Chapter 2

Sorting and First Impressions

When Harry exited the Floo, he was assaulted by new smells and visions. The place was beautiful. Several buildings were on either side of a large street and there was so much magic in the air that it was unbelievable. For someone who had grown up in isolation for the last four years, it was quite unnerving to see hundreds of people in the alley. Harry buried his nervousness under his Occlumency shields as he walked towards the bank. He was not worried about being recognised. His appearance was quite different from what many people made him out to be and his scar was hidden behind a glamour charm. As he entered the marble building, he found a free teller and handed him a letter that had the seal of the Potter family on it.

"I would like to meet Ragnok, please," he said quietly.

The goblins were the only ones he had informed about his disappearance. Alfred had been quite insistent that he let them know that he was safe to ensure that the investments did not suffer as a result. He had penned a letter to Ragnok four years ago, but this was the first time he would be meeting the goblin.

"Griphook will take you to Ragnok's office," said the teller. Harry bowed to the goblin and was soon ushered into an opulent office.

"Greetings, Mr Potter," a voice welcomed him from behind a marble desk, the goblin observing the young boy with keen, black eyes. "I am Ragnok, the manager of the Potter accounts. What can I do for you?"

"Greetings to you as well, Ragnok," said Harry, acknowledging him with a bow. "I'm here to know the status of the Potter investments and vaults. I've been told that I'm not qualified or old enough to fully understand it, but I was hoping you could give me a brief explanation."

The next hour was spent in discussion as Ragnok explained, in simple words, about the various investments and the total worth of the Potter family. Harry knew it, but still, when he saw that the final number was in billions, he was awestruck.

"There is another matter which I want to discuss with you, Mr Potter," said Ragnok as he reached for a file containing a few sheets of parchment. "I've had time to go through this over the past few days and since you're here, I can deliver the news in person. I'm afraid I found an active betrothal contract between House Potter and House Greengrass that has been lying dormant for a couple of hundred years now."

It took all of Harry's self-control not to exclaim in shock. "Betrothal?" he asked, as his eyes bulged out.

"Indeed," nodded Ragnok. "This contract seems to have been formed by your great-great-grandfather, Lord William Potter more than one hundred and fifty years ago. It states that should either family be reduced to one member – like yours currently is – the betrothal contract will be activated and the last living member of the endangered family would be married to any son or daughter of the other's family who is similar in age."

"You are the last member of the Potter family. Lord Greengrass has two daughters, so according to this document, you are contracted to marry Miss Daphne Greengrass, who is also eleven years old, no later than your twenty-first birthday. The agreement seemed to have been drawn only as a precaution, immediately after the Potter Massacre, to safeguard the interests of the members of House Potter and House Greengrass, but I believe neither party intended for the contract to come into effect. It was a safety net, but it seems to have activated recently due to a time-limit having been crossed, with you currently being the only Potter alive. It's not strictly unbreakable, but magical contracts are very tricky. I suggest you seek the advice of those who specialise in such areas of Magical Law to see if there is a loophole."

Harry's face remained impassive, but mentally, he was panicking. He didn't even know this girl. How was he supposed to get married to her several years from now? There was no telling how she would react since this predicament was not her or her family's fault in any way. He also knew that he wasn't the easiest person to get along with. He had no patience to deal with people. He was quite an introvert.

"Does Lord Greengrass know about it?"

"Not yet. There was a time frame after which the contract activates, which was why it wasn't discovered until now. I will have to inform him soon. I shall let you know of any further developments. If you'd like, I can forward this contract to a wizarding law firm to check if there is a loophole."

Harry's stiff posture did not relax but he exhaled heavily through his nose. "I was wondering how to deal with that. I have no legal knowledge. That would be greatly appreciated, Ragnok. Thank you."

The young Potter scion was then given a thin, solid gold card which acted as a debit card to use for any purchases he would make in the future. Once his meeting with the goblin concluded, he was led to his family vault. Harry withdrew a few hundred Galleons and also browsed through the male jewellery section. Normally, he wouldn't be anywhere near this place, but the protection some of it offered was too hard to ignore. He finally picked out a small chain with a platinum locket with the Potter crest engraved on the outside. He would put a picture of his parents on the inside if he wanted to or store something of value.

