"Now remember, Pot…Harry," Minerva said, softening her tone as the boy brushed the soot off his cloak. He was dressed in jeans and a red jumper that was at least three sizes too big for him. The seam that should have sat on his shoulders was almost at his elbow. If her suspicions were correct, that was a second hand jumper. This puzzled Minerva as the boy stayed with his Aunt and Uncle in Surrey who were well off, according to Hogwarts records. The poor boy had no confidence, and it was unsurprising, given what had happened to his parents, but that was not it. He seemed to accept minimal things unlike most boys his age. For example, he rarely spoke in her classes, unless asked a direct question. When asked to collect equipment from the front, he would always wait until last, and Minerva knew that the bigger boys, Draco Malfoy for instance, would walk all over him. Poor boy. At least he had friends big enough to protect him. While he was not particularly close to people like Neville Longbottom, Ron Weasley, Seamus Finnigan, he was friends with them and they hung around together, though it was clearly Longbottom and Weasley who held rank in the group.
Harry stood upright, having finished brushing the cloak he wore over the top of his clothes. They stood in the main entrance to St Mungo's. To their right was the shop window, through which they could see Muggles passing by, covered in plastic coats and cowering under umbrellas as the rain thundered down around them. To their left was the reception desk behind which an unconcerned witch was 'helping' ? not that Minerva would call it helping ? the people in the queue.
"It's this way," said Harry meekly, pointing to the doors in the back wall, to the left of the reception desk. "The letter said to go straight through."
The letter he referred to had arrived at during breakfast several hours earlier. It was the tenth of December, on
Lily and James Potter had been here since 1980, since the night when He?Who?Must?Not?Be?Named had fallen. While Minerva had been off with Tom delivering the chosen on
Harry's head and shoulders slumped as he walked, staring at the floor in front of him. There was no pride in his movements. He seemed more sombre that ever. He had said three words since he had arrived in her office, ready to leave, and his voice had cracked on them. He was not a particularly bright or able boy, but he was kind with good intent. Minerva pitied him, but secretly wished he would get a grip, and concentrate. She had hoped that Longbottom would show him some guidance, but it seemed he had fallen into their wake, rather than walking proud, by their side.
Minerva followed, a pace behind him. She wasn't entirely sure what to say ? what had happened to his parents was so horrific that there was nothing that could be said. 'It'll be alright', or 'things will get better' wouldn't work as their condition was irreversible. In short, the boy had nothing to hope for. They walked along the corridor, passed Healers dressed in green, and other inmates.
Up several flights of stairs and down another corridor, Harry led them into the Long Term Ward. He paused outside to take a deep breath, before pushing open the double doors and walking in. Minerva followed. The room was large and white with a line of beds down each side, some of them hidden by curtains. There were people in most of the beds, some asleep or vegetative - Minerva couldn't tell, and others were sitting up talking. Harry made for the curtained off area at the end on the right. He slipped through the curtains into the last two beds. Minerva followed, pushing the curtains aside and drawing them again behind her. She turned and saw for the first time what had happened to the Potters.
Lily was lying unconscious on the bed a large white patch on her forehead. She looked deathly pale and thin. Her on
"Dad?" said Harry, his voice soft and lined with tears.
"Mr Potter, nice to see you again," Minerva turned with Harry to see a Healer enter the curtains, dressed in green. He shook Harry's hand warmly and then turned to Minerva.
"My name is Healer Rushdale," he said, shaking Minerva's hand. "I've been looking after the Potters for the past two years. Rest assured, they are getting the best care." Minerva nodded politely.
"Still hopeless, isn't it," muttered Harry. The doctor didn't reply for a second, and when he did, it was on a different subject. He guided Harry over to his mother's bed and began to explain yesterday's events.
"I'll wait outside, Harry," said Minerva, giving his shoulder a gently squeeze for support. She let herself out of the curtain and crossed to the main door, and stepped out into the corridor. She sighed deeply, having finally seen Lily and James. They had been in the on
It was horrific what had been done to the Potters. Good thing that the three culprits had gone to rot in Azkaban. Of course, two had escaped this year. That wasn't justice.
"Excuse me, Miss," said a man to Minerva's right. Minerva stopped to face him. He wore long back robes, with a cloak and hood that covered his face. Long rough tassels of black hair escaped the hood. In the light she could see his face, his dark eyes, hooked nose, and steely gaze. "Where might I find the Long Term Ward?"
