Hi everybody, I thought I would post a bit of a bonus chapter for Legacy of Merlin. I’ve been paying attention to the review for the story, and the most common complaint is the first chapter.
Looking back at it, I can see where the reviews are coming from. The Potter’s are a bit over the top, and there wasn’t much context to explain how they got there.
I was initially planning on doing this with flashbacks because I didn’t want the start of the story to drag on and take away from the action/adventure of the story.
This chapter does get a bit dark, but does provide some more details for the Potter’s and develops their character.
I plan to post this on fanfiction.net and ao3 as part of the regular update next week.
Please let me know what you think
Harry Potter was four years old. He was sitting in his bedroom by himself. Today was his birthday, but you couldn’t tell that by looking around the house. There were no decorations, no balloons, and no cake.
His family wasn’t even at home with him. His mother, father, and sister had left in the morning to attend a party where she was the guest of honor. It was to celebrate her defeat of the dark lord.
Harry had asked to come along, but was told by his parents that the part was for Glory, not for him, and they didn’t want anyone to get confused.
It hadn’t always been this way. Last year, they had given him a party. It was obviously not as big as the party they had for Glory, but they made him a cake and got him a present.
Harry had asked them what he had done wrong, promised to be good, but they had just brushed him off, saying that they would talk to him about it later, but he knew from experience that it would not happen.
“Hello Young Master,” Darby said as he appeared with a soft pop.
He was the head elf of Potter Manor, and had been around long before even Harry’s father was born.
Harry looked up from his bed at the wizened house-elf. His face and hands, covered in wrinkles, were a testament to the long life he had lived. He wore a dark gray uniform with the Potter crest proudly displayed on it.
“Hello Darby,” Harry said sadly.
“I have something for you, Young Master,” the old elf smiled as a small cake appeared in his hands.
Harry looked down, a genuine smile slowly appearing on his face as he stared down at the chocolate cake. It had white lettering that said ‘Happy Birthday Harry.’ A cake just for him!
Harry jumped off the bed, running up to the elf and hugging him tightly. “Thank you! Thank you! Thank You!!”
“Young Master,” Darby said in alarm, trying his bed to keep the cake from getting squashed between them. “Your cake will not survive much longer if you’re not careful,” he warned.
Harry stepped back sheepishly. “Sorry.”
“That’s quite alright, Young Master,” Darby said as four candles appeared on the cake. “Remember to make a wish before blowing out the candles.”
Harry looked down at the cake, wondering if his wish was too big. Was it more likely to come true if he wished for something small? Should he risk it and ask for something big?
‘I wish my family would remember me,’ Harry thought before blowing out the candles.
“Will you eat the cake with me, Darby?” Harry asked hopefully.
“That would not be proper, Young Master. House-Elves do not eat in front of the Masters,” Darby recited from his training from so many years ago.
“… Oh,” Harry said, looking down sadly.
Darby let out a small sigh as he looked at the Young Master. He was a good child, kind, and would one day make an excellent Head of House, but only if the neglect he was facing came to a stop.
“Very well, Young Master, but we can not make a habit of it,” Darby said, watching the child’s face light up again.
Four Years Later…
Despite Harry’s wish, things only continued to get worse for him as the years went on. What started out as neglect gradually changed to annoyance, then to irritation.
Glory took up more and more of their parent’s attention, from the various events and functions that she got invited to.
This, along with their parent’s obvious favoritism for their golden child, influenced Glory as well. She was the center of attention, the one that people wanted to see, the one that received all the love and adoration.
She changed from a somewhat spoiled, and attention seeking child to one that craved attention, not caring whether it was good or bad, because in the end there were no consequences to her actions, for her at least.
No matter what she did or said, her parents were always there to smooth the ruffled feathers, or more increasingly Albus Dumbeldore sweeping everything she did under the rug.
Despite it all, Harry did his best to stay positive, leaning on Darby more and more for the love and attention he had stopped receiving from his family. The birthday cake he received from the old house-elf quickly became the highlight of his year.
Darby always waited until the rest of the Potter’s were away, or late into the night when they were asleep, before he brought the birthday cake to the Young Master.
He had never gone behind his Master’s back before, never had a reason to hide anything from the Head of House, but he knew deep in his bones that if they found out about the small kindness he was giving the Young Master, they would take it from him.
He worried deeply for the Young Master. He knew it wasn’t proper being so familiar, but he couldn’t find it in his heart to stop.
Darby knew he was no longer a young elf, and he couldn’t help but wonder. Who would be there for the Young Master when he was gone?
