Harry Potter and the Hillbilly Mafia
1: Cathedrals Cry Hosanna (1,442 words)
2: Get Me Away from Here, I'm Dying (1,089 words)
3: Paint Your Picture (1,423 words)
Cathedrals Cry Hosanna
Hogwarts. 22 July 1998.
The summer sun
set in a fire of rosy pink over the lake. Severus Snape stood in a
silent vigil over the unconscious body of one Harry Potter, wondering
if the Boy-Who-Lived had bought the freedom of the wizarding world
his life. The Dark Lord was dead. And this holiest of righteous fights
had left a trail of destruction in its wake. Severus wasn't sure if,
upon waking, Potter might not just want to lie right back down and die.
all, who did this so-called saviour have left? Hermione Granger had
fallen just minutes into the battle, courtesy of a Killing Curse from
Lucius Malfoy. Ron Weasley, like his entire family, had been Kissed by
Dementors that had been under the Dark Lord's influence. Well, not his
entire family, Severus amended. Severus himself had killed Ginny
Weasley who, after having disappeared for six months, had re-emerged
that morning among the ranks of the Death Eaters. Severus had seen the
hatred, the death in her eyes, and he had not been the least bit sorry
when he ended her life.
Dean Thomas had died bleeding from his
eye sockets under the strength of seven Cruciatus curses. It had taken
that many to break him. Severus could not besmirch Gryffindor bravery
in the Thomas boy's case, no. Seamus Finnigan had been driven insane by
the Imperius curse and had taken his own life. Lavender Brown was,
perhaps, still alive, but the entirety of her essence was currently a
vial of purple goo that no one, not even the Best Potions Master in
Britain, knew how to restore to human form. The Patil twins had been
blown to bits--there was not so much as a finger left of either of
them. Neville Longbottom had merited death by the hand of the Dark Lord
himself (by virtue of That Blasted Prophecy, Severus assumed)-- he'd
been turned into a tree and burned before anyone had known what was
No, Potter had no housemates to send him sweets and
flowers during this stay in the Hospital Wing. No, among the living
(and Severus felt inclined to use the term loosely), Potter had almost
no one. Perhaps he could count Remus Lupin, who'd escaped the whole
battle by virtue of the fact that the moon had been full. The Death
Eaters had not succeeded in breaching the castle walls (for which
Severus thanked his lucky stars), and so the Defence Against the Dark
Arts professor was even now locked away in his office in wolf form,
oblivious to the entire ordeal. Severus did not anticipate his reaction
happily. Nymphadora Tonks, Severus knew, had been some kind of friend
to Potter, but as she was currently in the process of having every bone
in her body regrown in the next room, she was not expected to come out
of it with her sanity. But the insufferable woman had defied ridiculous
odds before, and Severus hoped (for myriad reasons) that this would be
one of those times.
Severus was unsure if he could even number
Draco Malfoy among the ranks of Potter's friends, but Slytherin's
favourite son had accepted a reluctant truce from the Gryffindor Golden
Boy earlier that fall. But Draco looked to be worse off than Potter.
The boy had stuck to his ideals (who knew where on earth he'd got
them?) and defied his father, who had rewarded him with a magical
castration spell. Malfoy was in shock, and his present condition was
uncertain at best.
Potter didn't even have Albus Dumbledore
anymore. At least, Severus assumed he didn't. There'd been no body, but
then, there were many bodies unaccounted for. Albus's demise had been
different from all the others, though. There had been no great
explosions or fires, no flashes of green light-- there had been
nothing. The man had appeared simply to pop out of existence. Severus
didn't quite understand it, but he knew that for all intents and
purposes, Albus was well and truly gone. He'd have been back by now if
Lastly, Severus reluctantly counted himself. Less a
friend than any of the others, but he realised grimly that he might be
Potter's only hope. Not only was he conscious and (perhaps) sane, but
he was also the reason Potter was currently in this bed. Potter, the
idiot Gryffindor, had jumped between him and one of Lucius Malfoy's
curses after the Dark Lord had fallen and all hell had broken loose.
