In Which Silas Meets Harry
As usual I own nothing you actually recognize. Many thanks to Crowe for betaing this chapter as usual the characters are way more 3-dimensional thanks to their input.
In Which Silas Meets Harry
Harry looked up from the garden he was weeding for what seemed like the hundredth time. He scanned the perfectly manicured hedge for any sign of the eyes he had felt watching him all day. This time he was sure he caught a glimpse of a floppy ear, bringing to mind the ear a green pig.
Unfortunately it was gone before he was even sure he had seen it. This had been going on most of the morning. He would catch movement out of the corner of his eye, but was never certain that it wasn't his imagination.
Harry sighed in frustration, maybe working out here in the hot sun was giving him heatstroke like aunt Petunia was always cautioning Dudley against. Despite the fact that Dudley was a spoiled, obese, stupid glutton, sometimes Harry wished he could trade places with the whale. Give up his magic, his friends at Hogwarts, everything in order to have parents that doted on him like they did on Dudley. Of course these feelings would quickly be replaced by more than a little guilt, especially when Harry looked at the laughing images of his parents as they moved about in the photo album Hagrid had given him.
While he was a student at Hogwarts he had almost forgotten that jealousy by the simple fact that for the first time in his life he hadn't been lonely. Unfortunately since he had been forced back to the Dursley's, the isolation had become even more overpowering; it was only made worse by the lack of news from his friends.
“Harry come inside!” his aunt screeched from deep within the house.
Harry got up and headed into his aunt's house, bitterly wondering what new chore she had in store for him. Harry let out a humourless laugh, maybe she had decided that Dudley feeding himself was too much work and wanted Harry to take over the responsibility. Harry entered the den and saw Dumbledore seated in Vernon's favorite chair.
He was so surprised at the sight of his Headmaster that he blurted out, “Professor Dumbledore what are you doing here?”
Harry grinned, maybe he would be given a chance to leave the Dursleys' and spend the summer at Hogwarts! He belatedly noticed the large man seated on the chesterfield eying him intently.
To be honest Harry's first impression of the man was that he seemed more like one of his uncle's friends than a member of the magical community. The two were of similar builds, despite the man on the couch being noticeably taller, the size of his waste was remeniscent of a young Vernon Dursley. The resemblance was enough to put Harry slightly on guard. Next to the large man was an enormous wolf who seemed more interested in sleeping than the room's tense atmosphere.
Petunia was eyeing the furry beast with distaste, no doupt counting each individual hair it shed onto the carpet while it snoozed.
Albus smiled at Harry and said, “There is a matter of great importance that has come to my attention and I need to discuss it with both you and your aunt.”
At hearing that she was to be involved in a discussion involving 'unnaturalness' and her freakish nephew, Petunia's expression took on the look of one who had just smelled something very unpleasant; perhaps burnt dog hair or maybe Sex Panther cologne. Nevertheless she sat in the one free chair leaving Harry to stand before the three seated adults.
With both Albus and the strange man watching him intently, Harry had the irrational feeling that he was about to be disciplined for doing something wrong. However Harry's pride kept him from fidgeting, instead he met the stranger's stare in an almost challenging manner. The man seemed to find this amusing, something that rankled Harry slightly.
Albus broke the tense silence with a surprisingly hesitant voice, “Harry, I would like to begin by introducing you to Silas Potter.” Petunia gasped and the headmaster silenced Harry's immediate question with a raised hand, “Before I continue I need to assure you that everything I am about to say is true and I believe what Silas here has told me beyond any doubt.”
Before Albus could continue Harry asked, “Is Silas related to my dad?”
The headmaster steepled his hands in front of his lips for a moment, as if he were unsure of how to proceed; finally he said, “No Harry, Silas is not related to your father. In a sense Silas is your father.”
Harry was stunned into silence. He had seen a number of pictures of his father and they did not resemble this Silas the least bit. Even ignoring the man's sheer size, his and James' facial features had nothing in comon. Silas' eyes were far more deep set and his nose was thiker. Beyond even the physical differences was their facial expressions. In every picture of his father Harry had seen, the man's face held a certain miscivous glint, something that was absent in Silas dark eyes.
It seemed that Petunia agreed because she scoffed in a derisive tone, “No, that's not true.” She shook her head, “That's impossible.”
“How...” Harry let his question trail off not sure how to finish it.
Albus leaned back in his chair, “Perhaps it is best that you let Si-you're father answer that.”
