< >Dumbledore cut Snape from snapping back with a curt finger shake. "The thing is, Thomas, you never wanted to see Harry. I have pelted you with letters for years! Yet, instead of admitting to yourself that you do have a nephew who is sure to want to know you, you always had a snide comment to make in return. My, you sent that Howler on me few years back - "
< >"That scared the bats out of the rafters, all right," McGonagall muttered dryly.
< >" - and you have terrorized your students, colleagues, and friends for years. And never once did you ever write or say the name - "
< >"HARRY POTTER!" Professor Erwin bellowed, shaking the room. "Is that it? Is that what you wanted me to say? Harry Potter! There - I said his name again! Or do you want me to parade down Diagon Alley or the middle of London, with a baton and full band behind me, screaming, 'Harry Potter! Harry Potter! '?" he exclaimed ruthlessly. "Because if you do, I'll do it, Albus. I'll do it! I'll follow your every whim, dear old Dumbledore - the bumblebee - sir!
< >"And what do you think all your letters, a little girl asking why I hated him so, his name, his injuries, his triumphs, and his history did to me, Albus?" Professor Erwin demanded, tears suddenly forming in his eyes. "I have asked you this before and that is something you obviously don't know!"
< >The teachers and staff in the room stared at him. In utter disgust of his morbid surrounding, he snapped his fingers and he disappeared. "Maybe it would be better to die than to go through this," he mumbled softly before he disappeared out of the room entirely.
< >Professor Erwin reappeared in a dark hall and fell into a chair next to the wall, exhausted, emotionally and physically. He set his head back against the wall and closed his eyes.
< >Maybe they are right, he said to himself miserably. I haven't spoken or written his name in nearly fifteen years, I have forbidden his name spoken in front of me, look what I have done to myself! What would the boy say if saw me? If he learned everything about me? What would he do? He would hate you, that's what, Thomas, he snarled to himself, making him feel like the entity of failure he was.
< >The professor, the man, the entity - whatever who wish to call him - picked himself up, and, knees shaking, dragged himself to the infirmary, invisible as the air around him on the outside, and on the inside, as well.
< >When he reached the infirmary, Madam Pomfrey was guarding the door, barring Dumbledore from passing through it. "This is foolish, professor. He's in here for mild illness - not major heartbreak." Her voice was tight.
< >"Poppy, my dear - this is important and it cannot wait. He will have to find out sooner or later," Dumbledore replied with a sigh. "Madam . . ."
< >"Oh, all right," Madam Pomfrey finally sighed, seeming defeated. She moved swiftly away from the door and opened it.
< >"Give us some privacy, will you?" Dumbledore asked her as he walked through the door, neither one knowing that Professor Erwin had slipped through the door behind the old man.
< >Professor Erwin had to sit down on the chair next to the door when he saw Harry. The young man was laying in bed, rubbing his throat, drinking water. He only looked up when Dumbledore cleared his throat.
< >"Professor Dumbledore?" Harry asked, surprised.
< >Dumbledore smiled. "Hello, Harry. Not well, are we?"
< >Harry coughed loudly. "I'm okay. Madam Pomfrey says I just need rest."
< >"Harry, I've come to talk to you about something . . ."
< >Professor Erwin suddenly felt a shock of strength, jumped to his feet, and stuck his wand in Dumbledore's back. "Don't you even dare, Dumbledore. If I have to, I will kill you," Professor Erwin whispered into Dumbledore's ear. "Believe me, I will. Harry will never learn the truth from you, that is for certain, and if you try, I will kill him before I kill you."
< >Dumbledore froze at the first touch and by the time Thomas Erwin's threat had been fully made, he had tears in his eyes. Not for his life, but for Harry's - the boy the wizard world could not afford losing, for it would bring about misery, chaos, and the dark.
< >"What is it, sir?" Harry asked, a look of concern on his face.
< >Dumbledore hesitated and Professor Erwin dug his wand harder into Dumbledore's back. The old professor, fearing for the safety and mind of the black-haired boy, straightened and cleared him throat. "Never mind, Harry. You have your rest." He moved carefully away and Professor Erwin took away his wand.
