Always keep in mind, this is an AU story and I am using some cliches on purpose. They are part of the story but not the centerpoint of the story like in other works here on FF. And don't forget, I have written this story some years ago, so my writing style is not the same as it was back then...
It was a calm and quiet day in southern France as Nicolas and Perenelle Flamel sat on the veranda of Chateau Flamel, enjoying a peaceful breakfast. The wizarding world had been quiet and peaceful ever since the fall of the dark lord Voldemort two years before. Though the people had been less influenced by the British dark lord here in France, there still was the lingering fear of all people that the Death Eaters would eventually spread their reign of terror. But now this dark time was over and the fears forgotten fast by the people.
Nicolas Flamel was one of the few people in France that knew the full extent of the danger that Voldemort posed for their entire world. This was mostly due to his constant contact with his old friend Albus Dumbledore and their often very animated discussion about tactics to defeat the dark lord. But since Voldemort's fall two years ago Nicolas has not heard a word from his friend, something that irked him from time to time.
But that would change with this day, little did Nicolas and his wife know, how much their lives would be changed by the appearance of Albus Dumbledore on this morning of the 8th August 1983.
"Master Nicolas, there are guests for you. One of them is Professor Dumbledore," One of the Flamel house elves squeaked as he approached the breakfast table.
Nicolas looked a bit surprised at that, his wife even more so as she regarded her husband with a raised eyebrow, silently demanding a possible explanation from him.
"Whatever he wants today..." Nicolas murmured. "Finally remembered that we still live, ungrateful child." He said with a bit of humor, eliciting a laugh from Perenelle. "Tanis, please bring our guests to us, we will talk to them here."
The elf just bowed and vanished with a pop to fulfill his task.
"What do you reckon he wants this time?" Perenelle asked.
"Maybe he has started feeling his age and wants some of our Elixir. Not all of us can live this long without showing their age, my dear." Nicolas chuckled at his own words, but stopped quickly when he saw Albus Dumbledore approaching with what seemed to be a young boy that tried to hide behind the old man's legs.
"Nicolas, Perenelle, good morning to the both of you. I hope we are not interrupting anything?" Albus said jovially.
"That depends, Albus. I would ask you why you are here, but the question about that boy's identity is more interesting right now."
"The poor boy looks like he is afraid of his own shadow, what happened, Albus?" Perenelle asked with a frown as she saw the boy.
"This is young Harry, he is also the reason I am here today... Nicolas, can we speak somewhere more private?" Albus looked down at the boy, making it clear that whatever he had to say he didn't want the boy to hear it.
"Of course. Let us go to my study." Nicolas replied, understanding what Albus wanted. But he would demand some serious answers. "Perenelle, would you stay with the boy while I talk to Albus? Maybe he is hungry and can keep you company until we return."
"Of course. But don't be long." Perenelle said hesitantly. "Come, Harry. Sit down with me. I will just summon Tanis and we get you something you like for breakfast." She smiled kindly at the boy as she walked over to Albus and guided the child towards the table. Harry seemed reluctant to leave Albus side, but a smile and a nod from Albus convinced him to go with the woman he did not even know.
Albus and Nicolas quickly left the woman and the child alone and retreated to the personal study of Nicolas Flamel. When they entered the room Albus couldn't help but chuckle, in the last two years he had not been here, there had been no changes in this room at all.
"Still firmly against keeping this room tidy, are you Nicolas?" the old wizard joked jovially.
"Cut the chase, Albus." Nicolas said briskly. "Tell me why I have just left my wife alone with a small child, though we both know that it causes her grief to be around children. You know how sad it makes her to see children that age, because we can never have children of our own." Nicolas was agitated and made no sign to hide it. One of the darker secrets of the Elixir of Life that Nicolas was so famous for was that it made it impossible to have children from the moment you first drink it. Had Nicolas known that before, he and his wife would have never used it.
"That young boy is... was Harry James Potter," Albus said somewhat dejectedly.
"Potter? As in Erica Potter, the girl-who-lived? And why do you say that he was Harry Potter?" Nicolas seemed confused.
"Yes, he is the older brother of Britain's famed heroine. He is a bright and gifted child, but sadly one of his gifts led to him being cast out by his hotheaded father."
"Who in his right mind would cast out a child? Just what has this boy done, Albus?"
"He is a Parselmouth. No one knows why but young Harry is able to talk to Snakes. In Britain this skill is known as a sign for infamous dark lords. and even years after Voldemort's defeat... well people are still frightened of anything dark... Sadly James Potter is also very gullible and believes such rumors over everything he knows about his own son," Albus shook his head as he said that, wondering where James' common sense had ended to do this to his son.
