Disclaimer: Nobody knows the troubles I've seen, Nobody knows my sorrow. But I think everyone knows that Harry Potter isn't mine

Harry Potter and the Call to War!

Chapter 9: Uncertain Paths

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August 21st, Tuesday

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A Hogwarts shower, nothing like them. No matter how long you stay in the shower it always remains the perfect temperature. Never wavers a single degree, and seems to soothe all achy muscles within minutes.

The water rushed over Harry's body as he showered for the fifth time. Now back at Hogwarts he had settled into a small guest room near the teachers quarters. It had only been 4 or 5 ours since they had left the battleground. Most returned to Hogwarts, though some went off on their own ways. Part of his mind wondered where Hagrid was. Hopefully the half giant would get a chance to speak with his mother. Harry didn't blame Hagrid for not returning with the rest. If he had been given a chance to see his mother he would leap at it in a moment.

From the moment Harry port keyed back to the castle he was caught up in a whir of people. Apparently Sirius was quite successful in contacting those Dumbledore needed. The castle was alive with guests arriving for a alumni meeting scheduled for just before the start of term. It would be interesting to see what Dumbledore would say to all these people to gain the support he was after. Still, Harry had chosen to go to his room instead of mingling with the large crowd that was continually growing.

So Harry stole away through a secret passage so as not to be noticed and made his way to the room set aside for him. The castle seemed gloomier, almost like a cloud had settled over it, or maybe it was only he who saw the reality around him. Perhaps the castle itself was telling him it didn't want him there, this was fine with him because this was one of the last places he wanted to be. It's not that he didn't love Hogwarts, he just wasn't ready to go back to living a closed in life. If he had learned anything about himself this summer, it was that he had a taste for a traveling life. Probably because of his confinement at the Dursley's, but for now he just wanted to be out in the open.

He hung his sword off one of the posts on his bed, then began to unpack his small pack. His trunk had already been brought ahead of him and was at the base of the bed in the small room. Harry set his tattered and blood soaked robes to the side so a house elf could attempt to clean the retched stench out of the previously new garments. He came across the small medal badge that had been presented to him after the battle and cringed. It was stained reddish bronze from the blood of it's previous owner. Harry hung it by the mirror and after catching a look at his appearance he choose to take a shower.

That is where we find him now, trying to clean away memories as well as stains. He had already made his decision that he wouldn't be able to stay at Hogwarts. At least not throughout the whole year. He had duties to attend to, both in the giant world and the magical world. Soon he would be going into a debriefing meeting with Dumbledore. He would inform the Headmaster afterwards of his plans. The fact that he had completed his Apparation training would aid him in his travels. He only hoped the Headmaster would not object.

Harry shut the water off and reentered his bedroom. The House Elves had already had a go at some of his clothes. Some had returned, others had not. Harry threw on a pair of green travel robes and dried his hair. He secured his wand onto his gloves and pulled on his boats. He was about to leave for the debriefing when the door opened before he could reach it.

Sirius Black and Remus Lupin entered the room and blocked Harry's path. Remus seemed to have a apologetic look on his face but Sirius had one that demanded answers.

"All right Harry, It's time we talked about this. What were you thinking? Dumbledore sent you to stay out of trouble, not to put yourself in harms way. That was very foolish of you to just go off like that." Harry's scowl stopped Sirius from ranting. Harry had already reasoned that Dumbledore had tried to keep him out of trouble. Instead, however, he had placed him directly in the path once more. Frankly Harry was beginning to doubt Dumbledore's motives over everything.

"Don't start with me Sirius, I was doing what I deemed best." And it was for the best, he had protected the dwarves, even if Voldemort had attained his goal.

"Harry don't you realize that we're just trying to protect you. We just want you to live a care free childhood like ours." Now Harry was becoming seriously pissed off, and all the while Remus stayed silent and backed away from the two.

"Well I guess your a bit late for that now aren't you? I can take care of myself Sirius, I don't need someone looking over my shoulder. As for a childhood, your a bit late for that as well." Sirius through his hands in the air in frustration.

"Harry, I can't let you put yourself at risk like that. I forbid you from getting involved again." Who was he to forbid him from doing anything.

"Just who do you think you are Sirius Black. You have no right to tell me to do anything."

"I'm your godfather, that's what right I have. I'm only doing what's best for you." Now there voices had reached a yelling decibel.

"No, you gave up that right a long time ago Sirius. You gave up that right when you left me with the Dursley's." Remus cringed a bit, they were getting into areas that he knew really bothered Harry. He knew that Sirius shouldn't open this can, both Harry and Sirius would only get hurt from it.

"I was in hell for goodness sake. What did you expect me to do?" Now there was no backing down, it was time they got this out in the open.

"You were in hell? That's right and my life was just peachy. You think you lived through nightmares? My every God damn day was a bloody nightmare. You lived in a cell, well I lived in a bloody cupboard. You think you got starved, I was lucky to get a meal once every four days. I spent my life being told I was a worthless freak, that my parents were freaks. That I was worthless, and should be grateful for the treatment I got because I deserved worse. The Dursley's were my Dementors, only I couldn't escape you bastard. I couldn't up and decide to leave. So screw you Sirius Black!" Sirius looked a bit taken back, but he wasn't going to back down either.

"What did you want me to do, come and rescue you? I lived my life blaming myself for what happened to your parents! My best friend dies and I blamed myself. You don't know what it's like to feel responsible for the death of someone you love." Though Sirius was angry you could tell he was close to breaking down.

