The Assassin

The Assassin - Chapter 8

Chapter 8

Green fiery eyes stared down icy blue eyes, as neither made a move. The room seemed to still as the words sunk in. The Order members looked to their leader for confirmation and guidance, not knowing what to do next. Harry’s smirk only increased as he watched the flabbergasted look overtake the old male’s face, trying to obviously comprehend the words that came out of his mouth. Harry’s eyes roamed over the rest of the members in attendance, finding pleasure in the shocked looks. How fun this encounter would be for him.

Dumbledore’s cheeks flushed red in anger, not believing the fool before him that was obviously trying to trick them all. There was no way that this was the missing boy they had desperately been searching for. There was no way he would just appear out of thin air, randomly, without a trace all these years. He wouldn’t be allowing such disrespect in his office, let alone the fact the stranger had been sitting at his desk of all places; no one sat at his desk.

Many shook their heads as they took in the sight of the young man who claimed to be the missing child. Although they could see attributes of the child’s parents within him, there was no way this was the one and only Harry Potter. Severus continued to train his wand directly at the stranger’s head, mesmerised by the same green eyes his childhood best friend had. The words slowly seemed to absorb and realisation dawned at who he was pointing his wand at. Shame took over many as they slowly lowered their wands. While a few remained on the cautious side and continued on with their wands pointing at the boy.

“I very much doubt that, young man. The boy we are looking for, Harry Potter, has a scar on his forehead in the shape of a lighting scar. You my dear boy, do not have one,” Dumbledore said in an authority manner, trying to get the truth out of whoever this little brat was.

“That will all be explained in due time,” Harry smirked, not backing down.

“Excuse you?” Dumbledore asked in shock, the further disrespect from the young man only irritating him more.

“I will explain why I no longer have a scar when the time is right, Headmaster Dumbledore,” he replied with nothing more than a smirk on his face.

Waves of anger seeped from the old man, the disrespect was unlike anything he had to deal with in a very long time. Dumbledore looked into the green eyes that defiantly stared back at him. If this brat wouldn’t reveal himself, or why he was truly here, he would have no choice but to force it out of him. Pushing into the mind of the stranger he tried to dig around as subtly as he could. Yet he was instantly met with strong barriers that protected his mind. Within less than a second, he was pushed out of the stranger’s mind, finding angry eyes glaring at him.

“I wouldn’t do that if I were you, Headmaster Dumbledore,” Harry growled, not flinching a muscle even if his body wanted to lunge at the man so badly. “Accessing minds without permission can be treacherous grounds.”

“I am sorry, my boy. I’m sure you can understand the circumstances I’ve been throu-“ he said before being cut off, his red cheeks only reddening from the embarrassment of being called out in front of many Order members.

“Do not call me your boy. I don’t know you. You don’t know me. Let’s keep this civil and formal. As for these circumstances you have been through, it does not give you the right to access my mind without consent. Am I not correct?” he spat out furiously, making the others in the room shiver under his enormous power and dark demeaner.

“You are correct,” Dumbledore nodded his head in a show of submission, even though he strongly believed the boy was wrong. “How about you take a seat over here so we may sort this out, yes?”

Harry carefully looked at the old coot, scrutinising every move and breath the other made. Not knowing if he should trust him enough yet, he decided to give in partially by standing up and stepping over to the other side of the desk. He came to stand beside chairs so no one was out of his line of vision. He smiled darkly at the other in defiance as he continued to stand. Finding satisfaction in the uncontrollable twitch that adorned the Headmaster’s face as he made his way to his own desk chair. Once more, he thought of how fun this was going to be. It would make all his anxiety disappear to know the other was struggling by his ominous presences.

The room was filled with a strained silence as green eyes stared down blue eyes. Refusing to move a muscle, he continued to stand in silence as he waited for the Headmaster to continue. However, movement from in front of him caught his attention. Relenting in the stare down with Dumbledore, he looked over to see Minerva make her way towards the chairs with shaky legs. The old lady appearing to be shaken to the core so much so that she could no longer stand. Without a word, he pushed the chair closer to her so she wouldn’t have to walk as far. A weak smile was flung his way, the witch too shy to look into his eyes.

“How can we trust you are Harry Potter?” Dumbledore said to break up the rebellious silence.

“Well,” Harry smirked as he held his hands behind his back, knife still in hand, and puffing his chest out proudly. “I can tell you information only I, Harry Potter, would be able to know.”

“Go on,” Dumbledore sighed, waving his hand before leaning back in his chair tiredly.

“I, Harry Potter, was born on the 31st of July 1980,” he begun, glaring at the Headmaster as he scoffed. “I was transferred to the care of my maternal Aunt, Petunia Dursley, her husband Vernon Dursley and my cousin Dudley Dursley. I lived at 4 Privet Drive with those three until age 5, where I then subsequently disappeared from the world until tonight.”

“Anyone can easily find this out,” he scoffed as he rolled his eyes, ready to end the lying brat and show the Order members present why he was in charge.

“Occasionally I was looked after by Arabella Figg who is a Squib and part of the Order of the Phoenix,” Harry continued without responding to the comment, making his point.

“How did you know about the Order,“ Dumbledore was flabbergasted by the cocky young man.

“My magical caregiver was in fact you, Headmaster Dumbledore,” he ignored the comment once again with a vicious glare. “Was, is the key word. You are no longer my magical caregiver. And before you dropped me off at the Dursley’s all those years ago, you discovered I had a piece of Lord Voldemort’s soul within me.”

Before Harry could continue, Dumbledore stood up furiously. He looked upon the young boy with anger for spilling a fact only a few people in the world knew. Turning his eyes to the rest of the Order, he thought quickly about how to handle this from veering into an incredibly difficult situation.

