Of Wizards, Rooders, and Clocks
Chapter 1: A Chance Meeting
AN: Yet another strange, random crossover. I don't own either Harry Potter or Clock Tower 3; this is just my weird brain's crazy mixture of the two (with some modifications).
Harry Potter was used to surprises, both good and bad. When he was eleven, he had learned that he was a wizard, free to escape his horrid home life. When he was twelve, he had learned that he had some of the powers of Voldemort, the dark wizard who had murdered his parents and given him the scar that made him famous. When he was thirteen, he had learned that he had a godfather who loved him, even if he could not live with the man since he was a wanted criminal (falsely accused.)
Now, going on fourteen and as if fulfilling a pattern, he was being dealt another unpleasant shock.
"What?" he gasped.
"Don't take that tone with me, boy," Uncle Vernon said through his bristling mustache as he shook the fork spearing a piece of grapefruit at Harry across the table. "Petunia, Dudley and myself are going on holiday, and you are to contact your friends," somehow he turned that word into a curse, "and stay with them for the remainder of the summer. There is no discussion."
Normally, this statement would have made Harry ecstatic. He hated his summers on Privet Drive, hated the constant fearful glares of his aunt, uncle and cousin. He didn't belong here, he never had; he belonged in the Wizarding World with his friends.
However, this revelation could not have come at a worse time. He had just this morning sent Hedwig, his messenger owl and only friend in this place, away with letters to Ron Weasley and Hermione Granger. While the trip was not a particularly long one, it would take her time to return, especially considering that she would probably take the chance to stretch her wings by taking a circular route back. Until she arrived, he was effectively isolated from the Wizarding world.
Which, again, would not have been a problem if he'd been told the Dursely's were leaving before lunch time the day of the event! This was partially his fault: he'd made a habit of trying to avoid his family as much as possible, so he'd missed the planning that had certainly occurred, but they could have at least made sure to inform him!
"Please," he said. "It'll be days before He- before I can get a letter to them. If I can just stay-"
"You will not stay in this house while we are gone!" Uncle Vernon roared. "It's a miracle we keep you at all, considering what you did to Marge!"
Personally, Harry though Aunt Marge had deserved what she'd gotten after the lies she'd thrown at his dead mother and father, but he was wise enough to keep this thought to himself. "But-"
"No." This time it was Aunt Petunia who spoke up, her lips thin. "The decision has been made."
Harry bit back a word that would have gotten him the back of his uncle's hand a few years ago: he was in trouble now. He supposed he could try and make his way to the Leaky Cauldron: he'd spent part of last summer there, but he wasn't sure if the Knight Bus ran during the day, and he didn't have the Muggle money to make it there by "normal" means. Until then, he was stuck, and Uncle Vernon had made it clear he was not welcome in the house.
"Fine," he muttered. "I'll get my stuff." Uncle Vernon looked like he wanted to tell Harry off for his tone again, but seeming to decide that Harry was sufficiently unhappy for his liking, he let the young wizard go back to his room. Gathering up his possessions took little time: Harry made a point of not unpacking more than he absolutely had to in this place. Pausing only to pin a note on the window for Hedwig to meet him at the Leaky Cauldron (he wasn't sure if she could read, but she'd shown herself to be brilliant enough that it wouldn't surprise him) he made his way back down the stairs. Maybe Ms. Figg would let him stay until-
As he reached the bottom of the stairs, he heard Aunt Petunia speaking quietly to Uncle Vernon. "We could drop him off at that boarding house that's on the way," she said. As Uncle Vernon started to open his mouth to argue, she continued. "It's not out of the way, and it will keep him from sneaking back in here after we've left." This seemed to satisfy Harry's uncle, as he nodded, though his face still showed annoyance at even this most minor of delays.
"Get in the car, don't disturb our luggage," he barked at Harry as he stomped out the door. Harry glanced at Aunt Petunia, who just gave him a long look before following her husband.