< >"If you dare ever tell him, Albus," Professor Erwin whispered to Dumbledore before he left, "or let anyone else, I will kill you, and whoever said it, if not you. Do I make myself perfectly clear?"
< >Dumbledore walked out the door, leaving it open on purpose, and Professor Erwin heard him whispering to Madam Pomfrey who let out a muffled gasp as Dumbledore advised her not to breathe a word, for her own safety.
< >Professor Erwin took one last look at the bewildered boy on the bed and disappeared. He reappeared in the front hall, took his broom, and flew out the front door, bound back to Sharadine.
< >When he arrived, the school was empty, or, rather, as quiet as empty. The students had deserted the hallways, meaning they were probably in their group lounges, being talked to by teachers or whispering amongst themselves about Professor Erwin (though all the students knew was their professor had attacked and berated instructors and staff from another school).
< >Professor Erwin walked in the staff room, finding the entire staff in there, looking extremely grave. "Well," he said, raising a sardonic eyebrow. "What brings this warm welcoming?"
< >The staff turned their stares to Madam Tatooli.
< >"You - you told them?" Professor Erwin sputtered, dropping his broom.
< >"No, Thomas, I didn't, but I nearly did," Madam Tatooli said coldly.
< >"Well, even if you had, it would probably had been no matter, as Dumbledore took it upon liberty of himself to tell all o' his staff. Gave them quite a nasty shock, I will say, especially Severus," Professor Erwin said, smiling a bit.
< >"So, you were at Hogwarts," Madam Tatooli said, folding her arms across her chest. "Did you?"
< >"No," Professor Erwin sneered bitterly. "Of course not, Juane. Not with Dumbledore, Minerva, and Severus ramming it all down my throat. And personally, Juane, I don't think this is any of your business anymore - not that it ever was."
< >Madam Tatooli pressed her lips together, but did not say a word. Professor Erwin nodded at her and left the room, snapping his fingers sharply so his broom would follow him. He hurried through the halls of the castle, muttering things to himself angrily.
< >"Professor Erwin!" called a sudden, desperate voice.
< >The professor whirled around in surprise. Anna Winterbourne came running down the dark corridor toward him. "Ms. Winterbourne?" he asked darkly, recognizing instantly who it was.
< >Anna grabbed the sleeve of his robes, as if to make sure he didn't run from her. "Professor Erwin, I know something is wrong. I don't deny it. Something has been wrong and I feel as if I've caused some of it." She looked guilty and apologetic.
< >"No! No, no, Anna," Professor Erwin softly whispered to her, his anger flying abruptly from his body; Anna's presence and innocence caused sudden relief and admission. "It's not your fault. It's - it's mine. . . ." He sat down on the floor, suddenly tired, and he buried his face in his hands, suddenly overcome with suppressed grief.
< >Anna crouched in front of him. "Professor Erwin?" she asked quietly.
< >"What have I done?" Professor Erwin wailed in anguish, not really talking to Anna. "What will he think when he learns?" The not even middle-aged man yanked at his hair angrily, grieving his life.
< >"What?" Anna asked, her eyes widening. "Who?"
< >"Harry!" Professor Erwin yelled mostly to himself, partly ignoring Anna. He felt his mind snapping and his tongue moving without him really wanting either to. "What will he t - think when he learns that - that his uncle, who he has never known - is a sick, crackpot old fool? That he did not speak his name for years! That he shunned thinking about his brother and sister-in-law, bullied his students, scared his colleagues, and terrified any friends he had left all over him?"
< >Anna stared at her professor in shock. "Harry Potter?"
< >"My half-brother's boy! I never saw him! I never spoke of him as my blood! I always spoke of him as being impotent! Almost as a monster! Oh, what will he think?" Professor Erwin cried in sheer panic.
< >"Professor! Professor!" Anna yelled in his face, grabbing his wrists, and shaking him.
< >Professor Erwin stared at Anna.
