Harry's at the Leaky Cauldron. 'nuff said.
Disclaimer: I own nothing related to the Harry Potter universe. Nothing. Nope, zip, nada. If I did, I wouldn't be writing this however, so maybe it's good I don't. Anyway, it all belongs to J.K. Rowling.
Chapter One: The Leaky Cauldron
(A/N: I noticed some time ago that never do we find out Tom the barman's last name. Nor do we ever find out if he is married. For this story, he is indeed married and his last name is Deadman. Some of the older FF-readers may recognize the reference behind my chosen surname for Tom. If you do recognize it, leave a review detailing what the reference is. Virtual cookies will be awarded to all those who get it! Oh, and I have been receiving reviews telling me that at the age of nine, Harry wouldn't know the word "hypothermia". My excuse is that only the flashback is from Harry's POV, the rest of the prologue is from a third-person perspective. Therefore, I can narrate using my own vocabulary. If this excuse is inadequate for any reason, I will be more than happy to go back and modify it, but I do find it much easier to use my own vocabulary when writing. Anyway, on with the first chapter of Heir of Sword and Stave!)
Harry was flying through a sky filled with white clouds. His heart lifted as he heard a sound so beautiful that it was nearly unearthly filling his ears. He looked around for the source, but could not see it. Then shadows fell across the clouds below him and he looks right and left in quick succession. Four girls; one brunette, one blonde, one redheaded and one raven-haired were soaring along with him; two on either side. He could not see any of the girls' faces, but he instinctively knew them even though he could not recall their names or even if he'd ever seen them before. The haunting song was loud in his ears; the girls swooped and soared around him and for the first time in Harry's young life, he felt contented.
Harry was roused from his lovely dream by someone gently touching his shoulder. He jerked away from the person and raised his fists to protect himself, but lowered them again when he saw his attacker. It was an elderly lady with a kind expression, whom smiled and said, "Ah, you're awake!"
Harry looked around, "Where am I?"
The woman smiled again, looking down at him with twinkling eyes, "You're in the Leaky Cauldron my dear. I'm Annette Deadman, the barman's wife. You must be hungry; you've been asleep for a full week." Harry stared at her, amazed and still slightly wary. Years of constant neglect and abuse had taught him never to trust someone unless they totally merited it. Annette leaned forwards and fluffed the pillow. "So, do you want some food?" Harry nodded. She smiled, "Come on then. I'll just conjure up a dressing gown and slippers for you; hold on." Harry watched in confusion as she drew some sort of stick from her pocket and waved it. Next second, his jaw dropped as a dressing gown and slippers appeared lying on the bed. "Whoa, how did you do that?"
Annette smiled at the awestruck nine-year-old, "Magic!" Harry simply stared at her, and her smile slowly faded, "What? Don't you know about magic? Almost all Wizarding children are told about magic at a young age."
Harry raised one eyebrow and shook his head, "My aunt and uncle told me magic was rubbish."
Annette raised her eyebrows in surprise, "Your relatives never told you were a wizard?"
Harry stared at her, "I'm a wizard?"
Annette nodded, and then she suddenly raised her head and reached for her neck. Drawing out a necklace, she looked at the small picture on the pendant, "Yes, Tommy?" A small voice echoed out of the pendant, "Annie, can you come back down? I need your help in the bar, we have a troublesome customer."
Annette scowled, the expression twisting her pretty but elderly face, "Ok, I'll be right down. By the way, I'm bringing Harry down with me; an important chat is required."
The voice responded, "Alright, Annette. I'll see you down here." Annette lowered the pendant and nodded to Harry, "Come quickly, I have to help my husband with a troublesome customer." Harry quickly climbed out of bed, grabbed the slippers and dressing gown and pulled them on, rapidly darting after Annette.
Down in the bar, Tom the barman was trying to get a good aim with a Stunning spell on a man who kept throwing spells around the bar. The customers were all busily trying to find cover when Tom saw his wife enter with a small boy in tow. He groaned and attempted to get back upright, but a spell just missed him and he ducked again.
Annette just dodged a spell from the miscreant as she entered and Harry ducked behind her. She drew her wand and cast a blocking charm. The miscreant started throwing more spells at her. She was so busy blocking them that she failed to notice Harry stepping out beside her.