As Harry found a place to put his school trunk, he dared to open his mouth again. "What boarding house?"
"Don't ask questions," Aunt Petunia said, seemingly instinctively. However, after a moment she seemed to decide it was a harmless enough question. "It's a little place I know, just outside of London. I met the owner at an event once. Fine lady, you will not give her any trouble, understood?"
Harry nodded, his thoughts racing. Depending on just how far this "boarding house" was outside of London, he might be able to make his way to the Leaky Cauldron during the day after all: hopefully it wouldn't be that far.
The trip passed in tense silence: Dudley's massive bulk taking up most of the back seat even as he tried to keep as far away from Harry as possible. Harry did his best to keep track of where he was, but was soon lost: while not as confusing as Hogwarts the area outside of Privet Drive was almost completely unknown to him.
Finally, half an hour later, Uncle Vernon pulled to the side of the street. "This the place?" he asked Aunt Petunia, who nodded. "Right, boy, get out." Harry nodded sullenly, yanking his trunk out of the car and looking at the house, down at the end of a long path.
It was a large, imposing building, almost a mansion. It looked quite old, its stones weathered and worn in a way that made it seem venerable, almost like Hogwarts in that respect. A part of Harry had to admit he was a bit sad he'd only be there for a few hours: it seemed like it'd be a fun place to explore.
"Boy," Shaking himself from his thoughts, Harry turned to see Aunt Petuina holding several bills out of the window. "For Mrs. Hamilton's troubles," she said sharply. "I will expect you to return any you do not spend." Because of course the idea of Harry getting any money for himself was absolutely ridiculous, though he supposed he was getting his own back with the massive Gringotts bank vault his parents had left him that he was keeping hidden from the Dursleys.
"Have a nice holiday," he said, somehow keeping the cheek from his voice. Aunt Petunia stared at him for a long moment before Uncle Vernon pulled away and drove off, leaving Harry behind.
Taking a deep breath, Harry turned towards the home. He'd only stay here until nightfall, then he'd return to the Leaky Cauldron, contact his friends when Hedwig arrived, and then hopefully go to the Burrow for the rest of the summer. Ron had mentioned that the Quidditch World Cup was going to happen sometime in the summer and that Mr. Weasley would likely be able to get tickets, so he'd have gone there anyways. He was just… ahead of schedule, not that he minded. He loved the Weasley family, and it would be good to see them again. Despite the rude shock of it, things were looking up for Harry Potter.
Looking back, he'd wonder why he'd gone and tempted fate like that.
Making his way up the path, he knocked on the door. After a long minute of silence, he knocked again more loudly. Still nothing. Harry frowned: surely at a boarding house this size someone would be near enough to the door to at least see who was here. Wouldn't it just be his luck that this wasn't actually a boarding house, and he was now stuck until nightfall. And from the looks of those clouds, it was going to be a miserable day to boot. Ignoring the car driving down the road behind him, Harry raised his hand to knock again.
Then the sound of someone clearing their throat came from behind Harry, causing him to spin around.
Alyssa Hamilton was not having a good day, which seemed especially unfair since it was the day before her fifteenth birthday. It had started out like any other day-before-ones-birthday when one lived in a boarding school over the summer holiday: she woken, prepared herself for the day, greeted the few others who stayed over holiday, and started considering whether it would be better to finish some of her assignments or if she could afford to take the day off, perhaps practice her archery a bit.
She hadn't been surprise when the letter from her mother had come: she'd sent something every year since Alyssa had left home. The girl wished she could visit more often, but she trusted that her mother had her reasons for having Alyssa stay here.
Then she'd read the letter, and she'd never been more scared in her life.
Go into hiding? Danger? What could possibly be happening? Her family wasn't poor by any means, but she didn't think that she'd be a target of kidnapping for ransom, which was the only threat Alyssa could think of. She didn't have any enemies, and she couldn't imagine that her mother had any. Her grandfather? He'd disappeared when traveling three years ago, but if this was about him, then why was she getting this letter now? And what was so special about her fifteenth birthday? What was going on?