"It's just down there, the last door on the left," she said to the man, pointing down the corridor.
"Thanks," he said, bowing slightly.
Minerva nodded before resuming her dark thoughts.
Poor Harry: she had utterly failed him as Head of House. It was her job to see to the care of her pupils, and she had massively misinterpreted the signs, keeping all her senses honed on another Gryffindor, whom she'd thought mattered more. How dare she? They were all people and all of them mattered, yet she had neglected Harry. She reached the café after about on
"Anything else?" asked the witch.
Feeling generous, or more specifically, guilty, Minerva added a slice of Black Forest Gateau for Harry and paid the witch. Turning around she headed back to the ward, carrying two paper cups of tea in her right hand and a plate of gateau in her left. It was the least she could do for the poor boy. She hadn't gone far when the doors to the ward opened, and the man in the black hood came out, heading swiftly down the passage towards her.
That was a quick visit, noted Minerva. The man walked swiftly towards her, causing Minerva to sidestep as he passed without even acknowledging her. As she moved she nearly lost her grip on the plate she carried. How rude. He hadn't even said 'excuse me'. Merlin, manners cost so little. She had also spilt a little of the tea on her robes, which she would have to clean on
She was on
A jet of fire blasted both the double doors off their hinges and into the far wall, unleashing a fireball into the passage. The floors and walls shook under the force of the explosion. Minerva was launched off her feet by the force of the explosion, the cups and cake flying through the air. She landed hard on her back, and slid along the polished floor. The glowing crystal lights above her shattered, plunging the corridor into darkness. The passage was suddenly full of smoke. The orange glow of flames came from inside the ward, and a river of black smoke ran along the ceiling.
Sweet Merlin! Harry was in there! Covering her mouth with her sleeve to protect her lungs, Minerva surged forward towards the ward. As she peered in, she saw everything was covered in flames. The air was thick with smoke, making it hard to see. She cast the Bubble?Head charm on herself to help her breathing and then lit her wand light and held it up.
"HARRY!" she shouted into the flames. "HARRY! Where are you?"
Looking around she could see no way through the blaze. The heat was incredible - it hurt her to even stand in the doorway. Oh Merlin! There was movement in the fire. Minerva watched in horror as a burning figure staggered through the flames, flapping its arms in a futile effort to put them out. The man never made it to Minerva, crashing to the floor just in front of her.
"Aquamenti!" A jet of water shot out of her wand and Minerva doused the still, fallen body with water, putting out the flames. Was this Harry? Was this person dead? Using her foot, and fearing what she would find, Minerva rolled it over. She found herself staring into the lifeless hazel eyes of James Potter. His skin was burned black and his hair had completely gone. The whites of his eyes stared unseeingly up at Minerva, while his clothes, now fused into his skin, wrapped him like a mummy, and smoked in the darkness.
"AHH!" the heat on her skin was unbearable. The whole room was on fire and she could feel her blood boiling. Harry? Where was Harry? Minerva covered her mouth in an effort not to be sick as the fumes from the body, the smell of burned flesh, wafted up her nostrils causing her to gag.
"YOU! HANDS UP!" shouted a voice behind her.
Minerva turned to see a man in black with Security written over his chest aiming a wand at her.
"Don't try and arrest me, you stupid little man," seethed Minerva, unable to control her anger. Even her icy precision and control failed at this moment. "Get some Aurors and Healers up here and put out these bloody fires!" The wizard hesitated for a few seconds before darting out the door. Minerva, shone her light around the room again, but there was no sign of movement.
"HARRY!" she shouted into the gloom. There was no reply.
All of the Potters were dead.
~~~~ + ~~~~
"You mustn't blame yourself, Minerva," said Tom softly from behind his desk. He always seemed to be able to read her like a book, not that her feelings were well disguised at this point.
"But Tom, he can't be. I was there, I saw…"
"You did Minerva," said Tom, rubbing his eyes. "I know Harry Potter is dead, and I accept that. However, ninety minutes ago there was a knock on the door and Horace announced that a student wished to see me. The next thing I know Harry Potter steps into the office as close to me as you are now."
"But it couldn't be him," said Minerva. "We know he's dead."
"Exactly what I thought," said Tom, He opened on
"It's a map," she gasped.
