Harry Potter and the Ashes of Chaos
Year 1: The Forsaken’s Ascension
Chapter 1: Beginnings and Truths
Disclaimer: This is a work of fanfiction based on the Harry Potter universe. All recognizable characters, plots and settings are the exclusive property of J.K Rowling. I make no claim to ownership.
Acknowledgements: Thank you to my beta Umar for his work on this story. Additionally, a massive thank you is extended to Fezzik. She became a beta for me at a later date and has graciously agreed to assist me in revising these early chapters.
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July 1, 1982
The Wizengamot Chambers
After what had been a very long day of promises, debates and political manoeuvring, Albus Dumbledore could do nothing but sit back with resignation as he watched the display in front of him unfold. Finally, all of the speeches had been given, questions posed, and answers provided, leaving only the actual vote remaining.
He’d been rather disappointed when Millicent Bagnold, the current Minister for Magic, had announced that she wouldn’t run for office for a third time. Dumbledore could hardly blame her. She had been the Minister for perhaps the ten most trying years the country had experienced in centuries. Despite that, Dumbledore really did wish she would have run again. She hadn’t been blessed with a sparkling reputation as a result of the war, but in actuality, there had been nothing she could have done once everything had kicked off. It was true that Albus resented her initial reluctance in acknowledging Voldemort as a true threat, but to the woman’s credit, once she acted, she had done as well as anyone could have hoped for.
Now, Wizarding Britain stood at a crossroads, as the battle for Minister had been whittled down to two candidates.
One was a fairly young man by the name of Daniel Shafiq. He was the consummate politician; very passionate, well-spoken, and opinionated. On the surface, Shafiq appeared as if he would be the perfect man for the job. Dumbledore knew better though, as did most people in the room. Shafiq had been a member of the Conservative faction ever since he’d joined the Wizengamot and though no one outright said it, Albus, like most others present, knew that Shafiq was firmly under the thumb of the leaders of his faction. People like Lucius Malfoy and Tiberius Nott, for instance.
On the opposite side stood an older man who had been changed by the war. Barty Crouch Sr. was in many ways the opposite of his younger counterpart. He didn’t fit the typical mould of a politician, yet in the eye of the public, Crouch seemed to be the perfect candidate.
He’d been Head of the DMLE for the near entirety of the war and in juxtaposition to Minister Bagnold, had been a firm believer in taking action against both Voldemort and her followers, something that made him a hero to much of Magical Britain. The problem, at least in Albus’s mind, was the actions themselves. Crouch was ruthless and stubborn and, in Dumbledore’s opinion, a bit too much of each. Once the man gained power, it would be difficult, if not impossible to convince him to support any path that he had laid out.
Usually the Liberals, the Conservatives, and the Neutrals would each put forth a Ministerial candidate. At present, the tension between the Liberals and Conservatives- casually referred to as the Light and the Dark- was so high that the Neutrals abstained from selecting a candidate as they wanted nothing to do with the current political landscape. Thus, for the first time in over a century, there were only two candidates put forth by the Wizengamot for the votes of the general public. This meant that for Albus Dumbledore, far from the first time in that century, he felt that he was again in a lose-lose situation.
June 29, 1991
No. 4 Privet Drive
It was with a great deal of stiffness that Harry exited his cupboard, trying not to make a face as he stepped into the light for the first time in… he wasn’t even sure how long. Of all the miraculous things that had ever happened around him, from the colouration of his teacher’s hair three years ago, to the way his hair had grown overnight years before that, to even his inexplicable appearance on a school roof, Harry thought the incident at the zoo may have been the most mind-boggling one yet.
He’d known he was different for some time, known that his emotions, and later even his intent could cause miraculous things to happen around him, but never in his wildest dreams had he imagined he could do something so outlandish as speaking to animals.
Yes, Harry Potter was well aware that he was different. He was a very well-read child. After all, what else was one meant to do when their alternative source of entertainment was to stare blankly up at the dark underside of the stairs? He had always been curious, and in large part, his reading had helped to sate much of that curiosity. So naturally when odd, seemingly impossible things began to happen around him, Harry’s first reaction had been to try and find what these occurrences meant and more importantly, why they were possible at all.
Try as he might, Harry had found no explanations. The closest thing his young eyes had glimpsed were references to similar such things happening in children’s tales; tales he had known to be fiction from a very young age. So, Harry had turned to the next best thing, a term he’d read, and later furthered his understanding of by reading an upper-year science textbook at school while hiding from Dudley’s gang in the library.
He had indeed experimented, starting with his hair, since he knew it was something that he could control from experience. When he had utterly failed at any attempt at growing it out, he’d focused on smaller, more subtle changes. After a while, he had finally managed the change he sought to accomplish, that being to force his hair to lay flat; something he much preferred to its natural wild state. Upon later reflection, it was perhaps the only thing that he and his relatives agreed on. At first it had been temporary, but the more he did it the longer it lasted until, one day, he hadn’t needed to force his hair to change at all.
This had spurred him on further, as he now wondered to what extent his new gift stretched. He’d managed to turn on and off the small light in his cupboard simply by wanting it to, though that trick had taken him several months of practice before he could call upon it at will. Once, he had even managed to repair an old teapot of Aunt Petunia’s he’d knocked over while running from Dudley’s gang while she and Uncle Vernon were out in the garden. He’d never managed to repeat that particular feat again, though in fairness, he hadn’t spent a whole lot of time trying.