"Typically British. Believing every piece of shit someone else tells you. Really, the common sense of your people must be somewhat faulty when a father would cast out his innocent son just because of a magical ability that is not even dangerous," Nicolas ranted, enraged that someone would do that to a child. He had no sympathy for such people, especially since they threw away what he and his wife could never have.
"Yes, I tried to convince James not do this, but he remains unyielding. He sees Harry as a danger to both Erica and his unborn sister... not even his wife could change his mind. After all the things that have happened to his family, I can understand his fear of any further attacks on his wife and children, but his fear also blinds him," Albus paused to sigh before he continued. "And that is why am here now. The boy needs a home and you and your wife are the only people I can trust with his upbringing. All other people I trust are either close friends with the Potters or would treat him different because of this infamous ability he has. No, he has to leave Britain, at least until he is old enough to prove himself if he wishes to do so."
"Albus, don't you dare toy with us. I won't allow you to talk us into taking care of a child just to have him ripped away from us in a few years when his parents get their heads out of their asses. Such an act would destroy my wife," Nicolas glared at Albus, seeing him look apologetic was not enough to sooth his anger. How could Albus demand such a thing?
"I swear my friend that I had no such thing in mind. The boy needs a family far away from his former life. A whole different country... a new start. I ask you to take him in and raise him as your own, but I have no intention to ever take him from you again. The Potters have cast him out, there is no more claim they can have on the boy no matter what the future may bring. If he wishes to be part of their family ever again, he has to make that choice by himself when he is old enough."
"Can you really swear an oath to me that you will never do anything to take the boy from us? That you will not even tell anyone where you have brought him? If you can't do that then please leave before you cause my wife, more grief than you already have."
"If you desire it then I will swear such an oath. But you must promise me in return that you will train him to the best of your abilities. The boy might be as imperative to our future as his sister is." Albus retorted without hesitation.
Nicolas deflated visibly, shaking his head as he leaned on his desk. "I will talk to Perenelle about this. She will have the last word in this, though I doubt she will object. But know this, Albus, if the boy is to be my son, I will not turn him into a weapon for your misguided crusade against the dark."
Both men returned to the veranda where Perenelle tried to lure the boy out of his shell. At this point she didn't know why he seemed so introvert. When Albus and Nicolas returned to the table the latter quickly excused himself and his wife to tell her about Albus request. Albus knew that would be an interesting conversation to be sure. He had a reason why he approached Nicolas alone to begin with. Nicholas would only yell, but he had no doubt that Perenelle, spirited as she is, would have hexed him just for suggesting such a thing. She would have likely agreed after unleashing her anger and frustration on him. He was quite happy to escape that sort of punishment.
"Sir, why are we here?" Harry asked Albus timidly as they both waited for the Flamel's return.
"You will see soon, my boy. If all goes well you will never have to fear anything ever again."
It took the Flamels only a few moments before they returned. Nicolas looked somewhat exasperated, but his wife sported a smile that Albus had not seen on her for as long as he remembered.
"Albus, we have decided to accept your request," Perenelle said jovially before she sat down next to Harry.
"But you will swear that oath we talked about. We will do it all today, I will go the ministry to get the paperwork and so on," Nicolas said with his professional business man voice.
"I am glad that you agree and I will gladly swear that oath."
"Sir, what... what is going on?" Harry asked confused.
"We have agreed to adopt you as our son," Perenelle said with a happy squeal before she hugged the boy. Harry seemed too shocked, to react to it and just sat there, looking at the two men for confirmation. Nicolas simply nodded, but Albus laughed jovially when he saw the disbelieve on the boys face.
"It is true, Harry. You may not be a Potter anymore, but now you will be a Flamel. Nicolas and Perenelle will take good care of you, you have my word on that," Albus said as he petted Harry's head.
"But what about his name, Harry Flamel does not sound right..." Perenelle said. "He needs a French name."
"How about we simply name him Henri, if he wants to he can still be called Harry by his friends," Nicolas replied evenly.
"Henri... Henri Nicolas Flamel, yes that has a nice ring to it." Perenelle mused idly. "Would like that Harry? Would you like to become our son Henri?"
After the shock of the last few days, after loosing his family and all he had known, Harry was not sure what he should believe or not. But the way Perenelle looked at him and talked to him seemed nothing other than sincere. Maybe he was meant to be here. Albus had told him sometimes our destiny might follow the strangest paths.
"I would like that... mom," He added the last part hesitantly, not sure how Perenelle would react to it. But his fears were unfounded and disappeared as Perenelle hugged him tightly with the happiest smile she has ever had. Nicolas felt equally happy, but mostly because his wife finally got what she had wished for all her life.
This day all that was left of Harry James Potter disappeared. And in his stead Henri Nicolas Flamel started his new life in France with his new parents. Far away from the painful memories of his past life, far away from the family that had rejected him just because of what he was.