"You don't think I blame myself, You don't think I feel responsible for the deaths of my parents, for Cedric, for all the others Voldemort decides to kill. It's my blood in his veins and damn you to hell if you don't think I feel just as guilty as you for every person he kills. For every family he destroys. You want to talk about guilt, let's talk about the things you are responsible for. You should feel guilty about leaving your last friend to believe that he was alone. That he had no one left to look to every month. You owed it to him to tell him the truth even if you felt guilty. You should feel guilty for leaving your responsibility, your god child alone in the world with no one to turn to. Those are the lives you ruined Sirius. Those are the lives you had a chance to save but threw it away. And yeah I would have wanted you to come and rescue me. But instead of breaking out for me or Remus you broke out for Pettigrew. You broke out because you wanted revenge on the bloody rat. I would have gone with you even if I didn't know you were my godfather. You made your choice with what you wanted then, you can't change it now. You aren't in any position to tell me what to do." Sirius let his head fall to his chest. The both of them had been defeated and hurt.

"I didn't think that I deserved to be in either of your lives. But that doesn't mean I didn't want to protect you Harry. If things hadn't happened the way they did that night I would have killed Pettigrew and left right then. God Harry, I may not deserve it but I want to be able to protect you. I need to make it up to James, I need to make it up to you."

"We're never going to have a normal relationship. But perhaps we can build from where we are. You just have to respect my wishes as I will try to respect yours. If you want to try and protect me then fine, but realize that I am still going to do what I have to. You'll just have to try to work with me instead of forbidding me all together. I meant it when I said I would come with you Sirius, I think I still would. But unless we're going to actually spend time together I don't think I want to be around you. I can't live with just a letter here and there, I just can't do that anymore. Either your going to be a large part of my life Sirius or your not going to be in it at all. That's the only deal I can offer to you." Remus anxiously awaited Sirius's decision.

"Harry I don't know if I deserve to be a big part of your life. If that's all your offering than I'm going to try I guess." Harry looked directly into his godfathers eyes.

"I don't want you to try, either you do or you don't" Harry turned and took his sword off the bedpost and left for the Headmaster's office.

"Well, that went about as well as I expected." Remus stood up and walked to Sirius.

"Remus, why doesn't he understand?" Remus shook his head, Sirius wasn't prepared for what he got into at all.

"He doesn't need a parent right now Sirius, he needs a friend."

"But he's my godson, I shouldn't let him get into danger like that." Remus turned towards the door.

"Do you think he wants you to put yourself at risk. He doesn't have that many people to begin with. But he understands that something's just have to be done. That there are risks that must be taken." Sirius just shook his head.

"I just couldn't bare to loose him." Remus turned and put his hand on his friends shoulder.

"I know, I don't know if I could bare to loose him either. You just got to be able to have faith that he can take care of himself." Sirius and Remus left the room through a secret passage to the meeting with the headmaster.

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The gateway to the Headmaster's office opened without a password when Harry approached it. The Headmaster had told it to allow certain people through for the meeting he had prepared. When he reached the top of the spiral staircase he pushed to doors open and entered the Headmasters office. Several chairs had been set out for the meeting, but none of them were currently occupied.

Harry chose one in the back of the room, concealed in the shadows of the firelight so that he could watch those who entered the room with out them seeing him unless they looked for him.

Within five minutes Arthur Weasley, and several heads of various departments that Harry vaguely recognized entered the room and took seats near the front of the room. Than came Remus Lupin followed by Sirius Black under the same disguise he had used during the battle. Next to enter the room was Severus Snape. The sneering potions teacher surveyed the room and then took a seat on the opposite side of Lupin and Black. A dwarf came next, one who Harry vaguely remembered seeing on the battlefield. The next was a man Harry didn't recognize, but he could already tell the man knew how to handle himself.

Still, the one man Harry expected to see in the debriefing, Albus Dumbledore, was strangely absent. Groups began to talk together and Harry did his best to ease drop, he even went as far as casting a sensory charm to hear better, but it seemed some of them were using charms to hide their conversations.

Fifteen minutes later to entrance opened and in walked a noticeably weary Headmaster. The older man made his way to his desk and sat down. Harry noticed that the twinkle had disappeared from the Headmasters eyes.

"I am sorry for the delay, but I received some bad news that had to be verified. I will be quite frank, the battle we fought was more than just a attempt to obtain a item that Voldemort wanted. It was in fact a cover for a even larger attack led by Voldemort himself. At the onset of the battle it has been confirmed that Voldemort left. At the time we didn't know the purpose. Now we know, while our forces were diverted Voldemort led several thousand of the strange beasts encountered in the mountains on a invasion of main land Europe. I have confirmed that most of mainland France has fallen. The French ministry is in ruins, pockets of resistance are scattered throughout the country. Most of Frances forces have fallen back to Beauxbatons school of magic and other defensible strongholds. They have begun to fortify structures with additional wards and seal them off from Voldemorts forces. Luckily the fighting has stayed inside magical areas. Though certain sections of Muggle France have been declared unsafe." Instantly most of the room was on their feet, asking what was to be done. Harry stayed seated, he knew that there was really nothing they could do. Not in this stage at least.

"Unfortunately we cannot offer aid at the moment. We do not have the forces available, nor are we prepared for this." Arthur Weasley stood and Dumbledore acknowledged him.

"What of the ministries, certainly someone has offered some support?" A general murmur of agreement follow the statement.

