Harry Potter-Dark Wizard?
Author: Lee Velviet
Disclaimer: You know who this stuff belongs to-J.K. Rowling, Warner
Bros., etc-I own absolutely nothing! ::Sob::
Summary: This was supposed to be my great epic-my sweeping HP saga-
right. I couldn't even think of a good title. ::Sighs in disgust:: Anyway,
Harry gets lost the summer after his sixth year while on a kind of quest
with Sirius Black-he returns to Hogwarts older, darker, wiser, and more
powerful, after acquiring a piece of his destiny, the ancient, omnipotent
powers of the Order Of The Phoenix. But it comes with a price-though he may
be able to at last defeat Voldemort for good, it seems all too possible he
may be setting himself up to be the greatest dark wizard ever.
(Ok, Lameness abounds-read on, true believers, and let me know what you
think! Reviews would rock, flames are welcome, but constructive criticism
would be better! As always, please let me know if I get facts wrong! Thanks
Ginny was up on the highest tower battlements of the castle, which
now served as the Astronomy observation area for Hogwarts School Of
Witchcraft And Wizardry. She was leaning on one of the pitted, ancient
stone crenellations, watching the stars flash at her brilliantly from the
midnight blue sky above the dark silhouette of the Forbidden forest, a cool
March wind combing through her hair and chilling her skin.
She hadn't been able to sleep that night-she'd been positively
humming with nerves. After tossing and turning for two hours, Ginny had
risen quietly from her bed, and dressed, pulling on her robes and shoes,
and made her way to the common room. She'd found it near impossible to sit-
so she'd risked detention and slipped out of the tower, into the corridors.
Luckily Filch had been busy chasing and ranting about Peeves-he'd
been easy enough to dodge.
She looked out over the blackness of the forest again, a deep sense
of foreboding resting like a dark thundercloud over her head and shoulders.
Something just wasn't right.
Ginny knew she should go back inside, crawl into bed, and try to
Everything looked perfectly normal-but there was an insidious
darkness creeping over everything-it made her shiver. Ginny wanted to run
to the Headmaster-but what could she say?
"I'm sorry to wake you in the middle of the night, Professor
Dumbledore, but I'm afraid of the dark."
Ginny shook her head and sighed. She couldn't run to him about every
niggling feeling she got-he had You-Know-who to worry about these days. The
Dark Lord had been on the rise again-she'd been present one night at the
beginning of the year, at a small victory feast at Hagrid's hut in honor of
Harry becoming the Captain of the Gryffindor House Quidditch Team.
Harry had been grinning over something Ron had just said, and he'd
looked over across the room at her-and then his smile had faltered, and his
hand had gone immediately up over his scar. Ron had pushed his friend into
a chair, when Harry's eyes had squinted behind his glasses in pain.
Ginny had known the Dark Lord was near.
Since then, tension had been running high through out the school-most
of their classes had been obscured by one, the most important of all-
Defense Against The Dark Arts. Snape had taken over teaching the class that
year, but seemed just as sour as ever.
The time students spent in this class was doubled, the tests harder, the
spells and charms growing ever more dangerous as the term went on. Ginny
had realized one day, while sitting in the back of the class, watching the
professor castigate a trembling Neville, that Snape wasn't just going
through the motions; he wasn't trying to pick on them this year-he was
trying to show them how to survive.
Ginny rubbed her eyes and tried to quell the feeling of dread that
had curled up inside her chest. For a moment she had the feeling that she
had to stay there, that she was looking out for the entire school, and she
had to remain there or something bad would happen-for a moment it felt as
if she had the weight, the responsibility of protecting one of the most
precious things in the world resting on her shoulders-and then it was gone.
Taking a deep breath, she began pacing the battlements-she would wait
a few more minutes, and then go back to the dorm-she stopped and frowned.
Ginny crossed her arms-they had begun to shake. Her mind began to
whirl-what was she waiting for?
Harry was having a horrible dream-he couldn't remember what was
happening from one moment to the next-everything was a dizzying, multi-
colored mass, but it was shadowed by such a sense of evil, of sharp,
persistent fear, that-Voldemort's face, his smooth white skin, slitted
nostrils and violet eyes loomed up before him, and Harry felt an anger, and
a fear so strong it almost overcame him-his scar was screaming in pain, and
he reached up to touch it-
Harry opened his eyes. The only sound in the silent room was his
short, ragged gasps. He rolled over onto his back-and looked into the eyes
of a grave Albus Dumbledore.
Harry closed his eyes again briefly, and swallowed against the lump in his
throat. His heart turned into a heavy, frigid chunk of ice in his chest. It
Ginny was slumping against the wall of the tower tiredly-she was
getting cold, and sleepy-when a dim, moving light from the grounds below
caught her eye-her heart jumped into her throat.
Ginny rushed to the crenellations and looked over, her long red curls
falling around her face as she scanned the area below.