The other two elves who served the Potter’s were young. They did not understand the unspoken duties of a house-elf to their charges. They did not understand what was left unsaid was just as important as what was said.
Darby turned his attention to the Young Master and his mother. He could only watch as she berated him. He wished he could put a stop to it, but knew that was not the place of a house-elf.
“Harry, how many times have I told you?” An exasperated Lily Potter said, shaking her head at the now seven-year-old Harry.. “You are not to touch your sister’s things.”
“It isn’t even hers,” Harry pleaded. “You gave it to me for Christmas when I was three, don’t you remember?”
“Why am I even arguing with you?” Lily said as she pulled the teddy bear out of Harry’s hands and gave it to Glory. “You’re too old for teddy bears anyway,” she said as she walked back to the kitchen
“See,” Glory said with a smirk. “I always get what I want because I’m the hero. I saved everyone from the dark lord.” Glory said that proudly. “You’re just plain, stupid, Harry.”
“I never said that they wouldn’t give it to you,” Harry sighed sadly. “It’s just important to me. Can you please give it back?”
“I didn’t know it meant that much to you,” Glory said, feigning concern, giving Harry a sliver of hope before ruthlessly crushing it. “That will make this so much more fun,” she said as she cruelly twisted off the teddy bear’s head and threw both pieces to the ground.
Harry could only stare at the last Christmas present he had ever received, lying in pieces on the floor as Glory walked off laughing.
When Glory and Lily were gone, Darby picked up the two pieces of the bear. “Do not worry, Young Master,” he consoled. “We shall have it fixed in no time at all.”
“… No,” Harry said, shaking his head, “no.”
“I don’t understand, Young Master,” Darby said in confusion. “You love this toy.”
“It’s just something Glory can use to hurt me… Please get rid of it,” Harry said, walking into his bedroom.
Harry stayed in his room for the next three days, only leaving briefly to use the washroom. Darby and the other house-elves had to bring food to his room, just to make sure he ate.
As Darby looked back upon those dark days, he realized he had never been more afraid in his life. Every night he worried, sometimes not even being able to sleep at all.
Would the Young Master still be there in the morning? ‘Would he?… no, it was best not to think of such things.’
It was with a great amount of relief, and the longest three days of his life, that the Young Master finally emerged from his room, but he was not the same boy anymore.
Some of the innocence was gone, replaced by a pain that lingered just below the surface.
When Darby checked the Young Master’s room, he realized why. Everything was gone. The few toys he had, the pictures that he had drawn, even the small collection of rocks that he had collected over the years.
It no longer looked like the room of a small boy. It looked like a room that belonged to no one.
One year later…
Darby watched as the Young Master was berated by his father, James Potter. That man was no longer the Master of the house, at least in his eyes. He knew thoughts like that were scandalous for house-elves, perhaps even traitorous, but he no longer cared.
He had watched over the past year as James Potter’s casual indifference to the young master changed to outright hostility, berating him at every opportunity.
Darby knew that he was biased, that his loyalty to the Young Master ran deep, but the way James Potter spoke made him angry. He accused the boy of being good for nothing, a waste of space, even going so far as to call him a shame to the Potter name.
Darby had a very long memory though, and he knew very well the type of child James Potter was. He was certainly not who he claimed to be. The boy was clumsy, thoughtless, and forgetful.
As much as the Old Master, Charlus Potter had tried to teach him, James Potter was equally resolved to learn nothing. The only time he listened was when the Old Master told him stories of the Potter’s long past.
The boy would run around the house pretending to be those men, reliving their past victories, their past glories, somehow believing that he had played a part in their accomplishments, their greatness, and that he too should be celebrated for their victories.
Darby wondered if perhaps the man did not want a reminder of his youth, because that was what the Young Master was to him, a spitting image of James Potter in his youth.
As much as James Potter thought himself to be a great a man, as great as his father was, and the Potter’s that preceded him, he was not. That was clear for anyone to see.
Every opportunity the Old Master gave for James Potter to show his worth, the boy had ruined. It often came down to a lack of planning, interest, or patience.
The ideas he brought to his father had been even worse, calmly dismantled by the Old Master, thankfully, before any actual damage could be done.
Darby returned his focus to the present. As much as he wanted to defend the Young Master, he knew he could not. It was not the way of house-elves. He could only watch and hope the Young Master would be ok.
“What the hell did you think you were doing?” James demanded as he roughly dragged Harry into the house.
