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Rated: 13+ · Novel · Action/Adventure · #715723
Snape/Harry slash.AU:WELCOME TO A DIFFERENT HOGWARTS
Title: Part One: Little Orphan Potter
Author: Calliope--Themuse02@yahoo.com
Webjournal: NONE
Fandom: Harry Potter
Rating: MA15+ (may change later on in fic)
On Going (WIP)/One-off/Series:Heirs of Power series
Classification(s): Lemon/AU/Song-fic epic
Warnings: Yaoi/Angst/Violence/Chan (Y.A.V.C.)
Pairing(s):Harry/Severus(Once agin ;))
Author's Notes: Well, I'm surprised no one's tackled this theme for a fic. I'm going for the "Little Orphan Potter" theme. Maybe cus it's been done so much in other series. Any way, this story draws on the original harry potter series just sets it in a different world. Ah well, the characters belong to Madame Rowling, I just screws with 'em. You don like chan or yaoi, you kin just leave :p!!!! ENJOI!!!!
Another Note: Also, because I'm no good at remebering dates (except for my beloved Sevvie-kins), I'm putting this in the modern setting, as in meaning, the dates of Sanctum are a lot like ours ( I didn't feel like being too original).
Summary: In the AU world of Sanctum, where wizards and witches are common place, though despised, a group of five orphans must band together to push back the darkness of an evil lord (okay, okay, so I suck at summaries. The story's really good anyway. :) I swear)


Special thanks to my betas Tasty, War_Goddess and secret_daybreaker. If there are any spelling errors blame them. I'm kidding! Thanks for the ideas ;p!
******


PROLOGUE--
Eve of the Fallen


A brief roll of thunder shook the atmosphere as a strom approached from the far off peaks of the mountainhomes of the Dwarves. Clouds churned, frothy in the upper reaches of the atmosphere, the vault of the sky at ill ease. As if, by some strange, earthly premonition, the elements themselves knew what evil was to come of this night. What death, horrible death. A wind shuddered the trees, swishing about their leaves in a sea of green as cloaked figures moved like shadows beneath the creaking branches. The leader of the party of twelve slithered, almost, his eyes glowing the inhuman red of a warlock, leading his pack to a small house--a cottage, really-- the hulking figure of stone against the darkness of the sky.

~You know when you lose somebody
Somebody that's close to you
Somebody that's probably not even that close to you
You might have just knew him~

Morpheus watched the slow, creeping procession of his peers underneath the cowl of his hood, a war going on inside of his heart, inside of his soul. Could he walk any farther? Should he? Should he continue to follow the mad schemes of his demented lord, even this far? There was no reason to be in this place, in this small out of the way town of Godric's Hollow. There were so many other towns to visit, all over Sanctum, so many other upstarts to deal with. Why this one? Dear Lord, why this one?

He continued forward, lagging behind a close companion of his, a child of nobility, just as he. His scar, one of a deathly skull, burned dully in the skin of his left arm. He gritted his teeth, gripped his wand and continued forward.

~It's hard to put into words you know
It's hard to say what you feel
It's hard to say what you feel...
I guess all wounds heal over time
You know...but uh
All I can do now is reminisce~

All Morpheus could hope for was a swift death. A swift death to the Potters, the wizarding family, at this moment who were probably enjoying a peaceful eveing with that baby boy of their's. Dear Lord, his heart lurched at the thought. Soon their peace would be destroyed.

It was strange, because Morpheus had never liked James Potter. Never. Not in school, not outside of it. Maybe even somewhere, in some sick part of his brain, he was going to enjoy seeing the other man dead. But Lily...and the baby boy....Why kill them? His lord never told them why.....Only to kill and not fail. Death to those too cowardly.

~Look at my homeboy lying there dead in the street
His eyes wide open and it's fucking with me
I can't believe this shit really seems unreal
My streetwise ass dog ended up being killed~

The door to the cottage came open with the roar of quaking thunder, blasted off it's hinges by an evil spall of fire and cold, cruel spirit. The dark lord was the first to emerge into the house. Morpheus followed, the others close behind. James Potter leapt up from his couch with a start, but it was too late the dark Lord struck: Aveda Kadevra(sp?). Potter went down, screaming in pain.

