|Road to Recovery
Author: cywsaphyre PM
Since turning fifteen, Harry has spent seven years in Azkaban. Now that his innocence has finally been proven and he is released, what will it take to get the former Harry back? Will they ever be able to? And what happens with Voldemort now? AU.Rated: Fiction T - English - Hurt/Comfort/Drama - Harry P. - Chapters: 16 - Words: 95,842 - Reviews: 898 - Favs: 1,675 - Follows: 2,124 - Updated: 10-24-12 - Published: 04-21-12 - id: 8044491
|A+ A- Full 3/4 1/2 Expand Tighten|
Disclaimer: I do not own anything from Harry Potter...
Bit shorter but I'm not sure when I'll be able to write the next bit so I'll post this first.
Chapter 16 – The Calm Before the Storm
"Power isn't control at all — power is strength, and giving that strength to others. A leader isn't someone who forces others to make him stronger; a leader is someone willing to give his strength to others so that they may have the strength to stand on their own."
-Beth Revis, Across the Universe
-July 2nd, 2003-
George opened his eyes and croaked, "Fuck me sideways."
Somewhere to his left, Fred snorted and then coughed feebly, "I can't say I disagree. Nice to know you've finished your beauty sleep though. Can you see anything?"
George squinted at the dark ceiling overhead. "Fuck, no. Hell, I can barely move my head. I can't move my legs. Bloody fuck."
Fred sighed. "I've been through all the swear words suitable for our current less-than-agreeable situation and then some, so save it. I can't move either. I've been waiting for you to wake up and hopefully get us out of here but I guess that plan's scuppered."
George groaned, wincing as something creaked in his neck when he moved it. He could wiggle his fingers and feel his toes as well – which were in a hell of a lot of pain – and he had read somewhere that if you could do all that, then your spine was at least alright.
"What the hell happened?" George wheezed out, throat dry. He could've killed for some water. "One minute we were fighting Death Eaters-"
"-and the next minute, said Death Eaters blew up our shop and buried everything under it," Fred finished. "Including us."
Because he couldn't think of anything better to say to that, George repeated, "Fuck."
They were quiet for what could've been a few minutes to a bit more than that. And then George remembered that he and Fred hadn't been fighting alone.
"Where are Uncle Fabian and Uncle Gideon? Oh shit, where's Aster?"
"Dunno," Fred answered dully. "I've been shouting for them ever since I woke up. I can just make you out from here but I can't see any of them. They're either not within hearing distance, still unconscious, or..."
He trailed off and George was grateful for that. He tried not to think about it either.
"Well, we have to get out of here somehow," George grunted and tried to wriggle sideways but the agony that rushed through his entire body the moment he jostled his legs, which were pinned under a ton of debris, advised him to stop.
"Well, if you think of anything, give me a heads-up," Fred called back, voice faint, and George stilled as the last of the haze that had been fogging his brain lifted.
"Fred?" He called roughly, trying to quell the fear rising in his throat. "Fred, how badly are you injured?"
There was no answer for a moment, but just when George was about to call again, hysteria mounting, Fred answered hoarsely, "Not too bad. Got banged on the head, same as you, probably. I can move my arms but not very much, and my right arm was bleeding pretty bad. I managed to slow it down at least, though my favourite robes were given to the cause. Legs are okay; just stuck like yours."
George didn't like the sound of that arm but there wasn't anything he could do about it. His own right arm was pretty banged up too; he was fairly certain something was at least fractured, but at least it wasn't bleeding. His left wrist felt sprained but he tried to feel around for his wand. Unfortunately for him, all this achieved was more pain and exhaustion on his part. With a huff, he went limp again and tried to ignore the aches in his body.
"...Do you think Harry will come after us?"
There was no hesitation in his brother's reply and it sent a ridiculous amount of relief thrumming through him.
Sirius was swearing up a storm as he dangled precariously over the edge of the fourth floor of Flourish and Blotts. The first, second, and third floors were gone, leaving only a dark hole beneath him.
