This is an extremely AU crossover fic that asks the question what might have happened if Petunia Dursley hadn’t found a young Harry Potter sleeping on her doorstep on the morning of the 2nd of No...
A/N2: This is an extremely AU crossover fic that asks the question what might have happened if Petunia Dursley hadn’t found a young Harry Potter sleeping on her doorstep on the morning of the 2nd of November 1981. After all, Dumbledore was a bit careless with the savior of the Wizarding World that fateful night. Further, what if Dumbledore hadn’t managed to find Harry again until the summer of 1996 and then had to convince a very different 16 year old Harry to attend Hogwarts?
Harry Potter and the Sun Source
Chapter 1: Created: Harry Potter
November 1, 1981
Little Whinging, Surrey, UK:
Albus Percival Wulfric Brian Dumbledore waited nervously in the alley between Wisteria Walk and Magnolia Crescent. He had little time before Hagrid was to appear with the boy, but this business had to be dealt with, failure to do so would be… unfortunate.
In his one hundred and thirty years Dumbledore had learned many things and made many mistakes. He hoped to deal with his latest mistake tonight before it consumed him. His attempt to circumvent Sibyll’s prophecy and apply the solution that had brought down Gellert to Tom had turned out to be unnecessary. He pondered for a moment the possibility of redirecting the Korean toward Tom’s surviving followers, but rejected that idea after only the most minor reflection. That would be akin to fighting an ant infestation in your kitchen by burning down your house. No, he would cancel the contract and hope he could do so without bankrupting the House of Dumbledore.
“Hello School Teacher.” Dumbledore was startled by the sudden appearance of the short man to his left. “For a group who has dedicated so much time and effort to being invisible, your people seem to be going out of their way to be noticed this night. Why did you wish to speak with me? Traditionally we would not speak until payment was due for services rendered.”
How did the Korean do that? Dumbledore had gone to great lengths to cultivate his reputation for power and skill, in truth that reputation was mostly deserved. Dumbledore had been on guard, had been expecting the shorter man’s arrival, yet he had seemed to suddenly appear out of nowhere.
“Good Evening Master Chiun. I thank you for breaking with tradition and meeting me tonight.”
The old man waved his hand dismissively. “Allowances can always be made for repeat customers. How may the House of Sinanju serve you?”
Dumbledore regarded the man in the dim light of the alley. Chiun was old for a Muggle, in his late 80s, and appeared to be frail. Appearances and reality were frequently at odds when dealing with the Masters of Sinanju. Dumbledore had no doubt in his mind that his magic would do him little good if he angered this small Muggle. “It seems that the services of your house are no longer required Master Chiun. You target was vanquished just before Midnight yesterday.”
“Indeed?” the wizen man said quietly. “And who has stolen the rice from the mouths of the children of Sinanju? Some amateur?”
“One of his victims. In an attack last night Tom Riddle was killed when the curse he attempted to cast on a child rebounded. As of yet we are not sure if this was because the curse was cast improperly, because of something the boy’s mother did, or something the boy did himself. Riddle killed both the adults, so there are no witnesses to the event.”
Chiun nodded. “Self defense is an acceptable excuse I suppose. Why haven’t you asked the boy what happened?”
“Young Harry is only fifteen months old Master Chiun, his language skills are minimal at this point I’m afraid.”
“I see. Will you be taking credit for the death of this Dark Lord as well School Teacher?” Seeing the protest start in Dumbledore’s eyes the ancient Korean continued. “We must now discuss my fee. I left a steady job to take up this commission. The children of Sinanju must be fed.”
“I’m sure we can negotiate an appropriate fee for your time and effort Master Chiun.” Dumbledore said wondering what this was going to cost him.
“I was thinking half.” Chiun said, his eyes taking on a dangerous glint. “Yes, half would be fair.”
Dumbledore swallowed while doing the galleon to pounds conversion in his head. Half the Korean’s fee would be two hundred thousand Galleons or a million pounds sterling.
“Plus expenses.” Chiun added recalling that line from the movie that had been shown on the transatlantic flight that had delivered him to Britain. Chiun liked airplanes; they along with television were the only truly redeeming bits of western technology he approved of.
“Plus expenses of course.” Dumbledore said removing a pad of Gringotts drafts and a quill from his robes and scratched out the agreed upon amount, then presented the draft to the Master of Sinanju.
“The House of Sinanju thanks you for your business. Should you ever need an inconvenient Dark Lord removed in the future, please remember us.” Chiun said as he tucked the draft into his kimono. Normally the Master of Sinanju would never take any payment other than Gold, but a draft on the Goblin Bank was a good as gold. Goblins and the House of Sinanju had a long working relationship. “By the way, when you said that a curse ‘rebounded’ this of course left a body, correct?”
“No.” Dumbledore’s face clouded at the question. “The body was destroyed, it left only his clothing.
“I see. We of Sinanju have an old saying. ‘If you don’t have a body, the target isn’t dead’. Just something to think about.”
Dumbledore watched open mouthed as the old Muggle calmly walked away, vanishing from view after about three paces. How did he do that?
Dumbledore appeared on the corner the cat was watching, appeared suddenly and silently.
The cat’s tail twitched and its eyes narrowed.
Albus Dumbledore rummaged in his cloak, looking for something. But he did seem to realize he was being watched, because he looked up suddenly at the cat, which was still staring at him from the other end of the street. He chuckled and muttered, “I should have known.”
Finding what he was looking for in his inside pocket. He pulled out what seemed to be a silver cigarette lighter. He flicked it open, held it up in the air, and clicked it. The nearest street lamp went out with a little pop. He clicked it again — the next lamp flickered into darkness. Twelve times he clicked the Put-Outer, until the only lights left on the whole street were two tiny pinpricks in the distance, which were the eyes of the cat watching him. If anyone looked out of their window now they would not have been able to see anything that was happening down on the pavement. Dumbledore slipped the Put-Outer back inside his cloak and set off down the street toward number four, where he sat down on the wall next to the cat. He didn’t look at it, but after a moment he spoke to it.
“Fancy seeing you here, Professor McGonagall.”
The reining Master of Sinanju watched the exchange between Dumbledore and the changeling from the shadows. He heard their every word, though without context their words were almost meaningless. He filed the conversation away, just in case it ever turned out to be useful in the future.