"Unfortunately that is not the case. Voldemort did not come into the open therefore not only hasn't our ministry acknowledged the threat, they have released a statement proclaiming this a non international emergency. Because these unique creatures have only publicly been reported in France most other countries are following suit." This did bother Harry, not only did they not acknowledge Voldemort's return, they chose to offer no help whatsoever.

"What is to be done Albus?" Harry didn't envy Dumbledore one bit, this was a decision that only a leader could truly appreciate.

"We must wait and see. It will be up to the French to openly petition for international assistance. Until then, I don't see us being able to make a move one way or another." No one liked this answer, but they knew that Albus knew what he was doing. Harry's thoughts turned to Madam Maxime, she would have left for her school the second she reached Hogwarts. She would have arrived at the beginning of the attack. Hopefully she was safe at her school.

"We have other matters to discuss. It is my pleasure to introduce, Samuel Stonecutter, the dwarves have been kind enough to send him to answer any questions as well as shed some light upon Voldemort's activity's. So I turn this over to him."

The burly dwarf stood and Harry noticed that he wasn't the only one to bring a weapon to the meeting. The dwarf had brought a battle ax along with him.

"First, I would like to give thanks to all of you from the Dwarves of Tavin's Hall. We are in your debt for aiding us. We would also like to give a special thanks to the emissary of the giants." The dwarf gave Harry a nod, and Harry returned one. Many in the room turned and got there first look at him since the battle. Many wondered if it was wise allowing a child into a important meeting. Then their thought would turn to wondering whether a child could still be considered a child after doing the things they saw this one do.

Severus Snape smirked a bit when he saw the boy. Potter had definitely tasted life. You could see it in the eyes. They still had there depth and luster, but the intensity in them had been driven to new heights. They were eyes that could turn deathly cold if need be. Eyes that could detach themselves from what they were doing, severing sympathy altogether. Eyes that have seen blood. This was no child anymore, he was a man.

"I have been sent to inform you of the object that was stolen. They were after a map that had been entrusted to us for longer than our history records. There once was a organization for the sole purpose of protecting magical artifacts that couldn't fall into the worlds hands. Objects that brought to much of a risk for evil that it out weighed the good. Very few know what that map portrayed the location of, and none have laid eyes on that map since it's creation. The order ,after hiding the object and creating the map, used strong memory charms to erase knowledge of it's location. Then they entrusted the map to us." One of the department heads threw his hands in the air.

"So that's it then, You Know Who is on his way to claiming a object of great power and no one knows where he is." The dwarf scowled at the man till he sat back down.

"As I was saying before I was rudely interrupted. They entrusted the map to us, however before doing so they cast a spell over the map so that it wouldn't reveal itself except on the first minute of the first hour of each new year. On that minute you must expose the map to the direct light of the moon. The moonlight will then make the map visible for one day. Traditionally we would seal the gates of the mountain so it wouldn't even be a temptation, but now the map has fallen into evil hands. The map will on that night reveal the location of the black dragon helm." Most in the room stared at the man in confusion. However the man Harry didn't recognize stood up.

"The black dragon helm, that's just a myth. The tale of the helm that could awaken the sleeping black dragon army is just a superstition." Albus waved the man back to his seat.

"If what you say is true than we must get that map back, or at least find the helm before Voldemort does. I will have some people begin researching this immediately. Those who can should begin searching the Ministry archives for information. I believe I once heard of another way to find the helm, I will look into that as well." There was a general murmur of agreement as people considered what had been said. The man who had voiced his opinion gave Dumbledore a skeptical look.

"Now I believe it timely for those involved to begin there reports from the battlefield."

While they began to give accounts of what Harry watched from above Harry began to ponder what he had learned. The helm seemed important, but there was more going on then just that. It wasn't the immediate danger. The fact that Voldemort now had free reign to develop his army unchecked was just as big a threat. Dragon army or no dragon army, Voldemort had gained a foothold in magical Europe.

This war would be drastically different from the previous. They were now fighting a land battle. No longer would it be terrorist style attacks. Voldemort could now gather armies and launch full scale attacks. Even more dangerous was that they were fighting two wars at the same time. The big war against Voldemort, and the small war against Voldemort's supporters who had placed themselves in positions to thwart any opposition. As long as people like Lucius Malfoy had power there would be no hope of victory. Someone would have to remedy that.

Yet when they talked about the helm, something rumbled within him. Almost as if some part of him growled when they mentioned it.

Harry caught snatches of the conversations and noticed they had reached the point when he had charged. Dumbledore turned to him expectantly so he began to tell them how he had gotten word that Voldemort would be moving. He explained his tactical planing and how he had chosen to wait until it was in his advantage to attack. Nobody questioned why he had become the emissary to the giants so he assumed Remus had already explained. Harry told them of his communications with the dwarves and how he organized the assault. Then after he finished with his field commands he gave Dumbledore a look that said he was finished.

He didn't really want to talk about it that much. At the time it was something that had to be done, there is no need to revel in the fact that you took an other's life. He wouldn't discuss how he killed so many out there. They knew what they needed to know, nothing more.

The meeting continued on till everyone had told their version of the events that transpired the previous few days. Dumbledore sat patiently until he decided it was time to end the meeting.

"I thank you all for gathering, I trust most of you will be remaining in the castle. So, if I have further need I will summon you at that time." Everyone took their cue to leave and filtered out of the room. Now only Harry and the man he didn't recognize remained. Harry waited for this man to speak to Dumbledore again. He would gather whatever he could.

