|The heart that loved her
Author: silverbirch PM
Dumbledore gives Harry his first job for the Order - to befriend a strange silent girl who could hold the secret to Voldemort's defeat. But, as their relationship grows Harry learns love is never simple. Nor is lust. AU in the spirit of HBP. JKR owns it.Rated: Fiction M - English - Romance/Friendship - Harry P. & OC - Chapters: 19 - Words: 41,797 - Reviews: 164 - Favs: 78 - Follows: 54 - Updated: 04-19-10 - Published: 12-21-09 - Status: Complete - id: 5597304
|A+ A- Full 3/4 1/2 Expand Tighten|
As they walked away from the house Dumbledore couldn't resist a chuckle. 'Well done, Harry, very well done indeed.'
'I didn't do anything, Professor.'
'Oh, but you did. Horace – or Professor Slughorn as we must now call him – only took the job because of you.'
'Well, who you are.'
'Great, another fan club. Why can't people just…'
'No, I don't mean it in that way, although Horace will be pleased to ad you to his collection, of course.' Dumbledore saw the confused look on the boy's face. 'I will not deny that he likes to gather the well connect and able to him and help them as much as he can. Your mother was one of them and he sees her in you. You have…'
'My mother's eyes. I know. Anyway, are we going to The Burrow now?'
Dumbledore stopped and faced Harry. He took a deep breath. 'No, there has been a change of plans and we are going to Grimmauld Place. Harry, I am afraid I must ask you to help an old man still further. You are still, officially, a minor and not yet a full member, but the Order needs you assistance.'
'Me?' Harry's heart leapt. A job, a task for the Order. He would be taking direct action to try and stop Voldemort whilst working with some of the greatest wizards on the side of the light – Mad-eye, Remus… 'What is it?'
'I shall tell you in the morning, as I have one more task to complete tonight before you can start, but we must get along.' Dumbledore's eyes twinkled. 'I am sure Molly is itching to feed you up.'
'She is there as well, along with Mister Weasley and Miss Granger.'
'Ron and Hermione? Great! Can I tell them about…you know, my job?'
'Yes, they may be able to offer advice…Miss Granger anyway. Will you take my arm?'
Harry had hardly regained his balance after apparating when he bowled into the wall by a lot of brown hair.
'HARRY! Oh, it's so good to see you again; I've missed you so much!'
'Good to see you too, Hermione!' Something about the enthusiasm of her greetings always made Harry feel good, and then Ron was there punching him on the shoulder. He was back with his friends, even if it was in Sirius' house and he had work to do. Harry felt that, with these two at his side, he could achieve anything.
He was led to the kitchen, where Molly said all the usual things about him growing and looking thinner than ever. She sat him down and placed a large plate of stew in front of him, and a loaf of freshly baked bread. His eye glazed, slightly. All was now complete, with Mrs Weasley looking after him. He loved her more than he could ever tell her, and that worried him slightly, but he thought she understood.
The third portion of the deliciously meaty stew had gone, along with half the loaf, and Harry sat back feeling pleasantly full. All he wanted now was his bed. Hermione had other ideas and, with a meaningful look at Ron, she dragged him from the kitchen on the pretence of "showing him to his room". Once inside, the interrogation started.
'So, what happened? Where did Dumbledore take you?'
'To find a new DADA teacher.'
Ron looked slightly disappointed. 'Was that it? We thought it must have something to do with the…'
'So, what's this one like?' butted in Hermione, giving Ron a stare.
Harry shrugged. 'Doesn't seem any better than the others, but it'll only be for a year anyway.'
'Harry! Don't say things like that.'
Harry shrugged, and then gave Hermione a sly grin. 'You'll get on with him anyway; Dumbledore says he likes collecting the clever ones.' Hermione tutted, though she couldn't help but look pleased with the praise. He changed the subject. 'So, what do you know about this other job he's got for me?'
He was met by two blank faces. 'That's why we're here; you're here. Dumbledore wants me to do something for the Order' – Ron whistled – 'and he said I could rope you in. He said you'd be able to help me, especially you, Hermione.'