“You are all dismissed. Now!” Dumbledore shouted and a wave of magic shot through the room accidently, sending chills down the spines of many. “I shall call upon you tomorrow. What has been discussed and revealed tonight must not be talked about outside of this room. Molly, expect me to drop by with Harry later tonight.”

It was in this moment that the Order got the clear confirmation they needed. Understanding the severity and seriousness, they reluctantly begun to leave. Some were glad to finally go home after the terrible event that had appeared before their eyes tonight. Dumbledore motioned for Severus to stay where he stood, he also knew there was also no point asking Minerva to leave as her body was in shock from the revelations. With less people in the room, Harry felt it safe enough to turn his body towards the Headmaster to give him his full attention.

“You knew that I was a living, breathing, walking human Horcrux, the first in history, and yet you abandoned me with those despicable muggles,” Harry growled out in anger as soon as the door was closed.

“What?” Minerva exclaimed, gasping and grabbing her chest. “A what inside you?”

“A soul fragment, Professor McGonagall,” Harry turned to look at her, speaking calmly compared to the way he had addressed the Headmaster moments ago. “For years before the attack, Voldemort had been creating Horcruxes. He would place them inside items so he could scatter them around the place to become immortal. That night he killed my parents, my mother unknowingly preformed a sacrificial protection on me, resulting in the killing curse rebounding back on to Voldemort when he tried to kill me. At the same time a piece of his soul had detached from him and attached itself to me. I lived with it in me for years.”

“How do you know all of this?” Severus asked from the side of him, his first time speaking directly to the teenager.

“I have my sources,” he looked blankly at Severus for a few seconds before turning his back on the man once more.

“Lived with it? Meaning you no longer have it in you?” Minerva asked, picking up on the hint.

“Correct,” he nodded his head, giving her a genuine smile.

Harry turned his attention back to the silent Headmaster of Hogwarts, finding the old coot deep in thought. He waited patiently for the other to say something. But the seconds turned agonisingly into minutes, and still nothing was said. The prehistoric man processing all of the information that had been presented to him. Harry couldn’t help but smirk. this was the exact scenario he had hoped to cause when he had arrived. Maybe he should stir the pot even more, confuse the Headmaster even more with the knowledge he had all thanks to the detailed research he had done over the many, many years.

“You don’t seem convinced,” Harry mused out loud, crossing one arm across his chest while the other hand stroked his chin in feigned thought, his knife hanging loosely in his grip. “How about I share some of my memories from my childhood. I give permission, for all three of you in fact, to view them in that pensive of yours.”

That definitely gained the attention of the preoccupied Headmaster, cold blue eyes snapping up in anger. A mixture of confusion and shock passing over the disgustingly wrinkled features. Harry continued to smirk, eyes never wavering from Dumbledore. Instead he stared him down, daring the other to do it silently in his head. He so desperately wanted him to say something that would work in his favour, like denying him the chance to show who he was. Oh, how he just wanted to bring the prestigious Headmaster of Hogwarts down a few pegs, kick him off his throne and remind him where he came from.

“And how do you know that I have a pensive?” Dumbledore finally spoke.

“Again, I have my sources,” he smirked darkly, not moving an inch.

With an irritated huff, Dumbledore stood up and walked over to the black cabinet off to the side of his desk. He unlocked the cabinet and out came a fragile looking pensive. The old runes and symbols that had been carved into the side looked as if they had only just been professionally done the other day, time not catching up with the centuries old item. The old man looked expectantly at Harry, waiting beside the swirling silverly lights. Walking over to the pensive, Harry swapped his knife for his wand, holding it to his forehead with his right hand. He focused on all of the horrible memories from his childhood. Bringing each memory down and adding it to the many stored memories of past Headmasters and Headmistresses.

Satisfied that the memories he added would shock them all enough into believing he was the one and only Harry Potter, he stepped back and gestured for the three to come forwards. Harry watched Dumbledore, Severus and Minerva all enter the pensive, the latter with a reluctant last look towards him. Twirling his wand in his hand, he looked around the circular office, intrigued by the many gadgets that littered the spindly tables. He knew they would be a while, so why not explore the office whilst he waited? His eyes caught sight of an old and battered hat sitting on the shelves behind the Headmaster’s desk. Its exterior frayed and extremely dirt, with parts of its brown material patched together.

Harry wandered over to the hat, of course knowing exactly what it was, and placing his wand back in its holster on his forearm. He carefully picked up the delicate hat and placed it upon his head, instantly losing sight of the office as its large circumference swamped his head. Staring ahead into darkness, he waited for the quiet voice to speak. And he wasn’t disappointed as seconds later a whisper interrupted his thoughts. Knowing the magical hat uses Legilimency to communicate with its wearers.

“Harry Potter has finally arrived at Hogwarts,” the voice spoke inside his mind.

“Hello, Sorting Hat,” he smiled as he replied.

“My, my, my. I have been awaiting this moment for a long time,” it said quietly. “What an interesting young man you have developed in to.”

“Thank you,” Harry couldn’t help but to chuckle aloud.

“You will be joining us this year, I see. I have a hunch I know which Hogwarts House you would like to be sorted into,” said the hat.

“Indeed,” he nodded his head. “A surprise in which many will not expect.”

“A surprise I would have seen coming, young man,” the hat laughed inside his mind. “I would have offered the same house to you if you had attended in your first year. You always had these qualities instilled in you from a young age. No thanks to your upbringing.”

“Mmmm, I see,” Harry smiled. “Well, I shall speak to you in a month or so when it’s the sorting feast. Goodbye Sorting Hat.”

“Take care, Harry Potter. And try to not have too much fun,” the Sorting Hat’s voice slowly faded away as he picked up the hat and placed it back on the shelf.