"Whose bright idea was it to enlarge Flourish and Blotts?" He grumbled angrily to himself as he tried to claw his way up once again, only to freeze when the floorboards groaned ominously. His wand was long gone, either below him or somewhere under the splintered bookshelves.
"I always knew books were dangerous," He continued mumbling feverishly, concentrating on his situation and nothing else. Nothing, nothing, nothing. "Who needs books anyways? Stupid books. Stupid bloody books-"
"Sirius, is that you?"
Sirius stilled briefly, breath freezing in his lungs, and he almost lost his grip when he craned his head and tried to catch a glimpse of the familiar voice's owner through the darkness of night and the wreckage.
"Remus?" He called back, disbelief mixed with hope.
"Yes, Sirius, it's me," His long-time friend confirmed. "Do you make it a habit of talking to yourself after a Death Eater raid?"
Sirius choked out a laugh. "I thought- I thought you had fallen! I saw you fall! You and Greyback-! And-"
Remus chuckled, tired but satisfied as well. "I managed to roll out of the way just before the roof collapsed. But I'm pretty sure Greyback's down there. I think a book hit me on the head though. I just came around. Head's still a bit fuzzy."
Sirius laughed again, great wads of relief in the sound. "I always said books were dangerous. That just proves it."
Remus might have snarked something back but the entire structure suddenly shifted dangerously, leaving Sirius scrambling for a purchase as the floorboards cracked even further.
"Sirius, where are you?" Remus sounded alarmed.
"Over here," Sirius waved his fingers in the direction of Remus' voice. "I wouldn't recommend joining me. It's a bit breezy, especially-"
"Sirius, now is no time to joke," Remus cut in, and a second later, Sirius finally managed to catch sight of greying hair and worried eyes. "Oh Merlin, why do you always have to get in the worst trouble possible?"
"Must be my natural charm," Sirius managed a slightly strained grin. "You know the women love the trouble magnet type."
"I don't know what women you're talking about," Remus grumbled as he tentatively stepped closer. "I lost my wand to Greyback when the place came down. I'll just-"
He took another step forward and Sirius yelped as he dropped another foot.
"Stop! Stop!" He cried frantically. "Just go for help, Moony! You can't do anything here. Find someone with a wand who can levitate me out."
"I don't want to leave you here alone," Remus objected anxiously, glancing around. "Can't you turn into Padfoot and climb out?"
"Don't want to risk it," Sirius glanced down again. "If Padfoot's claws can't get a purchase on the wood, I won't have time to change back and grab hold again. It's just lucky this beam fell here."
Remus wavered, backing away a little. "Alright, I'll-"
He cut himself off and jerked sharply to the right, just as a snarl cut the air and a large blur barrelled out from underneath a pile of broken wood.
"REMUS!" Sirius shouted as whoever it was crashed into Remus and sent them both rolling out a large hole in the wall. Hopefully, being a werewolf, the fall wouldn't hurt Remus too badly.
And then he had no more time to worry about his friend as the wooden floorboards creaked and snapped, collapsing as it could no longer support the weight and movement on its surface.
Clinging onto the beam as he fell, nails and fingers bleeding as he struggled with gravity, Sirius gritted his teeth and bit back unbidden tears of pure frustration.
After Azkaban, whenever he thought about dying, he thought it would be James he would remember in his last moments, James and pranks and jokes and contentment because he would finally be able to join his best friend in the afterlife, but he was wrong. It wasn't James he recalled, but Harry.
Harry, his godson, his own son in all but blood. Harry, whom he had wronged time and time again, abandoning him to chase after Wormtail, abandoning him to those despicable Muggles, abandoning him to Azkaban, and now abandoning him to survive in a world torn apart by war, and Sirius just couldn't do that anymore.
With a bellow of rage borne from desperation, he managed to get his feet onto the beam as he fell and launched himself off the piece of wood in a reckless attempt to reach the parts of the floor that hadn't yet caved. His fingers just touched the wood and he managed to get a temporary grip on the very edge, only for it to crumble under his hands, and then he was falling, falling, falling-
"Mobilicorpus!" An achingly familiar voice sliced through the air and Sirius was suddenly airborne, floating amidst the falling pieces of wood before being levitated outside and finally onto flat ground.