Severus sneered at the thought that now, he was not only indebted
(likely now for all eternity) to Potter's insupportable father, but now
to the insupportable Golden Boy himself. He wondered idly if one could
be found in default on a Wizard's Debt.
relationship with Potter had certainly improved these past two years,
but he did not flatter himself to call it friendship. Yesterday he'd
not even have ventured to say that Potter liked him. But now, well….
No, he still didn't bloody well like Potter! He reminded himself not to
confuse liking with owing, which was what had gotten him into more
trouble than he'd ever bargained for with James Potter all those years
ago. But no, he wouldn't think of that. It was gone, it was over and
done. That chapter was closed, never to be opened again. And no matter
what, he would never like Harry Potter. He'd truly have been quite
content with the mutual animosity they had so carefully nurtured
between them all these years, but Potter, unfortunately, had harboured
opinions to the contrary.
Despite the terrible outcome of the
previous efforts, Albus ordered Severus to resume Potter's Occlumency
lessons at the beginning of the brat's sixth year. Severus had argued
with him, but he knew from the beginning that any protest was futile--
he'd known that particular fact for many years now. It was merely his
way to be contrary in the face of the ridiculous injustices Albus
continually inflicted upon him. Of course, it hadn't worked, and
Severus soon found himself locked in his office with Potter, the two of
them stuck in an impasse of obstinate silence and glaring. It wasn't so
much that Potter broke down under Severus's icy regard, no. Severus did
not feel the smallest twinge of triumph at what the brat finally said--
more accurately, he felt some part of himself crumble.
hate you, you know," Potter said, barely above a whisper. His tone was
neither plaintive nor challenging-- he seemed merely to be making a
Severus was tempted to roll his eyes heavenward and cast
on the boy without another word, but instead he held Potter's gaze,
which, unlike his tone, was challenging indeed. He sighed. "And what,
Mr Potter, do you mean to gain with that particular statement?"
A quintessentially teenage shrugging of shoulders. "I just thought you
insanity had momentarily possessed Severus passed, and he snapped back
into himself. "Thank you for that, Mr Potter," he said shortly. "Legilimens."
of course the idiot boy wasn't prepared. Severus was thrown immediately
into Potter's mind, and was astonished to find that he was looking at
himself. I can teach you how to bottle fame, brew glory, and even
put a stopper in death,
he was saying. Yes, he knew this well. Potter's first year. He felt his
own glare upon him, felt fear and awe and suspicion and admiration all
intermixed as his small, unpracticed hand scratched these words down on
parchment, vaguely thinking poetry. And he felt his own anger,
his scathing reprimand, and hurt and ridicule and…
Potter pushed back, throwing Severus out of his mind. They now stood at
opposite ends of the room, having somehow moved, or having been thrown
back by the force of the break of mental contact, both short of breath
and still glaring. Looking into Potter's eyes now, Severus wondered if
the boy had been quite prepared after all and had meant for him to see
Yes, things had changed after that. Slowly, but they
had nonetheless changed. Potter, he'd found, had been an absolute
mental and emotional wreck due to the death of his despicable
godfather, despite the fact that the brat had had an entire summer to
recover. He'd confided things to Severus that he'd certainly had no
interest in knowing. But Severus had found himself … not quite caring,
no, but empathising in spite of himself. If anyone knew pain, if anyone
knew suffering and injustice and prejudice and fearing for one's life
at every turn, it was Severus Snape.
Their similarities had terrified him, but Potter's power had frightened
him even more.
Get Me Away From Here, I'm Dying
Hogwarts. 23 July 1998.
awoke to an empty room. His head ached, his entire body ached. He
stared at the stark walls of the Hospital Wing and spent a moment
trying to remember what he was doing here this time. It all
came flooding back to him in one nightmarish flash. The alarms
sounding. The DA and the Order racing down to the gates to meet the
Death Eaters. Hermione. Ron. Dumbledore. Seamus. Dean … everyone. Everyone.
