Disclaimer: I still do not own Harry Potter.
Wow, you guys are so unbelievably awesome. Thank you so much for all the follows, favorites, and reviews. I absolutely love all your ideas for where this story could go, and there are definitely some that appeal to me greatly. Some of you have a very good idea of where this story will go.
In regards to how the Statute of Secrecy could be broken, I have this hilarious image in my head of what could happen in this day and age. The wizarding world, as it stands now, could not be a secret in the year 2019, and I'll give you two words as to why.
If someone did magic and posted it on Facebook, Twitter, or Instagram, what are the Obliviators going to do? Wipe the memories of every single person who saw it? No way. That would be impossible. Even if they all had Timeturners there'd be no way to reach everyone. I absolutely adore the wizarding world, but in this day and age the Statute of Secrecy would be completely implausible. The image of the Obliviators running around like chickens with their heads cut off makes me laugh hysterically every. Single. Time.
Anyway, I really hope you enjoy this chapter. Here it is folks, the confrontation between Harry and Dumbledore, with some Petunia, Dudley, and Vernon sprinkled in as well.
Harry arrived back on Privet Drive, happy and fulfilled after a great day with Dudley, Cliff, Robert, and Matthew. After playing outside for a while, they had walked to the local store and bought some ice cream, which they had thoroughly enjoyed. They had then gone to the bowling alley for the afternoon. Harry wasn't at all good at the sport, and was ribbed mercilessly by his cousin and his friends for it, but he couldn't find it in himself to care. After all, he gave as good as he got, and he was used to the lighthearted banter he and his friends shared. Bowling had been followed up by a delicious home-cooked meal, courtesy of Mrs. Daniels. She told them she was happy to have them all around - Mr. Daniels was on a business trip, and she wanted the house to still be lively. Cliff had rolled his eyes and quipped, "Aren't I enough for you?" Much teasing and laughter had followed this statement.
Yes, Harry had indeed had a good day. But as he and Dudley walked home, a feeling of foreboding suddenly washed over him. During the time with his friends, he'd been able to keep anything to do with magic and Hogwarts out of his mind, but now, it came back with a vengeance.
Had his letter been received? What had the reactions to it been? These were questions Harry could already guess the answers to. And he knew that once they started in on him, they would be relentless. Aunt Petunia had described them as a pack of vultures who would stop at nothing to get what they wanted. As these thoughts swam through Harry's mind, he dreaded his arrival home, and this angered him - he had always felt safe at Number Four, Privet Drive, and now that security was being threatened.
As they neared the door to the house, Dudley patted his shoulder awkwardly, but didn't say anything. Harry gave him a brief smile; even though nothing was said, Harry knew this was Dudley's way of reassuring him that he was on his side, and it was a gesture very much appreciated. Dudley had an inkling of what was going on; after all, Harry had told him the basics as they walked to Cliff's this morning.
Harry took out his house key from his pocket, unlocked the door, and opened it. As he and Dudley walked inside, the feeling of foreboding only increased. He could hear voices coming from the living room. Vernon sounded furious, Petunia sounded close to tears, and then there was another voice, a deeper one which was attempting to sound soothing.
Squaring his shoulders and taking a deep breath, Harry marched into the room, Dudley at his side. Harry's feeling of gratitude towards his cousin increased - he wouldn't have blamed him if he high-tailed it upstairs, not wanting to be a part of this discussion. But Dudley was willing to stand up for Harry, no matter what this wizard tried to do.
As Harry entered the room, the first thing he noticed was Uncle Vernon. He was shaking with rage, and his entire face had gone purple, a vein throbbing in his neck. Harry had only seen his uncle this furious on a few occasions, and no one wanted to cross him when he was in this state. Harry's gaze then turned to Petunia, who was indeed trying to keep her composure.
But what held his attention the most was the old man who had made himself comfortable on a squashy armchair, treating their living room like it was his. He almost looked like a king on a throne, and the armchair he sat in was not one owned by the Dursleys. Where had he gotten it from? Why had he brought his own furniture into the house? Better yet, where was the comfy armchair Dudley always sat in to watch TV?
Petunia and Vernon had drilled it into Harry and Dudley's minds to be respectful to adults when they spoke to them, but for a moment, Harry forgot his manners as he stared at the man with the long, white beard. He was wearing a very extravagant-looking hat, and his shirt had an array of moons and stars on it. Show-off, Harry thought mutinously as he took stock of the man's relaxed posture, as if he didn't have a care in the world and hadn't just interrupted a normal family's day. "Who are you?" Harry demanded, past caring that his tone was rude. But it seemed as though his aunt and uncle didn't care, either; they didn't reprimand him or even give him a disapproving look.
"Hello, Harry," said the old man. "My name is Albus Dumbledore, and I am the Headmaster of Hog..."