The moment the spell released him, he sprang to his feet again, spinning around and almost giving himself whiplash. "Harry?"
Cool green eyes dismissed him with barely a glance as his godson – What was Harry doing here? How could Harry be here? Why was Harry here? – strode past him and pointed his wand at a section of the building. "Aresto Momentum!"
The structure slowed to a stop, held up by magic, and Harry moved on, cloak flapping behind him as he rounded the shop. Sirius all but tripped over thin air as he hurried after him.
"Remus, move!" Harry barked, and Sirius caught up just in time to see Remus and Greyback circling around each other on ground level, Greyback more wolf than human as he always tended to be.
To his credit, Remus didn't freeze in shock, sparing half a second to glance over his shoulder with widening eyes before throwing himself out of the way just as Greyback sprang forward with a snarl on his lips.
"Duro!" Harry snarled, wand slashing down, and the werewolf dropped mid-leap, turning into stone in the blink of an eye and thumping heavily to the ground.
"Confringo!" And the werewolf statue exploded, stone scattering on the ground as Greyback was completely, utterly destroyed, leaving Sirius gaping at how coldly efficient Harry had been when he dispatched his opponent.
Then again, Azkaban didn't leave you with a lot of mercy, especially towards enemies. Sirius could attest to that.
Silence fell and it took a moment for the dog Animagus to realize that there was an actual hush in the area. Even the muffled shouts of various individuals nearby had quieted and Sirius abruptly found a crowd of tired, dust-covered people gathering around them.
"Harry Potter," Murmurs swept up and down the street. "Harry Potter's here. Took down Greyback. Made it look easy. Harry Potter."
"Harry?" Remus approached them carefully, as if he wasn't sure whether or not Harry would flee if he moved too fast, and Sirius hastily took a few steps to the side so that Harry could see him but they weren't too close.
For his part, Harry just looked around, a heavy frown on his brow as he took in the damage and the survivors. No one made a move to say anything, only whispering amongst themselves and staring anxiously at the Boy-Who-Lived.
They're waiting for Harry to do something, Sirius realized with a rush of protective anger mixed with pity for the crowd. They have absolutely no idea what to do in this situation so they're waiting for Harry to act. For Harry to tell them what to do.
The same thought must have struck his godson but then Harry just waved his wand and a few large chunks of stone scattered amongst the rubble floated under what remained of Flourish and Blotts to support the building. The caving structure slumped inwards but didn't collapse completely as the granite held it up.
Once that was done, he looked around again and then spoke up, "How many of you still have wands?"
Another wave of murmurs washed over the crowd before about three-quarters of them held up their wands.
Harry nodded decisively. "Let's split up," He suggested. "There's a lot to do. I know the Death Eaters hit us hard but so long as we keep getting back up and never let them walk all over us, so long as there's still at least one person fighting, they'll never win."
He paused for a moment. The clearing was silent. Not a single person looked away.
"We can start by digging through Diagon Alley," Harry continued, all business now as he stood at the centre of everyone's attention. "Repairs are important but, more than that, we should try to help out the injured and bury the dead first. Who here knows healing spells? Or Muggle first-aid?"
About two dozen people raised their hands this time and Harry turned to them. "Alright then, please start clearing an area where others can bring the injured. There's not much we can do in terms of medical supplies but there should be clean cloths and bandages in some of these shops, or just transfigure something until we get better supplies. We'll have to use what we have until St. Mungos can send trained healers down here... Actually,"
Harry straightened and called out, "Calla!"
A crack, and Sirius was suddenly blinking down at a House Elf standing beside his godson. His breath caught when he saw the Potter insignia on the cloth it was wearing. So Harry had been staying at Potter Manor.
"Calla, please get some of the other House Elves to help distribute medical supplies from the manor where needed," Harry instructed, and the Elf nodded briskly before popping back out again.