With a smile on his face, Harry turned around and sat down in the chair next to where Minerva had been sitting. He got comfortable, resting his boots on the edge of the Headmaster’s desk. Smirking as he knew how much that it would once again annoy the old coot after he resurfaced from the memories. He pulled out his Blackhawk Tatang knife from its sheath and absentmindedly twirled the sharp tip on his left pointer finger as he waited. Bored out of his mind, he threw his head back and looked at the office upside down from where he sat.

As Dumbledore entered the pensive with a deep, calm breath, he looked around to find himself in the overly familiar home of the Dursley’s. He noticed both Severus and Minerva had arrived as they stood beside him in the cramped hallway. Their attention was drawn to the staircase as a chunky small child eagerly pulled a thin woman downstairs, making a high-pitched whaling sound as he pleaded for some food to be made. A tired looking Petunia Dursley followed her son downstairs and into the kitchen. They followed her into the kitchen and watched as she struggled to pick up the whining child and place him in the high set chair next to the table. She quickly placed crayons and paper on the tray to occupy the kid.

All three watched on in confusion as the lady passed through them and headed back into the hallway, instead of going into the kitchen and making the annoying child breakfast. Petunia stopped next to the cupboard under the stairs and banged her fist on the door three times. Dumbledore gulped, knowing exactly what was about to happen. He avoided eye contact with the confused looks Minerva and Severus were shooting at him. The door was swung open and Petunia reached in, as she pulled out the frail child by the scruff of his hair, one loud gasp and one barely audible inhale came from beside him. Dumbledore dared not look at his colleagues, fearing they see how unsurprised this scene was to him.

“Hurry up, we don’t have all day,” Petunia screeched as she pushed the small Harry Potter towards the kitchen.

The child with big, black bags under his eyes begun sombrely walking into the kitchen. He grabbed out a small stepping stool which he used to help his tiny frame reach for ingredients and utensils that were well and truly out of his reach. Dumbledore watched the woman sit back and relax at the table, happily interacting with her own child as her nephew slaved away in the kitchen. His face became white as if he had seen as ghost as he continued to watch the scene unfold. Beside him, Minerva couldn’t keep her jaw off the ground and Severus could only stare angrily at the nasty woman that had always tormented her own sister, and now nephew, out of jealousy.

The room started to blur slightly and morphed until the three of them were standing in the lounge room where not only hours before had Vernon Dursley been tied up and dead in the middle of the floor. Now the fat walrus of a man was lounging back in a chair with his bunioned feet resting in the air, watching whatever braindead show was on the television. Petunia sat on the couch with a straight back, quietly knitting away to herself, occasionally looking up at the boxy television. The quiet of the evening was soon interrupted as their son waddled into the living room with a loud, obnoxious cry followed closely by a terrified looking Harry.

“D-Daddy!” the small child wailed in a high-pitched, posh accent. “Freak was playing with my toy!”

“I was not, Sir,” Harry bowed his head as his furious uncle looked at him.

“Dudley, in life we have to teach those disobedient to us lessons. How about you teach your cousin a lesson as to why he shouldn’t touch what isn’t his,” Vernon smiled, making Minerva shiver in disgust.

“Okay daddy!” Dudley smiled with glee.

Minerva and Severus watched on with disgust as the young child turned around and started furiously hitting the small framed Harry over and over again. Harry whimpered as he fell to the floor, holding his hands to his face to try and protect it as much as he could. It was painstakingly clear to everyone present in this moment that this wasn’t the first time the young child had to protect himself from an onslaught of physical abuse. The way he almost relaxed his body to go with the hits to lessen the pain, the way he refused to yell or beg to let it be over quicker, the way he knew the most vital areas to protect from the blows.

One blink and the three adults were standing in the hallway once again. They looked around the tight space, trying to figure out what was going to happen next to prevent being caught off guard. Although it seemed this developing situation was proving to be quite unpredictable. The front door opened, the bright sunny day shinning into the gloomy space, and in came Petunia dragging the timid, shaking child by the scruff of his oversized shirt. Dirt smeared all over the sunken in cheeks and all over the already dirty clothing that engulfed his body. Harry’s skin was harshly tinted red with sunburn, his cheeks flushed as his short legs struggled to keep up with the quick pace of his aunt.

“I knew an idiot like you wouldn’t be able to follow the simplest of instructions!” Petunia’s shrill voice yelled loudly, making sure to slam the front door closed behind her.

The small child flinched away as much as he could from the hand that grasped his shirt. The three adults watched on, two in disgust and one void of all emotion. Petunia dragged Harry through the invisible people to come to a stop outside of the cupboard under the stairs, the three now knew this was the permanent room the young child stayed in. Ominously, the small door was open, the darkness seen within caused Minerva and Severus to feel claustrophobic from where they stood in the hallway.

“You are pathetic,” she snarled, glaring down her nose at her nephew with disgust. “How hard is it to declutter the overgrown garden, huh, boy?”

“I’m very sorry, Aunt Petunia. I only had my hands to use,” young Harry softly spoke with his eyes trained on his aunt’s shoes.

“Don’t you dare say my name in that filthy mouth of yours,” Petunia spat as she roughly pushed Harry into the wall, smirking as he fell to his hands and knees.

“Sorry, Aunt,” he muttered, cowering into himself.

“Such a waste of space,” she said with disgust lacing her voice. “You should have died in that car accident with your parents. Ungrateful, disrespectful, little brat. Just as disgusting as your no good father.”

Minerva felt her stomach drop at those words. Her eyes begun to water and her breath taken away. How could someone say such a thing to a child? Your own flesh and blood? Her mind was numb, fighting to just get through this experience without losing the contents of her stomach. She looked over to Severus, knowing how hard this must have been for the man. Seeing his childhood friend’s child being degraded and abused. She knew the man would immediately put aside his prejudice for Lily, anything for his Lily. Watching the normally expressionless face, Minerva saw the hurt in his eyes and the anger that contorted his eyebrows.