All at once, what was happening hit her with the force of a bolt of
lightning-hot tears scalded her cold cheeks, and she had to put a trembling
hand over her mouth to keep from crying out.
Harry. Harry was walking below her, in the company of Albus
Dumbledore, and Severus Snape, and the light she had seen was from
Dumbledore's wand as he lit the way along the grassy slopes-to the mist
shrouded edge of the Forbidden Forest.
The small group looked to be in a hurry-that was the only thing that
kept it from looking like an executor's procession, with Snape in his long,
black hooded robes, and Harry, his head drooping tiredly toward his chest,
following along behind. She noticed oddly enough, that he was wearing his
scarlet Quidditch robes-they'd probably been the first thing he'd grabbed
from his trunk.
Ginny felt the windblast against her suddenly, and her heart began to
thud painfully in her chest again, only at thrice the normal speed. She
spun around in a rush of threadbare black robes and glossy red curls and
ran through the tower room, and then down the tower steps, racing headlong
down flight after flight of stairs, hardly knowing where she was going.
She burst through the unusually silent portrait of the Fat Lady and
took the stairs two at a time up to the seventh year boys dorm. She tip
toed in, and put her cold hand over her brother's mouth-Ron's brown eyes
opened wide, and he jerked, until he noticed it was she. She took her hand
away and threw him his robes. She motioned at the door and then rushed of
to wake Hermione-she didn't know why, but something was telling her Harry
would need his closest friends-she just hoped they weren't too late.
King's Cross-First Term-Seventh Year
Harry paused at the entrance to the platform nine and three quarters,
nostalgia from the past years hitting him suddenly. He'd gotten to the
station early to ensure he wouldn't run into anyone he knew- he just wasn't
ready to listen to the questions about where he'd been all during the
summer term, or why hadn't he called his friends to let them know he was
all right. Chaos would be ensuing in the next few hours, and he'd need this
time to get himself straight- God knew the summer term had been a complete
He took a brief look around, to see if any of the people in the
station were looking, and he slipped through the wall into a brief
darkness, before the world lighted itself again and he was standing on the
platform looking at the Hogwart's Express once again. Steam poured from
the engine across the platform as he watched- any other time it would have
been a welcome sight- Hogwart's School had been his home since he'd turned
eleven, and the Dursley's on Privet Drive- well, that had been something
Harry narrowed his eyes as he caught sight of a tall, pale, blond
haired boy standing among the crowd of Hogwart's students, and he moved
forward, freeing Hedwig from her cage to settle on his shoulder-she wasn't
often in it anymore, but to keep the muggles off his back while he
Several first years were crowded around Draco Malfoy, and as Harry
approached, he couldn't help but roll his eyes as he heard his enemy
bragging about what he'd done over the summer, brandishing an assortment of
rare magical objects.
He looked up, ice blue eyes meeting Harry's as he passed, an ever-
present smirk playing about his lips. Harry could just see the gears in his
mind working overtime- Crabbe and Goyle hovered nearby, their heavy brows
lowered in menacing frowns as they watched Harry walk by. They had grown
even larger over the summer, if that was possible.
Harry arched a brow behind his glasses; his green eyes meeting theirs
steadily in turn. He was surprised when they let him pass without comment-
Malfoy usually had one nasty remark or another to make whenever he saw him.
As always, the first years that managed to make out his scar behind
the shaggy black bangs were gathering and whispering excitedly as he walked
by. Why shouldn't they be, he thought grimly, I'm " the 'boy' that lived".
Dropping off his trunk, he made his way onto the train, finding an
empty compartment at the back and settling in a corner. He took off his
glasses-they were just for show now, anyway, weren't they? –And rubbed a
hand across his eyes. He was tired, but there'd be no rest until late that
evening. Ron and Ginny and Hermione were going to show at any moment and
the hurtful stares and angry accusations would no doubt begin.
He opened the window, settling back against the cushions and closing
his eyes, grateful for the cool breeze that appeared, brushing against his
face. And then it happened, Ginny's sweet, delicate face appearing in the
darkness, her hazel eyes tearful as they made their goodbye's at the rainy
train station platform. The memory always managed to pop up just as he
closed his eyes, nagging at him, reminding him of all he'd lost…and what he
had yet to lose…
Hedwig, sensing his troubled thoughts, hooted softly from her perch
on his shoulder, nipping his ear gently.
Harry smiled slightly, opening his eyes to look at her snowy
feathers, raising a hand to smooth down her back.
She blinked at him, and then hooted again, hopping from his shoulder
to look out the window.
"You can go," he said softly, opening the window wider. "I don't like
being cooped up in here any more than you do- go on. I'll see you at
Hedwig looked grateful, and she fluttered off, circling overhead
before moving off, out of sight.
