Disclaimer: The Harry Potter universe belongs to the proverbial Duchess of Magic, JK Rowling, Scholastic, Bloomsbury, Warner Bros and some other high falutin' companies. No matter how much I whine about not owning anything related to the HP universe, other than a few fanfic plots, I do not profess to own - and would never dream of making any money off - JKR's wonderful world... Damn it!
A/N1: Yeah, yeah. I've written another one. This one is gonna top out well over three quarters of a million words. So, if a short story is what you're chasing, this won't be it.
A/N2: Time-wise, this story has a very slow start. There's a lot that happens within a very short time frame. As such, don't expect this story to 'gallop along' until all that needs to be told about is actually told about.
A/N3: This story is essentially already written. So, don't try and bug me with your ideas of where you think it needs to go. It won't happen. Period.
Chapter One - A Plan Comes Together
It had finally arrived. Harrison 'Harry' James Potter, Gryffindor fourth year, Boy-Who-Lived, orphan and unwilling fourth competitor 'slash' champion in the Tri-Wizard Tournament had been preparing for this day for the past three weeks. The day of the first task.
Actually, he'd been preparing for this moment for a lot longer than that, but that had all been psychological.
Just over three weeks earlier he was sitting at the Gryffindor House table in the Great Hall of Hogwarts castle, hoping against hope that this school year, his fourth at the famous Hogwarts School of Witchcraft and Wizardry in south-western Scotland, would be free of threats to his life. If it was, it would be the opposite of his first three.
This year, at the Welcoming Feast of the first of September, the Headmaster had stood and announced, among other notices, to the school that the school Quidditch competition had been cancelled. He announced that in its place would be the Tri-Wizard Tournament held between the so-called three major schools of Europe - Hogwarts, Beauxbatons Academy of Magic of France and the Durmstrang Institute of Bulgaria.
He was very thankful when the next part of the announcement stated only those wizards and witches of-age - that is, those over seventeen - would be permitted to enter. It meant there was then supposed to be no chance of him being a competitor in what was clearly a very dangerous competition.
When representatives of the other two schools arrived on the thirtieth of October, the students were then only given twenty four hours to submit their names to be considered for their school's champion and competitor in the Tournament. That's how he'd found out the draw to determine those names would occur on the thirty-first of October.
And how did they submit their names? Why, it was by dropping a slip of parchment on which was written their name and school into a magical artefact called the Goblet of Fire.
The thirty-first of October, Hallowe'en. That day had been particularly nasty for the young man. It was the day of the year his parents had been killed and he had been marked by the jagged scar on his forehead.
It was day when, in first year, the possessed Professor Quirinus Quirrell had burst into the hall screaming about a troll being loose in the school; the troll he subsequently helped kill on the second floor while rescuing a fellow first year Gryffindor, Hermione Granger.
In second year it was the day the caretaker's cat, Mrs Norris, had been petrified in a corridor on the second floor not far from that same bathroom; and began the nine months of Harry being accused as the Heir of Slytherin and shunned by practically everyone in the school except for Granger and another boy, Ron Weasley.
And in third year, it was the day they had to sleep on the floor of the Great Hall because a supposed psychopath killer had attacked the portrait of the fat lady, the guardian to the Gryffindor common room, and believed to be trying to kill Harry.
Now it was fourth year and, on that same day, his name had somehow come out of that powerful magical artefact as the fourth name of three to declare him a competitor. He should have anticipated it.
Harry Potter was not foolish; though he had given every indication of himself being just that since the day he first stepped foot into the school back on the first of September, 1991. He knew he was being manipulated. He knew he was being used. And he knew his primary manipulator was the powerful Albus Dumbledore A man who was Headmaster of his school; Chief Warlock of magical Britain's legislative body, the Wizengamot; Supreme Mugwump of the magical world's version of the United Nations, the International Confederation of Wizards; supposed Leader of the Light and his so-called magical guardian.
He did not have the magical power or knowledge to directly confront the man. So, he bided his time. He needed evidence against the man of his misdeeds. And he needed that evidence to be so resoundingly proven or provable the manipulative old man would not be able to use his authority or extensive knowledge to skate free of the crimes for which he should surely be convicted. Plus, he needed to present that evidence in such a way that the old man could not shut him up before he presented it, in full.
The first task of the Tri-Wizard Tournament gave him that golden opportunity and he seized it with both hands.
Growing up with his maternal aunt, Petunia, her abusive bully of a husband, Vernon and their only child and son, Dudley, Harry knew he was different.
His aunt and uncle had tried to have him believe his parents were drunks and a whore who died in car crash. The same car crash they told him left him with the jagged scar on his forehead. By the time he was six he knew both of those 'truths' were, in fact, lies.
They tried to tell him magic didn't exist and he'd be beaten and tossed into his cupboard every time he slipped up and mentioned something about it. He knew this 'truth' was also a lie.
Then came the day his first Hogwarts letter arrived. Again, he'd slipped up. Stunned at receiving a letter, he'd carried it with the rest of the mail into the dining room. His cousin had seen it and snatched it out of his hand, loudly decrying Harry had 'stolen' a letter.
When his aunt and uncle had seen it, both had paled in not a little fear. His uncle immediately burned it in the fireplace and he was again tossed into his cupboard for the day.
However, when he was let out he was told to move into 'Dudley's second bedroom'; which led to Dudley throwing a massive tantrum.
The next day, more letters arrived; apparently, the same as the first.
