From an anon ask on tumblr- prompt was 'luck'. This was honestly the first thing I thought of. Enjoy!
Harry had always thought that he was a pretty lucky person. He did lose his parents at a young age and was sent to live with his aunt's family, but he had his own space, and doing chores and cooking really wasn't all that bad. He felt even luckier when he was eleven and got his letter from Hogwarts- he was finally able to have his own friends, his own life. It was the happiest he'd been; even if something bad happened on Halloween and at the end of the year every year, he still had his friends and newfound family there to back him up.
So that's why he was so confused when he received a letter from Professor Dumbledore at the beginning of the summer before sixth year, telling him that there would be a portkey coming to take him to Hogwarts in exactly three days, and that he should pack anything he'd think he needed for the rest of the summer. It was odd; nothing like this had ever happened before, because he'd always gone either to the Weasleys or, more recently, to Grimmauld Place. Why Hogwarts? Why now?
Harry thought it might have something to do with the fact that Voldemort was out in the open now, and everyone and their grandmother knew he'd been resurrected. Hogwarts was probably the safest place now, especially with Dumbledore there, and Voldemort knew it, so maybe Dumbledore was trying to keep them safe. Still, it was suspicious.
With that in mind, Harry promptly decided to send Hedwig with a letter for his friends, asking them if they'd gotten a letter from Dumbledore too. He hoped it was real and he could go to Hogwarts early; as much as he felt his life wasn't that bad with the Dursleys, he liked being with his friends much more. He felt like he was actually wanted then, like he had a real family.
When their responses came back the next day, Harry was only a little surprised that the letter was real and he was actually going to Hogwarts. He quickly packed his things in anticipation; he couldn't wait to see his friends. Not after what had happened at the end of the last school year.
Things had to get better eventually, right? Everything was pretty bad for everyone right now, but soon, that would change. He hoped.
At last, the long awaited day came. Harry hadn't been able to sleep all night, so when the morning came, he promptly fell out of bed, hitting his head on the floor. He groaned and clutched his head, rubbing it to ease the pain.
He heard a tap on his window and looked up to see a large barn owl with a package on its leg looking irritated with him already, probably because he hadn't even moved to let it in. "Oops," he muttered under his breath, jumping up from the floor to wrench his window open. "Sorry, just hang on a sec."
Harry could hear the owl hooting from behind the glass. When he finally managed to open the window with all his fumbling, it swooped in silently, and glared at him, seemingly saying get this thing off of me, human, before I decide to peck you to death.
He'd never realized how scary an owl's gaze could be. Maybe that was why they were regarded as evil omens…
Harry shook himself. He shouldn't be thinking about evil omens, he should be getting ready to leave and go to Hogwarts! He untied the package and gave the owl some treats, just in case it decided to peck him anyway, and calmly sent it on its way.
Harry took a deep breath and opened the letter.
Harry, it said in Dumbledore's loopy handwriting, this is a matter of the utmost importance. Since Voldemort's abrupt reveal at the end of the school year, it is no longer safe for you to stay for too long at your home. I have made arrangements for you and several other students to stay at Hogwarts for the rest of the summer, because that is the safest place for you now.
Harry paused reading the letter and nodded. That made sense.
The portkey will take you to the gates of Hogwarts at exactly 7:00 in the morning. Please be ready by then; there will not be anyone to meet you at the gate, so be vigilant, Harry.
Best of luck.
7:00 couldn't come quickly enough, in Harry's opinion. It had been about an hour since he'd woken up, and he'd gathered his things and eaten a light breakfast in the meantime. Now, it was 6:57, and Harry was practically bouncing around his room. He wanted to get out immediately.
His mind was buzzing with questions. How were Ron and Hermione? Who else was going to be there? Was there going to be students from all the houses, or just Gryffindors? He couldn't wait to see his friends again.
He picked up the portkey and his trunk and waited, trying to calm himself down.
And Harry was whisked away soundlessly.
The sun was up when he landed outside the gates of Hogwarts; it was a perfectly clear morning. Harry felt like he should be up playing quidditch with the Weasleys. He dropped the portkey next to him and took a step forwards through the gates.
The moment his foot touched the ground, he knew something was wrong. The world began to spin and distort before his very eyes, and he felt like he was falling forwards. He couldn't think straight.
What is...this is...no…
His eyes widened for a fraction of a second, and then he passed out.
When Harry came to, he was in a classroom. It took him a minute to realize that it was Professor McGonagall's classroom. For a moment, he couldn't figure out why it took him so long to recognize the room, but then he saw that in place of the heavy drapery covering the windows, there were steel plates that looked to be bolted to the walls.
There was also a new statue in the corner. As he gazed at it, it turned its head to face him and blinked.
Harry jumped out of his seat in shock. Strange things happened in the magical world, so he wasn't even sure why a moving statue surprised him anymore. But the question was what it was doing- it hadn't made any move towards him, so maybe it was just observing.
He shuddered. Statues that worked like muggle security cameras? Now that was creepy.
Harry was about to walk out of the classroom to try to find Professor Dumbledore and get some sort of explanation (hopefully truthful) about what had happened when he heard something crinkle under his shoe. He frowned and reached down, finding a paper that looked like it had been written by someone who was unaccustomed to using a quill. Harry smoothed it out a little and read:
To you, lucky student:
Welcome to Hogwarts Summer School. Term begins the 17th of June, and only a special handful are picked to attend. Orientation begins at 8:00 sharp in the Great Hall. Be there or be...punished.