At that moment he heard a familiar voice shout something
unintelligible and then footsteps pounding down the car toward him. Harry
sighed and pushed his glasses back on, absently rubbing the scar on his
He tried to smile at his best friend. "Hey, Ron."
Ron Weasley's fair skin looked flushed, his eyes twinkling with
excitement. "I could almost hug you, you know. But I won't."
Harry watched him, amused. "Thanks for the reassurance."
"Look at you, now!" Ron threw himself into the seat across from
Harry, sounding breathless. "Sitting there, cool as a cucumber when we've
all been racing around like mad trying to find out if you were ali- I mean,
all right." He ran a hand through his mussed red hair, scratching his head
Harry could see the telltale shadows under his friends' eyes, and
felt regret that he'd caused it.
"I'm sorry. I…got lost."
Ron stared at him, his hand falling into his lap. "I'm sorry, did you
just say you got 'lost'?"
Before Harry could answer, a female screech sounded, and he found
himself being attacked by a bushy haired teen in flowing black robes.
"Hermione, he's got to breathe someday," Ron finally announced dryly
a few moments later, pulling her arms from around Harry's neck.
Hermione Granger settled herself in the seat next to Ron, pulling her
brown hair from her eyes, practically bouncing in her seat. "God, Harry, we
thought you were-"
"Hermione-" Ron said warningly.
Ron rolled his eyes, crossing his arms. "You're a complete stranger
to tact, aren't you, woman?"
Hermione cut her eyes at him, kicking his leg.
Harry found himself grinning at them, and he almost felt like his old
self again. Except he'd never be his old self again…
"Where have you been?" Hermione demanded her chin thrust out. "I
swear, Ron's Mum almost had an apoplexy- and Ginny, she-" She cut herself
off, looking surreptuously under her lashes at Ron.
Guilt beat away Harry's sudden good mood. It was hard for him not to
feel disappointed. He took a deep breath, itching to remove his glasses
again. "I got lost."
Hermione pursed her full pink lips, her small hands fisting in her
robes. "That's not funny."
Harry met her gaze unwaveringly. "It wasn't meant to be."
Harry met her gaze unwaveringly. "It wasn't meant to be."
The look he gave her was devoid of any humor, and Hermione's eyes
Harry looked different- she noticed the boyish curves of his chin and
cheeks had hardened, and he'd gotten taller as well, his lanky frame
filling out subtly, at the chest and shoulders. He'd grown into his cast-
off hand me-downs a bit, and though they were still far too large, he
didn't look anywhere near as lost in the folds of cloth as he'd used to.
But what bothered her was the menacing undertone in his deepening voice,
the hard set to his jaw and the cold iciness of his green eyes- they looked
like a pair of reptilian snake eyes. She fought a shiver, blinking as she
finally broke eye contact with him. Something dreadful had happened to him,
she knew it.
Hermione looked at Ron to see if he'd gotten the feeling that
something was wrong, and he looked back at her, shrugging. His stomach
growled loudly and Harry laughed, breaking the tension, and Ron grinned,
rubbing his abdomen. Hermione snorted, and rolled her sherry colored brown
eyes, sitting back against the seat cushions. Ron's hand crept closer to
hers and she took it fondly, melting inside just a little when he winked at
her and rubbed his thumb along her palm.
"Some thing's never change," she drawled dryly, eased, but her mind
was still very troubled. She was going to get to the bottom of Harry's
disappearance, see if she didn't.
"Did you have to clean out the candy cart, again Harry?" Hermione
asked some time later, amusement in her voice as she watched Ron wolf down
yet another chocolate frog. "You'd think you'd have outgrown those by now."
Ron looked at her in horror, a smudge of melted chocolate on his
chin. "Are you insane woman? How could you outgrow any of this?" He
motioned to the mass of foil and packages lying on the cushions, and in his
lap. "Hey, my Dad still eats Bertie Bott's Every Flavor Beans."
Hermione made a face and eyed a box of Fizzing Whizbees. "At least
it's not Fred and George's Canary Crème's. I still caught poor Neville
chirping in his sleep when he nodded off in Potions last year."
"Hey, they said they got all the bugs out, finally," he said
defensively. "They're starting production in three months," Ron crowed
proudly, the dimple in his cheek showing as he grinned widely. "'Course Mum
and Dad said they didn't send 'em to school all them years for them to open
a Joke Shop and Novelty company." He shrugged. "You can tell they aren't
disappointed in the least, though. "
Harry seemed impressed. " They're really doing well for themselves."
He gathered up his trash and dropped it into the bin under the seat. "I'm
going to miss them during all those Quidditch games this season."
"Guess we better change into our robes, eh Ron?"
They both looked at Hermione, who was already fully dressed. Ron
looked back at Harry, as if to say, big surprise.
"What?" Hermione gave them a wide white smile. "Don't let me keep
Harry and Ron looked at each other. Finally Ron shrugged again, and
grabbed a squealing Hermione up in arms, kissing her soundly on the lips
before leaving her outside the compartment doors, looking dazed.