Voldemort was gone. Probably, anyway. No, he was gone this time. Harry
had stood alongside Snape and Dumbledore and cast the final spell. He
had to be gone. Voldemort couldn't still be alive, not at such an
enormous cost. And here Harry lay, alive and well, surely being
proclaimed throughout the wizarding world as a great hero. A saviour.
He'd won the Light's battle. Harry Potter saves the world again.
Boy-Who-Lived fulfils prophecy. He could just imagine the headlines.
salvation. As far as he knew, everyone he loved was dead. And it was
his fault. This was no salvation, no victory. No one had won here. And
he, Harry, knew he could have prevented it. He could have taken
Voldemort down long ago. So many chances, and so many times he'd
failed--no, not failed. Stopped himself. It could have been so easy.
But he'd just had to let himself be led along by his
heartstrings by Dumbledore and the Order, following their plans and
schemes, rather than just stepping in despite their protests and
killing the bastard. He shouldn't have listened to them, shouldn't have
let himself believe that it was truly only all-out war that could prove
the point. Damn Dumbledore and his politicking, his ideals, his
righteous fucking puppet show. Dumbledore had known what Harry had been
capable of, but the old fool had held him back. The rest of the Order
must have known, too. How could they not have done? Secrets and
unspoken words were nothing in the face of empirical proof. But they,
too, had followed Dumbledore blindly, hanging on his every word and
heeding his whims. No better than the Death Eaters. Fuck goodness and
heroism and proving points. Fuck the Order. It was nothing but a
mockery of goodness contrived to satisfy Albus Dumbledore's agenda,
whatever that might have been.
Dumbledore was by no means dead,
he knew. That was no death he'd witnessed … what, yesterday? The day
before? What day was it? But that was no death. He didn't know what it
was. It had almost looked like an Apparation-- Dumbledore's form had
wavered for a moment, though, instead of merely popping out. He had
disappeared as though he'd been a mere illusion all the time. No, that
was like no death he'd ever seen, and he'd seen death. No one as
powerful as Dumbledore would die so quietly. When Voldemort had died,
there'd been a bile-green beam of light that reached to the heavens.
The curse used didn't matter. The power had to have somewhere to go.
Even Argus Filch, despite being a Squib, had had a light shoot up from
him. The escape of Dumbledore's power should have levelled the castle.
No, Albus Dumbledore was most definitely not dead. And Harry only
wished he'd return so that he could slap the old man across the face.
Otherwise, good riddance.
Good riddance to all of it. Good
riddance to Harry Potter. He couldn't stay here, wouldn't stay here. He
had to go and he knew it. He couldn't sit back and watch as the
wizarding world shouted his name from the mountaintops like some
latter-day Christ. The entire idea disgusted him. He had saved no one,
done nothing. And he refused to stay and be told otherwise, because he
knew no one would listen to him, no matter how many times he told them
it was just another one of Dumbledore's publicity stunts. Britian was
devoid of anything he needed or wanted or loved, and Europe wasn't
nearly far enough.
Harry knew where he had to go. Remus had once
told him that his mother had relatives in America. He had to find them,
the only family he had left in the world. And none of this waiting to
be released by Madam Pomfrey. He had to go, and he had to go now.
felt like shit, but he eased himself painfully out of his bed and into
the robes that were neatly folded on the chair in the corner. They'd
clearly been cleaned and repaired. Up to Gryffindor Tower he went,
stepping slowly and gingerly on a leg that he was almost positive was
still broken. The Fat Lady had run for cover somewhere, and the
portrait hole hung open. Harry stepped through, his footsteps echoing
through the empty common room. The entire Tower was deserted. Books and
parchments lay on the couches and tables in the common room, quills
dropped in mid-sentence as the castle had been evacuated. The stairs to
the girls' dormitory didn't even murmur in protest as he walked up
them. On Hermione's bed was her diary, wide open, quill dropped
alongside it, ink bottle overturned and spilling out onto the duvet.