Once he exited the bank, Harry made his way to Twilfit and Tattings and, on the recommendation of Madam Twilfit, bought his uniform made of high-quality silk. At the next shop, he purchased a multi-compartment trunk with several protective enchantments. Some might call him paranoid, but his safety and security, not to mention privacy, were important to him. After that, Harry got his school books, potions ingredients and telescope. He shook his head in exasperation at the Boy-Who-Lived books and toys being sold. Harry understood the public's fascination with him after Alfred explained it to him. No one had ever survived the Killing Curse after it hit them and reflected it back at its caster. It was because of this that Harry was mentioned in nearly every book which mentioned the Killing Curse. He was famous internationally and there was no escaping his fame. He just had to get used to it.

The cover of the books showed a boy with messy black hair with round spectacles. A hint of a smirk formed on Harry's lips. His hair was no longer messy, with him using magic to give it a smoother appearance. Neither did he wear glasses, unlike his father, James, who was forced to wear them due to being allergic to spells cast on his eyes. Harry wondered why the public viewed him as a carbon copy of his father. The only part of the picture that was accurate was the eyes – vivid emerald green, just like his mother's.

He also bought a snowy owl which he took a liking to and finally, came to Ollivander's shop for a wand. Taking a deep breath, he pushed the door open and entered the shop. Just as he was about to open his mouth, he felt a presence next to him. Even with Occlumency, Harry was so surprised that he gasped.

"Ah, I knew I would see you one day, Mr Potter," said Garrick Ollivander, the wandmaker, softly as he edged closer to him. "It seems just yesterday when your mother and father were here buying their first wands. Let's see what we can do, shall we? Which is your wand arm?"

"I'm ambidextrous sir," Harry answered, extending both his arms.

"Oh!" exclaimed Ollivander happily, the magical tape automatically measuring the boy. "That is a surprise. Good, that's it. Now let's try this, shall we? Beech and Dragon Heartstring, nine inches; just give it a wave."

Harry waved the wand but the wandmaker snatched it back at once. He tried another, and another; the pile of wands kept growing but Ollivander seemed to get happier and happier after every try.

"Tricky customer, eh?" he commented as he emerged with another wand. "Not to worry, try this. Holly and Phoenix feather, eleven inches."

Harry took the wand but it gave out a wail and he immediately chucked it back at the wandmaker. "No, no, definitely not," the old man frowned. Thinking deeply, the wandmaker went inside his workshop and emerged a minute later with a small box. Ollivander removed another wand and handed it to him.

Suddenly, Harry felt warm as the wand heated up in his hand, releasing several multi-coloured sparks in the air as he swished it down. He smiled slightly as he felt the wand hum in his hand.

"Oh, bravo!" cried Ollivander happily. "I haven't sold one of these wands for quite some time now. They were crafted by one of my ancestors. The wand which you are holding is made of Yew and contains the tail feather of a Thunderbird. It is fourteen inches in length and quite rigid. That is a powerful wand, Mr Potter; use it well."

Harry nodded as he bought a top of the line wand holster too. Once it was firmly attached to his forearm, he paid for the wand and holster and exited the shop, quite happy. He finished shopping for a few more items and used the Portkey on his ring to get back home.

It had been a wonderful birthday.


1st September, 2001

Harry adjusted his uniform and slipped into his new pair of dragon hide boots. The platinum locket which he had taken from his family vault was very much visible as it was hanging from his neck, outside his uniform. His moderately long shoulder-length black hair framed his face. Hedwig had decided to fly to Hogwarts instead of being in a cage, so he would only be taking his trunk with him. Once he was sure he had everything, he bid farewell to the ghost of Alfred Potter, the portraits and the tearful house-elves, shrunk his trunk and stepped inside the Floo. Within moments, he was engulfed by the green flames.

When he reappeared, he flicked his fingers and any remaining soot disappeared from his clothes. He was quite early so he found an empty compartment, enlarged his trunk and started reading a book on Runes he had taken from the Potter library. About thirty minutes later, he felt the train begin to move. Harry mentally sneered at the display of open emotions on the platform. Really, all those people wore their hearts on their sleeves; morons.

