Authors Note: Hello all! I am really glad that you are enjoying this story! It makes me so happy to see how I am able to make your days by updating and bring you some form of happiness! I am also ecstatic that my muse is finally working again! Such a fickle thing she is, luckily my darling Muse Master Pika has grown quite adept at keeping her going for a bit when she is here.
Remember, If you're bored, write up a short recap of the chapter as/in your review, and I may just use it in the next chapter! This chapter recap is done by USA-Jeanette! Thank you so much for your amazing recap!
Special Announcement: I have decided to switch my Facebook page into a Facebook profile for ease of use so that I will actually be able to use it and interact! Come friend me on Facebook at Ashton Mason (My pseudonym), or at Facebook dot com /Ashton. mason .5686
Disclaimer: I don't even own this soda I'm drinking, I took it from the fridge because all of mine are gone. I am a poor poor person who has given up the opportunity to make money in order to look after children who are not mine. If anyone wants to sponsor me, let me know lmao.
Previously On: "Previously we waited, along with all the students and staff at Hogwarts, for Lady Hogwarts herself to reveal the one she had chosen as Protector. A person who had the heart, dedication, and will to protect the school and all who resided within... a person who promised to put the needs of the school above their own... a person who was teacher, administrator, protector, and advocate... and when Minerva McGonagall accepted all that was offered her... a change was coming that would shake the very foundations of the world... a change that began with a simple smile!" - USA-Jeanette
Chapter 44: Unraveling the Seams
Harry snuggled closer to the soft fur of Fluffy's chest, reveling in the strong and steady heartbeat and the easy breaths which caused him to lift and raise.
A small bit away from him and at Fluffy's sides, he could hear Charlie and Hagrid talking quietly as they brushed his fur and cared for his wounds. It was still quite early in the morning but Harry did not care. Today was the day that he would be leaving Hogwarts and going back home to the Burrow. Harry couldn't wait to be back home, still such a novel concept to him.
True, he had seen his family recently but it was not the same.
In the short time that Harry had been at the Burrow, he had grown to love it immensely, the soft clucking of the chickens, the barely-there whispers and laughter of the gnomes, the soft creaking of the floorboards, and the overall warmth that seemed to be in every piece of the home.
More than the Burrow itself, Harry loved his new family. His mother Molly who would praise his cooking and give him endless amounts of loving hugs. His father Arthur who was ever curious and loving, sneaking him treats from the kitchen with a mischievous wink as his mother pretended not to notice, who would deny him no curiosity as they searched for the answers to an ever-expanding list. His eldest brother Bill who was a calm and guiding presence, opening doors to worlds that were ancient and unknown, who would encourage him to find new and ways that hadn't been thought of to solve his questions, who taught him more about the Goblins and their ways. He even missed Ginny who had finally begun to act normally around him.
His other brothers were still here with him but it was different. They had very little time to spend together anymore and that time was not like it was at home as it had been before school had begun or during the Winter Holidays. Harry missed being able to curl up with Percy and read, to listen to the twins' plan for pranks or picking up on their subtle warnings for him to avoid a certain area at a certain time, or their gentle teasing. Ron was the one that he had been able to spend the most time with at school but even that was limited to meals, afternoons, and weekends. Harry missed staying up at night and drinking hot chocolate while they talked about whatever they felt like, missed watching as Ron would play against everyone at chess, the way that his eyes would light up with the challenge.
Most of all, however, Harry missed Charlie.
Being away from Charlie was like a cold and empty ache in his chest that seemed to grow by the day. Sometimes it would scare Harry how horribly it ached but he could never find a way to express it appropriately. It wasn't like when he broke his arm or when his head would ring and throb after being struck. It also wasn't a pain that he could pinpoint in one location. It was something internal but it wasn't his heart, though it was connected. It also was not his magical core, though it was connected there too. No, it was something... Other. Something bigger that hurt so completely as it reached out and searched for Charlie and would only really settle when Charlie was with him.
Now that Harry really thought about it that something had been here ever since he had first met Charlie...
Could it be the Bond that they had told him about that was causing this? The one that had given him this new life?
Minerva McGonagall the new Headmistress and Protector of Hogwarts was livid.
Just how blind had she been to the guile of that old fool? How had she allowed such corruption to surround her and not realize?
One of the many things which had recently been uncovered being just how little that Dumbledore had actually done while he was Headmaster here.