Perhaps Harry’s favourite trick was to make objects come to him of their own accord. This was difficult in the sense that he had to focus quite a bit for it to happen, but it was something that Harry found unbelievably convenient. The object had to be directly in his line of sight, something that unfortunately prevented him from bringing his glasses to himself on command in the mornings. Nevertheless, he thought it was an impressive talent.
In terms of utility, the only ability that he thought greater than summoning objects to him at will was the ability to know what those around him were thinking from a simple glance. Without much effort at all, Harry simply knew. He could sense their emotions and general thought processes on most occasions. It wasn’t mind reading — not really. He’d deduced long ago that it only truly worked with surface thoughts and images. Harry always got quite the rush from seeing these flashes just by looking someone in the eye.
Even compared to those incredible things, Harry thought speaking with animals was his most impressive feat. Even though, as with many of his previous achievements, he hadn’t fully realized what he was doing, it still topped the list. As he walked towards the kitchen, his reminiscing was halted by the pain that ran down his neck, causing him to wince slightly. He may have been small for his age, but that didn’t make it any more pleasant to be curled awkwardly in a cupboard for God knows how long.
He entered the kitchen and quickly made his way to the stove, taking over for Petunia without instruction. He had learned long ago that the fastest and easiest way to appease his relatives was to act without being asked. Petunia had woken him for the first time in what felt like ages, so logically, Harry thought it was safe to presume that she wanted something. None of the Dursleys ever did him any favours unless they wanted something from him.
That thought may have made any other ten, almost eleven-year-old child frown, sigh, or even scowl, but not Harry. He had accepted the fact many years ago, and had resigned himself to reality. No matter what he did, his treatment at the Dursleys could only improve so much.
This had been proven rather early on when he was punished for getting better marks than Dudley. So, in an effort to avoid further repercussions, Harry had completely bombed his next examination in order to finish below his cousin. Unfortunately, this only caused the Dursleys to punish him even more harshly; this time prompting Vernon to put hands on him in retaliation for what he perceived was Harry’s way of making him look like a careless guardian.
“I won’t have any of them believing that we have raised incompetent children!” Vernon had bellowed. Harry, even then, had been rather tempted to ask him why, if he was so worried about the impression that was being put out about them, he had yet to punish Dudley. Even at such a young age, he’d realized that would have been akin to suicide.
So, Harry had given up on getting low marks there and then, choosing instead to do the best he could, putting his near eidetic memory to the test. It was, in many ways, the one way he had truly been able to defy the Dursleys. After a while they had stopped punishing him for scoring higher than Dudley, seeming to accept the fact that Harry was an arrogant child who wanted only to flaunt any shred of competence he possessed. It turned out that Harry had a rather large amount of competence if his marks said anything on the matter. Vernon and Petunia had been offered the choice to put Harry into the year above several times, but they resolutely refused each and every time.
He knew he was competent. He knew that he was far more competent than most, if not any child his age he had ever met. He didn’t think he was overly arrogant though. He certainly believed himself more than capable, better than most intellectually. He certainly knew he had his other strengths, such as his knack for charming his teachers into not writing home about his mysterious exploits. He’d always been good at that, though unfortunately, the ability had never extended onto his own relatives.
Despite that, Harry knew his limitations and had no delusions about them.
Another field he was certainly competent in was that of cooking, something his relatives had ensured at an early age. At first, he had been appalled by the injustice of such a thing. Why should a seven-year-old boy have to cook for his adult guardians? Now, he didn’t really mind. The time he spent cooking allowed him to be alone with his thoughts somewhere other than his cupboard, something that was a rarity which he cherished more than he would ever admit.
Today was no different. The time he’d spent cooking up a breakfast of bacon, eggs and toast felt like no time at all for Harry. He served the Dursleys their plates and sat himself down with his measly piece of toast, the only food remaining after Dudley had insisted on seconds.
Harry had not sat down for more than a moment when the unmistakable sound of the post sliding through the flap could be heard.
“Go get the post, Dudley,” said Uncle Vernon from over his newspaper, having evidently seen that Dudley had already ploughed through his second helping of breakfast, and was currently seating himself on the couch in the living room.
“Make him get it!” Dudley retorted, gesturing vaguely in Harry’s general direction as he reached for the remote on the couch which controlled Dudley’s favourite thing in the whole world — the television.
“Get the post, boy!” Vernon didn’t give Harry a chance to refuse like he had done for Dudley. Harry stood, easily resisting the urge to sigh as he plastered a blank, artificial smile onto his face and made his way towards the door.
At first glance, there appeared to be nothing of interest in the pile of mail. A postcard from Vernon’s sister Marge, a magazine, and a bill. Upon second glance, Harry froze, his jaw falling open in slack-jawed disbelief as he noticed the yellow envelope with vivid green handwriting that was clearly adorned with his name.
Mr. H. J. Potter
The Cupboard Under The Stairs
No. 4 Privet Drive
Little Whinging, Surrey.