Tears welled in his eyes as he pocketed the journal and descended the
stairs again to go to his own dormitory. It, too, seemed to have been
frozen in time. He took Ron's broom from the foot of his bed and
reduced it to fit in his pocket with Hermione's diary. These things, he
would take with him. Nothing of his own, no matter how much it hurt
him. Everything he left would surely be preserved and enshrined
somewhere, he thought bitterly. He took his money bag and his
Invisibility Cloak and walked out of the dormitory without a backward
glance. He could come back for the rest later. This wasn't forever, he
told himself. No matter how much he might want it to be forever, he
knew it couldn't be.
Under the Cloak, he went straight to the
library and did some research on Apparation laws in the United States,
then bolted out of the castle before anyone could wonder why books were
turning their own pages. Not that it would have been terribly
irregular, and not that there was anyone there to see.
over the bloodied grounds as quickly as his maimed leg would allow, out
to the edge of the wards, and Apparated. His destination: 4 Privet
Drive, Little Whinging, Surrey. His cousin had something he needed.
Paint Your Picture
22 July, 1998
Through the front window,
Petunia Dursley could be seen in the living room, kettle in hand, most
likely pouring water into two cups over a splosh of milk and a Tetleys
bag. Harry knew from his uncle's habits that he wouldn't have to wait
long. Once Vernon and Petunia had finished their tea and their
television, Vernon would come out to get the evening paper, leaving the
door wide open behind him for Harry to make his move into the house.
glared into the window at his aunt and uncle, laughing and smiling with
one another over whatever drivel they were watching tonight. He
resented it, and at the same time felt it terribly strange to see such
looks on these people's faces. It was certainly a side of them Harry
had never been allowed to se. As much as he resented his treatment at
their hands all these years, he was comforted to find two lives he
hadn't managed to ruin. Inconvenienced, perhaps, but the perceived
inconvenience had been one of Petunia and Vernon's own making. He'd
have been a good nephew, a loving nephew, if they'd only shown him the
same courtesy on their part. But he'd never received any more than the
bare minimum of anything from them, and quite often had been given much
But he was glad they were well, happy, and seemingly
unaffected. He wasn't sure if he could have lived with their ruin on
his conscience as well, despite seventeen years of effort to break him.
Harry reflexively lulled his mind into blankness and stood stock-still
on the doorstep, waiting.
After a few minutes, true to routine,
the latch clicked and Harry's mind snapped to attention. The door
opened and he narrowly slid past his uncle's wide body. Vernon would
merely think he had felt a breeze. By the time the door clicked shut
again, Harry was up the stairs and at Dudley's bedroom door.
knew his dear piglet of a cousin would be out terrorizing the
neighbourhood with his mates, as this was the one hour of the day that
Petunia and Vernon would not allow him dictatorship over the
television. He had two sets of his own, of course, but he preferred to
watch telly downstairs where mummy could wait on him hand and foot
without the added delay in sandwich delivery that would have been
caused by her having to climb the stairs.
Harry found what he
was looking for in the top drawer of the desk: Dudley's passport. Harry
didn't have one of his own, as Petunia and Vernon had refused to
concede that their freakish nephew would ever have reason to leave the
country. And up to now, they had been right. Strictly speaking, Harry
didn't even need it now. All he actually had to do was request a
Portkey from the Department of Travel and Tourism, along with a letter
of credit from the Ministry. But things of such an official nature left
records. And records meant someone would undoubtedly come to try and
find him. Harry didn't want to be found. He only wanted to disappear
into anonymity for a while.