"I don't think it needs to be said that the House Elves are to be treated with respect?" Harry warned, and Sirius was pretty sure no one in the crowd was even thinking about disagreeing.
"Okay then, get to work," Harry dismissed, and the designated healers all nodded without protest and broke away from the crowd to do their assigned job.
"The rest of us can concentrate on digging people out," Harry surveyed the remaining witches and wizards. "Stay in groups of five or six and make sure you have at least two or three wands in each group. Those of you who don't have wands can help clear the rubble by hand just as well. Spread out, and when you find someone injured, get them to the healers as soon as possible. As for the dead,"
Harry eyed the clearing they were standing in and quickly levitated what remained of Greyback out of sight.
"Bring the dead here," He decided. "Lay them out and cover them with a sheet if you can."
Heads were already nodding again and Harry finished firmly, "Then let's get started. If you see anyone else uninjured, ask them to help as well. Be careful of any remaining Death Eaters, and make sure you don't overwork yourselves. It won't do anyone any good if you collapse while trying to save someone else."
The remainder of the crowd scattered, heading off in all directions in groups of five or six, and Sirius could only marvel at the way his godson had taken command of at least fifty people without even trying. Everyone had listened and Harry hadn't even used a Sonorous Charm.
It took him a moment longer to realize that Harry was shaking.
"Harry!" He stepped forward but didn't dare touch him. "Are you alright?"
Harry's lips pressed together. "Fine. I just don't like crowds."
Spinning on his heel, he started making his way down the street, and Sirius and Remus quickly followed.
"Where are you going?" Remus queried tentatively.
"Weasleys' Wizard Wheezes," Harry replied curtly. That he had replied at all made Sirius do a mental somersault. "Fred and George are somewhere in this mess. So are Fabian, Gideon, and Aster."
There was a pause, broken only by distant voices punctuating the night air and their own rapid footsteps.
"Shouldn't you go help?" Harry asked brusquely, cutting the uncomfortable silence between them.
Sirius and Remus exchanged a swift glance.
"Well," Sirius started warily. "You said we should break off into groups of five or six. Since we don't have that many, we'll just have to make do with three."
Harry shot him a withering look, clearly unimpressed with Sirius' logic, but he only turned to face forward again and-
Didn't say no.
Sirius did another mental somersault, which fell flat when Harry spoke again.
"Don't think, for one moment, that this means all's forgiven," Harry's voice was ice-cold and made both of them flinch. "But there are people's lives at stake here and I've got better things to do than give you both the cold shoulder."
They both nodded vigorously, not wanting to contradict him as they hurried down the debris-littered street.
They had to stop several times, more and more as they continued on, for the witches and wizards who, hesitantly at first and then, while still respectful, more boldly, approached Harry for advice and help, and Harry always gave it, a quiet suggestion here, a levitation spell there.
Sirius and Remus helped out where they could, moving rock and wood whenever Harry stopped to assist someone, but they still took the time to watch, discreetly, the way other people followed Harry's example. It was amazing to see everyone pick themselves up after such a devastating hit and carry on to the best of their abilities.
However, by the time they reached WWW, Harry had drawn his cloak tight around him, and while he always had a calm face for anyone who came up to him, there was no mistaking the fatigue draining what little colour Harry had had in the first place, leaving him almost grey-skinned and haggard.
"Harry?" Sirius ventured when his godson stumbled over a loose rock and swayed unsteadily in place for a few seconds. "If- If you want, I could move some of this rubble out of the way first."
Tired green eyes took a worrying moment to focus before Harry shook his head. "You can't use this wand. Ollivander said it was only for me."
Sirius hadn't been asking for the wand in the first place and Harry hadn't seemed completely against the idea so he pressed what little advantage he had.
"That's okay," He babbled. "I don't need the wand. I have two perfectly working hands. Plus Remus. That's four. I can move some of the looser debris first."
