The first chapter of my new little adventure I wish to share with you. I should have been a little more clear in the teaser so I will give you all a little more info before we start.
It will be post-ootp after the events of the DOM and it will be a Harry/Bella story, which seems to be rather popular by all accounts, though I had planned it being so before I had even worked out all of the details.
The Horcrux within Harry will be dealt with immediately because it is one of those annoying little sticklers that needs to be addressed. I will explain it in the story but the idea is that as Voldemort possessed him the horcrux re-attached itself to good ol' Tom, freeing Harry from it and also explaining the changes within him. I did toy with the idea of it just vanishing as he goes back in time but that seemed bland and I needed a way for Harry to be different instantaneously.
I am almost 100% sure that my way of travelling back in time is original and haven't seen it in anything I've read so far, and I have been reading a lot of time-travel fics recently to prepare myself for writing one of my own.
Anyway, let us proceed and welcome back to all of you that read 'Honour Thy Blood'. (You will certainly notice some similarities between some of the characters from there in here as we progress).
Please note: this is NOT a sequel to Honour Thy Blood, some of your are under the impression it is, I just wanted to confirm it isn't. I just enjoyed the characterization of a few characters and want to keep them similar.
Chapter 1: Broken
Numbness; that was all that Harry Potter felt. He had screamed and shouted, he had ranted and raved but now, that all seemed rather pointless and even a little foolish to the teen as he stood and regained control over his breathing, that had become heavy and labored in his fit of rage.
Numbness felt strange to Harry who, by his own admission, was always an open book when it came to his emotions which had always been prominent, regardless of what mood he was in. But as the final delicate trinket belonging to Dumbledore simply exploded in his hand from the anger he felt, something within him broke along with it.
Immediately the sadness, the anger and the complete sense of despair had evaporated, leaving him hollow and feeling nothing. He was very much aware that he had not lost his ability to feel but he seemed to have gained a way to control it, even detach himself from it and swallow it into the nothingness, burying it deep within him.
He shook his head that had been pounding since Tom had invaded his mind leaving him rather light-headed and in a considerable amount of pain.
"Are you ok Harry?" Dumbledore asked in concern.
"Fine" Harry answered casually. "But I would like to go to bed now, I need time to absorb everything" he explained.
"Of course my boy" Dumbledore agreed quietly.
The old man watched as Harry left the office feeling a slight chill creep up his back.
"I fear that what happened tonight may have affected him more than I would have expected" he spoke sadly to Fawkes.
The bird trilled mournfully, he himself could feel that the boy had changed somehow, though he couldn't be sure if it was a good thing or not.
Dumbledore sighed and began stroking the bird's chest absentmindedly.
"Perhaps he needs some space" he mumbled. "Though the order will have to keep an eye on him still, it is important that he is kept safe" he concluded, popping a sherbet lemon into his mouth with another sigh.
Harry made his way to Gryffindor Tower and to his room, meeting no one on the way, something he was very grateful for as he didn't much feel like exchanging pleasantries with anyone.
He undressed and climbed into his bed, drawing the curtains as he did so to ensure his privacy, sealing them with sticking charm as an added measure, though it took a couple of attempts get right due to his obvious tired state.
He began massaging his temples in an attempt to alleviate the throbbing that was plaguing him and began reflecting back on the night he had just had, realising several things as he played it through from the moment he had left his history of magic exam.
Firstly, he had been tricked, there was no excusing that fact. He felt a stab of anger at his own naivety but swallowed it down, something he wouldn't usually do.
He would instead remain angry at himself and blame himself for being rash and acting stupidly in the heat of the moment. After swallowing the anger he thought more logically about what had happened.
Of course he had been tricked, he was only a rather ignorant fifteen year old after all and Voldemort was much older and more experienced than he was.
"Never again", he vowed to himself in a mutter.
He knew that he needed to think more clearly, even when the situation appeared to be dire. Acting rashly had only ever almost got him killed on several occasions and that led him to his next thought.
"We got very lucky," he admitted to himself.
He knew that he and his friends had indeed gotten very lucky. They had gone against some of the very best that Voldemort had and escaped only injured. He was very aware of the fact that they should have all been killed and should consider themselves very fortunate that they hadn't been.
He began questioning why they had gotten as lucky as they had and could come up with no reason to why, it only served to worsen his already pounding head so he abandoned those thoughts.
His musings turned towards his friends that had accompanied him. They had been hurt by going along with him but the expected stab of guilt never came to the young man, causing him to frown and think on it further.
"I told them not to come, they came by their own accord" he mumbled in realisation.
Although he knew he probably should feel a little guilty at least, he couldn't bring himself to. He hadn't asked them to come and he hadn't forced them in any way. He was sorry that they had gotten hurt but he wouldn't shoulder the blame. He didn't personally curse them after all.
That was another thing that started to play on his mind; the differences in the magic that the order and the Death Eater's used.
The Death Eater's were aiming to kill or maim and the order fired nothing worse than stunners.
Harry shook his head exasperatedly.
Even he, a naïve fifteen year old, knew that a war would not be won with stunners and taking prisoners, they had already broken out of Azkaban after all.
"I need to learn better magic for fighting" he declared knowingly.
He surmised that Dumbledore would not like that but it was Harry that Voldemort was coming after and he was very much aware he was not even a fraction of the wizard that he was, again making him realise how lucky he had been in all of their encounters thus far.
He would be making a trip to the library at the earliest possible opportunity, he had a tonne of catching up to do.
He didn't allow his thoughts to dwell on his Godfather, that was a lump of sadness he was not ready to swallow. He did and would miss the man but he wouldn't face that pain yet knowing full well he was not up to it. But that wouldn't stop him thinking of the prophecy, something he should have known about and been prepared for, something that Dumbledore was clearly not keen on doing.
In a way Harry did understand the headmaster's reasoning for keeping it away from him and his reasons would have been well and good had Harry actually had even had a semblance of a childhood but the simple fact was, he hadn't.
It struck Harry odd that he felt nothing towards the headmaster, he had expected at least a stab of anger at the man but it didn't come. Dumbledore had lost much of the respect he had earned from Harry and now, the great man that he had always been seen as by the teen was now simply inconsequential. Harry neither liked nor disliked him, he couldn't even be sure if he looked up to him the same way anymore after the revelations of this evening.
Harry yawned deeply and continued on his trail of thoughts, eventually succumbing to the much-needed sleep that had been overcoming him since he had returned to Hogwarts several hours ago.
When he woke he felt surprisingly good, great in fact. He managed to stab down the pang of sadness he felt at the thought of Sirius knowing he had to focus on what he had planned; a trip to the library.
He was feeling particularly keen to get started on his self-improvement and his body, for the first time in his life, held no protest at the impending and exhaustive amount of studying he was planning to do. Both his mind and body were ready for the task at hand.
He reached over and retrieved his glasses from the bedside table and put them on as his stomach growled fiercely, reminding him that he hadn't eaten for a very long period of time. He was hungry, much more hungry than he usually felt so he decided he would shower and then head to the kitchens before he went to the library. He couldn't hope to achieve much while his body cried out for nourishment, his hunger would only serve as a distraction.
He fetched some clothes from his trunk and opened the curtains around his bed to be greeted by Neville who looked relieved to see him.
"Hey Neville, how's your nose?", Harry asked the boy.
"Nice to see you awake", Neville replied with a smile. "Madame Pomfrey fixed it straight away", he shrugged.
"What time is it?", Harry asked with a frown.
He knew it couldn't possibly be that late as the sun had clearly only rose recently.
"It's 8 o'clock", Neville answered confusedly.
"I didn't get in bed until 2am Neville" Harry pointed out. "I only slept six hours".
Neville chuckled and shook his head.
"It's Sunday Harry", he informed him. "We went to the ministry on Friday", he added in explanation.
Harry's eyebrows shot up at the revelation.
"I slept for over a whole day?", he questioned disbelievingly.
"You did", Neville confirmed. "And Ron is pissed that you haven't been to see them".
Harry released a deep breath and dragged his hand through his hair.
"Why didn't you wake me up?", he asked with a frown.
"I tried a few times but I couldn't get your curtains open", Neville responded.
Harry tried to think why he couldn't get the curtains open, he had only used a sticking charm after all.
"It was only a sticking charm", Harry returned, feeling a little frustrated.
"I know but none of us could undo it" Neville explained. "Even McGonagall tried, she thought you'd put wards up, she only left you alone because Dumbledore told her to", he added amusedly.
Harry just shook his head at the boy not really understanding why his sticking charm could not be undone by a professor.
"You need to fix your glasses Harry", Neville cut in to his thoughts.
"Huh?", Harry asked. "They're fine" he added, being able to see everything clearly.
Neville frowned this time and shook his head.
"There aren't any lenses in them" he pointed out.
Harry quickly removed them from his nose to see for himself. The other boy was right, there were no lenses in them.
