Disclaimers and Notes can be read in all previous chapters.
Disclaimers and Notes can be read in all previous chapters.
I updated! Sorry for the wait. This is not proofread except by Word. I know there are mistakes and mistakes on top of those but until I find a new beta we will all just have to pretend to read what should be there and not necessarily what I wrote…….lol.
It began with death. He supposed it was as fine a place as any to begin, even fitting in a way. Harry remembered some of what had gone on but mostly he remembered dealing in death. He knew that as he regained his memories he would understand more but at the moment the disjointed images branded him a murderer. He'd killed Bella rather than save her. He could have tried harder to save her, he should have. No one could know of what had transpired that night, not the Headmaster, not his friends, not Remus either. He was completely alone with his secrets and they would die with him. He wasn't even sure how he was to feed of magic but he hoped he wouldn't kill anyone or have Hogwarts crumbling around them before he got it figured out. His ruminations were cut short when someone came into the infirmary and headed towards him.
Harry squinted trying to see who his first visitor was just incase he didn't want to talk to them but it was only Luna. Then he mentally snorted at thinking Luna a just anything. "Hi."
"Hello, Harry. I thought you might be hungry so I came down a little early." Luna wasn't sure what she meant by that either but then shrugged off the feeling since she was positive Harry would know.
"Um, thanks?" Harry asked confused since she was sitting in a chair next to his bed sans any visible food. He sat up and arranged his pillows so he could lean back comfortably as he tried to figure out what Luna said meant. He was aware that she was a seer and that the things that usually came out of her mouth where not as random as one might think. He was also quite aware of how sane she could be when it was called for since he'd had those piercing blue eyes turn all their focus on him. Since she seemed to waiting for more of a response or maybe it was just him projecting, he absently patted the hand resting on his bedside.
Luna sucked in a startled breath when Harry touched her hand. She hadn't been expecting that and the feeling that shot through her was truly strange. She could feel this pin and needle sensation climbing from where Harry grasp her hand but other than that she didn't see or feel anything. Harry on the other hand looked a bit strange. His eyes were glowing even more brilliantly than normal as if some incandescent green fire had been turned on. He was looking straight at her but she had the feeling he didn't see her but something had put a very sublime expression on his face.
Harry hadn't been prepared for the rush he'd felt when his hand came into contact with Luna's. It felt really good, like drinking a glass of cold water on a hot day. He had no idea how he was feeding and it was obvious that that was what he was doing but the mechanics escaped him. The fact that Luna was giving him a strange look made him drop her hand and laugh nervously. He wasn't sure just what she had felt but it was obvious she'd felt something. He was more than happy that his feeding off of her hadn't been painful. The fact that he had fed and felt decidedly refreshed while she showed no signs of being ill meant he hadn't drained her magic enough to hurt her which meant he had some control over stopping if not starting. "Thanks." Harry told her sincerely and when she gave him a puzzled look he stuttered out what he hoped was a good follow-up. "For# you know, stuff."
Luna nodded still a bit puzzled but ultimately ignoring it since she saw nothing out of the ordinary. All was as it should be. "Your welcome. I think Hermione and Ron will come soon, you should talk." After that Luna got up gave Harry the latest copy of the Quibbler and waved goodbye to a somewhat bemused Harry Potter. She wasn't surprised when she passed the Gryffindors as she exited the infirmary.
Harry Potter still felt restless and knew it had something to do with his new condition and the fact that feeding off Luna had taken the edge off but he was pretty sure it wasn't sated. He didn't think he was up for whatever conversation Hermione had planned since she didn't remember they'd already had it out. Technically he wasn't clear on it either because his memory wasn't reliable but he had a feeling it wouldn't go as well as the last. He gave Ron, Hermione, and Ginny a smile that felt more like a parody of one but if they noticed they didn't let on.
"So what you'd get mixed up in this time, mate?" Ron asked good naturedly not aware that he'd said the thing most likely to have Harry spitting mad. Ginny saw the fury that quickly flashed in Harry's eyes before it was masked. Hermione was too surprised by Ron's tactlessness to see Harry's reaction but she was fully intending to scold Ron when Harry stopped her.