"Albus, I urge you again, we must take control of the forces in the ministry. Especially now that He Who Must Not Be Named has gained control of France. We cannot afford to stand with a divided force. We must .. remove.. those that could potentially hurt our cause." The Headmaster just shook his head.

"I have told you once David, we must not act so harshly. You are here to teach defense to the students, allow me to worry about Voldemort for now." The man Harry now knew was the defense teacher stormed out of the room.

Harry stood from his chair and lifted the sword back onto his back, then he approached his Headmaster.

"Ah! Mr. Potter, I am glad to see you are well. I must also say Mr. Lupin has informed me of your exploits in the mountains. I am quite surprised and pleased by the turn of events. Although perhaps it would be best if you hand the sword to another. The sword." Harry wouldn't allow the Headmaster to do this. Something inside him was furious that he would even dare separate him from the sword. So he finished the Headmasters statement for him.

"stays with me." Harry's words carried a finality that Dumbledore usually used. The Headmaster gave a great sigh.

"I had already assumed that would be your answer, though I hoped to dissuade you from that particular path. Very Well. Is there anything else I can help you with." Harry hadn't expected the Headmaster to acquiesce so easily. Still, now that he had the advantage he would use it.

"I have decided that I won't be beginning at the start of term. Perhaps I will return during the year, but I don't think this is the place for me right now. Don't get me wrong Hogwarts is my home, I just.. I need to do some things on my own right now." The Headmasters smile had faded and he turned serious.

"I'm not sure I can allow what your asking Mr. Potter. It is dangerous right now and I need you where I can ensure your protection." Harry shook his head.

"I wasn't asking for your permission. However, is there anyway I can work this out with you?" Harry was willing to work with the Headmaster, as long as they came to a mutual agreement.

"Well, the school work would be tough. Still, Remus has informed me that you worked diligently this summer and are already quite ahead of your year mates in certain areas. Perhaps if you came back to Hogwarts at least once a month for equivalency tests we might be able to keep you in attendance. As I cannot stop you from leaving, though I would prefer you to stay, you may be able to work on something for me." Now Harry had caught what the old man was doing. Dumbledore would give in to the request to leave for awhile, but he would be used once more in exchange.

"Fine." Harry made sure the headmaster knew he wasn't pleased with the arrangement, but that he would submit anyway.

"Very well, then let me first give you this." The Headmaster pulled a small ring box out of his desk. Inside was a plan gold band.

"I give this to all my agents in the field, it is a way that you could be alerted in case you are needed to be recalled without drawing suspicion. It is useful for operatives who are in ..sensitive.. locations." Harry inwardly groaned, just what had he gotten himself into.

"It will begin to glow to the wearers eyes only when it is activated. It has no tracing or port key charms on it at all, so it will offer you no defense. Many areas are warded to detect devices caring tracing charms or port keys. Now on to business." Finally he would cut to the chase.

"I have given two other agents orders to locate and capture a death eater that is very important to us. Generally I would not include you into something as dangerous as this. But your prior knowledge of the situation allows us to cut out unnecessary explanations." Even though the Headmaster was using him, Harry almost jumped for joy. He would be working with his godfather as well as good friend.

"Sir will I be working with Sirius and Remus? And am I correct in assuming we'll be after Petigrew?" The Headmaster smiled a bit.

"First I can neither confirm nor deny that Sirius or Remus are the to agent. This is for security reasons you must understand. As long as I don't tell you specifically who the other agents are you can't identify them under truth serum or spell. You will not be working with the agents per say. It will be your job to cover our agents while conducting a investigation of your own. You will be give Profiles for the agents containing three pictures in each profile. The agents will be using Poly Juice, and as I'm sure your aware of that potion so I will not explain. The hairs come from six living people so you will be able to truthfully not Know for sure if the agents are agents or the real people. I know this may seem a bit much, but secrecy is pivotal. The agents will be leaving in two days after the assembly which I expect you to attend." Harry nodded and accepted the two folders given to him.

"I included the rough ideas where information can be gathered as well as where you may be able to locate the other two agents. If a emergency occurs the agents will send a distress signal. That distress signal will also activate your ring if it is within a preset proximity. If that occurs your ring will glow red. That is all, I expect you to be prepared for this by the time you leave." Harry nodded and then left the office to begin going over the information given to him.

Only now did he realize the size of the task set before him. Not only was he responsible for keeping up with his school work, he would have to cover two agents as well as investigate on his own. He would be very busy.

Harry walked into the hallway while contemplating what was set before him. It would be tough keeping up with his class but he was up to the task. Actually he learned better out of the classroom.

"He doesn't really get it, you know." Harry spun around, his wand in hand and pointed at who ever was behind him. When he recognized the DADA teacher he let his guard back down.

"And what would 'it' be?" The teacher pushed off from the wall and Harry took the moment to size him up. He was in much better shape than Moody, and he moved like he knew how to handle himself. HE had medium length brown hair and stood around six foot.

" 'It' would be the fact that we don't stand a chance. At least not with enemies in our midst. Sabotaging us from the inside while we do our best with cut resources." Harry understood what the man was talking about. Still, Dumbledore always had a plan and reason, even if he tended to use people to get it accomplished.

"Perhaps, but what would you have him do about it?" The teacher gave Harry a sizing look than continued. Perhaps it was the fact that he had a large weapon strapped to his back, but people seemed to treat him more like the adult he was.