That then started the next few days of Vernon doing everything he could to stop the letters turning up. He tried to board off the fireplace, board off the mail slot, everything. Letters turned up rolled up inside a delivery of a dozen fresh chicken eggs. Petunia shredded them in her food processor.
The next day the letters poured out of the kitchen chimney. Vernon had had enough.
So, he bundled everyone into his company car and they drove away. However, the first place they stopped, the letters found them again. A hundred of them, this time.
They immediately moved again and Vernon took them out by boat to a hut upon a small rocky island.
That night, at midnight, a giant of a man arrived and 're-educated' Harry of the truth about how he was a wizard. However, Harry already knew that. He also knew he had to fake it and make it look like he didn't know.
And that started him on the whole idea of hiding what he knew even from the wizarding beings.
He had already learned to bide his time.
Over the next three-plus years he had to collect his evidence as stealthily as possible. Yes, there were the occasional slip-ups, but he was able to get beyond them.
When the headmaster, Dumbledore, returned to him his family heirloom invisibility cloak his first Christmas, he made use of it; but not just in the way Dumbledore thought he would.
During that same first Christmas break, during a short period when he'd learned Dumbledore would be away for a couple of days, he made his first moves. He went back to Gringotts for a short visit.
He had to pay them a pretty penny for their help and discretion; but help him and keep quiet about it they did.
He'd also taken a great risk at the end of his second year, when he had to show a little of his true brilliance. He quickly devised a plan to free the house elf, Dobby, from his abusive master, Lucius Malfoy, right in front of the Headmaster. And struck.
That same night, when he was able to sneak out of his dorm and be alone for a few minutes, he called that little elf to him. Less than a minute later, Dobby was secretly bonded to him.
He felt that, while it was a small risk, by having a house elf of his own he could accomplish quite a few things he could not do on his own without too high a risk. The risk was already becoming too high his carefully crafted persona would be seen as the façade it was and having a house elf would alleviate much of that.
Now, three-plus years later since he first re-entered the wizarding world, he finally had his golden opportunity.
He had his letters prepared and, as soon as his name came out of the Goblet as he highly suspected it would, he sent them that same night.
One went to Madam Director Amelia Bones, Director of the Department of Magical Law Enforcement, magical Britain's most senior law enforcement officer. He invited her to the first task as his special guest. Each competitor was allowed one special guest to sit in the judges box with the judges. He chose her.
His letter to her also strongly suggested she bring with her quite a few aurors, the police force of wizarding Britain. He was going to put on a show, he claimed, they'd be talking about for years.
She wrote back stating it would be her pleasure to be his special guest and her honour to attend. However, she also wanted to know what he was planning that would need so many aurors. To her annoyance he refused to tell her.
His second letter went to the Minister suggesting he turn up. His third went to the editor of the Daily Prophet, magical Britain's daily newspaper. And the fourth went to Wizarding Media, the International wizarding world's version of Associated Press. Both were also encouraged to attend.
When Ron Weasley, his supposed best friend, turned his back on him calling him a liar and cheat because his name came out of the Goblet, Harry pretended to be hurt. Inside, he was jumping for joy. It meant one less person watching him too closely.
His only major hurdle to finalising setting everything up was Hermione Granger. Though he was annoyed she'd barely left him alone to get things done, he was also quite touched she'd both believed he didn't submit his name and stuck by him. Even when everyone else was calling him a liar and a cheat, she remained steadfast. He was emotionally touched by her active support.
However, even she was not let in on the plan he had devised. He felt her unwavering obedience to authority carried a risk she would tattle on him. And he could not risk that.
And now the day was finally here.
He'd met Madam Bones a short while earlier and watched as she rubbed Dumbledore's nose into how she was 'Mister Potter's Special Guest' and, therefore, 'would be sitting in the Judge's box within arm's reach' of the headmaster as the champions went through their first tasks. Aside, Harry asked her to keep a close eye on the old man.
When she'd asked why, he replied, "I'm very sure he's going to try to interfere with what I have planned. You cannot allow him to do that."
Then he said, "And please have one of your on duty aurors keep a very close eye on Alastor Moody. I'll explain during my task."
When she again asked why, he just reiterated, "I'll explain during the task. You're going to be quite shocked."
He'd also met with the editor of the Daily Prophet, Barnabas Cuffe, and given the man a serve about how Rita Skeeter's article on him from the wand weighing ceremony was nothing but fabrications and lies. Skeeter was standing just behind his shoulder when he berated the man.
"Get control of her, Mister Cuffe," he'd ordered the older portly man. "Or the House of Potter will be declaring an honour feud against you and your paper. And, yes, I will be calling in the full Alliance to join me."
The editor had immediately blanched before he quickly stammered out an apology and promised to ensure Skeeter would not write any more lies about him.
"I will be holding you to that, Mister Cuffe," he firmly stated right back. "Just one foot out of line and my second will immediately be sent to call on you."
"B-But, it would have been Skeeter who wrote―"
"And you who approved what she wrote for publication," Harry cut in. "As such, you are responsible for what slander is published. It cannot appear in the Daily Prophet without you signing-off on it."
Harry would prefer the woman wouldn't write any stories about him at all, but he was happy enough with what he'd been promised.
Knowing Skeeter had stood right behind her editor and had heard every word the man had said, pleased Harry. Cuffe had immediately taken his leave, spun about, grabbed Skeeter by her arm and dragged her off for a 'chat' under a privacy charm.
While you couldn't hear what he'd said to her, both their expressions told the story. Harry hoped Skeeter was now 'heeled'.