“Get in there,” she growled pointing at the cupboard. “You may not leave until I say so. You may not have food for three days. You may not speak to us, or look at us, for a week. Understood?”

Shaking from fear, Harry Potter crawled on his hands and knees into the cramped space of the cupboard. He silently climbed on to the small square mattress and curled up on his side. Petunia merely scoffed at the actions before closing the cupboards door. Suddenly the hallway disappeared, nothing but blackness surrounded them. Shook shot through them as they clearly heard the soft muffled cries followed by a loud rumble from Harry’s ravenous stomach. Looking down, they saw only a slither of light seeping into a small, cramped room, softly illuminating a small figure on the ground. It didn’t take a genius to guess the three adults were standing in the memory of Harry being trapped inside the cupboard under the stairs.

The darkness slowly left, a new scene taking place in front of their eyes. No longer were they inside the house, instead they stood side-by-side in the middle of a suburban street. A few seconds passed by with no action and they looked around in confusion as to why they were here. That didn’t last for much longer as they simultaneously turned around at the sound of high pitched yells in the distance. Harry came running around the corner, looking over his shoulder in a panic as he blindly ran. Two other kids around the same age rounded the corner not far behind.

Harry abruptly came to a stop as his eyes comically widen with fear. The three adults turned their heads to find yet another three children running directly towards the terrified child. They turned their attention back to Harry just in time to see the young boy turn on his heel and run into the open backyard of a house. His fat cousin leading the other two he was with to meet up in the middle with the first two boys. The group of five slowly catching their breath as wolfish grins and lit up eyes stared towards the backyard.

“Split up and get him!” Dudley yelled suddenly and smiled with glee.

The group of adults were transported to the backyard of the house where they saw Harry flee to. There, against the brick wall, was the five year old child recoiling into himself as he listened to the approaching yells. Minerva and Severus watched on helplessly as five boys rounded the corners from each edge of the house. They knew what was about to happen as the bullies begun circling and entrapping their prey like a pack of hungry wolves. As a last ditch attempt to escape, Harry tried to dash through the gap between two of smaller kids. Minerva visually cringing as all five kids spear tackled their victim.

“We win!” screeched Dudley as he blindly threw a couple of punches into the dog pile before sloppily standing up. “We won Harry Hunting!”

Severus gulped and looked at Dumbledore for his reaction. How could the man leave the child in such conditions? Surely he knew what was going on. Otherwise the squib did a horrible job of overseeing Harry. As Severus looked closer at the Headmaster, he noticed a content twinkle at the scene before his eyes. He felt sick to his stomach, he knew both men he served were mad, but the lines of who was more insane was beginning to blur.

“Dudley?” a thin, tall kid asked as he untangled his limbs from the others. “Where did he go?”

Not only was the confused group of kids looking around for their target, but all three adults tried to figure out where the small child had disappeared to. No one present could explain how Harry could have escaped. With all those hands and bodies tackling the small framed child, there was no way he could have slipped passed. And Dumbledore, Minerva or Severus would have seen it having the height advantage. Gasps came from the group of children as the tall kid was pointing his lanky finger up towards the roof.

“How did he get up there?” an equally large kid asked next to Dudley, fear and awe evident in his voice.

“He’s a freak,” Dudley stammered out in shock. “Freaks do freakish things.”

“Did he apparate?” quietly asked Minerva as she tried to wrap her head around what had happened.

Before the other two could answer the burning question that hung in the air, the backyard and children disappeared from view. There stood Vernon, looming over the tiny frame of Harry Potter, he looked to be only two years old in this particular memory. A loud smack rung out in the quiet room as leather belt met flesh. Severus closed his eyes at the familiar scene, memories he has suppressed many moons ago resurfacing. Each time the material would harshly hit the child, he inwardly flinched as he felt the pain in his very own torso.

A shaky hand was placed on his shoulder, he opened his eyes to find Minerva with tear filled eyes, staring in sympathy at him. She was the only one he had freely told about his past. Of course both madmen that he served requested complete access to his mind and memories. While there were few things he chose to hide, like the fact he was a double agent, he could not hide his childhood abuse and neglect from either of them. He needed to show them his weak points so they wouldn’t focus on the parts that were just out of reach.

Once more, the scene changed before their eyes. How desperately Minerva and Severus wished this torture would end. Neither could imagine spending a full four and a bit years like this. They shudder in unison as their brains were thinking the same thing; what if he had never gone missing and stayed there until his first year? Would there even be a chance the kid would have survived that long? Their thoughts going down a scary path, making them sick to their stomachs.

The new shocking scene fell upon numb eyes. A young Harry was standing next to a full carton of eggs turned upside and smashed all over the kitchens floor. Petunia angrily walked in, ignoring the tears flowing down the remorseful child’s face. She picked up the frying pan from the stove top and lifted the hot item in the air. She brought the bottom of the hot pan down to land against Harry’s little face. They all cringed, even Dumbledore, as it was held in place for a couple of seconds. Steam floating up between the item and flesh as Harry’s mouth hung open in a silent scream, afraid to make a sound. Even more tears flooding down his face than before.

The disturbing kitchen scene faded and the three found themselves, unbeknownst to them, in the last memory Harry was willing to offer. Small, little Harry sat in a bare bedroom that was obviously used as a storage space. He sat in the far corner with a book clutched in his hands, eyes lit with wonder as he scanned the pages as fast as he could. The boy looked so different then in all the other memories. There was a carefree aura around Harry as he relaxed in the corner. Expressions lit his face as he audibly reacted out loud while he read.