Harry slipped out from behind Annette and stood just behind her on her right. The bad man noticed him and threw a spell. Harry reflexively threw up his hands and the spell seemed to glance off some kind of shield. Harry was surprised, but then yelped in fear as there was a flash of red light and Annette suddenly fell over.
Annette had been momentarily distracted by the jet of light thrown at Harry suddenly stopping on some kind of shield, so she was unable to block it when the man threw another Stunner and hit her.
Tom yelled as he saw his wife fall to a Stunning spell, and had just stood and raised his wand when it happened. Harry suddenly yelled; a ball of light coalescing in his palm which then shot out, hit the attacker squarely in the chest and hurled him across the room and slammed into the back door, crashing straight through it.
Harry didn't even intend to do it; he just reacted as Annette; one of the few people ever to show him any kindness; suddenly fell over and lay still. He simply raised a hand, which then shot some kind of concussion wave straight at the bad man who had hit Annette. He was flung across the room and smashed against the wooden back door so hard he went straight through it. There was a dull crunch of bones meeting bricks from through the shattered hole, and judging by the agonized moan a few seconds later; the bricks had won the encounter. Harry simply gaped at the hole in the door for a second, and then the world suddenly began to spin and go dark.
Tom moved slowly out from behind the bar as the nine-year-old collapsed, obviously succumbing to magical exhaustion. Quickly reviving his wife and checking to make sure she was alright, Tom levitated the unconscious boy and took him back upstairs. He had to put some glamour charms on Harry Potter before anyone realized who he was. As soon as he was sure the boy was disguised, he would alert the Aurors as to the incident.
Harry came round lying in the soft, warm bed again; except this time he felt as though he had been running up a mountain with an anvil strapped onto his back. Groaning in pain as he shifted terribly aching muscles, he became aware that Annette was standing over him again. "Are you alright, Harry?" she asked.
Harry groaned and tried to sit up, but could barely move at all, "Did anyone get the number of that bus that hit me?"
Annette laughed, "No, I didn't. Magical exhaustion does not have a number."
Harry raised an eyebrow, "Magical exhaustion? What did I do?"
Annette chuckled, "You blasted a man straight through three inches of solid wood and embedded him about four inches deep into a solid brick wall on the other side of the door." Harry blinked at her. She continued, "You're extremely powerfully magical, Harry. I don't think I've ever seen accidental magic like you displayed today. But I digress; you said your relatives never told you anything about being a wizard?" Harry shook his head, and Annette sighed, "Alright. I will try to explain everything I can…"
For the next two hours, Harry listened as Annette explained about magic; about the Wizarding World; about You-Know-Who, the darkest wizard in a century. She told Harry how his parents had been killed by You-Know-Who, not by a car crash as his relatives had told him. Finally, Harry sat back against his cushions and sighed, "Ok, let me get this straight. I'm famous in the Wizarding World because some guy tried to kill me, but the spell bounced back and killed him instead. I survived, which was seemingly a miracle seeing as he was a really, really powerful wizard and I was only about a year old at the time, and that's how I have the weird scar on my forehead. Was that right?" Annette nodded, and Harry exhaled, "Wow. I think I lead an interesting life." Annette laughed, agreeing with the sentiment.
That night, Harry lay in bed staring at a silvery shaft of moonlight coming through the curtains, and thinking. Today he had learned a lot of information, and realized that the life he had lived with the Dursleys wasn't real. This life in the Wizarding World was what was real, and as Harry rolled over and closed his eyes, he unconsciously promised himself that he was never going to let anyone drag him back into the old, false life. Next moment, his worries and unease were forgotten as he drifted off to sleep, and back into the dream of flying with four unknown girls…
(A/N: Well, that's Chapter One of Heir of Sword and Stave written. I must admit, I was surprised this took me a full week to write. I guess I can pound out a massive amount of text when I'm not going for detail, but when I am consciously going for detail, it's actually somewhat difficult. I now sympathize with those writers who hit writer's block then get harassed because they haven't updated. For those of you among my readers who will harass me for not updating later on, feel free to whine your sorry keister off about it, because I will update when my own schedule permits me to, NOT when I have a dozen people griping about my slow updating! OK, rant over. Thank you for reading, and GOODNIGHT!)