"Lily! LILY!!" he shouted in agony, struggling against death. Morpheus watched; did he dare hope James would survive? His mouth parted, the stench of charred flesh filling the air. "LILY!!!"

A streak of red and out came his wife. Dear Lord, no. And the baby. She came with the baby, held fastly in her arms. Morpheus wanted to throw off his hood, reveal himself to all, and let the Potters know who he was. Tell them the plot against their lives. Help them to flee, and yet die as traitor and a hero.

~We used to laugh but now this shit ain't funny at all
Thinking about when when my dog first started to ball
Telling me I was blessed use my gift
But it was hard to stay away from that gangsta shit~

"LILY! RUN GET HARRY-" Another blasted of the hated spell, and James was down, mewling on the floor, but not willing to give up. He reached out a feeble hand. "Accio wand!"

The wooden wand flew through the air and landed in it's master's hand. Lily stood frozen in a fascinated horror, watching as her husband fought and died with another Aveda Kadevra from Morpheus' companions. The dark Lord advanced on Lily. Her eyes widened in horror and she ran, to the back of the house, to a baby room, shutting herself in. The dark Lord slithered forward, Morpheus followed like a dog, his heart wretching in his chest. The door was blown open, and Lily Potter stood. Her power crackled and fizzed about her body in an aura. His lips moved slowly and precisely.

~Imagine that so many kids are living this
One day my son will lose someone and reminisce
I hope it's me when I'm a hundred and three~

"Give me the boy, woman." The dark Lord's hiss sounded like a lazy drawl, his red eyes glowing nastily, his gnarled hands gripping his wand tightly. But strangely Lily did not react. Indeed, she acted as if she did not see the dark Lord at all. She was concentrated on her work, her magick, a very ancient magick she shouldn't have known. But...did.

Morpheus could feel the power of the spell, the might of it weighted down upon him, choking him. He wanted to cry out loud, gag, and hide from its purity, its life. This was heart magick, magick so pure it could only come from a mother's heart. Lily looked like a warrior princess from the Nations of Fury, a magick witch-queen.

The dark Lord let out a hiss and charged.

~Your homeboy getting killed that's some bad shit to see
I hope you agree and make it better for the young ones
'Cause these momma's can't take no more dead sons~

Lily whirled in a brilliance of light and cast her spell on her son. Even as the boy began to wail, even as the other Death Eaters lifted their wands and struck the mighty princess down. She uttered her last words in a cry of pain, the dark Lord casting the Adeva Kadevra upon the screaming child. Morpheus shuddered as he watched, rooted in his place like a statue.

~But baby somebody told me
(Only the strong will survive)
If I die press play to bring me back to life
(Only the strong will survive)
Hey yo if I die press play to bring me back to life~

Then something strange happened. As Lily fell, destroyed, and the dark Lord's green light fell onto the boy, to take his soul, a light more brilliant than the sun of pure, gilded gold came from the child, showering all there. Morpheus threw back his hood and looked on in awe. The light followed the green of Lord Voldemort's into the dark Lord's body, then erupted in a fine spray. Voldemort screamed in agony, it was the sweetest sound to Morpheus' ears. Then the light was drawn back into the baby's body.

There was a piercinging wail, a shout, and Voldemort, and the light, was gone. Panicking, the other Death Eaters ran for their lives.

Severus Snape, codenamed Morpheus, stayed behind and watched as the baby curled up into a small ball of lost innocence, stolen, as every tear ran down a rosy cheek. He went over to the boy, frowning, grimacing, holding back the sudden wellflow of emotions. He caressed the boy's full head of moppy, black hair, then pulled out his wand and summoned a parchment. Scribbling quickly, he sent it a way in a puff of smoke. Then like his companions, he fled into the night.