"I know who you are now," Harry interrupted, feeling adrenaline surge through him. "What did you do with Dudley's chair?"
"I beg your pardon?" Dumbledore asked in a bewildered tone, surprised at the harsh question being leveled at him.
"Dudley's chair," Harry said, not budging an inch. "You did something to it."
"Oh," Dumbledore said, instantly standing up. "I apologize." Removing a stick from his pocket which Harry knew with dread to be a wand, he waved it at the chair. It transformed back into the one Harry remembered, looking as though it had never been changed.
"Now, I will have no more of that in this house," Vernon suddenly roared in fury, the vein in his neck still pulsing. "You are an inconsiderate, good-for-nothing fool. My wife and I told you you couldn't come into this house, and you disobeyed our express wishes and came in anyway. Then you decide our furniture isn't good enough for you, and have to change it into your own rubbish."
"I apologize, Vernon," Dumbledore said in a placating tone. "I did not realize any of this would be so offensive to you. I only wished to speak with Harry."
"And we told you, he was out with his friends like a normal boy," snapped Aunt Petunia. "We didn't know what exact time he was getting back."
"And it's not like he'd want to talk to you anyway," snorted Vernon with disgust. "Wasn't his letter good enough for you?"
"Ah, the letter," said Dumbledore, and he scrutinized Harry, looking him up and down. Harry noticed that the man's blue eyes were twinkling gently, and he gave off a grandfatherly, kind appearance. If Harry didn't know better, he'd have thought the man meant him no harm.
No, Harry, he told himself sharply, remembering everything Aunt Petunia had told him about the wizarding world. Don't fall for it. Don't let his talk of magic and wonder pull you away from your family. Your parents died because they lost themselves in this world. Don't ever forget that they wanted you to live.
"Professor Dumbledore," said Harry, his face contorted in a scowl. "Before we get to the letter, it's interesting that you decided to come in person this time. It would have been nice if you'd come yourself to tell my aunt that my parents were dead, instead of just leaving me on the doorstep with a note, you know. Do wizards not know common courtesy?"
A brief look of shock flitted across the old man's face, as if he couldn't believe what had just been said to him. But, as quick as a flash, he seemed to recover himself. "Harry, you must understand that I had to keep you safe," he said imploringly. "You have no idea how much danger you were in at the time."
Harry let out a snort, folding his hands in his lap. "Don't bother, Harry," said Petunia, giving the old man her own contemptuous look. "He already gave us this drivel before you got here."
"It's the truth, Petunia," Dumbledore said in a tone which made it obvious he thought this line of questioning was unreasonable.
Harry, sensing he would get nowhere with this right now but vowing he would someday get to the bottom of it, realized it was time to get to the heart of the matter. "I really don't want to go to Hogwarts. I'm happy here with my family, and I don't want to get mixed up in the reason why my parents died. And the fact that I'm famous is really stupid. I was fifteen months old! I couldn't have defeated Voldemort."
To Dumbledore's credit, he did not flinch at the name. Aunt Petunia had told him that many witches and wizards had a bad reaction to hearing it. Thankfully, Dumbledore didn't subscribe to that, but it still didn't make Harry trust him at all.
"Yes, it was my sister who did," Petunia added, her hands clenched into fists. "Your world is pathetic, thinking that a baby did something like that. Don't they have any sense at all? Forget answering that," she spat venomously.
"Yes, I am aware that it was Lily who accomplished it," said Dumbledore gently, but this only seemed to incense Petunia more.
"Then why does your world believe that it was Harry's doing?" Dudley demanded, speaking for the first time during the confrontation.
"That is an interesting question, Dudley," Dumbledore answered. "Those were terrible times during the First War against Voldemort. Our young Mr. Potter did something that had never been heard of before - he survived the Avada Kedavra, also known as the Killing Curse. He is the only one to this day that has ever been known to live through it. Also, the curse has never backfired on its caster before. When the war ended, the world needed someone to believe in, so they placed all their hopes upon Harry. He became a symbol of faith for everyone."
Harry scowled fiercely at Dumbledore. How ignorant could he possibly be? Did he truly think that this was having any effect on making him come to the wizarding world? Did he think this "symbol to the people" nonsense would guilt-trip him into attending against his will so he could satisfy their hero worship? "I'm not a symbol," he said angrily. "I'm a person."
Dumbledore's expression softened. "I know," he said quietly. "And I'm sorry that the world feels this way. But Harry, it is essential that you take your place amongst the wizarding world. Have you not had instances where you've made things happen by accident, when you've either been scared or angry?"
"Yes," Harry said fiercely. "And I want it removed. Did you not read every word in my letter?"
"Harry, that is an impossibility," Dumbledore said, his voice tinged with sorrow. "There is no way a person's magic can be removed, just like there is no way you can acquire magic if you don't have it."