“Boy!” a voice suddenly boomed in the distance, followed by a slamming of a door.

The adults watched as Harry closed the book and with a frantic look around the room, decided to hide the book behind his back. His eyes shined with fear as big, heavy footsteps came towards the room he was hiding in. They could tell he was holding his breath, eyes trained on the door with a stiff body. Footsteps passed before shortly coming back around and stopping outside the door. Slowly, the door creaked open and in came the burly beast of a man.

“What are you doing in here, freak?” Vernon spat angrily, voice raised in anger.

“Nothing Uncle,” his body drawing in on itself, eyes darting everywhere trying to find an escape route.

“Come here,” quietly, yet angrily said Vernon. His face turning red slowly. “Now.”

Harry stood up shakily and begun to walk towards his uncle with both hands hiding the book behind his back. He kept his head downcast, afraid to even remotely look in the direction of Vernon. Coming to stop a few steps away from the overpowering man, he stayed still in silence in hopes he could get away without getting hurt. A full minute passed by in utter silence. No one in the room moved an inch, not a single word was muttered.

“Is that a book, boy?” snarled Vernon harshly as he reached behind the tiny frame and snatched the book from his grasp.

“I-I didn’t mean to touch it, Sir,” Harry’s tear filled eyes looked widely up at Vernon.

“Freaks like you shouldn’t be going anywhere near books!” Vernon yelled as he backhanded him with the hard cover of the book. “Children that are burdens to their families aren’t allowed the privilege of reading, when we already do so much for you.”

“I-I-I’m sorry, Uncle Vernon,” he whimpered after the cover of the book hit his cheek once more.

“Don’t you dare say my name, you little fuck!” yelled Vernon, eyes alight with rage.

Dumbledore, Minerva and Severus all flinched as the onslaught of book meeting flesh begun. They watched as the young child fell to the ground and withered in pain from the assault. Harry turned away from his uncle to hide his emotions, staring at the corner where three invisible adults stood. Tears streamed in rivers down his face, his green eyes expressing all the torment he had suffered while in this very household. Thankfully all three begun to rise out of the pensive, finding themselves back in the room they had left from.

The room was filled with a tense and sadden silence as Minerva immediately started crying the second her eyes laid upon the young man in front of her. She made her way to the chair she had sat in before with shaky legs. While Severus continued to stand near the pensive, his head hung in pure shame. Shame for letting another kid like him suffer a childhood no one should endure. Dumbledore glared at the young man sitting smugly in his seat, his face turning redder the more he stared into those green, glistening eyes. The brat spilling some of his most well-kept secrets in a matter of an hour.

“Well?” Harry asked with a solid smirk on his face, twirling his knife in the air haphazardly. “Are you convinced now?”

“Very much, Harry,” Dumbledore reluctantly said as he sat down in his chair, glaring at the shoes on his desk.

“How did you not know?” interrupted Minerva, collecting her breath momentarily to speak. “Why did you let that happen to him?”

Dumbledore feigned a heavy sigh, forcing a sad twinkle in his eyes as he tried to hide his irritation as much as he could. This boy is already causing so much trouble, causing his loyal followers to question his leadership. He just hoped that no more questions would arise from the rest of the Order of the Phoenix. Not wanting to answer anything right now in fear of betraying his true motives, he decided to remain silence. Hoping the false facial and body expressions would be enough to throw both of his professors off the scent for now.

“Where have you been, my dear boy?” asked Dumbledore after a tense silence. “We have been looking everywhere for you.”

“I am not your boy. And obviously you have not been looking hard enough, Headmaster,” Harry smirked, absentmindedly spinning his knife on the tip of his finger.

“Have you been in the magical world?” Dumbledore’s red face giving away how much Harry was getting on his nerves.

“Maybe,” he shrugged casually.

“Muggle world?” he asked once more.

“Perhaps,” a smirk sat firm on his face, not giving away anything.

“Harry, I,” Dumbledore cleared his throat and adjusted his tone from annoyed to a controlled calm one. “We need to know where you have been, with who and how much knowledge you know to help you before the school year starts.”

With a defiant stare, Harry passively sat in his chair with his feet still up on the desk. He didn’t dare speak again. Instead letting the tense silence draw on until the stubborn Headmaster gave in. Hopefully the Headmaster would soon realise two things from this encounter; Harry was more stubborn than he was and that getting personal information about Harry would remain to be incredibly difficult. Oh how fun this was going to be for Harry.

“Since you aren’t willing to share information about yourself right now,” sighed Dumbledore, his patience wearing thin with this boy. “How about we organise a plan for the next month. We, the members of the Order, will help adjust you to the magical world and customs. Train you to be ready for the threat of Voldemort. Catch you up on things you may be behind in so you can begin 7th year with the rest of your peers. And we will do anything to help you during this time.”

“I am happy to help you with transfiguration, my dear,” Minerva spoke up again, her crying essentially stopped as she had calmed herself down.

“I would be honoured to be taught by you,” said Harry, turning his head to look at her with a kind smile upon his face.

“The honour is all mine, my dear boy,” tears welling up in her eyes once more as she took in the beautiful face before her.

To say Dumbledore was irritated that Harry had rejected being called ‘dear boy’ by him twice, yet allowed Minerva to without an issue, was an understatement. The manor in which the boy interacted with each person had not gone unnoticed by the Headmaster of Hogwarts. His attitude towards himself was very cold, controlled and spiteful. Whereas, Harry seemed to be more open to an immediate connection with Minerva, showing emotion and being honest during his communication. While towards Severus, the boy was very controlled in his responses, yet it did not seem like he had anything against the man like he did towards himself.

“Professor Snape will be your tutor in a few things,” he continued on with a strained calm voice. “He will help you in Potions, Defence Against the Dark Arts, Occlumency, and training for the inevitable fight against Voldemort.”