"I can tell something about you Potter. It's in your mannerisms actually, your a man of action. You don't like to sit back, you like to be in the thick of things making the difference." The teacher stared at him for a moment longer and then continued.

"In the olden days when kings and dukes controlled provinces they had similar problems. Nobility would arise and under law be untouchable. So sometimes, when the nobility was away from the watchful eye of those in charge they would mistreat or take advantage of the commoners and their position. Since nobility was above the law, the commoners would petition the king for king's justice. Now the kings justice was silent justice. He would send his chosen man to investigate, and if something was found amiss, it would be that man's job to administer punishment. Whatever that might be. This way the commoners gained justice and the nobility was spared the tarnished reputation." Harry caught the mans drift, and he wasn't entirely sure he disagreed. There were all to many untouchables in high positions. Those who walked around hurting people, but the law didn't apply for them.

"What your talking about sounds like a assassins work?"

"Sometimes justice doesn't come in normal forms, sometimes rules must be bent to keep the piece. Sometimes silent justice is better than no justice at all." Harry nodded in agreement.

"I can't say I disagree with you." In truth, Harry thought the world needed someone who would dirty their hands so that others could be spared. Perhaps if someone would have gotten involved Tom Riddle wouldn't have been able to gain such a foothold through his servants.

"Still, In this day and age it is hard to find such men of action. Good day Mr. Potter." As the teacher walked off Harry was left to wonder if he knew what the teacher had implied. Did he actually suggest Harry be that man. That would be something he'd have to think about. Was he even trained enough to do that?

Harry returned to his quarters and hung his sword by the bed. If Dumbledore expected him to leave directly after the meeting than he would have to prepare ahead of time. After reading one of the various books he read during the summer he already had a good idea what equipment he could use. Which meant that he would have to make a trip to Diagon Alley.

After setting the file on a desk in the room he began to sift through the maps papers and pictures in the folder. There were numerous information contacts and possible locations to go through. He hung the six pictures on a board set up by the wall, then he began setting up the maps. He didn't want to take this into information into the field so he would memorize all he could before leaving.

Since most were recovering from the events of the last few days, Harry chose to use this time to make his trip to the Alley. After checking the name of equipment supplier on the contact list, Harry set off for the Apparition zone outside the castle gates.

He collected a green cloak that matched his travel robes and made sure that the hood covered his face. Then he used a handy charm to shadow his features. The charm was meant to dim lights, but Remus had begun showing him how to alter charms to suit his needs. Just this summer he was using this charm to hide rope snares and traps set up for catching food.

After knocking on a door, that pretends to be a wall, 32 times the thing decided to open and allow him passage. You could never really tell how many times you'd have to knock with this particular passage. Sometimes it was quicker just to take the normal way. The record before it opened, that is before most people give up, is 593 knocks. However, it does bring you directly down to just off the entrance hall.

Harry pushed open the door and stepped out into the fresh air. It's amazing how sweet air can smell when it's not tainted with blood. A quick walk to the Apparition zone and Harry was ready to make his first real Apparition. Oh, he'd done it across clearings, but this was a bit further. Harry took a moment to focus and then worked the self transfiguration. With a small pop, Harry was scattered into thousands of tiny bits, traveling at the speed of light. With another pop he found himself outside the entrance to Knockturn Alley.

He received several glances from back to school crowd. It seemed that even if Fudge was hushing Voldemort's return some people where being more wary of dark strangers. Harry began his walk down the outskirts of the shady streets of Knockturn Alley.

Knockturn Alleys small streets had a perpetual layer of grim and it seemed that a cloud had decided to take up residence directly over it. The people that frequented it's streets were those you wouldn't like to run into at night. Not that you'd want to run into them at all. Still, in his dark robes, Harry fit in with the other shady characters who gathered here.

After passing by a rather over priced stand selling vampire tooth Harry came to a little shop without a name. Many of the shops down Knockturn Alley didn't have names. After all one didn't simply browse Knockturn Alley. Harry read the little sign in the window.

Unusual Supplies- No Questions Asked

Harry pushed the door open and was surprised with what he saw. It wasn't the strange gadets that drew his attention, nor was it the strange aroma of garlic. It was the identical red headed boys standing at the counter arguing with the attendant.

"Now see here, we agreed on 30 galleons. Not a knut more or less. You can't just go around changing the price." The one who Harry thought was Fred shouted.

"50 galleons is simply to much. I mean, South African skunk cabbage is hard to come by, but not that hard to come by." Harry grimaced a bit after George spoke. How much skunk cabbage were they planning to buy, and just what was South African skunk cabbage. Whatever it was, it didn't sound like it smelled good.

"Look, it cost me extra to get the stuff through customs. Besides, if your not willing to pay I can find someone else." Fred just snickered.

"Yeah right, who are you going to get to buy 90 kg of South African skunk cabbage." Harry stepped forward and the man at the counter noticed him.

"Step aside you two and allow a real customer with real money to come forward." The twins stepped back and shot the store clerk a dirty look.

"Beautiful day isn't it?" The man's attention was grabbed and he gave Harry his full attention.

"It's always cloudy in Knockturn Alley." The man replied.

"And there are even darker clouds on the horizon." The man nodded and then turned back to the twins.

"You'll have to leave, I have business to attend to." The twins now looked incredibly put off, but Harry interrupted.

"No, no, that's fine. Besides, these two aren't the ones you want to be messing with." The twins gave him a suspicious look. They could almost tell his voice, but it seemed out of place. The clerk turned back to the twins. He considered them for a moment then pulled two crates out from behind the desk. The crates gave off a awful stench even though they seemed to be spelled to keep the odor in.

