shows up. A truly beautiful child, an angelic beauty many say, and on top of that he's a extraordinary student, brilliant in everything he does. Naturally the older boys started to resent him. They beat him, they would tore his clothes up, they even locked him up in the basement we couldn't find him for a couple of days..."
"And nobody did anything?" asked Dumbledore incredulous.
"Do what? We didn't have any evidence, we couldn't accuse any of the boys. And Harry was completely alone, none of the boys said anything to help him." the matron defended herself, slowly her eyes unfocused and the professors could see something like fear on her expression, "But things changed," she whispered, it seemed she was talking more to herself than to her two companions, "oh, how they changed..."
"What changed Mrs. Brown?" asked Albus gently. The bad felling he had previously was back and, although he tried, he couldn't ignore the similarities between this one and the other. But he could still convince himself that they were only coincidences.
Snape may have been to young to have been there, but he knew what his mentor was thinking, Albus had told him stories about the brilliant pupil that went trough Hogwarts fifty years back, and if he could see the similarities based on what Albus had told him, then he was sure that Albus could see it even better.
"You are going to take him, right?" asked the matron in a voice a little above a whisper.
"Harry has been registered since he was born, nothing that you tell us will stop us from taking him. We just want to know a little more about him." replied Dumbledore trying to tranquilize her.
Mrs. Brown nodded a told them everything she knew or everything she suspected. "When he turned seven things changed. We never had any evidence of anything. For all intent and purpose he continued to be a perfect student, a prodigy that charmed his professors. But as time went by the children started to fear him. It started with Ben, there was no evidence, but his arm didn't break itself now, did it? And Ben was 14 years old, little Harry was only seven.
A few months after that we went to visit a farm, so the children could see the animals, a little garden snake vent into the bus, Harry liked it and he decided to keep it. We saw nothing wrong with that, it was small, it was almost always in Harry's pocket, it didn't hurt anyone. But Steve, an older orphan, a friend of Ben's, on the night before Christmas, went into Harry's room and stole the animal, killed it, put it inside a box, wrapped it and he put the 'gift' on Harry's bed. The morning after all the boys mocked him. They told him that he was such a freak that even the snake committed suicide so that it didn't have to be near him. Trough all that Harry didn't even shed a tear.
One week after that happened Steve was hospitalized, he was in a deep coma. Nobody knows what happened, he went to bed the night before and the following morning he simply wouldn't wake up. He was two weeks in a coma. And when he did wake up he had to be institutionalized, the doctors still don't know what happened. But I remember Harry's smile.
The following year we found two boys locked in the basement, I don't know what happened, but they started to be afraid of their own shadows, they were never the same again. And they did everything they could so as not to be in the same space as Harry. It lasted for, six or seven months, I think, after that, one of the boys, Colin, killed himself. He hanged himself in his room.
There is absolutely no evidence, and even if I accuse him of something who would believe me?
Most people when they see him only see his angelic face, he charms everyone.
He's a true fallen angel."
When Mrs. Brown finished they were able to see it clearly, her expression was one of pure fear, however mixed in with that fear there was another emotion, they could almost call it awe, and that made both men shiver. The both of them had seen similar expressions, but much more intense on the faces of Death Eaters.
Snape wasn't able to contain the shiver that went down his spine when he remembered his former master. Albus made an effort to smile and asked if it were possible to speak with Harry. Only long years living as a spy stoped Snape from showing what he was felling, but the idea of seeing Potter didn't please him one bit, if it were up to him they would leave the brat there and never set foot in there again but it wasn't, and deep down he knew that they had no other choice, but there was something about Potter that unsettled him.
When Mrs. Brown showed them Harry's room, they were surprised when she simply pointed at the door and then went away, it was obvious that she didn't want to be near Harry.