"Something I confiscated from a young James Potter back in his day," said Tom, with a smile. "A magnificent piece of magic, on
"As you can see," said Tom. "It shows where everyone is and as far as I can tell, it is never wrong. It isn't fooled by Polyjuice Potion or disguises. As soon as he walked through the door, I checked the map, which happened to be open in the drawer, as I had been keeping an eye on certain students. The boy who stood before me was Harry Potter. I have checked the fingerprints on the cup he used when I offered him tea. I returned his wand to him, and the wand knew it was him. Minerva, that is Harry Potter."
"But how is he alive?" Minerva herself had accompanied Tom to identify the body. Harry Potter had died; she had seen it all. St Mungo's Long Term Ward had been burned to a crisp, all three Potters inside. Whoever this boy was, he was not Harry. "He's not an Inferius is he?"
Tom shot her a look that clearly said, "Please, I'm not that stupid".
"Okay, okay," said Minerva, blushing slightly - it was a stupid comment. "So how did he survive?"
"I could not get that far," said Tom, clearly troubled by something. Luckily Minerva didn't have to prompt him to find out what it was. "Minerva, I am going to be perfectly honest with you. I am more worried than relieved by Harry's arrival here tonight."
"Worried, why?" asked Minerva. "Surely we should be glad he was okay."
"You see the roll of fabric on the side behind you?" said Tom, watching her carefully and pointing to a long bundle of black cloth about a metre high propped up against the cabinet behind her. "Have a look at what's inside." Minerva picked it up and found it was heavier than she had anticipated. He pulled it up on
"Tom, what are…?" she began.
"Harry had those when he arrived," said Tom. What the Hell was Harry Potter off all people doing with these weapons? What was he doing walking around? "I'm sure you recognise the silver on
"It was brought back from the Chamber of Secrets," said Minerva. "It's Gryffindor's Sword."
"Indeed," said Tom, pointing to a glass cabinet on the wall. "And the on
"It's a fake then?" suggested Minerva, lifting the on
"If it is," said Tom, "Which I doubt, it's the best copy I've ever seen, and I would be very curious to know how it was copied when the sword was buried with its owner until it was pulled from the Sorting Hat, and has not left the office since. How anyone had the opportunity to study it well enough to copy is beyond me."
"How can that be?" asked Minerva.
"I cannot say," said Tom. "Every theory has a glaring contradiction. All I can tell you is what I have seen so far. He came to me armed. He was in hysterics; he was irrational. He started shouting about Albus Dumbledore, who's been dead for fifty years. He accused me of being the Dark Lord and then bolted out of the door. He returned half an hour later, calmer, but clearly distressed."
"Is he insane?" asked Minerva.
"I have no idea," said Tom. "It would explain a lot, but I saw calculation and logic in his eyes. He was thinking rationally. I have sent him to bed to get some rest. But I will tell you on
"Do you think he's a danger to other students?" asked Minerva, thinking that Tom was mad for putting a potential time bomb in the Tower with the Gryffindors. How would she extract him without setting him off?
"Students?" echoed Tom. "I wouldn't have thought so. His anger seemed directed at me, no on
"What do you plan to do?" asked Minerva.
"For now, nothing," said Tom, to her surprise. "But I want you to keep an eye on the boy, Minerva. He is in your house. I want him monitored around the clock, but not touched or segregated. There's something about this boy that worries me."
"It will be done," said Minerva, rising to leave.
~~~~ + ~~~~
News travels fast in schools and Hogwarts was no different. Having lived here, or at least in on
Then, a second later, reality hit home. He remembered coming back to Hogwarts the previous night, and all he had learned. Harry sat bolt upright in the bed as the images flowed back into his mind. Tom Riddle was Headmaster here, but for some inexplicable reason, he was not the evil son of a bitch that Harry knew. But he was the same person. This had to be a trick of some sort - Tom Riddle was a monster, plain and simple.
He had to get out of here. Harry couldn't deal with all this. Sliding out of his bed, he was relieved to see that the others still had their curtains drawn, except for on
Flipping open the trunk, he pulled out a pair of navy tracksuit bottoms and trainers and pulled them on, along with a white t?shirt. They were huge and baggy over his chest, and Harry had a feeling that they had on
Harry pulled a handkerchief out of the trunk and with a little magic, transfigured into a black strip of fabric, which he then tied around his head, like a Thai Kick boxer, completely covering his scar. There was no point in advertising who or what he was. He slipped his false glasses back on
There had been between eighteen and twenty Gryffindors in the common room last night, so if that was about average, then that meant there were eighty students and if he included staff, just under on
After he reached the Entrance Hall, Harry stepped out into the courtyard. The sun was just rising above the mountains. The air was crisp and cold, but the sky was clear. The morning sun was just enough to light up the valley. Harry didn't really know what he was doing, or where he was going, but he set off at a slow jog across the courtyard. He had never really been running before, but he needed to get away from the castle, to tide things over in his head. He was out of his depth here, and this time he didn't have Flamel or Dumbledore to turn to. Dumbledore was allegedly dead; probably murdered in his sleep by Riddle, and Flamel was God knows where. He was on his own here, as there was no way he could turn to Riddle for help.