Something was going on. Sinanju had been cheated of its rightful fees, and Chiun was going to find out why. Chiun’s decision to leave the employ of the Mad Emperor Smith had not come easily; it had been a long time indeed since the House of Sinanju had such a steady source of gold, but so many things went on that Chiun did not understand. The insult of his adopted son Remo refusing to take outside commissions was what finally caused him to leave. Dumbledore’s offer of a commission just made it easier
The pair continued their discussions for a few more moments, the changeling woman calling the inhabitants of #4 ‘the worst sort of Muggles’. Chiun knew that ‘Muggle’ was a term used by British Wizards to mean non-magical humans, but what would constitute being the ‘worst sort’? It was then that a faint sound caught his attention, a low rumble in the distance. It was several moments before either of the magic users noticed the sound as its source came nearer, and their eyes joined the Master’s as they watched a huge motorcycle fall from the sky.
This was one of the things Chiun disliked about magic users; they used their abilities to force things and people out of their natural patterns. Motorcycles should not fly, yet here was one that did.
Astride the big machine was a huge man. From his size Chiun knew that there was no way he was of main line human stock. Too small to be a European Giant, too hairy to be of Troll stock, the man had to be a hybrid of some type. In his arms he held a bundle of blankets. Chiun could clearly hear the sound of a small child’s rhythmic breathing indicating sleep.
The magic users and the gigantic man discussed the situation for a few more moments, and then laid the child still wrapped in the blankets on the doorstep of the house at #4. Chiun’s eyes widened in disbelief when Dumbledore tucked a letter into the blankets, and then stood away with his companions looking at the sleeping child. They were going to just leave a helpless toddler on the doorstep? What was wrong with these people?
Chiun remained in the shadows as the giant mounted the motorcycle and flew away, the changeling transformed back into her cat form and the tall wizard Dumbledore slowly walked away, using his silver device to relight the street lights before turning back to quietly wish the boy, this ‘Harry Potter’ luck before disappearing.
As soon as Dumbledore was gone Chiun emerged from the shadows, and moved silently to the door. He effortlessly lifted the sleeping child from the doorstep while taking the letter from the blankets. From the conversation between Dumbledore and the changeling, he knew that this was the child responsible for killing his target. The Master of Sinanju opened the letter and read the flowing script.
This was definitely the work of Dumbledore, many many words saying nothing. Laying the expectation to raise the boy upon the inhabitants of this house. Chiun looked upon the boy; on his forehead was a wound in a zigzag pattern. Reaching out with all of his senses Chiun could feel the evil alien energy within the wound. Was Dumbledore mad? Leaving a child with such an infection of magic, and then abandoning him on a doorstep in the dead of night? The child opened his eyes, momentarily awakened by being handled. Chiun was shocked to see a pair of jade green irises that pulsed with power before the child drifted once again back to sleep. Eyes of Jade Fire? The Master’s mouth went dry.
A thought crossed the mind of the Master of Sinanju. Dare he make the attempt? His experience with Remo challenged many of his deepest beliefs; he still distinctly recalled the shock he felt when he realized that Remo was capable of learning the secrets of Sinanju. Would this boy also be capable? The addition of magic to the discipline that was Sinanju had been foretold, it could only strengthen the art, could it not?
The boy was seemingly not wanted by his own, abandoned in the night. Perhaps there was time left in Chiun’s life for a third apprentice? This one without the pollution of greed that had spoiled Nuihc and without the loyalty to things outside the village of Sinanju like Remo? Might this boy be the one foretold in prophecy? The apprentice with Eyes of Jade Fire that would unite…?
“Welcome to the family, my new son. Let us return home, and find a proper Korean mage to deal with the curse upon your forehead.”
If anyone had been looking, it would have appeared to them that the Master of Sinanju and his newest apprentice suddenly faded away.
November 2, 1981
Rye, New York USA:
Harold W. Smith entered his office at exactly 7 a.m., just like every other day for the last twenty five years. Sitting at his desk, he pressed the button that started his computer powering up, and his secretary entered the office with his morning tea. Thanking the woman without seeing her, just as he did every other day. The woman left to return to her own desk.
The phone rang.
That detail shocked Smith out of his routine. That phone almost never rang. He picked up the receiver before it could ring a second time.
“Smith.” He said simply.
“Morning Smitty. We’ve got problems.”
Smith instantly recognized the voice, the only voice to ever come in on this line. Still he waited the two seconds for the voice analyzer to finish its work. The display clearly read ‘Remo’. “What might be the problem this time Remo?”
“It’s Chiun. He’s quit.”
“Chiun quits every few months.” Smith said starting to read through the daily correspondence that his secretary had brought in with his tea.
“This time he’s serious Smitty. He took an outside job somewhere in Europe. This morning he calls me and tells me he’s done wasting his time on me. I think he’s tired of being a trainer and wants to get back in the harness.”
“That is too bad. Well, you know what you have to do.”
There was silence on the line.
“Are you suggesting that I should find Chiun and take him out?”
“You know I am Remo. Is that a problem?”
“Not if you don’t mind him killing me, and then coming after you.”
“Excuse me?” Smith quit reading the page in his hand.
“Smitty, if I was ever stupid enough to try and kill Chiun, he would snuff me in thirty seconds. There is a reason he’s the Master of Sinanju and I was the apprentice.”
“Thirty seconds? Are you serious?” Remo was very good at what he did.
“Twenty eight of those seconds he would spend critiquing my technique and telling me what a disappointment I am…”
“I… see.” Smith said. His tone making it clear that he did not see. “What do you suggest?”
“That you make the payment to Sinanju though the end of the year as per his contract, keep sending my share to Sinanju, and we both pray that he and I never end up on opposite sides of the same hit.”
November 15, 1981
Democratic People's Republic of Korea
Kumsilu was the only remaining Magical purely magical village in North Korea. The Government in Pyongyang had spent most of the last 50 years making very sure of that, eliminating the Magicals as they were found. Sinanju and Kumsilu had a long history of dealing with each other, sometimes as friends, sometimes as enemies. Currently the terms were guarded.
The Master was met at the gates of the village by Chun Hei the village elder. The old woman suddenly appeared in the way of the mage, with a sudden soft pop. Chiun of course noted the sudden energy bloom of the beginning of her appearance, a skill learned by the Great Master Ko before he forged the Sword of Sinanju. It was that knowledge that had tipped the balance of power between the two villages to Sinanju.
“What do you want Sinanju?” The woman spat.
“I wish to hire the Mages of Kumsilu.” Chiun said simply.
“We are not the servants of Sinanju. We are not interested in the trinkets you offer the fools of your village.”
Chiun held her gaze, wondering for a moment just what it was he had seen in this woman when they where children. From his kimono he drew a one kilogram bar of gold and casually dropped it at the woman’s feet. “I offer gold.”
Chun Hei looked from the gold at her feet to the almond eyes of Chiun, to the bundle on his left arm. “What are you wanting from my village?”
Never letting his attention drift from the eyes of the witch, Chiun gently pulled the blankets away from the boy’s face. The Boy was awake and looking about silently. Truly this was the mark of a potential Master, he never fussed or cried. “My adopted son bears a curse. I wish you to remove it. Once you have, I suspect that you will happily do what ever you need to do to train him in your ways.”