Hermione shook her head. 'He's not said anything to us, has he Ron?'
'Nope, but a job for the Ordrer, eh? I bet he wants us to keep track of the Death eaters, do a bit of spying, try to…'
'Oh, don't be silly, Ronald.' Hermione sounded like Mrs Weasley. 'He's got people like Moody to do that. Do you honestly think he'd let us do anything dangerous? No, it will probably be research or something.'
'But we always do dangerous things; the philosopher's stone, the Ministry…' Ron trailed off, and got another glare from Hermione.
'We said we weren't going to mention that' she hissed. She turned to Harry, her face contrite. 'I'm sorry. Sirius and the prophecy…how are you coping?'
Harry shrugged. 'I'm coping. What other choice is there. I suppose that, deep down; I always knew what it was likely to say.'
'It's a pity we never got to find out.'
'I did!' Once more he found two blank faces in front of him. 'Dumbledore told me' he explained. 'As it was made to him he was able to tell me about it. Do you want to know?'
'Yeah!' said Ron. 'Blimey!'
'Only if you want to tell us, Harry' said Hermione. 'If you think it wil help?'
'Probably. It said…well, it said there wasn't room for me and Voldemort on the planet. Only one of us can come out of this – what it actually said was "Neither can live whilst the other survives", so it comes down to the same thing.'
'Oh, Harry!' Hermione gave him a hug. 'Are you scared?'
'No, not now. I was at first but, like I said, I've sort of always known. Me or him.'
'We'll help you, mate' Ron said. He sounded nervous, but determined. Hermione nodded in agreement. 'We'll stick with you, no turning back.'
For the second time that night he felt his eyes glaze. They were with him, his friends, and he knew they would always watch out for him, protect his back. With Dumbledore at his side he knew he could fulfil the prophecy. He could defeat Voldemort and live his life, maybe even have a family around him one day.
'Now' said Hermione, in her best "have you started your homework, yet?" voice, 'bed, if we've got work to do tomorrow.'
Harry awoke in Sirius' old room, as the sun reached the window. He lay for a while, looking at the pictures on the wall, and the Gryffindor flag that no magic could remove. He could have lived here, maybe, with his Godfather, if the world had been a different place. If the world had been a different place he would have visited, with his parents.
The world was what it was, and he couldn't change that. The future would be the future that happened, not the one he wanted. Sighing, he pulled back the covers, only remembering as he stood up that this was the day he would find out about his task. He hurriedly dressed and headed for the kitchen.
Although it was early Molly was there, of course, and rushed to make his breakfast. The only other occupant was Dumbledore. He looked very tired, but satisfied with himself.
'Good morning, Harry! I trust you slept well?'
'Very well. What about you?'
Dumbledore nodded. 'I was able to finish my job in time to get a short rest. I need little sleep now that I am older.'
Harry glanced at Molly's back, and lowered his voice. 'So, I can start work then?'
Dumbldore looked at Harry over his glasses. 'After breakfast. I have faced many dangers in my life, but even I would not be rash enough to try to stop Molly Weasley feeding somebody!' He allowed a smile to break though. 'I would appreciate it if that conversation were not repeated in front of her!'
Harry grinned. How he loved this man! Almost as much as he loved Mrs Weasley's cooked breakfasts.
For the second time in less than twelve hours Harry sat back from the table, full to bursting. If love were measured in sausages, Molly would know that Harry loved her more than anyone. It always made her feel good to persuade him to eat just a little more.
He drained his fourth cup of tea, and then looked at Dumbledore. 'I'm ready.'
Dumbledore inclined his head. 'Then we shall make a start. Come with me.'
He took Harry up the stairs, to the entrance level, and led him into a room. The curtains were still drawn and Harry could see little until Dumbledore provided a gentle light. The room was dusty but comfortably furnished. In one of the old armchairs sat a girl.
'Harry, I would like to introduce you to Melatiah.'