As soon as they entered the room and saw Harry, both Dumbledore and Snape had to make an effort to hide their shock. Normally, when they thought about Harry Potter, both of them imagined a clone of James but with Lily's eyes, they were prepared for little changes but nothing could have prepared them for what they saw, and both immediately understood what Mrs. Brown meant by fallen angel.
Sitting on the window seat, with his back against the wall, his left leg stretched in front of him and his right leg bent against his chest, with his right arm against his knee and a book in his left hand, his head inclined a little to the side and hair as dark as night framing his aristocratic face, that was almost completely from the Black's, you could tell he was a Potter, but some characteristics were pure Black, obviously inherited from his paternal grand-mother who was a Black, he also had traces from the Malfoy's and the Rosier's whom had married Potter's along the line, Dumbledore recalled that his great-grand-mother had been the only girl from the Rosier's. Apparently Harry inherited traces from several lines, giving origin to a beauty without precedent.
Snape saw that too, but he didn't forget Lily Potter that was considered the most beautiful girl in Hogwarts in her time. And when the sun shined on Harry's hair he didn't miss the blood red sheen it had. But what surprised him the most were his eyes, they may have been the same shape as Lily's but the color was nothing like it. Neither of them could stop the shiver that went down their spine when they looked at eyes the color of death, eyes the exact same color as the 'Avada Kedavra'.
The first to pull himself together was Dumbledore and he quickly put a smile on his face, neither of the professors missed the subtle alterations on Harry's face, he seemed more innocent, more child like. They remembered immediately what Mrs. Brown had said, '...and even if I accuse him of something who would believe me?... he charms everyone...'. Crushing the bad felling he was having Dumbledore greeted him.
"Harry, it is a pleasure to see you again. My name is Albus Dumbledore and my companion is Professor Severus Snape."
"Good afternoon, pleasure to meet you." Harry replied, he had an almost musical voice, and a small smile on his face. Snape was sure that if he hadn't had that conversation with the orphanage's matron he would have believed that the smile wasn't fake.
"Well Harry, Professor Snape and I came to invite you to a school for special children."
The change was instantaneous, any and all innocence that was on his face disappeared and in it's place was a cold and calculating look, something that Snape didn't think was possible on a child.
"What type of school?" he inquired without any emotion in his voice.
"Ah, well, the school of which I am Headmaster of is named Hogwarts, it's a school of magic."
Albus was preparing himself to give Harry a great explanation on how Harry was a wizard and some spells to demonstrated that he was telling the truth, when he heard a little chuckle coming from Harry. Believing that young Harry thought he was being lied to he was going to explain that it was, in fact, the truth when he saw something in Harry's eyes; recognition and relief? But before he could better analyze the expression it was gone and Harry uttered.
"So what I can do is magic... I knew, I knew I was different from them."
The word 'them' was spoken with so much disdain and disgust that both professors almost gaped. Dumbledore thought immediately of Tom Riddle, but there was a difference, when little Tom Riddle said something similar it was spoken with hate, Harry on the other hand was disdain and disgust, as if he didn't even consider them human or worthy of his attention, truthfully Albus didn't know what he considered worst.
"Is that so, and what can you do?" asked Albus in a calm and jovial tone, hiding all the anxiety and nervousness he felt.
For a second or two Snape was certain that Potter's eyes were analyzing their souls, judging them, seeing if they were trustworthy or not. Snape was certain it was some kind of test and when Potter got a little twinkle in his eyes, a warm smile on his face, and looked, for all those watching, like an excited child, Snape was certain they had paste the 'test'. But that certainty was short lived.
"Oh, strange things happen when I'm sad or angry," Harry told them, in a tone of voice so filled with innocence that it was difficult to not believe that it was true, "a professor screamed at me and suddenly his hair was blue. Sometimes when I'm angry things start to shake, things like that." finished Harry with a happy smile.
And for just a few moments both men believed the innocent image that Harry was projecting, for a few moments they thought that everything that Mrs. Brown had said was just a coincidence, for a few moments they saw nothing more than an innocent child. But that was all that it was, a moment were they saw what Harry wanted them to see.