Harry watched him with a calculating look before pinning the same expression on Remus for a long minute. And then, with a dark scowl, Harry jabbed his wand in their direction, and Sirius was sure they were going to be transfigured into flobberworms or something, but his jaw almost dropped when the pain in his hands lessened. Blinking in astonishment, he watched the deeper cuts in them close and the gashes visible on Remus after his tussle with Greyback scab over.
"I don't want you dropping something and collapsing what's left of the shop," Harry explained stiffly as he eased himself down on a nearby half-broken bench.
"Thanks Harry," Sirius tried very hard not to smile. "And- And I haven't thanked you yet for saving my arse back at Flourish and Blotts. So thanks for that too."
Harry's eyes narrowed. "I didn't do everything. If you hadn't jumped up at the last second, I wouldn't have made it in time. And I certainly didn't save you for you."
Sirius nodded frantically, his mouth running as it tended to do when he was nervous. "Of course not. Wouldn't dream of it. I wouldn't-"
An elbow in his gut shut him up. "Sirius!" Remus hissed in warning.
Harry had crossed his arms and his expression was getting darker by the second.
"Right," Sirius began backing away. "I'll stop now. Going now."
Spinning around, he beat a hasty retreat towards what remained of the joke shop, Remus at his heels.
"He talked to me!" Sirius muttered exultantly under his breath as he shifted some of the wreckage.
Remus gave him that half-pitying, half-frustrated look that Sirius always tried to ignore. He hated pity (like Remus thought he was crazy and mentally unfixable and was just trying to humour him), and it wasn't in his nature to give up once he had set his mind on something, and while he could never hope for forgiveness, he was desperate to at least have some contact with his godson.
"Sirius, I don't think he-"
"He talked to me," Sirius insisted stubbornly before adding almost scathingly, "You didn't even thank him for saving you."
Remus shot him a sharper look this time as they shifted a wooden beam aside. "I didn't exactly have the chance. You were running your mouth off again-"
"Don't push this on me!" Sirius said defensively. "I know you, Remus. You hate confrontation when it comes to people you care about. You think that just because Harry doesn't look like he wants to be in the same vicinity as us for the next decade if he can help it, you're doing him a favour by staying out of his way, when really, all you're doing is running away."
Remus paused to glare at him. "That's not true, Sirius. Have you ever thought maybe Harry doesn't want to have anything to do with us?"
Sirius glared right back. "Every day. But that doesn't mean I'm not going to keep trying."
The werewolf just sighed. "You're grasping at straws, Sirius. A desperate attempt like that won't work-"
Sirius scowled fiercely and heaved a piece of splintered wall away, deliberately turning his back on Remus. "And you're just giving up without doing even that. I'm perfectly aware it's a desperate attempt seeing as I am desperate."
And without another word, he stalked off in a snit. He refused to listen to Remus; the man was his best friend but he could give the world's most pessimistic bloke a run for his money. And besides, if Sirius really did start listening to him, to give up on Harry like Remus seemed to be doing, he would have nothing left but despair.
Fifteen minutes later, Harry had rejoined them and they had managed to clear away a large portion of the shop.
"Fred?" Harry called, peering into the dark hole they had uncovered. "George? Aster? Fabian? Gideon?"
Finally, Harry shrugged off his cloak and rolled up his sleeves. "I'm going in."
"No," Sirius blurted out before he could stop it. He ignored Remus' pointed frown and concentrated on Harry's guarded stare instead. "I can change into Padfoot. I'd fit better."
For a long minute, Harry continued studying him without expression. They both knew the main reason Sirius didn't want Harry in there; the place could collapse any second.
"They're all I have left," Harry said at last, and Sirius couldn't believe how much that hurt to hear. "They're waiting for me to help them. Besides, I can see better in the dark."
Sirius opened his mouth to question this but left his jaw hanging and got no further as his godson was suddenly replaced by a majestic-looking owl with sleek raven-black feathers and unmistakable jade-green eyes.
"You're an Animagus," Sirius breathed, wonder and pride and happiness swelling in his chest.
