TITLE: Harry Potter and the Year From Hell
AUTHOR: Ladye Black
WARNING: Slash, slight underage-ness depending on where you're from, language
DISCLAIMER: These characters are not mine, they belong to J.K. Rowling. I give her full credit for their invention; I claim nothing but this piece of fanfiction.
NOTES: This begins at the very end of Harry's Fifth year, and should pretty much span an entire year. (eventually)
"What do you mean I can't go to the Burrow this summer?!" a 16-year-old Harry Potter yelped.
Albus Dumbledore, the Headmaster of the Hogwarts Schools for Witchcraft and Wizardry, gazed back at Harry calmly. "I'm sorry my dear boy, but it is simply impossible if we are to keep you and your friends safe."
Dumbledore sighed. "There are reports that Voldemort is becoming stronger, that he is gathering his power for a very forceful attack upon Hogwarts this summer."
Harry blinked. "You mean, he's going to try to destroy Hogwarts?"
"Yes, Harry, that is exactly what I mean. This is the year that Voldemort will try to kill you…or so Severus has reported."
This statement drew attention to the third person the room, Severus Snape. Snape drew back uncomfortably into the shadows of the dark corner he had chosen to stand in, casually looking as if he was not poised for flight. Harry turned to look at him, studying the pale man in the shadows with slightly suspicious green eyes.
Snape glared back.
"Severus, would you please share your information with us?" Dumbledore asked quietly.
It was, Snape reflected before he spoke, more of a subtle command. No need to inform the boy as which house Dumbledore really was in, unless he'd figured out how Dumbledore really worked. Somehow, Snape doubted that.
"Of course, Headmaster," he answered in a low tone. And he proceeded to report his findings to Potter, not trying to coddle the boy at all. It was well past time for that nonsense.
"Voldemort is gaining power." Potter gaped at him. "What, Potter, didn't think I'd say his name?" Potter tried to answer. "No, don't say anything. I am here to report, not try to teach a gormless worm the finer points of arguments."
"Yes, Headmaster," he answered, sparing Dumbledore a glance. Potter closed his mouth, though he still seemed rather livid.
"As I was saying," he continued, "Voldemort is gaining power…and becoming impatient. He wants to kill Potter before the end of summer." Snape paused for effect. "I believe that the wards at Potter's relatives will be ineffective against the force He is gathering."
Dumbledore tried not to let the worry he felt show on his face. "How certain are you of this?"
Dumbledore leaned back to think, stroking his beard in an unconscious gesture of troubled thoughts. "Then I suppose," he said slowly, "we will have to find other accommodations for Harry."
Snape uncharacteristically hesitated before saying his next words. "If he is obviously moved…they'll-he'll, know who warned you."
Potter looked up in confusion, but Dumbledore's expression turned sharp. Severus inwardly shuddered at the look; he'd be getting an earful of his spying habits tonight that was for sure.
"And how would this be?" Dumbledore asked, though Snape was sure he already had a very good idea of what the answer was.
Since Potter was in the room, Severus went for the simplified version. "He considers me his closest confidante," Harry snorted with repressed laughter. "It is an irony I am well-aware of, I assure you. He has only told me of his plans…so far."
Dumbledore stroked his chin through his beard. "What do you propose we do then?"
"That we wait a few days," Snape answered promptly. "If he doesn't tell anyone else, then we have to move Potter, and assume that this is what He has planned all along."
"Why?" Potter's question, of course.
"Death Eater's are prepared to go into battle every time the Dark Lord calls," Snape answered. "All Voldemort has to do is fire up the Dark Mark, get all his followers together, tell them where and how to attack, and let them at it. There wouldn't be enough time for a warning of any sort to be of much use."
Dumbledore made a quick decision. "Severus, I'm giving you seventy-two hours. Seventy-two hours for Voldemort to announce his plans to, at least, the rest of his inner circle. If he does not," Dumbledore continues gravely, "we will have to move Harry to a safe place."
Snape frowned. "But then he will know for sure who his spy is."
"Then I will simply have to remove you out of his reach also, Severus," Dumbledore answered serenely.
"You mean, have me hide like the other sniveling fools the Dark Lord has thrown a hissy fit at?"
Dumbledore nodded. Snape felt the tight control he had on his emotions slipping.
"Fine," he growled. "I'll make my report in seventy-two hours."
Using the dramatic flair he had cultivated over the years, Severus whirled out of the room.
A moment later, Harry's voice could be heard asking, "How does he do that?"
"Practice, I believe," Dumbledore answered.