Harry turned back to the man, he wanted to believe more than anything that a parent had come to rescue him from the Dursley's but it just didn't make any sense. How could this man be his father?
Before he or Silas could speak, Petunia cut them off, “Are you saying that my sister had an affair?”
Even Harry could hear the barely concealed glee in her tone at the juicy bit of gossip.
Silas' face clouded with anger and he spoke in a voice as hard as flint, “Don't talk about my wife.”
Petunia's face paled and Silas visibly struggled to control himself. When he looked like he would be able to speak without yelling, he turned to Harry.
“A long time ago I had to sleep. Magics let me an' my brothers' souls live new lives. James was mine,” he said.
Harry looked to Dumbledore doubtfully. He was still a bit new to magic, but this didn't sound like the way magic was supposed to work.
As if reading his mind Dumbledore said, “I can only say that I believe him Harry, and that he would like you to go live with him.”
For a moment Harry couldn't believe his ears. Mindless of tact, he blurted out, “I don't have to stay here anymore?!”
Silas nodded and Petunia said, “What kind of gratitude is that, after we fed and clothed you for years?! We're the ones that should be happy!”
“Petunia,” this time it was Albus who spoke. While his tone was still polite it held an edge of reproach that Harry hadn't heard before.
Silas ignored the Petunia's jab and addressed Harry, “You're my son, it's where you belong.”
Harry couldn't believe his ears. He had just been given the one thing he, hell virtually any orphan, wanted most of all. A parent back. “When can I go?”
Silas smiled and it occurred to Albus that this was the most genuine smile he had seen from the man.
“Get your trunk.”
Harry didn't need to be told twice he quickly headed to his room. His trunk was still locked away under the stairs meaning he would have to get Petunia to unlock it for him. However there were some other things he needed to pack.
Harry had almost filled a worn and used knapsack with his few non magical belongings when he paused. In the rush of excitement about being able to say goodbye to the Dursleys once and for all, he had ignored the fact that he really didn't know the man who was supposedly his father.
What did he mean when he said he fell asleep? Why would James Potter be one of his dreams? How could Dumbledore be so sure that this man was who he said he was? After all, the Headmaster trusted Snape of all people!
Harry looked down at his meager belongings, all he knew about Silas was that Albus believed the man was Harry's father. Was that enough for Harry to just leave with someone he had known a total of about five minutes?
Harry zipped his knapsack closed decisively. Yes it was.
He was about to head back downstairs when a tiny green... thing appeared on his bed with a loud crack.
Harry recognized the green tint of the things skin as that of the creature that had been watching him in the garden. The small beeing was skelitally thin and couldn't be more than a meter tall. It had big floppy ears like a pig's and eyes that were about two sizes too large for its face. Harry fumbled slightly as he pulled out his wand. He may not know many jinxes yet, but he could probably levitate the thing out a window if he had to.
“W-What are you?” he asked.
The creature wrung his hands on the corner of the filthy smock it wore, the gesture exuding nervousness and fear.
“I is Dobby sir, a house elf. Dobby comes with a warning sir. Harry Potter is in terrible danger!”
Before the elf could continue Harry felt the bottom of his stomach fall out. His thoughts instantly going to his ‘father’ who sat downstairs. Of course it had been too good to be true. How stupid could he have been to believe that he would get to have a father? In that instant he was filled with such desolation that his limbs felt numb, letting his wand arm fall to his side, Harry was absently aware of sitting on the bed next to Dobby.
“How is he trying to kill me now?”
“Dobby can't say sir,” Dobby wailed. He then hoped off the bed and began banging his head on the bedpost.
Dobby's self-harm was enough to snap Harry out of his daze. Getting up and pulling the elf from the hard wood post, Harry asked, “What's wrong with you!?”
Dobby shook his head to clear it and said, “Dobby's master says that he must hurt himself if he disobeys.”
Harry was a little shocked that someone would force something like that on another creature.
“They don't sound like very good masters,” he commented. Dobby began to nod then seemed to realize his action. With surprising strength he jerked himself free of Harry's grip and ran headlong into a door frame. Harry managed to catch him before he could do it again, “Stop, you shouldn't have to do that to yourself.”
Dobby then began to wail. In between great sobs he said, “Oh Harry Potter is indeed a great wizard if he cares for a lowly house elf! 'SNIFF' Master Harry is too kind to the likes of Dobby!”