“Hurry up!” his uncle bellowed from the living room, snapping Harry from his reverie as he reflexively flinched before quickly blanking his face, something else he had become rather adept at in the last few years.
Making up his mind, Harry slipped the piece of parchment into his pocket, his natural curiosity overriding his sense of self-preservation. He knew that his Uncle would never allow him the letter and Harry could not have found himself more intrigued as to who on earth could possibly be writing to him, or why they might want to. He had never been important. Smart and talented, yes, but unimportant. He was simply Harry. The small, quiet boy who kept to himself as his relatives did everything in their power to keep him in their shadow.
Little did small, unimposing Harry Potter know that the letter which he held in his hands would change his life forever, even if he wouldn’t get to read it for several hours due to the extensive list of chores that awaited him upon his arrival in the sitting room.
That night, in the cupboard under the stairs…
Dear Mister Potter,
We are pleased to inform you that you have been accepted at Hogwarts School of Witchcraft and Wizardry. Please find enclosed a list of all necessary books and equipment.
Term begins on 1 September. We await your owl by no later than 31 July.
Harry reread the contents of the letter for the seventh time, still hardly daring to believe what lay in front of him.
There was one thought coursing through his mind over and over, seeming to be the sole component of a repetitive loop that may well never end.
It was magic; that’s how he had done it all.
Any other child would likely have scoffed or perhaps even laughed at the ridiculousness of such a letter, but not Harry. He had searched for years, tried everything he could to find how he could do the impossible things he could do and had come to no logical conclusion. That only meant that the conclusion, whatever it may be, must have its roots in something illogical. This letter, perhaps more so than anything Harry had ever encountered, fit the definition of illogical quite precisely.
He took a deep, calming breath as a rare, true smile spread across his face at the idea of magic and its possibilities. Perhaps even more exciting to him was the idea of a boarding school.
No Dursleys for ten months.
He wasn’t going to delude himself into thinking he would acquire friends. He was hardly opposed to the idea, but years of experience told Harry that such a thing was rather unlikely. Nobody ever took him seriously; no one ever became friends with him.
‘Yes, but there isn’t going to be your horrid oaf of a cousin to scare them all away at Hogwarts, is there?’
This thought did give him pause, but he pushed it away ruthlessly. He would not go looking for friends; that always ended in disaster. If by some lucky coincidence he managed to acquire some, all the better, but he refused to allow his hopes to rise too high. Nothing ever went well when he allowed his hopes to rise too high.
Well, he supposed that perhaps, that couldn’t be said about his first year of life.
The only thing Harry could remember at all from that first year- at least he assumed it was from the first year he’d been alive- was the sensation of something soft running through his hair, and an odd, green light so bright it was blinding. And of course, those two words. Two words that Harry now suspected may have something to do with the world in which he was entering. The first two words Harry had ever known.
Harry found it odd that he couldn’t remember more. His memory truly was near eidetic. He could recall, without issue, almost everything he had ever done since his arrival at Privet Drive, even having vague memories of that first day. As time progressed, his memory became more vivid, to the point that he could easily and confidently say he remembered everything that took place after his sixth birthday in vivid detail. He could recall even the most unimportant margins from hulking tomes that he’d read years earlier without issue.
One of his earlier memories with the Dursleys was of Dudley’s third birthday party. Harry had tried to correct the magician that Vernon and Petunia had hired as entertainment, telling him that his Abra Kadabra was incorrect. He had got a firm reprimand from Vernon and he hadn’t left his cupboard for several days. He hadn’t been physically punished. He’d been too young at the time; that had not started until he was around six or seven.
Harry smiled bitterly at the memory, not lost in the irony that now, he very well may have been correct in his criticism. He didn’t reflect on it for long. He tried to think as little about the Dursleys as possible, even while under their roof. Instead, he waited several hours until he thought it safe to sneak out of his cupboard and found himself a piece of paper and a pen. He had become quite adept at sneaking around in his life out of pure necessity. Before he knew it, he was back in the safety of his cupboard, pen and paper in hand, and only then did he begin to write.
Dear Deputy Headmistress McGonagall,
Thank you very much for your letter. I would love to accept your invitation, but there are a few things that may stop me from doing so.
Firstly, I didn’t know that witches or wizards existed until I read this letter, so I have no idea what to do now.
Secondly, without getting into more detail than I’d like, my guardians definitely wouldn’t support me going off to a boarding school of any kind.
If you have solutions to any or all of these things, please write back as soon as possible.
I hope very much to see you on September the first.
It took him two drafts, but Harry was fairly happy with how his final product had come out. It pointed out all of his issues without sugar-coating any of it, but at the same time, it didn’t give away facts he very much would like to keep to himself. He did, however, come to a startling realization upon the completion of his letter.
He had no idea how to send it
He had no idea what “we await your owl” meant, and for some reason, he doubted very much that the post office would deliver a message to a school of magic. Sighing, he rolled over on his cot, resigning himself to the fact that he would just have to come up with something tomorrow.
July 2, 1991
No. 4 Privet Drive
Harry set the final plate of food down in front of his aunt, slumping himself down into the final chair at the table. He would be expected to clear the table and wash the dishes once the Dursleys had completed their meal. There had been nothing left today, which meant that Harry would have to wait until lunch, where his aunt would likely provide him with a piece of bread, or an apple, or something similar to tide him over until dinner. At that point, he would be expected to make enough food for the family, plus a meagre amount for himself.