The old woman was surprised to find the Master of Sinanju to be in the company of a white child, much less to hear him claim the child as his adopted son. She was about to scoff at his belief that she would ever train any of the village of Sinanju adopted or otherwise when she caught sight of the boy’s eyes. “Eyes of Jade Fire” she whispered.
November 1, 1984
The only thing Remo hated more than having to go look for his targets was waiting to go look for his targets. Smith had told him he was in a stand down status, and that he should relax.
That was three days ago. A man could only hang out at the pool for so long before the boredom took over his life. Especially when he was constantly fending off women and avoiding the laughable attempts of physical violence from the unhappy men in their lives.
Now there was someone banging on his door. The banging was far too staccato to be a woman, but it still might be a jealous husband looking to take his revenge. He was still trying to decide if he was going to open the door when it popped open.
Remo was instantly on guard, only to have his jaw drop when Chiun entered the suite.
“Typical. I leave you alone for a few years and you become to slovenly to properly greet your betters at the door.”
“Little Father!” The man with no past exclaimed. “You’ve come back?”
“No Remo.” The old man chuckled. “I am on my way to a contract, and I need a favor.”
“Of course Little Father, anyway I can help.”
“Good.” The old man turned back to the door. “Harry, come in here.” Remo’s eyes widened as a small boy with a shaven head, dressed in denims and a blue tee-shirt entered the room with his green eyes cast down. “Remo,” the old man continued, “I need you to look after your brother for a few days.”
Chiun’s short explanation of the existence of the boy and his status as Chiun’s latest apprentice came amidst Chiun’s usual insults and complaints. Then the old man was gone leaving Remo with the boy.
The boy was kneeling in the corner of the room with his shaved head down as was expected in the traditions of Sinanju. If not addressed he would remain that way for hours if not longer. Remo had never been one for that sort of discipline, as Chiun had pointed out several times. The man smiled to himself. Why not corrupt the kid a bit? Chiun seemed to expect him to drop everything and take care of the kid for who knows how long, why not?
“Hey kid” Remo said in Korean. “What was your name again?”
“I am Harry Honored sir. Master Chiun calls me Harry the Barely Adequate when he writes of my training in the Book”
Remo smiled. He recalled Chiun forever writing in the Book of Sinanju, he had some interesting names in that text as well. “Don’t take it too hard Harry; you should have heard what he called me.”
“You are Remo, the Great Disappointment Honored Sir.”
“That kvetching bastard.” Remo said in English. “Great Disappointment am I?”
“That is what the Master calls you Honored Sir.” Harry said, also in English.
“You don’t need to remain in the position of supplication Harry. I’m not your master. Call me Remo”
The boy rose to his feet and regarded Remo with his vivid green eyes. “The Master said that you were my brother.”
“Since we’re both his adopted sons, I guess we are. I was a grown man when Chiun found me. How old are you?”
“I’m this many.” The boy held up four fingers. “Mistress Chun Hei tells me that I shouldn’t be able to do what I can do, but making the stones dance makes me sleepy.”
Remo spent a few moments pondering what that was supposed to mean and wondering who Chun Hei might be before he knelt down in front of the boy. “So what do you like to do for fun?”
The boy’s vivid green eyes seemed to glow for a moment and a small crooked grin appeared on his face. From the back pocket of his jeans his small hand drew a pair of throwing blades.
Remo smiled as well. This kid had possibilities.
July 25, 1991
Hogwarts School for Witchcraft and Wizardry
A disheveled Minerva McGonagall stormed into Albus’ office. “He isn’t there. He was never there.”
Dumbledore looked up from his paperwork, more than a little confused at her statements. “Who isn’t where Minerva?”
“Harry Potter. He isn’t at his Aunt’s home. I sent out his acceptance letter yesterday. I had to address it by hand; the charmed quill wouldn’t work for him. I thought that it might have something to do with the enchantments you placed on him. There was no response. This morning I tried again, this time by owl. The bloody bird just sat on my desk staring at me. I then went to Little Whinging to hand deliver the letter. He isn’t there. Petunia Dursley had no idea he was ever left on her door step. What have you done Albus? Where is Harry Potter?”
October 31, 1991
Hogwarts School for Witchcraft and Wizardry
Minerva continued her patrol in search of the troll. Her mind boggled at the thought that instead of keeping the children in the easily defensible Great Hall, Albus had sent them to their dormitories, ignoring the fact that if, as Quirrell said the Troll was in the Dungeons he had sent the Slytherins directly into the creature’s path. There hadn’t even been time for a head count before the children were herded out of the Great Hall. She and the Headmaster would be having words later. The loss of Harry Potter was seriously affecting the man’s frame of mind.
Ascending the staircase to the second floor she turned the first corner in time to see a troll’s leg disappear through a doorway. Relieved, Minerva fired off a canon blast with her wand to signal to the staff that the troll had been found. She stood waiting for the others to converge on her position so that they could together deal with the creature. When she heard the shrill scream of a young girl, the troll’s bellow, and the shattering of porcelain her blood ran cold.
Bolting to the door the Scotswoman was simultaneously relieved to see the young girl who had screamed apparently unharmed cowering before the troll, and terrified to see the troll standing over her raising its club.
“Reducto!” she hit the troll squarely on the back of its tiny head, staggering the huge creature. Minerva was completely unprepared when the troll responded to the attack by swinging its huge club. The swing caught Minerva fully in the left side, shattering her ribs and throwing her into the wall with enough force to break her hip. She slid to the floor, feeling her consciousness slipping away. Fighting to maintain control she raised her wand toward the troll and transfigured the cartilage in its nose to white phosphorus. When the creature raised its club to finish her, the troll took in a final breath, triggering the phosphorus’s pyrophoric properties. The entire mass of phosphorus flashed to flame. The burning mass was somewhat contained by the tough hide of the troll long enough for a thermal pulse to push inward into softer tissues. The resulting explosion reduced the creature’s head to a fine mist. The troll collapsed to the floor with an echoing thud.
Her vision graying out, Minerva had enough time to feel a bit of satisfaction that she had protected the student. The girl scrambled over to her fallen teacher. Ah, one of her lions. What was… why …?
Oblivion claimed her.
November 9, 1991
Hogwarts School for Witchcraft and Wizardry
Fred and George Weasley entered the kitchen to find Genevieve Walker and Stewart Boardman waiting for them. Walker and Boardman were their Slytherin counterparts. The fourth year Slytherin pranksters had never been caught, except by Fred and George. There existed a grudging respect between the two pairs, though none of them would admit to it. There was also a strict détente between them. They would never prank each other. Ever. The possibility of escalation beyond everyone’s control was far too real. None of the four wanted to risk that. There were far too many unsuspecting victims out there to take on each other.