Then, she'd been told that her mother was calling her, and she'd rushed to the phone: hoping that she could get some answers, but there had been nothing. Just silence on the other end until somebody hung up on her increasingly panicked questions.
Intellectually, Alyssa knew that she should obey her mother's wishes and hide somewhere. She could even think of a few places: Dennis would probably be happy to let her stay for a few days, as would a few other friends who didn't stay at school over the holiday. She should go to one of them, right away… but she wasn't scared for herself. She was scared for her mother. What could have happened to her? Why had she sent a letter, then called, but not spoken? Was she in trouble? Was she hurt? Or worse?
Alyssa had considered calling the police, but she didn't have any proof that anything bad had happened. They'd say a strange letter was nothing to get concerned over, the call would likely be chalked up to a bad connection. They would tell her to relax, to try again later.
No, Alyssa had to discover the truth for herself.
'Sorry, Mum,' she thought as she paid the fare for the cab and started making her way towards her home, the one she hadn't seen in years. For some reason, while her mother would occasionally visit her at school, she had been told never to return here.
Well, if her mother didn't want Alyssa coming back, she shouldn't have worried her so much.
As she trotted up the path towards her home, Alyssa didn't notice that she wasn't the only one there until she'd almost run up the steps into him.
He was a boy about her age, with messy black hair that looked like it had never been combed. He wore cloths that looked several years old and at least a size too big for him, which combined with his short size made him seem almost unhealthily scrawny. This was odd, as he had a large, well-made trunk standing next to him with a bird cage on top, neither of which were cheap. Alyssa forced the frown off her face: he looked like a runaway or ragamuffin and she didn't have time to deal with him, she needed to find her mother!
However, twelve years at home and three in a well-to-do boarding school had drilled the social niceties into her, and so she politely cleared her throat, stepping back to the bottom of the stairs, her back straight and her case gripped firmly in front of her. The boy turned to face her, his eyes widening behind his unflattering glasses. A distant part of her noted that this was a shame, as the eyes themselves were such a striking green that they deserved better. She also noticed a strange scar peeking out from under his bangs, one shaped like a lightning bolt. However, she pushed these thoughts from her mind so she could focus on getting him on his way so that she could go back to what was really important.
"Can I help you?" she asked.
"Yes," he said, jerking his head back at the door. "Is this the boarding house that belongs to a Mrs. Hamilton?"
Alyssa nodded: her thoughts racing. She didn't remember much about the boarders, but she did remember that children were rare. When she was younger, she'd always been a little sad about that, she'd have liked to have someone to talk to. Besides, this boy didn't seem to be with anyone at all, and if children were rare, lone children were unheard of. Was he actually a runaway? "It is," she said, playing for time as she scooted up the stairs, carefully keeping space between herself and the boy. "Are you staying here?"
The boy raised an eyebrow. "I was told to," he said, a faint note of bitterness in his voice. "Don't worry, I just need someplace until nightfall: I won't trouble you for long." Alyssa flinched at the subtle stress he put on the word: she hadn't thought she was being that obvious.
"My apologies," she said. "I've just returned myself. I hope you haven't been waiting long."
He shrugged. "Just a few minutes," he said. "If this isn't a good time, I can go elsewhere."
Alyssa shook her head. "No, I'm sure mother can find space for you for a few hours," she said. "I'm surprised none of the other lodgers have opened the door. Just a moment." She reached over and eased the door open before stepping back and gesturing him in. He studied her for a long moment before gathering up his trunk and pulling it in, allowing Alyssa to follow.
As she stepped into the front hall, she took a moment to look around. The hall was dark, its lights off and the sun blocked by the clouds that covered the sky, giving what should have been a comforting sight an ominous air. "Mum?" she called softly, stepping past the boy into the center of the room. "There's a guest here."