The representatives from Wizarding Media had also heard what he'd told the man and promised their articles about him would always be truthful, but maybe a touch fanciful.
"That's fine," he'd nodded back. "Outright lies, though, will see me and mine come after the pair of you with my wand drawn, fire in my eyes and revenge in my heart. Understood?"
They heard and understood.
When he was the fourth to draw his dragon from the Acromantulan silk bag that idiot, Bagman, offered him, he mentally breathed a sigh of relief he was to be the final competitor to face the first task. It meant the three true competitors would not be held up by what he was going to do.
The other three champions all competed in their tasks, averaging between three and five minutes to complete them. And finally he was called into the arena by Bagman using a Sonorus charm.
"And here's our final champion, of Hogwarts School of Witchcraft and Wizardry, Haaaarr-rryyyy Potterrrrr...!"
As the last one left in the tent, Harry had no one to wish him luck as he'd wished the other three competitors before him. "Right!" he muttered to himself.
"Dobby!" he softly called.
With a muted pop of elf apparation the little elf appeared next to him.
Quietly Dobby asked, "Yes, Master Harry, Sir?"
Harry was glad that, over the past year and a quarter, he'd managed to get the little elf to calm down somewhat. Dobby still clearly idolised him, but he was nowhere near as excitable about it as he once was.
"Everything set?" asked Harry.
"Yes, Master Harry," replied Dobby.
"Remember, when I snap my fingers, bring me my 'Bag of Destruction'. And do not let yourself be seen."
"Yes, Master Harry."
"Thank you," he replied. "I should call you in about thirty seconds."
"Yes, Master Harry." And Dobby popped away again.
Bracing himself up, Harry drew his wand and strode from the tent and into the arena.
As he stepped within he could already hear the grumbles and muttered booing coming from some of the audience. Even now they believed he'd somehow found a way to cheat and get the Goblet to spit his name out as a competitor.
To his right, at the other end of the arena, Harry could see the Hungarian Horntail dragon he'd drawn shackled and chained down near a pile of rocks that had a dragon's nest sitting atop.
On seeing him, the dragon let out a warning roar, but made no move to head towards him.
'Ready to be utterly embarrassed, you bastards?' Harry thought to himself with a smirk.
"Your time starts now, Mister Potter," called the enhanced voice of Bagman.
Harry immediately raised his own wand and cast his own Sonorus charm. "Thank you very much, Mister Bagman," he replied. "Now, I remind you all of the conditions of the tasks of the Tournament. You may not help or hinder a competitor. I doubt any of you are willing to help so that only leaves hinder.
"By hinder I mean the following: If you cast any charm or other spell on me, that is hindering. If you cast any charm or spell to interfere with what I'm doing, that is hindering. If you take any other form of action to interfere with what I am doing, that is hindering. I include silencing charms and masking charms of any sort to be hindering. If you hinder me I can, under the rules of the Tournament, call on the Goblet of Fire to strip you of your magic. And, if I determine you have hindered me - be very aware - I will call on the Goblet of Fire to do just that.
Up in the Judges' Box, though she was surprised by what Harry had just said, Madam Director Amelia Bones also had an eye on Dumbledore who sat one row closer and just off to her right at the Judges' table.
As soon as she saw the old man reach for and begin to draw his wand, she snap-drew her own and had the tip of it pressed into the back of the old man's neck in only a moment.
"Don't even think about it, Albus," she quietly but firmly stated.
Before he could even ask what she was doing she said, "Carefully, finish drawing your wand and hand it to me. Grip it by fingertips only by the middle of the shaft as you do so and keep it pointing down. If I see it pointing anywhere near me or Mister Potter, I'll stun you on the spot."
"Amelia?" he quietly asked.
"Do it!" she quietly snapped. "Or, I'll stun you anyway and take your wand."
Without another word, Dumbledore carefully finished drawing his wand and, as instructed, handed it to her over his left shoulder.
Plucking it from his fingers she said, "Thank you. We can't have you doing anything foolish, now, can we?"
"Now, Amelia, there was no need―" he began.
"Be silent!" she hissed. "You will be silent or I will silence you. If you then wandlessly remove that silencing charm I'll stun you."
"Amelia―" he began again.
With an immediate twirl and jab of her wand, she quietly incanted, "Silencio!"
As she'd threatened, Dumbledore was immediately silenced.
Down in the arena, Harry was unaware of what had just transpired in the VIP section. However, he had a pretty good idea it would happen sooner or later.
"From now until I have completed my task, I better not hear you. If I hear you, I will think you are attempting to distract me. If I think you are trying to distract me, I will consider it hindering," he continued.
"Mister Bagman, you are to immediately cancel your Sonorus charm. If I hear you during my task, I will believe you are attempting to hinder me and call on the Goblet to strip you of your magic."
Harry then heard an immediate and almost quietly muttered, "Quietus!"
"Headmaster Dumbledore, you and your staff are also so warned. Staff of the other schools, so are you. Students, you are also warned. Guests, with the exceptions of the currently active staff of the wizarding British DMLE who are currently on duty, so long as what you are doing is in the course of your duties and not an attempt to hinder me in my task, you are not. Such is the power of the Goblet of Fire; for the duration of the Tournament, such is the authority I now hold.
"You have all now been warned. After your collective treatment of me over the past few weeks I am not in a forgiving mood. Do not, for even a moment, believe I will forgive your transgressions against me.
"I, Harrison James Potter, by right of primogenitor Head of the Noble and Most Ancient House of Potter, do so swear it!"
Dumbledore gave a little start of shock upon hearing that. He was absolutely positive Harry did not know of his heritage. He did not even know the boy knew his true first name.