"Excuse me?" Harry asked in a deceptively mild voice.
"Ron, you're my brother and I love you but if you repeat your asinine deductions I will be forced to hex you." Ginny cut whatever Ron had been about to say knowing full well it would have only made Harry madder than he already was.
Harry flashed Ginny a tight smile before switching his attention to his best friends. "So what have I missed?"
That was the right thing to say since the previous topic was forgotten and Ron launched into a diatribe about everything that had gone on in Gryffindor and the school in general since the start until just shortly before they had come up. Hermione ever studious regaled him with an overview of every single class he had missed and some he'd never cared enough to take. It was so normal that for an instant he wished he could go back and unlearn everything he had taught himself over that summer. Ginny had only nodded and added an anecdote or two every now though it was obvious she wanted to talk to Harry without Hermione and Ron. Reality however came crushing back when they asked him about the weekend everyone seemed to be missing.
"I don't know anymore than you do." Harry stated firmly willing them to drop it.
"Come on Harry, you know we won't tell anyone." Ron told him as Harry caught the hand that had been about to playfully nudge him. He felt the same thing he had with Luna except now he felt more in control. He captured Ron's gaze with his own never letting go of his hand though Ron's brow was furrowed as he returned the look.
"I don't know anything about it." Harry restated in a hard tone still keeping eye contact with Ron.
Ron's eyes seemed to glaze over a little though not much as he repeated what Harry had told him. "You don't know anything about it." Harry was surprised enough that he blinked before shoving Ron's hand from his own. He had been willing Ron to believe that but he wasn't sure if he'd somehow done that or if Ron had finally just gotten the message.
"Harry?" Hermione asked questioningly as she hadn't missed the by-play but was at a loss at what she had seen exactly. Though she could have sworn Harry's eyes had been greener than normal but that wasn't possible even in the wizarding world.
"What?" Harry asked exasperated at the somewhat timid tone Hermione had adapted it didn't suit her.
"What was that?"
"What was what?" He asked indifferently while Ron rubbed the hand he'd been holding and Ginny looked on.
"That. The attitude and the way you haven't said more than two sentences to us since we got here."
"I don't know, Hermione. What do you want me to say? It's been a hard summer and obviously being laid up in the infirmary since school began hasn't helped." Harry sighed wearily wondering where this conversation was going. Ron looked ready to intervene but on whose behalf was still up in the air since he was still shooting Harry reproachful looks and rubbing his hand for all he was worth.
"Oh, Harry, you know you can talk to us about anything. We would have tried to help sooner but you wouldn't let us. You've closed yourself off and you went to Slytherins for help instead of us. What are we suppose to think?" Hermione fluctuated from sympathy to anger throughout her statement causing Ginny to wonder how she achieved that particular blend while Ron nodded in agreement giving his best friend a half hearted glare.
"Did you stop and think of why I would have shut you out?" Harry inquired not really expecting an answer he would like.
"Well yes we did but you wont be able to push us away."
"Bloody right." Ron agreed belligerently.
"I wasn't pushing anyone away. I just needed time to put things into perspective and move on somewhat. I did that but being me comes with a lot more responsibilities than being Hermione Granger or Ron Weasley."
Ron spluttered in outrage while Hermione glared at him. "We know that and we want to help you deal with it, like we always have." Hermione stopped being angry halfway through the statement and her tone became soft and sad.
Harry sighed. "You can't." Harry told them flatly.
"Oh and I suppose bloody Malfoy and Zabini can?" Ron asked angrily.
"I'm not having this conversation with you. If by now you haven't understood why I sought out the Malfoy, Zabini, Lovegood, and Longbottom scions, then me telling you isn't going to change anything."
He cut Hermione with a glare. "What I can tell you is that I was in a precarious position before I convinced them to join with me. With their backing and hopefully Bill's once he gets his shit together we will be in control of about 70 of all businesses in the wizarding world. We will have a sufficient amount of politicians in our pockets and the best part is that we've put our candidate on the seat of power."