Just when he got comfortable, a brown-haired girl opened the door and asked meekly, "Excuse me, do you mind if my friend and I sit here?"

When Harry shook his head, the girl entered the compartment, dragging her trunk with her. Behind her, a very pretty girl with long, wavy dark-blonde hair and deep blue eyes entered the compartment. Harry flicked his wand to his hand and silently levitated both their trunks to the racks above.

"Wow, thank you," the brunette gushed. Harry simply nodded and went back to his book.

The blonde, Daphne Greengrass, looked at the boy critically. He was a pureblood for sure; his clothes were enough to scream that he was rich, and the casual display of magic proved that he was wizard-raised. She tried to identify who he was, secretly having to admit that he was incredibly cute. Her eyes spotted the blue diamond ring that adorned his right ring finger. It took her a minute to concentrate and decipher the crest. Her eyes widened when she finally recognised it.

"It's a pleasure to meet you, Mr Potter," said Daphne, introducing herself politely. "I'm Daphne Greengrass and this is my friend, Tracy Davis."

Daphne thought she saw Harry's eyes light up in recognition, but she couldn't say for sure. He bowed to her, as per their wizarding customs, and said, "The honour is mine, Miss Greengrass, Miss Davis."

"Wow, I can't believe you are actually here!" Tracy exclaimed. "Lots of people have been talking about finally meeting you. It's been the only topic of conversation over the past two months!"

Harry rolled his eyes. "That just shows they have nothing productive to talk about. I'm just an eleven-year-old boy. I'm not sure what people are expecting from me, to be honest."

Tracy was gobsmacked at the candid answer and she didn't know what to make of it and neither did Daphne. Blue eyes narrowed as she observed her new classmate. Just then, the door of the compartment was rudely yanked open by a boy with red hair and freckles. He looked at the three of them and asked excitedly, "Have you seen Harry Potter?"

None of them replied, but the ginger didn't miss the girls suddenly look at the dark-haired wizard who was reading a book. It didn't take long for the boy to put the pieces together. He immediately sat down in the empty seat next to Harry and said, "Hi. I'm Ron. Ron Weasley."

Daphne's eye twitched at the boy's rude behaviour. She had heard about the youngest son of the Weasleys before but hadn't had the pleasure of meeting him.

"Are you really Harry Potter?" asked Ron eagerly. "Like the Harry Potter?"

"As opposed to some other Harry Potter?" asked Harry casually as he turned the page of his book.

"Do you really have the – the – you know – the scar?"

Harry would have continued reading the book, but his irritation spiked; his eyes narrowed as he turned towards the redhead. "Does it look like I have a scar?" he said, referring to his unblemished forehead.

The scar on his forehead was present, but this boy didn't need to know that. His forehead above his right eye had a scar in the shape of a lightning bolt, but it was not as prominent as it used to be. The angry red mark was reduced to a thin, faint line after his house-elves had done something to it, but Harry usually covered it up whenever he was in public. He couldn't do it every day; it was too much of a bother, but for days like this ...

Ron spluttered. "But – but – everyone knows you have a scar! You're hiding it, aren't you?"

Harry tuned him out as he continued to read. He wondered if this was how Hogwarts was going to be, with people gawking at him and interrupting his quiet time. If that were the case, his time at the school was going to be harder than he thought.

The ginger, having not noticed, or just did not care that Harry wasn't paying attention, kept his monologue going, telling Harry about the different Houses of Hogwarts and how Gryffindor was the best. Daphne and Tracy were talking to each other in hushed tones when the door was rudely yanked open again. A girl with incredibly bushy hair and large front teeth peered inside the compartment.

"Has anyone seen a toad?" asked the girl in a bossy tone. "A boy named Neville has lost one."

Unfortunately, Ron Weasley was attempting to cast a spell on his rat, which prompted the girl to enter the compartment and sit inside without invitation. After she spoke in a condescending tone, she introduced herself after finishing a monologue about what all she had learnt. Harry noted that Daphne was barely able to conceal her annoyance at the Muggle-born girl's attitude.