Harry gave it a moment for everyone to absorb what he'd just told them. To a child, they all immediately shut up and looked back with expressions ranging from shock to outright fear.
He continued, "You stupid, daft bastards in the Ministry and the Heads of the three schools, clearly had no idea of what you were doing by using the Goblet of Fire as the ultimate adjudicator for the Tournament. You've given a fourteen year old and three other just-of-age wizards and witch the absolute power to strip you of your magic, if not outright kill you. And there's not a bloody thing you can do about it until the Tournament has concluded. Think about that for a while, won't you?
"Next: As you're all now aware, my task is to get that golden egg sitting in the dragon's nest over there," he pointed it out, "And take it back to where I walked in," and indicated that point. "There were no other instructions. In other words, I can take as long as I bloody like to complete my task as there is no time limit. No limitations have been placed on me. I can also go about it in whatever way I like, so long as I accomplish the task.
"Has every one got that? That means that whatever I do is within the rules of the task and the tournament. So, while what I do might seem inconsequential or irrelevant to the task to you, does not mean it's against the rules of the tournament. Therefore, just because you cannot understand what I'm up to, does not mean you have the right to interfere with what I'm doing."
Turning slightly to his right, he snapped his fingers.
Immediately, his dark khaki, British Army 'army surplus' echelon bag appeared with a pop before him.
"I bet you're all wondering how I did that," he snarked. "Too bad I refuse to tell you. If you cannot figure it out for yourselves, I think you're too daft to be told."
Popping his wand back up his sleeve, he reached down and unzipped the bag. From within the wizard-spaced interior, he pulled out a hip-height pedestal and set it firmly on the ground. Then made sure it was as close to level as he could get it by squirming it into the sod under the pedestal base.
Next, he pulled out a pensieve and placed it atop the pedestal.
Next out of the bag was a common folding 'banana' sun lounger. He immediately set it up so the pedestal was alongside it with about a three foot separation and with the foot of it facing the judges section in the stands. The pedestal was on the lounger's right.
Next came a novel with a bookmark within. He dropped that onto the lounger.
And, finally, he drew out a rack of vials. Each was numbered and contained memory strands.
One at a time and in sequential order, while holding the rack with his left hand, he pulled out a vial and poured the memory contents into the pensieve. As each strand went in, he tapped a rune on the edge of the pensieve with his wand. This added them to show in the sequence they were entered.
With all memory strands added he returned the rack of now empty vials to the bag.
Turning back to the audience he redrew his wand and, once again, cast Sonorus on himself. "Because it might take quite some time for me to figure out just how I'm going to complete my task with only three and a bit years of magical education under my belt, I've brought some... entertainment... for you all.
"Be very aware: While the entertainment I'm providing for you is playing, I'll be trying to figure out how to complete the task. I'll be concentrating on that, so any distractions from you I will consider hindering me. Again, you have been warned."
Cancelling the Sonorus he then tapped the activation rune on the pensieve to show the memories in the air above the bowl.
As soon as the first began, he immediately enlarged it to about twice human size.
The memory showed him, in his Hogwarts uniform, standing in a bare white room. He called this 'Memory-Harry'. He'd recorded it in the Room of Requirement, late at night.
Memory-Harry was speaking. "Testing... testing... one... two... three. Testing... testing."
As the memory played, the real Harry adjusted the volume so that everyone in the stands could clearly hear it.
"Testing... Testing... One... two... Are we ready yet, Harry?" asked Memory-Harry.
"Yep, all set to go!" the real Harry loudly replied.
"Excellent!" said Memory-Harry, appearing as if he was looking back at the real Harry. "Make yourself comfortable. This is going to take a while." There was a short pause before he added a short bark of laughter and said, "What am I saying? Of course you already know that. You set this whole thing up!"
As the real Harry, now with everything set up, turned away from the pensieve and went to the lounge, he loudly replied, "Damned straight!" Then picked up his novel, turned and carefully sat on the lounger, before then swinging his legs around to lie on it.
"I'm ready!" he loudly declared, opening the novel and lying back to read it.
"Alright!" declared Memory-Harry, from where it looked like it was watching him. It turned back to 'face front' facing the judges table, drew his wand and held it to swear an oath. He intoned, "I, Harrison James Potter, swear on my magic and my life that the memories you're about to see played over the course of the beginning of my first task of the 1994 Tri-Wizard Tournament are a true account of my actual memories. As I say, so I swear, so let it be written!"
Real-Harry looked up for a moment, gave a snort, and returned to reading his book.
"Now that the oath is out of the way," said Memory-Harry, tucking his wand away again. "Let's get on with them.
"Since this is going to take quite a while you should all know before we begin that there is no time limit on completing the task. I can take as long as I want. And I intend to do just that.
"So, if you had plans on leaving within the next fifteen minutes or so, I'll disabuse you of that belief right now. You're going to be sitting there for a while.
"If you need to visit the loo, do so. Just don't make a scene or any noise while you do. Leave and return... quietly. Remember, if you distract me, it may cost you your magic."
Memory-Harry let that hang for a moment before he continued. "Many of you, at least those who were students during that year, have been left wondering just what happened in Hogwarts during the last few weeks of the 1991-92 school year. You've probably heard a great deal of rumours. For example, what really happened to Professor Quirinus Quirrell? You may even have started one or two of them yourselves. Now you're going to learn the truth. Watch as I show you Harry's... my... memories of just what happened.
