Harry Potter and the Shard of Magic.
Disclaimer: I do not own the Harry Potter characters. But I do own my very own two OC's: Finbar and Alex. (will kill if you steal them)
Warning: Contains slash (boy/boy relationship) Harry Potter/Draco Malfoy.
Year Setting: Sixth Year
Chapter One: Summer on Privet Drive
The first splintering crack of lightning overhead, a silver flash that split the darkening heavens in two. Umbrellas or newspapers were used as a shield against the wet slap of the first fat drops falling from the sky, relieving the heat and sticky presences from the air. People made haste to seek shelter as the storm broke, sending one last sheer electric tension through the air.
Rain hit Little Whinging like a sweeping curtain, yet one lone silhouette sitting on a swing could be made out through the thick veil of quickly chilling torrent. The droplets leaked into his once brilliant green eyes, now dull and bitter, hidden behind round spectacles. His worn-down and frayed t-shirt clung to his rawboned body and his shoulders were hunched as he stared moodily towards the ground. The boy's hair didn't take well to being wet obviously as it stood almost rebelliously against the pounding water.
Harry Potter had never enjoyed his summers at the Dursleys to say at least, but this one, the summer of his sixteenth birthday, proved to be the hardest one yet.
Thunder rolled above him, shivering through the humid air, and all Harry could hope for was that the cascading rain would be able to wash away the violating mantra droning on and on in his head. His scar continued prickling tauntingly, as if to spite Harry for failing so many people. So many people had died because of him; first of all his parents, then Cedric and now Sirius. The screams from his mother echoed through his head, even the pounding rain couldn't stop it. Nor could it stop the shivers running down his spine as he thought about holding Cedric's limp body when he reached out for the portkey. And all the while he saw Sirius's body curving in a graceful arc as he sank backwards through the ragged veil.
Tears of bitter shame and fury prickled at the corners of his eyes, but he would not give himself the relief of crying. He did not deserve it. It was his fault after all…
And either must die at the hand of the other for neither can live while the other survives...
His grip around the chain tightened, knuckles whitening as they were drained of blood. All his fault. Weakly he stood, frowning as his baggy jeans wrung uncomfortably around his thighs. He jumped abruptly backwards and his hand flew to the place he'd stuffed his wand in his waistband as he could make out the contours of a man standing before him.
His hand trembled as he pointed his wand at the stranger. "Who are you?" he demanded, voice deceivingly flat even though his heart skipped some beats, thudding unevenly against his ribcage.
Hands were raised in surrender as the man inched in on him. Harry squinted against the rain as his senses tingled in recognition. "Remus?"
"Hi Harry." His former Defense Against the Dark Arts teacher greeted him with a hint of sadness in his gentle voice. His cheeks were hollow and deep dark circles were clearly visible around his eyes. He seemed to radiate weariness, as if the weather seemed to reflect his mood. He took a step forward…
The grip on his wand tightened "In what does a Bogart turn when I face one?" Harry asked, eying him warily.
"A dementor…" he replied simply "You hear your mother as she defended you…"
"Who is Wormtail?"
A throaty hiss escaped him "A vile, traitorous lowlife, named Peter Pettigrew; an illegal animagus his form is that of a rat. Very suiting." He spat the words out disgusted.
The wand was lowered, and the Gryffindor watched him from over his glasses. "Professor Lupin? What are you doing here?" he asked in confusion.
"I…" Remus started, but didn't get to finish the sentence as the words died on his lips. Trembling, his eyes took in the heart-chilling sight of the boy-who-lived, damp fabric of his summer T-shirt tightly plastered against his body, lining the ribs that stuck out alarmingly. He closed his eyes in shame. James, Lilly, I am so sorry for letting it come so far…
Remus was snapped out of his initial shock by Harry's worried tone. Giving him an assuring smile he said, "I wanted to…to…", but stuttered helplessly. All of a sudden Harry found himself being wrapped in a warm embrace and Remus' voice choking in his hair "I'm so sorry Harry."