"I'm Hermione Granger, and you are?"

"Ahem – Ron Weasley."

When she turned to the others, the girls introduced themselves.

"Daphne Greengrass."

"Tracy Davis, nice to meet you."

When she looked expectantly at Harry, he nodded respectfully at her and said, "Harry Potter."

As expected, there was a gasp of surprise. "Are you really?" she asked excitedly. "I know all about you of course. You're mentioned in –"

"You know all about me?" Harry cut in sharply, his voice as always, devoid of any emotion, eyes narrowed. "That is quite presumptuous of you, Miss Granger."

Hermione huffed. Some people were so rude as to interrupt her, without giving her a chance to complete her sentence. "I have read about you in The Rise and Fall of the Dark Arts –"

"Yes, you have read about me in books. But don't try to presume that you know all about me. All those books which you've read are fabrications or speculation and some of them are pure fiction. Even their physical description of me is wrong. So please tell me in what sense of the word can you say that you know all about me?"

Daphne and Tracy shared a look, looking quite surprised by Harry's defensive behaviour. This was not what they had expected from the Boy-Who-Lived at all.

Hermione couldn't, of course, take the insult to her books lying down, but she just huffed once more and left the compartment, thinking that Harry Potter was an arrogant boy whose fame had obviously gone to his head. Just when they were nearing Hogwarts several hours later, the compartment door opened again and a pale boy with a pointed face, grey eyes and white-blond hair stepped inside, flanked by two others.

"I heard that Harry Potter was in this compartment. Is that you?" he asked, looking at Harry critically.

Harry simply nodded and went back to his book. He really wished people would stop bothering him.

"This is Crabbe and this is Goyle," he said, pointing his thumb towards his bodyguards. "And I'm Malfoy; Draco Malfoy. I don't know what you're doing, sitting with the likes of Weasley. You'll soon learn that some wizarding families are better than others. I can help you there."

"Nice to meet you, Mr Malfoy," said Harry, nodding to the blonde boy who had just offered his hand in friendship, not noticing the angry look on the face of Ron Weasley. "But I'm not looking for friendship at the moment, but I will, no doubt, keep your offer in mind."

With that, he went back to his book. Draco looked confused for a second, but his face cleared up. He smirked at Ron condescendingly, nodded to Daphne and Tracy and left the compartment.

Harry took a deep breath as the train stopped. They had finally reached Hogsmeade. After placing his book back in his trunk, he followed the girls out of the train. A half-giant who introduced himself as Hagrid led them across the lake to Professor McGonagall, a strict looking woman, who introduced them to the four Houses. When they were led into the Great Hall a few minutes later, Harry was quite impressed with the roof which had been charmed by Rowena Ravenclaw. It was truly a spectacular piece of magic.

The Sorting Hat opened its mouth and sang a song which described the virtues of the four Houses. Once it was finished, Professor McGonagall began calling out names from a sheet of parchment.

"Hannah Abbott!"

A pink-faced girl with pigtails shakily walked up and sat on the stool which was placed on an elevated platform, facing the rest of the students. The Hat was lowered on her head and within a few seconds, the brim opened as it shouted, "HUFFLEPUFF!"

The table below the yellow and black decorations cheered for their newest member as the girl hurried towards them.

"Susan Bones!"


Similarly, several other students were sorted as well. Tracy Davis and Daphne Greengrass were both sorted into Slytherin. Hermione Granger was sent to Gryffindor. Draco Malfoy went to Slytherin and when it reached the letter P, Harry could feel his pulse racing.

"Harry Potter!"

Just as Harry climbed up the steps, people started whispering everywhere.

"Is that Harry Potter?"

"The Boy-Who-Lived? Wow!"

"He looks so cute!"

"Where's his scar? I can't see it!"

"Is that really him? Why does he not wear glasses?"

"Yeah! He looks nothing like the kid on the cover of the Boy-Who-Lived storybooks!"

Harry ignored the whispers as he sat on the stool. When the hat was lowered onto his head, he heard a voice in his ear.