“I’m sorry sir, I tried to get there in time,” answered a frightened Harry.
He had learned that blaming Glory would only make things worse for him, and telling his father that Glory had gone into the cave, even after he told her it was not safe, would not end well for him.
“Your sister could have been seriously hurt!” James roared. “How could you be this useless?” He demanded.
“The ghoul hit me more than Glory. Most of the blood on Glory is mine,” Harry said as he tried desperately to defend himself.
Glory had somehow got the idea in her head that because she defeated the dark lord, it made her some kind of powerful sorceress and she should go on adventures, defeating dark creatures and more evil wizards. Nevermind the fact that she had no magical training to speak of, let alone a wand.
“You think you can talk your way out of this?” James asked in a quiet voice, betraying his anger.
“I tried… I did my best,” Harry said, desperately hoping that for once, his father would believe him.
James reached out quicker than Harry could react, giving him a hard slap to the face, sending the young boy sprawling to the ground. “Get down to the cellar, you will stay there for a week, and don’t expect any dinner tonight either!”
This was James Potter’s latest in a long list of punishments for Harry. He had gone so far as to order the house-elves to make sure Harry didn’t eat anything.
Darby clenched his fists tightly. He wanted so much to hurt the man now, even at the cost of his duty. If only he was a few years younger, but he was old now, too old to face down a wizard in his prime.
His magic was failing him. He struggled to perform his duties, the younger elves having to take on more and more of his workload.
“Come, Young Master, it will be alright,” Darby said soothingly. “Let’s get you cleaned up,” he said, offering his hand.
“Thanks Darby,” Harry said quietly as he got to his feet.
Another year later…
Harry helped Darby sit down on the bed. The old elf was having trouble standing up for long periods of time. His hands shook now, making it difficult for him to take care of himself, and his health had been getting worse of late.
“I should be the one helping you, Young Master,” Darby said bitterly. “It is unseemly for an elf to carry on this way.”
“I don’t mind, Darby,” Harry replied. “You’ve taken care of me for so long. Let me take care of you now.”
“Very well, Young Master, but just this once. I do not want to make a habit of it,” Darby replied.
“You always call me Young Master,” Harry observed, “but never Harry, even though I’ve asked you to.”
“It is not how things are done, Young Master. I am your servant, and it is my duty to you,” Darby replied.
“I never thought of you that way, you know that right, Darby? You’ve always been more than that,” Harry asked sincerely.
Darby’s eyes softened. The Young Master had a knack for getting him to set aside what was proper. “I know.”
“You’ve told me so many stories about the Potter family, but not about your family. Why is that?” Harry asked.
“House-elves are not the same as your kind,” Darby explained. “We need the permission of the master of the house to have children, and we do not marry the way you do.”
“When we have children, they only stay with us for a time, just until they are old enough to survive on their own.”
“What happens then?” Harry asked.
“They go to a market where they are bound to a wizarding family, and serve them for as long as they are able,” Darby explained.
“Why can’t they stay with their parents?” Harry asked.
“A house-elf’s loyalty must always be to the family they serve, above all else,” Darby answered. “This can not happen if we must choose between our children and our duty.”
“Did you have children?” Harry asked.
“I have a son,” Darby smiled.
“Do you miss him?”
“Yes, but it is complicated,” Darby explained. “I wish I could see him, what he has made of himself, but we elves can feel each other. I know he is alive, I know he is doing his duty, and when my time comes, he will know I have passed.”
“What about your wife? Where is she?” Harry asked.
“As I told you, Young Master, house-elves do not marry, but she passed, some thirty years ago, long before you were born,” Darby explained.
“Was she a Potter house-elf too?” Harry asked.
“She was. Her name was Minny,” Darby explained with a yawn.
“What about your son? What’s his name?” Harry asked.
“His name is Dobby,” Darby replied, yawning again. “I am sorry young master, I am feeling more tired than usual.”
“That’s ok,” Harry said. “Why don’t you take a break? We can talk later.”
“Nonsense Young Master, I may be a little tired, but I can still serve,” Darby denied.
“I know you can,” Harry smiled. “But I want you to take a break,” Harry said as he made his way to the door.
Harry watched as Darby lay back on the bed. The old elf would never admit it, but he was exhausted, and they both knew it.
“Just one last thing, Darby,” Harry said as he turned around to face him again. “Just once. Do you think you can call me Harry?”
Darby didn’t reply, but his eyes were still open. “Darby?” Harry asked as he stepped back into the house-elf’s room.