“I thank you in advance for your time, Professor Snape,” Harry turned slightly in his seat to nod respectfully towards the standing man; no smile, no emotions on his face as he spoke.

A slight frown appeared on both Severus and Dumbledore’s faces at the comment. Neither of them had expected that kind of reaction from the boy. Dumbledore immediately thought of ways he could get the boy to lose all respect for the Potions Master. Perhaps another time he should share some details from the man’s past that was linked back to his father and mother. Surely the boy would become angry at the treatment of his deceased parents. While it was strange how much the boy already seemed to know, certainly he could not know about his past or family history.

“Remus will assist you in preparing for your O.W.L.s which you’ll need to pass to participate in certain subjects. You’ll be staying with the Weasley’s for the month, hopefully it will help you adjust to being around other wizards. Molly and her kids will happily help you with anything,” Dumbledore said, trying to wrap things up as quickly as he could. “Tomorrow morning I will organise an Order meeting so you can be introduced with everyone that is here to support you in the quest to defeating Voldemort. Is that all clear, my dear boy?”

“I am not your boy, Headmaster Dumbledore. Refrain from saying that, before I lose any small respect I have for you,” Harry couldn’t help the anger that crossed his face, surprising all three other occupants in the room.

“My apologise, Harry,” he said through gritted teeth, forcing a tired smile. “It’s been a rather long day, you must forgive this old man.”

Harry couldn’t help but roll his eyes at the response. Without a further word, he merely stood up and stared directly into the cold, blue eyes of Dumbledore. He made his way over to the pensive, placing his knife into its sheath on his thigh and bringing out his wand once more. He concentrated on bringing all of the memories, much to his distaste, back to him. Counting the number he had placed in, he was confident he didn’t leave anything behind. Spinning on his heel, Harry stared at the quiet Headmaster with a raised eyebrow. Knowing the Headmaster didn’t get the hint, he turned towards the two professors in the room while placing his wand away.

“As Headmaster Dumbledore mentioned, it has been a long day for him. I must assume it has been for you too. I bid you both a good night and I’ll see you both again at the Order meeting tomorrow morning,” he said, nodding respectfully towards them both before turning back towards the Headmaster.

Without saying a word, Dumbledore nodded his head and stood up dejectedly. He silently begun to lead the boy out of his office and towards the Entrance Gates, not being able to side along apparate anyone else from within the boundaries of Hogwarts. Even he, as Headmaster, had limits and safety protocols he needed to follow. The two made the awkward journey in utter silence. Not a word or sound was made. Dumbledore expected that he would have looked around in amazement, eyes lit with wonder at seeing the majestic castle for the first time. Instead, Harry walked a step behind him at all times, eyes straight ahead and face void of all emotions.

Of course Harry noticed all the looks thrown at him. Yet he did not react, did not look back, did not give the Headmaster the satisfaction of an one-on-one interaction with him. He would not allow the man to use this time to try and get more information from him. Instead he would fortify the idea for the man that he was not here to be any other follower, doing the dirty work he himself dared not to do. Harry would make sure he would not be another pawn in the crazed man’s game of chess.

Eventually, the two men stepped outside the boundaries of the Entrance Gate. The tense air continuing as the Headmaster reached out to place a hand on his shoulder. Harry had to remind his body not to flinch under the touch, instead inwardly cringing. He knew that he had to allow the other to side along apparate him to the Weasley’s, even though he knew exactly where he was going. He reminded himself he needed to play along for now, holding his cards close to his chest.

The environment around Harry and Dumbledore changed as the familiar sensation of apparating overtook the two. Suddenly their feet hit the moist grass and the sound of a peaceful country night filled their ears. Harry looked upon the familiar worn down house of the Weasley’s house; or the Burrow as the family so affectionately called it in public. He could feel the large amount of magic that was in place to keep the several stories from toppling over.

Dumbledore took his hand away from Harry’s shoulder and begun to walk towards the front door. He took in the expressionless face of the younger, getting annoyed he would not give anything away. Knocking a couple of times on the door, he waited patiently as he heard frantic footsteps from within come closer. Dumbledore turned to Harry and gave him a soft smile as a last ditched effort before he would soon be departing. Yet the boy did not even look him in the eyes, instead staring at the door patiently.

“Why Headmaster Dumbledore!” Molly Weasley loudly exclaimed as the door flung open. “Come in, come in!”

Harry followed the old coot inside the warm household, looking around inspecting the surroundings of his shelter for the next month. He refused to think of it anymore than that; a roof over his head. His eyes caught sight of several sets of eyes watching his every move from what looked to be the living room. Turning his attention away from the staring group, he observed the rest of what he could see; not being able to help scout the location for threats and escape routes. Finished with his inspection, he turned back to the Molly and Dumbledore who both stood in silence before him.

“Molly, this is Harry Potter,” Dumbledore finally spoke up after a while. “I was hoping you would be able to allow him to stay here until the new school year begins. As you know, he has a lot to learn in a short time, and I was thinking being around wizards his own age would benefit him greatly.”

“Of course,” widely smiled Molly. “I’m sure we can make some space in Ron’s room for you Harry dear.”

Taking a silent, deep breath in, Harry tried to calm himself internally while figuring out a delicate way to say his next words. Obviously both Dumbledore and Molly would try to force him to room with one of the red headed kids. But he was not going to take no for an answer. He would not be sleeping in the same room as a complete stranger. Not only would he not have his privacy, but there was no way he could let his guard down enough to even sleep.

“Oh, no thank you, Mrs. Weasley. I would much prefer to stay in a room by myself,” Harry gave her a small smile. “No offense, however I do not know you or your family. So I would rather not sleep in a room with a stranger.”