"Fine, 30 galleons." The twins handed over a small satchel and, after giving Harry one last curious look, they took their crates. Now that the twins were gone the clerk turned back to Harry.

"The names Rex, though I don't expect you'll give me yours. What'll it be?" Harry thought for a moment.

"I'll need a locate and capture package, and probably a level 4 surveillance package." The man nodded and brought two leather brief cases out.

"Both cases are fully warded and should pass most standard scans, Muggle and magical. Anything else?" Harry thought for a moment.

"I'll need a tracking potion and locator amulet to go along with it. It can not be detected, that is imperative. I don't mind sacrificing range to increase secrecy. I'll need it to last for as long as possible." The man pondered Harry's request.

"The duration will be the tough part. Most tracking potions with a duration that long have to be given in a high potency level. That jeopardizes the secrecy, not to mention I don't think you want them to know they've taken it. How about a self replicating addition, yes that would do the trick. Only side effect is a increased appetite and cravings for anchovies." After leaving the front he came back with a small vile of a clear liquid and a small amulet.

"This'll due, it's indistinguishable except through a body fluid scan. Integrates within the cells and uses their reproductive abilities to replicate itself. Lasts for up to two months before the body rejects it. It'll give you about a two mile range. Make sure to get a sample of the persons DNA after ingestion. Anything will do. Hair is probably the easiest to get a hold of. Just insert it into the amulet." Harry gave the man a brief nod and took the small vial and amulet. The amulet itself was nothing more that a small jar on a string with a crystal imbedded in the center. He slid the vial into a small leather hip case and tucked the amulet in as well.

"What do you have in the way of disguises?" He didn't really think he needed anything, but he wanted to be prepared.

"I have about five doses of poly juice in store." Harry had him add this to the order and then slid that into the small hip case also.

"You know who to bill this to correct." The man nodded and Harry took the two briefcases of the counter. He turned and headed towards the door. Still, he could hear the shop keep speaking as he left.

"Honestly, sometimes it seems the good guys are as unsavory as the bad ones." Harry had to suppress a grin, if he only knew.

Harry exited the shop and made his way down the alley when two men stopped him. They were much taller then him and one seemed to be missing several teeth.

"What yah got there? Mind if we have a look? Mind if we take whatever we want? Don't see it making any difference one way or another."

Harry took a step back and assesed his options. He couldn't call for help as he was in Knockturn Alley and most likely he'd just call more attackers. He couldn't Apparate because the alley was well warded to protect it's inhabitants. And he couldn't run because that's just not really that much fun.

"Of course you know that I can't just let you take my packs. Your welcome to try though." The two men smiled and Harry inclined his head.

"You want it so much? Take it!" With that Harry threw the two cases at the man on the left.

Unprepared for the attack, the man was caught off guard. The cases struck him hard in the stomach and he was unable to draw his wand. Harry summoned a fallen pipe to him and struck out at the other man. The heavy metal pipe struck him in the shoulder and he stumbled to the left. While distracted Harry kicked the other man in the groin and grabbed the cases before he dropped them. A bright white light struck his shoulder and searing pain coursed through his body, but Harry had learned to ignore the inconvenience. He felt the battle rage try to overwhelm him, but he suppressed it for fear of what he might do. Spells flew through Harry's mind, but only one would be perfect for now. In an instant he had it and shouted the incantation. A invisible force ripped through the small alleyway dragging debris and street tiles behind it. The force past the two men, leaving them unharmed, but the storm of debris that followed was not as innocuous. Bricks and stones showered the two men, pelting each of them with new pain. A particulars large brick slammed into one mans stomach and he collapsed to his knees. Harry leapt at the man and spring boarded off his prostrated form. Flinging his feet forward he slammed into the other man. The toothless stranger took the full impact of Harry's weight and toppled into a stand selling various questionable potion ingredients. The scent of burning flesh indicated that some of those ingredients weren't safe to handle. The man leapt to his feet to clear himself of the debris only to find that Harry had reacquired the pipe once more, and it was being swung at his face. The pipe made contact and bones snapped under the force. The man fell to the ground and stopped moving, blood dripping from his battered face which was no longer recognizable. Harry wasn't prepared for the other man to charge into him from behind. He slammed into Harry's back and forced him against the wall. The man slammed Harry's head once against the wall before he could react. Harry kicked up and put his feet on the wall. Then he pushed off sending the man falling onto his back and Harry on top of him. Harry grouped for the fallen pipe then straddled the fallen man. He pressed the pipe against the mans throat until he finally stopped moving.

Harry arose and gathered his cases, It was almost humorous to note that no one had given them any notice during their skirmish. Then again, it was probably a common occurrence here. Harry could tell that his shoulder was injured and sticky with blood, but not bad enough to warrant not being able to finish his shopping.

Back in Diagon Alley Harry was preparing to make his usual school rounds when the thought that he wouldn't be going to school struck him. Well there would still be various supplies he'd need. He'd need to refill his potions kits as well as gather some other useful ingredients for whatever could come up while in the field. He'd also need to at least pick up the course books so he could make sure he was caught up. He didn't have to get school robes as he wasn't planning to be attending school for at least another few months.

So with this in mind Harry set off to gather what he'd need outside of his mission. In a few hours he had his supplies. Surprisingly everyone wanted him out of their stores as quickly as possible. Perhaps more people than he assumed was taking Dumbledore's advice.