Hermione gasped as she realized just how much last summer had changed her friend. "You're talking about bribing, blackmailing, and charming civil servants to do your bidding. Mr. Weasley would never do anything like that."
"Hermione, I'm willing to do a lot more than that to thwart Voldemort at any possible turn. I've grown morally ambiguous and ethically corrupt in my quest to kill that madman so I can honestly tell you that nothing you say will change my course. You and Ron will always be my friends but I won't put you in the position to become anything like me."
"Yet you would ask the same of Neville and Luna?" Hermione asked incredulously.
"I see you don't add Draco and Blaise in your indignation. Do you think it was any easier for them to kill wizards in defense of the train because they are Slytherins?"
Both Hermione and Ron hesitated before answering. "I don't know. Maybe."
"Until you grow-up enough to realize that not everything is so black and white in the world I don't think we will ever see eye to eye again." Harry did say anything just closed his eyes tiredly waiting for the next argument.
Ginny broke in before any more arguments could be launched. "I think Harry needs some rest now. You can finish the conversation tomorrow." Ron and Hermione nodded slowly to her suggestion. They said their goodbyes and left so engaged by what Harry had said that they failed to notice Ginny wasn't following or that they passed the Slytherins in question.
Ginny sat on the chair vacated by Hermione. "Innocence can be beautiful, if impractical." She told him quietly.
Harry snapped his eyes open at Ginny's insight. "I would keep them beautiful until it is no longer practical."
"I know that but you can't choose for them. You've made it clear that the end justifies the means and that means using them as you would anyone else."
"No. They are the last link to the boy I could have been. I won't take that away from them."
"From them or you?" She asked wisely.
"Depends on how I feel at the time and who just tried to kill me, but for the most part, them."
"You can't shelter them, Dumbledore tried to with you and look what happened."
"I'm not sheltering them, if they decide to seek out enlightenment all on their own that's fine but I won't advocate it. Draco, Blaise, Luna, and even Neville knew what they were getting into when I approached them. Hermione, and Ron have no freaking clue and even less protection." Harry's tone indicated that he wasn't going to be swayed and Ginny respected that even if she didn't agree.
"You can't afford to keep someone as smart as Hermione on the sidelines, if nothing else you need her smarts."
"Hermione is a smart and capable witch but she'll never instinctively be able to do magic. She'll never be powerful enough to face down a pureblood Death Eater in a duel. She's a powerful muggleborn witch probably the strongest here but her magic is new and she has no magical inheritance to draw more from. She can't tap into familial magic to bolster her own magics like you and Ron could or even Draco. I don't agree with Voldemort or any of the pureblood crap but there is a grain of truth to it. Wizards and witches from old families have more potential and an instinctual grasp of magic muggleborns don't." Saying these things about Hermione hurt Harry more profoundly than anything he'd done so far.
Ginny couldn't dispute that but she was aware that Harry hadn't said anything about Hermione's intellect. She figured there would come a time when he would seek it out. "What about the rest of us?"
"What about you?" Harry asked confused at the turn the conversation had taken.
"Are you going to protect us from the war or teach us to fight?"
"Ginny, that's up to the Headmaster and the teachers here. I'm only one person and truthfully I have to train myself before I try and teach anything. I'm also short on time since I keep ending up in the infirmary, not to mention I have a financial empire to oversee."
"So what you're saying is that we are on our own." Ginny's voice was flat and her expression didn't show the hurt and anger that Harry was sure she was feeling.
"Yes, you're on your own." Harry agreed quietly though his tone was apologetic. He couldn't take on teaching anyone anything it had been presumptuous of him to do it during fifth year. It had helped everyone pass the DADA owl but he couldn't keep it up not with all the other shit he was going to be doing.
"You've changed." Ginny knew he had, but she hadn't thought the changes would be so startling. She couldn't fault him for looking out for himself first, since it was obvious no one else would or had in the fifteen years he'd been at their mercy. She was also sure that he didn't trust his friends anymore no matter what he said about protecting them. It seemed Neville, Luna, Malfoy and Zabini held his trust in a way that his old friends would never understand. She would be damned before she gave up on him though but she wouldn't let him know that just yet.