"But I can see", Harry stated dumbly.
"Maybe your eyes fixed themselves", Neville shrugged uncertainly.
"Can they do that?", Harry asked quizzically.
"Dunno", Neville retorted. "But you should probably go and see Pomfrey", he advised.
"Yeah", Harry conceded, lost in his own thoughts.
"Well I'm going there soon, Ginny and Luna are getting out today, you should come, you can see them and get your eyes checked", he suggested.
"I will", Harry agreed. "Just let me shower and get some food first", he requested.
"Ok, I'll wait and then we can go to breakfast", Neville agreed.
"Not in the Great Hall", Harry said a little desperately. "We will go to the kitchens", he compromised not wanting to face a large amount of people.
Neville nodded as Harry left the room to shower and waited for him to return which he did around 15 minutes later, and the two left the tower for a much-needed trip to the kitchens.
After eating more food than he could ever remember eating the duo made their way to the hospital wing to visit their friends that were still in there and so that Harry could get his eyes looked over by the healer, something he was a little nervous about.
He had no idea why his eyesight would just fix itself or even if it was permanent, he just hoped that Madame Pomfrey could explain it to him.
They entered the hospital wing to see both Luna and Ginny being spoken to by the matron who was clearly giving them stern instructions to follow after they left.
Seeing Harry and Neville enter Ginny stepped away from Madame Pomfrey and greeted them both with a hug.
"How're you feeling?", Harry asked the redhead.
"I'm ok but my leg still aches", Ginny frowned. "Ron is sulking", she added in a whisper, shooting a look over his shoulder.
Harry acknowledged it with a nod before turning his attention to Luna.
"What about you, are you ok Luna?", he inquired.
"Oh yes", the girl replied dreamily. "I'm just a little sad that we didn't see anything that Daddy could use for his article on the Rotfang Conspiracy", she sighed airily.
Harry shared a look with Neville who just shook his head, urging his friend not to ask.
"Well I'm glad you're ok", Harry replied, getting the hint.
Luna just bounced on the balls of her feet and begun humming casually in response.
"Where are your glasses?", Ginny questioned, only just becoming aware that Harry did not have them on.
Harry took the frames out of his pocket and frowned at them.
"I don't need them anymore apparently", he answered, still feeling a little confused. "I was going to get Madame Pomfrey to check my eyes", he added.
"You were going to get me to do what Mr. Potter?", the matron asked as she joined them.
"Well I woke up and I don't need my glasses", Harry explained lamely.
Madame Pomfrey stared at him calculatingly before ushering him onto a nearby bed.
"Well, it is not unheard for sight to correct itself", she began. "It is quite uncommon, particularly if it is a magical affliction" she explained. "Was your deficit magic based?", she questioned.
"I don't know" Harry shrugged. "My aunt and uncle took me to a muggle optician when I was young and they gave me these", he answered, gesturing towards the frames clutched in his hand.
"So you never visited a magical healer?", Pomfrey asked with a frown.
"Not until I met you in first year", Harry replied with certainty.
Madame Pomfrey huffed irritably and began mumbling about incompetence and children not receiving the correct care.
"Ok Mr. Potter, I am going to check your eyes, don't worry it is just a simple spell so I can see if there are any issues", she explained in a calming manner.
Harry just nodded and allowed her to proceed, trusting her as he always had with his well-being.
As the woman began casting the spell he felt as though his eyes had turned to a very liquid jelly, a feeling he immediately disliked. As quickly as it started the spell ended and he felt a wave of relief wash over him.
"That was weird", he concluded succinctly, shaking his head sharply.
"Well, it seems that your eyes a completely fine Mr. Potter, I don't know what the problem was with them before but it is gone", She informed him, though she was clearly confused a little herself. "You should think yourself lucky, not many people are as fortunate to have their eyes seemingly repair themselves", she finished with a thoughtful frown.
"Thank you Madame Pomfrey", Harry said gratefully, relieved at the good news.
"Perhaps I should give you a thorough check up", Pomfrey suggested thoughtfully.
"No, it's fine", Harry returned quickly, not wanting to be pulled about any further, he had had enough of that in his life already especially under the care of this woman. "Really, it's ok" he added reassuringly.
"Fine", She conceded unhappily. "But if you feel off at all you come straight back, you hear?", she asked firmly.
Harry just nodded before sliding off the bed and returning to Neville and the girls, who were now gathered around Ron.
Harry could see that he was already scowling as he approached and sighed inwardly at the thought of the impending argument.
"Finally decided to show then?" Ron growled as Harry reached them, folding his arms in his annoyance.
"I've been completely out of it until this morning Ron" Harry explained.
"Couldn't have been that bad" Ron shrugged in reply. "You weren't in here like us" he added heatedly.
"I was asleep" Harry reiterated. "It's not like I didn't come here on purpose".
"So you get to sleep peacefully", Ron grumbled. "It's your fault we are here anyway" he spat venomously.
"Ron!", Ginny cut in hotly, warning her brother.
Harry narrowed his eyes at his friend, surprised by how calm he was feeling. Under normal circumstances he would be furious and would vocalise his anger without even thinking about it, clearly the reaction that the others in the room were expecting as they looked between the two worriedly.
Harry stifled the unusually small amount of rage he felt before speaking.
"Tell me, when did I force you to come with me?", he asked the redhead calmly. "At which point did I curse any of you or put that brain on you?" he questioned further with a raised eyebrow.
Ron frowned a muttered incoherently, clearly having no answer to those questions.
"I didn't", Harry answered for him, his voice maintaining its calm tone. "If you remember correctly I told you all to stay behind but it was you that insisted on coming along, as you always have" he pointed out. "I have never asked for your help and I have never made you do anything, yes I am sorry you got hurt but I'm not going to be blamed for it when it was you that came of your own free will" he finished firmly.
"You nearly got us killed, you got Sirius killed" Ron retorted hotly.
Harry swallowed the pang of guilt and sadness he felt at the accusation, narrowed his eyes and stepped towards Ron, allowing a little of his anger to surface as he spoke.
"Sirius died doing what he promised my parents he would, protecting me and I know full well that I am the reason he was there, I don't need you pointing that out" Harry said in just above a whisper. "But I will tell you what Ron, if you want to blame me then that's fine, but remember, you have your own brain in your head, use it in future before you are tragically led astray" he advised, finishing with his face only six inches away from the redhead's own.
Ron simply could not reply. He was used to Harry shouting and screaming, being quick to temper, he wasn't used to this and it was much more scary seeing his friend so calm. A shiver ran down his spine as Harry spoke to him this way so easily, making him shudder involuntarily and swallowing deeply.
"Now, I have a few things to do, could one of you tell me when Hermione wakes up please?" Harry asked, eliciting a dumb nod of concurrence from Neville.
Harry then made his way out of the hospital wing leaving behind three dumbfounded friends in his wake.
"That was very unlike Harry", Luna declared, breaking the silence.
"It's scarier when he doesn't shout" Neville observed with a shake of his head.
"What's happened to him?", Ginny asked worriedly.
"His godfather just died", Neville reminded her.
"I don't think that's grief, something is very different about him", she replied sounding very sure of herself.
"Shall we will keep an eye on him?", Neville asked nervously.
"Yeah", Ginny readily agreed. "I think we have to", she added sounding a little more certain. "Are you ok Ron?" she questioned her brother who was looking pale.
"Why didn't he shout?", Ron asked simply. "When we are mad at each other we shout, have a few days to ourselves and then we make up" he explained, still confused at what had happened and still a little jittery.
The other three just shrugged, not understanding it anymore than Ron did.
After exiting the hospital wing Harry made his way to the library, even more keen to distract himself after the run in he had with Ron. He again pushed his emotions away reminding himself that he needed to be focused and not allow himself to be distracted by what had happened over the last few days.
He entered the room to find it mostly empty, save for a few Ravenclaw students, and began perusing the shelves, looking for anything that could be useful in a fight with Death Eaters.
After searching for well over an hour he sighed in defeat. There was very little here that could give him the kind of help he was looking for and glanced hungrily towards the restricted section knowing full well he wouldn't get permission to take anything from there to read for leisure purposes.
It was then that another realisation hit him, one he should have been aware of from the start and something he had overlooked in his eagerness.
The summer holidays were less than two weeks away and he wouldn't be able to take any of the books home with him and he knew if Dumbledore got wind of what he was doing he would certainly put a stop to it.
'I need to get my own books' he sighed inwardly.
He knew he had more than enough in his vault for some books but he had no way of getting any knowing that he would not be able to visit Diagon Alley let alone Knockturn Alley to find what he needed.
He left the library in a rather foul mood, trying to think of a way that he could get the much needed material. He considered asking some older students if they had any that he could borrow but very much doubted any student would have what he needed.