"She's wicked, that one," Ron said impishly, throwing a thumb over
his shoulder at the door. "What can I say? She loves me."
Harry pulled his robes from his bag and shook his head. "And to think
you once said she couldn't keep her priorities straight."
Ron chuckled and then was interrupted by a knock on the door. "Yeah,
what is it?"
Hermione's voice sounded on the other side. "Did you know you have
chocolate on your chin?"
He frowned, rubbing it. He looked at his fingers. "No I don't."
"That's because it rubbed off on me!" There was the noise of the
doorframe being kicked and then grumbling as she moved off down the
Harry laughed, watching Ron's face turn red as the students from at
least two or three of the other compartments made kissing noises, ohhed,
and ahhed, shouting rude comments for several minutes.
After they dressed, Harry watched as Ron went off to talk to his
girlfriend, and he settled back in his seat, closing his eyes as he felt
the approach to Hogwarts. A piece of him always stayed behind when he left,
and when he returned in the fall, it always came back- he couldn't explain
it, he just knew it was gone. But he'd left another part of him there as
well last year, and he couldn't help wondering if he'd ever get that part
back. It was his heart- and it was still in his little Ginny's hands.
"What? How can you not be upset with him? Not even just a little
upset? He practically dumped Ginny! He didn't tell us if he was okay-or
even if he was alive!"
Ron clamped a hand over Hermione's mouth as her voice rose. "You
think you can say it a little louder, Herm? I don't think the people in
China heard you!" He hissed, his red brows drawn together.
Hermione pulled his hand from her lips, glaring at him.
Ron sighed and scooted closer to her, taking both of her hands in
his. "Of course I'm upset. But God only knows what he went through this
summer, Herm. I don't want to scare up old memories, you know. He'll talk
when he's ready."
She slitted her eyes and he groaned, throwing his head back against
his seat. "Don't look at me like that!"
"What about Ginny? He made her absolutely miserable! Do you have any
idea-" she cut herself off, looking at him intently. She studied him and
then made a gasping sound, pulling her hands from his as she stood to pace
the small compartment. "You don't want them to be together, do you?"
He blushed guiltily, all the while denying it.
"It's true, isn't it?"
"Oh all right! It's just too weird, ok?" He looked at her miserably.
"She's my little baby sister for God's sake!"
Hermione shook her head. "She loves him, Ron." She said softly.
"Yeah, well…she's too young to be loving anybody. It's just a crush.
She's a kid. Practically a baby."
"Harry needs her, Ron." Her brown eyes searched his. "And you know
she'll never be happy without him."
He looked away from her after a long moment, and then sighed. "Yeah,
he does." His face brightened suddenly. "Hey, if they ever get hitched I
could really call Harry my brother!"
Hermione reached out and hugged him tightly. "Let's just settle for
getting them back together again for now."
Harry had dozed off, and was dreaming, not really conscious of
anything that was happening, only knowing that he was dreaming of something
bad, evil- "Voldemort," he heard himself whisper, waking slowly as he felt
the train slow, the scar on his forehead burning like mad. His breathing
was fast and uneven, and he frowned trying to remember his dream-it was
important he remember-his eyes snapped open as something touched his cheek.
He had his wand drawn and ready, a fierce, angry scowl on his face,
as he leapt up into a defensive stance- and then he realized that it was
She looked startled, her soft brown eyes wide and petrified as she
clutched her chest through her black school robes.
Harry blinked, barely recognizing her through the red haze that had
sprung up over his eyes. His arm dropped, and he looked at her in relief,
his breathing ragged, chest heaving.
Ginny stared at him. "My God, you almost scared me to death!"
He looked up at the ceiling, dropping his head back on his shoulders.
"I-I'm sorry," he breathed huskily. "I… I was having a bad dream I think. I
didn't mean to frighten you."
"Oh, God, Harry, thank goodness you're back!"
Harry found himself knocked back into his seat by the force of her
embrace, and she climbed right onto his lap, arms locking around his neck.
"You had us so worried- I thought I'd never see you again, that you-know-
Half asleep still, and unable to follow her flood of words, he slid
his hands around her shoulders and pulled her up to face him. "I missed
you, too." He kissed her softly, first on the cheek and then on her soft
pink lips, causing her to go abruptly silent.
After a long moment she pulled back, holding his face between her
palms. Her eyes studied him, her thumbs brushing along his jaw. She looked
shy suddenly. "You- look different." She tilted her head, touching the
lightning shaped scar on his forehead beneath the brush of untidy bangs.
Harry traced her features, noting the sadness in hers. His voice was
soft as he murmured, "I can't stay "the 'boy' that lived" for forever,
He felt her heart banging hard against his chest, even through the
thick layers of fabric that separated them.
"Where were you, Harry?" She asked softly.