Sirius distantly recalled reading a book on Animagi all those years ago. He couldn't remember everything an owl represented but traits like wisdom, protector of souls, and guardian of change stood out in his mind. And an owl was a symbol of the air; Harry was born to fly.
Harry – Sirius would think of a Marauder name for him when he had time; he could at least call his godson that in his head if not to his face – gave him a look that bordered on smug pride, so like a carefree mix of James and Lily for the briefest of seconds that Sirius almost wanted to cry, before hopping through the makeshift entrance and out of sight. That expression alone made Sirius happier than he had been in the last eight years.
Glancing at Remus long enough to see his amazement, Sirius became Padfoot and bounded in after the owl.
:This way,: Padfoot nudged the owl – Claws? Ebony? Nyx? Something more exotic? – along as his nose picked up the smell of blood.
As a dog, Padfoot could smell the touch of panic just below the surface emanating from the owl. He whined a note of comfort, instinctively pressing closer in the narrow space, only to slink meekly away again when the owl pecked at him, green eyes flaring with alarm.
They drew closer to the scent of blood, and a moment later, they emerged in a cave-like area where the support beams and magic hadn't yet failed, keeping the shop relatively upright.
In a flash, Padfoot was Sirius again and the owl became Harry, both of them needing to stoop so their heads wouldn't hit the low ceiling.
"Fred?" Harry called once more, his wand lighting up. "George?"
A heartbeat, and then another, and then, hopeful and relieved, "Harry?"
Sirius was almost bowled over as his godson shot past him, scrambling to the far side of the cave-in, the light from his wand highlighting the relief that brightened his eyes as he exchanged words with the Weasley twins, both redheads clearly elated to see him. Elated, but not surprised.
Sirius watched, heart clenching painfully, and wondered how he could have ever thought, for even a moment, that someone like this could kill innocents in cold blood.
By the time Amelia managed to extricate herself from all the complaints, demands, questions, and general grievances in the Ministry and finally Apparated down to Diagon Alley with a delegation of Aurors and a group of healers to assess the damage, she was in no mood to take shit from anyone.
So it came as a pleasant surprise to find that Diagon Alley looked less like a warzone than she had previously braced herself for. Those who weren't injured had picked themselves up and were in the process of digging out the wounded. There was even what looked like a makeshift hospital underway, with witches and wizards working side-by-side, using any method at their disposal to help those in need. There were Purebloods, Halfbloods, Muggleborns, even- were those House Elves?
It was shocking to say the least, but Amelia at least had the presence of mind to flag down someone nearby who looked somewhat less busy at the moment.
"What is going on here?" She asked, making sure she didn't sound too demanding. She hadn't missed the unimpressed looks directed at them when they had appeared.
The wizard she had hailed down huffed, casting a disdainful eye over them before answering.
"Harry Potter appeared shortly after the raid," The wizard explained. "Helped out a few Order members, Black and Lupin, before taking down Greyback. That's him over there," He pointed at a pile of shattered rock helpfully and Amelia heard a few of the healers and Aurors behind her gasp.
"Then he got us all up and about," The man continued. "Those of us who know healing spells are over in the medical camp and the rest of us are digging up the injured, helping out in any way we can. Potter even got his House Elves to lend a hand.
"The Death Eaters haven't won yet, Potter said," The man was obviously tired but he squared his shoulders and his chin jutted out just a little. "He's right, of course. No use moping; we'll carry on as usual and show You-Know-Who we haven't been beaten yet.
"And at the very least," The contemptuous look was back as he hefted the sack he was carrying once more and turned for the medical camp. "We're certainly doing more than you lot. Instead of hunting down an innocent man, shouldn't you be doing your best to stop this war?"
Amelia held out a hand when one of the Aurors – he certainly wasn't her Auror – stepped forward, red-faced and insulted at the dismissal.