There was no answer save for the echoes of her own voice. Not from her mother, not from another boarder, nobody. It was as if the house was completely deserted. It was never this deserted, never this silent, and it hit Alyssa that it wasn't just a lack of voices. She couldn't hear anything, no ticking of clocks, no footsteps, nothing. Her childhood home, always a place of comfort and safety, now had a menacing aura. Glancing back at the boy, she noticed that his shoulders were tense, and his eyes were moving quickly from place to place… almost as if he was as nervous as she was.
"Wait here," Alyssa said, starting to walk up the stairs, keeping both hands firmly on the handle of her case to stop them from trembling. Something wasn't right, something was very, very wrong…
She squeaked as a sudden creak came from her left, only barely keeping her balance as she spun to look. It was the doors to the dining room, opening seemingly of their own volition. Taking a deep breath, she stepped back down the stairs, squared her shoulders, and walked over, trying to project more confidence than she felt. She heard the boy following a few steps behind her, but she didn't look back as she entered the room.
As she looked around, at first she saw nothing. Like the hall, this room seemed unchanged, the same large, fancy wooden table dominating much of the room, a fire glowing in the hearth to mix with the faint light shining through the windows. However, as she took another step into the room, a sudden motion caught her eye.
There was a large man sitting in a chair that had been pulled out from the table, staring out the window. Even seeing just his back, she could tell that he was the opposite of the boy: his heavy black coat was perfectly fitted and looked brand new: his hat covering whatever hair he might have had. He stood, not turning to face her, and started moving towards the window, the fancy cane in his hand tapping slightly against the floor.
Clearing her throat, Alyssa forced herself to speak in something above a squeak. "Um, excuse me, are you one of the lodgers?"
"Yes, I am," the man said, his voice deep and rich, though his tone… something about it made Alyssa want to run as fast and as far as she could and not look back. However, she forced herself to stand her ground: he might know where her mother was.
Pushing a smile onto her face, Alyssa stepped forward. "Oh. I'm Alyssa, Nancy's daughter," she said. The man didn't deign to answer, or even look in her direction, and so after a moment Alyssa tried again. "Um, do you know where my mother is?"
"Your mother has gone out," the man said. "That was early yesterday morning."
"Huh?" Alyssa said. That didn't make any sense, she'd called just a few hours ago, how could she have gone out yesterday?
The man continued. "She mentioned that she would not be coming back for some time." Alyssa gasped: that made even less sense: her mother was very dedicated to the boarding house: she would never leave it unattended for so long!
"She was wrong," the main said, raising a finger, and Alyssa's blood ran cold as he started to turn towards her, a wide, terrifying smile splitting his pale face. "She won't be coming back… at all."
Alyssa's mind went blank as the man continued speaking. No… no that wasn't possible. It couldn't be… her mother couldn't be…
She was dragged from the haze of confusion and horror as the man started towards her, walking fast. Her bag fell to the ground as she stumbled back, her legs barely responded to her commands to take her away from this creepy, twisted man, but he was too fast, he was looming over her, reaching out-
"Don't touch her!"
Both Alyssa and the man turned to see the boy, who Alyssa had forgotten about, standing a few feet away with his hand clenched in his pocket.
Harry didn't take his eyes off the man reaching for Alyssa, not yet drawing his wand. He knew a few good jinxes that would stop the man in his tracks, but he couldn't use them. He was an under-aged wizard: using magic out of school would get him in trouble, especially since he'd already gotten an official warning. It hadn't even been his fault: Dobby had been trying to save his life by getting him locked up, and the house-elf had been the one casting magic. However, without the imminent threat of Sirius Black to cause the Ministry to take it easy on him, Harry didn't want to test his luck unless he had to.
The man didn't continue his advance, instead studying Harry with a calculating stare that would have made Harry squirm if he hadn't been subjected to far worse in his years at Hogwarts. As bad as this creep was, he had nothing on Professor McGonagall or Snape.