The House Elves scurried to offer food and drink.
“How is your Head of House?” Boardman asked
“She’s up and around now.” Fred said. “Pomphrey’s really good at her job. Makes you glad she’s here really.”
“And your firstie?” Walker added. “Why was she out there on her own?”
“Scared shitless, but ok. It seems she reacted emotionally to something out younger brother said and wasn’t at the feast to hear the warning. We’ve dealt with it. We’ve explained things to ickle Ronnie. He won’t be doing that again.”
“Good.” Walker said. “No one should be getting hurt… Unless it’s funny. So…” she said casually. “How far have you two gotten on the third floor? Did the puppy keep you out?”
“What? Fluffy?” George laughed. “We’ve spent more time with Fluffy than Hagrid has. He loves us. Surely the plant didn’t slow you two down?”
“Devil’s Snare? Please. That’s first year stuff. It was the damned keys. We flew all over that damned room but couldn’t get close to the right key.” Boardman groused.
“Neither could we.” Fred agreed. “You’d have to be a seeker to catch the stupid thing.”
“Which is why we picked the lock” George added.
“What?” Walker asked. “I tried every unlocking charm I could find.”
“We didn’t use magic, my dear Genevieve,” George said.
“We did it the Muggle way, with tools.” Fred interjected.
“I wanted to blow it up, but my sister here was afraid we’d get caught.” George complained.
“Explosives aren’t the answer to every problem.” Fred said patiently.
“All right, all right. What’s beyond the door?” Walker asked, wondering, not for the first time, why she associated with these two.
“A chess set.” George said.
“A bloody huge chess set.” Fred added. “Evidently, one has to play his way across the board.”
“And?” Boardman asked impatiently.
“And we’re simply pants at chess. We spent most of three hours losing to the damned board.”
“I play.” Walker said speculatively.
“Are you proposing we call off the bet and join forces?” George asked.
“Hell no. I’m proposing that as soon as we figure a way through that damned door, we’ll pass you up.” The fourth year Slytherin Witch said.
“Ah. Well, you should be aware; George and I have a few ideas of our own.”
“Yes” George agreed. “To start with our younger brother is a bit of a chess savant.”
“That and we've found that while explosives are not the answer to all problems, the number of situations where they can't be used effectively in some fashion is extremely limited,” Fred smirked.
January 9, 1992
People’s Republic of China
Chang Jiang Bridge:
Chiun kept pace with his apprentice as the blindfolded boy ran up the top most cable of the Chang Jiang Bridge. Chiun hate China and the Chinese for many reasons but he had to admit for a bridge, this was a well built one. It would take at least twenty minutes to bring it down completely. Less if he used explosives.
Harry was coming along well. The boy was at least on pace with Nuihc at the same age, and in some ways superior to Remo at the same stage of his training. The Master decided to add a bit of criticism to offset any building arrogance. “Mind your breathing.” The boy’s breathing was perfect, but reinforcing the wisdom of his Master never went amiss.
“Yes Master.” The twelve year old said as he picked up the pace needed to stay abreast of the sound of Chiun’s voice coming from the opposing cable. “Master, what is that smell?”
Chiun spared a glance down to the river far below them. Chinese industry had rendered the water an undrinkable malodorous soup. “Chinese women traditionally take their biannual bathes in the river below. Now the river smells like them.” He said simply.
The boy nodded, taking in Chiun’s words as always. Harry then vaulted the peak of the first tower having determined the distance solely by the vibrations at his feet and the sound of the winds moving by the concrete structure.
“Not bad for a pampered white thing. Keep this up and you’ll almost be equal to the average Korean.”
“Thank you father.” Harry said as he raced down the cable to the bridge deck.
Chiun smiled, and then tamped the emotion down. Remo had taught the boy that. Appeal to Chiun’s emotions. He shook his head. The Master could have no emotions.
March 19, 1992
Hogwarts School for Witchcraft and Wizardry
The Room of the Flying keys:
“Any luck?” Boardman asked as he landed from his fifth attempt to catch the key.
“No.” Walker said leaning against the door. “I’m starting to think those twin Griffindorks made up that whole ‘picked the lock’ thing.”
“Now that hurt our feelings,” Fred Weasley’s voice came from the Devil’s Snare.
“I agree Brother Mine, Genevieve the Magnificent thinks we would lie to her… How will we go on?”
Walker’s eye narrowed dangerously at the mention of her hated nickname awarded when she became the first girl in her cohort to ‘develop’.
Fred smacked George on the back of his head. “I apologize for my idiot brother Miss Walker. I dropped him on his head a few too many times it seems.” Sometimes George’s Ron-like thoughtlessness annoyed Fred to no end. Genevieve’s endowments truly were magnificent, and Fred entertained many fantasies about someday being allowed to pay an intimate homage to them at length. “Get the door for the lady, George.”
George approached the door muttering about thin skinned women and brothers with active fantasy lives, pulled a pair of thin metal tools from a pocket and set to work on the locking mechanism. After a few moments the door was open.
“I propose that we forget the bet and work together on this.” Fred said.
“Why?” Boardman asked. “Afraid we’ll beat you?”
“My reasoning is simple. I want to know what all this is hiding more than I want ten Galleons. Also while I really don’t want you two to beat us, it would literally kill me if someone else beat us both to it. George and I placed some monitoring charms on Fluffy’s room. At least six other groups have made at least an attempt to get past Fuffy, and three of them have made it at least as far as the Devil’s Snare. Time is running out. If we’re going to do this we need to do it tonight. That means we do it together.”
The Slytherins exchanged a look. “We’re in.” Walker said. “Let’s go, I’ve got a game of chess to play.”
Fred held up his hand. “That’s one way, sure. First let’s try the Weasley way.”
George cackled manically, and removed the back pack he wore. He opened the pack, did something inside, and then flung the satchel through the open door. “I’d get away from the door way if I were you.”
Seeing the two Weasleys press themselves against the wall beside the door, Walker and Boardman did the same on the other side. George finished counting off three seconds and… nothing happened.
“What went wrong?” Fred asked.
“I’m not sure. I’m positive I used a three second fuse.” George paused hesitantly. “Unless…”
The explosion in the next room knocked them all to the floor.
“Ah.” George said as soon as everyone’s ears stopped ringing. “Six second fuses. Have to remember that.”
“Well that was subtle.” Genevieve Walker said as she stood up, dusting herself off.
“Subtlety is overrated.” George said peering into the Chess room. The board was cleared of pieces.
Boardman followed George into the room, looking at the devastation. “Well, they’ll know someone was here.”
