The next morning, when he was behind the timer, Harry remembered the wards he wanted to put up. So he looked in his books and found some that dealt in wards. He would ask Remus to put them up as he didn't want anyone to know how advanced he was in magic. He would pass the books off as ones he found in the library. He found what he was looking for right before the timer let him know it was done.
So he took down the timer, did his hygiene spells, changed his clothes got the book and went down stairs.
Kreacher had cooked breakfast it seemed. So Harry sat at the table and served himself.
Remus came down stairs shortly after, "Hey Remus, morning. How did you sleep?" Harry said raising his tea in a gesture around the table. "Kreacher has made breakfast and it looks like he made sure there was plenty of meat for you. Have a seat."
"Morning Harry, you're up early. I slept fine thanks." Remus sat at the table and loaded his plate with all the meaty goodness. "What are you doing today?"
"Well," he said at breakfast "I found this book on wards and was wondering if you'd put up the Anti-Apparition ward on the house. I don't like that people could Apparate in or near the house."
"I can do that," Remus answered between bites, "but Harry you know that while the house in hidden no one can Apparate around the house."
"I know but I want to be safe. I'd feel safer if we put up as many wards as we can."
"Okay Harry. I understand and I'll put this ward and anything else if it makes you feel safer." And with that they finished their breakfast and Remus set off to put up the ward.
Fawkes showed up that night bringing Harry's homework and a note from the Headmaster telling him if he wanted to write his friends to send his letters with Fawkes. Harry agreed that it might be safer. He would have Remus take all his replies to his fan mail to the Owl Post in Diagon Alley. Hedwig might be put out that she would have to stay in Grimmauld Place but it was much safer for her.
Harry owled the Department of Magical Education about taking his OWL's and NEWT's on Arithmancy and Runes this summer:
To Whom It May Concern
I have decided that I'll be leaving Hogwarts at this time to pursue my education by self-study. I have already taken my OWL's in Transfiguration, Astronomy, Potions, Defense Against the Dark Arts, Charms, Care of Magical Creatures, Divination and Herbology and know that since I have passed all my core subjects I need not continue with Hogwarts. Last summer I started a bit of self-study starting on Arithmancy and Runes and would like to take the OWL's on that this coming summer. Please send me a schedule so that this may happen.
I would also like to schedule to take my NEWT's in all the subjects listed above as well as Muggle Studies. If this can be arranged then please let me know when you send the schedule for my OWL's.
Thank you for your time
He figured he would have to take the OWL's first then the NEWT's. He was hoping they were on separate days. By sending this letter Harry felt it was on step closer to getting out from under Dumbledore's thumb. His conversations with him this year let Harry know that Dumbledore would never listen to him and would always feel that he was right. Even though it was shown that he was not. Harry spent some of his time behind the timer revising all of his school subjects. Since there were no OWL's for the subject that were no longer taught at Hogwarts he would just have to hope that he was learning correctly. He was really glad that he found those books though because now he knew far more about the British Wizarding World than anyone was telling him.
Since school was still in session Harry could practice magic in front of people and not get reprimanded. He did some cleaning and repairing charms on stuff in the study just to show that he could and after that no one said a word.
Mrs. Weasley came by every other day or so to make sure that Harry and Remus were eating and were in good health.
"Hello dears, are you two eating well?" Mrs. Weasley said one day as she came through the floo. She was carrying a large basket of food that looked like it would feed them for a week. "I know, I know you told me you had Kreacher to make your meals but given how he has behaved in the past I wanted to bring this little bit of food to tide you over until I can come back to check on you. Harry, are you getting all of your homework done? Dumbledore told me what you had arranged so I wanted to check to make sure that you didn't need anything."
"Mrs. Weasley it's good to see you. Here let me get that." Harry said as he took the basket from her arm and set it on the table. "You know Mrs. Weasley there is enough food here to feed us for a week. I don't want you to tax yourself feeding us and the Order. I know you still come here hours before meetings just so you can cook for everyone." He set the basket on the table and gave the closest thing he had to a mother a hug, "As to your other question I'm current with my classes."
"Oh you aren't a sweet dear, always thinking of others before yourself." She said patting him on the cheek, "You know how much I like to cook and now that all the kids are in school I have plenty of time to cook for the Order and they do so appreciate it. I know some of them hardly have time to eat what with them having to work and do things for Albus."
Harry put up with her mothering in good humor. He really did love the Weasley family and they loved him as part of the family so he could put up with some smothering, most of the time. Since he knew there was a meeting starting soon Harry excused himself to go to his room on the pretext of doing some studying.