"Oh, a natural Occlumens; how fascinating," the Hat said quietly. "Your shields are impressive, no doubt, but I can still see through them. Not to worry, I can't reveal your secrets. Now, where do I put you? No, Hufflepuff is out. You don't exactly have people you are loyal to, but I can sense that you will be very protective of those you care about. That House won't be suitable considering your reclusive nature. While you are certainly brave, Gryffindor won't do either. You'll probably kill every member of the House within a week if they continue to annoy you. Slytherin would be the best fit for you as you certainly are cunning and ambitious, but I can see that you don't care much for the politicking and system of hierarchy that dominates their House; you would tear them apart. You have a thirst for knowledge and you believe only in merit. Oh, knowledge is power, is it? Well, there is only one place for you, then!"


The table under the blue and bronze banners burst into thunderous applause as Harry walked towards them. The Gryffindors were looking like they had been cheated. Indeed, the twins, Fred and George Weasley, were pretending to cry loudly as they banged their heads on the table. Harry silently sat down on the bench along with his classmates as the sorting continued.

Albus Dumbledore was quite surprised. This Harry Potter looked nothing like what he had expected him to be. The boy was one of the tallest in his year and looked quite fit. Dumbledore silently observed him for several minutes as he drew conclusions. Physically, Harry looked like any other eleven-year-old wizard (and in comparison, a fourteen-year-old Muggle, as witches and wizards matured faster than their non-magical counterparts, both physically and mentally), but was he emotionally stable after his stay with the Dursleys? He would have preferred the boy to be a Gryffindor instead, like his parents, but that was not to be. Not that Ravenclaw was bad, but it showed that Harry was driven by intellectual pursuits. A boy who was unsure of his place in the magical world would have been easier to deal with. However, this Harry Potter radiated confidence. Seeing him dressed in expensive robes, with the Potter signet ring on his finger, enlightened Dumbledore that Harry was already aware of his heritage.

But that was not what made Dumbledore frown. It was due to the subtle similarities he had observed between two eleven-year-old boys, both of whom were orphans and having grown up in the Muggle world.

The way Harry carried himself troubled him. Such natural grace and poise was something he had seen only in one other person who had been at school fifty years ago. Harry's mannerisms bore an eerie resemblance to the young Tom Riddle. Dumbledore decided to keep a closer eye on the young Potter scion.

Back at the Ravenclaw table, Harry had to admit that the food prepared by the Hogwarts house-elves was quite good. He spoke to his housemates during dinner, but he realised he wasn't interested in befriending any of them. Harry had never had friends before and quite frankly, didn't think he ever would. He didn't see the point in it. Once the food disappeared and the golden cutlery cleaned, Albus Dumbledore stood up.

"Just a few short of term announcements. First years should note that the forest on the grounds is forbidden to all students," the headmaster said. "Quidditch trials will be held two weeks from now, and any further clarifications will be handled by Madam Hooch."

"And finally, I must tell you that this year, the third-floor corridor on the right-hand side is out of bounds to everyone who does not wish to die of a most painful death."

Dumbledore's eyes observed the expressions of everyone in the hall. After several moments, he beamed. "That's it for tonight. Your beds await you. Good night!"

Harry tilted his head to the side slightly. Who tells someone not to go somewhere unless they wanted a painful death? Something seemed fishy. He didn't have time to dwell on the issue since the first years were instructed to follow a Prefect who would show the way to the dorms.

Harry followed the Prefect to Ravenclaw Tower and was immediately impressed with the common room. It was quite airy and looked peaceful. The best part about being in this House was that he would get a room for himself! When he entered his room, he realised that it was rather tiny, but there was nothing a few enlargement charms couldn't fix. He called for his house-elf who expanded the room to a large size, arranged his clothes in the cupboard and removed other necessities for him to use in the morning. Harry then spent several minutes warding the place with the enchantments he had learnt. They wouldn't hold up against someone like Dumbledore or any of the teachers or even the sixth year students, but these wards were unique in that they were known only to the members of the Potter family. At the very least, he would be alerted if someone was trying to mess with his room. Once done, he stripped off his clothes and went to bed.