Not only was the entire room silent, but the entire house had stilled after he finished speaking. All the other occupants of the house that were listening seemed to hold their breath as they waited for a response from either the usual hot-headed, protective mother or the unpredictable Headmaster. Only the ticks from the large clock seemed to fill in the tense and awkward silence. Harry maintained the relaxed expression on his face as he studied Molly’s flustered look. He refused to look towards the Headmaster, already knowing his comment alone would have angered the man.

“Harry, please don’t be unreasonable. You need to stay with a wizard your age to help you. We are only thinking with your best interests in mind,” said Dumbledore as he placed a firm hand on the young boy’s shoulder.

“I very much doubt that, Headmaster Dumbledore,” he smirked and lightly shook his head, shrugging off the hand. “If you did have my best interests in mind, you would firstly ensure I was comfortable during my transitional period. Secondly, you wouldn’t be forcing me into a situation that is unreasonable to any rational person. And thirdly, understand that I am a stranger to you and your Order members. Therefore, a mutual respect, trust and understanding needs to be built with each person. Am I understood Headmaster?”

A set of chuckles followed closely by a slapping sound was heard in the living room. Internally, he allowed himself to find the amusement as he was sure that the twins had been the ones to react in such a way. He had read about all of the trouble they had caused throughout their years at Hogwarts. Out of the entire family, he was interested in meeting those two the most. He just had a gut feeling that they would be the only ones he would be able to tolerate out of the entire Weasley family.

“Now, I am very happy to stay on the couch, Mrs. Weasley,” Harry said as he turned back to the woman considering Dumbledore was currently stunned for words.

“Oh no dear,” she immediately said, her face flushed a deep red. “No, that won’t do at all. No guest of mine shall sleep on a couch. I’m sure I can reorganise the rooms a little to give you your own room. Since Bill and Charlie are only visiting, I might put you in their room and they can move in to Ron’s room.”

“But Mum!” a tall, lanky, red headed teen whined as he stepped forwards out of the living room.

“No but’s Ron!” Molly said with a harsh tone, giving her son a warning not to argue anymore without consequences.

“Well if you have everything under control here Molly, I might take my departure now. As you know it has been a rather long day,” Dumbledore immediately said after she turned back around.

“Of course, Headmaster,” she smiled warmly up at the old man. “Oh, that does remind me. H-Have you told Harry the news?”

“No, not yet. I was hoping to give him a couple of days to adjust before I said anything,” he replied, looking between the two with a feigned sad smile.

“Okay, I’ll make sure he hears it from you,” she smiled sadly, looking at the young man with sympathy. “Good evening, Headmaster.”

“Good evening,” Dumbledore nodded his head. “I’ll see you all tomorrow morning.”

Harry simply stood there as he watched the old man turn on his heels and make his own way out of the house. Once Molly had closed the door behind him, she motioned for Harry to follow her. She made her way into the living room where a bunch of mismatched furniture were occupied by a number of redheads. They had obviously dispersed from the doorway upon seeing their mother come there way, not wanting to get on her bad side at this time of night.

“Harry, I’d like you to meet my family,” she nervously said, wringing her hands together. “If you need anything, anything at all, they will help you while you are staying here. You are part of the family while you’re here.”

“That’s very kind of you, Mrs. Weasley,” he smiled at her before slowly looking around the room of six males and one daughter. “It’s very nice to meet you all.”

“Likewise Harry,” one of the twins said, standing up from the two seater couch and walking over to him. “I’m Fred.”

“No, I’m Fred,” the other twin said in feigned hurt, quickly coming to stand next to his brother.

A smirk overtook Harry’s face as he studied the two and their behaviour. For him, it was easy to tell them apart. Fred, who was the first twin to approach him, had more freckles upon his cheeks than his brother did. He also seemed to have a more dominate aura around him, whereas, George seemed to have a more gentle approach to life. No doubt the two would test his observation skills throughout his stay. Beginning with this show of what was meant to baffle him.

“Nice to meet you Fred and George,” Harry extended his hand to the eldest twin first, staring them both in the eyes as he firmly shook their hands.

The twins were stunned for a few seconds before wordlessly retreating back to their seats, the exact same question on their minds; how did Harry know George’s name without being introduced? With a knowing look passed between them, the twins knew they would have to ask him while no one else was around.

“Percy is the only one of my son’s that is not here. But this is Bill and Charlie,” Molly pointed to her two eldest children across the room. “Ron, who is your age. And my only sweet, little daughter Ginny.”

“Mum!” the young female’s already flushed face became even redder as she hid her face with her long red hair.

“And this is my husband, Arthur,” she finished pointing out her last family member in the room.

“Glad to have you here, Harry,” Arthur nodded with a kind smile upon his face. “I’m sure you must be tired. Why don’t we get you settled in, huh?”

Nodding his head in agreement, Harry allowed Molly to lead the way up the stairs. They walked up to the third floor which only had two doors. The opened door closest to the stairs revealed a small mismatched bathroom, leading him to believe the closed door was a bedroom. Molly opened the door to the bedroom, walking inside and quickly tidying the piles of messing clothing into a suitcase. Harry walked in to observe the rather spacious room. It had two beds, personalised posters, objects scattered everywhere, and a double door closet off to the side.

“Excuse the mess,” breathlessly said Molly as she continued to place items in the suitcase that her sons may need for the night.

“It’s nothing to worry about, Mrs. Weasley,” he tried to reassure her as he stood rigidly next to one of the beds. “If they need to retrieve anything, just let them know they can knock and I’ll let them in.”

“Of course dear. I’ll let you settle in. Now if you need anything, you can find me in the living room or kitchen for the next hour. I’ll only be one floor up if you need anything throughout the night. Okay dear?” Molly asked as she levitated the suitcase out of the bedroom.