Not only had most of his duties been passed onto her under the guise of being a Deputies duties but many of them had been ignored completely. It was going to take her days to get through all of the paperwork and charters to be able to get everything back in order. In fact, Minerva had actually reached out to the Ministry requesting for the usage of a time-turner in order to make sure that everything was settled appropriately for the next school year.
She had contracted a fleet of Goblin Ward Masters to cleanse and re-solidify the wards and school itself at the Sorting Hats recommendation. Now that she was bonded to the Three she was in touch with all of Hogwarts and she herself was rather disconcerted by the inky blackness which she could sense hiding within the school, leaving behind the peculiar feeling of tar upon her being...
Albus Dumbledore sat down to a late breakfast after a rather long and productive night of testing out his new dungeon setup.
Late last night he had managed to find a young rogue wolf whom he had managed to convince he wanted to help him. Having the 'unofficial' monicker of Lord of the Light was so very helpful to his more... Odious activities.
He could still hear those lovely sounds in his ears, the melodious screams, and sobs that had been pulled from the boy's throat, the sizzling crackle of burning flesh as he futilely tried to avoid skin contact with the pure silver of the cage. Poor boy would have had more luck if he had been allowed to keep any of his clothing of course...
Albus would need to find another young wolf to have fun with, one that wasn't as sickly as this one had been. Albus had barely gotten four hours out of the boy before his body had given out and he could no longer be revived.
With a content hum, Albus reached forward and shook open his newspaper. He had been waiting for news on his abandonment of the school for several days now but none had come. Perhaps Minerva had somehow managed to cover for him? Had his disappearance been attributed to Quirinus? No, surely those blasted portraits had told their tales about him, they never could resist the urge to gossip.
Perhaps there was still a chance for him to spin this in a way that would benefit him? He would have to think on it further later, perhaps a secret trip back to England would be for the best?
As he mused Dumbledore's eyes were absently drawn to the bottom of the page where a picture of the Puddlemere United quidditch team stood with two separate colored Jerseys between them. beside them was a picture of the National Gobstone finals with Wales and Hungarian representatives.
Hmm, why were these at the bottom of the page? Typically Thursdays were rather slow as far as to lead stories so these would be emblazoned across the entire first page of the Prophet.
Albus felt his blood run cool at the prospect, had it finally happened? Had they spread their vicious lies about him? Taking a breath to steel himself further Dumbledore slowly raised his eyes to the top of the page, anger boiling inside of him at the array of pictures and titles emblazoned on most of the page.
Albus Dumbledore Flees and Allows Boy-Who-Lived to be Assaulted! Is This the Gryffindor Courage He So Loves? There his boy was shown, green eyes glittering wonderfully as he smiled shyly at the camera, eyes full of love in a way that drove him to distraction as he continued to look desperately around the page.
Goblins and Aurors Working Together to Protect and SafeGuard Our Children! Is There New Hope For Goblin/Wizard CoOperation!? There sat a few photos of goblins and wizards standing side by side before the entrance of the Common Rooms, walking the perimeter of the castle on patrol, one of them rifling through his things in the Headmasters office while others freed the blasted hat!
Minerva McGonagall Becomes New 'Protector of Hogwarts'! Chosen and Designated by Hogwarts Herself!? How Does being a Protector Differ From Merely Being Headmistress? (Find Out More on Page 2!) Minerva, his best little pawn stood there, magic writhing around her with that blasted hat upon her head, the other staff behind her standing unified and happy. How dare those traitors!?
His rage boiling over he quickly crushed the paper into a ball as he rose with such power that his chair tumbled to the floor loudly.
Perhaps it was time that Albus reconnect with some of his old... Friends.
Dobby watched carefully as his Master stormed away. What had been in the paper to make his Master so angry?
Carefully creeping into the room Dobby made his way to the table and straightened the chair, grabbing his Masters' discarded breakfast and the paper before quickly going to the kitchen where the others waited. This had become their normal, where House Elves were always meant to work silently and invisibly, hardly ever being seen, they worked doubly hard to do so.
Being denied the use of their magic meant that they worked that much harder to stay out of sight of their Bad Master. They would do most of their work when he was gone or asleep, rarely showing themselves to him unless he called for them specifically. Some days they would be lucky and he would essentially forget about them completely. Unfortunately, those days happened when he had some other poor soul to focus on.
Placing the meal down to be dealt with in a moment Dobby scurried over to the small table and spread the paper out, smoothing the wrinkles with his hands as he took in the pictures on the page, the first thing that struck him being the young child with large green eyes that smiled up at him, eyes which were quite similar to his own.