“SHH!” Harry tried to quiet the elf for fear that his supposed father would hear and come to investigate. Harry needed to find out what was going if he wanted to defend himself. Now that he had recovered from his shock he was getting mad. How dare Voldemort taunt him with his most cherished dream!? “What can you tell me about the plan?”
Dobby grabbed the sides of Harry's face, forcing him to maintain eye contact with the elf's slightly yellowish orbs, “Harry Potter cannot return to Hogwarts this year. Dobby's master has set a trap for master Harry.”
“Ok. Wait-what? Why would they need to wait until Hogwarts? Silas is just downstairs.”
Dobby looked at Harry quizzically, “Who is Silas Master Harry?”
“I thought you said he was plotting to kill me?” answered a confused Harry.
Dobby shook his head and released the sides of Harry's face.
“No Master Harry, Dobby not knowing the man who cames with Dumblydore. Dobby's Master is M-” The elf trailed off and attempted to hit himself in the face. This time Harry was fast enough to catch the tiny fists before they could cause any damage.
Harry felt relief flood his system at the realization that it wasn't Silas trying to kill him. He briefly wondered how many other twelve year olds out there felt relief that they were being hunted by an unknown killer that wanted them dead as opposed to their newly resurrected father? Harry's musing was interrupted by Dobby begging him, “Please Master Harry, promise Dobby you won't go back to Hogy-Warts.”
Harry ran a hand through his hair, the other keeping a firm grip on Dobby, “Are you sure you can't just tell me who your master is?”
Dobby shook his head, “Unless Dobby's Master frees him, Dobby can't tell.”
“How would he free you?”
“Dobby can only be freed if Dobby's master presents him with clothes.”
“Clothes?” Harry asked, sometimes magic was just plain strange.
“Yes sir, clothes sir.” Dobby seemed to gather his scattered thoughts, “But that not important Master Harry. What important is that Master Harry live. So master Harry must not go to Hogy-Warts.”
While Harry was touched that a little green elf thing cared enough about his well being to brave self harm to help him, he knew that if he were at Hogwarts he would have Dumbledore looking out for him. If he stayed away then he would be putting his father in the way of whatever plan was meant for him. He couldn't bare loosing his newly found parent, especially if he were responsible.
Looking the elf in the eye he said, “Nothing you can say will keep me from going back in the fall.”
The elf hung his head and said just as resolutely, “Then Dobby will find a way to keep Harry out of HogyWarts.”
“Wait-no,” but it was too late the elf had already apparated away.
Harry sat in his room in silence for a few moments in order to gather his thoughts. He had a lot to think about, but did not want to keep his father waiting. Gathering his knapsack and Hedwig's cage he left his room.
As Harry was making his way downstairs he heard the unmistakable sounds of an argument. When he reached the bottom, Silas' booming voice filled the house, “You will just turn your back on your own sister!”
By the time Harry entered the room he saw Petunia standing with an arm around her son's shoulders protectively. She looked pale, like she had just seen a ghost.
Silas on the other hand was standing with his fists clenched at his sides, his wolf next to him with her hackles raised. The man's face was tinted red in anger. Not seeming to notice Harry he ground out, “Before he came for us she asked you to protect Harry if we died! You slammed the door in her face.”
Petunia paled further and looked down at her own son. She seemed to speak to herself, “It was the last thing she said to me.” She gave Dudley's shoulder a squeeze, “Fine.”
“But muuuum.” Dudley whined.
“What's going on?” Harry asked as he put the cage down on an end table, causing everyone in the room to look towards him. He momentarily forgot the strange little elf's warning.
Albus answered, “In order to maintain the blood protection your mother gave you, a member of her family must live with you for a short period each year. Petunia has just agreed to help convince your uncle to spend their family vacation time with you and Silas.”
“That's not fair!” Harry and Dudley shouted simultaneously.
Albus and Silas looked surprised by the vehemence of the protest, but ever the peacemaker Albus leaned forward and said to Dudley, “We are both very sorry for asking you to leave England for a full month, but the protection you give your cousin could one day save his life.”
“I don't care! The TV is here,” the irate child yelled then stormed out of the room. Harry tried to refrain from rolling his eyes at his cousin’s antics. Now that he was leaving he found that he could actually find some humour in Dudley's selfish tantrums. Harry hung onto the slim hope that Silas, Albus, and Petunia would be unable to convince his uncle that it would be a good idea to spend their entire vacation and then some wherever Silas lived.