It took him a while to come over the awkwardness of being held so comfortingly by his former-teacher, but eventually he found his arms coming up automatically, returning the hug in earnest. They just stood there, as the world almost went blank when they submitted to the grueling sorrow in their heart, clinging to each other, both so different yet understanding each other like in one else could have.
"We cannot leave him there." Remus insisted as he held his mug tightly; he'd never been one to speak for an audience, especially when that audience consisted of Minerva, Alastor, Kingsley, Severus, Emmeline, the Weasley's and Dumbledore himself. "It's amazing he still hasn't collapsed… albeit from underweight or the weight of the problems he's carrying on his shoulders."
Very light and bright blue eyes regarded him from over half-moon spectacles and the werewolf couldn't help but to shift uncomfortably, knowing that Dumbledore was very keen on having Harry safe at his relatives'.
Remus pushed on, "I'm not saying we should get him out of there, but we could at least try to help him carry his burdens. It shouldn't be his to carry in the first place." A small breath escaped his lips as he saw Minerva nodding in agreement. He'd made a point.
Silence settled in the kitchen on 12 Grimmauld Place as all contemplated about how they could help the-boy-who-lived.
"Harry is barely 16 years old Albus… the person closest to a father-figure was taken away from him and The Dark Lord is only waiting for the right time to strike… we have to do something." Molly put in with fierce motherly protectiveness.
Dumbledore smiled sadly "I've tried so hard to let him grow up as a normal person, and in the end it seemed to be the worst I could do… but even less I want him to get hurt. He's been through so much pain already…"
"He is going through deep pain right now." Remus said and he tried hard to keep his voice clean of all impatient determination. "Lilly, James and Sirius turn in their graves as we leave him to sort this out on his own." His voice shook as he added, with more force than he could help "He's very strong, not to mention stubborn, but not invincible."
Light blue eyes were turned down to gaze into his mug as the words stung deeply into Albus' heart "I know…" he answered, the decision very hard for him "We should get him out of there…"
Minerva pouted her lips sourly "He won't take well on being brought here again."
A murmur rang through the kitchen as this problem was recognized. All but Molly Weasley whose face showed utter compassion as she offered: "Maybe…"
"Happy Birthday to me." Harry murmured as he leaned through his window after yet another failed attempt at sleep. He watched Hedwig soaring after a moth she tried to catch, her snow-white feathers now silver in the moonlight. With a click her beak closed around the unfortunate insect and she swooped down on his shoulder, and hooted as if she wanted to be complimented for her perfect catch. Her sharp claws dug into his already so fragile and abused skin, but he couldn't care. Instead he rested his head, in a strange need to lift his loneliness, against her smooth yet soft feathers and Hedwig cooed in response and nipped his ear.
"Hey girl…" he said softly and he scratched her on the head carefully "Think it's worth trying to sleep once more?"
Hedwig blinked and tilted her head. "Hoo…"
"Yeah, couldn't have said it better myself." He smiled as he closed the window.
But he'd barely turned around or there was a sharp peck against his glass causing Hedwig to fly off with another indignant hoot. Warily and very slowly he walked back to the window, peeking outside. Nobody. Frowning he pushed it open again and leaned out, right hand on his hip, feeling his wand still stuffed in his waistband. Just as he was about to close the window again a little pebble hit him square on the forehead.
"Hey!" he yelped and rubbed his forehead, while he drew out his wand with his other hand.
"Psst! Over here, Harry!"
Bewildered Harry's head jerked to the direction the voice had came form, and there alright, was Bill Weasley standing in the shadow of a tree; complete with black trench coat and dragon hide boots.
"B-Bill?" He blurted, completely confused.
"The one and only!" The redhead answered with an amused smile "I'm here to kidnap you, pack your trunk and get down here!" he seemed agitated causing Harry to frown even more.
"Wooowoow… wait a second, what's going on?" he demanded, wanting to know why exactly Bill Weasley was throwing rocks at him at midnight, ordering him to pack his stuff and leave.
"Seems like they've finally come to their senses, and they decided to get you out of here… That and the fact that we've got lots of trouble.