The next morning, Harry found himself on the grounds, running around the perimeter of the Black Lake. He had been doing this ever since he was eight, so his stamina had built up over time. After thirty minutes, he felt hot and sweaty. Removing his shirt, he sighed in contentment as the cool air hit his bare chest as he ran and practised martial arts for another hour. Once he was finished with his daily workout, he made his way back to the tower to take a bath. His housemates gave him curious looks when they saw him all sweaty and pink in the face.

After getting dressed, he walked down to the Great Hall for breakfast, following the instructions on the map of Hogwarts which was given to him the previous night by the Prefects. He badly wanted his father's map of Hogwarts, but he didn't know where it was. James Potter's journal said that it was lost sometime during the end of their seventh year, so it was up to Harry to search for it. That was a gem and it would greatly help him.

Harry once more ignored people staring at him as he accepted his timetable from Professor Flitwick. "Mr Potter, the Headmaster would like to see you later this afternoon. Please come to my office when your classes are done," his head of house told him.

"Of course, Professor," replied Harry cordially.

The first class he had was Herbology with the Slytherins. Harry hadn't learnt much Herbology before even if he had read books on the subject. Practical Herbology was something he didn't care about, but ingredients and their properties were very important for Potions. Professor Sprout was a cheerful woman who asked them to form groups of three. Harry joined Daphne and Tracy since they were the only ones who he had conversed with.

"You surprised a lot of people last night, Potter," said Tracy as she re-potted the plant as instructed by Professor Sprout. "Everyone – and I mean everyone – expected you to be sorted into Gryffindor like your parents."

Daphne acted as though she wasn't listening, but she was quite curious about his response to that statement.

"I don't know why people assume stuff about me," Harry shrugged. "As far as I know, none of them has seen me since I was a baby; or seen me at all for that matter. They don't know how I grew up or what my personality is like. I wasn't raised by my parents, so how could they assume I would go to Gryffindor like them?"

"True," nodded Tracy. "I was actually rooting for Slytherin."

"I qualified for Slytherin as well. It was a tie between Ravenclaw and Slytherin, but I don't really care much for the hierarchy that I've heard is prevalent in your House. I refuse to bow down to anyone, so it would have been – ahem – not as peaceful had I been sorted there. Ravenclaw is a better fit for me."

"Scared of the big bad Slytherins, Potter?" Pansy Parkinson, a mean-looking Slytherin, asked snidely.

"No. But I'm afraid killing someone who insults my mother due to her status as a Muggle-born is frowned upon in society. I wouldn't want the dungeons to become a bloodbath. But if you do have a death wish, I would be happy to oblige."

Pansy gulped. Someone in Potter's tone conveyed that he wasn't kidding when he said that. She turned away and many others were surprised by Harry's candid answer but didn't react to it. Daphne was thoughtful. Harry Potter was proving to be a mystery.

Defence Against the Dark Arts was quite lame, in Harry's opinion. Professor Quirrell seemed to be afraid of his own shadow and Harry was deeply disappointed that such an important subject was wasted on the fool. History of Magic, another important subject, was not being taught properly. Professor Binns, the ghost teacher, went on and on about goblin rebellions but didn't seem to teach the actual history of witches and wizards. There was so much about their past that people needed to know. History was one of Harry's favourite subjects, but this was beyond ridiculous. Charms was quite nice as Professor Flitwick was jovial in class. He had taught everyone the Lumos charm and was quite impressed with Harry's control over his magic.

Harry realised that he would be dreadfully bored in classes if they continued at this pace. Maybe he could look into an accelerated program at Hogwarts. It would most certainly help, but those programs needed the approval of the Headmaster and his guardian, both of whom, unfortunately, was Professor Dumbledore, and Harry had a hunch that the former would not oblige.

Once classes were done for the day, he was escorted by Professor Flitwick to the Headmaster's office. The half-goblin muttered the password to the stone gargoyle.

"Professor Dumbledore is waiting for you, Mr Potter," said Flitwick.

"Thank you, Professor," said Harry quietly as he ascended to the Head's office by stepping onto the moving staircase. Just as he reached the oak door, he knocked twice and heard 'Enter' from inside. Harry opened the door and gracefully walked inside. His eyes widened slightly in awe when he spotted a scarlet phoenix, but the mask was back in place before Dumbledore could see it.