Come to think of it, where did Silas live?
“S- um I mean dad, where do you live?” It felt strange for Harry to use that word; something that he was definitely going to have to get used to.
Silas smiled slightly at the name and answered, “I have a small house in northern Ukraine. It is near where I woke.”
Harry nodded, a little surprised. He hadn't expected to move somewhere he didn't speak the language. Granted, the fact that everyone in walking distance of number 4 Pivet Drive thought he was a criminal meant he would probably get on better with his new neighbors despite the language barrier. Petunia didn't look surprised at the remark meaning Silas had most likely mentioned it while Harry was upstairs.
For a second Harry was tempted to bring up his encounter with Dobby, however fear stopped his tongue. If Dumbledore was so set on his safety that he would take on the daunting task of convincing Vernon to move for a full month, what was to keep him from pulling Harry out of Hogwarts? Just because Harry wouldn't be staying at the Dursley's didn't undo the fact that Harry loved it at the school or the fact that staying with Silas all year would put his father at risk.
Instead Harry asked, “How are we going to get there?”
Silas pulled some pieces of paper from his pocket and squinted at them, “Plane leaves at nine tomorrow.”
Dumbledore's eyebrows rose in surprise, but he remained silent.
“Vernon won't be home for another hour. I suppose I will start cooking something to put him in a good mood,” Petunia said glancing at her watch. As she headed towards the kitchen she stopped in front of the cupboard under the stairs and undid the combination lock that held it closed. “You may as well get your thing's packed.”
As the sounds of cooking drifted from the kitchen Dumbledore stood and said, “I believe things will go most smoothly with Vernon if I am not present for the discussion. I hope to see you again before the summer is out Silas, you as well Harry.”
Nodding to the two in turn he seemed to pivot on the spot and disappear with a crack. The sounds from the kitchen only paused for a moment at the loud noise.
Silas looked to Harry and asked, “Do you need anything in your trunk before I take it out to the truck?”
Harry shook his head and Silas stood, disturbing the wolf that had gone back to sleep at his feet.
Until that point Harry hadn't realized just how big Silas was. The man may have had an impressive gut but his height prevented him from looking obese. Silas walked to the cupboard and pulled Harry's trunk out with one hand. Despite its bulk and weight he carried it like one would a simple valise.
Harry left Hedwig on the coffee table and followed his father outside with his backpack. Silas made his way to a large white van and opened the rear doors. After rearranging some other boxes he slid the trunk in and then stood back to let Harry place his bag on top of it. Harry glanced at the boxes curiously. While most were plain packing boxes, one had the distinct mark of his uncle's drill company.
“Grunnings!” Harry exclaimed.
Silas started at the sudden exclamation, then shrugged, “They make good drill bits.”
Harry didn't comment, and stepped back as Silas closed the back doors firmly. The two walked back up to the house silently and Harry began to realize that his new father wasn't one to waste words. They were met at the door by the wolf who seemed to be eying Silas expectantly. Silas blinked uncomprehending for a moment before realizing what the animal wanted.
Grasping Harry's shoulder in a paternal gesture he said, “Harry this is Willow, she's going to be living with us. Willow this is Harry.”
Harry eyed his father dubiously, that was the strangest way he had been introduced to a pet in his life. Nevertheless he could have sworn the animal inclined its head in greeting as Harry let it sniff his hand.
Remembering that he had a pet as well he said, “I haven't shown you Hedwig yet.”
With that bolted past the wolf to get his bird, leaving Silas and Willow on the stoop.
Willow rolled her eyes slightly as Harry suddenly reappeared with his bird in front of him. He said proudly, “This is Hedwig.”
“You're a pretty girl aren't you,” Silas let his finger rake against the bars of her gage gently. The bird preened slightly and nipped at his finger affectionately. It was quite amazing how his entire demeanor changed when he interacted with the animal his eyes lit up and his face broke out in a grin. When he leaned back he said, “She's a good owl, you must take good care of her.”
Harry shrugged and headed back into the house with the cage, followed by his father and Willow.
As expected, the discussion with Vernon did not go very smoothly, however the enticement of no longer having to room and board a 'freak' like Harry eventually won out. The fact that Silas dressed and acted almost muggle-like seemed to assuage some of Vernon's reluctance towards staying at the man's house. By eight o'clock Harry and Silas were on their way to a hotel near the airport where they would be catching their flight to the Ukraine.