Harry stood in the forest behind Potter Manor. Darby had died two days ago. He had known it was coming soon. They both had, but he thought they had more time.
After 180 years of loyal service, it felt wrong that Darby was laid to rest in an unmarked grave, just left there, to be forgotten.
His family had barely even batted an eye, ordering Mipsy and Ganby to ‘take care of it,’ like he was an unsightly mess to be swept up.
He had not cried since he was four, but he did when he realized the light had left Darby’s eyes.
Harry would always remember him, a house-elf that went out of his way to comfort a small child that no one in the world had time for. He had set aside his long-held beliefs, customs and duty, just so that boy wouldn’t feel alone.
The world would be a darker place without him in it.
Another year later…
“That’s the mail,” Glory said excitedly. “Mom, Dad, do you think I got some more fan mail?”
“I wouldn’t be surprised,” James said as he sat down for breakfast, smiling.
“Don’t keep your sister waiting.” Lily said with a scowl. “Go get the mail.”
Harry quickly left the kitchen, returned quickly with the mail, knowing what would happen if he took too long.
He first handed a stack of letters to Glory. The others were mostly bills, which he handed to his father, but something caught his eye.
The last letter, it had a seal he had never seen before. It was addressed to him.
“What’s that?” Glory asked as she pointed to the letter in Harry’s hands.
“I don’t know,” Harry said. “The letter has my name on it. Is it a mistake?”
“Let me see that,” James said as he yanked the letter out of Harry’s hands. “I don’t believe it,” he said with a shocked laugh. “All this time, I was so sure you would turn out to be a squib.”
“What does it say?” Harry asked curiously.
“It’s a letter to go to Hogwarts School for Witchcraft and Wizardry,” Lily said as she glanced at it. “I suppose we should get your school supplies,” she finished in a bored tone as she looked at the list.
“What!?” Glory demanded indignantly. “Why does HE get to go to Hogwarts before me? I’m the savior! Make him wait until after I go to Hogwarts!”
“Oh, James… that’s a good point,” Lily agreed. “What will people think if they see him first? He’ll just make a bad impression like he always does. It could hurt Glory’s reputation.”
“The letter is from Albus,” James explained. “We can’t just ignore it, besides what will the other noble houses think if we don’t send him?”
Harry held back his smile. He couldn’t let them see him react, but he was thrilled. There was a way out for him. He just had to graduate Hogwarts and he could leave. He would never have to see his ‘family again.’
Harry sat in his room. He had been waiting, hoping for this letter for as long as he could remember. He couldn’t wait. 10 months out of the year, he would be away from Potter Manor.
The school ‘supplies’ his parents got him were pretty much what he expected. The books were his father’s, so they were at least 30 years old, and if that wasn’t bad enough, they were not well taken care of either. The pages were ripped and dogeared, some of the covers were torn off as well.
Harry hoped the curriculum hadn’t changed too much over the years, or he might be in serious trouble.
The less said about his ‘new’ wand, the better. He could tell, just by looking at it, that it was old, very old. When he held it in his hand, it felt empty, for lack of a better word, like the core had just faded or decayed.
The school robes were worn and faded as well, most likely his father’s old ones.
The trunk was as old as everything else, but far higher quality than he had expected. It was larger on the inside and also included a tent for camping. There was even a shrinking charm built into it as well.
Harry was convinced the only reason they gave it to him instead of his mother’s old trunk was the thick layers of dirt and grime that covered it when they found it in the attic. After a quick clean, however, it looked brand new.
Harry had been reading the books in the Potter library for years, and memorized the names of some of the common spells.
He hoped his foresight would help make up for the setback that the outdated school books would undoubtedly cause.
The library also contained a lot of muggle books about science and history as well. They were not up to date anymore, the most recent book being about twenty years old, but he read as many of them as he could.
His father hadn’t really done anything to keep the library up to date after his parents had passed, preferring to spend much of his free time on the Quidditch pitch instead.
Harry started making plans. After he finished Hogwarts, he knew he would be on his own. His best chance for a good life was to leave the wizarding world behind and try to build a life for himself in the muggle world.
He hoped he could make friends with a few muggle born at Hogwarts, so that he had a better idea of what to expect.
It startled Harry when an angry Lily Potter stormed into his bedroom, practically smashing his bedroom door open.
“Well? What do you have to say for yourself?!” Lily demanded.
Harry was caught off guard, didn’t know how to respond. “What?… What’s going on?”
“What. Did. You. Do. To. Glory’s ROOM?!!” Lily demanded angrily, screaming out the last part.