Harry reached the outer walls of the courtyard and passed through the gates out into the valley where he broke into a run. The path stretched upward along the side of a mountain, skirting the peak by about on
He could not go back to the Unholy Land as, for some reason, the key did not fit the Node. Why was that? The device looked identical and there was nothing in the hole. Was he expected to chip away at it to make it bigger? No, that would break it and then he really would be screwed. He wasn't stupid enough to start hitting a powerful magical object with a hammer and chisel - that was a recipe for disaster. He had to find out why it was not working, but of course there were no user?manuals for something like that. He had Flamel's translation of the book in which he had found the Node, lodged in his trunk in the Tower. But if Flamel couldn't answer the question, there was little chance Harry could alone. Maybe he would ask Hermione to go over the Arithmancy of it, if Hermione was even alive here, he noted. How had things gone wrong in the first place? Dumbledore and Flamel, two of the brightest minds in history, could not both be wrong. They had even had Vector check it. How on Earth had they cocked?up?
But there was no use in worrying about that now. He was here and he couldn't go back. On
So he would fight to get back. Now how could he do that? When he got back he would read through Flamel's notes (after a shower). If there was nothing to be gained from them, what then? How could be get home?
Come on, Harry, he thought to himself as he continued along the path. The cold air was stinging his lungs, and his muscles protested, unused to the effort of jogging. Some people found this therapeutic. Ha! Not likely! His legs ached, he was out of breath and his heart was pounding.
He had gone about a mile, and he was out of breath. He hadn't noticed, but as his thought became more determined, his pace had increased, until he was full out running. Coming to a halt, Harry put his hand on his hips and took a deep breath, forcing air into his lungs.
Below him was the canopy of the forest, which stretched for maybe fifty or sixty metres before opening up into the lake. A tree next to the path had fallen recently and the canopy had caught it, holding it in place. The log was about a metre thick and stretched out over the canopy like a bridge. Harry stepped up on
Swinging his legs beneath the tree, Harry sat still, trying to catch his breath.
Come on, Harry, he thought to himself. Let's think about this logically. The last time you were in this situation you came to the conclusion that it was all on
But then there was the co
Right, so that's it then, thought Harry. Number on
Harry got to his feet on the log a cheeky grin on his face. He had done it. He was smart enough.
It was simple: he had two jobs to do and then he could go home, and he had worked it out all by himself. It shouldn't take too long. On
Harry jumped back on
He could imagine Dumbledore's face as Harry reappeared at Hogwarts. That was what should have happened last night, but it had all gone wrong and now he would have to wait even longer. Fate had a shite sense of humour. Divine Comedy, Harry scoffed, when was he going to get a break?
Harry stopped at the gates, and tried to catch his breath. He wiped his forehead on his t?shirt and tried to catch his breath. His muscles ached after a relatively short workout, but he felt oddly relieved, and much happier than he had been when he had set off. Breathing heavily, Harry slipped back into the courtyard and headed across towards the main doors. He stared at the ground, his mind wandering back home to what his friends might be doing as his feet carried him automatically forwards.
He got to the bottom of five steps that led up to the door. As he stepped on
"You can train for ever?and?a?day," said Malfoy, his tone condescending. "But you're still nothing but a useless lardbucket."
"Yeah, well not all of us get liposuction and manicures for our birthday" said Harry, wiping his brow on his forearm. Malfoy's eyes grew wide for a second, before he regained composure. Harry was surprised to see his reaction. What was he so shocked about?
"What did you say?" hissed Malfoy, his eyebrows narrowing. He took a step forward down the steps towards Harry, his chest puffed out threateningly.
"Look, Malfoy," said Harry, his tone bored. "I'm sweaty, I'm stinking, and I just want to go for a shower. I am really not in the mood for this, right now. Please ask Tweedle?dum and Tweedle?dee to get out of my way." Harry sidestepped Malfoy and walked up towards the door, which was blocked by Crabbe and Goyle. "Today would be nice," he added.