He entered the 5th year boy's dormitory, grateful that it was empty, and threw himself on his bed.
"Maybe Remus would help" he mumbled thoughtfully.
He however wasn't ready to face the broken stare of the werewolf, who no doubt was mourning the passing of his final true friend.
Again Harry swallowed down a stab of guilt and sadness before continuing his musings.
"That's it" he declared after a few moments, though he was not completely certain about his plan. "Dobby?" he called a little tentatively.
There was a loud crack as the house elf appeared looking very excited to be summoned by Harry.
"What can Dobby be doing for Harry Potter sir?" the elf asked in his usual hyperactive fashion, bouncing in his happiness.
"Dobby I need you to be calm and listen" Harry requested.
The elf immediately stood stock still and waited for Harry to continue.
"Can I trust you to keep my secrets?", Harry questioned the elf bluntly.
"Dobby would never be telling Harry Potter sirs secrets" he answered immediately shaking his head and causing his bat-like ears to flap comically.
"Good", Harry responded gratefully. "Is there any way you can get gold from my Gringotts account?" he asked.
"If Harry Potter sir gives Dobby his key then Dobby can be doing that" the elf informed him.
"Shit, I don't have my key", Harry cursed irritably. "Is there no other way?" he asked a little desperately.
"No Harry Potter sir", Dobby answered sadly, his head drooping in disappointment. "What does Harry Potter sir be needing", he inquired.
Harry sighed and rubbed his temples, frustrated.
"I need some books, but they don't have them in the library" he explained.
"What kind of books Harry Potter sir?", the elf asked further.
"Books that will teach me how to fight Death Eaters", Harry whispered, shooting a furtive glance towards the door.
Dobby mimicked Harry's action before leaning in closer.
"Is Harry Potter sir needing books that being unfriendly?", he asked in a whisper, sounding more serious than Harry had ever heard him.
"Yes", Harry confirmed with a resolute nod.
"Dobby be knowing where books like that be Harry Potter sir", the elf replied in an excited whisper.
"Where?", Harry asked excitedly while shooting to his feet.
"They is in the come and go room Harry Potter sir", the elf answered mirroring Harry's excitement and also sounding a little mischievous.
Harry sighed and sat down, shaking his head.
"You can't take anything out of there" he pointed out.
"They is being in a special room Harry Potter sir, they is being hidden there by people", the elf explained.
Harry stood again.
He couldn't be certain but he assumed that if the books were only hidden there then he could retrieve them.
"Can you take me?", he asked the elf, feeling his eagerness swelling within him once again.
"Dobby be meeting you there", Dobby responded with a nod before disappearing with a crack.
Harry raced from the tower as fast as his legs would carry him to meet the elf, praising the creature as he went.
He arrived at the tapestry of the dancing trolls feeling more than a little breathless as he came upon Dobby who was stood in front of a very old oak door.
"They is being in here Harry Potter sir", the elf informed him, gesturing for Harry to enter which he did immediately, followed by Dobby.
What he saw inside took his breath away and left him staring in awe.
There was stack upon stack of items that even he could tell were very valuable, it was very much like a large muggle antique shop.
He could see a few pensieves, some old broomsticks and even a couple of invisibility cloaks similar to his own which he knew for a fact were worth a fortune themselves.
"Can you take anything out of this room?", he asked the elf breathily, still in awe at what he was seeing.
"Yes Harry Potter sir, this is all being hidden by wizards and witches", Dobby confirmed.
It was then that he had his second stroke of genius of the day.
He knew very well that he didn't have much money with him and Dumbledore would insist that Molly Weasley would complete his school shopping for him for the next school year, so he would have no chance of getting any large quantities of gold from his vault. He also knew that he may find himself in need of gold at some point in the future and knew that yet again he would not have his key, but perhaps he could sell the valuable stuff in the room, nobody would be missing it after all and the cause was certainly worthy.
"Dobby, can you take things and sell them", he inquired nervously, hoping that the elf could give him another lifeline.
"Dobby can be doing that", the elf answered excitedly, knowing where this was going. "Dobby used to be selling for his former master", he added.
"Ok, I want you to take anything valuable and sell it please", Harry requested. "Is there somewhere you can keep gold?", he questioned, realising that he needed somewhere to store it.
"Dobby can be using a trunk sir, he can make it as big inside as he like", he replied happily.
"Could you do it for me please?", Harry asked hopefully.
"Dobby will Harry Potter sir", the elf exclaimed, clearly elated at the prospect of doing something important for Harry. "Dobby even be getting Winky to help", he added thoughtfully.
Harry smiled and nodded at the creature, pleased that something was finally going right.
"Ok, so where are the books?", he asked, not being able to see any around them.
"They is being this way", Dobby answered seriously, taking Harry by the arm and leading him through the aisles of items.
They eventually came upon what Harry could describe as a treasure trove of tomes and he immediately began sorting through them, putting aside anything that looked useful. He flicked through a few of them feeling very happy that they contained what he was looking for, even coming across a book on dueling written by Salazar Slytherin himself.
Dobby, seeing that Harry was busy, immediately began attending to the task he had been set and called Winky to help him who was happy to be out of the kitchen and completing a job for a wizard.
It was a couple of hours later that Harry let out a sigh of relief after he finally finished sorting through the books. Out of the 300 or so there he had put aside around 50 that would be useful to him, some of which contained spells that were a little more than questionable.
Harry had reluctantly accepted the fact that these types of curses and such were the types of things he needed to learn to even stand a chance in a fight with the Death Eaters let alone Voldemort himself. He knew that he could no longer rely on the luck he had experienced so far and needed to become a much better wizard and fighter, something he would achieve by any means necessary.
With Dobby's help he placed the books into a trunk he had found in the room and had the elf shrink it and place a feather light charm so he could keep it with him at all times.
He found that he was hungry once again and Dobby brought him lunch before he headed back to the tower to start reading through some of his newly acquired books and to get some sleep, before going back to the room tomorrow to start on learning the spells he knew he needed to.
He awoke early the next morning and left the dormitory as quietly as possible to avoid waking any of the others in the room. He made a quick trip to the kitchens to get some breakfast and made his way to the room of requirement, asking for somewhere that he could practice his spell casting.
The room that he was provided with was similar to the one that the DA had used throughout the year before they of course had been discovered by Umbridge.
He removed his robes and took out the first book he had decided to attempt a few of the spells from and faced the stationary dummy that stood around fifteen feet away from him.
He opened the dueling book that Slytherin had written and reviewed the theory behind the firsts spell he wanted to try; a severing curse.
The text did not go into specific details of what the effects of the spell would be so Harry had just decided to see for himself. He was confident that he had the ability to perform but the one drawback he had encountered was that Slytherin himself had highlighted the advantages of non-verbal casting, something that Harry had never tried though he had seen both Dumbledore and Voldemort use the technique in their duel and knew that it was the first thing he needed to work on if he was to become proficient enough to face the Dark Lord himself.
He drew his wand and readied himself to fire the curse for the very first time and was not surprised that nothing happened, though it did frustrate him a little.
He spent the next ten minutes trying to curse the dummy becoming more and more irritated that nothing was happening. He could feel his magic literally itching to escape at his will but the build up of magic he could feel would just dissipate as it reached his hand, leaving behind nothing but a gentle tingling within the extremity.
After another five minutes of the same result he felt a burst of anger well within him and he flicked his wand towards the dummy causing a jagged, purple bolt to erupt from his wand and strike it in the centre of the chest.
He did not have time to admire his work however. As soon as the spell left his wand, under much protest, the wood within his hand grew deathly hot and he dropped it as it began to sear his skin causing the teen to yelp in both pain and surprise.
"shit, what the hell?", he cursed as he began blowing on his hand in an attempt to cool it.
After a few moments he managed to put his discomfort to the back of his mind and moved closer to the dummy to inspect the damage his curse had done only to find that the head, neck and one of the shoulders had been cleaved away from the rest leaving behind an uneven line where the spell had separated it from the torso.
Shaking his head in surprise he turned away from the dummy and tentatively picked his wand up from the floor, pleased that it had cooled once more. He very much doubted that the spell was supposed to make his wand get so hot that it could no longer be held, but he knew he had performed it correctly even though he had been more than a little miffed as he casted it.
He decided to not attempt that particular curse for the time being and moved on to a few others but the result had been the same. Each time he managed to cast the spell his wand became unbearably hot, causing him to drop it once again.
After it had happened for the fifth time he decided to just work on casting the most basic spells non-verbally which he found he could do without scorching himself, though the wand still became uncharacteristically hot, something he would certainly have to look into when he could.
This is how Harry had spent the rest of his days of the school year at Hogwarts. He would wake in the morning, head to the kitchens for breakfast and then spend the rest of the day in the room working on as much as he could in dueling, something that he knew he was taking to naturally just as he had with flying.