He was a bit nervous as his intense green eyes surveyed the four of them. Breakfast was almost sub-standard today, as it had been the day previous. He couldn’t help it, his mind was in other, far more interesting places. He had managed to send the letter off to wherever it was going the previous morning when, to his bemusement, an owl was waiting for him out on the front lawn. The creature quickly took Harry’s letter in its beak and flew off, prompting the boy in question to blink and shake his head, wondering what exactly he was getting himself into with this new world of magic and mystery. He had comforted himself rather easily, justifying that whatever he was going into, it could not be worse than where he had come from.
He was quite apprehensive about the reply. He doubted very much that he had been tricked. He had a sort of sixth sense for lies, and he didn’t think this was one. On top of that, it was, as crazy as it sounded to Harry, the best explanation he had been given thus far as to how he could do any of what he had done in his life. In spite of that, he was still quite nervous.
What if the owl just flew in through the window with a reply letter?
He would never get the letter off of his relatives and they would know exactly what he’d done. He had only been taken to the hospital once when one of Vernon’s reprimands had gone too far, but this time, Harry suspected he would be staying several nights if the Dursleys found out what had transpired over the past few days.
Just then, Harry was snapped out of his reverie when the thunderous sound of a very loud knock on the front door caught his attention. Vernon, with his mouth full of French toast, grunted, gesturing for Harry to go and open the door. Harry stood, nodding to his Uncle and making his way to the door, expecting the milkman, or a salesman or someone else of similar standing. What he did not expect was whatever it was that greeted him.
The man in the door had to be between eight and ten feet tall, and he was without a doubt twice as wide and twice as thick as the average man. Even Harry, who prided himself on his emotional control, was left gaping like a fish for several seconds before, with a great effort, he managed to shake off his dazed state. Even then, he found himself at a complete and utter loss for words. Mercifully for him, he didn’t have to speak, as the giant in front of him broke the ice.
“Blimey, ‘Arry, how ye’ve grown in the last ten years! Last time I saw ya, I could fit ya in the palm of me hand!” The giant was beaming, positively beaming down at Harry, looking for all intents and purposes as if he’d found a long-lost treasure. Finally, surprising even himself in the process, Harry managed to find his voice.
“Um… sir, I don’t mean to be rude, but… who are you?”
The giant chuckled. “Oh yeah, guess I must look like a right sight, wouldn’t I?” He held out a massive hand, which Harry shook as best he could. “The name’s Rubeus Hagrid, but everyone just calls me ‘agrid. I’m keeper o’ grounds and keys at ‘ogwarts. Ya’ll know all ‘bout ‘ogwarts, o’ course!”
“Um, not exactly, Mr. Hagrid.”
Hagrid blinked, looking confused. “Eh?”
“I only just found out about Hogwarts. I read about it in the letter, but I was never told about Hogwarts or magic before that letter came.”
For several seconds, the two of them stood there, blanketed by a heavy, oppressive silence. Internally, Harry thought this silence likely would have stretched on until the end of time had they not been interrupted, to his horror, by the booming voice of his uncle.
“Boy! Who is it at the door? Don’t be holding them up!” Upon hearing the voice and the manner with which it addressed Harry, the man- Hagrid- growled almost animalistically as he pushed past Harry without warning, slowly and deliberately stomping his way inside.
“Sir… Hagrid!” tHarry’s heart leapt into his throat as he tried pointlessly to discourage Hagrid’s next course of action. “I’m not sure that this is the best idea!” His cries fell on deaf ears. With dread in his heart, Harry slowly and cautiously followed Hagrid into the sitting room.
“Good morning,” said his uncle as he finally looked up from his magazine, “how can we-” but suddenly, his voice died in his throat as his mouth fell open in shock at the sheer magnitude of the man who stood in front of him.
“Do you mean to tell me,” growled Hagrid, his voice shaking with barely contained fury as Dudley whimpered from the corner of the room, “that all this time, you’ve told the boy NOTHING?!” This last word escaped in a bellow. This time, even Vernon shrank back from the man’s fury. Harry flinched horribly as well, but Hagrid, whose back was turned, saw nothing of that occurrence.
Hagrid shook his great head, realizing he clearly wasn’t going to get any answers from the three Dursleys and instead turned to face Harry. “If they haven’t told ya anything ’bout magic, what have they told ya about yehr parents?”
As he asked that question, Harry felt dread clasp even more tightly around his heart. He somehow knew that what he was about to say, and the response he would hear would change his life forever.
Several hours later, at a café in Diagon Alley…
Harry sat, stiff-jawed and silent, watching people bustle through the alley as he allowed the revelations of the past few hours to wash over him.
Not only was he about to enter a world of magic. Not only had the Dursleys lied about his parents, but he was entering into a world where he had a brother! If that wasn’t enough, his brother was, apparently, one of the most famous people in that magical world. Even that was not all. His brother- his twin brother, as a matter of fact- was famous for surviving a curse that was supposed to be impossible to survive and destroying the most powerful dark sorceress in a thousand years.