Harry cringed inwardly as he processed what was going on. It was, after all, one of Glory’s favorite things to do. She smashed or destroyed something while she was having one of her fits and then blamed him for it. It wasn’t a particularly clever plan, but Lily and James never questioned her, and they always believed her over him.
“I…” Harry began, trying once again to explain, before Lily interrupted him.
“Don’t you dare lie to me!” Lily interrupted. “Just admit it!”
Before Harry knew what was happening, an angry James Potter smacked him in the face, sending him tumbling to the ground.
Harry clutched his face as he stumbled to his feet, trying to get his bearings.
“I want you out of this house,” James hissed.
Harry made a quick retreat, not even attempting to take anything with him. As he ran down the hallway, he couldn’t help but stare in shock at Glory’s room.
She had truly outdone herself this time. Literally everything was smashed, even the windows and parts of the wall.
Harry made his way to the front door as he heard his ‘family’ stomping towards him. He opened the door, getting outside, trying to put more distance between him and his father.
They all knew what had happened, what Glory had done, but none of them would speak the words out loud.
“You are no son of mine, do you hear me!?” James shouted.
Harry didn’t say a word. It was nothing new. What would have even been the point? They wouldn’t listen to him, anyway.
He quickly made a dash to the forest that surrounded Potter Manor, hoping they wouldn’t chase after him.
He only stopped when he made it to the cover of the trees, letting out a sigh of relief when he could no longer see them behind him.
His family didn’t realize that he had his trunk in his pocket when they chased him out of the house.
Not only did it contain all his school supplies and books, but also some food from the Potter Manor kitchens, as he could take without them noticing.
Harry could see the writing on the wall for days. Glory was not as clever as she pretended to be. He didn’t know exactly what she was going to do or when, but the way she acted the last few days, he knew it was going to be bad.
This wasn’t even the first time they threw him out of the house, but he vowed to himself that it would be the last. He would go to Hogwarts, graduate, get a job, make some money, and then find some place no one had ever heard of the Potter name and go there.
It was a few hours later and Harry had walked into the forest further than he had ever been before. He knew he was well past the Potter lands by now.
He had hoped to find a road that he could at least follow into a town, but he eventually realized that he was hopelessly lost.
Harry angrily kicked a log and sat down on the ground in frustration.
It had all seemed so simple when he left. He would find his way into the nearest town, make his way to the leaky cauldron, and spend the rest of the summer before September there.
As soon as he knew what a galleon was, he searched around Potter manor for every one he could find. That along with the food in his trunk was supposed to get him through until he reached Hogwarts, but he would be lucky at this point just to get out of the damn forest.
When he set off, he was so sure there would at least be a stream that he could follow to civilization, but there was nothing here other than trees and the occasional large rock.
Harry pushed his way through a large thicket of trees and landed feet first in a small lake. He growled in frustration as he looked down at his feet. Now not only was he lost, but his legs were soaked and covered in mud.
As Harry looked out at the lake, it seemed oddly familiar, even though he was positive that he had never seen it before.
That’s when his head started spinning and he started feeling dizzy. He crumpled backwards, landing with a thud on the muddy ground.
That was when the pain started. Harry clutched his head, screaming. It felt like rusty nails were being hammered into his brain.
He did not know how long he lay there screaming. It felt like hours, days, years. They were all passing him by, and he could concentrate on nothing else except the pain.
Finally, mercifully, Harry passed out.
Harry woke up with a splitting headache and immediately shielded his eyes from the sun. He must have passed out for at least a couple of hours because it was now early evening. He tried to remember what happened to him, only to stop immediately as the headache immediately got worse.
Harry groaned as he slowly got to his feet. Nothing like this had ever happened to him before.
It felt like his brain was lit on fire. His first thought was to see a healer, but he knew the meager amount of galleons he had was nowhere near enough. All he could do was wait until he got to Hogwarts and hope that it wouldn’t get any worse.
He trudged around the lake, eventually finding a footpath to follow. It was dark by the time he reached a small town, but he was finally out of the forest.
Harry knew he didn’t have the muggle money for a motel, so he would have to camp out for the night. He set up the tent he found in the trunk, and feeling both mentally and physically exhausted, fell asleep almost immediately.
I tried a few different things with this chapter.
I didn’t spell out exactly what Harry and Darby thought of each other, but I hope their actions conveyed that.
Darby also used the terms young master and old master to show a succession of Potter heads, excluding James from that line.
Do you prefer the old chapter or the new chapter?
Thanks for reading,