As per their agreement Mrs. Weasley stayed with Harry when the moon was full, while Remus was locked in the basement.
Kreacher was closer to finding out where Voldemort was it was made easier since they knew he was staying in the Malfoy Manor before they rescued Mrs. Malfoy. Kreacher did hear from Bellatrix, when she was outside Voldemort's company, that they were still looking for the cup. Kreacher however couldn't learn of anymore raids as he couldn't get to Bellatrix while she was behind the Fidelius Charm and they went straight from the house to the raid. He had followed her a couple of times and then let Harry know where he went. Harry would then send a message with Kreacher to let Dumbledore know so he could try and get there before too much damage was done or too many lives were lost. It didn't happen that way often though and the Order was usually too late to help.
Voldemort didn't want to get a new body until he knew what was happening with his horcruxes. He couldn't send his Death Eaters to check on them because they wouldn't be able to get passed his traps and most of the traps required parseltounge. He couldn't go because Wormtail was a weak and useless wizard, he really needed to find that cup and keep it safe. If he had known that he could only make 7 horcruxes then he would have waited to make one of Nagini until he could move the ones he had made before her. Now he only had the chance to make one more (he didn't know about the one in Harry and Nagini makes 6 other than Voldemort's' own soul)
Winky was still cleaning the house and no one noticed that it was not Kreacher. Dobby was still going through the ROR and bringing Harry trunks. Harry was using part of his time behind the timer to go through them but wasn't finding anything useful. The goblins sent Harry a dagger from the Black family vault to be coated in basilisk venom. Now all they had to do is find Nagini.
"Kreacher." Harry called.
"What can Kreacher be doing for Master?" Kreacher said with a bow.
"Kreacher, you're doing a wonderful job at protecting the House of Black. Now I've another task for you. I don't want you to follow Bellatrix anymore. I want you to keep a look out for Voldemort's snake, Nagini, and if you see her stab her with this dagger. But be careful it has poison on it." Harry said handing the dagger in its sheath to the old house elf.
Kreacher took it carefully. "Kreacher will do as Master commands. Kreacher will protect the House of Black." And with that he popped away.
Time passed slowly and it was getting close to summer. Harry was getting bored and wondered if the Weasley family would be moving in at the beginning of summer. He was doing all the homework sent to him with Fawkes. Remus as good company and they dueled all the time, but he was an adult and wouldn't tell Harry anything that the Order was doing. The Order was still using the house as headquarters, but Harry was banned from participating but then again he knew he would be. He did close down the library to all but Bill. If people wanted to use the library they would have to ask.
Harry got the schedule for the OWL's and NEWT's but he was not sure if he could sneak away to take them. Maybe he'd ask Dumbledore to set up a guard those days. Dumbledore would surely not deter his need to take these tests, would he? Oh well, if he did Harry could take them next year as he was sure all of this would be over by then. He was really hoping that it would all be over by then. He really didn't want to spend a year hiding in this house. He would ask next time he saw Dumbledore.
A few days later Dumbledore came for an Order meeting and Harry cornered him afterwards. "Professor there are some OWL test I want to take and I want to take my NEWT's this summer and was wondering if you could set up a guard unit to get me to the Ministry? I will be taking them on separate days, here is the schedule." He said as he handed him the letter he got form the DoME "I'm hoping that the war will be over before that but if it's not I want to take these test as scheduled. I'll not be returning to Hogwarts."
"Are you really sure you can pass them, Harry. I do not want to hold you back if you feel this is something you feel you can do. I am not sure this is the best time for you to leave Hogwarts." Dumbledore said not really wanting Harry that far out of his control.
"We have been over this. I'm safer here than at Hogwarts." Harry stated in frustration then sighed "Yes, I feel that I can pass the tests, I'm just asking for a guard. I can go alone if I have to but I'm trying to reach a compromise with you. I know that the Order follow your orders." he knew Dumbledore wanted him back at the castle but he needed to realize that Harry was now in control of his own life.
"Alright, Harry. I will set up a guard for you on those days. You still have a port-key?" Dumbledore said hoping he could gain a little of Harry's trust back by doing this little thing.
"Yes, sir I have one that will bring me here if I'm injured or knocked out in any way. Thanks for helping me." Harry said glad that they could reach and understanding. He knew that Dumbledore knew that he was emancipated and that there was little he could do to stop Harry.
It was now the end of the year and Professor McGonagall came to give him his end of the year test. He felt he did pretty well. He was really glad that he had studied and had done all his homework.