***

August 23rd Saturday

***

Harry had barricaded himself in his room for the past two days. No one entered the room those two days. However the reasons for no one entering were completely different from the reason he didn't come out.

The reason he chose not to come out was because he was busy preparing. He had fully familiarized himself with his equipment as well as all prevalent information surrounding his targets. The reason no one entered was because of the paper printed the day after the battle.

Moving pictures of a man, once thought of as a boy, charging down the face of a mountain. Even in the pictures he was a thing to be taken seriously. Though he was leading giants he seemed to be filled with a presence larger than they. Other pictures of the carnage wrought by the boy and his avenging force were enough turn many appetites. Of course the article that was written dramatized a already dramatic event. Rita had covered up something and exaggerated others.

She wrote that Dumbledore had fought these strange beasts to a stand still. Leaving out the fact that Dumbledore was forced into full retreat. Than she wrote of how the boy had lead an allied party into the heart of the enemy to drive them off.

Still, not all worked in favor. Do to no clear pictures of actual humans in the enemy camp, they could not point the finger at death eaters. The minister was still capable of shooting any claims of you know who's return as rumor.

But another good thing had come of this. The fact that the creatures were spotted attacking outside France made them a official international threat. France was however mostly lost. So the International Confederation of Wizarding Nations (ICWN) had officially declared a emergency. The only nation not in agreement was Britain, and with Fudge in charge this was no surprise. Still the majority had won and plans were being implemented. As of 12:00 tonight France would be considered a no travel zone. All Apparition in and out of France would be prohibited. Port keys would be blocked as well as all other forms of magical transportation. A boarder line would be maintained surrounding France on both land and sea. All magical creatures would be stopped and checked. Also a plan for the evacuation as well as to deliver supplies to resistance would begin.

As for the public reaction, it was quite mixed. Some felt confident that the ministry would handle the situation. Others ignored it because it wasn't affecting them directly. In Harry's case, no one really knew how to react. So they just didn't get involved. Those who knew Harry that stayed in the castle had been mostly briefed on the battle so they knew what happened with Harry. They chose to not say anything about it. As for Remus and Sirius, they had choose not to bring the paper to Harry's attention. Luckily Harry's friends still thought he was unable to be reached, so they hadn't attempted to write to him. If they knew that this would be the last day they would be able to reach him for awhile he would have been swamped with letters. Probably howlers from some of the woman in his life.

So Harry remained blissfully unaware of the rest of the Wizarding world being informed to some degree of what happened in the mountains.

Dumbledore gave Harry a synopsis of what he would need to know. Harry was pleasantly surprised that he at least knew a vast majority of the concepts if not the spells. So, he had shrunk most of his book and placed them in a travel pack. He strapped the two briefcases to his pack and prepared to bring them down to the main hall with him. The sword would have to stay, it wasn't something he could take with him. It would bring to much attention to him. Especially on a mission that would bring him to areas that it was best to blend in at. Instead he had acquired two large daggers. The blades were sleek and slim and were about as long as his finger tips to elbow. The technique for fighting with these blades was vastly different from what he was used to, but they were more then adept for stealthy work. They were hidden in small scabbards attached behind him. They ran horizontal on his waste line, this way one handle faced left and the other right.

He was dressed in his red battle robes in full gear. The blades were camouflaged well behind his back, and his pack was on his back. After placing his bag in a small alcove near the entrance to the great hall he placed a notice me not spell to keep attention away from the packages. Then he entered the great hall.

The great hall was alive with more people than Harry had ever met before. There were to many wizards to count gathered in the hall. In fact it seemed that the hall had been lengthened to hold the extra wizards. They all seemed so happy to be seeing each other again. It was almost to bad it wouldn't last, the reason for this meeting was much more serious than a simple reunion. Some kept glancing at him and then attracting their groups attention. It seemed that many of the eyes in the room had been trained on him.

Dumbledore spotted him and beckoned towards the front. Harry complied with the Headmaster and found himself seated at the head table next to his disguised godfather.

A/N- Sirius is not currently using poly juice. Just various disguising spells.

"Have any idea when this mad house will begin?" Harry asked his godfather.

"Not a clue, I almost feel like I should be hiding. Dumbledore told me something disturbing this morning." Harry knew this would come up eventually, but he chose to play dumb. He had other things that he had to focus on. Like opening his small side case so that he could drug Sirius. Being able to track his godfather would make his job a hell of a lot easier. Even if he was bending what Dumbledore had told him about keeping the identity of the other two agents vague. This was his best way to keep a eye on his queries.

"Oh really? Would it have anything to do with my not returning?" Sirius turned his head to look in Dumbledore's direction. While he looked away Harry slipped most of the vials contents into his godfathers drink, then slipped the vial with the remainder back into the pouch.

"Look, Dumbledore said he couldn't tell me what you were doing so I won't push you. Just.be careful for me. If something happens to you I won't be able to keep my promise, will I?" Harry smiled a bit, he looked forward to spending time with his godfather. Sirius took a sip from his goblet and Harry watched him take the trace potion. Now all he need to do would be to swab the glass, or take a hair, or even a toe nail clipping would do. Harry waited for Sirius to look away, then he used a quick flick of one of his knives to snitch some hair.

All in all it went off with out a hitch, he would now be fully aware of his godfathers location. Now he could dedicate most of his time to tracking down Wormtail.

Soon Dumbledore had hushed the crowd and shown them to their seats. When all had turned their attentions to him he began.