Harry looked at the girl, wondering who she was. Was she here to help him as well? Melatiah? An unusual name, to say the least. He didn't know her, but guessed she was roughly the same age as him, perhaps a little younger. It was hard to tell.
She appeared to be quite small and thin. Not thin as in pinched, but …delicately boned. Her face was…average, framed with long brown hair – darker than Hermione's and dead straight. It looked newly washed, but she had done nothing else to it. Her eyes were dark brown, too, and they looked straight at Harry. He could see no emotions on her face. She was neither excited nor nervous at their introduction.
She sat upright, her hands in her lap. She wore a simple dress that looked home made, of a boring grey colour. On her feet she had shoes which could only be described as "sensible". She wore no tights.
Harry wasn't quite sure what to make of her. It was the lack of any movement in her face that worried him the most. She just didn't look…right. He was aware of Dumbledore at his side, and felt that they were in a pregnant pause. He had to do something, so stepped forward, holding out his hand.
'Hello, my name's Harry.'
The girl didn't move, but looked at Dumbledore instead. He smiled at her.
'This is one of the people I was telling you about, Melatiah. He is going to try to help you. He would like to shake hands with you.'
The girl still didn't move, so Dumbledore did. Very slowly and gently he took her hand, placing it in Harry's. 'This is called a "hand shake"; it is the way people greet each other. Do you understand?' The girl nodded slightly.
'You can let go now, Harry, and I shall tell you her story. Let us make ourselves comfortable.'
They sat, Dumbledore taking off his glasses to clean them and to give himself time to think.
'I first met Melitiah – that is not her real name as I shall explain later – about a week ago when I was contacted by an old witch I did not know. She has never been a part of our society, preferring to live her life way from others.
She found Melitiah, shortly before your parents were killed, in a house that had been attacked by Death Eaters. It was a Muggle house, and my researches have shown there was no reason why they should have been attacked – but so many were. I have no reason to believe this girl has any magical powers.
The witch was about to leave when she noticed a movement under a coat that had been thrown on the floor. Under it she found the girl. She did not know what to do. As I said, she was not part of society and did not want to make herself known to the authorities. Perhaps she realised how lonely her life was because she took the child home with her, raising her as a daughter. It was she who gave her the name Melitiah – which means "saved".
Melitiah has never spoken a word in her life. She can both hear and understand us, but will not speak. It is possible that her silence is as a result of the things she saw that night.
The old witch came to me for two reasons. Firstly, she is getting very frail, and is worried what will happen to the child if she is left on her own. Secondly, just recently, Melitiah has been calling out in her sleep. It is nothing specific, and she says no recognisable words, but awakes distressed.'
All the time Dumbledore had been speaking, Melitiah had sat as before, her hands on her lap. She had reacted to nothing he had said.
'This is the job I have for you, Harry. I would like you to befriend her. I want to know what – and who – she saw that night, and why she has started to have disturbed sleep. I think she may be important to us.'
'But, Professor, can't you do something like… Legilimency or a Pensive? Or something?'
'I have tried, Harry, but a Legilimens – even the best of us – can only gain access to thoughts that are in a subject's mind. Melitiah has locked hers so deeply away she does not even realise they are there.'
'And you think I can help?'
'Indeed. You have a similar background, so can empathise with her situation. Teach her that which she has missed these past years; friendship, laughter. It is my hope that, as she becomes part of a group and opens her mind to new experiences, she will allow us to access her past.'
'You think she's import to us?'
'I do Harry. Perhaps even as important as you.'
Harry looked back to the girl, still sitting quietly as if she had heard the conversation but not realised she was the subject. He wasn't quite sure what to do next. He had very little practise at making friends, especially if they were girls. He'd spoken to Ron, though, almost as soon as they met, and become his friend.
'Does she want some breakfast?' He mimed eating as he said it.
'Harry, she can both hear and understand you. She is not unintelligent.'
Harry blushed. 'I'm sorry.' He turned to her. 'Would you like some breakfast?'
He expected her to either nod or shake her head. Instead, she stood up. He took that to be a "Yes".