“Nah. When we were here last, we got a bit peeved with the game and reductoed a piece or three, which made the rest of them mad and they chased us out of the room. As soon as that door closes, the room repairs it’s self.” Fred explained. “Which is why that door stays propped open until we head back out.”
The four pranksters crossed the room to the door on the far side. “I certainly hope what ever is at the end of this trail is worth the effort.” Boardman groused.
“Ok, this is new to all of us from here on out.” Walker said at the door. “Everyone ready?”
“Go on.” George said.
Genevieve pushed the door open.
Immediately a disgusting smell filled their nostrils, causing them all to fight against gagging. Eyes watering, they saw, a large troll staring at them. The Slytherin’s both instantly began casting. Boardman binding the huge beasts’ legs with conjured chains, while Walker hitting the troll in the face with multiple reductos. Under this assault, the troll attempted to step backwards, and fell to the floor hitting its head hard against the stone wall behind it.
“Bloody hell.” George whispered. You knocked it out.”
“What is it with trolls this year?” Walker wondered panting from the exertion.
They crossed the room to the next door. “Come on,” Boardman said. “Let’s get out of here, I can’t breathe.”
He pulled open the next door, the quartet hardly daring to look at what came next - but there was nothing very frightening in the next room, just a table with seven differently shaped bottles standing on it in a line.
“Now what?” Walker asked. “What do we have to do?”
They stepped over the threshold, and immediately a curtain of purple fire sprang up behind them obscuring the doorway they had just come through. At the same instant, black flames shot up over the doorway leading onward.
“We appear to be trapped in here.” Genevieve said, picking up the roll of parchment lying next to the bottles and scanning it. “Danger lies before you, while safety lies behind, Two of us will help you, whichever you would find, Blah blah blah. It’s a logic puzzle. We’re supposed to figure out which of these bottles hold the potion that will let us go on through the black flames.” She shook her head and tossed the parchment back onto the table.
“Well, which one lets us go on?” George asked.
“Don’t know, don’t care.” Walker said. She was digging in her satchel. “Here it is.” She said pulling out a metallic bar about three inches thick and eight inches long. “I think it might be time to test out my project for Ancient Runes.” She placed the bar on the floor as close to the black flames as she could, then reached out and tapped it with her wand. Walker then backed away from the heat for a moment. Boardman came forward and pushed the bar toward the black flames with his foot while the twins watched completely at a loss at to what their companions were doing. As the bar of metal touched the fire a hole appeared in the sheet of flames. A hole four feet wide and six feet high.
“A rune arch? That’s bloody brilliant” Fred observed. “We’ve been trying to build one since we read about them in one of our brother Bill’s curse breaker manuals, but haven’t managed to get one to work.”
“I brought it incase we had to deal with wards or something.” Walker said. “I wasn’t sure it would work with fire. Damn I’m good.” She opened the latest door and waved the others through to the next chamber. When they were all through, Walker reached through the doorway and pulled the metallic bar through the doorway. “We’ll need to recharge this to get back out.”
The quartet turned to survey the room. It was a large cavernous place with a single door, the one they had just come through. In the center of the room sitting on a raised platform was…
“A mirror? We had to go through all that for a mirror?” Stewart Boardman asked the room.
“There has to be something else.” George agreed looking about.
“Wait a minute.” Fred said gazing into the mirror. “This isn’t showing me my reflection. It’s showing me… something else.” He blushed a bit.
“Erised?” Genevieve read from the top of the mirror’s frame. “That’s desire backwards.” She looked into the mirror herself, and began to smile.
“The mirror of Erised?” Boardman asked suddenly serious. “Get away from that, I’ve read about it. It’s addictive; it shows you what you want, not what is.”
“Addictive?” Fred asked still staring into the mirror.
“People have actually starved to death staring at the fantasy it shows.”
“Well, hell.” George observed. “What a complete waste of time.”
Genevieve Walker reached up to take Stewart Boardman’s hand as he helped her up through the trap door to Fluffy’s chamber, looking for the Cerberus she spotted the gigantic dog laying on its back while Fred and George were scratching behind the ears of each of the three huge heads telling the monstrous multiheaded mutt what a good boy he was.
The two Slytherins exited the chamber, and were followed quickly by the Gryffindor twins, both of whom were smirking.
“Alright you two.” Genevieve Walker said suspiciously. “What are you up to?”
“We just left a little surprise for the next ones to try to get past Fluffy.” Fred explained.
“What did you do? If someone gets hurt, they might trace it to us.” Boardman said.
“No, nothing like that.” George Weasley shook his head. “As long as they aren’t stupid enough to try to curse or hex the Fluffster, there shouldn’t be a problem at all.”
“You know,” Walker said in a lilting voice, “It’s really too bad we couldn’t have left something to let people know we beat their security.”
“What did you do Stewart?” she asked with a glare.
“There might be a snake illusion coiled around the mirror…”
“And there might be a lion on the wall facing the mirror suggesting that the next time they make the challenges harder…” George added.
“When did you two do that?” Fred asked
“When you two were putting the Rune Arch into position for our exit…”
May 19, 1992
Hogwarts School for Witchcraft and Wizardry
Dumbledore was at his desk making plans for the summer. Harry Potter had to be found. He would use his contacts in the Ministry to check for foundlings around the time Harry evidently went missing. Perhaps a deeper review of the memories of Vernon Dursley was in order. The man was dimly remembered from James and Lily’s Muggle wedding.
Minerva arrived unannounced. “Albus, something horrible has happened.”
Dumbledore looked up from his notes. “What is it Minerva?” he asked.
“You need to come to the third floor. Someone has been caught in your trap.”
Dumbledore arrived at the Fluffy’s room at a near run with McGonagall trailing behind. The inside of the room was horrific. In the corner was an enchanted music box, still playing its tune, but there was blood everywhere. The upper torso of Quirinus Quirrell lay in front of the door, his broken wand still clutched in his right hand, the left most head of Hagrid’s dog was still worrying poor Quirinus’ legs, despite Hagrid’s efforts to get him to drop them.
Minerva began checking Quirinus’ body for anything that might suggest why he had entered the room and fought with the Cerberus. This was when she discovered the disfiguration of the back of his skull. “Albus!” she called pointing out her findings.
“A sure sign of physical possession. Tom, what have you done?” the ancient wizard asked shaking his head.
“Are you certain it was Tom Riddle?” His deputy asked, appearing to be more than a little ashen in her appearance.
“Who else would it be Minerva?”
Hagrid approached with the lower portion of Quirrell’s body. “I don’ unnerstand it Perfessor Dumbledore Sir. Fluffy wouldn’t hurt a fly he wouldn’t, oh he puts on a show, but he’s a big puppy. His middle and right heads have burns and punctures as like Perfessor Quirrell was to be cursin’ at poor Fluffy.”