A hollow feeling poured into his stomach and his grip on the windowsill tightened, causing the stone to rub sharply against the palm of his hands "What's wrong?"
"Don't worry just yet Harry; we'll explain when we get home."
With an aggravated sigh Harry left his position from the window and started throwing his stuff into his trunk randomly, not that it was much to begin with. 10 minutes later he was already packed, Hedwig's cage perched on top of his trunk. Very, very quietly he tiptoed down through the house, Vernon's roaring snore on the background, damning every squeak when trying to get down the stairs. At long last he was outside, hurrying his way over to Bill.
"What about the Dursleys? I can't just leave!" He protested as he dropped his trunk to the floor rougher than needed.
"Don't worry, Moody and dad will see to that tomorrow! C'mon now, we need to go!"
His lips were slightly parted as he frowned in disbelief, "What if something happens to them?" Not that he was that fond of his relatives to begin with, but too many people had died and got hurt just because of him. "I can't just –"
But he was cut of mid-sentence as Bill pushed a candy wrapper in his fist before Harry realized it. With a familiar tug behind his navel, Harry's world spun around in a flash.
And he met the ground even rougher. With a groan he opened his eyes and was met by the startling sight of Ron crouching before him, nose a mere inch from his. "You alright there mate? Some rough landing."
Scrambling to sit up more straight, his eyes took in the homey sight of a small kitchen, with a fireplace and a scrubbed wooden table. He was at the Burrow.
"I'm okay… I guess." He answered vaguely as he tried to stand "What's going on?"
Instead of answering Ron's mouth dropped open and Harry had never seen such pained expression on his face, "Harry… what happened to you?" he whispered.
Harry noticed the rest of the Weasley household watching him from over Ron's shoulder. Wow, I must really look awful… He thought inwardly as he saw Molly sniffle and Ginny covering her mouth in shock.
"Sit down Harry." Arthur offered, breaking the leaden silence.
Harry did as told, still itching to fire the questions burning on his lips. Bill appeared with a 'plop' holding Harry's trunk and Hedwig's cage, in which the owl was hooting venomously. Gesturing for the cage, the young wizard released her and Hedwig burst out with a loud screech before landing on his shoulder. Stroking her feathers comfortingly Harry demanded: "And now I want to know what's going on."
With a sigh Arthur sat down next of him, pushing a steaming mug of hot cocoa in his hands. "The Order decided to get you out… or rather Remus insisted on it."
A stubborn rebellion bubbled up in Harry's already irritated mood "I can take care of myself fine, thank you very much!"
"Oh Harry…" Ginny breathed, sitting down next to him. His skinny hand was covered with her own.
Harry's eyes narrowed angry "I'm doing fine!" he shot back. He didn't need babysitters, he'd done fine on his own so far, and he could handle this himself.
"Really now?" Ron interfered, his voice cold and trembling. Before he knew, Ron hauled him to his feet and dragged him up the stairs; obviously ignoring Molly's spluttering objections. Surprised Ron seemed so much stronger than he remembered, Harry had no choice but to try and keep up with the tall redhead. With a shove the Gryffindor was pushed into the bathroom and in front of the mirror.
Blinking he looked up at Ron, arching an eyebrow in question.
"Take of your t-shirt." he commanded, breathing through his nose, cheeks flushed red.
Even though it must have been the most unusual thing Ron had ever asked of him, he obliged, and pulled his t-shirt over his head.
Ron growled audibly now, a hand curled around Harry's shoulder "Alright?" he said, jabbing a finger at the mirror "That's anything but alright!"
Staring at his reflection in disbelief Harry could not help but to agree. He was shocked that he hadn't seen it before, even more that the Dursleys hadn't done anything about it. He looked famished, his skin was pulled tightly over his ribs and his jeans had scraped the skin on his hips open. He could encircle his upper arm between his thumb and index finger and his collarbone stood out alarmingly. His eyes seemed to have sunken deeper into his skull and his lips were crooked, cheeks hollow. A shadow of what he used to be.