"I am glad to see so many familiar faces once more. I am only sorry that this couldn't be under better circumstances. As many of you have read, a new threat has risen. This knew threat comes in hand with a old enemy. Despite what the minister has declared I firmly believe that Voldemort has arisen. Worse yet, he is in command of these strange creatures we know so little about. Only through the combined efforts of many dedicated wizards and our allies were we able to claim some small victory over Voldemort. Now I need to issue a call to arms. A call to those who are willing to fight for the future, for their children's future. I do not wish to pressure you now. But I do hope to know who I can count on by the 1st of September. Please think carefully on what part you will have in shaping the future." Harry was amazed how Dumbledore could drop such a bombshell and expect everyone to just go back to happy chatter. Still everyone did eventually begin to eat the prepared meal. By the end of the meal most had retired with contemplative looks on their faces. Not many would be sleeping in Hogwarts tonight.

Harry would be one of those, he had already gathered his pack. Now he stood by the gates of Hogwarts, seemingly prepared for the task ahead of him. Still, could he ever be prepared for apprehending his parents betrayer?

******

(A/N I'd Like to thank my reviewer. I Appreciate each and every one of them. I'd also like to apologize for the weight. I wish I had more time than I do to work on this fic. The next chap should be out before the 30th I have a bit of a case of insomnia so I got a bit of extra writing time.)

Alia West: Glad you liked the chapter, hope you like this one to.

GunSmoke: Thanks for the review. If you liked that chapter you'll love the next. All sorts of fighting in dark alley ways and such.

Naomi SilverWolf : Thanks for the review

sew2100 : Thank you very much

Rogue1615: Yes, Everyone did change through that last fight, they're really almost uncomfortable to approach him on it really. And we'll see some mixing of wizards and muggle stuff soon.

Oriana Dumbledore: Thankyou very much, That chapter was one that I had been eagerly waiting for. It was all planned out in my head before I even started that fic. To know that I was able to portray it like I wanted to makes me feel really good.

Angelis: That is a really cool compliment, to know that I had that impact is just awesome. I think you'll really like the next chapter as well. Thanks for reviewing.

BlackDragon: Your going to have to wait a little for reactions from the Weasleys and Hermione. As for the giant at Hogwarts, Harry won't be back for one more chapter which covers about a month. (It's a bit on the long side) anyway the student body may not be as kind to her as Harry would like. There'll be hell to pay when he does return though.

M.I.A.: Yeah I find that some battles get convoluted, I really try to keep it clear. And about school. The year starts in the next chapter, but Harry won't be returning till the one after next. Then he's back for a while and lots of awkwardness with the student body and friends.

chaser : Thanks for the review.

Kathleen: The reactions from the students will be something tuff for Harry. He's going to have to come to grips with always being different. But the independance will be something he won't regret.

ender2000: The next few will be coming out quickly, I've come down with a case of insomnia and it leaves me with some extra time.

CatatonicReaction: Thanks for the review

sam: Thanks for the review

Them Girl: Nope I hate to sugar coat things. Next chapter will have some parts that are totally sour. Actually their meant to leave a sour taste in your mouth. Like at one point Harry will end up over in France at a magical village after Voldemort went through. It will be somewhat reminiscent of the religious cleansing that would occur in different parts of Africa. It's going to put Voldemorts perfect society in the black light it deserves.

Pheonixrising: I appreciate the review! It's good to know people like my story.

Animagiman: Thnaks a lot for the review, I really worked to blend magic and force. You'll see some great fights in the next chapter. Which should be coming out quite soon. Insomnia has given me more time to write. As for a date. No later then the 30th probably a lot sooner, damn sleepless nights.

Kaelli Karali : We'll learn more about the map in the next chapter as well as the bare bones we learned here. As for sequels, this is a full three year fic.

Renee Fay: Thankyou very much for the review!!!

Nerwen: Yes I value the change of characters. You always have to take into account what a character feels before writing them. I struugle to put myself in the write mindset every time I write. As for the wizarding world, we'll see a lot about them in the chapter after the next. With Harry disappearing things will have time to fester.

Rachel A. Prongs: I always appreciate your reviews. I've kinda been thinkin that Harry's at a age of self discovery. Maybe war is more like a furnace, though it does shatter the unprepared, it still does refine other works to new levels of purity.

Mel-chan : Thanks whole bunchs, I appreciate the review tremendously. I really worked hard on that last chapter.

Shanwhiz: There will come a time when compromises can no longer be reached. Still, for now they can work within each others rules.

TheUnknown: Yes, Harry has a dream and becomes the heir of everyone and their mother. All their lifes memories are stuffed into his head, and he becomes able to leap tall buildings in a single bound. This isn't a recipe for fanfics, it's a recipe for a good multiple personality disorder. Harry won't be doing any planet destroying in this fic, no sir.

Leaps: Yes I did through in a cryptic remark. You know whats worse? You won't be finding anything more about it for another like 4 chapters. Muhahaha. But seriously, I try to keep cliff hangers to a minimum.

Gandhi: Thanks for the review!!! I was going for a sort of epic battle!!

Javier: Thanks for the review!!!

Darvio: Thanks for the compliment, I really work hard to make a flowing plot and character development.

Pensieve: Yeah, I think Harry would have lost some of his idealism. More of that will be challenged in future chaps, and we will see just how far he's willing to go.

AJaKe: I'm really glad you like the fic!

dn: Thanks for the review, The next chapter should be soon.