Chapter Three:  A Snake For Truth

As he had been trained, consciousness came to Harry slowly.  At first, he thought that this type of training was a joke, but now he was glad that he had learned it.  As he slowly awoke, he was able to get a bearing on his situation. First, he smelled a potion filled sterile scent. He also knew that he was lying down and that the bed beneath him was lumpy and it’s covering tingled with cleansing and soothing charms.

Harry knew where he was, he had been here often enough, Hogwarts hospital ward. Something must have gone wrong with the spell Hogwarts used…or…it wasn’t the castle at all. Either or would definitely lead him here.

The odd thing was that there were people talking loudly at the foot of his bed. Madam Pomphrey must be in her office and hadn’t noticed yet, for she would definitely have kicked them out.  However, the voices did not sound like any he knew. If he was in the infirmary, the only people that would be allowed near him were Order members or any member of the Weasley family or their significant others.

Harry was glad he hadn’t moved yet for the people were talking about him. “He’s just a boy, he’s not dangerous.” It was said by a woman with a nice voice. But it was followed with a snort.

“Ya said he was close to his inheritance that makes him dangerous.” A man with a thick brogue countered.

“How is he?” An older woman asked.

Harry heard a woman’s sigh “As far as I can tell he’s just unconscious. There is nothing physically wrong with him now. That’s not to say he is completely healthy.”

“What do you mean Connie?” The older woman pressed.

“My diagnostic spells tell me that this boy has been starved for most of his life and has had a total of 19 broken bones before he was 13. After that there are too many to count, not to mention the ones he has had regrown. There are currently remnants of basilisk poison running through his veins being counteracted by phoenix tears. In addition…and I don’t know if this is right…I pray that my spell has failed.”

“Wha’ is it?” The brogue was back.

“It says that he has been subjected to not one but all three of the Unforgivable curses.” The room erupted.

“That is not possible once hit with the killing curse no one survives.” Another woman with a cultured voice insisted.

“I know, I did the spell five times and I still get the same result.  He has received all three curses, the cruciatus curse more than any other I’ve seen.  I don’t know how he is as healthy as he is.”

As they talked, Harry listened. He only counted four people in the room and they all seemed to be fairly friendly although the man was more cautious then the women but that was always to be expected.

Snape once told him that his greatest asset was his ability to cause people to want to protect him. He had called it ‘A way to get morons to believe you are naught but a babe in the woods when in reality you are a snake in the bush.’ He should have no problem getting them to believe that he was just an innocent boy, no harm to any one.

“Well then why don’t we ask him? He has been awake for this whole conversation.”

SHIT!! FIVE people!!!!

Harry heard a chair being pulled up next to the head of his bed and a large body settle into it.

Harry slowly opened his eyes. They focused on the man beside him. His hair was black and short. His face was chiseled and sharp. But it was the eyes that pinned him. They were blue and piercing.

“Who are you?” The man asked.

Harry was unsettled by the question. Anyone in this castle, hell anyone in the Wizarding world knew who he was. How could they not know? Harry struggled to sit up. The movements made him feel dizzy but he hid it as best he could with knowing that all the blood had just rushed out of his face.

The man looked annoyed. “I asked you a question. Who are you? How did you get past our wards?”

Harry looked around the room slowly not wanting to cause his head more pain. He saw the other four people still standing at the foot of his bed. He was right-three women and one man. The man had fiery read hair and was built like a house. He towered over the women, even though one was no shrimp. The older lady looked like royalty; the frown on her face definitely was out of place. The other woman, holding a clipboard, was beautiful. Her hair was a soft blonde, her face was dusted with freckles, she was just a real natural beauty, and with he could tell, a heart of gold.

Harry felt the man beside him shift casting an imposing shadow over him. If it wasn’t for a lifetime with Professor Snape, Harry would have been intimidated. But now he was almost immune…almost. Harry slid his hand slowly to the secret pocket in his pants that held his wand. But the comforting hardness was gone.

Harry went to speak, it took him a couple of tries to get his throat to work but then he rasped. “My wand.”

The tall red head spoke. “You’ll get it lad after you’ve answered our questions to our liking.”

Harry closed his eyes. He could feel it in the room. Maybe if he distracted the people enough…

“Harry…my name is Harry.” His voice was still as broken as before. He saw the beauty move to get him a drink but was waved off by the man beside him. Harry turned to glare at the man.

His wand rolled slowly to the end of the shelf it was on.

“Harry what?” The dark man asked. ‘Always tell the truth so when you have to lie no one will know the difference.’ That was a lesson from the Twins.

“Potter.”

“Potter? I don’t know of any Potters?” The tall woman said, earning him a glare from the dark man.

Harry shrugged. “It is my name.”

His wand made a slow decent off of the shelf to the floor.

“What were ya doin’ in the Dark Forest ?” Harry’s brows knitted. How had he gotten all the way out there? What was done to him!?