With a shiver of fear, Dobby read on, determined to find out more about this boy. This boy who he was sure his Master saw in him...
The students had all left on the Express this morning yet the school was still bustling with activity. Throughout the grounds and school itself, Cursebreakers and Ward Masters were working on repairing the damage done to the wards and certain areas of the castle which had been neglected as well.
A large portion of the day so far had been spent on removing decades worth of unnecessary and rather harmful wards which only served to weaken the ward system as a whole. Compulsion wards, mass Obliviation wards, Loyalty and Trust wards, Notice Me Not and Confundous Charm riddled wards. There was even a hex placed upon the staff members! Low level enough to not be noticed but strong enough to bring sadness and misfortune to anything they did outside of the school. The hex, when directed at the DADA professor, was far stronger however and was effective in all aspects of their lives until they left the school.
It was no wonder that they couldn't keep a DADA professor! Damn Albus to hell for all that he's done!
Moving the stack of papers and scrolls that she had been going through off to the side Minerva quickly pulled out a fresh sheet of parchment and her pot of ink as she began to write yet another request of the Goblins, thanking Merlin that they had offered their services at a fraction of their usual fees. If she was lucky she would be able to handle these renovation costs using what was left in the school's maintenance vaults, yet another casualty of Albus' 'Greater Good' as he had misappropriated quite a bit of the school funds.
Minerva wanted to find out what would be necessary to have each of the students scanned, and cleansed of anything that could be wrong with them or any spells or charms upon their persons. She would also need to talk to Poppy about getting a Mind Healer on retainer for the children. Merlin, even some of the staff could benefit from a Mind Healer...
With a tired sigh, Minerva rubbed at her brows for a moment. There was still so much to do with more coming to light by the second. Thank Merlin she had received word this morning that Amelia had helped to expedite the process of getting her a time turner for the remainder of the summer to help get the affairs of Hogwarts back in order.
Harry jumped down from the train with a large smile, it had taken some doing to get Charlie and the others to let him ride home but he didn't want to miss any extra time with his friends.
Everyone was anxious for the summer after the last few days of being confined to their common rooms, the Express being exceedingly loud this trip as its inhabitants raced up and down the aisles to speak to each other.
Harry had found himself sequestered in a cabin with his brothers and friends, all of which were being rather overprotective of him at the moment. It was oddly... Refreshing to be loved and cared for so obviously.
The train ride back to London had been filled with plans for the summer and promises to remain in touch as well as the tentative hope of seeing each other again before the next school year.
So far most of their respective guardians had each been getting along and had been encouraging towards their friendships, though Draco's parents and Blaise's mother were slightly more hesitant.
Hopefully, they would be able to meet up to shop for their school supplies at least.
Focusing once again Harry moved swiftly through the crowd to where his family stood waiting for him with large smiles on their faces. Who would have thought a year ago that Harry's life would have turned out like this? Surrounded by love and happiness.
Authors Note: We made it! We have finally gotten through the first year! Whoo!
Thank you all for sticking with me and continuing to enjoy this story! I can't wait to see what you think about my next plot lines and surprises! :)
Below is a list of things that I believe some readers need to see or that I believe needs to be said, feel free to skip.
A quick note to my darling readers, this story is not now nor will it probably ever be abandoned. I do not abandon my works, even if it takes years for me to update. I am, unfortunately, at the mercy of my ever flighty muses and rather prone to losing chunks of time.
Also, a side note for those who do not like this story or who feel some odd sense of obligation to stay with this story until the end despite having a moral and personal dislike for the content, please feel free to leave and feel no guilt. I am in no way forcing you to stay here and read this. I actually do not want you to force yourself to read, only to complain about it or decisions that I make for the sake of the story.
I am an author who writes a wide variety of content. Some is really fluffy and sweet, some is super dark and messed up, most are a combination of the two. I do my best to add warnings and tags to help you decide for yourself which you want to try. Please keep that in mind. It breaks my heart when someone comments 30-40+ chapters in that they absolutely hate the story, why force yourself to read it? Please take care of yourself! Only read what interests you and that you like, don't force yourself to read through what you don't like. Life is too short to make yourself miserable that way.
I also feel the need to remind you that this is a work of fiction, it is not true, the characters are not real. And, because this seems to be hard for some to understand, I don't have to actually think and feel these things to be able to write them.
Okay, the author rant is over now, to those of you who enjoy any of my stories I am so happy that I can bring some amount of happiness or contentment to your day and I hope that you continue to enjoy!
Thank you my lovelies!