His wand had continued to be very temperamental so he had mostly worked on movements and stances he had found within the books and practiced putting together wand movements quickly, effectively and as efficiently as possible.
He had been left alone for the most part as Ron had not even attempted to talk to him even after he had left the hospital wing.
Hermione had woken a week after the events in the department of mysteries and seemed to hold no ill feelings towards Harry, though she was insistent that Harry needed to grieve, something that annoyed the teen rather quickly.
He had noticed that both Neville and Ginny would make excuses to spend time with him when he wasn't in the room, something else that bothered him.
He was quite happy to spend time with the pair but it seemed that they had no reason at all to do so other than to keep an eye on him and Harry had had enough of that, particularly over the last year or so.
He had mostly managed to avoid the two though when he wanted to be in the room, much to his own relief and thought that he would be able to just board the train home without any further problems or annoyances, of which he had had his share of this year.
The peaceful exit he desired was not to be however.
It had begun two days before the train was to take the students back to Kings Cross when he was summoned to Dumbledore's office, not completely unexpected but not exactly a welcome distraction either.
He entered the headmaster's office and took a seat opposite the man and waited for him to speak, having nothing he wanted to talk to him about himself.
Dumbledore stared at the teen speculatively for a moment before he began.
"How are you Harry?", he asked in concern.
"Fine sir", Harry shrugged.
He truly did feel ok. Anytime a sense of sadness threatened to overcome him he managed to swallow it down.
Dumbledore just nodded, not at all convinced but decided against dragging out that particular subject any further.
"I'm afraid that you are going to have to return to your relatives for at least the first part of the summer my boy", Dumbledore spoke again after a moment.
"I thought as much", Harry responded casually knowing full well that would be happening.
"I'm sure we can make other arrangements for later on", Dumbledore tried.
"I'm not going back to Grimmauld Place", Harry stated in return, having no desire to be in Sirius's house. "And the Burrow is unlikely as Ron is not talking to me", he explained.
"I'm sure Mr. Weasley will come around", Dumbledore said in an attempt to placate the teen.
"Actually sir, I'd rather just be left alone this summer", Harry requested. "I have more important things to focus on than quidditch and avoiding Fred and George's pranks", he added seriously.
Dumbledore sighed and shook his head.
"I do not think it is wise for you to spend all of your time alone Harry", he pointed out.
"But that is my choice sir", Harry replied a little irritably.
Dumbledore sighed again and conceded the point with a nod.
"Very well, but there will be a member of the order on guard at all times", he explained.
"You mean to keep an eye on me", Harry retorted.
"They are there to keep you safe Harry", Dumbledore responded firmly.
Harry snorted slightly.
"That's what the wards are there for", he said shaking his head. "You said yourself that anyone who intends harm cannot pass them, so having a member of the order there is a waste of time", he pointed out logically.
"It is an additional protection Harry", Dumbledore answered calmly. "Do not take it for granted", he advised.
"So again I will get no privacy", Harry frowned. "Living with them is bad enough without being watched constantly by people who are supposed to be on my side, I am not a child Headmaster, I don't need baby sitting".
"I'm afraid that is how it has to be my boy", Dumbledore sighed sadly.
Harry just shook his head in frustration.
"Is that all?", Harry asked after calming himself.
Dumbledore sighed again and nodded.
"Goodbye Professor", Harry stated as he made his way to the door.
"It is not good to stifle your feelings Harry", Dumbledore warned. "It will only make you bitter and send you down a path that you are much better than", he added. "I implore you to rethink your summer plans", he finished, clearly concerned.
Harry had paused after he had opened the door but did not turn to face the man who had addressed him. When Dumbledore had finished Harry just shook his head at the words of the headmaster and left the room.
The next bothersome thing to take place had happened as he was leaving the castle to get the train to London when he was accosted by Malfoy, Crabbe and Goyle in the entrance hall.
He was just about to exit when he was forcefully turned around by the blonde who was clearly furious with Harry.
"You'll pay for what you did to my father", Malfoy hissed threateningly.
Harry simply found him amusing, and not a threat whatsoever after what he had experienced over the last couple of weeks.
"Go on then", Harry challenged, folding his arms casually.
"What?", Malfoy asked with a frown.
"Go on then", Harry urged, discreetly gripping his wand that he had stashed up his sleeve.
Malfoy looked towards his two goons, who just stared dumbly back. Realising that he would get no help from them he reached into his pocket and fumbled as he tried to retrieve his wand.
Before he could understand what was happening the point of a wand was pressed up against his cheek and he found his wrist in a vice-like grip. The tip of the wand was uncomfortably hot but the blonde was too distracted by the narrowed green eyes that were boring into his own.
"If you threaten me again Malfoy then your father being buggered in Azkaban will be the least of your worries", Harry whispered dangerously. "Got it?", he asked stepping closer to the boy who just swallowed deeply and nodded.
"Potter", an angry voice cut in as Professor Snape approached the group. "What are you doing?", he questioned suspiciously.
"Just saying goodbye to Draco sir", Harry replied happily, giving the boy a condescending pat on the head.
Snape curled his lip in distaste at the teen.
"Get out of here Potter", he instructed irritably.
Harry immediately left and made his way to the carriages, even managing to board the train without any more interruptions and find a compartment to himself, which he locked and drew the blinds over the window, not wanting to be disturbed.
He sighed in relief to be away from the castle, something he thought he would never do and began to read a book on wandlore he had Dobby buy for him.
He had intended on asking Dumbledore about his wand but forgot all about it during their meeting as he became annoyed by the old man.
He needed to do something soon about it but he knew that it was not possible. There was no way that he would be able to convince Vernon to take him to London and he knew he could not escape the confines of Privet Drive, especially if Moody was around, and he had no doubt that he would be.
As the train neared its final leg of the journey Harry slammed the book shut in defeat. He had learnt a reasonable amount about wands and even had a new appreciation for them, but the book had failed to provide him with anything relevant in regards to his problems with his own.
Harry drew the length of holly from his sleeve and stared at it thoughtfully.
"Why won't you work?", he muttered.
He was pulled from his thoughts by the arrival of Dobby and Winky who appeared with a loud crack, carrying a large trunk between them.
"Dobby and Winky be finished selling now Harry Potter sir", Dobby informed him tiredly.
"Already?", Harry asked, surprised that they had managed it so quickly.
"Dobby and Winky knowing what we is doing", Winky answered with a firm nod.
"That's great", Harry exclaimed happily. "How much did you get?", he inquired knowing that few thousands galleons would be great if he found himself in need of it before he could access his vault, whenever that may be.
"We be getting almost 4 million galleons Harry Potter Sir", Dobby answered. "Is that being enough?" he added uncertainly.
Harry's eyebrows shot up at the figure he had been given, it was much more than he would of imagined.
"That much?", he asked, completely flabbergasted by the sum.
"Shop keepers in dark place be thinking that Dobby is still a Malfoy elf Harry Potter sir", Dobby explained. "They be paying top prices quickly".
Harry just shook his head in disbelief at the pair of elves.
"Thank you", he said gratefully. "I want you both to take as much as you like from it", he instructed.
Winky simply looked affronted and Dobby shook his head.
"We is not wanting galleons Harry Potter sir, Dobby is happy with his galleon a month and Winky not wanting paid sir", Dobby answered firmly.
Harry sighed knowing that he would not be able to convince them to take anything.
"Ok, well if there is anything I can do for you then you just have to ask", he responded sincerely.
"We is just wanting to be working sir", Winky answered. "The castle is being empty now", she pointed out.
"Well, how about I will call you both if I need anything done over the summer?", Harry offered a little hesitantly.
Dobby and Winky's eyes both lit up at the idea and they bounced happily in excitement.
"We is being happy with that", Dobby exclaimed before the pair disappeared with a final crack.
Harry just shook his head at the two and began attempting to shrink the trunk they had brought, which he managed to do after several attempts with his ever-worsening wand and placed it into his own trunk along with the other trunk of books he already had in there.
Soon after, the trained pull into the station and Harry quickly left the train and exited the platform to avoid bumping into any of his friends, guessing that they had been looking for him. He wasn't in the mood to deal with Ron and his grumpiness, nor Hermione and her advice on seeking grief counseling.
He had already surmised that they would not be allowed to write with him over the summer as was the case the previous year so he began looking for the Dursley's, just wanting to get home and continue the studying he had begun before the term had ended.
He caught sight of his relatives and frowned as he saw various members of the order talking to them. Even from where he was Harry could see that the conversation was not a friendly one. Vernon was already a dangerous shade of purple and Petunia was scanning the crowd worriedly, clearly hoping that no one they knew were around to see them talking to the strange group of people.
Harry approached the group and situated himself between them, facing his aunt and uncle.
"Go and wait in the car", he instructed calmly but firmly. "I'll handle this", he assured them.