“Thank you very much, I appreciate it,” Harry smiled at her. “Good night, Mrs. Weasley.”

“No worries at all. Have a good sleep Harry,” she smiled back and closed the door shut behind her.

The second the door was closed, Harry let his guard down slightly. He let the smile drop to be replaced by a tired look. Rolling his head in a circular motion, he wandlessly erected a silencing charm upon the room as well as locking the door for the night. He felt he could at least relax a little easier knowing his charms would hold. Well, except for if Bill Weasley tried to enter. Having no doubt the eldest child would easily get in with his extensive knowledge as a Curse-Breaker.

Sitting down on the bed to the left, Harry sighed heavily as he untied his shoelaces on his black boots. He neatly placed them beside the end of the bed, out of the way. Next he took off his leather cloak and untied the thick drawstrings of his mokeskin pouch. Folding the cloak, he placed it inside the pouch before summoning out the two-way mirror. Finding the other side empty, he decided to make himself comfortable by laying down on the already made bed. The second his head hit the pillow and a content sigh left his lips, a familiar face appeared within the frames of the mirror in his hands.

“McIntyre,” Harry respectfully nodded his head towards the older man.

“Potter,” Drew nodded back with a smile on his face. “Comfortable are we?”

“Not in the slightest,” he smiled back, wiping his face with his free hand.

“How did everything go?” he cut straight to the chase, keen to know how things had played out.

“Mostly to plan,” Harry shrugged, letting the comment hang in the air as his eyes glazed over for a few seconds, thinking back on the night. “I had to convince the old coot that I am, in fact, who I am. I did that by showing some childhood memories in the pensive.”

“Good boy for remembering that was there. The research has paid off once more,” Drew smiled wickedly, proud of the young man.

“Indeed. Well I am sure I’ve finally gotten across to Dumbledore that I am a stranger to him. Not that he wanted to play along with that. He referred to me as his boy multiple times throughout the night,” sneered Harry, not able to help the strong emotions now he was in private.

“I hope you didn’t lose your cool with him,” he interjected quickly. “You need to stay in control. Remember that he doesn’t know how much you truly know about him. Make sure it stays that way.”

“I am not an imbecile, Drew,” he replied with an annoyed huff.

“I never said that, did I?” chuckled Drew, seeing the frustration on the younger’s face.

“This is going to be way harder than I imagined,” Harry huffed, covering his eyes with his arm. “He is infuriating. One of the most manipulative fools I’ve ever met. He expects me to just fall in line like the rest, to not question his words. But boy oh boy, did I show Professor Snape and Professor McGonagall some good childhood memories. Professor McGonagall immediately questioned how Dumbledore allowed that to happen. I could tell he hated me with a passion in that moment. He didn’t even bother responding to her, instead tried to integrate me on my whereabouts.”

“Sounds like it’s been an eventful night indeed. Unless there is anything pressing, I suggest you get some rest. I will be here anytime if you need to talk. How about you check in with me tomorrow evening?” Drew asked, looking rather tired himself.

“There’s nothing pressing so I shall speak with you tomorrow,” smiled Harry tiredly. “Tell Grayson I am okay, will you?”

“Of course. Now get some rest,” Drew smiled with a nod before leaving the frame.

With a fond smile on his face, Harry placed the two-way mirror back inside the mokeskin pouch. He looked around tiredly for a spot to safely put it for the night. Deciding that it could stay beside his pillow, against the wall, he threw it over there. His eyes were growing tired the more he laid there, so he decided to get ready for bed. He removed the 12 set Black Kunai Throwing knives strapped around his ankles and his two small knives that were strapped on his biceps. Placing them neatly on the small bedside table next to the bed, he then turned the light off and got under the covers.

As Harry laid in the dark, silent night, his mind wondered throughout the events of the day. He thought back on his visit with his estranged family. Satisfaction bubbling up at the scared faces of his relatives as he tortured and killed his cruel uncle. Accomplishment overtaking him as he watched the Order being stumped by the whole ordeal. Smugness surfacing as he thought on every occurrence of the Headmaster of Hogwarts either losing his cool or his well placed mask because of him. All in all, Harry begun to fall asleep with the feeling of triumph from the successful day he had.

After Dumbledore had returned, his anger was finally unleashed in the privacy of his office. He became quickly lost in thought, stewing over it all. He had seen the way Minerva had looked at him both in the pensive and back in the office. Dumbledore had to make sure this brat didn’t spoil anymore relationships or respect with his sudden return. Severus was silent, unusually so. He wished he could enter the man’s mind to see what he thought on this arising situation. Was he truly going to train the boy without a fight? If so, he would need to do some good old meddling to ensure the respect between the two would not flourish.

Moving forwards he would need to be extremely careful with how he acted around Harry. To say he wasn’t anxious about the Order meeting tomorrow would be a lie. Dumbledore was a bit unsure on what would unfold during the meeting. Would the boy have more things to reveal? Would he continue to put on a show of disrespect in front of his Order members? Somehow he needed to establish superiority over the boy, he needed to learn where his place was within the world. He could not allow such behaviour to continue on. Harry was only needed to complete the prophecy. Once it was done, he would discard the boy aside as if he never existed.

This encounter tonight had not gone as Dumbledore had wished it had. He envisioned how it would have unfolded when he first found the missing Boy Who Lived many times, and today was not one of them. Not only had he not pried vital information from the boy, but he had learnt how infuriatingly disrespectful he was. There was something not quite right with him and he needed to figure it out quickly. There was something strange with how Harry conducted himself, how much he knew about old forms of magic, the weapons he carried with him. Dumbledore needed to learn about his past. One way or another, he would find out. Nothing was going to be kept from him. Not anymore.

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