Ginny tried to stave off light-headed giddiness she felt at finally
being with Harry- her heart felt so full it might burst.
She felt her grin fade though, when she took a real look at him- he
had changed, just like Hermione had warned. It was unsettling, the
difference in the shy, blushing boy with the twinkling green eyes she'd
kissed and left so reluctantly at King's Cross four months ago, and the
taller, more mature looking young man setting before her, his eyes so cold,
so icy a green that they had chilled her to the bone when he'd first looked
her so threateningly. Now…he looked so very haunted. He looked so tired and
alone. She wanted to hold him, reassure him, and protect him from
everything. And everyone.
Now, as she asked him where he'd been all those months, his face had become
shuttered. After a moment he raised his hand and pulled his glasses off,
rubbing his red eyes. Ginny waited patiently, concerned, and just when he
looked back at her, his eyes strangely focused without his glasses, a loud
knock sounded, and Draco Malfoy threw open the door, looking irritated.
"C'mon. The bloody gamekeeper told me to tell you the train has stopped.
Everyone's got off by now, Potter-don't want to be late to the sorting
ceremony, eh?" His sharp eyes took in Ginny who still sat on Harry's lap,
and he grinned, showing sharp white teeth. "Hey, I always knew you had a
limited following, but couldn't you do better than a Weasley, Potter."
Harry ground his teeth at the rude intrusion, his hard, cold eyes promising
payback as he glared back at Malfoy. "Get lost, Malfoy, or you know what'll
happen." He whispered this warningly. And not even Crabbe and Goyle will be
able to help you…
Draco's face paled slightly, almost as if he'd heard the thought, and
with a narrow eyed look of dislike he disappeared from the doorway.
Ginny sighed and got off Harry's lap, running a hand through the hair on
the side of his head above his ear, in a failed attempt to neaten it before
moving away to the door.
"Come on, Harry. We'll ride up to the castle together." She held out her
hand and smiled when he stood and took it. She squeezed it comfortingly as
they made their way off the train, finding Ron and Hermione waiting in a
carriage, having saved some space for the two of them.
Harry waved across to Hagrid, who herding the first years along. Hagrid
gave him a huge grin and waved back.
Ron's face looked a bit thunderous when they entered and sat down, the
carriage making it's way up to the school.
"What took you so bloody long?" He demanded, looking at them suspiciously.
"We've been waiting for like, ten minutes!"
Ginny looked at him impatiently. "Not any of your business, Ron."
Ron's face looked ready to explode. "Not any- Ginny, your-"
"Leave it, Ron." Harry said almost boredly, looking out the window as they
made their way.
Something in Harry's voice made him shut his mouth reluctantly, and he
huffed, settling back onto the cushions.
Something in Harry's heart lifted a bit when he stepped down from the
carriage, looking around the entrance to the school. Torches burned on the
walls, turning everything golden, but still not quite banishing the
darkness. Harry found that it suited him just then, for he was feeling just
that- not good, but not quite dark either.
He turned to help Ginny and Hermione down, pretending not to see the dark
scowl on Ron's face as he jumped down next to them.
They joined the flow of black robed students entering the entrance
hall, and Harry tried to memorize everything he saw and felt as he passed
through into the Great Hall.
The warm, cavernous ambience of the Hall with it's enchanted
cathedral ceiling-it was showing the cloudless, starry night from outside-
and it's hundreds of floating, lit candles, and the misty forms of the
House Ghosts, it never ceased to awe Harry. The sad reminder that this was
his last year at Hogwarts lingered there at the back of his mind,
They took their seats at the Gryffindor table, and Ginny sat next to
him, Ron and Hermione across.
Harry watched McGonagall sort the first years, applauding with
everyone else when a new student was sorted into Gryffindor house, but his
eyes were on Dumbledore or Snape most of the time, and he was thinking
troubled thoughts. Had Sirius been right? Snape looked as unfriendly and
unapproachable as ever. He was supposed to have a huge hand in all of this-
His eyes looked to Dumbledore as he stood-the Sorting was over. Harry
watched McGonagall walk past with the stool and the Sorting Hat with a kind
of dark amusement. Well, at last, he now understood why the Hat
had wanted to put him in Slytherin his first year. The Hat seemed to know
this, and it actually looked at him-He could have sworn it'd just winked at
him. Harry watched Professor McGonagall disappear with the Hat and stool,
and then looked back up to Dumbledore.
The old wizard was smiling at him, his faded blue eyes twinkling; to
Harry, and he looked like he'd aged fifty years since the summer began.
Harry's smile was pitiful in return.
He made the usual announcements, and then his face turned serious. "I
guess all of you know by now, that Voldemort has been on the rise again."
His eyes swept over the paling faces of the students "Just know, that
Hogwarts has been fully secured against any evil intruders-and Hogsmeade as
well. You are safer here inside these walls, than anywhere that's why
you're parents sent you. So, do not be afraid, work hard, and to quote an
old friend of mine, 'practice constant vigilance'! I am available, as are
the rest of the teachers, to talk to, if any of you ever have the need."