Harry shrugged and shook his head slowly.

“You don’t know how you ripped a gaping hole in our wards landing in the Dark Forest .” Wards? That would explain his headache. Breaking wards was like hammering a brick wall with your skull.

Harry shook his head again.

His wand rolled silently across the stone floor.

“Don’t know.” Man did he want a drink. “Drink.”

The dark man smirked. “You want a drink? You tell us who sent you, and then you’ll get a drink.”

“Hogwarts.”

“WHAT in the Hell is that supposed to mean boy? This is Hogwarts and I know you don’t work for any of us.”

The dark man looked at the others, seeing if any of them had any ideas.

Harry felt his wand rise off the floor and slide soundlessly under his blanket and into his hand, which then gripped it firmly.

“Well since ya won’t tell us who ya work for lad we’ll just have ta take a look at cha wand and see what it tells us.” The big man made to go towards Madam Pomphery’s office.

“Why don’t you ask the boy for it?” The dark man said smugly. The four just looked at him mouths agape.

Harry pulled his wand out from under the blanket. “Accio wand!” The big man hollered.

Harry felt the wand being tugged from his grasp, he held on tighter. “No.” he rasped. The man called again this time with more force. “No!” Harry said as loud as he could, throwing himself out of the bed but to his anguish, his legs collapsed beneath him leaving him sprawled on the floor. He used his arms backpedaling away from the people trying to surround him.

“Stay away from me…” Harry said pointing his wand at the advancing wizards and witches.

“The Headmaster will kill you when he catches you in his castle.” Maybe he could distract them enough so he could get out a window and call his broom.

“Headmaster?  Boy, there is no headmaster of this school!” That made Harry pause briefly.

“Headmaster Dumbledore will have the wards expel you all!” Almost to the window.

His captors looked at each other. The older woman gasped. “The boy’s gone mad!”

The tall woman looked at him in the condescending manner Hermione used when she was trying to explain something to him that she thought a child would understand. “We are the founders of this school, there is no headmaster here.”

Harry gasped nearly dropping his wand. “F…F…Founders!? Not possible…”He shook his head eyes never leaving the quintet in front of him. “Dead…long DEAD.”

The dark man looked him over with piercing considering eyes. Then Harry saw them go wide. “My God.” The others looked at him questioningly.

The man dropped down, kneeling so his eyes we level with Harry’s own. “What year is this?”

What an odd question. Harry rolled his eyes. “1997.”

They all gasped. The dark man looked up at his fellows and then stood. They all gathered together each talking at the same time. Harry took this opportunity to continue to drag himself towards the window. “Petrificus Totalus.” Harry was struck.

‘NO!’ Harry screamed in his mind. He felt himself being levitated and settled once again in the hospital bed. His wand was pried from his fingers. Harry glared at the dark man who now held his wand.

“I am going to release you. You are going to lie there like a good little patient and not give us any more trouble.” If Harry could snort he would have.

The curse was lifted. Harry settled himself back in the bed. “I don’t know if you’re telling the truth or not.” The dark man said looking down at him.

“Who are you?” Harry asked glaring up at the man who up to this moment had seen through all of his plans.

The man quirked an eyebrow. “Salazar Slytherin.”

Harry pulled his head back, his brows knitted together. He had once seen a picture of the Prince of Snakes; it had been done when the man was old and gray. He was stern and silent. The painting never moved, except its eyes. Those eerie eyes would follow you as you passed. It always felt like they were looking right through you into your soul. Some people went totally out of their way to avoid the icon.

Its eyes kind of reminded him of…no he would not jump to conclusions. If this was the real Salazar Slytherin there was only one way to prove it.

~Isss ssthat whoss yousss realsssly sssar?~

Salazar Slytherin (if that is who he was) raised not one but both eyebrows.

~Yessss sssI bearsss sssthat namessss~

Harry gasped and scurried to the top of the bed nearly causing it to tip over. “No you can’t be.”

Salazar Slytherin advanced on him. “Get a hold of yourself. Don’t make me petrify you again!”

Harry nodded and cautiously slid back into place on the bed. “How could this be happening? Could this be what the castle intended?”

“What ya mumbling about lad?”

“G…Godric Gryffindor?” The big man nodded his hairy head. Harry paled.

He turned to the older woman. “Helga Hufflepuff?” She in turn nodded.

Harry really didn’t feel so well.

“Rowena R…Ravenclaw?” The tall woman gave a curt nod.  Harry swooned. A strong hand clasped his shoulder grounding him fully in reality.

Harry looked up at the blue eyed man, silently pleading with him to tell him that they were wrong, that this was all a joke. But the man’s gaze was firm. Harry gulped and looked at the Four Founders.

“You are why I am here.” The beautiful woman stepped forward.

“That is the second time you said that what do you mean? Who sent you here and why?” Harry gulped then took a deep breath.