< >Anna breathed harshly as she looked at him. "You are telling me that James Potter was your half-brother?" Her professor nodded silently. "And that you have not spoken Harry's name for years? You have been like you are now, because . . . because of some sort of grief?" Again, he nodded, realizing that Anna understood his anguish, at least, a small part - a trait no one else seemed to share. "Professor," Anna said softly, "then, I must ask, why? Why have you never spoken his name? I understand that you are angry - perhaps at Voldemort, perhaps at your brother, perhaps yourself - but why you never spoke his name, why you terrorized us, your students - and everyone else - why you shunned him - Harry - out of your life, is a mystery to me."
< >Professor Erwin gulped and shut his eyes for a moment, in thought. "You are the only one who understands at least a little of my pain, Anna, and that amazes me," he began quietly. "Not even the wretched man people hail as Sir Albus Dumbledore knows any of my grief, of why I act the way I do, or of the pain he has caused me. So . . . I will tell you a little of what I can, if you care to listen."
< >Anna nodded, touching her Transfiguration professor's hand in a sign of comfort.
< >"You see, in my younger years, around your age, my dear, my brother - James - and I were at Hogwarts together. I was a year older than him, so I was there first, of course. I knew everyone, but I stuck to my studies a lot, preferring to not speak of my family history. My real father was dead and when I was old enough, our mother told me that he was killed by the Dark Lord - something that caused to me to fear, hate, and respect Voldemort maybe more than anyone at the time. I like to think I still regard, loathe, and dread That-Who-Must-Not-Be-Named more than anyone else. Everyone else was scared of Voldemort - they didn't hate him, truly fear him, or respect him; their fear kept them from any of that! . . .
< >"In any case, when James arrived at Hogwarts, I had little time for him, which made us grow apart, as I was driven to my studies, and he to other things, making us have little in common. No one really knew we were related - not even Severus Snape, who we both loathed and feuded with for years. And soon, I was overshadowed by my brother, as he saved Severus's life, then I left Hogwarts, and was soon forgotten there, until I rose in our world as being one of the youngest and best wizards around - and the Ministry itself never connected James and I together! Our mother and James' father were dead due to another Voldemort happening less than a year after I left Hogwarts as a student, so no one was there to say anything, and James and I rarely spoke, so who was there to?
< >"The last time I saw James and Lily was when I heard Harry had been born, through an old acquaintance. Dumbledore, of course," Professor Erwin said, clenching his teeth and fists for a moment. "I went to their home in Godric's Hollow. I was surprised - no, amazed - they were so kind.
< >"I have always laid a grudge against James for never setting the record straight about us - although, I should have done it myself - but it was amazing how welcoming they were. Lily was just as beautiful as I had remembered her and James happy as ever - the match of a lifetime, they were, those two - and their boy . . . Harry . . . he looked amazingly like James and I, but he did not have James' eyes or my dark, bluish-green. He had Lily's amazing bright green eyes . . . and he was such a beautiful little boy. He made me realize how much love I had for his mother and father."
< >"When . . . when they died just days after I had last seen them - no one but myself knows how much time I spent with them after my nephew was born . . ." Erwin took a deep, shuddering breath, striving to contain himself. "When they died, m - my heart broke. I felt as if any life I had was crashing down around me. My friends didn't matter, my students, my colleagues, or my magical history. Nothing. I was so angry when Professor McGonagall came two days after they died and told me, especially when I was told where Harry was.
< >"I have seen those Muggles! Bloody, ruthless characters, they are, indeed. And then, everyone talking excitedly about Harry, bore into my heart like a nail into wood. These students had no feelings for Lily and James - and they had produced this boy, their savior! They didn't even care about them! Nor did anyone ever at least show the slightest mercy or benevolence for their deaths! No one ever has.
< >"Then, a few days after I was told, the letters started. All from Dumbledore, who always knew everything, so of course he knew James had been my brother. There was always the letter on Harry's birthday, or James' or Lily's, and on mine. A fine present for me. I burned them all. They all said, Thomas, you must stop this. Tell everyone. Have a good day.
< >"Have a good day my rump! Bloody hell, Dumbledore has always provoked me since I was at Hogwarts. I don't even care now that he is the best - I hate him. I think I always will. And, of course, letters came when Harry came to Hogwarts."
< >Professor Erwin sighed. "It said: Harry has now arrived at Hogwarts, Thomas. It is time. Time? Time? Time for Dumbledore to think he was right again, yes! That time! Well, he was not right! He thought I'd come and I didn't, the old fool.