"You are brave, little boy," the man said softly, his eyes pausing briefly on Harry's scar. "This matter doesn't concern you; you may leave."
Harry bristled at the condescension in the man's voice: as if he were making some fine gesture by letting Harry walk away and let this girl get assaulted. He may only be thirteen-going-on-fourteen, but he wasn't stupid: he could see where this was going. "I don't think so," he snarled. "I think you should step away from her before you get hurt." He pulled a bit of the handle of his wand out; hopefully the man would think it was a knife and back off.
However, as the man stared at it, Harry saw a flash of recognition, followed by a widening of his smile. "Well well well," he murmured. "This is a surprise." Then, surprisingly, he took a few steps back. "I suppose your boldness does deserve a reward."
Not questioning his good fortune, Harry stepped over the fallen bag to stand in front of Alyssa. Her eyes were wide and a hand was covering her mouth in a silent scream. Gently, he used his free hand to grab her shoulder and pull her away from the man and the door.
"Get out," he growled, jerking his chin towards the door.
The man shook his head. "I'm afraid I can't do that. I have waited for this moment for a long, long time, and though you are not part of my plan, I think you'll be amusing none the less." Laughing once more, he walked out the door. Stepping away from Alyssa, Harry edged forward until he could watch the man climbing the stairs, cackling all the way all the way to a door which he slammed behind him.
As the last echoes of mocking laughter faded away, Harry let go of his wand and turned back to Alyssa, who was staring at him. "Are you alright?" he asked.
"I think so," she said, "but who was that man, and what did he want with me."
Harry shook his head: he'd rather hoped she'd know. "Some wierdo," he said. "You've never seen him before?"
She shook her head. "No. I haven't been here in years, Mum never said…" she trailed off, her shoulders slumping as she swallowed. "Mum…"
Harry grimaced: any trace of cool disapproval was gone and all that was left was a scared, lonely girl that he couldn't help but feel for. "The guy was nuts," he said as gently as he could. "She could just be out for a few hours and be on her way back."
She shook her head, slumping against the table. "No… no, something's wrong. She called me this morning, or she tried to, but when I got to the phone there was no one there… and that letter… no, something's happened to her, something's wrong… but I don't know what to do…"
Unfortunately, neither did Harry. His first instinct was to go poking around, see if he could find any clues that might tell him who this guy was and what he wanted. At the same time, however, he could almost hear Hermione screaming in his ear to go to the authorities, and after a few moments of conflict he was forced to accept that was the better idea. "We should get out of here," he said. "That guy's still around, and I don't think I can amuse him enough to get him to go away again." Alyssa looked up, a hint of fire in her eyes as she opened her mouth, but Harry wasn't finished. "I know you want to find your mum, but the best way we can do is get help."
"…Alright," Alyssa said. Harry nodded, grabbing her bag off the floor, grabbed his trunk in his other hand, and dragged it over to the door, keeping his eye on the door the man had gone through just in case he tried to take advantage of Harry's hands being full to attack. However, the man made no appearance, and so Harry dropped his trunk with a bang to grab the handle.
Said handle refused to move.
"What the…" Harry muttered, jiggling it more forcefully. It was well and truly stuck, which was impossible since it had worked just fine when he and Alyssa came in, and the man hadn't gone anywhere near the door. Unless the man could use magic himself. Suddenly, the look he had given Harry's wand made a worrying amount of sense…
"Locked?" Alyssa gasped, hurrying up to stand next to him. "But that's-" Digging into her pocket, she pulled out a key and fiddled with the door handle herself, but she had no more luck than Harry had. "How can this be?"
More mocking laughter filled the hall, and Harry spun again, expecting to see the dark-clothed man back, but there was only emptiness, even though the voice was as clear as if he had been right next to them. "I'm afraid it won't be that easy, my dear Alyssa," the voice said. "You have evaded my grasp for far too long for me to let you go so soon. If you wish to escape, you'll have to play my game."