Dumbledore would recieve that within a moment's notice, but what with the other Death Eaters' attacks all over the continent of Sanctum, it would take him 24 hrs to get there (see twenty four hrs absence explained:)). And though he did not like it, Snape would have to leave the boy there.
****

CHAPTER ONE--The New Girl
Added on: 2003/04/16


Journal,
I've got a lot to report now that there's some kind of peace here. There usually isn't what with the other kids running around and hollering as if the Madhatter's on their tails. But tonight, tonight there's a calm in the air and I feel almost as if something...I don't know, magical's about to happen. Maybe I'm wrong. After all, say the "M" word in front of uncle Vernon and that's a week spent locked up in the cellar.
Anyway, there's a new pet at the orphanage. Yeah, and she's a beauty. Her name's Hedwig, and she's a snow owl. There was a snow storm blown over from Western March Ridge, and Ron thinks that she might've gotten caught in it. Her wing's broken, but she's doing better. And speaking of pets, Trevor (Neville's toad), he's gotten lost nearly fifteen times this week! Last place we found him was in the old chimneys on the third floor of the castle. Ron's rat, Scabbers, is fairing no better. We've had to hide him twleve times so the little ones won't dump him with yellow paint.
More news, I suppose. The snow storm's also blown in some newcomers. The orphanage is getting bigger each day! Northerton is sending in kids because their orphanage was wrecked by the storm. I heard there are about fifty in all.
Any way, I should probably stop writing now. The Dursleys are calling us down for scraps. And I do mean scraps because there's hardly anything left when Dudley finishes. It makes me wonder, why in hell would the Dursleys want to run an ophanage like Hogwarts if they think we other kids are all a bunch of little "pig dropping's" that'll hurt their poor Dudders.
Dudley's as big as a walrus and eats more than one too. What makes uncle Vernon think we'll try to take that on?

Your's
Harry J. Potter

Harry, fifteen with a mop of messy black hair, pale features and a pair of glasses in bad need of repair, cracked his knuckles and groaned, his fingers strained from writing. His emerald green eyes focused on the retreating bodies of the other kids as they ventured down the long winding steps of Hogwarts. The only orphanage of Highsten's Reach, and the only one within the region for ten miles. There were alot of kids here.
Harry lay back on his bed, nonplussed about his Aunt Petunia's bawling voice nor the gong she used to summon the children from their dorms. His aunt and uncle didn't like to see him much anyway. He, instead, stared up at the the small dorm he shared with other children or teens, like himself, boys and girls. The walls were colored with faded gold and red tapestries that he, Ron and Neville salvaged from some old manor some miles out of Highsten's.
The place had looked crappier than Hogwarts' shambling castle turrets and dirty stones, weeds overwrought along its old paths, dust having settled on the windows, obscuring the insides. Neville had sworn the place was haunted and vouched to stay outside as lookout, with, of course, Trevor, his pet frog. Harry and Ron hadn't had a problem with this. The manor was just begging to be explored.
Every room sat with a fine cover of dust, lying untouched for nearly a decade. The old furniture left behind smelled like musk and mothballs. They'd ventured into the long dining hall, an expensive ballroom with tiled floors, and then into a large library. There they found the tapetries.
Harry grinned at the remembrance of it. Of him and Ron running out of the house carrying proudly the red and gold fabrics, of Neville screaming in fear having thought them the ghosts of old kings, and them chasing him all the way back to Hogwarts. That had been a glorious time.
"Hey, Harry," came the urgent call. Harry's green eyes went to the door way. Ron stood there, looking nervous, his red hair framing his face like fire. Harry sat up, then stood. "The Dursleys, they'll be calling up and down the rows for food soon. Better hurry."
"Right, Ron," he replied with a smile and accompanied his best friend down the stairs.
"Did you hear?" Ron asked turning to him, excitement on his voice. "There's going to be new arrivals!"
"I know," Harry informed him. "Wonder what they'll be like. Got any clues?"
Ron frowned for a moment, his birthmark, a patch of skin that looked like a light sprinkling of smeared dirt, wrinkled.
"No idea," Ron replied a bit flushed. "If Percy were still here, he'd know."
"Don't dwell on it, Ron," Harry warned. "You know how you get. Besides, my aunt's roaring."
And sure enough there was a highpitched yell from down the steps. Both teens picked up their paces, nearly running down the steps. They arrived in the mess just in time. The two friends sat on opposite sides of Neville. The boy looked up, but he wasn't too pleased. More like borderline distressed.
"They're here, " he sqeaked and bowed his head. Harry turned to a girl at their table.
"Who-"
"The new arrivals," she hissed and shushed Harry quiet. Immediately he fell to silence as his uncle Vernon, arrayed in the thick tunic of a blacksmith, trousers and large boots, stood at the head of the room.
His voice bellowed when he spoke," Alright, you muskrats, as you've probably heard there are a whole new batch of wenches just in from Notherton, north of here. I expect everything less from you, show the wenches the ropes and there'll be no trouble!"
There was no thumping cheer as Vernon stepped aside and the newer children poured in from the cool fall air outside. They were all bundled in thick furs and boots. Harry craned his head to see. The group was about twenty or twenty-five, and they all stood up front uncertainly until, finally, someone stepped forward and shed off their heavy coat. It was a girl with thick brown hair and inquisitive features.
She looked around for a brief moment, unsure, then noticing Harry's curious looks at the group, she walked over to their table and took an empty seat beside Ron. His cheeks flushed bright red. It was a pioneer effect. Taking from her example, the other children moved, shrugging off their coats and taking seats at the tables they thought befit them. That was when Harry noticed how cliquish they were.
Of course, Hogwarts had always had its own groups, four to be exact. And those groups even had funny names the children coined from the mysterious owners of the castle in olden days passed. The table at the far left of the hall was Slytherin territory, and they were a sneaky, cruel bunch anyway. Harry's table, next to their's, was Gryffindor. The next was Hufflepuff and the last, Ravenclaw.
"Hallo, my name is Hermione Granger," came the curt introduction. Harry turned to the direction of the voice and noticed it was the brown-haired girl. He smiled and nodded.
"Harry Potter."
******