Vernon looked as though he would protest but Petunia placed a hand on his meaty arm and gently led him away, shooting Harry what he perceived to be a look of gratitude.
Harry turned to face the four order members and shook his head.
"My summers with them are bad enough without your interference", he spoke quietly. "All you've done is give them more of a reason to lock me up, starve me and beat the shit out of me when they like, thanks", he finished sarcastically.
"We were only trying to help", Arthur Weasley explained.
"Well don't", Harry commanded.
"Dumbledore wouldn't leave you there if it was that bad", Tonks cut in disbelievingly.
"Well he does", Harry shrugged. "I just want to be left alone, I know you'll all be there on babysitting duty because Dumbledore tells you to, but I don't want to see any of you", he told them sternly.
"Harry, you need to talk to someone", Remus tried desperately "Isolating yourself from your friends won't help", he added.
Harry shook his head at the man noticing that he looked the worst that he had ever seen him.
"So Hermione wrote to you", he deduced. "I am sorry about Sirius Remus, I am, but I have more important things to focus on and if you don't know what that is then you need to take it up with Dumbledore, unless he has actually seen fit to tell any of you anything?", he questioned.
When none, even Moody didn't answer, Harry shook his head.
"I didn't think so", he acknowledged irritably. "Just leave me alone, ok", he demanded before turning and leaving the station.
"What the hell was he talking about?", Remus asked sadly.
"I don't know, but I'm going to have a word with Albus, something is off about the boy", Moody growled.
"What do you mean?", Arthur questioned out of concern.
"He reminds me of a lad I knew just before he became a ruthless bastard and a dark one at that", Moody replied seriously.
The other three shared an apprehensive look.
"Who?", Tonks asked in little more than a whisper.
"Me", Moody growled, a sinister grin forming on his face before he turned and walked away, every other step echoing with a deep clunk.
Harry could immediately se when he entered the Dursley's car that a confrontation with the trio was on the agenda for the day. He sighed and sat in silence for the duration of the journey watching his uncle's mustache twitch in his aggravated state.
Vernon was a pathetic man really and was even less of a threat than Malfoy, an observation which Harry found rather amusing. The ample size advantage that the man had over his nephew had been all he had over the years, but those days were behind them now.
Yes, Vernon was much larger than Harry in terms of mass and girth, but Harry was now taller than the man and found him to be nothing short of a petty bully, something that he would not be getting away with any longer. Harry had faced the Death Eaters and even the Dark Lord on several occasions and his uncle was nothing but a nuisance in comparison.
As the car pulled into the drive Harry removed his trunk from the boot of the car and entered the house where the three Dursley's were waiting for him in the hallway.
"I will not be threatened by a bunch of freaks", Vernon roared, spraying an obscene amount of spittle as he did so. "They have no say what goes on in my house", he added angrily.
Harry sighed and shook his head at the man.
"I completely agree with you", he shrugged, much to the surprise of his relatives.
"Are you being funny boy?", Vernon asked dangerously, taking a threatening step towards his nephew.
Harry quickly drew his wand and pointed it between his uncle's eyes, glaring at him.
"I think you'll find that it was me that put a stop to it Vernon", he reminded the man calmly, though his voice was laced with warning.
"You wouldn't dare use it", Vernon proclaimed confidently. "They'll throw you out of that school, I remember the letter you got", he pointed out knowingly.
Harry just chuckled at the man, though he really saw no amusement in the situation.
"The ministry has much more important things to worry about than what happens here", he stated. "Don't push me Vernon", he warned, feeling a surge of anger welling within him, causing his wand to grow exceedingly hot in his hand.
The two just stared at each other, daring the other to make their move when they were interrupted by the sound of the doorbell chiming.
"I'll get it", Petunia declared loudly in an attempt to drag the two from their stand-off.
"Put it away", Vernon hissed as his wife approached the door.
Harry lowered his wand but held it firmly in his hand, though it was still burning him.
Petunia answered the door and let out a scream of horror, immediately putting Harry back on guard.
"Good afternoon Mrs. Dursley, I was wondering if I might have a word with Harry", the voice of Dumbledore sounded throughout the hallway.
Petunia said nothing but opened the door to allow the man in, though she did so reluctantly.
"Ah Harry, I see your relatives and yourself are catching up", he stated with a nod as he crossed the threshold. "May we talk in private?", he asked.
Harry led the headmaster into the living, the pair being glared at by Vernon who, for once, had wisely kept his mouth shut.
"I was just visited by Remus and Alastor, they are both rather concerned about you", Dumbledore began after he had taken a seat.
"I told them to not interfere with my relatives, that's all", Harry explained, feeling annoyed at the two men.
"I see", Dumbledore acknowledged. "I do not believe you being here is going to work so Arthur has kindly offered you a place at the Burrow for the duration of the summer", he explained, his eyes twinkling.
"We already had this conversation sir", Harry reminded him.
"Young Mr. Weasley has been warned to behave", Dumbledore returned hopefully.
Harry just shook his head at the man.
"I just want to be left alone", he sighed. "If you expect me to kill Tom then you have to let me do this", he pleaded slightly.
"You will not tot defeat Tom by taking a similar path to him", Dumbledore returned gravely. "It is the love you possess that separates the two of you", he added confidently.
"The last person I had any love for is now dead", Harry growled in reply. "It is me that is going to have to face him professor, if you won't prepare me then I will prepare myself", he finished firmly.
"I fully intend on preparing you Harry", Dumbledore assured him.
"So you are going to teach me how to fight?", Harry asked incredulously, feeling a little excited at the prospect of learning some of the magic he had seen the man use against Voldemort.
"That will not be necessary", Dumbledore answered with a frown.
Harry sighed again.
"So you just think that he will be killed by his own curse again?", he questioned exasperatedly.
When the old man didn't reply Harry laughed, mostly from shock.
"That's exactly what you plan on happening", Harry exclaimed in realisation. "I am not going to take my chances with that, I will not face him or the Death Eaters without being ready", he finished firmly.
"The Death Eaters are not your problem Harry", Dumbledore replied casually.
"They follow him, they are my problem", Harry answered simply. "You might be willing to risk my life on a stupid plan but I'm not", he added heatedly.
"I wish you would trust me Harry", Dumbledore sighed.
"Right now sir, there is no one I trust, especially if they expect me to fight without being trained", Harry responded.
Dumbledore stood and shook his head sadly.
"I do hope you reconsider this", he implored. "If there is anything else I can help you with then I shall do my best", he finished genuinely as he headed towards the door.
"Actually there is", Harry suddenly declared. "My wand hasn't been working properly since that night at the ministry, do you know why?" he asked hopefully handing the wood to the man.
Dumbledore drew his own and began muttering under his breath while Harry waited for him to finish.
"It is in perfect working order", Dumbledore informed him.
"It isn't", Harry proclaimed. "It gets really hot when I cast spells with it and its hard to get a spell to work at all, I can feel the magic in me reacting but it won't come out", he explained exasperatedly.
Dumbledore frowned, then his eyes suddenly widened in realization and he smiled.
"It seems as though you have outgrown your wand my boy, quite the feat indeed", he spoke happily, though he seemed a little too thoughtful for Harry's liking.
"Outgrown it?", Harry asked uncertainly.
"It is possible for a witch or wizard to mature beyond the capabilities of a wand" Dumbledore explained knowingly. "Or if something changes within them", he added in a whisper, looking at Harry speculatively.
Harry just frowned not really understanding what was being said to him.
"Tell me Harry, have you had any headaches since Tom possessed you?", he asked, with a little hope in his voice.
Harry though back over the past couple of weeks and realised that he hadn't had any headaches at all, his scar hadn't even bothered him once.
"No, nothing at all, my scar hasn't hurt", Harry answered.
"I see", Dumbledore whispered, glancing to where the famous scar was, though it was hidden by the boy's hair. "May I run a few scans?", he asked. "I just want to check a few things, nothing invasive", he promised.
Harry just shrugged his compliance.
Dumbledore began casting several spells, repeating them over and over again to be sure of his findings.
"Would you mind talking to a snake if I summon one?", he inquired.
"If it will help", Harry replied confusedly.
Dumbledore summoned a snake and Harry shared a brief conversation with it as he had on other occasions with similar creatures.
"Hmm", Dumbledore mused after he had vanished it. "I would like to try one more spell, but it will be a little uncomfortable", he explained.
"If it helps with my wand then do it", Harry sighed.
Dumbledore nodded and began chanting in a strange tongue while waving his wand over Harry's head.
Harry felt as though he brain was swelling within his skull and clenched his teeth under protest from the pressure. The feeling quickly receded though once Dumbledore had stopped and stared at him with a bright smile, his eyes twinkling madly.
"So?", Harry asked a little impatiently.
"Something I need to think about", the headmaster answered excitedly. "Nothing for you to worry about my boy", he assured the teen.