< >"Then, of course, there was the uproar of Quidditch, then his injuries, then his defeating Voldemort twice, and so much more. And among all that, the rumors of me being connected with Voldemort and hating Harry, which made me nearly die, Anna . . ." he finished with a meekness worthy of a child having just firsthand seen merciless death. The professor had curled himself into a tight ball, back pressed against the wall, hugging his chest to his knees.
< >Anna gulped. "Sir, I - I didn't know . . ."
< >Professor Erwin shook his head. "No, of course not . . . nobody did. Of course, then, I got sick, I would presume, after reading a letter from Dumbledore, saying Harry is doing well. He has many friends, his grades are up, but I will bet my knickers he would like to know that his father had a brother . . . And then, everything seemed to hit me and the world spun for days."
< >"Then, you came back and had an argument with Professor Dumbledore and then the other teachers . . ." Anna said slowly and carefully.
< >Professor Erwin smiled weakly. "I assume you heard it, then?"
< >"We all felt it, sir. Every argument is usually felt, and you slamming around, yelling. It's normal to everyone, Professor Erwin. I shan't say you didn't know that?" said Anna, smiling a bit feebly at her professor.
< >"Well, of course, I know," Professor Erwin replied. "It's normal, eh? That's another thing that got to me and I suddenly raced to Hogwarts the other day, determined to meet Harry face to face.
< >"Wasn't McGonagall surprised when I showed up," mused the professor with a small smile. "Severus Snape, too. And I rather surprised them I think when I body bound them and made them float in the air."
< >Anna stared at him, looking ready to move away, and Professor Erwin chuckled softly. "I did not injure them, if that's what you're thinking, but they wouldn't let me in the castle and I was determined to get through. I went to the Gryffindor tower to find out where Harry was from the fat lady - a picture that would know. She wasn't much help, though.
< >"Suddenly, while I was talking to a student trying to find him, there was a call for all students to return to their common rooms and I knew that Minerva and Severus had been found, so I hurried to the staff room." Professor Erwin sighed. "I know this is a long story, Anna, so I will just say there was a fight and I headed home, or rather, here, without ever meeting Harry. I . . . I am too ashamed to face him."
< >After all his words, Professor Erwin ended so lamely that his eyes watered with the embarrassment of it all, yet also in the relief of being able to finally tell someone his problems. He buried his face in his knees, rubbing his eyes.
< >Anna looked at her Transfiguration professor in astonishment, then chose her next words carefully. "Professor Erwin, sir," she began cautiously, "you can tell me this, a mere student, but you cannot tell your own flesh and blood?"
< >The next day was a rather quiet one, to the shock of the students. The teachers tried to act normally and pulled it off on the students. Professor Erwin was being reserved and silent, though this was a normal behavior of his. Everything was seemingly back to normal. Normal, that is, until lunch.
< >Professor Erwin was walking to lunch, through the front hall, when the front door opened and a man walked through. The professor stopped dead in his tracks, causing students behind him to crash into one another. Cornelius Fudge and two others stood in the entryway, faces somber.
< >"Professor Thomas Patrick Erwin!" Fudge called, spotting the professor, making the students all stare at their professor, including Anna who had no idea what was going on, along with the rest of them. He and Anna locked eyes, knowing quickly that they had an understanding. "I have come to put you under arrest for the threat of the murder of Albus Dumbledore." The crowd gasped and Professor Erwin paled, knowing this was coming (because, of course, this would be a way to possibly make him confess, which was insane). "Come quietly and - "
< >"Like hell you will arrest me!" Professor Erwin shouted, running back the way he came, shouts of alarm echoing after him. The professor ran to his room, snatched up his broom, and disappeared with a loud crack just as Fudge and his officers scrambled into the room.
< >The professor appeared on the far edge of the Sharadine grounds. He mounted his broom and flew away, not even taking a look behind him. Sharadine was suddenly merely a dream to him, a spectacle of his imagination.
< >Everything was a dream now, except for Harry Potter, who stuck out in Professor Erwin's mind like a nail stuck in his hand. It hurt and he could not pull it out without leaving some sort of disease in him - able to rot away his hand - that would injure him more than leaving the nail in it's place. As he flew and flew, he began to cry and feared he'd never stop.