"Innocence can be beautiful, if impractical." Harry quoted back to her.
Ginny grinned at him. "Touché."
Harry laughed but felt saddened about the conversation he'd just had. He knew Ginny would be kept safe from falling to Voldemort a second time by the simple fact that he'd ordered Neville to watch her. He would also be making a portkey pendant or bracelet that would activate from his end not hers should he ever need to get her back. He wouldn't be telling her that though but he'd give it to her for her birthday, which if he wasn't mistaken would be sometime in October which had to be coming up. "Go make sure Hermione and Ron haven't fried their brains thinking about what I said." Harry told her good naturedly when he saw his next visitors.
Ginny gave him a knowing look before she said her goodbye. She gave his visitors a hard stare that promised retribution should they hurt him before she exited the infirmary. Harry wondered how he'd made such a good friend in her but ultimately put it out of his mind.
Draco was surprised that the weaselette had enough guts to throw glares at him and Blaise.
Then again he'd heard somewhere that still waters ran deep. He made sure to give the redheaded twit his own icy glare before sweeping by her. He was relieved to find Potter alert and awake if a little run down. "Nice of you to join the living." There was no way he was giving away his relief.
Harry rolled his eyes. "It's nice to see you too#, asshole."
Blaise snorted in amusement at the byplay before adding his own greeting. "Well, you seem to be in fighting shape so everything all right then?"
Harry shrugged. "As much as it ever is."
"Which means he's more fucked up than usual." Draco concluded.
"What's new?" Harry asked flippantly.
"Too true." Blaise agreed.
"You remember last weekend?" Blaise asked curiously.
"No, my last memory involved waking up in the infirmary and talking to Remus. The rest of my memory has more holes than Swiss cheese. I can't even remember how the fuck this latest visit came about since my last memory was looking forward to getting the fuck out of the infirmary."
"Sucks to be you."
"That's been established already Draco, no need to make it repetitive." Blaise told his tactless friend sarcastically.
"Sarcasm ill becomes you."
"Lowest form of humor you know#."
"Look who's talking." Blaise retorted.
"If you two are quite done?" Harry asked jokingly as he enjoying the good-natured teasing Blaise and Draco seemed to effortlessly fall into.
"Fine, ruin my fun." Draco pouted before exchanging a sly smile with Blaise. "Bill Weasley has been to see you're sleeping form quite a bit."
"Oh yeah, faithfully sat by your side for hours every time, telling you about everything you had missed." Blaise added teasingly.
Harry rolled his eyes at their ploy. "I'm sure Charlie came along to keep him company. He enjoys dragons a lot." Harry told Blaise slyly all the while looking at Draco for reaction.
Blaise caught on and decided it was better to tease Draco than Harry. "He came too but he spent most of his time with Draco. It seems our boy has developed a thing for the dragon tamer," Blaise waited until he saw the denial forming on Draco's lips before continuing smoothly. "Since he is the foremost expert on dragons in England at the moment and everyone knows it's Draco's hobby." The last was said with an obscene amount of exaggeration that conveyed the opposite of what Blaise said while placating his blonde friend enough not to hex him.
Draco closed his mouth with an audible snap as he glared angrily at his supposed best friend.
"Indeed." Harry tried to do his best Snape impression by making sure his tone of voice conveyed his doubt and amusement perfectly.
Harry and Blaise just laughed at the now sulking blonde, both noting he'd failed to deny the implications. Harry wasn't sure how things would work out with them but then again he had his own Weasley to worry about. Blaise on the other hand was fully aware of just how interesting would get by both Harry and Draco dating Weasley's. He was supremely glad he preferred girls though the Weasley twins were good looking blokes. He'd never liked the supremely unassuming Weaslette so he was safe from that quarter. He'd stick to crazy blondes with amazing blue eyes.