“Hagrid, that music box should have put Fluffy to sleep, it still plays yet the Cerberus is still awake.”
“Aye.” The gentle half giant agreed. “Strange ain’t it?” When I was trying to calm ‘im down, twer like Fluffy couldn’t hear me. Does yez think the puir pup has gone deaf?”
Dumbledore turned to face the three headed dog, his brow furrowed in concentration. “Oh my.” He said.
“What is it Albus?” McGonagall asked.
“There are silencing charms on each of the collars. What would possess Quirrell or Tom to have done that? How very odd.”
June 19, 1992
Democratic People's Republic of Korea
Harry stood in the center of the circle of ten sixteen year olds. He was tasked to levitate a wooden sphere directly in front of his eyes and wait for instructions.
“Copper.” Master Kyoung said from outside the circle.
Harry concentrated; the ball compacted to approximately half its former size, and then changed to a dull green patina.
“Good.” The mage said. “Now porcelain.”
Again the floating ball changed size, the green of raw copper shifted to the yellowish white of bone china.
Kyoung waited the proscribed time of seven seconds and called out “rubber.”
The sphere pulsed once, and then the color changed to the dirty grey of raw rubber.
Chun Hei sat upon her mat of reflection watching the exercise. Kyoung was hiding his emotions well. The Son of Chiun should not be able to do what he was doing, not at twelve years old. The boy was shifting between materials with almost no effort. It would be harder soon, after another dozen transformations, the requests for transfigurations between inanimate objects and life would begin. If the boy could do that, then Kyoung would request iron.
She drew on her pipe. Where did the boy’s strength and power come from? Was it inborn from a fortuitous choice of birth parents? What it related to his training in the arts of Sinanju? Did it have something to do with the horrible half living thing she had pulled from the wound on the boys head and destroyed that night more than a decade before? Did all of those things contribute to what she was watching?
The sphere was now smaller than a walnut and made of gold. She had noticed that he was maintaining a constant mass of the original wooden sphere. What that an accident or a conscious attempt to conserve energy by not forcing his magic to add or subtract mass?
Chun Hei allowed herself a small smile when she wondered if Chiun knew the boy could transfigure base elements to gold. She knew that the boy did not speak to Chiun about his magic, just as he did not speak to her about his knowledge of Sinanju. That was the agreement between them.
May 8, 1993
Hogwarts School for Witchcraft and Wizardry
Dumbledore rushed into the toilet followed by Filius Flitwick. He immediately set to searching the room. It had to be here, this was where it all began all those years ago, began with young Myrtle’s death. Tom’s first murder.
“Are you finding anything Albus?”
“I’m finding too much Filius, this room is literally awash in magic. Wait, this basin… Very old… the tap…” The ancient wizard straightened up. “Parselmagic.”
“Damn. I know of some Parsels among the Brethren, but the negotiations would take hours at a minimum.” The Charms Master said.
“Time is of the essence Filius, if Miss Weasley is to survive we cannot take the time it would require to gain the aid of your Goblin kin. I once heard Miss Weasley’s older brothers discussing situations like this. According to them, and I quote ‘while explosives are not the answer to all problems, the number of situations where they can't be used effectively in some fashion is extremely limited.’” The old man poured his energy into a massive blasting curse. Flitwick, realizing what the Headmaster was doing shielded them both.
Following the resulting explosion, both the wizards banished the debris from the newly exposed vertical passageway.
“Filius, you stay here and guard this passage. I shall away below to confront Slytherin’s pet.”
“No Albus. Miss Weasley is my student as well. Not even you could stand against a basilisk and who ever opened the chamber alone.” The diminutive Charms Master hopped into the chasm and slowly floated down.
“Thank you old friend.” Dumbledore breathed as he joined Flitwick in the slow descent.
The pair of Wizards made their way into the Chamber of Secrets, having paused only long enough for Dumbledore to blast their way through a massive doorway controlled by Parselmagic as they drew level with the last pair of pillars, a statue high as the Chamber itself came into view, standing against the back wall.
Filius had to crane his neck to look up into the giant face above: It was ancient and austere, with a long, thin beard that fell almost to the bottom of the wizard’s sweeping stone robes, where two enormous gray feet stood on the smooth Chamber floor. “Slytherin.” Filius breathed. It was then they notice that between the statue’s feet, a small, black-robed figure with flaming-red hair lay face down
“Miss Weasley!” Dumbledore breathed, rushing to the girl and dropping to his knees.
“She won’t wake,” said a soft voice.
Dumbledore rose to his feet to confront the speaker.
A tall, black-haired boy was leaning against the nearest pillar, watching.
“Professor Dumbledore. How are you? The girl tells me that you’re the Head Master these days. Congratulations.”
“What have you done to her Tom?”
Riddle pointed toward the floor near the statue’s giant toes. Lying open there was a little black diary. “I suspect you know what I’ve done Professor, and you know that there is nothing you can do about it. If Professor Slughorn were still in residence, I would tell you to thank him for what I have become.” The young man made some unintelligible hissing noises.
Slytherin’s gigantic stone face was moving. Dumbledore and Flitwick both watched the statue’s mouth opening, to form a huge black hole. Something was stirring inside the statue’s mouth. Something was slithering up from its depths.
“Albus. Protect the girl and figure out how to disrupt that… Thing. I’ll deal with his little snake.” Flitwick shouted.
“What do you think you can do against the king of the serpents little man?” the shade of Tom Riddle asked.
“Far more than you think boy.” The Charms Master spat. “You have always thought you were better than you actually are… don’t you remember the spanking I gave you when you challenged me your 7th year? I’ll be waiting for your pet in the columns.”
Riddle watched as the dwarf disappeared among the columns. “Kill them!” He hissed to the basilisk. “The Dwarf first, then the old man.”
Filius could hear the giant snake coming. He drew several deep breathes to calm himself. He had always wondered how he would have fared against the creatures of old, odd that actually having the chance wasn’t as much fun as he had thought it would be.
The snout of the great snake appeared at the juncture of the passageways. Filius raised his wand. “Solaris Novae!” he chanted, then threw his left arm over his eyes.
Amazing. Even with his eyes closed he could see the bones through the skin of his arm.
The sounds of the battle between Flitwick and the basilisk carried to Dumbledore and Riddle as they faced each other. Dumbledore casting spell after spell that passed through Riddle’s shade like he wasn’t even there. The sounds of the battle suddenly stopped.
“Flitwick was so brave.” Riddle laughed, “And so foolish. Did he really best me in a duel in my seventh year?”
“He did. As per usual your ego exceeded your skills.”