The letter ended with a little smiley face that, with all the ink splattered on the page, looked like it was crying. Harry frowned; what exactly did punishment mean? He sincerely hoped the letter was joking about it, and it wouldn't be something like what Filch would do.
Harry patted his pockets and sleeves, searching for his wand. He released a sigh of relief once he felt it in his left sleeve, grateful that it hadn't been taken. Then the thought struck him- where was his trunk? He looked around and didn't see it, so it might have been taken by the house elves already.
Actually, maybe they can answer some questions.
Harry glanced around quickly, then called, "Dobby!", expecting the house-elf to appear like he usually did, but no one came. Frowning again, he cast a quick tempus to check the time and was surprised when it was 7:58 am.
"Oh, no! I'm going to be late!" he almost yelped, running towards the door and yanking it open. He sprinted, hoping desperately that the punishment mentioned in the letter wasn't real and that he'd make it to the Great Hall in time.
As he ran, though, he slowed to a walk, choosing to investigate what happened to Hogwarts instead of trying to get to the Great Hall quickly. Harry was confused; he distinctly remembered that this particular hallway used to have a lot of windows in it and was therefore filled with light, but now, each of the windows had been covered up with those steel plates, and no light was getting in. The corridor was illuminated by torches burning at an interval of about five feet, making it look even more eerie and shadowy than usual.
Harry walked a little faster.
It seemed like it took him forever to get there, but Harry finally made it to the Great Hall. He didn't even care about the "punishment" anymore, he just wanted to know what was going on, where everybody was, why he was really there.
He opened the doors and walked in, making everyone already inside stop talking and look at him.
The first person Harry saw was Neville Longbottom, standing nervously near Ron and Hermione. They were talking quietly to each other, shaking their heads and waving their hands around; Harry immediately headed towards them. However, he was stopped in his tracks by someone he knew and loved to hate (or at least strongly dislike): Draco Malfoy.
"Oh, it's you, Potter," he said, sneering. "You're late, didn't you know? Or can you not even tell time?"
Harry merely brushed past him with a quiet, "Shut up, Malfoy" and kept going towards Ron and Hermione. They waited, faces unreadable.
"Hey, Harry," whispered Hermione. "Do you know what's going on? Dumbledore said he was going to greet us at the gates, but well, when the portkey landed and I walked in, I fainted and woke up in a classroom."
Harry merely shook his head, saying, "No idea. The same thing happened to me. I only just woke up and came here. What about you, Ron?"
He merely nodded, and they stood in silence, waiting for some sort of announcement. Harry turned to see who else was there; he saw Lavender Brown talking to Hannah Abbott, Susan Bones, and Padma Patil, Ernie Macmillan standing uncomfortably with Michael Corner, and a little clump of Slytherins huddled together away from everyone else near the door, which included Theodore Nott, Blaise Zabini, Pansy Parkinson, Daphne Greengrass, and Malfoy. Harry was confused; he couldn't figure out why they, of all people were in danger from Voldemort. He thought they would be some of his biggest supporters, but who knew for sure? Not him.
Suddenly, Harry heard a rumbling coming from the teachers' table. Everyone turned to look at it, nervous in their anticipation.
And then popped out the snake.
It was a large python, thick as a man's thigh, covered with green scales. It coiled up on the table, its head rising up to hiss at them.
Harry recognized her immediately; how could he not? She was that snake, the one who'd been at the graveyard in Little Hangleton, the one who'd bitten Arthur Weasley and almost killed him.
She continued to hiss, slithering up and down the table, but Harry wasn't paying attention to anything she was saying. Instead, his mind was buzzing with questions- how was she here? Why was she here? Why her? Had Voldemort infiltrated the school? And most importantly, where was Dumbledore?
Harry returned to reality when he felt himself being shoved by Malfoy. "Oi, Potter, translate for the rest of us. You're the only one here that can actually understand her, you know."
He glared at Malfoy, but obliged, actually paying attention to what Nagini was saying. But as she went on, his frown deepened; he couldn't believe her words. He spoke the words along with her:
"Welcome, students, to your new semester at Hogwarts. You must have noticed the blocked windows and the lack of exits, but worry not- no one's coming in to get you. You lovely students can stay here for the rest of your lives, completely safe."
"Wait!" Harry interrupted her, still speaking Parseltongue. "What if we want to leave? I don't want to stay here for the rest of my life."
"Well, then, there's only one thing to do," she said. It sounded almost like she was laughing. "You have to kill one of your classmates! It's not hard- you all have magic, after all, and there're plenty of things in the kitchen! Knives, bats, heck, I think there's even some chains for more...creative deaths. And more creativity equals more extra credit, kids!" She seemed to laugh again.
Harry stopped, aghast. Everyone was staring at him, not believing what he was saying, looking at him like he had suddenly gone crazy.
"Wait," said Malfoy. "You actually expect us to believe that we have to kill someone to get out of here? This isn't a funny joke, Potter."
The other students, except for Ron, Hermione, and Neville, suddenly seemed more threatening, more nightmarish. They seemed to grow larger and more shadowy before his very eyes.
All of a sudden, Harry wasn't feeling so lucky anymore.
Anybody else feeling the...despair?
Every day I'm tumblin: purple-dragon