When the war had started again, Fudge had agreed when Dumbledore had requested a team of Aurors to be placed under his command. They would still be a part of the Ministry's Auror Department but would be a correspondence of sorts between the government and Dumbledore's Order. Amelia had snorted and tried to call the old man on his bullshit – when there was backlash (and there would definitely be that sooner or later), who would take the blame? Certainly not Albus Bloody Dumbledore – but Fudge wouldn't be Fudge if the idiot wasn't an idiot and she had been overruled.
Auror Thompson had been one of Dumbledore's and after her failed abduction of the Prewett family, Amelia had fired her with vindictive glee. It was the first time she had actually liked Rita Skeeter's articles.
She had wanted to pull Dumbledore up on charges as well, of course, but there was no hard proof that the old goat had been behind it all. Thompson hadn't said anything of the sort, even going so far as to claiming that she had acted on his own. Amelia wouldn't be at all surprised if the woman was in that Merlin-damned Order now.
"Spread out," Amelia ordered. "Healers to the medical camp. The rest of you help where you can. Do not attempt to order these people around or we'll have riots on our hands as well. We're already late as it is. Offer your assistance, politely, or I'll fire the lot of you before the end of the day."
The group scattered and Amelia sighed tiredly before flagging someone else down in the hopes that they could point her in Harry Potter's direction. Thanking him was the least she could do; in addition to getting the repairs started and taking care of the wounded, the man had also raised morale. She had heard from Tonks about Harry Potter; it was high time she met him in person.
It took an entire agonizing hour before enough of the shop had been moved away so that Fred and George could be levitated out. Luckily, Harry already had three of his House Elves nearby, two of which were actually trained in healing, and while the twins' numerous injuries would mean bed rest and mushy food for a while, they would okay.
Fabian and Gideon had also been dug out, several dozen feet away from Fred and George. Both had been soundly knocked out and were even worse off than their nephews. Broken bones and concussions, as well as several deep gashes, had Harry's stomach twisting with anxiety. The House Elves could only do so much in an environment like this and neither of them wanted to move the Prewetts. Remus was doing the best he could in lending a hand. He was, ironically enough, the only one with any in-depth knowledge of the medical practice. Even Harry only knew the basics and he hadn't done much more than read for the past year.
Just when Harry was ready to storm St. Mungos himself and throw money at the first healer he came across, several cracks sounded and five Healers appeared a few feet away, carrying their equipment and wearing apprehensive expressions as Harry pinned them all with a furious glare.
"Mr. Potter, I apologize for our late arrival," A female voice said from his right, and Harry turned to find a woman, grey-haired and wearing a monocle, approaching him with a brisk but polite demeanour.
Harry studied her cautiously before extending his hand to shake the one she held out. Amelia Bones, the DMLE Head that Tonks had told him about.
"It's alright," He nodded stiffly. "We've been managing."
He hesitated and glanced back at the healers now swarming Fabian and Gideon, automatically making sure they weren't harming them, before turning back to Amelia.
"And thank you for taking care of my money issues," He added in stilted tones. "I didn't really want to deal with the Ministry."
Amelia smiled warmly. "Think nothing of it, Mr. Potter. It is part of my job. My only regret is not providing you with a trial in the first place."
Harry nodded again and before the silence could get awkward, he quickly pushed on, "Fabian and Gideon's eldest son, Aster, should be around here as well but we haven't been able to find him."
Harry had already tried a Point-Me Spell and Sirius had nosed through the entire wreckage of the shop but neither of them had been able to detect more than a few flecks of blood. At the very least, they knew Aster wasn't too badly injured.
Amelia inclined her head. "We'll get right on that, Mr. Potter. Do you have a picture of him?"
Harry paused before fumbling for one of the photos he carried around in his pocket and forcing down an embarrassed flush. The Prewetts were all in the picture, something Heather had insisted on over the Christmas holidays, and Harry had been dragged into it, standing between Aster and Lily.
The other two photographs were of him and Tonks, and him and the Weasley twins. He'd like to think they reminded him of the people he still had to fight for.
The search party spread out, tracking spells and shouts permeating the air, but, six hours later, dusty and exhausted, no one could find a trace of Aster Prewett.