Dumbledore looked at Harry, smiled again, and the mood was lightened. "Now,
I believe we have a magnificent Feast to attend to-enjoy!" He clapped his
hands, and the tables were instantly filled with loads of food.
Harry nodded slightly at Dumbledore, and then felt a smile break out
onto his lips as he heard the first years exclaim over the feast. He almost
wished it were his first year again-he'd been blissfully ignorant then, for
a time at least. Now the weight of the world was on his shoulders-
Harry looked across at Ron. "Sorry?"
Ron rolled his eyes, his freckled cheeks already full. "I asked why
you weren't eating." He chewed and swallowed, and then shook his head.
"You're just not all here, are you?"
"Leave him alone, Ron." Ginny said quietly, at his side.
Harry made himself reach for the serving dishes. "Er, sorry about
that. I was just thinking about Potions class-Snape looks like he swallowed
a gallon of lemon juice."
"When doesn't he?" Ron asked dryly, spearing a baked potato.
Dinner was a subdued affair-Ron was watching Harry closely; Ginny was
feeling bad that Harry wouldn't talk to her; Hermione was quiet because
Harry was quiet. Harry was sorry, but he didn't have much that he could
talk about other than Quidditch and classes, and he hadn't been…available
to read the newspapers.
He wanted to tell his friends everything that had happened over the
summer break, everything he'd gone through, everything he'd faced and felt
and seen-but he couldn't-not yet anyway. It weighed heavily on him, keeping
secrets from his best friends who'd seen him through so much. He poked at
his dinner disinterestedly.
When it came time for them to go up to bed, Hermione, being a
Prefect, and Head Girl, gathered the first year Gryffindor's up and led
them from the hall. Harry, Ginny and Ron followed behind with the others.
Ginny squeezed his hand when they reached the common room, and Harry
had no time to squeeze back as she smiled and walked away with a hasty,
softly murmured goodnight. He watched her climb the stairs, and then
disappear into the Girls dorms.
Ron didn't seem in any big hurry to go to bed-he fell into an
overstuffed chair by the chess set-the red and white pieces waved up at him
in greeting. He grinned and looked over at Harry. "Fancy a game, Harry?"
Harry was feeling desperately tired, and knew he was expected in
Dumbledore's office soon-but there was no way he could disappoint his
friend. "Sure, why not?"
Harry loosened the tie at his throat, and tugged off his black robes,
throwing them over a chair. He took the seat across from Ron and took a
deep breath, willing himself to wake up.
Ron was grinning at him madly.
Harry couldn't help but laugh.
Twenty minutes later, Harry's king got decapitated by Ron's seemingly
bloodthirsty Queen-she was waving a scepter around threateningly, making
all the pieces left cower.
Harry grinned and shook his head as he pushed back from the
chessboard. "I don't know why I bother-you always win."
Ron looked at him proudly. "Yeah-it's the one thing I'm good at."
"One thing? What are you talking about? Hermione doesn't seem to be
Ron flushed red to the tips of his ears and Harry laughed out loud.
They made their way up to the Dorm's and before they entered, Ron
surprised Harry by turning and saying, "I'm glad you're all right. I was
worried about you."
Harry nodded. "Thanks…I know." He smiled and Ron turned the doorknob,
and they both walked into the seventh year boy's dorm.
Harry only had to wait a few minutes until Ron was asleep, and he
grabbed his Invisibility cloak from his trunk, and crept out of the tower
Albus Dumbledore was staring into his Pensieve when Harry arrived.
"Hello, Professor." Harry said quietly.
Albus looked up. "Ah, hello, Harry. It's good to see you."
Harry looked over to Fawkes cage-it was empty. "Is-er, is Fawkes
'Oh, yes, of course, Fawkes." The wizard's eyes twinkled. "He likes
to travel a bit sometimes. He's in Egypt, now, I believe."
Harry stared at him and then sat in the chair before his desk. The
cheerily untidy room smelled soothingly of lemon drops and peppermints. He
relaxed for the first time since he'd gotten off the train.
Albus put his Pensieve aside and leaned forward on his desk, clasping
his gnarled hands. His blue eyes studied Harry over his half-glasses.
The nervous, skinny boy he remembered from six years ago was gone-the
young man who sat before him was burdened, heavily so, hardened by life and
experience-he was wise to the evils of the world, and Albus was sorry to
see it. The dark circles under Harry's eyes told of countless sleepless
nights, while the green eyes themselves held innumerable dark secrets, and
a certain negligent confidence Albus knew stemmed from the new power
residing inside-a power that came only from one source-Dark Magic.
Harry tried not to squirm uncomfortably in front of the headmaster-he
had nothing to feel guilty about-s why was he?