"However, before we get to that and keeping this part of things chronological, I'm going to show you a few scenes of what happened during the year leading up to that."
"First is the troll incident of Hallowe'en, 1991. This is what happened in the Great Hall during the Feast."
The memory was a short 'clip' of the students and staff all enjoying the feast when Quirrell ran into the Hall and wailed about a troll loose in the dungeons, before then fake-fainting. Then all the students panicking and Dumbledore standing up and roaring for silence. The students calming down. Dumbledore ordering the prefects to lead the Houses back to their common rooms. And the students beginning to file out a lot more orderly than there were only a few seconds earlier.
"Right," said Memory-Harry, coming back. "What's wrong with the scene you just watched? First: When Quirrell apparently fainted, the first thing I wanted to do was laugh. Why? Because he's supposed to be our DADA Professor and he's fainting because he saw a troll? Yeah, right. And, secondly, the way he supposedly fainted was so fake I thought he was performing comedy. People, included witches and wizards, do not faint like that. They topple forward like a bloody tree. And when it's on a hard surface like the flagstones of the Hall, they'll usually break their nose, teeth, jaw or similar.
"Next, Dumbledore ordered the prefects to lead their Houses back to their common rooms. If I wasn't so stunned as to the absolute stupidity of that I'd have probably laughed right there, irrespective of laughing at Quirrell's comedy faint. 'Dumb-dumb-dore' obviously couldn't care less for the safety and well-being of the Slytherins and Hufflepuffs, because he'd just ordered the prefects of both Houses to lead their housemates into the dungeons seconds after being told that's where a bloody troll was!"
Memory-Harry allowed that to percolate through the minds of the audience before he continued.
"Now while we Gryffindors were being led back up to the Gryffindor Tower by that pompous arse, Percy Weasley - and there's a young man who has his head stuck so far up his own arse it's amazing he can see anything - I already knew that my House- and Year-mate, Hermione Granger, had not been at the feast. Therefore, I easily deduced she would not be aware of the danger. I had also earlier overheard two of my housemates say she was in the girls' bathroom on the second floor, crying her eyes out.
"So, I grabbed the person who was responsible for her crying her eyes out in the first place - Ronald Weasley - and dragged him off in search of her, once we reached the second floor.
"Just as we reached the second floor... Well, watch for yourselves."
Memory-Harry faded away again and up in the same space began the memory of that incident, starting with the two boys running down the corridor towards the bathroom.
It caught the sound of Hermione screaming in terror; the two boys running into the bathroom; a quick plan to try and get Hermione out of there and out of danger; Harry managing to scramble up on the troll's back and shove his wand up its nose; Ron levitating the club and dropping it on the troll's head, knocking it out; and the teachers turning up a few seconds later. It ended there.
Memory-Harry popped back up and said, "And that's how we became three."
There was a slight pause while he let that cogitate before moving on.
"This next one is a detention Hermione, Ron Weasley, Draco Malfoy and I received after the first two and I were helping a friend out late at night. Draco Malfoy received his because Minerva McGonagall justly realised he had to also be out of his common room past curfew to have seen us to dob us in to her.
"At that point I thought McGonagall might not be as dumb as most wizards and witches had already proven to me they were. However, her detention proved she actually was as dumb as I think most magicals are, after all. And this is what happened."
The image changed into the four first years with Hagrid and his dog, Fang, going into the Forbidden Forest to find what was killing the unicorns; them splitting up under Hagrid's orders; Harry and Malfoy coming across 'something' feeding on the blood of an injured unicorn; it attacking them; and the immediate aftermath with the centaurs, before fading away.
"Now, colour me wrong," said Memory-Harry. "But, I was under the impression the Forbidden Forest was, in fact, forbidden. So, what the bloody hell was going through the minds of the staff of Hogwarts to have the school gamekeeper, a man no longer permitted to use a wand, take four eleven year olds with little to no magical education and trudge through the Forbidden Forest... at night... and going after something dangerous enough to injure or kill unicorns?
"Is it any wonder that, by then, my opinion of adult magicals left a lot to be desired? Even back then, as far as I was concerned adult witches and wizards are stupid!"
"Professor McGonagall told us, while we waited in the antechamber off the Entrance Hall before our Sortings, that our Houses would be like our families. If that's the way families treat each other in the wizarding world, I find myself relieved I'm an only-child orphan!"
Pausing for a sigh, he continued, "Moving on! We now come to a few days short of the end of the school year. This is what had most people wondering what had happened to Quirinus Quirrell. And, what the bloody hell was down that out-of-bounds third floor corridor.
"We start from just after Hermione, Ron and I have entered that corridor. We were under the mistaken impression Severus Snape was trying to steal what we'd already learned to be Flamel's Philosopher's Stone being protected in that corridor."
Memory-Harry faded away. The next scene was of the eleven year old versions of Harry, Ron Weasley and Hermione Granger entering the so-called out-of-bounds third floor corridor of the castle.
It showed Hermione using a first year unlocking charm, Alohomora, to unlock the door. The Cerberus, asleep while a magical harp played itself in the corner. Harry moving the Cerberus's foot off the trapdoor and Ron opening it. The three of then dropping down the resultant hole. And landing in the Devil's Snare.
Hermione then telling them to just relax and they'd drop through. The three dropping through one by one and coming out underneath it, before moving on to the room of flying keys. Harry taking one of the brooms aloft and catching the right key before the rest suddenly started chasing him. Him flinging the key into Hermione's hands and her unlocking the door with it. The three of them then ducking through the door and slamming it shut just in time to hear the keys ram the door on the other side.