The pair glanced at each other "Well, there goes that plan," Harry said, trying to force some cheer into his voice. 'I tried, Hermione,' he thought. "Is there someplace in the house where we can hole up while we figure out what to do?"
Alyssa blinked. "I would say my room, but I haven't been here in years, and he…" she shook her head. "No, it's our best bet. Follow me." Reaching out, she took her bag back from Harry and stepped towards the stairs, straightening in a way that told Harry she was trying to seem braver than she felt. Harry again lifted his trunk and followed, allowing one hand to slip into his pocket to be ready to draw his wand in case of trouble.
As the pair ascended the stairs, Alyssa paused. "I… didn't thank you, before," she said. "I'm sorry."
Harry shrugged. "It's alright," he said.
"No, it's not. You saved me. I don't know what that man would have done to me if you hadn't been there, but I don't think it would have been good." She turned to him again, a genuine smile appearing on her face for the first time since he'd met her. "Thank you."
Harry could feel his face heat up slightly as he kicked a stair lightly. "You're welcome," he muttered. "I'm Harry, by the way. Harry Potter."
Alyssa flushed. "Oh," she said. "Sorry. I'm Alyssa Hamilton. My mother owns this house, though I haven't been here for a few years. Boarding school."
Harry nodded. "Right," he said. "But we should get to your room before that weirdo gets bored and comes back." For some reason, Alyssa choked slightly at his words, but she steeled herself and led the way up the rest of the stairs, turning right. Both of them held their breath as they passed the door the man had gone through, but he didn't leap out to attack them, allowing them to go along the balcony to the next door. Alyssa flipped to another key on her ring, unlocked the door, and stepped inside.
Harry blinked as he followed her: this room was nearly the size of both of Dudley's put together! It was well-furnished and appareled: its fine wooden floor decorated by a thick, well-made carpet. There was another door in the opposite corner leading deeper into the house, while the remaining two corners were dominated by a bed and a small sitting area with a television, with a desk, bookshelf, and cabinet scattered around the remaining walls. Despite all this, the room felt… empty, un-lived-in. Almost like how Harry had made his room in Privet Drive.
Alyssa had put her bag on a counter and hurried to the other door, seeming to check to make sure it was locked. Harry took the opportunity to shove his trunk next to the cabinet before heading to the window. He tried to slide it open, but like the front door it refused to budge. He was just considering whether he should risk trying Alohamora on it when Alyssa called his name. He turned to see her sitting on the arm of one of her chairs, staring at him with a worried expression.
"So, what now?" he asked, moving to lean on the other chair.
"We need to find out what happened to Mum," Alyssa said. "She tried to call me, to warn me. She had to have a reason." She sighed. "I hope she's okay…"
"I'm sure she is," Harry said, still trying to sound reassuring. "So, where would she hide a message?"
Alyssa shrugged helplessly. "Her room?" she said.
"Well, it's a place to start," Harry said. "Come on, let's go."
The redhead, however, wasn't finished. "Harry, may I ask you something?"
Biting back a Dumbledore-esque joke that she just had, Harry nodded. "Sure."
"…Why are you helping me? I mean, the man did give you the chance to just leave. Why are you putting yourself in danger for me?"
Harry pondered the question for a moment. It just seemed natural, to want to help someone who was so clearly in trouble. Just as he'd been drawn to the mystery of the Philosopher's Stone and the Chamber of Secrets, he couldn't just leave a situation like this alone. He was sure there was some deep-rooted reason behind this, but for him it was just the way he was. He shrugged. "It just seems the right thing to do," he said.
Alyssa stared at him for a few seconds before another small smile crossed her face "Thank you, Harry," she said. "That… that means a lot to me."
AN: Here's the first chapter. I don't know if I'll continue this: as I said it's a weird crossover. However, I thought I'd put it up and see if anyone likes it.