"Well-you know what is happening," the professor finally commented.
"Yes, Professor." Harry felt his scar twitch sharply, and blinked,
trying to ignore it.
"And you understand what will happen? What your part in all of this
"Yes…Professor," Harry gasped out, eyes watering as the burning pain
in his scar intensified. He blinked, feeling tears roll down his cheeks,
despite his best efforts. Harry gave up and pulled off the annoying
glasses, ducking his head and grinding his palm against the pain in his
Harry nodded, saying nothing.
Albus sighed. "He won't try anything just now-it will be several
months, I believe, before he reaches his full power again. He's learned by
now not to bother trying to raise to power while he's weak. We have…time to
prepare." He sighed heavily.
Harry looked up at Dumbledore with sharp green eyes. "I have learned
everything I could- what else can I do?"
Albus smiled sadly. "We have to prepare ourselves for the worst,
Harry. For every possible eventuality."
Harry fell back against his chair, a grim look on his face. "Namely,
Dumbledore nodded. "I am unafraid-I am old, I have seen everything
there is to see, Harry, and like Fawkes I am ready to move on, to be re-
born." He looked at Harry.
"You must prepare yourself."
"You make it sound like I'm going to die." Harry laughed a little
nervously, thinking of Professor Trelawney, and her dire predictions of
"Voldemort must not be allowed to rise to power, Harry. Or the number
of humans, wizards and muggles alike, who are likely to die, will be great;
so very, very great. We must do everything and anything to stop him, once
and for all."
Harry had rarely seen Dumbledore so serious. He nodded. "I
understand, Professor." A thin finger of ice was growing along his spine.
The headmaster nodded. "All right then. You may go."
Harry stood gratefully, eager to try and sleep, to get away from the
torrent of thoughts and emotions assailing him.
He turned back. Dumbledore held out a small package. He smiled
gently. "This will help you to sleep."
Harry accepted the package, and seeing that it was a chocolate frog,
he felt himself grin. "Thank you, Sir."
Albus watched Harry leave with troubled eyes. He wished he could
shield the young man from the evils of the world-so much, that boy had on
his shoulders, so much. He sighed and looked back into his Pensieve,
smiling when he saw memories of a happier, more carefree time.
Harry nibbled the chocolate frog as he made his way to the tower.
There was no way to prepare oneself for death, he thought, and he'd faced
it so many times already.
He crawled through the portrait of the Fat Lady, who was looking about
confusedly for whoever had said the password.
Harry crawled into his bed minutes later, thinking longingly of
Ginny's loving, warm embrace, as he often had over the nightmarish summer,
and thankfully, felt himself drift off to a peaceful sleep.
Malfoy was furious enough to use a killing curse, Harry thought idly,
looking at the seething boy in front of him. He shook his head. It was the
perfect end to a less than perfect week. It had been two months since his
arrival at school and nothing but trouble had plagued him since.
Minutes earlier, Harry had come out of Potions, and seen Ginny
passing. He'd stopped to talk to her, and Malfoy, who'd been right behind
him, had bumped right into his back. Insults were thrown, fists were
clenched, and through it all Harry had remained coldly unmoved. It had only
served to anger Malfoy more. He'd started in on Ginny, and Ron had stepped
forward furiously-but not before Harry had belted Malfoy in the jaw, and
then in the nose. The silver haired Slytherin had turned on Harry with a
vengeance, making everyone gasp and back away as his wand fairly crackled
with Dark Magic.
Harry wondered curiously where Snape was.
He watched impassively as the bloodied Malfoy raised his wand and
yelled angrily- "Incendio!"
Everyone around them gasped, and Ron was shouting, "No!"
Scarlet flames rose high around Harry, engulfing him and obscuring
him from sight.
The flames roared and shifted and everyone crowded around looked at
Malfoy with utter shock on their faces; even Malfoy looked surprised at the
ferocity of his attack.
Ginny was clutching Hermione- she knew if she loosened her hold she'd
hit the floor. "Harry!" The heat against her skin was intense- like
standing before a blast furnace. There was no way Harry could live through
Everyone started shouting and moving back as the scarlet flames
suddenly started to funnel, rushing upwards to the high cathedral ceilings.
A shrieking wind rose, blowing the flames away, green smoke rising and
making the air murky and impossible to see through.
"Malfoy!" Ron was coughing, choking on the noxious green fumes.
"Knock it off!"
"I'm not doing this!" Malfoy's voice sounded strangled.
There was a sudden, cleansing gust of breeze as Hermione shouted,
As the air cleared, there was a loud gasp, and an overall sound of
exclamation and awe as the last bit of green smoke evaporated.