Next came the chess-set. The memory showed portions of this with Memory-Harry stepping in and saying only portions of the game would be shown as it would take too long. Ron getting knocked off the knight and landing, unconscious, on the floor. Harry checkmating the opposing king. Both rushing to Ron's side. Hermione telling Harry he was breathing and, therefore, alive. And both going on.
As that memory faded away Memory-Harry then stepped forth again and explained, "Now, at this point, we're now down to two. However, I want you all to remember that, at this point, only one spell has been cast - the first year Alohomora charm. It took no advanced magic. This is something that every witch and wizard that's read the first year Charms book could have done. Every student, who was in Hogwarts at the time, could have done this."
He faded out and the memory continued. Harry and Hermione crossed through the room with the unconscious or dead troll in it. Then stepped into the room with the potions puzzle.
Hermione then quickly figured out the puzzle, picked up the right potions vial and offered it to Harry. Her telling him he was a great wizard and urging him to go on while she went back. She also showed him which vial to drink to go back. Took a swig of it herself and walked back out the way they walked in.
"And now we're down to one," said Memory-Harry.
In the memory Harry then chugged down the vial Hermione had given him and stepped through to go on.
Then it showed Quirrell standing in front of the Mirror of Erised and Harry trying to sneak about. Him being spotted and Quirrell binding him with an Incarcerous charm. Quirrell and Voldemort discussing things. And Quirrell unwrapping his turban and turning about.
Back in the arena, and though Harry had warned them to remain silent, there were quite a few horrified gasps coming from the now very attentive audience.
Real-Harry lowered his book and glared about, silencing them all again, before returning to his book.
By then, Memory-'Quirrellmort' had grabbed Harry and stuck him in front of the mirror.
Next came the grappling. Quirrellmort screaming as Harry's hands began to turn him to ash. Harry getting outside his grip before returning and laying his hands on the possessed man again. And Quirrell finally collapsing and dying.
Almost immediately afterwards, the wraith of Voldemort rose from the body and charged Harry. And the memory going blank.
Memory-Harry returned to the image and said, "So, as you witnessed, I killed Quirinus Quirrell. Yes, he was possessed. Yes, it was by the shade of Voldemort. And, yes, a possessed person is basically a walking corpse that just hasn't died yet. The moment Quirrell allowed Voldemort to possess him, he was a walking dead man. But, that still does not mean I didn't kill him.
"Now, lets go through those supposed traps that were... hardy-har-har... meant to stop a dark wizard getting their hands on the Philosopher's Stone. The first door was locked by a simple lock able to be opened by a simple first year Alohomora charm. So, any and every student in the school could get past it.
"Then we have Hagrid's part of the sequence; the Cerberus. The Cerberus could be put to sleep by playing music to it. And, wouldn't you know it, Hagrid gifted me a flute the recently previous Christmas. Sound fishy? It did to me.
"Next was the Devil's Snare. Easily bypassed by simply relaxing. That was obviously Pomona Sprout's part. And easy enough to understand how to get past when I discovered our resident Herbology prodigy, Neville Longbottom, was told by Albus Dumbledore to tell Hermione how to not get caught by it.
"Then comes the room with the flying keys, with a door that couldn't be unlocked by an Alohomora Charm. This was obviously Flitwick's contribution. And it begs the question: If his door couldn't be opened by an Alohomora charm, why didn't they use that same anti-Alohomora charm on the first door? Hmm?
"Plus, two brooms were also left in the room to assist in me, a prodigy seeker, being able to capture the right key.
"Next; the giant chess set. And, wouldn't you know it, Ronald Weasley is a prodigy in chess.
"Next came the troll. And the three of us already knew how to deal with one of those from when Hermione was nearly squished by one back on Hallowe'en.
"Then came the logic puzzle with the potions. And, Hermione Granger is a prodigy with logic puzzles.
"If you can't figure out that this all seemed highly suspicious you're all even bigger idiots than even I thought.
"Now, you could say this was all coincidental but, as a famous muggle novelist was quoted as saying, 'Once is happenstance, twice is coincidence, but three times is enemy action'. And here we have six such events. What does that say for the happenstance coincidence divide, hmm? No. It's clear this was all a set-up
"This next memory occurred three days later. It is the evening before the Hogwarts Express departs Hogsmeade to return students to London and I've only just woken up after being unconscious since the wraith of Voldemort attacked me."
The next memory was of Harry waking up in the Infirmary, Madam Pomfrey telling him how he gave everyone 'such a fright', and Dumbledore walking in a few moments later.
Dumbledore tells Harry he didn't 'really' kill Quirrell, and why. And of what supposedly happened to the Philosopher's Stone. They share a few sweets before Dumbledore leaves and Harry is released.
"Right," said Memory-Harry popping back up. "There I was. I'm eleven years old - almost twelve. I've just killed someone. Dumbledore tells me I shouldn't worry about it because the man was going to die, anyway. I've just killed someone and Poppy Pomfrey, the school healer, has scolded me for frightening everyone.
"Now, I'm going to be blunt. If you don't like the language, too bad. But... are you naffing kidding me?!"
"At the very least, Pomfrey should have been organising for me a mind healer, so I could come to terms with what has happened. And Dumbledore should have been calling in the DMLE. A man has just been killed, for naff's sake!
"I was never interviewed by investigators of the DMLE, as should have happened with the death of someone; I was never handed over to a mind healer. Nothing... except for what happened that night at the Leaving Feast."