"Do I need a new wand then?", Harry questioned irritably.
"I believe so", Dumbledore replied. "I will fetch you in a couple of weeks and we will go to Olivander's to get one", he promised. "May I see your scar for a moment", he asked.
Harry sighed and lifted his fringe so the man could see.
"Inconceivable", Dumbledore whispered.
"What is?", Harry sighed.
"Your scar is almost gone", Dumbledore informed him with another smile.
"What does that mean?", Harry inquired.
"I will explain everything to you soon enough, once I myself understand it fully", Dumbledore returned sincerely.
Harry just nodded knowing that he would get no more information from the man.
"I will take my leave, but please think of what we spoke about", he requested.
"Ok, I will think about it", Harry conceded.
"Good boy", Dumbledore responded before leaving the room.
Harry just dragged his hand through his hair and waited for him to leave the house before entering the hallway once more.
"Are you not leaving then?", Petunia asked, sounding hopeful at the prospect.
"No Aunt Petunia", Harry answered. "How about we just stay out of each other's way", Harry suggested. "I will make sure any chores are done and you three just leave me alone, I will only want to use the bathroom and I will provide my own food", he offered, hoping that they would accept.
"Fine", Vernon agreed. "Just so long as you stay away from us", he warned.
"Works for me", Harry shrugged.
Harry passed his days at Privet Drive by waking early and spending as much as the day as possible studying, and practicing the wand movements of the spells he was learning, confident that he would be able to perform them adequately when he obtained a new wand.
He had asked for the help of Dobby and Winky to complete the needed chores knowing that what he was doing was more important. The elves had eagerly agreed to help the teen and Winky would bring him several meals a day, something that pleased him as his appetite had certainly grown recently.
Apart from not hearing from anyone in any form, there was one thing that was bothering Harry and that was that he seemed to have a lot of pent up energy, more than he had ever had before. He had put it down to his increase of food but began questioning whether or not it had something to do with what Dumbledore was looking in to.
In an attempt to release the energy he started exercising in the mornings immediately noticing the benefits, as he was able to focus on his work without fidgeting as he had been. He would do push ups and such and even began jogging on the odd day, always being tailed by whoever was watching him at the time.
He had been home from Hogwarts for almost two weeks and was sat at his desk reading the final page of the night as his alarm clock beeped, notifying him that it was now midnight.
He finished the page he was reading and stretched, readying himself for the four hours sleep he would now get a night, not by choice mind, but it seemed that he was well rested even after what he considered to be a short sleep.
He had just returned the book he had finished to the trunk when he heard two near inaudible pops sound within the room and he quickly drew his wand instinctively, but he was not quick enough.
He managed to get a glimpse of two figures in dark robes as he turned before a jet of red light hit him and he knew no more.
Albus Dumbledore sat at a table in the Great Hall surrounded by the members of the Order of the Phoenix, preparing himself to address them in regards to Harry.
He had spent the past couple of weeks pondering the boy and his discovery that somehow, by some miracle, the Horcrux within him was gone.
Initially Dumbledore had been ecstatic by the news but soon found himself in quite the quandary. He had firstly believed that with Harry managing to rid himself of the Horcrux, the prophecy had been fulfilled, a thought that did not last very long at all. The prophecy clearly stated that one must die by the hand of the other and neither of the two were dead yet.
This also partially explained why Harry's wand would no longer work for him; it was simply no longer a match. Clearly the influence of Tom had been much more prominent within Harry than Dumbledore had ever anticipated, to the point that it affected the primary choice of wand core for the boy, the pair sharing an exact core of course.
Dumbledore also believed that Harry had also matured above the capabilities of the wand he had, something he would ask the members of the Order that had recent contact with the boy. He himself had noticed that Harry was much calmer than he would usually be, even when being told that he would be staying with his relatives, he did not shout or get angry in his usual fashion but he had accepted it calmly.
Regardless of anything speculative, one thing was clear to the Headmaster and it pained him to admit it; Harry would indeed need to be trained and ready to fight Tom, something that Dumbledore had never wanted to face but no longer had a choice. He could either help Harry and guide him away from a path he was heading down, or he could continue to try and control him, giving the boy no reason to trust anyone and sacrificing his innocence to be victorious, something that the old man suspected that Harry would achieve by any means necessary.
Seeing that the entire Order, minus Tonks' who was on guard duty, was present, he cleared his throat to begin.
"I have called you all here tonight to discuss young Mr. Potter", he informed the assembled people.
"What is there to discuss?", Snape asked irritably. "You said yourself the boy has demanded to be left alone to sulk for the summer, I say we leave him to it", he finished with a drawl.
"It is no longer that simple Severus", Dumbledore responded gravely. "Have any of you noticed anything different about Harry?", he inquired. "Anything at all".
"He was barely seen for the last two weeks of term, Mr. Longbottom and Miss Granger were rather concerned about him, he seems to have isolated himself from everyone", Minerva pointed out worriedly.
"Ron also mentioned that when he and Harry had an argument in the hospital wing that he didn't get angry like he usually would", Molly interjected.
"Yes, my observations also", Dumbledore mused aloud. "Anything else?", he added.
"Just before the students left for the summer I came across Potter and Mr. Malfoy having an exchange, though it was not explosive and loud as they would usually be", Snape answered thoughtfully. "Whatever happened left Draco with quite a burn on his cheek and rather shaken up", he explained with a frown.
"Aye and the lad wasn't happy with us having words with his relatives, I know I am right about the boy Albus", Moody spoke darkly.
"I fear that you are almost right Alastor, but we can still prevent it", Dumbledore sighed.
"You really think that Harry is turning dark?", Remus asked worriedly.
"I believe that Harry is willing to do whatever is necessary to kill Tom", Dumbledore answered. "It is undeniable that he has changed, all of the evidence points that way", he surmised.
"The boy is just sulking, he will be back to his arrogant self by the end of the summer, mark my words", Snape retorted.
"I wish that was the case Severus, but there is no doubt that Harry has changed permanently, I wish that it wasn't true but it is", Dumbledore said sadly.
"What do you mean? Are you sure it's not just the grief?", Arthur asked worriedly.
"The changes are undeniable after the last conversation I had with him when Alastor brought his concerns to my attention", the headmaster began. "Harry has outgrown his wand, something that would not happen unless the changes were permanent", he explained.
"So what do we do?", Remus asked, clearly concerned for the teen.
"We have to help him", Dumbledore replied firmly. "We have to prepare him for the fight he will undoubtedly seek out", he explained.
"He wouldn't", Molly exclaimed.
"He is already preparing himself, though I do not know how, the best thing we can do is train him and help him, or he will do it alone and will only push us away if we do not" Dumbledore replied with a shake of his head.
"You said that it wouldn't come to this", Remus growled angrily pointing at the man with a shaky finger.
"I'm afraid it has been taken out of my hands", Dumbledore returned disappointedly. "I am going to fetch him tomorrow and he will spend the rest of the summer here at Hogwarts where I will train him along with any of you that can help", he finished with a tone of finality in his voice.
"Aye, I'll help", Moody declared. "If we can teach him then maybe we can stop him taking certain actions", he concluded.
"Me too", Remus agreed reluctantly.
"What will you teach him?", Minerva asked.
"To kill the bastard and his followers", Moody growled excitedly.
Clearly the ex-Auror had had enough of the passive way the Order was fighting.
Dumbledore nodded reluctantly at the crass summary that Moody gave.
"I don't believe I'm hearing this", Molly interjected disbelievingly. "He is just a child and you are going to teach him how to kill", she stated, shaking her head.
"Aye and I bet the lad will be good at it, he has potential", Moody quipped gleefully.
"More than you know", Remus sighed.
The conversation did not go any further however as Tonks burst into the room, breathing heavily.
"Harry's been kidnapped", She announced, clutching her side gingerly.
"What happened?", Dumbledore asked frantically, standing immediately.
"I was outside on guard duty when I saw a red spell through the window, by the time I got there Harry and all of his things were gone", Tonks explained hurriedly.
"The boy has clearly run away", Snape drawled, not at all concerned.
"I know what I saw Snape", Tonks answered heatedly.
Dumbledore ignored the quarreling pair and called for Fawkes to take him to Harry's home instantly.
It was less than 30 minutes later that Dumbledore returned looking very grave indeed. Harry had been kidnapped, there was no denying that fact but he could not quite understand how.
The wards were all still in tact and any that meant harm to the boy would not be able to enter the home but perhaps Tom had found a way, it was clear to the headmaster that Harry had not run away. He could sense the foreign magic though it was not particularly dark in nature.
He sat back at the table and looked towards the Order members who were staring at him expectantly.
He sighed before he spoke.
"Harry has indeed been kidnapped", he informed them. "Though it cannot have been done by any that mean him harm, of that I am sure", he finished confidently.
"What do we do?", Tonks asked, feeling a little guilty that it had happened on her watch.