A look of anger flashed across Riddle’s face. He quickly closed the distance between himself and Dumbledore and pushed his immaterial hand inside the ancient wizard’s chest. Dumbledore collapsed to the floor in agony. “And that was just my hand interrupting your internal magic. Imagine if I had squeezed your heart Dumbledore. You are nothing to me.”
Ginny Weasley began to convulse on the floor. Gathering his strength, Dumbledore crawled to her, and pulled her into his arms. The ancient wizard felt the girl’s life slipping away. He attempted to pour his magic into her, but it was as if she was empty, there was nothing for his magic to work on. She took a last ragged breath and lay still. Dumbledore’s searching fingers could find no pulse.
“The girl is dead!” the suddenly solid dark lord exulted. “Her life force is mine! VOLDEMORT IS REBORN!”
A shaft of ice suddenly appeared to sprout from the center of Riddle’s chest. A look of surprise appeared on the boy’s handsome features.
And just like that, Voldemort is dead again.” A badly burned Filius Flitwick said, his robes still smoking. “This time, try to stay that way.”
Looking up from the dead girl Dumbledore beheld his friend with concern. “Filius?”
“For future reference, I would advise against casting ‘Solaris Novae’ in an enclosed space. No worries. Poppy can fix me up. I think we should get this young woman to her family.”
“This is my fault Filius.”
The Charms Master picked up the diary. “Nonsense. Did you give her this diary? Of course not. The blame falls to the villain who did. Merlin help him if I find out who he is.”
July 25, 1995
Republic of the Philippines
Moving silently through the jungle, Harry could smell his targets. Meat eaters,and many of them. This was the third encampment he had found, but this was the first one with a hint of soap in its cumulative scent cloud. Soap in the jungle generally meant women, especially if they were being used by men.
Harry found his spot and settled down to wait. Darkness was an hour away. His father’s instructions were concise. Find the girl and get her out. Kill if you must, but don’t be indiscriminate. Get the girl, kill the leader of the Guerillas, get out. Simple enough.
The local insects were beginning to notice him. Harry concentrated and changed the acidity of his sweat until the various crawling and flying bugs found him unpalatable. He continued to watch the small camp. The hut that held the girl was easy to spot, as was the ‘leader’ of the band. That fool was impressing his troops with colorful bits of ribbon sewn to his ‘uniform’. Idiot making himself easy to identify.
Two weeks before a stranger made his way to the village of Sinanju. Harry knew he was a stranger by not recognizing the man’s face, the rest of the village reacted badly to the stranger’s presence. Harry knew that there was something he was missing, and would have to pay close attention to see what it was. Word reached Chiun, and he was out of his house almost instantly to confront the stranger.
“What do you want Japanese dog?” His master spat.
“I seek the Master of Sinanju.”
“I am he. Tell me what you want or die where you stand.”
The stranger looked about, clearly not wanting to explain himself in public. “My daughter was kidnapped by Communist Guerillas while vacationing at a resort in the Philippines.”
“So pay the ransom.”
“I did. They asked for two million American dollars. I paid them. Then they demanded another four million, I paid that as well, and still they keep my daughter. Now they want ten million. It has been four months, my daughter; my only child is probably dead. I want them to pay. I will pay the ten million, but I want to pay it to you to punish them for what they have done.”
“The Master of Sinanju is an assassin, not a retrieval service, nor do I accept open ended contracts.” The stranger’s face fell. Harry could see that Chiun was thinking about the ten million dollars. “My apprentice on the other hand could probably use the exercise. For your ten million, I will send my apprentice to find your daughter. If she is alive he will kill the leader of the kidnappers and bring your daughter back to you. If she is dead, he will exercise his best judgment in avenging her for you.”
Harry watched as the perimeter guard changed. These people were pathetic, having a large fire in the center of their encampment, and the so called guards spent most of their time in its light, which served the dual purposes of robbing them of their night vision and silhouetting them to anyone approaching the camp from outside.
To Harry’s left some sort of jungle cat emerged from the cover. The cat seemed surprised to see him there. The cat seemed to recognize another predator in Harry, one that the feline wanted no part of. Slowly, silently the cat backed away.
Harry returned his attention to the camp. The leader was drinking… something. The scent was unpleasant, and it affected the man’s balance. It was with grim satisfaction that Harry watched the leader enter the hut Harry had identified as probably containing the girl. Well, A girl anyway.
Harry moved through the underbrush to the closest point to his chosen hut. Harry paused for a moment. He was sure that Chiun was out there, somewhere, observing his performance. A short distance apparition to the interior of the hut was certainly within his abilities, but did his master expect his first solo job to be purely Sinanju? Harry reached a decision, he would innovate on his own time. When the guards were in the appropriate places, Harry broke cover and ghosted to the hut door. From inside the hut he heard male grunts of exertion, and sounds of female unhappiness.
Silently Harry entered the hut. In a single silent move, he drove the palm of his right hand into the nose of the leader, driving it into his brain, killing him instantly. The stroke continued on to cover the mouth of the crying girl while Harry’s left hand rolled the man off her body.
Almost before the girl realized that the leader was no longer on top of her, Harry was whispering in her ear. “Are you Higa Yoko?” Harry asked in Japanese.
The clearly terrified young woman nodded. “Your father sent me. Don’t worry, I’m taking you to him.” Harry manipulated a nerve culture under her left arm until her eyes rolled up and the girl lost consciousness. Throwing the girl over his shoulder Harry moved to exit the hut. Waiting until once again the guards were at their optimum positions, Harry reentered the jungle carrying the girl, and the pair vanished into the night.
Harry led the girl into the safe house her father had setup in Baguio, where Chiun and the older Higa were waiting. The girl’s father scooped her into a hug and tears.
The master and apprentice left after Chiun made his pitch concerning future business. Harry waited patiently. He had done well, achieved his goal inside of the time line Chiun had assigned.
“When you killed the bandit, your elbow was out of line. Your stroke was inefficient.”
“Yes Father. I’ll work on that.”
“See that you do.”
August 23, 1996
Democratic People's Republic of Korea
The guards at the gates of Kumsilu were expressionless when Dumbledore appeared before them.
“I wish to speak with Mistress Chun Hei.” Dumbledore said in Korean.
They gave no response, nor did they even indicate that they had heard the elder Wizard.
“I said, I wish to speak with Mistress Chun Hei.”
“They heard you Supreme Mugwump.” Dumbledore was startled to find a small woman at his left elbow. She continued in English “They would only react if you were to attempt to enter Kumsilu without permission.”
“Ah Mistress Chun Hei. Wonderful to see you again.”
The witch regarded him for a moment. “And you Supreme Mugwump. Please, follow me to my classroom so that we might talk.”