Memory-Harry faded away and a memory of Dumbledore standing to make last minute announcements at the Leaving Feast started. It show him about to award the House Cup to the House with the most points, Slytherin. However, he stopped and began to award last minute points. And then the awarding of those points, which led to the House Cup being won by Gryffindor.
The memory faded and Memory-Harry popped back up.
"Did you all get that? Dumbledore award me, Hermione Granger, Ron Weasley and Neville Longbottom with the most ridiculous amount of points. Fair enough for what Neville did, but it should still never have been that many points. But he awarded us other three for flat out breaking school rules!
"And he awarded me points - for killing a man!
"I'm sure you can all see there's something mighty fishy going on here."
Amelia Bones leaned forward from where she'd been watching both Harry's pensieve presentation and Dumbledore. She leaned over to Dumbledore and said, "In case you haven't already figured it out for yourself, Albus, you're under arrest. When Mister Potter completes his task and you award suitable points I'm taking you, him, Minerva McGonagall and Poppy Pomfrey in to the DMLE interrogation rooms for what looks like is going to be a very long chat."
Dumbledore internally sighed but kept his mouth shut. He knew he was in deep enough trouble, as it was.
After letting his last comments sink in for a long moment, Memory-Harry continued. "Now, my first year, as you've just seen, had my life at risk on a number of occasions. First: And what I didn't show you was Quirrell jinxing my broom during the first Quidditch match, and me nearly falling to my death from a hundred feet up in the air. Second: That bloody troll incident. Third: Our staff-mandated night-time excursion into the Forbidden Forest. And fourth: Quirrellmort trying to kill me when we three eleven year olds seemed to be the only ones who could deduce someone was making a play for the Stone that night.
"That's four threats to my life in my first year, alone. And that's ignoring the fact that Dumbledore had hired a Voldemort-possessed teacher - stop naffing flinching every time I say his name, you naffing retards! - hired Voldemort to teach at Hogwarts for the entire school year. And thereby being a constant threat to me, especially, for all but my last three days at school for that year.
After Real-Harry took another long glare around the stands, Memory-Harry continued.
"Right!" he said. "That was first year - the 1991-92 school year. Let's move on to the fun and games of second year - 1992-93.
"September and October 1992 was peaceful. I was looking forward to a quiet year. The only downer that year to that point was Dumbledore had seemed to think it was good idea to hire that utter fraud, Gilderoy Lockhart, as our replacement DADA Professor. If any of you dunderheads had read his books, as I did before I'd even started at school that year, and had figured out the timelines he used it should have been as clear to you as it was to me that there is no possible way the man could have accomplished what he said he'd accomplished.
"In three different areas he purported himself to be in two different locations in completely different parts of the world. Secondly, he wrote he'd even vanquished a werewolf simply by punching it on the nose, a zombie by sprinkling salt on it, and other completely laughable supposed feats!
"That the man wasn't, even by then, already discovered to be a complete fraud just goes to show how collectively stupid wizards and witches truly are!" he then sighed.
"But, I digress! Everything was going as I expected it to when - wouldn't you know it? - it was Hallowe'en again.
"Stupidly, I found myself being dragged down to a room in the dungeons to attend the 500th Deathday party of the Gryffindor house ghost, Sir Nicholas 'Nearly Headless Nick' de Mimsy-Porpington, instead of attending the start of the Feast. It was after we'd left the party and were making our way back to the Gryffindor Tower we came across what happened right outside the same bathroom Hermione was crying in exactly a year earlier, when she nearly got herself squished by a troll's club.
"The floor was covered in water, Caretaker Filch's cat, Mrs Norris, was hanging from a wall sconce by her tail - we thought she was dead - and there was writing on the wall directly below her. It said, 'Enemies of the heir, beware'
"Moments after we arrived there, Gryffindor and Ravenclaw students came up from the Feast and were making their own ways back to their dorms.
"Malfoy, the MisSorted Gryffindor who wears green trim, was with them for whatever reason - seeing as his common room is supposed to be in the dungeons and there's no real reason he should have been on the second floor - and cackled out about how mudbloods would be next. Always opening his mouth before he engages his brain, that boy. Then relies on his godfather, Severus Snape, to pull his nads out of the fire for him."
Surreptitiously looking over the top edge of his book, Harry could see quite a few were snickering at the clearly now angry blonde ponce.
"Of course, Caretaker Filch showed he lacks logic as much as a proper wizard or witch by immediately accusing me of killing his cat.
"But, as Ron, Hermione and I were first on the scene, for most people, that meant we were guilty of whatever happened. And Dumbledore dragged us three, the Mrs Norris catcicle, Filch, Minerva McGonagall and Fraud Lockhart off to Lockhart's classroom and office to investigate matters further. Of course, Severus Snape also managed to invite himself along, as he usually does.
"The way Snape always seems to be hovering around Dumbledore, inviting himself or being invited into meetings he has no right to be involved in, I've come to think of him as Dumbledore's shadow brought to life. Either that, or he secretly lusts after the man and follows him around like a love-sick puppy. But, maybe that lust is actually the other way round," and shrugged.
"Anyways, after poking and prodding the Mrs Norris catsicle for a while and Lockhart rambled on with his nonsense, Dumbledore eventually declared she wasn't dead, only petrified.
"However, what we have come of that was the whole school now have it in the back of their minds I was responsible for the attack.
"A week later, Colin Creevey was the next to be petrified. Watch what happened, that night, in the Infirmary."