Ron was visibly trembling now, and it shocked Harry when he realized that it was because he was worried about him. "You are the must stubborn guy I've ever met Harry, but this had gone too far!"
The Seeker swallowed, still shocked himself by being confronted with his reflection. "I…" he said, breath caught in his throat.
"You are going to get yourself together!" Ron burst out "What happened was awful, and you deserved it least of all, but it's happened and nothing can change that! Sirius would never want to see you like this!"
Harry winceed, fighting against the constricting in his chest and desperately trying to hold himself together. He silently accepted his t-shirt back from Ron and pulled it back over his head, catching the pained expression as his friend looked at Harry's ribs rolling under his skin when he raised his arms.
20 minutes later they were sitting back at the kitchen, Harry sipping at his cocoa, eyes cast downward and Ron sitting opposite of him, seemingly embarrassed because of his outburst.
"As Ron seemed to have been clear enough about the main reason why you're here…" Arthur spoke up again, shooting his son a wry look "This is the second."
A newspaper, The Daily Prophet, was dropped on the table in front of his nose. Immediately his eyes were drawn to the big header on the front page:
Mass Breakout from Azkaban Prison!
Two nights ago, a massive breakout has occurred from Azkaban Prison. The Death Eaters who fought in the Battle of the Department of Mysteries and previously sentenced Death Eaters have escaped during a mass breakout in the night of the 29th of July. Dementors are no longer under control and have officially joined forces with the Dark Lord, leaving Azkaban Prison unguarded. Following prisoners have escaped: Lestrange Rabastan, Lestrange Rodolphus, Theodore Nott, Rookwood Augustus, Dolohov Antonin, Malfoy Lucius, …
The article went on but Harry just dropped his face into his hands and rubbed his eyes beneath his glasses. This could not be happening… Bill patted his back comfortingly and Harry heaved a shivering sigh. "What about the Dursleys? What if they come to look for me there?"
"We'll see to their safety, don't worry…" Arthur answered patiently and then added, in a much different voice "Turn the page Harry…"
Dreading to find out what other bad news it would bring him, Harry turned the page. A sharp pang shot through his stomach and he blinked against the burning sensation in his eyes. The next header said:
Sirius Black declared innocent!
After the debacle at the Department of Mysteries, several of the Death Eaters that have been questioned under the influence of Veritaserum have confirmed that Sirius Black was never a Death Eater. Previously charged for the murders of twelve muggles and one Peter Pettigrew, Mr. Black was in fact framed by no one other that Peter Pettigrew himself, who is alive, a Death Eater, an illegal animagus in the form of a rat and responsible for the death on Lilly and James Potter and Cedric Diggory. Upon learning that Pettigrew betrayed the Potters' hide-out to He-who-must-not-be-named; Pettigrew lured Mr. Black into a crowed street, cut of his own finger, blew up the street and all muggles present there, transformed into a rat and escaped through the sewers, thus faking his own death.
However, this information has been learned too late, as Mr. Black died in the battle at the Department of Mysteries. But, as from today, Sirius Black has been cleared of all charges. The date of reading of Mr. Black's Will has yet to be set, as the Black estate will probably be inherited by no one other than Harry Potter, who is, in fact, Mr. Black's Godson.
His head jerked up at this, his cheeks starting to burn.
As if reading Harry's thoughts, Mr. Weasley handed Harry an envelope. He could not stop his hand from trembling as he accepted the envelope, biting his lower lip hard enough to draw blood when he saw the wax seal in the shape of a dog's paw print. It was addressed to him. Dead, Sirius was dead. His voice was void of all emotion when he spoke "I'm tired… I think I'm going to bed…"
"Okay Harry, you can use Percy's old room, if you like…" Molly said softly, her voice hitching ever so slightly at the mention of her lost son.
Harry simply nodded and stood; his whole posture rigid and emotionless. He bent down stiffly and dragged his trunk unceremoniously after him and up the stairs, feet carrying him automatically to where he wanted to be. Entering Percy's old room, he dropped his trunk in the middle of the room and he even forgot to close the door, but he moved over to the bed and sat down slowly. The envelope was still in his hands and he couldn't do anything but stare at it blankly for the next few minutes. This was so final, if he opened this letter, it would be official. He would never come back.