He couldn't perform the spells he
needed to, not here. The Ministry would pick up the activity in a split
second and know something was amiss. Passport in hand, he slipped out
the bedroom window and began to shimmy down the trellis. The flimsy
wood couldn't hold his weight, though, and he fell to the ground, the
trellis crashing down on top of him, flowers and all. Shit. He
scrambled out from under the offending object and moved out of the way
just in time to see Vernon kicking at the thing and yelling something
incoherent about "blasted cats." Phew. Harry crossed out of the
Anti-Apparition wards around the house and was soon safe in Diagon
Alley. Well, relatively speaking, at least.
The wizarding world,
fortunately, seemed still to be in shock, and were not yet celebrating.
The few people on the street moved quickly, eyes to the ground. Didn't
they know? Had they not heard? Harry was grateful, though, not to be
stared at for once, so he pushed the thought from his mind as he walked
up the steps of Gringotts. Inside the bank, it was business as usual.
Grumblecrook or whatever the hell his name was squinted at Harry with
no more than usual scrutiny as he led Harry down to Vault 687.
in the vault, Harry sighed. He hadn't the slightest idea of how much
money to take out. Enough for a few weeks? A few months? A few years?
He wouldn't take all of it, no. The last thing he wanted was for it to
appear that he was running away. He just wanted to disappear for a
while. Well, yes, all right, he was running away, he admitted it. But
he preferred not to think of it that way. An unannounced holiday of
sorts, perhaps, was a much more appealing term for what he was about to
do. He finally settled on a thousand galleons, which he thought would
sustain him for an at least acceptable reprieve period. If he needed
more when that ran out, he'd get it somehow, even if it meant making an
overseas bank draw. He knew, at least, that the Goblins would be the
last of anyone to betray him. Not because of any loyalty they might
have harboured, but because they simply couldn't be bothered about
wizards. They bothered about the gold and their own affairs, yes, but
nothing to do with wizards except on the most perfunctory level. Harry
had often thought a Goblin actually giving a toss about something a
wizard had done would be roughly equivalent to a wizard caring what
garden gnomes did for entertainment when they weren't being twirled
around and bunged over fences.
Now back under the cover of his
cloak, Harry slipped into the Leaky Cauldron and through the door of
the gents'. Harry had never been good at glamours, and he hadn't cast
one in quite some time. He'd certainly never cast one that needed to
hold for any respectable period of time. But this one would have to, as
his other choice was shaving the head of some hapless Muggle and
spending the next who-knew-how-long swilling Polyjuice Potion every
hour. He'd take his chances with the glamour.
He did his best to
remember all the things Tonks and Professor McGonagall had taught him.
Despite the fact that it hadn't even been a year since, those lessons
seemed like they were in another lifetime. In a way, he supposed, they
were. This was life from day one, starting now.
He decided it
was best not to change his features too drastically, just enough. He
didn't want to run into the trouble of the glamour wearing off and not
being able to re-create it. He made his nose a little shorter and
thinner, and his jaw a little more angular. His eyes, he changed to
blue. It took him a few tries to get an effect on his eyes that didn't
look completely false. At last, after a good hard look at his own
irises, he realised the problem: of course no one's eyes were all one
colour. Once he noticed the colour differences, it was much easier,
except that he ended up with a blasted speck of lavender of all
things in his right eye, and any effort to get rid of it ruined
everything else. He sighed and left it, hoping the flaw would make him
seem more real. His hair was something he knew better than to contend
with. He succeeded in making it longer, but anything else he'd have to
do the Muggle way. At least it looked a bit tamer now. He was grateful
that with Voldemort gone, his scar had faded to just the faintest hint
of a line on his forehead. He'd tried to conceal the thing before and
had nearly gone blind with the pain. What was left of it now could
easily be hidden by his fringe until he could acquire some Muggle
makeup to put over it. Looking in the mirror now at the whole picture,
he was startled to see that he now bore a frightening similarity to a
younger Sirius Black. He thought about doing something to further alter
his appearance, but he couldn't quite bear to erase what he'd created.
He left it as an homage.