CHAPTER TW0--Strangers and the Doubts of Hogwarts
Added on (2003-06-11)

"And here's our dormitories," Harry said pointing up the stairwell that led to the boy's portion of "Griffindor" tower. He and Ron watched as Hermione took stock of the poorly furnished common room and the dusty, moth eaten tapestries. Her face was a mask, as emotionless as the clouds outside of the castle, and her eyes held the look of thoughtful contem- plation. Finally, she turned to them and said," Why do you live in a castle? It's obvious this place could be much more than an orphanage."

Ron's look was blank as he glanced at Harry and shrugged. Harry frowned and said," Well, the Dursleys have a house. Pretty far away, that one. I suppose they figured this place needed to be put to good use. Serve the greater good-"

Ron sniggered in response and Harry grinned, giving him a wink. Hermione took no part in their small joke and went over to the castle's bare wall, touched it lightly, then drew her hand a way.

"There's something..." she paused and turned to them. " In Notherton, all old castles had something mysterious about them. Ghosts, poltergeists, magick-"

"Wrong word to use here, Granger," Ron said, quickly looking around. " Vernon hear you say anything like that...." He whistled and shook his head.

"Well, tell me the story about this castle," she pressed. "Why's it just-ah, well-orphanage?"

"I told you," Harry said exasperated." Uncle Vernon and Aunt Petunia use it as an orphanage. Nothing more. Anything else you got, which you shouldn't have, since you only just arrived, is all in your head. The castle's been here since as early as-"

"Godric Griffindor, Salazar Slytherin, Rowena Ravenclaw and Helga Hufflepuff, "Ron supplied.

Harry nodded and continued on." A fight broke out between Salazar and the other three, and the castle was abandoned after that. Speed it up to present day, and here it is. Opened as an orphanage for the lost and parentless."

"You do know who those four were, don't you?" Hermione asked with a superior note. Ron rolled his eyes.

"I figure you're going to tell us anyway."

Her glare was as icy as the storms covering her hometown. She went on, agitatedly," They were the greatest wizards and witches in all of Sanctum."

"You're crazy, you know that!" Ron exclaimed in shock. "Witches and wiz- You know you could get locked up in the cellar for that! Vernon doesn't like hearing that in this place!"

"And why is that?" She looked pointedly at Harry for a moment as the black haired boy stuttered for a response. "They're your aunt and uncle, after all."

"Look, whatever you're thinking, don't drag me and Ron in it," he said finally." I mean, those four are just...well, I don't know what they are, but they were normal people who got into a spat and left the castle-"

"Hell! That was a thousand years ago!" Ron cut in loudly. "D'you know what they also say about ol' Gryffindork?! Huh?! They say he was a raving lunatic too! Stark-freakin-mad! Not to mention that ol'Slither was a drunkard, Rowena was a whore and Helga was queen of harlots! But do we take those little tidbits into account, as actual honest facts!? No!"