Despite all of that, of all the unbelievable truths that had been revealed to him, he felt as though only one truly mattered. It was the same truth that had his insides burning with the righteous flames of fury as he did everything in his power not to lash out with what he now knew to be magic. He had done so before, though not often. There was, after all, a reason that Dudley and his gang had started staying clear of Harry a little over a year ago, when odd things began to happen to them, increasing in severity until finally, they’d got the hint and left Harry well enough alone.
No, the truth that wracked his body, that rattled his mind, that made him want to destroy everything around him was, in many ways, so much smaller than many of the other secrets that had been revealed to him, but to Harry, it meant the world.
His father was alive.
Not only was his father alive, but the man had willingly left him with the Dursleys.
“Are ya okay, Harry?” Hagrid asked, twisting his massive hands in evident concern once the silence became longer than what was strictly normal.
“Perfectly fine,” Harry answered in a cold voice that clearly indicated anything but.
Hagrid flinched. “I told ‘im he was bein’ stupid! He’s a good man though. Yer dad made a dumb mistake. A really dumb mistake, but trust me Harry, he’s a good man. if ya just give ‘im a chance-“
“I’ll give him a chance,” said Harry, finally looking up to meet Hagrid’s dark eyes. For the first time in many years, Hagrid actually flinched at the sight in front of him. Those eyes were glowing. Not twinkling like those of Professor Dumbledore, but quite literally glowing. Glowing with a horribly familiar, horribly vivid green light that Hagrid knew all too well. “I’ll give him just as much of a chance as he gave me.”
Harry stood, quickly swiping up the money bag his father had provided for the two of them as he turned to leave. “Hang on!” protested Hagrid. “Where are ya goin’?”
“Sorry, Hagrid,” Harry said with one last apologetic look over his shoulder, “but I think I need to be alone right now.”
A few hours later, Harry walked through Diagon Alley, pulling a brand new, top-of-the-line trunk with enchantments like feather-light charms, bottomless pockets, a voice activated lock, and even an ability to force whatever the owner wanted to the top of the compartment through mere thought. The trunk contained many of his school things like a cauldron, potions ingredients, a telescope and even a school bag with similar enchantments to his trunk. It also held Harry’s course books, as well as several more for his own reading pleasure. Some of the titles among this pile were The Punctuality Of Purebloods: A Crash Course in Wizarding Etiquette, The Wizengamot: An In-Depth Guide Into The Intricacies of Magical Politics, The Rise and Fall of the Dark Arts, A Beginners Guide to Duelling and Defensive Magic and Hogwarts, A History.
Harry had also purchased owl-order subscriptions to the shops he’d visited, so he could order new books and supplies without travelling all the way to Diagon Alley. He would receive a catalogue each month with the store’s full selection. He now only had three stops left. One was Madam Malkin’s, a robes shop. Another was the magical pet store he’d glimpsed. After seeing the usefulness of owls first hand, he fully intended to buy one for himself. The third and final destination was the one he was most excited for.
A wand shop!
Harry didn’t know the exact conversion between pounds and galleons, but over the past few hours of shopping and exploring, he’d deduced that what he had in his bag was a lot. If his assumptions were correct, it would likely cover him for the year.
He smiled to himself, taking a sort of savage pleasure in spending his father’s money. As he made his way into the robes shop, he was quickly greeted by an older woman who must have been Madam Malkin. “Hogwarts, dear?” Harry nodded and smiled a smile he’d perfected years earlier. She smiled back at him. “Follow me to the back, please. There is another young boy being taken care of as we speak.” Harry followed her, stepping up onto a stool beside a tall, thin boy with slick, blond hair and dark grey eyes.
“Hello,” said the boy. “Hogwarts, too?”
“First year as well?” Harry nodded. “My father’s next door buying my books and Mother’s up the street looking at wands.” The boy had a bored, drawling voice. “Then I’m going to drag them off to look at racing brooms. I don’t see why first years can’t have their own. I think I’ll bully father into getting me one and I’ll smuggle it in somehow.”
Harry was strongly reminded of Dudley, something that did not leave a positive taste in his mouth, but he said nothing. If his cousin had taught him anything, it was to not rise to the challenge.
“Have you got your own broom?” the boy went on.
“Play Quidditch at all?”
“No.” Harry didn’t even know what Quidditch was. Well, he was fairly certain that it must have been a game or sport of some kind, but beyond that, he was clueless.
“I do — Father says it’s a crime if I’m not picked to play for my house, and I must say, I agree. Know what house you’ll be in yet?”
“Not really…” He did know what the four houses were. Hagrid had mentioned his parents were in Gryffindor and Harry had pressed him rather hard for details on all four houses. His opinions seemed a bit biased to Harry, but he’d managed to ascertain what he thought was likely most of the picture. Harry had not yet considered which fit him best. He’d been dealing with what he considered to be more than enough for one day. Maybe Ravenclaw. Academics had always been a strong suit of his.
“Well, no one really knows until they get there, do they? I know I’ll be in Slytherin though. All our family has been — imagine being in Hufflepuff. I think I’d leave, wouldn’t you?”
“Mmm,” Harry mused. He didn’t really mind loyalty. He thought, as a matter of fact, people with such a quality could have greatly improved his life up to this point.
“Say, what’s your blood status?” the boy asked him, catching Harry a bit off guard.