Petunia's eyes flickered with emotion at this statement, and her expression was full of hostility as she glared at the Headmaster. "How dare you," she whispered.
"I'm sorry, Petunia," said Dumbledore, truly sounding remorseful. "I did not mean to rub salt in an old wound."
Harry looked back and forth between his aunt and Dumbledore, and saw out of the corner of his eye that Dudley was doing the same. Harry didn't know what they were referring to, but it currently didn't worry him. "So there's no way to remove my magic?" he said, a brief surge of despair washing over him. He'd suspected this was the case, but didn't want to believe it.
"No, there isn't," said Dumbledore, and unlike other times in the conversation, Harry was sure the old man was telling the truth this time. He knew the Dursleys were feeling exactly how he was, but he vowed this would not change his response in the slightest. "My answer is still no," he said firmly.
"Harry," Dumbledore said, his voice sounding pleading. "Do you have any idea what could happen if you don't learn magic? It will become uncontrollable, and you could wind up hurting someone."
Harry's heart pounded as Dumbledore laid out one of his worst fears. As the incidents of accidental magic had increased in intensity, Harry seriously worried that someone might get hurt.
Dudley immediately jumped to Harry's defense. "Harry's never hurt anyone," he said emphatically. "And he never will."
Aunt Petunia, seeing the look on Harry's face, sent another furious glare in Dumbledore's direction and walked over to him, laying a hand on his shoulder. "Sweetheart," she said softly. "Don't listen to him. He's trying to manipulate you into going."
Harry took some deep breaths, struggling to stay calm. He trusted Aunt Petunia implicitly, and so he believed what she was saying. But he couldn't help the niggling worry inside of him - after all, the incidents were definitely increasing. Aunt Petunia might not be aware of what happened if someone didn't do magic. Lily had said yes to her Hogwarts letter, after all, so hadn't had to deal with any ramifications of not learning it. But Harry was desperate for everything in his world to remain the same. No matter what was used against him, he would not give the old man the satisfaction of knowing how much his words had shaken him.
So, strengthening his resolve, he faced Dumbledore again with even more surety. "I'm not going," he said resolutely. "I told you, no. I want to grow up to be a doctor, not a Dark Lord Killer, thank you very much. I don't want to end up dead at twenty-one, like my parents did. I don't want to leave Aunt Petunia, Uncle Vernon, Dudley, or my other friends."
"Harry, I understand you are happy here," said Dumbledore, but Harry somehow didn't think he really understood at all. "But your parents would have wanted this for you. They loved you, Harry, more than their own lives. There is so much you don't know about the magical world. It is a wonderful place full of opportunity, and I promise you, you won't have to grow apart from your family. There's always Christmas and the summertime."
"I know my parents loved me," said Harry, feeling a renewed surge of anger. Dumbledore had somehow known this was one of his insecurities. But he remembered Petunia's reassurance from this morning, that his parents wouldn't be disappointed in his choice not to learn magic, and it was this that gave him the strength to defy Dumbledore. "And the fact that they loved me means they'd want me to live. I doubt they'd want me to die young like them. They'd be proud of me no matter what."
At this, Petunia smiled at Harry, squeezing his shoulder gently. Dudley looked uncomfortable at the emotional turn the conversation had taken, but stayed by Harry's side in silent support nevertheless. Uncle Vernon looked approvingly at his nephew and nodded, to which Harry nodded back.
"Really, Dumbledore," Vernon then snarled, standing up and towering over the old wizard, who was still sitting calmly in the chair. "If you know what's good for you, you'll get out now."
"He's not going to fall for your tricks," said Dudley. "Why can't you accept that he's happy here? Why can't you take no for an answer?"
"Believe me, Dudley, these wizards never can," said Petunia, who looked close to tears again. She turned to Dumbledore. "Do me a favor," she said, her teeth clenched so hard she could barely enunciate the words. "Get. Out."
Sighing deeply, Dumbledore got out of the armchair. "Very well," he said quietly, his voice laced with disappointment. "But Harry, I need you to know that if you change your mind, Hogwarts is here for you. Think about what I said about your magic, and I insist you monitor it in the future."
"Keep dreaming," said Harry sarcastically.
"We said, GET OUT!" Vernon roared, his entire body vibrating.
And without another word, Dumbledore was gone, performing a frightening trick which Petunia called Apparition. The blood drained from Harry's face, and he put his head in his hands.
Aunt Petunia, Uncle Vernon, and Dudley all gathered around him, none of them saying a word but letting Harry know they were all there to support him. Harry's entire body sagged, and the emotional pain, turmoil, and exhaustion swamped him.
This evening's confrontation might be over, but Harry was sure that in the grand scheme of things, this was only the beginning.