However none of them forgot what Mrs. Brown had told them, so the image that Harry was projecting although it was persuasive, none of the professors was deluded by it. Both were brought back from their thoughts when Harry spoke again.
"Professor how can I go to that school? Do I have to do some sort of test so that I can gain a scholarship? Or something like that?"
Harry's question remembered both professors that Harry knew nothing about his own history. For a fraction of a second Dumbledore pondered not telling him, but as quickly as the impulse appeared it disappeared. The boy had the right to know, and the fact that he was the Boy-Who-Lived was impossible to hide. Sighing the professor answered.
"You don't need a scholarship, your parents left you everything they had."
"My parents?" Harry inquired in a flat tone with an expressionless face, "you knew my parents?"
Dumbledore breathed in deeply and conjured tree chairs for them to sit, he didn't miss Harry's interest when he saw his wand, nor the confusion, but when Dumbledore motioned the chair for him to sit, he did so, without saying a word. Dumbledore and Snape sat in the other two and shared a brief look then Dumbledore started.
"Some years ago, before you were born, our world was at war. A wizard rose to power and started the war. Your parents participated and became targets rather quickly. Your mother got pregnant, and your parents decided to go into hiding so that you could be safe. But, unfortunately, he ended up finding you. Voldemort, the name of the Dark Lord, killed your parents and tried to kill you, but the curse he used turned against him, and he lost his powers and disappeared. Lily, James and you are know as heroes that ended the war and brought peace to the Wizarding World."
Harry didn't say anything for a few moments, he seemed to be lost in his own thoughts. Albus and Severus didn't know for sure how to proceed, they were expecting a more emotional response, it wasn't every day that you learned that your parents were killed.
"That war ended? And what were the objectives from both sides?" Harry ended up asking expressionless.
Both professors took a little time to answer, they were not expecting those questions. They were expecting questions about his parents, not about the war.
"The war ended, yes," answered Albus, "about the objectives, it is a complex subject, it is something children of your age shouldn't worry themselves whit."
Severus was sure that was the wrong answer as soon as Albus finished answering. Potter, who had maintained a friendly and lightly interested expression on his face became closed of and cold and every emotion vanished from his expression. Severus felt a stab of apprehension seeing the child's behavior.
"I see," whispered Harry in a cold tone that caused Severus to shiver, that tone of voice was remarkably similar to the one the Dark Lord used when one of his followers had displeased him, and it was normally followed by a Crucio, "could you then inform me how I can access what my parents left me? What I need for school, where I can buy it and all that information?"
In that instant Severus knew they had lost Potter, but if he was being honest with himself he didn't think they ever had him. Potter was nothing like they had thought he would be and fr the first time of many times Severus wished that Potter would be just like his father, James Potter.
"Of course, of course," Albus replied without the usual twinkle in his eyes, "here is the letter with all the needed information. The list with everything you need to buy, the train ticket, where and how to catch the train and the day and hour it leaves. Professor Snape can accompany you to Diagon Alley where you can buy all your things for school."
Harry took his letter, opened it and inspected the contents.
"It won't be necessary for the professor to go with me. He certainly has better things to do, I don't want to impose. Besides, I'm used to doing things by myself."
"Are you sure?" asked Albus in a smooth tone, they couldn't force him to take someone with him, but neither of the professors felt at ease with letting him go alone.
"Yes." was the only response Harry gave them, and so containing a sigh Dumbledore gave him his Gringotts key, explained to him how to get to Diagon Alley and how to find the entrance to the Leaky Cauldron.
Harry thanked them and with short goodbyes both professors left young Harry's room. They said a quick goodbye to Mrs. Brown and lost no time in leaving that place. None of them noticed the eyes the color of death that followed them from the window on the third floor, both focused on their thoughts about Harry James Potter, the Boy-Who-Lived, the Savior of the Wizarding World.