"I also remind you, for those who were there, that was the day I had the bones in my arm vanished by 'Fraudhart'. So, for the entire duration of that day, from shortly after lunch until the next morning, I was under the direct supervision of Madam Pomfrey in the Infirmary. So, there's no possible way I could have been the one who attacked the boy."
The memory started with Harry lying awake in his bed. Dumbledore backs into the room wearing his nightclothes. McGonagall was facing him, also walking in. Between them they had a petrified Colin Creevey. And, once they'd dumped the boy on a bed and he'd opened Creevey's camera, Dumbledore confirmed the Chamber of Secrets had been opened.
Memory-Harry returned. "Did you all catch how Dumbledore, after he'd opened Creevey's camera and saw the insides were all melted, said it meant the Chamber of Secrets had been opened? Why would he say that? That he did meant he knew what the monster was in the Chamber. He had to have! Otherwise, the melted insides of the camera wouldn't have meant anything to him.
"Oh, and just so you know, a basilisk is the only creature that could do that to the camera. Yet further proof Dumbledore knew the monster was a basilisk.
"Which then brings us to Lockhart's aborted Duelling Club. The first and only meeting of that club. The one where it became known, even to me, that I'm a parselmouth.
"Watch what happened."
The next memory showed the duel between Harry and Malfoy, with the ponce using Serpensortia to conjure a snake - a Black Mamba - one of the most deadliest snakes known to man; Lockhart's stupidity in enraging it; its moving to attack Justin Finch-Fletchley; Harry unknowingly using parseltongue to stop it and everyone's reaction to it.
"Now, here we see a simple example of the stupidity of wizards and witches," explained Memory-Harry. "Wizard logic: Harry Potter is shown to be a parselmouth, everyone knows that Voldemort was a parselmouth, Voldemort was evil, therefore Harry Potter must be evil. It completely ignores the fact that Merlin was a parselmouth, so was Paracelsus, and parselmouths are revered in other parts of the world because parseltongue magic is proven to be best suited to healing magic - think Paracelsus and his works.
"Using that same logic we must accept that Minerva McGonagall's animagus form is a dog. Using the same Wizard logic: Minerva McGonagall's animagus form has four legs and a tail, everyone knows dogs have four legs and a tail, therefore Minerva McGonagall's animagus form is a dog. Stupidity, dressed as common sense, is still stupidity!
"For those who do not know what I told that very venomous Black Mamba, I told it to stop and not attack. That's why it backed off! What was I playing at, Finch-Fletchley? I was saving your naffing life, you moron!
"That then led to almost the whole school turning against me. I was being bullied left, right and centre.
"Now, bullying is a crime in the non-magical world. But, by the actions of the staff of Hogwarts, that does not appear to be the case in magical Britain. Every single one of the students - apparently except for Hermione, Ron and the Weasley twins - forgot I was laid up all night in the Infirmary when Creevey was attacked only a couple days earlier; so, it could not have been me. Hell, pretty much the lot of you saw Fraudhart vanish the bones out of my arm and that it would mean I'd be in the Infirmary. Idiots!
"Within a day of the fiasco of the duelling club, Finch-Fletchley is attacked and petrified. He's the second student to have been done so. It's now three days before the Christmas break.
"Of course, because it's the day after it's discovered I'm a parselmouth and I'm clearly now a Dark Lord, everyone pretty much accuses me of doing it. The bullying ratchets down, but now people are scared of me.
"Things go as you would think for the next few months. Then, in early May, Hermione and Penny Clearwater are attacked and petrified. Immediately afterwards, Lucy Malfoy somehow convinces by unanimous decision of the School Board to have Dumbledore removed as Headmaster.
"And, at the same time, Malfoy also convinces Fudge to have Hagrid carted off to Azkaban. His reason? He has to be seen to be doing something.
"That's three major events all on the same day, so let's visit them one at a time. First, the petrification of Hermione and the Clearwater lass finally has everyone believing I'm not the one who's doing the petrifying. It could be because I was down at the Quidditch pitch for the entire time in front of a great many people, who could all provide me alibis; or, it could be because no one would believe I'd attack my best friend, Hermione; or a combination of both. Frankly, I didn't and don't care one way or the other. It, at least, stopped the bullying and fear of me. It's a pity they didn't think about where I was when Creevey was attacked.
"The second was the sacking of Dumbledore. Later, after what happened in the Chamber of Secrets, I learned that it seems Lucy Malfoy extorted the rest of the School Board to go along with him in sacking Dumbledore as Headmaster. Frankly, I really don't give a toss about that, but you might want to look into it, Madam Bones.
"And the third was Hagrid getting carted off to Azkaban. Now, I'm not a lawyer, I'm not a legislator and I'm not a law enforcement official. However, it really gets in my craw how a person can be sent to Azkaban without even the decency of a trial. In the non-magical United Kingdom, from whence wizarding Britain was born, it is a breach of the Magna Carta to do such. And the Magna Carta was enshrined in law before magical Britain effectively seceded from the non-magical United Kingdom. As such, unless the Wizengamot has overturned the Magna Carta since seceding, then it is still law.
"So, if that is the case, then the Minister broke one of the founding precepts of modern law by having Hagrid incarcerated without a trial. To me, he kidnapped the man; and was aided and abetted by Lucy Malfoy in the act.
"You might want to look into that, too, Madam Bones. But, please don't take this as a direction on my part; only a suggestion."
Up in the VIP box, Madam Bones muttered, "Oh, don't worry about that, Mister Potter. I fully intend to."
She glanced to her left at the Minister and quietly said, "You and I will be having a long talk too, Minister."
Fudge, already worried, blanched and started to sweat.