He had no idea what that meant, but he was unknowingly rescued by Madam Malkin. “That’s you done, dear.” she pronounced. With an internal sigh of relief, Harry stepped down off of the stool.
“It was nice meeting you,” he lied to the other boy, his charming smile well and fully in place. “I’ll see you at Hogwarts.” He handed Madam Malkin a note from his father that had also been pressed into his money bag, one dictating that Harry wanted a full wardrobe. The man had thankfully left the specifications blank. The woman smiled, likely due to the large sum of money such an order would bring both her and her business.
When he exited the robes shop, Harry set his sights on one thing and one thing only — a wand shop. It turned out that it was harder to find than Harry would have thought.
As he searched, he also looked for anywhere that appeared to have the ability to fix his eyesight. In a world of magic, he thought such a thing seemed perfectly reasonable and realistic. Thus far, he hadn’t found either of his desired treasures but as he walked, he paused, noticing a rather dark alley that appeared to lead to an entirely different sector. Harry could make out the outlines of more buildings down that way, and, to his delight, at the moment, it seemed far less busy than Diagon Alley.
He saw no reason not to investigate.
As he walked further and further into this new sector of the alley, Harry began to realize just how sketchy a place he was clearly entering into. Many of the passers-by were eyeing him a bit too hungrily for his tastes and Harry, emulating the aura he tried to project around Dudley and his gang, did everything he could to give off the impression that he was not to be trifled with.
After a time, he came to what appeared to be a specialized apothecary. When he entered, the place seemed empty. That was until, a moment later, a soft, hiss of a voice spoke from the shadows of the room.
Harry likely would have jumped, but he had been well conditioned to both jump scares and restraining physical reactions. So in return, he merely inclined his head to the figure who now stepped from the shadows. The man was tall and paper-thin with skin as white as milk and eyes as black as tunnels. Harry had no idea if the magical world contained vampires, but if it did, he suspected very much that he was staring at one. Subconsciously, he reinforced whatever aura he seemed to be able to raise around him as he answered the figure in the calmest, most casual voice he could muster.
The man, or vampire, or whatever he was, chuckled. “Such courage from one so young. What can I do for you today?”
“I was wondering if there was any way you could cure my eyesight? If not, I was wondering if you could point me somewhere that could?”
The man stared at Harry with those dark, dead-looking eyes for several moments before slowly, ever so slowly, a wicked smile spread across his milk-white lips as he nodded. “I can do that, yes, but It will be costly.” His smile grew, “It will be expensive, but I am speaking of more than galleons.”
Harry’s eyes narrowed as his heart sped up a few beats. “What else would it cost me?” he asked
“Blood.” By this point, Harry was quite confident that he was indeed in the presence of a real-life vampire. “Not for me,” it specified, as if realizing exactly where Harry’s mind had gone, “it is a necessary component of the method I will use to heal your eyes.”
“How much blood?”
The creature grinned wickedly again. “Quite a lot, I suspect,” it answered casually. “You may also be interested in purchasing some blood-replenishing potions to ensure you will not be too weakened at the conclusion of the process.”
“So, I’ll be weaker than normal then?”
“How do I know this isn’t a trap?” asked Harry.
The vampire chuckled. “I wouldn’t strike you down, child. At least, not without a very good reason for doing so.”
“Why not?” Harry questioned, far from willing to take this creature at its word.
Its eyes locked upon his and Harry had the odd feeling of being x-rayed. “Because it will be far more interesting to see what you make of yourself, Harry Potter.”
Harry’s eyes widened. How the hell did the thing know his name? Harry didn’t sense that the creature was lying and in all of his life, he had never failed to pick up on a lie.
“Well then,” he acquiesced with some reluctance, “I guess we should get started?”
The process took several hours and Harry, trying as he might, really couldn’t keep up with what was going on in front of him. The creature drew odd, complex patterns on the floor with some kind of dust, though Harry would later learn that that, whatever it was, had been nothing more than a placeholder. This had been the time-consuming part of the procedure, taking up multiple hours on its own. By the time the creature straightened up from its work, it was dark outside.
“And now,” it said with some interest, “now the blood enters the arena.” Slowly and deliberately, he took a long, thin knife from out of his robes and began to march towards Harry.
“If I need to be cut,” Harry said quickly, trying his best to keep his voice level, “I want to do it myself.”
The vampire paused, eyeing him up and down for several minutes before chuckling. “You are an odd wizard, Harry Potter. Sensible — more so than most in fact, but odd.”
The vampire handed Harry the knife, handle-first, and after taking a deep, calming breath, Harry cut open his palm. He had been nowhere close to remotely prepared for the terrifying amount of blood that poured from such a normal-looking cut.
“It is necessary,” the vampire assured as he took Harry by the wrist and dragged him around the room, directing him to spatter blood all over the symbols he had drawn out on the floor. His hand was unnaturally cold. “Your blood is a powerful medium.”
After several minutes, Harry was pale and shaky. He felt as if he would faint at any moment but just then, the vampire directed him into the middle of the circle and stepped into the shadows before he returned with a long, silvery clump of hair that seemed to glow in the moonlight that now filtered through the window. The glow was almost unnatural. It seemed too bright to be anything but artificial. It appeared almost more like a bright glare than a glow, though Harry supposed that could have been at least in part due to the relative darkness surrounding them.