< >It is unfortunate this story very well ends here. The story of the man truly unknown to everyone he knew and didn't know. His tale is one of sadness, seclusion, and severity. It shows us that we must not forget the past or try to push away what is necessary to do in our lives - simple acceptance - or it will make us go mad, as it ultimately did to Professor Erwin.
< > Professor Thomas Patrick Erwin didn't live much of a life after he left the school of Sharadine. He lived as a hermit in a Muggle forest for several years, doing absolutely nothing except what he figured he could do in the confines of the cold forest in which he resided. He wrote letters and books - from Transfiguration, to family, to love, to a handbook about being nice to students. Anything he wanted, he wrote. He even boldly wrote a sentimental and sometimes cruel journal, telling his nephew everything had done in his life.
< >He sent it to Anna during her seventh year at Sharadine with a note on it that said simply:
< >Soon after, Thomas Patrick Erwin, brother of James Potter, uncle of Harry Potter, died. Some people might call his death the cause of heartbreak and misery. He could never get himself to go to Harry himself and never told anyone his position.
< >And it wasn't until years many later that a witch looking for a place to put her own school found Thomas' shack. He was lying on his cot, a ragged skeleton, in his best robes, as if he had known, in all his sorrow, that he was going to die the very day he did.
< >His writings - including the journal, which had later been privately consented for printing by a relative - were published quickly after his body was discovered. Uproar began about Thomas' past and when the funeral was held for the professor, thousands appeared from all over the globe. Many were students Professor Erwin had taught, all distraught over what they had never known, along with all colleagues, family, and friends of Thomas before his plight into an regularly unhappy solitude.
< >The most recognizable, however, of the thousands crowding in the cemetery was Harry Potter. His head was bowed, but his eyes were on the oak coffin until it was lowered beneath the soil, wondering when the ghost of his uncle would appear, but it never did and never would. Someone would tell him later - Anna Winterbourne, in fact, who became a close friend of the sad nephew - that even though Thomas Erwin died of grief, his journal to Harry had given him enough closure to not come back as a ghost. Neither of them, uncle or nephew, said Anna, deserved any more pain for that to happen.
< >And that is where our story ends. A story of anger, of grief, and of realization. It teaches that no one should ever bottle up their feelings, for as the feelings intensify - family, love, and, life become almost meaningless, and anyone can be driven mad over it. Harry Potter and the Man of Unknown is a story of guilt and despair - and a story of a hope. Hope that despite of trials that go on in someone's life, they can always forgive themselves, and open up to those who want to care about them.
< >Harry Potter and the Man of Unknown was originally written in four days, between August 31st and September 3rd, 1999 at around 34 pages (it's been updated several times since; more majorly in April-June 2001). I believe it truly to be one of the first Harry Potter fan fictions and it was the first, at least, Harry Potter fan fiction to ever reside on FanFiction.net, after I bugged the webmaster, Xing, to place a Harry Potter section, "because I have a fan fic ready to put on it NOW!" That's a fact that I, as an author, am very proud of. :-)
< >When I first wrote it, it was posted three days before Harry Potter and the Prisoner of Azkaban debuted on American markets, so for those who might have printed this story out a long time ago and compare it to the new version (finally completed on June 24, 2001), you'll see a lot of differences, because I made it more factual to the Harry Potter books. Otherwise, if you have no idea what I'm talking about, ignore this paragraph. ::nods at people looking at her strangely::
< >Anyway, moving on . . . I know a lot of you wonder why I portray Dumbledore like I did. Well, I've always thought of Dumbledore as this person who knows everything, and I can't stand anyone who knows or thinks they know everything! No one should be able to do that, so I wrote my animosity (through Thomas) to Dumbledore. Albeit, I do like Dumbledore's characteristics, his "knowningness" is just too annoying not to leave out.
< >::sighs:: This is a really stupid author's note. Forgive me, please. ::hands the reader a pickle:: For good luck.
Love and cheese,
Any comments will be taken at gypsy@HarryPotterRealm.com and appreciated!