Harry stood in the exact same spot, looking as if the flames hadn't
even touched him. Ginny had to sit on the floor, her legs having become
As Malfoy squinted, his eyes streaming from the smoke, he looked at
Harry smirked, crossing his arms. "You done blowing smoke yet,
Draco blinked, a queer tingle running down his spine as he saw the
frosty green gaze of Harry Potter leveled on him. It was impossible-true,
he'd had no intention of using such a deadly curse on Potter, but it should
have leveled him…"You should be a pile of ashes," he couldn't help
breathing, his eyes disbelieving. There'd been no time for Potter to mutter
a counter spell; it was impossible-"You should be…"
"Dead?" Harry took several lazy steps forward, until he stood almost
nose-to-nose with him. "Pity, isn't it? It'd probably have been better for
several of us all around if I were." He leaned close to Draco's ear. His
voice was low and flat as he said, " Do us both a favor? Try harder."
Draco felt his blood run cold, and he stared at him, taking a
stumbling step back. "You're mad. You're bloody mad!"
Harry felt disappointed as he watched Draco Malfoy rush off, Crabbe
and Goyle hard on his heels. He'd thought Malfoy would have had more steel
in his spine. That load about death had done the trick-he doubted Malfoy
would ever come near him again. He'd seen the fear in his eyes.
Ron, Hermione and Ginny rushed forward as the dumb struck crowd of
students murmured excitedly, beginning to at last melt away.
"That was bloody brilliant!" Ron exclaimed, his brown eyes wide.
"How'd you do it?"
"I thought you were gone." Ginny whispered, eyeing him warily.
Harry sighed inwardly. Of course he'd scared poor Ginny senseless. He
pushed his glasses up on his nose and tried to smile at her gently. "I'm
sorry." He touched a finger to her chin and said, "Forgive me?"
She blushed and Harry saw Ron frown out of the corner of his eye. He
dropped his hand and turned away, rolling up his robe sleeves as he walked.
"Where are you going?" Hermione asked as they walked with him.
"Quidditch practice," Harry said with a sigh in his voice. "First
game is next Saturday. I'm the Team Captain this year, remember?"
"We'll come with," Hermione said, linking her arm through his.
"Yeah, like there hasn't been enough excitement already today," Ron
was muttering to Ginny behind them.
Later, long after practice and everyone had gone in to dinner, Harry
stayed out on the Quidditch Pitch, flying high in the air above the field.
Flying was the one thing that gave him any kind of thrill any more, and
though he knew he had homework waiting, he stayed out among the cool
evening breezes, savoring his privacy. It was a rare thing, that.
His eyes kept straying to the dark outline of the forbidden forest
against the purple twilight sky. Voldemort was there again, he knew. His
scar had been throbbing meanly for days. He was tired of the chase- he had
stopped fearing the crusty old bastard months ago. It seemed death was just
inevitable-he'd given up fearing that too. How could he have a life with it
following him about like a mangy stray dog?
"C'mon Voldemort, what are you waiting for?" He found himself
whispering to the fog rolling in around the forest floor. "You know, don't
you? You know what happened to me." A chilling smile curved one side of his
lips. "You know, and it frightens you."
As if in answer, a werewolf began its mournful howl deep in the
Harry blinked, and regretfully flew back up to the old castle,
landing effortlessly in a courtyard and taking a deep breath as he brought
the broom up on his shoulder, entered the Great Hall.
A few students straggled about at the long tables here and there, and
Harry took a seat near to Ron and Hermione, who were dawdling over their
"Where's Ginny?" Harry asked with a frown.
Hermione sighed, her chin on her hand. "She was worn out from today-
I think the shock of seeing you go up in flames was too much for her. She
was going up to bed."
Harry's hand hesitated over a platter of savory looking roast beef
and potatoes before he served himself, saying conversationally, "Well, I
don't blame her. It's been a bad day all around, hasn't it?"
"You still haven't told us how you warded off that curse," Ron said
rather accusatorily. " Malfoy should have been carted off by the Dementors
"Ron," Hermione groaned, brushing her hair out of her eyes.
Harry looked across the table at Ron, his eyes meeting his steadily.
"What?" Both pairs of brown eyes stared at him.
Harry took a bite of his food, swallowing before he shrugged, "I
didn't. Malfoy must have fouled up the curse somehow."
They stared at him, Ron finally laughing out loud. "Oh, man. And I
thought- well, you should have seen the look on his face earlier-he was
acting all twitchy and scared, like you were going to pop up behind him and
turn him into a toad or something."
"Sorry I missed it," Harry said, amused, and meant it. Draco Malfoy
had been a pain in the backside for years.
Hermione was looking at him suspiciously, he knew, but he ignored it,
throwing himself into conversation instead with Ron about his favorite
Quidditch team, The Chudley Cannons.
(Argh. Can I say it again? Arrrrgh. They say writers are their own
worst critic. Hmmm. Thanks for the reviews, people-keep em coming! I love
you all! Now I think I should sleep-hmmm, I highly suspect I'll be dreaming
of Golden Snitches-wonder why? ::Snores:: I'll post another chapter very