Nagini was not going outside the wards though they did have a general idea where Voldemort was hiding. They were pretty sure was he still in Wiltshire. Kreacher stayed and spied on the town hoping to catch Nagini outside the wards.
Summer had come and Ron and his family, including Bill and the twins, did indeed move into Grimmauld Place. Hermione went on vacation with her family and they would be moving in to Headquarters when they got back. Harry stopped using his timer most days as he had learned all he could from what he had. He had the elves put the trunks from the ROR in the attic and he would go through them when his house was not quite as full as it was now.
"It's good to see you, mate." Harry said clapping Ron on the back, "I'm glad your family is moving in. As much as I like Remus he still treats me like a child. It'll be good to hang around someone my own age. I really missed you guys. I hope you brought something to do this time."
"Good to see you too. It must have been right boring being here all by yourself with only Remus for company. What'd you do with your time?" Ron asked following Harry through the house.
"I spent most of my time studying. There isn't a lot to do here. Remus and I did do some sparring. I even beat him a few times." Harry said walking to the sitting room.
"Sorry to hear that, mate. That you have been studying not the sparring." Ron said rubbing his nose, "Now that I'm here we should be able to find something to do. I brought my chess set and some other games that I noticed that the house doesn't have." Ron said pulling his knapsack around from his back "It's too bad we can't practice our Quidditch. Something I'll miss that about the Burrow."
"Yeah I do miss flying. How did the team do after I left? I'm sure Ginny made a good seeker."
"Well we didn't win the Quidditch Cup but we did come in second. The team really missed you. But Ginny did a great job. Let's go play some games." And with that the two friends set off to find some fun.
The goblins told him that Godric's Hallow was now completely rebuilt. Harry called Dobby, "Hey Dobby the goblins said the house in Godric's Hallow is done so when you have time I'd like you to go and check it out," he said prying the still hyper elf off his leg, he though after all this time Dobby would stop doing that. "You can use some of the furniture in the vault. If there isn't anything there then hit the second and stores and work your way up."
"Dobby can be doing that for Master Harry, sir. Dobby knows what Master Harry likes and Dobby will be making him proud." Dobby said and popped away.
Dumbledore came a few days after summer had started.
"Harry, I need to request a favor." He started after they sat in the sitting room. "I need to hide something here where it's safe. I am hoping you will help me in this endeavor."
"I'll be more than happy to help, Professor. What is it you need hidden?" Harry replied he was more than happy to help if he could.
"I need you to house the Malfoys, they cannot stay in the castle and we are fairly certain that Voldemort is using their house has his headquarters." Dumbledore explained.
"You want me to let the Malfoys stay here?" Harry said shocked, "You do know, sir that Draco and I don't get along. And Ron will go completely mad." He said shaking his head at the new twist in plans.
"Harry, I am sure that you can put aside your differences to further the war effort. After all you did it for Severus. I have talked to young Mr. Malfoy and he has agreed to stay out of your way and be civil if he cannot." The Headmaster said his eyes twinkling like mad.
"Okay, I guess we can try. But I want you to know I'll not put up with him insulting me or Ron or anyone for that matter, not in my own house." Harry said trying to come to terms with what he just agreed to.
"Splendid, I will bring them here tomorrow. I am sure that will give you time to set up some rooms for them." Dumbledore said getting up to take his leave.
"Yeah I'll talk to Kreacher about it." After Dumbledore left Harry went to his room and put up some silencing charms and called Winky.
"What can Winky be doing for Harry Potter?" Winky said.
"I need you to set up some rooms for Malfoy and his mother. Put them on the top floor so they're not near Ron or his family." Harry said. 'I'll need to talk to Kreacher about him coming when they call.'
"Yes sir, Harry Potter sir. Winky can be doing that." Winky said and popped away.
"Kreacher." Harry called he really hoped that the Malfoys wouldn't be too demanding on Kreacher's time as he still needed him to find Nagini. Maybe he could put Dobby on that instead. "Dobby."
"Hey, guys." He said when the two house elves popped into the room. "I want to say again what a great job you're both doing. I need to change some orders around though. Kreacher give Dobby the dagger and show him where you have been spying. I need you to stay here and wait on the Malfoys as I'm sure they're not going to want to eat dinner with the Weasleys." He said to the older elf then turn to his little friend "Dobby I need you to go where Kreacher shows you and wait to see if Voldemort's snake come out of the wards, take that dagger and stab her in the head if you can. Be careful the dagger is coated with poison."
"Kreacher will be doing as Master says. Kreacher has not seen the bad snake but Kreacher will be showing Master's elf where he has been watching." Kreacher said handing the dagger to Dobby.