"So why do you name yourselves after them?" she questioned nonplussed by his outburst." If they're nothing more that whores, harlots, lunatics and drunkards?"

"Because we got bored," Ron replied testily. "Like we are now. C'mon, Harry, let's go to the courtyard with the others and leave Miss Scholarly to her craziness."

Ron turned on his heel and walked toward the common room entrance. He turned back and waited for Harry. Aftr one last long look at Hermione, who had by this time turned her back on Ron and his insults, and was studying the wall stubbornly, Harry turned and followed Ron. He just barely heard the angry whisper,"I know there's something. I know there is...."

~.~*~*o.0<_>^_^*.**>**<* +.+

"I know there's something. I know there is...."

She'd said it with such conviction, such a quiet little hope that whatever thoughts were going topsy-turvy in her actually made some semblance of sense. If you, perchance, decided to think on her level. The only thing that made her point invalid...well, nothing truely extraordinary happened at the castle. Nothing. There were no strange, ghastly figures walking down the cold, stone hallways of the castle singing the carols of some long forgotten year, none of the paintings moved nor spoke; just sat, nameless and unknown, on the walls left there because the Dursleys were too lazy to take them down. No secret passageways, no hidden chamber of secrets. Nothing.
Harry sighed, reluctant to go back to the tower. He trudged behind Ron and his other companions, lost in thought. Their time outside had been well spent, mostly taunting each other, like always, to go into the dark wood that surrounded to castle for miles. No one had, of course, not since Neville Longbottom got lost in there and was found a few days later by Uncle Vernon, shivering and white in the face. He had refused to talk about what he'd seen.
Harry and the others hadn't walked far, when Dean Thomas, stopped the group with a very curious,"Oi!" and pointed to the four carriages pulling up in front of the castle. The gruop of boys had been just emerging from the back of the castle and cresting a hill overlooking the castle large lake and large opening doors, when Dean ahad stopped them.
"What's going on down there?" asked Seamus Finnigan, glaring down at the head carriage. It gleamed pearlly white in the growing evening and was pulled by a set of magnificient horses.
"Dunno-" Ron started then stopped abruptly when an old man stepped out in flowing blue robes and a pointed hat.
"Omigod, Harry!" Ron sputtered." Isn't that a-a-a wi-wizard's hat?! George always told me they were pointed!"
"Oi," said Dean and he pointed again," Look at that bloke! Greasiest bastard I'd ever saw!"
Harry looked and was immediately swept up in the dark robes and strict, but stately features of man whose coal blak eyes were drawn to their location, and...Harry's emerald green. He gulped, but found that he couldn't look away until very loudly, he heard uncle Vernon shout," Oi! You lot get down here and stopped standing around! Lazy Buggers..."
The dark coal eyes tore away from Harry's and fixed Vernon with an apparent dislike, his features settling in what appeared to be a man who tasted a foreign dish and sure as hell didn't like what he tasted.
"Well, c'mon you lot," Seamus said, mocking Vernon's strict tones," Let's see what the rich ol'bags want."
The boys all moved, Harry's heart thundering in his chest. And he had to wonder about these strange emotions as he, Ron, Seamus, Dean and the others took their place in front of the strange old man, the dark clad figure, and the other adults who were emerging from the other carriages.
__________
Here ends chapters 1-3, there will be more to come.


CHAPTER FOUR--SNOW AND STONE
(added 7/31/2003)



"There's nothing here, but snow and stone."

Harry listened intently to his uncle's words as he carried a dented silver tray of food around the battered, old table of Hogwarts' enormous Great Hall. It was where everyone had their meals, but currently it was nine in the evening and most of the kids were in bed. The other battered tables were pushed against the walls, revealing the dirt covered floors, once beautifully tiled and masterfully crafted. Harry knew, he and Ron and Neville had, while serving a dastardly hour of punishment for the Dursleys, cleaned the floor, washed away the years and years of grime and revealed the treasure underneath.

He had to wonder, as he passed Ron, who was handling another badly tarnished brass tray of wine and goblets, why the Dursleys' had dared show off the Great Hall at all. It wasn't anything too fantastic to look at, and if they were trying to impress the older man and his party, they were falling horribly short of mark. And Harry had to wonder also, who'd have a name like Dumbledore anyway? For that was what the old man was called.