With a trembling sigh he dug out a little pocket knife and instead of slitting the seal, he opened the top of the envelope. He liked the seal. A thick peace of parchment fell out and Harry picked it up carefully. He swallowed one last time and began to read.
If you are reading this letter, it means I've died. I hope I died fighting an honorable cause, rather than I've withered away where I am now. I'm not going to say not to cry for me, because I know I did when James and Lily died. But Harry, please remember; there is a time for mourning, but also a time for moving on. Also, it was not you fault! How did I know? Well, I blamed myself for James and Lily's death… it was what nearly consumed me in Azkaban. Yes, I was innocent, but if I hadn't convinced them into choosing that traitorous rat as their Secret Keeper, they would still be alive. Sometimes you do something with the best intentions, but it turns out all wrong and you couldn't do anything to stop it.
If Remus is still alive and I suspect he is (he's one tough werewolf) I'd like to ask you for a favor. Thank him for me. He's been a wonderful support and even a more wonderful friend and I don't know where I would have been if he hadn't been there. Also, keep an eye out for him, he tends to brood and now I'm not here anymore, I need you to boot his arse back into action for me when he goes sulking.
Also, you are going to be one very wealthy man, Harry, as I leave most of the Black Estate to you. I trust you will use it wisely Harry, as you have been handling your parents' fortune with a great sense of responsibility, too. The house in London I want to be used as the headquarters for the Order until such time as it is no longer needed, which, I hope, is soon (Please do give the rat and the snake-face my regards when you kick their arse). At the reading of my Will, which you have to set the date for, more specific details will be cleared out, but I'm not going to ramble on about it now. One more thing though, the flying motorcycle; it's yours. But Harry, please use it carefully because I don't need your mother in my hair up here.
I feel like I still have to explain myself for what you saw in Snape's pensive… What we did was wrong, but don't judge your father just yet. He was a very good man Harry, and also a brother to me. I don't want to point, but Snivellus was always tormenting happily along with Lucius and his cronies and one day it just clashed horribly when they made a move for one of our fellow muggle-born and lower-year housemates… That's when we started cursing each other randomly in the hallways. Okay, I admit, James and I had a rather trigger-happy attitude to jinxing people, but we never really meant to harm anyone. The memory you saw in the pensive was the worst we ever did and I'm very ashamed of myself you had to see that. Maybe you should ask to see Remus' memories in a pensive instead…
Finally, I also needed to apologize for something else… When I said to you that your father would have taken that risk, it was horribly wrong of me. I guess I was somehow living through you and your friends. And that was wrong of me, sorry. You look so much like James, not to mention you fly as good as him, too, but actually, you are much more like your mother. And that is a very good thing, Harry. Lilly was one of the strongest and most loving people I have ever had the honor to meet. She was one hell of a witch Harry, didn't miss a beat. A shoulder for all to lean on, a leader really… She had this radiating power about her, something I can't explain… And you better know she loved you Harry. We all did and always will and regardless of what you do; we have faith that you will make us proud.
Harry, please live your life to the fullest! It's too short and too precious to be wasted on mourning, I need you to realize this before it's too late. Remember me how I was, not how I am.
Sirius Black a.k.a. Padfoot.
The first of the tears he'd pressed back so harshly ran over his cheek, the others following after, and this time Harry didn't stop them. He just let it out, hugging himself and hoped Sirius could hear him as he promised he'd do everything within his power to make them proud. He cried one last time and he knew it would be long before he could get over him, but a start was made…
A/N: this is an edit, or actually a whole new chapter! Cause the last one sucked.
Thanks to my wonderful beta Keiko-keket for making this chappie typo-free!
See that little purple-ish button? Click the purple-ish button, because you know you want to… yes, you want to review this story! Okay, okay, want me to beg? I'll beg; pleasepleaseplease review? Pleeeease? No flames please but constructive advice please. Thanks!