The pair passed through the gates and past many small houses. “I envy you Mistress Chun Hei. I envy that you still have time to actually teach, my time in the class room was long ago and administration consumes the bulk of my time these days.”
They had reached the largest building in the town, the Korean witch gestured for Dumbledore to precede her into the school building. “I find I define myself as a teacher Supreme Mugwump, whatever else I do be it my time with the International, exploring new magics or communing with my ancestors, teaching has always been my base.”
The building was much large inside than out. Not surprising really, since the enlargement charms had been pioneered in Asian magical societies. Dumbledore followed the woman to a spacious room containing single individual dressed all in black facing off against an even dozen opponents clad in yellows and reds.
“Continue.” The witch said to her students in Korean, and the group exploded into activity. The witch continued on to the far end of the room where a small man in a kimono waited. Dumbledore did not recognize the man until Chun Hei gestured for him to sit.
“Master Chiun?” He asked incredulously. The old Muggle was nearing or past his century mark, but still exuded an aura of danger. “I hadn’t expected to see you here.”
“Good day School Teacher.” The Master of Sinanju never moved his eyes from the encounter on the mats. “I am here to see my son perform his exercises.”
Dumbledore again turned his attention to the combat on the mats. All of the combatants were using foci enhanced (wands and other foci) magics and wandless magics. Most of the spells being used he recognized, but some…
“I had no idea your son was magical.”
“And what brings you to my village Supreme Mugwump?” the Korean Witch interrupted.
“I am looking for a lost lamb. A magical child lost fourteen years ago.” Dumbledore joined the others in watching the match going on. The single combatant was somehow winnowing down his competition, constantly in motion, even on occasion using what appeared to be short range apparition, flickering from place to place. Casting with a very short wand and from his empty left hand he would cast and move, move and cast. From where Dumbledore was sitting it was impossible to tell if the wanded casting was any more powerful than his wandless. This was an amazing display.
The boy closed on one of his competitors, grabbed an arm and flung the larger boy across the mat.
“Magic only Sinanju!” the Witch barked. “Penalty, two opponents revive!” She jabbed her wand at two of the fighters lying unconscious on the mat, and they roused themselves to join in on the fight.
“He is very good.” Dumbledore noted.
“He is Sinanju.” Chiun said as if that was an explanation.
“What is he doing? I’ve never seen anything like it.”
“It is called the Ribbon; it is a method for a single man to deal with a large number of attackers. Blades, guns, magic, they are all the same because men are all the same.”
By Dumbledore’s estimation the magical melee lasted slightly more than three minutes, until the young man in black was the only one standing.
“Well done Sinanju.” Chun Hei said. “Revive your classmates then come visit your father.” She then turned her attention to Dumbledore. “You were saying?”
“I am looking for a missing magical child.”
“How does one go about losing a child Supreme Mugwump?”
“Mistakes were made.” Dumbledore paused the fighter in black was approaching. “Mostly by me. I have made it my purpose in life to find the boy. His well being is vital to Magical Britain.” The young met his eye as he settled to the floor silently next to his father. It took a moment to realize that he was looking deeply into the boy’s eyes and getting nothing. It wasn’t like trying to read an Occlumens, rather it was as if there was no mind behind those green eyes at all. Perplexing… Green eyes? This boy had green eyes? Dumbledore quickly glance at the boy’s forehead to see a very faint scar shaped like a lightning bolt.
He had found Harry Potter.
“And it appears that I have found him.”
“Ah, School Teachers and their senses of humor.” Chiun chuckled. “This is Harry, my adopted son. I found him abandoned on a door step on a cold November night and raised him as my own.”
“The Master neglects to mention that his apprentice was found with a most horrific curse on his brow.” Chun Hei added taking a pull on her pipe. “Some subhuman fiend attempted to use the boy as a soul jar. We removed and destroyed the partial soul, but doing so almost killed two of my best Curse Masters.” She gave Dumbledore a gimlet eye. “Only a fool would mistake a wound carrying a curse of that magnitude for a normal scratch. Only a monster would leave a child with such a curse with non-magicals. Which are you Supreme Mugwump, a fool or a monster?”
Dumbledore hesitated for a moment. “Perhaps we should discuss this in private.”
“So, you would like to discuss my son,” Chiun asked, “without my son present?”
“My son has fulfilled his first contract School Teacher. He has fed the children of Sinanju through the exercise of his hard won skills. By the laws and traditions of my village, he is a man. If you wish to discuss his future, you will do it with his input. Harry, this is Professor Dumbledore. He is a past client.”
Dumbledore’s mind raced. Harry had killed? Harry was an assassin? He had just seen a small sample of what the boy could do. “Harry Potter is a hero in Britain. Harry I am here to offer you a position in the finest magical School in all of Europe.”
“No thank you. I am already attending what I consider to be the finest school in the world, one that allows me to earn my living.” The boy said.
“I can assure you that Hogwarts has no equal in the world.”
Chun Hei bristled at that. Harry considered the headmasters words for a moment. “Are you a graduate of Hogwarts sir?”
“Yes I am.”
“This offers me nothing but concern. As my Headmistress pointed out either you somehow managed to negligently miss the soul fragment in my forehead, which was almost instantly found by my non magical father and removed by Mistress Chun Hei and the elders of her village, or you purposefully left me cursed. Neither of those scenarios inspires much in the way of confidence, in you or your school.” The young man said quietly.
Dumbledore thought for a moment. “Master Chiun, the Dark Lord you were contracted for in 1981 has returned.”
“I believe I mentioned at the time that if you didn’t have a body, you didn’t have a dead man.”
“There is a prophecy that says that only Harry is capable of killing the reborn Dark Lord. You mentioned that Harry has already fulfilled his first contract. I would like to hire your apprentice to terminate Dark Lord Voldemort.”
Chiun immediately perked up. Tweaking on this arrogant foreigner was one thing, but this was business. Harry sat quietly and listened, attempting to absorb the art of negotiation.
Dumbledore left four hours later having agreed to pay the Apprentice rate for the hit and a thousand pounds sterling a week while waiting for the Dark Lord to make his appearance. Plus expenses.
August 30, 1996
Harry passed through customs without anyone even asking to look at his carry on bag, his only luggage. After noting ‘nothing to declare’ and having his passport stamped he move out of the customs area and immediately noticed a young woman with pink hair dressed in black boots, a short black skirt and a bright orange tee-shirt declaring allegiance to some band Harry had never heard of holding a sign labeled ‘POTTER’.
“I’m Harry Potter.” He said to the young woman.
“Wotcher, Harry! I’m Tonks. I’m to get you to the train on the first.” She looked him up and down, unconsciously licked her lips, and then smiled. “I wonder how we’ll spend the time?”
Harry smiled and started a quick review of the thirty seven steps in his head. This job might not be too bad.