"Severus, I will need you to confirm that Harry has not been taken by Tom", he instructed the greasy-haired man who sneered but nodded his obedience. "The rest of you will make any and all inquiries you can, it is paramount that we find him", he explained urgently.
With that the assembled members exited the hall to carry out their tasks.
"Please be safe my boy", Dumbledore whispered pleadingly.
Harry awoke and found himself bound to a chair. It took him a moment or two to be able to think coherently and he sighed when the memory of what happened surfaced.
"Good evening Mr. Potter", a voice greeted him.
Harry shook his head irritably at being captured so easily, he knew he should have been more vigilant, though he had been assured he was safe.
"Why don't you just take me to Tom and let's get it over with", he suggested, being in no mood to prolong the inevitable.
"Who the bloody hell is Tom?", another voice questioned angrily causing Harry to smirk slightly.
He knew that he should probably be afraid, but he wasn't for reasons unknown to him. He knew that it was going to come to an end between himself and Riddle but he had not expected it to be so soon.
Harry chuckled darkly before answering.
"Your master", he said simply. "Don't tell me that you didn't know he is a half-blood", he sighed amusedly. "His name is Tom Riddle, his father was a muggle" he added.
"Are you sure they only stunned him?", the first voice asked, completely ignoring what Harry had said.
"They did", the second voice confirmed.
"Mr. Potter I do not know who Tom Riddle is, we did not bring you here to discuss that, I apologise that it had to be done this way but we had to be quick", the first voice explained.
"Then who the bloody hell are you?", Harry asked irritably.
The first man chuckled as Harry finally looked towards them.
"My name is Clarence Croaker, I am the head of the Department of Mysteries", he explained.
"Oh, shit", Harry muttered, knowing that this was going to be bad.
"Shit indeed", Croaker agreed with a nod. "You have given us a rather large headache over the past month" he informed the teen casually.
"Look, I'm sorry for what happened, I'll even pay for the damage we did", Harry tried, just wanting this to be over.
"No, No, Mr. Potter, that is not what this is about", Croaker responded ruefully.
"Then what do you want with me?", Harry asked worriedly.
"It seems as though we find ourselves in a position where we must help each other out", he replied reluctantly. "Though the amount of help we give you will depend on your cooperation", he added seriously.
"What can I do to help you?", Harry questioned confusedly. "I'm just a teenager", he reminded them.
"You can help us by giving us the contents of the prophecy you took", the second man cut in.
"I can't", Harry replied firmly.
"You will", the other man returned hotly. "Or I will take it from your mind", he threatened, drawing his wand.
"Stand down Filmore", Croaker commanded before turning his attention back to Harry.
"Mr. Potter we need to find a way to build some trust between us", he sighed. "How about I explain what we need from you and then you share with us everything you can willingly and then we go from there, either way you will help us but it will be much easier on yourself if you do it voluntarily, we will give you all the help you need", he offered. "I assure you we are on the same side", he added sincerely.
From what Harry understood of the situation he had little choice in the matter. He could either cooperate with the men and take the offered help or he could refuse and be mind raped by Filmore, something that was not pleasant, as he knew from experience.
"Ok", he conceded. "What do you need my help with?", he asked uncertainly.
"Good man", Croaker answered, clearly relieved. "Would you like a drink, this could take a while?", he asked.
"Water please", Harry replied, feeling a little parched.
Croaker conjured a glass and filled it with water before passing it to Harry. He then became contemplative for a few moments deciding where it was best to start.
"Tell me Mr. Potter, how many people do you share your dormitory with at Hogwarts?", he questioned.
Harry frowned at the unexpected question.
"There are 5 of us altogether", he answered confusedly.
"There were twenty in mine", Croaker returned. "What does that tell you?", he questioned further.
"That there are less witches and wizards than there used to be", Harry concluded after a moment.
"Exactly", Croaker agreed. "Why do you think that is?", he inquired.
"Because of the war?", Harry asked.
"Mostly yes but it runs deeper than that", Croaker responded.
Harry again looked confused causing Croaker to sigh.
"What do you know about the pureblood families of Britain?", he asked.
"Nothing really", Harry shrugged. "I was raised by muggles", he explained.
Croaker nodded his understanding.
"Well, before the last war there were around 220 pureblood families", he began knowingly. "At the conclusion of the war in 1981 there were only 50 left and now there are only 43", he explained. "The families were wiped out in service to Voldemort and by his followers if they refused to join him", he elaborated. "What have you noticed about the attitude that pureblood's have towards half-blood's and muggleborn's", he questioned.
"They don't like us mostly", Harry surmised. "They look down on us and think they are better", he concluded.
"Exactly, that means that they tend to marry only other purebloods which, with so few families left, is a real problem", he finished gravely.
"How so?", Harry asked, becoming genuinely interested in the conversation.
"With so few families left the pureblood's are now inbreeding and producing more squibs than ever", Croaker began. "But that in itself is only half the problem", he sighed.
"Then what is it?", Harry asked with a frown.
"Muggleborn bloodlines only seem to last a generation or two themselves if they have children together", Croaker explained. "They need pure magical blood to maintain what they are given, we don't completely understand why, but that is how it works", he finished with a shrug.
"I'm sorry but what has that got to do with me?", Harry questioned.
"The truth is Mr. Potter, irreversible damage has already been done to our kind, it is only a matter of time before we die out and there is nothing that can be done to prevent it, especially with another war on the horizon, there is simply no way that we will survive any longer than a few more generations at best" he explained.
"I still don't understand what that has to do with me", Harry responded , shaking his head.
"That is why we need the contents of the prophecy, I know that it pertains to yourself and the Dark Lord", Croaker said knowingly.
Harry sighed and rubbed his temples in frustration.
"Ok, answer me this", Croaker tried. "Does it say that it is only you that can kill him?", he asked.
"It says that one of us must die at the hands of the other", Harry admitted reluctantly.
Croaker sunk back in his chair looking more than a little relieved.
"Ok, that means we can definitely use this to our advantage", he exclaimed to Filmore, who nodded reluctantly. "Mr. Potter, we need you", Croaker said simply. "If our kind is to continue living then we need your help", he reiterated seriously.
"You said that it was irreversible", Harry pointed out.
"It is irreversible now", Croaker concurred. "But it only became that way in the years of 1978 to 1981 when most of the casualties of war happened after Barty Crouch signed the papers giving the Auror's the authority to kill", he explained.
Harry let what had been said be absorbed before he broke out in laughter in realisation.
"You are talking about sending me back in time", he stated disbelievingly. "I know for a fact that you can only go back a few hours with a time turner", he said knowingly and continued laughing.
"We are deadly serious Potter", Filmore cut in irritably causing Harry to curb his laughter.
"You're not joking?", he asked weakly.
"No", Croaker confirmed sternly. "You will be able to kill the Dark Lord before the damage to us all is done and save many lives in the process", he explained.
"But I'm not good enough to kill him", Harry stated bluntly.
"We will train you before you go", Croker assured him. "Filmore, fetch Mr. Potter's Hogwarts transcript", he commanded.
Filmore left the room to carry out his orders, though he did not seem too happy.
"You are an orphan", Croaker stated after his companion had left. "This opportunity will give you a chance to save your parents and even get to know them", he added.
Harry's head snapped up at that declaration.
"We are going to send you back to 1976, you will be the same age as them, going into your 6th year at Hogwarts", Croaker explained.
"But I will be older by the time we are ready to send me back", Harry pointed out.
"That is where you are wrong", Croaker informed him sounding a little excited. "Follow me", he requested, unbinding Harry from the chair.
The duo left the room and Croaker led him down a familiar hallway and into another room, pausing as they entered.
"Do you recognise this room?", he asked Harry.
"Kind of", Harry answered uncertainly looking around the large empty space.
"This used to be the room in which we studied time", Croaker explained.
"Used to be?", Harry questioned
"Yes, that was until you and your friends destroyed all of our time turners", Croaker responded. "That is why Filmore is rather hostile towards you, this was his room and he is more than a little envious".
"I am sorry, I didn't mean for it to happen", Harry said genuinely. "Why would he be jealous?", he asked curiously.
Croaker led him to one of the walls and pointed at it.
Harry looked and saw that there was a grainy substance coating it.
"Yourself and your friend's inadvertently created something rather spectacular" Croaker explained with a smile.
"Huh?", Harry asked dumbly.
"This grain is actually the sand you would find within a time turner", Croaker began. "Somehow you have created a space that time does not pass in, as incredulous as that sounds it is true", he affirmed seriously.
"How did it happen?", Harry whispered in awe.
"Honestly, we have no idea", Croaker shrugged. "We only discovered it after the clean up here began, one of our men walked in and seemingly came straight back out, though he claimed he had been in the room for several hours cleaning. After checking and seeing that the room was indeed clean, we managed to confirm it", he explained, clearly being confused himself by the room. "We will use this room to train you and then the room itself will be used to send you back, the mechanism needed is being constructed as we speak", he finished.