"Nevertheless," Dumbledore said in that ageless tone of his that bespoke of a world Harry could only dream of, and one that he couldn't wait to see. "I would like to know everything about this castle. From the very first stones laid at its Foundation."

Harry snuck a glance at his uncle, who was turning an odd shade of red. The man scratched his head and said, gruffly," Like I said nothing, but snow and stone here."

"No stories?" Dumbledore pressed, a twinkling in his eye. Harry stopped his rounds of delivering food to the plates of his relatives' guests and stared curiously. No one seemed to notice and Ron and Neville and Seamus soon joined him, awaiting Vernon's response.

"None," Vernon ground out defiantly. He glanced over at his nephew and barked," Get to serving, you lot! Can't you see our guests are starving?!"

"That is quite alright, Mr. Dursley," Dumbledore said easily and Harry paused to watch him take out a long, wooden rod. "We are finished with this...delightful meal." The old man flicked the rod and quickly, as if someone had seen it fit to snap their fingers, the meal--plates, cups, trays and all--dis-
appeared as if it had never been. The table was bare.

Vernon uttered a noise Harry had never thought he'd hear from his uncle, and Aunt Petunia screamed in terror. He looked up from his momentary surprise to gaze at them in shock. His gaze was drawn yet again, when Dumbledore cleared his throat. He took a step away from the old man as Ron, Seamus and Neville crowded round.

"B-b-b-boy," Vernon croaked out." R-r-r-run! Get the Magistrate's guards! Seek out the Mayor!"

"No need," Dumbledore went on. He turned to Harry and his friends, waving them to seats. "They should be here to hear this just as much as you. Since the rest of the world cares very little about their survival or upbringing."

Harry regarded the old man warily, moving to take the offered seat. It was then the dark-clad man from earlier, with the silky, smooth voice and dark eyes like breathing coals, spoke,"Albus... Perhaps, it is not wise. After all, children do tend to share their....secrets."

"Exactly what I intend, Severus," Dumbledore said calmly, eyes still twinkling behind half-moon glasses.

"I demand an explanation!!!" Vernon sputtered as Harry and the others took their seats. Dumbledore regarded him levelly as the man called Severus hissed at the large man maliciously. Vernon shut up immediately and Severus answered this with a disgusted sneer.

"And one you shall have." Dumbledore cleared his throat. He began," Thousands of years ago, four powerful wizards came together with one dream, one hope: to open a school to teach more of their kind the ways of magick and nature. And the idea worked perfectly for a time. All over the world of Sanctum, the gifted of children in families--great and small-- came to their school to learn...And the leader of these four great wizards even took it a step furthur to teach the non-magical in trades that would benefit all.
"But as all great things go, and all great ideas, this too came to an end, when one of the schools great founders looked upon the works of his fellows and felt disgust. He felt the school should be for the best and greatest of pure-blooded witches and wizards, and when the others did not see his way, he left the school in great chaos."

Harry listened in fascination as Dumbledore weaved his tale and felt a pang of guilt. Hadn't Hermione, only hours ago, told them something very much like this? And here--now it was being re-told again, by an old man who obviously knew the difference between fact and fiction.

"Godric Gryffindor?" Ron suddenly said in awe and Vernon shot him a deadly look. The red head shut up immediately, but Dumbledore turned twinkling eyes on him and nodded.

"Yes, indeed," the old man continued. "And Salazar Slytherin. After his split from the three, the others soon followed suit. Helga Hufflepuff grew envious of Rowena Ravenclaw and Gryffindor could keep none of the Houses together. Soon, the school was abandoned."

"Hogwarts?" Harry spoke up, ignoring Vernon's death glares. "You mean, this orphanage is the school Hogwarts?"

"Is it?" Dumbledore asked and watched Harry closely. The dark-haired boy looked down, not able to meet that intense stare. He cleared his throat, opened his mouth to respond, then shut it again.

Was Hogwarts the school? Hermione certainly thoughts so, and she'd only been there a few hours. It most certainly could've been. It had the same name, it was a castle...but...
was it really THE castle?

"Whatever happed to the Four?" Harry asked still not looking up.