"What's with you today," sneered Malfoy. "Did you grow some balls since you left?"
"What?" asked Harry. What was confusing Malfoy? Harry was completely lost. What was Malfoy on about?
"So where have you been for the last few weeks?" asked Malfoy. "Not that you were missed. Rumour has it you died, though you're so stupid, you probably couldn't even die properly."
"BACK OFF, MALFOY!" called a voice. That voice was oddly familiar. A girl's voice, echoed out from the Entrance Hall. Harry turned around to see the new arrivals. Neville Longbottom, at least Harry was fairly sure it was him though he looked so different, stood on the right, but it was the girl in the middle that caused Harry to pause. It was Katie Bell, though not the Katie he knew.
"What the…" was all Harry could say. The Katie of this world was somewhat different from the Katie of his world and the other on
In the middle of her forehead was a thin lightening?bolt shaped scar.
"Well, look who it is," sneered Malfoy. "The Slut?Who?Lived."
My choice: I feel I should take this opportunity to explain my choice. The idea of this fic changed a fair few times. Parts on
Firstly, I thought that Harry would arrive and it had been Neville who had been chosen. I would have done the whole 'Brothers in Arms' thing. There were several problems with this - the concept is overdone and more to the point, Harry gets nothing out of it. The whole fic is a string of training exercises Harry puts together for Neville, like a cross between Rocky and GI Jane. This also creates Neville as a photocopy of Harry. Neville becomes a carbon copy in a few weeks. Harry cheated and got his abilities from his other self in an instant. Neville couldn't realistically go from nobody to sword master in a few weeks, and the point of practice is that you repeat until you are proficient. Repeating things is a cardinal sin of authors. It makes for a boring fic and is a nightmare to write. Harry, the character gets nothing. He spends time there fighting and training Neville, getting no help for himself. His character becomes the 1-D teacher, and being the star this cannot happen.
I therefore stumbled across the idea of the Boy Who Lived being the Girl Who Lived. I must confess when on the group you guys started discussing Harry himself becoming a girl I couldn't help but laugh and cringe at the same time. While I am fairly flattered that you believe I could carry off such a ….unique concept and make it interesting, I am also a little disturbed that you could believe I would do something so weird. This isn't Ridikkulus, or a comedy fic. If I did that, it would be a list of sad joke about bras, boobs, shoes, walking in high heals, and pms. Every female in the group would be screaming at me. No thanks. I could not write such a fic.
The temptations for such a fic were to move it into a fluffy romance. I am hesitant to do this as it would be such a change from part on
Having decided it was to be a female scar-barer, I was then stuck for a candidate. I briefly toyed with the idea of an OC (original character). This gets you into trouble as everyone screams Mary-Sue, even if you do give the character flaws. I made Rose grumpy and stubborn, not to mention a bit 'act before she thinks', but still got the accusation. She was a bit of an MS, so to speak, but in part two, my OC would have been a lead role and so I would have received so many flames I could have had a barbeque. I therefore knew I had to select a character we are familiar with.
Ideally, I would have chosen someone in their fifth year. This would have panned out perfectly, and the dates would line up - you will see what I mean. Unfortunately, in Ginny's year, there were no suitable candidates. Ginny was out because it would remove her from the fic, and the Dark Lord would have had to murder her entire family, removing Ron, Arthur, Molly and the rest. It was too much to remove such a large institution as the Weasleys. I very nearly used Hermy, as there is an ambiguity with her birthday if you check the HP-Lexicon (.org). I chose not to do this as I need her to fulfil another role as mentioned in this chapter - remember, the best laid plans always go wrong. There aren't any other suitable fifth years in Gryffindor. I very nearly used Luna - however, in the given situation, not having lived with her eccentric father, being neglected by whoever took her in she would not be loony, but rather more aggressive and normal. It would destroy her character, and I would be crucified for it. Instead I left her so I can use the comic relief earlier.
Having ruled out fifth years, I tried Harry's own year. Lavender? Nope - too shallow and annoying. Parvati? Nope, would rule out Padma - creates complications and leaves Lavender friendless.
I then went back to Harry Potter and the Emerald Sceptre (seems like an eternity ago). She is on
I hope this justifies my choice, and that you enjoy Harry's adventures in the Promised Land.