The creature put the hair in front of Harry and stepped back, well clear of the odd symbols and began to speak in a language that Harry didn’t understand. As he spoke, slowly, ever so slowly, Harry began to feel a prickling sensation starting at his feet that methodically crept up his body. At first, it was as if he had slammed his funny bone. As the chant grew louder and faster, Harry quickly found that the stabbing feeling intensified to far more than that. As it ran up his body, it filled his chest, closed around his throat, ripped at his gums and then, finally reached his eyes, where it peaked, becoming far more than tingling as his eyes quite literally felt as if they would burn out of his head at any moment.
Oddly, as if from far away, Harry heard screaming that he would later know to be his own. Screaming that mercifully did not reach the street due to the wards on the walls. Just as distantly, Harry felt himself fall to his knees, though the fact only half-registered in his mind as he clawed at his face in desperation. Just as he thought for sure he would die from the pain, it stopped as suddenly as it started. The blinding white light that had consumed everything in his vision receded and Harry slowly, ever so slowly removed his glasses, realizing that, to his astonishment, he could see perfectly.
“Congratulations.” Once more, the vampire’s soft, hiss of a voice no longer sounded distorted and distant. “You can see just as the world around you truly is.”
Harry tried to stand but swiftly found he couldn’t. He was too shaky, too weak. Several vials were forced into his hands and only after drinking all of them on the command of the vampire could Harry finally stand. He could see, from the reflection on the glass, that he was an absolute mess, but he didn’t look nearly as pale as he did upon the completion of what he could only call a ritual.
“Through that door,” indicated the vampire, “will be a place for you to clean yourself up and change if that trunk has any clothes in it.”
Harry sighed with relief. He was not enthusiastic about walking out into a street like this one looking so vulnerable. It took him about ten minutes to clean himself up and change, but when he did, he promptly exited back into the main shop and faced the vampire, who appraised him one final time.
“That will be one-hundred galleons, Harry Potter.” Harry would have winced at the price had he not had more than enough and had it not been his father’s money he was paying with.
He paid without complaint, took hold of his trunk and made for the door as quickly as he could. The vampire made no attempt to stop him, though Harry could practically feel his unnaturally dark eyes fixated on his back as he made to leave the shop and re-enter the hazardous streets of Knockturn Alley.
Just as he was about to step through the door, the creature’s hiss of a voice called to him for a final time.
“If you are asked how your eyesight was fixed, I encourage you to lie.” The creature’s lips tightened. “What your Ministry foolishly deems as the Dark Arts are not viewed in such a positive light by your kind.” With that parting statement, the vampire disappeared back into the shadows as Harry bemusedly stepped back into the alley.
Harry, marvelling at the ease of his vision without glasses scanned the street up and down, looking for the way from which he had come in order to find the wand shop that Hagrid had spoken of back on the other side. In searching, his eyes fell upon a small building with the words Hephaestus’s Custom Wands imprinted upon its sign.
Harry had always been fascinated by Greek mythology, so the name Hephaestus alone commanded his attention, as he thought it was a rather clever illusion.
He crept his way towards the entrance of the shop, making sure he wasn’t being stalked by God only knew what was in this alley. He felt miles better after downing those admittedly vile potions, but he still felt weaker than he would typically feel on a regular day. That was the exact moment when Harry realized he may well have used up his supply of “regular days”.
When he reached the entrance of the shop, he tentatively pushed open the door and stepped inside. He quickly realized that he was not the only customer. There were two other people in the shop who seemed to be waiting for its owner. Unlike the vampire from his last venture, Harry was at least reasonably sure that the two of them were human.
Both of them were women. Or, to be more precise, one of them was a woman and one of them was a girl.
They were very clearly a mother and a daughter, as the shorter of them- who could not have been older than Harry- was a spitting image of the taller woman. It was probably safe to assume that in terns of her height, she would likely follow in her mother’s footsteps. This fact rang even more true when Harry considered that she didn’t look to be any older than him. In fact, he thought she might have even been younger, yet they were almost exactly the same height. Both women had platinum blonde hair and pale, perfect skin. When they turned to appraise Harry, he actually stiffened. Their eyes may have been the most magnetic things he’d ever looked at. They were a bluish-silver, with specks of the latter colour standing out vividly in their irises.
He met the young girl’s gaze, momentarily entranced by those odd, mesmerizing eyes. A split second later, he no longer saw the bluish-silver of her irises. Instead, he saw a dark, abandoned street as he, Harry, stepped out of the shop and walked towards the wand shop he now stood in.
Idly, he realized that he must not be the only one with the ability to look into the thoughts of others. Perhaps it was a generic, magical ability.
At that thought, memories of his own exploits over the years floated to the surface. Memories of him peering into the eyes and surface thoughts of others. Harry did everything he could to push back, focusing on the bluish-silver of her eyes, which he could still make out through a sort of haze. As he did so, the image changed, though this time, it was not one that was familiar to him.