"Some say that they disappeared into history, disheartened at their failed idea," Dumbledore answered quietly. Harry looked up in surprise. Dumbledore went on unperturbed."Others say that they left behind heirs, everywhere, and that many wizarding families--" Petunia gave a squeak. Harry looked over in surprise, having forgotten she even existed at all--"though in hiding, can trace their bloodlines back to anyone of the Noble Founders."

Harry nodded. "Why do you care about the orphanage? What if it's not what you think it is?"

"Would you think I'd be here, if I were not sure?" Dumbledore asked in turn. Harry looked up again and answered truthfully, "I wouldn't know....I don't know you personally."

Dumbledore smiled, the twinkling in his eyes increasing the more his gaze rested on Harry. The moppy-haired boy grew slightly nervous under that continuous stare, and the other glare from Severus, his dark-eyes so very intense. Dumbledore turned back to Vernon and Petunia.

"I have a deal for you,"the older man said in a pursuasive voice. "One that deals with this young lot and the others of this castle. I wish to buy the castle and take sole responsibility of the teaching and caretaking of the children."

"YOU--YOU--YOU CAN'T BUY THIS CASTLE!!!!!!" Vernon shouted in anger, his face flaring up like an oversized, purple balloon. "AND YOU WANT TO TEACH THE CHILDREN HOW TO BE F-F-F-FREAKS!!! MY NEPHEW EVEN!!!!ABSOLUTELY NOT!!!!!"

It was Severus who responded, in his cold, silky voice, full of venom and hissing snakes now, and Harry looked at him with a mixture of barely contained fear and surprise,"You will remain seated, Mr. Dursley--"he drew out his wand, a rod of darken wood and etched with ancient, strange symbols--"after all, what do you care for them anyway? There is no great reward earned....No salary." Severus' voice had gone soft with honey in its undertones. He continued as Vernon sank into his seat, mesmerized,"There is no freedom for neither you nor your family. The orphanage is useless to you. And if you gave us the deed, signed over all land and responsibility, then there'd be no blame to settle about your shoulders if something were to happen."

Harry felt it at the very edges of his senses, and frowned at the lilting tone of Severus' voice. There was something odd happening to it as he spoke, as if barely contained power were being compacted and forced into every word uttered, every word spoken. Harry shook off the effects of that voice long enough to catch sight of Ron's frightened eyes boring into his. He glanced over at Seamus, who stared slack-jawed, then at Neville who looked more badly shaken than Ron. Harry finally returned his attention back to Dumbledore, who had picked up from where Severus left off.

"Do we have a deal?" he asked quietly. Harry turned to his relatives. Vernon and Petunia seemed to come out of a daze, blinking and looking around for a moment in bewilderment. Vernon turned to Dumbledore.

"A deal?" he asked quietly, then seemed to consider, then nodded slowly. "Alright then."

It was Harry's turn to go slack-jawed. His eyes widened. Had his relatives--they couldn't possibly have--they wouldn't sell HIM to total strangers, along with the castle? As if he were some property?

"Uncle Ver-"

The large man stood and regarded Harry indifferently for a moment, then said," He's a real nuisance, my nephew. A few good kicks and locking him in the cellar'll change that tongue."

Harry's face burned with embarassment and he refused to meet Dumbledore's gaze. He heard his aunt's chair scrapping across the floor and her determined walk across the hall. Vernon was the last to leave, saying, "Can't say I'll miss you lot."

With that said, he left Harry and the others to retrieve the deed and get the hell out of there. Harry sat put for a moment. He wasn't necessarily heartbroken, he never did liked his aunt, uncle or cousin that much, but to have them just let him go, leave him with strangers. He just didn't think they were that willing to get rid of him.

"Severus, go and retrieve the deed,"Dumbledore was saying quietly. "Minerva, you go with him. Flitwick, take the children to their rooms. Mr. Potter--"for Harry had risen numbly to go with his friends. The fifteen-year-old looked down at a seated Dumbledore--"you will stay with me. We must talk."

Harry watched his friends go, Ron raising his eyebrows in a way that said,"Tell me what happens." Harry nodded then settled back down in his chair. When everyone'd finally left, Dumbledore sat looking at Harry for a long while.

"Now, Harry,"Dumbledore said shortly,"Let's talk."

*****

© Copyright 2003 chaos_reaper (darkesyde at Writing.Com). All rights reserved.
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