"I should be out of here sometime tomorrow. I'm gonna need help catching up in classes#."
"No worries Potter, Blaise here, volunteered to be your study partner." Draco told Harry cheerfully as he volunteered his best friend as payback.
"I did?" Blaise asked stupidly before catching on and smiling fakely in Harry's direction while he tried to glare in Draco's. "I mean I did."
Harry nodded since if he opened his mouth he wouldn't be able to keep from laughing. He'd actually been wondering about something for about a month now since that's how long he'd been out of it by all accounts. "Where the hell do I sleep when I'm not here anyway? How's living with Snape working out anyway? I figured Neville or Luna would have been potions ingredients by now."
"We all share the South tower, its pretty wicked actually since we all have our own rooms. Snape has his own rooms in the tower as well as per instructed by the ministry. We can pretty much do whatever as long as we apprise him of it before hand. Woe be it if we don't though and he's pretty strict about curfew and keeping the common room clean. Other than that it's like living in the dorms without the annoyingness of all the other students hanging about constantly." Blaise explained and watched some of the tension leave Harry's face.
"You're gonna have to come get me and show me the way as well as the password because I missed orientation." Harry told them dryly
"You should just permanently move into the infirmary and save yourself the hassle." Draco added helpfully making Blaise laugh and Harry glower at the accuracy of the suggestion.
"Let's not and say we did." Harry added sarcastically.
"So when you getting out anyway?" Blaise asked, diffusing the irritation building up between them.
"Tomorrow afternoon. Madam Pomfrey said before dinner but after classes. So come get me then and could you bring me a set of clothes while you're at it?"
"Sure thing, just think of us as your own personal house elves. Really, nothing better to do then get you a spare set of robes since you asking your little elf friend would definitely be uncalled for in this instance." Sarcastic and drawling all at once Harry had to be impressed with Draco's command of the English language.
"Fuck you. I forget sometimes. Anyway how's my dog?"
"Your dog?" Draco and Blaise exchanged worried looks.
"Yes, my dog. His name is Rook." Harry didn't like the looks they had been giving each other.
"Well, we don't know# exactly. We remember him being here with us before the weekend of no memory but he wasn't after. You probably have a better chance of remembering what happened to him and everyone really since you weren't dosed with the memory potion. You just have to fill in the holes so to speak." Draco knew he'd surprised Harry by him knowing about the potion.
Harry was about to ask how Draco knew about the memory potion but then he stopped. "Potions genius for a godfather and an inordinate amount of interest in the subject helped you figure it out no doubt. Anyway as for my memories I can tell you now that I've got less of a chance of remembering than you do. There are just way to many blanks for someone not to have messed with the important bits."
"Damn, we were hoping we could piece together what the hell happened with your help." Blaise's disappointment was very apparent by his tone.
"Sorry." Though Harry knew he sounded anything but. He was concerned about Rook's whereabouts but he wasn't panicking so that had to mean his subconscious knew what the hell he'd done with his dog. He hoped it would eventually come to him.
"Anyway, we have to go since Snape said we cold only visit for thirty minutes." Blaise told Harry apologetically.
"It's all right. Madam Pomfrey will be by to kick you out soon anyway." Harry didn't mention the fact that he was starving and didn't want anyone to see him eating since it wouldn't be pretty.
"All right then. We'll see you tomorrow." Blaise and Draco left knowing that Harry would figure out they had fibbed more than bit in regards to Snape tomorrow. They weren't ready to tell Harry that Snape had tracking charms on them and wards all over the damn place to keep track of them. It seemed he was dead set on being their keeper regardless of their wishes. It was fact that Neville and Luna spent at least three nights a week cleaning out cauldron bottoms because they did something real or imagined in Snape's eyes. They were pretty sure Harry and Snape would be going head to head on a lot of things in the near future. They really couldn't wait the confrontations would be nothing short of amusing.
On another note I am looking for a beta reader or two to help me polish grammar and spelling wise. Please e-mail me if you'd like to work with me.
Thanks for all the reviews I've received between my long period of not posting they kept the story alive.