“No wait.” Slytherin stopped him. He hissed deep and low towards the door. After a minute or two a fat python slithered into the room and right up Slytherin’s leg and into the man’s arms.

Harry reached out for the snake with both arms. Slytherin raised an eyebrow but relinquished the snake to him. The python wrapped itself around Harry’s arm, securing its tail around Harry’s middle.

Harry pulled the snake close, cuddling it as a child would a teddy bear, hissing to it in hushed tones.

Slytherin cleared his throat getting Harry’s attention. “Hazzar will tell us if what you are saying is not the truth.” Harry nodded absently stroking the snakes head.

“He will tell me the same.” Slytherin gave a curt nod.

The remaining four gathered chairs and arranged them around his bed, Slytherin sat once more in his chair by the top of his bed. The beautiful woman smiled gently at him and handed him a glass of water. Harry took it gratefully, gulping it down greedily. When he finished she took the glass and set it on the nearby stand.

Harry reached out a hand to her. “Harry James Potter.” She smiled brightly.

“Constance Marie Slytherin.” Harry arched an eyebrow, and then turned to look unbelieving at the dark man on his other side.

“Why does everyone think it is so unbelievable that she would agree to be my wife?” The dark man said exasperated as the rest, including his wife muffled their laughter.

“You may call me Connie, dear. And don’t mind him.” She said patting his arm.

Rowena leaned forward in her chair. “So your name really is Potter?” Harry nodded.

“Yes, I don’t know where my family came from or if the name would still be connected only to the muggle world.”

“You have muggle blood in your line?” The dark wizard asked gruffly, causing Harry to shift away from him.

“Yes my mother was muggle born. But no matter what most purebloods say they all have muggles in their family tree, no matter how many times they intermarry.” Harry thought a moment. “That might be a reason why some pureblood families are slower then others.”  Harry said absently. Slytherin snorted.  Harry looked up at the wizard skittishly.

“Why are you now afraid of me when you weren’t before?” Harry gulped, resuming petting the snake.

“I wasn’t sure how your reaction would be to finding out my parentage.” The man thankfully let it pass as that.

The founder of his house spoke up. “Ya said you were sent here for a reason.” Harry nodded. “Why were ya sent here?” And as an after thought he added. “And how?”

Harry took a deep breath. “Have you heard of the ‘Seer’s Potion?” Gryffindor shook his head. Harry went to continue but Slytherin beat him to it.

“It is a potion that gives the brewer a brief overview of his future or at least the future he will have if he keeps to his current path.” Harry nodded.

“That’s the one. Well my friends and I got together when we felt that something was off. The potion showed us a future where the Headmaster was given permission by the Ministry to drain my powers and take them for himself.”

Connie gasped. “But that would leave you…”

“Insane?” Harry nodded. “Yes, fitting, for the whole reason he got permission was because he told them that I was mentally unstable.”

“Then why did you threaten us with him if he was not your friend?” asked the oldest of the Hogwarts founders.

Harry shrugged. “He is known all through the Wizarding world as the greatest wizard who’s ever lived.” He scoffed.  Slytherin snorted.

“A great man is not always a good man.” Harry thought it odd that this man would be saying that, but given the situation, everything about this night was odd.

“I don’t know if it has been created or not, the Room of Requirement?” All five looked at each other. “Never mind I see that it has been. And no I don’t want to know how it was created. Well, we created the potion there and then my friend right on schedule, perpetual bookworm that she is, got the idea to turn the room into a library. With that library my friend Ron found a spell that would tell us who my ancestors are so we would know what I will be inheriting. Let’s just say that the information was a bit of a surprise. ” Harry paused. How was he going to tell these people that they were his long lost family?

“So lad, don’t keep us in suspense. Who are ya inheriting from?”

Well Harry couldn’t have asked for a better opportunity. Harry swallowed. “Um, well Uncle Godric, I am related to all of you.” They all choked, and were rendered speechless by the boy’s proclamation.

His Aunt Rowena was the first to regain her speech. “So that is why you were sent here?”

Harry nodded. “I believe so.” Harry thought it best to keep the information about the last of his five inheritances to himself.

Hazzar hissed.  ~ He is hiding something I can smell it. ~

“You heard him. Tell us what you are hiding.” Slytherin scowled at him, no doubt thinking that he somehow lied about their relation.

“I am also inheriting from another, but I don’t want it known. Not even by you.” Salazar went to respond harshly but behind him a great crack cut through the air.

In the corner of the room was a giant rip, not in the stone, but in the fabric of time itself. And through the opening came a figure bearing a staff.

The man was tall with short white hair and a goatee. The staff in his hand was glowing faintly as were his eyes. His clothes were dated, much more than the other five in the room who stood paralyzed by the power that radiated off this man. Then he spoke stopping a mere meter from Harry’s bed.

“I believe the young man was referring to me.”