He- or more likely she- was reading a book. There came a knock from the door behind her, and a woman that Harry recognized from moments earlier entered the room, clearly intent on speaking to her daughter. What she said though, Harry never found out. Just as the memory started, he felt a sudden jolt pulose through his mind, as if it had run into a brick wall. Quickly, he looked away, causing the world around him to come back into focus as dazedly, he shook his head.
The other girl was still looking at him, though now, her eyes shone with curiosity whereas before, they had merely reflected her indifference.
“Do I even want to know?” asked a strong, deep voice from somewhere in the corner of the room. Privately, Harry wondered what was up with wizards and their obsession with hiding in shadows.
Out of the aforementioned shadows stepped a tall, broad-shouldered man with short, cropped grey hair and a long, bushy beard of the same colour. He was a rather bulky man and had well-calloused hands and dark brown eyes.
The girl’s mother, who’s eyes had narrowed upon the completion of her daughter’s interaction merely shook her head, taking a rather firm grip on the girl’s shoulder. “I don’t think that will be necessary, Master Hephaestus, but I thank you for your concern.”
The girl didn’t seem to care much, as she continued to look at Harry. This time, nothing out of the ordinary transpired, but he could feel the raw intensity of her gaze and felt as if she were trying to look into his very soul.
“Who are you?” the girl asked. Her voice was soft, yet cool. It gave away nothing as to her internal thoughts.
Harry didn’t so much as flinch. “Sorry, but this doesn’t seem like the place to be giving out my name.”
The girl looked annoyed for a moment, but before she could speak, her mother beat her to the punch.
“Charlotte, there’s no need to accost the boy. Not everybody grows up with the luxury of being able to walk through this alley without fear.” The girl, Charlotte, looked extremely miffed, probably because now Harry had her name and she didn’t have his.
“Should we get this out of the way then?” asked the large man whom Harry presumed was the wandmaker. “I don’t have all night and I have a feeling that your wand will be very complicated.” He indicated Charlotte when he spoke and she nodded. He turned to Harry. “Stay here while I get this one sorted out, will you?” Harry didn’t quite know what the man meant by that but nodded, doing as he was told as the man and the two ladies walked through a door leading off of the lobby.
Once they had passed through, Harry could hear nothing of their conversation, and ascertained that had likely been the exact purpose for them leaving in the first place.
Charlotte had been sure that nothing could distract her from the joy and excitement that had accompanied her all the way from their family manor to the dingy corner of Knockturn Alley they now resided in. She had, however, been very much mistaken.
She hadn’t expected anyone to be occupying the low-key, high-priced wand shop that her family had always frequented. To her surprise, not only was the shop occupied, but it was so by a boy who looked no older than Daphne. On top of that, he was alone with no parent or guardian in sight and if even that was not enough, he seemed to know and be a capable user of Legilimency, even if his Occlumency had admittedly seemed non-existent.
How would he know one and not the other?
Now, as she and her mother, Adriana, followed Hephaestus into a more private setting, Charlotte quickly cleared her mind and allowed her focus to shift from the odd boy to the odd wall that stood in front of her.
Some time later, Charlotte and Adriana were back out on the streets of Knockturn Alley. Charlotte braced herself. She knew all too well that a lecture was on its way. “That was a poor showing of control, Charlotte. Why, pray tell, did you take it upon yourself to assault the mind of the boy without reason?”
Briefly, Charlotte debated telling her mother that the boy had managed to get his licks in too, but she decided that information was better kept to herself. “There’s something… different about him,” she finally answered. “Surely you felt it too?”
Adriana hummed softly. “Perhaps, but an admittedly potent aura is hardly a good reason to legilimize a boy whom you may never meet again.”
Charlotte had no good retort for such a remark, but she had the unmistakable feeling that she and the boy, whatever his name was, would meet a few more times in the not-so-distant future.
Later that night, at the home of Hephaestus…
It was a mentally drained Hephestentine Gregorovich that settled himself down in bed with a sigh, as he pressed his large, calloused hands to his temples.
‘What are the odds?’ he thought to himself.
The boy had been as curious as the girl before him. Both had favoured ebony, though their cores differed greatly. The girl had been chosen by a dragon heartstring from a Ukrainian Ironbelly and the boy had been favoured by a feather from the tail of a phoenix. The only one of them he had, as a matter of fact. Beyond that, what made the phenomena so mystifying and worrying was that, if the rumour about that Ironbelly heartstring was to be believed- a heartstring he had salvaged from the remains of his grandfather’s shop years earlier- both young children were now in possession of wands irrevocably linked to the two greatest dark sorcerers of the past century.
Some of the dates in this chapter don’t line up with canon (like Malfoy being in the alley when he was). This was intentional. I will play with the timeline when it benefits the plot. I’ll only speak on it here, just so I don’t get reviews about it in the future. Same goes for things like the phoenix feather. There is one extra one in this story, meaning there are three sibling wands. It was not a mistake, just a conscious choice to change canon.
Also, apologies if this chapter seemed cliché. I plan to subvert most of the tropes eventually, but they sort of need to be established in order to do so. This story will hit its stride in time. I also don’t love how info-dumpy this chapter seems, but there’s no real way to change it without entirely re-writing it, which I frankly have no interest in doing.
Please read and review.
This chapter was revised on September 6th, 2020 with the assistance of Discord editors Asmodeus Stahl and rawmeat898.
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