"Dobby will be doing what Master Harry Potter is asking. Dobby won't let the great Harry Potter down. Dobby will be a good house elf and be sneaky-sneaky. Dobby is a good spy." Dobby said jumping up and down at receiving such an important mission. Taking the dagger and putting it in his pants. Dobby still wore clothes as he liked them better than pillowcases or tea towels and Harry had given him permission to wear them.
"That's great guys. Kreacher remember you're not to talk to the Malfoys and if they get hostile you leave and come and see me. They are not allowed to punish you or make you punish yourself. Do you understand?" Harry said very firmly.
"Kreacher is understanding." Kreacher said with a bow and popped away with Dobby to show him where he would be spying.
"Harry Potter is calling for Winky, Winky is getting rooms ready." Winky appeared with a rag in her hand.
"Sorry Winky, I just wanted to let you know that Kreacher will be looking after the house. If you want you can go to the Room of Hidden things and work in there." Harry told her hoping she wouldn't be disappointed.
"Winky is understanding. Winky will go when she is being done with the rooms." Winky said and popped away.
'Well that is taken care of.' Harry thought shaking his head in amusement. 'Who knew that there would be so much trouble balancing 3 house elves?' It was going to be different with the Malfoys here. Hopefully they would keep to themselves. He went to find Ron.
"Hey, Ron, I just wanted to let you know that Dumbledore asked me to let the Malfoys stay here and I agreed." Holding up his hand to stop the protest. "I know you don't like Malfoy and hopefully they'll stay on the top floor. They are hiding from Voldemort and this is the safest place for them. I've got Kreacher waiting on them and they'll more than likely not be joining us for meals. If they stay out of our way I'm sure we can stay out of theirs."
"Alright, mate, I'll do what I can to stay out of their way. This is your house after all. I don't like it but I'll try to behave." Ron said showing maturity that he had not shown before, maybe Hermione was rubbing off on him.
"That's all I ask. Let's play some chess it has been awhile since we played." The best way to distract Ron was a good game of chess.
The Malfoys came the next day. "Hey Mrs. Malfoy, Draco, welcome to my home. I've set the top floor for you to stay in. I've instructed Kreacher to wait on you." He said greet the two unwanted guest, "I want you to know right now this is my house and that is my house elf. I won't tolerate you harming him in anyway. I'll leave you alone as long as you behave yourselves. I know you're hiding from Voldemort and I'm working on killing him once and for all." he said as firmly as he could letting them know that he was dead serious. "If you try and disrespect me or mine I'll throw you out to defend yourselves. Dumbledore be damned. However, I hope that it won't come to that."
"I'll stay out of your way, Potter. I don't like you and I don't want to be here. But Dumbledore felt this was a safe place. We will stick to the top floor and stay out of your way." Draco answered sneer firmly in place.
"Thank you for inviting us to your home. We will respect your privacy and hope that you will respect ours. Thank you for the loan of your house elf. Will we be taking our meals with you or can we eat in our rooms?" Mrs. Malfoy said showing that at least one of them had common courtesy.
"I think it best for everyone that you take your meals in your room. There are many people that come and go in this house and I'm sure that they are not as trusting as Dumbledore. Though I will let Snape know where you are so he can visit. I believe he is a friend of yours and Draco's. I also wanted to let you know that the library is locked down. If you want a book you need to ask me first." Harry answered.
"Keeping us prisoners, Potter. I didn't think you would stoop so low." Draco sneered.
"And that right there is why you should stay on the top floor. It's only common courtesy to ask before you borrow something. Which is one of the reasons I've had to lock the library up in the first place, no one seems to think common courtesy applies to my stuff. I'd have thought your mother would have taught that to you. She seems to know how to be polite." Harry answered. 'Yeah this is going to be a fun summer.' Harry thought to himself.
"Yes I did teach you to be polite to people who are hosting us, Draco. Apologize to Mr. Potter immediately." Mrs. Malfoy said.
"I apologize, Potter. I'll do my best to stay out of your way and ask if there is anything I need." Draco said.
"Let me show you to your rooms. There is a common room that you can entertain yourselves in and two bedrooms off to the side. I've told everyone who is living here to stay off the top floor so you won't be bothered. Like I said if you want to borrow a book from the library tell Kreacher and he will tell me and I'll see if it is something I want out of that room." Harry said as he climbed the stairs with the Malfoys following.
After getting the Malfoys settled he went to look for Ron. He found him in the living room. They played chess for a few hours until Harry begged off around dinner time.