"Ah, Harry, come in," Dumbledore cried joyfully, his eyes twinkling. "Please sit down. Would you care for a Sherbet lemon?"

Harry took a seat on one of the plush armchairs in front of the headmaster. "No thank you, sir. I don't care for sweets much," he answered.

"That's a shame," Dumbledore said, as he took the candy and popped it in his mouth. "They are really quite delicious."

Harry simply remained still as he stared at the wall behind the headmaster. After about a minute, when Dumbledore realised that the boy wasn't about to take the bait, he sighed in resignation. "How are you, Harry? You have no idea how worried I've been for the past four years. I wish you had not run away from home like that."

"I never ran away from home, Professor," retorted Harry sharply. "I went back home. If you're referring to Aunt Petunia's residence, I'm afraid you are incorrect in referring it as mine. I don't own it."

"I see," said Dumbledore as he looked at the boy critically. He was unusually composed for an eleven-year-old. It did nothing but remind him of the young Tom Riddle and he didn't like that comparison one bit.

"But you still ran away. There were protections placed around the Dursley residence, especially for you, my boy. I assume you know of Lord Voldemort, yes? I placed a complex enchantment on the house ten years ago, Harry. As long as you stay there and call the place home, Lord Voldemort's followers cannot touch you. With you having left Privet Drive ..."

Dumbledore sighed. "No matter, I'm sure the protections can be updated for this summer. I have already spoken to your aunt and she is most eager to have you back."

The temperature in the room dropped a few degrees. Dumbledore mentally frowned when he saw the fire in Harry's green eyes. The boy's orbs were slightly glowing, but it was nothing to be concerned about. It was common among powerful witches and wizards, but what was clear was that Harry was angry. However, he found it unnerving that not a hint of emotion could be seen on the boy's face. How was that possible?

"I'm afraid that is not possible, Headmaster," said Harry quietly. "You may be my magical guardian, but you cannot force me back into that house. I will resist you. I'm pretty sure you already know why I ran away. Besides, if you think the protections around a stupid Muggle home is more complex than the ancient wards around Potter Castle, you are sadly mistaken. You yourself couldn't find me for four years, so what makes you think the Death Eaters can?"

"Those protections were placed due to the sacrifice of your mother, Harry," said Dumbledore gently. "The blood wards around the Dursley residence would ensure that no one with ill intent would be able to enter as the wards are connected to you through your mother's sister. Please listen to me; as long as you call the place home, it would protect you from outside forces who wish to harm you. I'm only trying to protect you, Harry."

"But your enchantments won't protect me from the hostile forces inside that house," Harry shot back. "Feel free to use Legilimency on those worthless Muggles, sir, and you'll see exactly what happened there. Had my magic not reacted instinctively, I would have died or maybe suffered brain damage."

"From what I can infer from speaking to you now, you were the one to leave me there. I've heard enough from my relatives to know that you left me on their doorstep in the middle of the night with nothing more than a letter. Didn't you know how much Petunia hated my mother? I should never have gone anywhere near that filthy Muggle! It was your fault we are in this position, Professor, so don't try to manipulate me by mentioning my mother. It won't work."

Dumbledore paused. "Do you harbour a hatred for Muggles, Harry?"

Harry's expression suddenly turned colder. "I have homework to finish. Permission to leave, sir?"

Dumbledore sighed as he dismissed the boy. He watched Harry get up and walk out of the office, but just as he about to close the door, he turned back and said, "Sir, I would appreciate it if you returned my Invisibility Cloak. I'm not sure what my father was thinking, giving it to someone outside the family, but I expect it to be delivered to me by tomorrow evening."

After the door closed, the aged man turned to his phoenix and said sorrowfully, "I think I have made a grave mistake, my friend. I should have been more careful. I should have ensured that the Dursleys didn't go overboard in their hatred of magic."

The phoenix trilled softly.


AN: I'm not sure if Fawkes can breach any sort of enchantment, but from what I can infer from canon, there are probably wards that prevent phoenix travel. If Fawkes could flash Dumbledore everywhere, then things would have been quite easy to fix.