Harry just nodded his head, not completely understanding everything that had been said. In truth his mind was focused on the prospect of seeing his parents and Sirius alive. That was when he was hit by a sudden thought.
"How will I get back here when I'm done", he asked worriedly.
Croaker sighed and led Harry from the room and back to the one they had begun in. He gestured for Harry to take a seat before explaining his thoughts.
"There is no coming back Mr. Potter", he said bluntly. "This timeline will no longer exist as you know it the moment you leave", he added.
"What will happen here then?", Harry asked, swallowing deeply.
"We can't be sure but we believe that this timeline will change to reflect the outcome of what happens and what you achieve after you go back, though we will not be aware of it. You will simply not exist here as you are now and we will have no memory of any of this, we think", he reiterated firmly.
"So I go and never get to see my friends again", Harry whispered.
"It is a necessary sacrifice I am afraid", Croaker said sympathetically. "That is why I need you to cooperate with us, we want to help you make it as easy as possible, the fact is Mr. Potter you are going back either way, but we want to give you the best chance we can", he explained. "The bright side is you will get to know your parent's and have a life with them in some way should you be successful", he finished in an attempt to liven up Harry's mood.
Harry sighed sadly but nodded; it was better than nothing.
"Doesn't that mean I will have to change my name?", he asked dejectedly.
"Oh, that is where you are very much mistaken Mr. Potter, you will be going back as yourself, there is a family there already that I know for a fact will be delighted to have you", he spoke seriously.
"Who?", Harry asked confusedly.
"Your own of course", Croaker responded. "Charlus and Dorea will take you in without hesitation as soon as they understand who you are", he added confidently.
"Charlus and Dorea?", Harry asked confusedly.
"You grandparent's", Croaker said with a frown.
"And how do I explain it to them, to my father?", Harry questioned. "He will be the same age as me", he pointed out. "And won't everyone know that they only have one child already?".
"Your family are famous for their secrets", Croaker explained dismissively. "It would not be much of a shock to anyone that Charlus and Dorea kept a secret like this they were extremely private after all, I'm sure you will be able to come up with a suitable explanation between you all", he finished.
Harry just nodded even though he was not entirely convinced.
"What do I say to them all, my Dad especially?", he questioned weakly.
"You tell them the truth, every last bit of it, it will not do you well to hide anything or lie to them", Croaker instructed.
Seeing that Harry was reluctant, he sighed before continuing.
"The most trusted man of the time was Dumbledore", he began. "He will be able to verify who you are and he will be able to help you with them, I suggest you seek him out first", he advised.
Harry nodded, feeling marginally better. If anyone would believe him, it would be Dumbledore.
"Wait, did you know my grandparent's?", Harry questioned hopefully.
"I met Charlus on several occasions when I was an Auror, but I did not know him well, he was a good man and will do the right thing, you are his family after all, something he took seriously above all else", Croaker explained confidently.
Harry nodded, a feeling of excitement beginning to swell within him at the thought of having a family, something he had never lost the desire or hope for.
The door opened, ceasing any further conversation as Filmore came back in, handed Croaker a file and stood arms folded, glaring at Harry.
"I'm sorry about your room", Harry said sincerely to the man.
"You will be", Filmore growled in reply.
The two were interrupted by a cough coming from Croaker who was looking at Harry, shaking his head.
"I find myself disappointed", he intoned, gesturing towards the file.
"Why?", Harry asked hesitantly.
"I certainly expected much more from you Mr. Potter, it seems as though you will need much more help than we thought", he explained handing the folder to him.
Harry flicked through the file that contained his academic records, even his OWL results and frowned.
"They aren't that bad", he stated after he had read through them.
"Most are average, your saving grace seems to be defense and charms, but you clearly need a lot of work on everything and perhaps you can re-sit some before you go, these results will not sit well with Charlus and Dorea", he warned.
Harry nodded his agreement, he knew he could have done better in school.
"I am better than that", Harry conceded.
Filmore snatched up the folder and looked through the contents before shaking his head.
"We are wasting our time on him", he declared angrily.
"We have discussed this", Croaker retorted irritably. "I agree that Divination is a very sketchy subject but we can't risk not trying this", he pointed out. "We both know that some prophecies are and have been real, we have to trust him", he finished warningly.
"He is pathetic", Filmore responded hotly. "The results speak for themselves, he has no chance", he ground out slamming the folder on the table in disgust.
"I can do better", Harry cut in, getting very annoyed by Filmore.
"I'll be the judge of that", Filmore stated as he pointed his wand at Harry. "Legilimens", he roared.
Harry watched in Horror as his whole life seemingly flashed before his eyes as the man intruded and rifled through his memories.
He witnessed every key moment of his life pass: receiving his Hogwarts letter, the troll in the dungeon, the fight with Quirrel, the episode in the chamber of secrets, saving Sirius from the Dementors, the entirety of fourth year and the confrontation with Voldemort in the graveyard and finally the night he and his friends had spent in the department of Mysteries.
The man exited Harry's mind as quickly as he entered, looking both pale and shocked by what he had seen.
"Shit", Filmore whispered in disbelief and looked at Harry with something akin to respect. "It seems as though I underestimated you Potter", he admitted.
"He has potential?", Croaker asked, clearly not approving of his colleague's methods.
"See for yourself", he answered weakly.
Croaker immediately knew that what Filmore had seen must be something quite spectacular to garner that kind of response from him.
"May I?", he questioned Harry.
Harry swallowed deeply and nodded reluctantly.
Croaker repeated the process that Filmore had and emerged looking equally surprised, yet happy.
"My, My Mr. Potter, you do have potential, these results certainly do not reflect your capabilities", he spoke seriously. "Are you satisfied that he is capable now?" he questioned Filmore sternly.
"I've never seen anything like it before", he stated, sounding a little excited. "Myself and my team will turn him into the best damned wizard we can", he vowed.
Harry breathed a sigh of relief, pleased that they did not think he was a waste of their time.
"Don't get too excited Potter", Filmore warned. "I am going to make your life hell", he said with a sinister grin.
Harry swallowed deeply but nodded nonetheless.
"So we have an agreement?", Croaker questioned Harry. "We will help you and you will cooperate with us?" he asked further.
After a moment Harry nodded; he knew he had very little choice in the matter. He ether went back prepared, or went back as he was, it was a no brainer for him.
"Good, here is your wand", Croaker said with a smile, handing Harry his wand.
Harry sighed but took it.
"I need a new one", he explained.
"It seems fine to me", Croaker replied with a frown.
"Dumbledore thinks I've outgrown it or something", Harry explained further.
Croaker nodded his understanding.
"We will have a wandcrafter here first thing", he promised. "Filmore will show you to your room where you trunks are waiting", he explained. "You have a rather enviable book collection I noticed and where did you get so much gold from?" he queried curiously.
Harry just stared at the man in shock not knowing what to say.
"Don't worry Mr. Potter, we are not the Auror's", Croaker chuckled. "I very much approve of the reading you are doing, it shows that you are being proactive, I respect that" he explained in a placating manner. "But the gold, I do not understand", he added confusedly.
Harry breathed a sigh of relief at the news that he was not in trouble.
"I thought I might need the money if things go badly", he explained. "I found a few things worth something and had some elves sell it", he added. "I don't have my Gringotts key and wasn't allowed to leave my home", he finished with a frown.
"Resourceful little bastard", he praised approvingly.
"Very resourceful indeed", Croaker agreed. "It saves us the problem of taking you to Gringotts to get some for yourself, you will of course need it for when you go back, just in case", he explained. "I am afraid that you will not be able to leave here though Mr. Potter, we cannot risk anyone finding out that you are here".
"But Dumbledore will come looking for me", Harry pointed out.
"He will never know you are here", Croaker responded seriously. "Now I suggest you get some rest, Filmore and his team have a knack for early starts", he advised.
Harry bade farewell to the man, his head swimming with everything he had learned this evening, but one thought stood out above them all.
'I get to see my parent's and Sirius' he thought gleefully as he followed Filmore to get some much needed sleep.
First one done and I am quite proud of how original I believe it is. I wanted to deal with the horcruxes and wand situation as quickly as possible. The wand thing always bothered me in canon, it is just logical that you would get one that you could use to kill Voldemort instead of relying on Priori Incantatem.
The horcruxes will be completely non-existent after the next chapter, it will of course be explained.
I am very excited by the amount of possibilities I have running through my mind with this one and I hope and I'm sure that you will enjoy it.
I imagine it will be longer than 'Honour Thy Blood' mainly because Harry is not only going back in time which, in itself needs a lot of building, but he is going back to Hogwarts and he did not in my previous story.
Follow, favourite and review guys.