"Mrs. Weasley, Kreacher is going to be cooking for the Malfoys so you need to share the kitchen with him. I don't know what they'll be eating but I don't want you to have to cook two separate meals. Particularly for people you don't like." Harry told her when he came to dinner.
"Alright Harry dear. I'll talk to Kreacher and set up a time we can share." Mrs. Weasley answered.
"I'll let him know he can talk to you about it." Harry said sitting at the table to enjoy the wonderful cooking of Mrs. Weasley. He had a thought that maybe he could use the timer to learn to cook better. He was going to be living on his own after the war. Well hopefully not too long after the war because when it was done he wanted to start dating. He didn't dare while there was a war going on. He didn't want to take the chance of having a child then being killed. He knew how it felt being an orphan and that was not something he wanted to pass on.
After dinner Harry went to his room and called Kreacher to him. "Kreacher I'm giving you permission to talk to Mrs. Weasley about sharing the kitchen. That is all you can talk to her about. If she ask about the Malfoys don't answer. They have a right to their privacy, well unless they're doing something harmful to someone in this house. Then I want you to let me know right away." Harry instructed. "I also told the Malfoys that they could borrow books from the library but only if they tell what kind they want and you come and tell me and I will get it for them, if I think they are ones that are okay to leave the library."
"Kreacher will do as Master says." Kreacher said with a bow and popped away.
A week into summer Dobby came back.
"Harry Potter sir, Harry Potter sir, Dobby is doing what Harry Potter is telling him to do. The big snakey comes out of the wards and Dobby is jumping its back and then the snakey is trying to bites Dobby. But Dobby jumps on the snakey's back and then Dobby is taking the dagger and stabbing the snakey in the head like Harry Potter is telling him to. But the head is being too hard so Dobby is cutting the head clean off. And the snakey is dying, sir. Dobby is seeing a dark smoke coming out if the snakey after it's being dead. And he is hearing the most awful screaming and then the smoke is blowing away and Dobby is not seeing it anymore. Dobby came straight away to be telling Harry Potter." The excitable house elf came to Harry after everyone was in bed, jumping up and down on the bed with the dagger still in his hand. He seemed really proud with what he had done and Harry felt he should be.
"That is great news Dobby, you did really well. Let me have the dagger now, I'll treasure it always and when the war is over I'll let everyone know what a great house elf you are." Harry said sticking his hand out for the dagger.
"Oh Dobby is sorry for not remembering the dagger, sir. Dobby will be giving it to Harry Potter right now." Dobby said thrusting out the dagger in his hand.
"Maybe you should put it in its sheath and then hand it to me."
Dobby nodded sheepishly, he was just so excited, "Sorry Master Harry sir, Dobby will cleans the knife first and then give it to Harry Potter." With a snap of his fingers the dagger was clean of all blood and gore. Then Dobby put the dagger in its sheath and handed it to Harry.
"Dobby you did a great job. Now you can do what you want. If you want to stay and keep the house with Kreacher you can do that. Or you can go back to the Come and Go room. I think the curse breakers are done with the vault though if you find anything Dark you will have to let me know so I can talk to Spearhead about getting them back in there. Or you could go back to decorating Godric's Hallow. I'll leave the choice up to you as a reward." Harry told the excitable house elf.
"Dobby will be going to Harry Potter's Godric's Hallow and making sure it's clean and decorated. Harry Potter will be happy with it when Dobby is done with it. Harry Potter is having many pieces of furniture in his vault that Dobby thinks Harry Potter will like. So Dobby is thinking that that is what he is wanting to do." Dobby said finally calming down.
"That's great Dobby you can do that." Harry said still hoping that the house didn't look to tacky when it was done. He loved Dobby to death but he really was afraid of what the house would look like in the end.
"Harry Potter will be proud when Dobby is done. Dobby will get started right away." And with that Dobby popped away.
Now that the snake was gone all Harry had to do is get Voldemort out of hiding. Voldemort was the last soul piece to be killed. If Harry could call him out then this war would finally be over and Harry could live his life again.
He wanted his house back and he wanted to be able to walk the streets and not have to worry about whether or not he would be attacked or killed. He felt that he as better suited to be a teacher than an Auror and would work to that goal. He had put a lot of thought into this and found that he preferred as more sedate life style. While he wanted to teach DADA that role was already filled so maybe he would study History and convince Dumbledore to get rid of Binns.
After studying all the old books he found, especially the old one he found in the ROR, he really liked History and hoped that he would be good teacher he could get others to like it as well. He couldn't be worse than Binns. Maybe he could write his own book for that class. He was sure he could make it interesting.