Panic Parables Round Robin Fic

Chapter One

By: chips challenge

"Avada Kedavra!"

Blood-red eyes. Green light. Darkness.

Harry forced his eyes open before the green light could reach him. He wouldn't die if he woke up before the light hit him. When Harry opened his eyes, he was sitting in his room staring at his empty closet that was illuminated by just the streetlight from outside his window. He'd only been at the Dursley's for a week, but this was how he'd managed to wake up every night. Harry took a deep breath and concentrated on calming himself down.

You won't get me that easily,' Harry thought. He was pretty sure that the dream had come from Voldemort. Not just this dream, but each and every one of the dreams he had for the last week. In the dreams, Voldemort was always powerful and Harry was always weak. Harry could never run. He often couldn't get hold of his wand, and when he could, his voice seemed to disappear.

It will never be that easy for you. I'm not really that weak,' Harry thought.

Really? And what exactly would you have really done?'

Harry couldn't answer that question even for himself. Sure, he knew the spells and charms that he had learned along with everyone else at Hogwarts, but he also knew that a jellylegs curse would likely be useless against someone or something really threatening.

Then again, maybe he was that weak; however, the dreams only made him more determined not to let Voldemort win.

Harry awoke the next morning to the persistent rattling of his windowpane. When he finally opened his eyes, he saw Hedwig giving him an indignant look from the other side of the glass.

Harry sat up quickly squinting from the bright sunlight, and stumbled over to the window. After he pulled open the window, Hedwig soared into the room and perched on his desk. Harry untied the package around his owl's leg. It was a heavy package; he hoped that Hedwig hadn't had to carry it far.

He started to unwrap the brown paper of the package, and the first things that fell out were some owl treats. Harry gathered them in his hand and held them out to Hedwig. After the owl had taken all the treats, Harry continued opening the package. One book fell out, and then another, and finally a letter. Harry picked up the letter first. He noticed the Hogwarts seal right away. Were these his O.W.L. results? He remembered Professor McGonagall telling him not to expect them until the time he usually got his Hogwart's letter, but maybe they'd finished the marking early. Or was this his Hogwart's letter? Maybe they were just sending them out early this year.

He tore open the seal and unfolded the letter.

Dear Mr. Potter.

I hope your holidays are going well so far. Thank you for writing regular letters to let everyone know that you are all right. I trust that your stay with your relatives is pleasant. I predict that you might have some extra time on your hands this summer, so I have sent you some books to read. Consider them an early birthday present. Enjoy your summer.

Sincerely, Professor Dumbledore

Maybe Dumbledore was finally going to start helping him prepare for his inevitable fight with Voldemort instead of his usual round about methods. Like just sending me to fight a Basilisk,' Harry thought bitterly.

He curiously picked up the first of the books and looked at the title. "Quidditch Strategies for a Top Notch Captain." He threw the book back down on his bed and reached for the other. "How to win at Wizard Chess against any Opponent."

Harry swept both of the books onto the floor with his arm and grabbed a fresh piece of parchment. What was Dumbledore trying to say? That he should just sit back and think about Quidditch or chess while Voldemort was planning the best ways to kill him. Harry felt his head throbbing. Dumbledore would be of no help at all.

Harry made out a letter to the owner of Flourish and Blotts asking for advance books in Charms, Defense against the Dark Arts and Potions. Then he made out another letter to the owner of the shop in Knockturn Alley that he had accidentally landed in during his second year asking for some dueling books. He didn't sign that letter, but just asked the owner to return the books with the owl. Then, he attached some wizard money to the letter and sent Hedwig out.

It seemed that if he wanted to survive his next year that he would just have to help himself. He wasn't going to waste time playing games or learning subjects that didn't matter. He then pulled out his Muggle clothes from his trunk and got dressed for the day.

"Crucio!"

Harry had his wand pointed at his opponent in front of him, and he opened his mouth to voice the incantation for a body bind, but he couldn't move his wrist. No,' Harry thought. Not again.'

"Avada Kedavra!"

Harry's eyes flew open, and the first thing he saw was another pair of eyes staring right back at him.

Harry jumped and bit back a scream. He scrambled for his wand.

"Harry calm down, it's just me," a familiar voice said.

Harry felt a wave of relief as his hand felt the familiar surface of his wand, and he looked more carefully in the direction of the voice.

"Lumos!" the voice said.

"Remus? What are you doing here?"

"I'm sorry, Harry. I didn't mean to startle you. I just didn't want to wake up your relatives."

Harry nodded, but didn't say anything. He was waiting for an answer to his question.

"I'm here to take you to Grimmauld Place."

Harry shook his head. He didn't ever want to go back to the evil place. Not ever. Nothing good could happen there.

"I'd rather just stay here, if that's all right. The Dursley's have been treating me really well this summer, and I have loads of time here to get my schoolwork done. I don't want to be underfoot all the time."

"It wasn't exactly a request, Harry. You have to come."

"Why?"

"You're not safe here."

"What do you mean? That was always Dumbledore's excuse for sending me here," Harry said.

"Professor Dumbledore also told you only to send letters to members of the Order, didn't he?"

Harry nodded slowly trying to figure out where this was going. He hadn't sent any letters to his friends. He only sent the required letters to the Order. Except for yesterday, his owl hadn't even brought any letters back in return. Yesterday.... The letters to the shopkeepers, but how did Dumbledore know about that?

"I didn't sign my name to those letters," Harry insisted.

"That doesn't matter. Your owl is not exactly stealth. She was protected only when coming to Grimmauld Place. And you did request some rather suspicious literature."

"Is Hedwig all right?"

"She's fine. She's waiting for you at Grimmauld Place. What possessed you to put yourself in danger like that? You could have just asked me or Professor Dumbledore to get the books for you."

"Did you see the books Professor Dumbledore sent me?" Harry demanded.

"Yes I did. What is wrong with them? I helped him pick them out. We figured you would be tired of reading about your school subjects if the only books you had were your school books."

"Oh," Harry said. So, there would be no help from Remus either,' Harry realized.

"Do you need me to help you pack?" Remus asked.

"No, I don't think so," Harry replied. He slipped his school robe over his pajamas and dumped everything from his desk into the trunk and slammed it closed.

"Harry? Are you upset about something?" Remus asked.

Harry took a deep breath before answering. "No, I'm sorry. I just don't want to go back there. Not exactly pleasant memories if you know what I mean."

"I understand, but you won't be alone there."

"You mean Ron and Hermione will be there?" Harry asked hopefully.

"Er...no, at least not yet, but there will always be someone there. I'll try to be there as much as I can."

Whatever,' Harry thought. Maybe Sirius had some good Defense or Dueling books. He'd probably have ample time there to practice, and he probably wouldn't have to worry about doing magic. A secret keeper protected that place. The Ministry wouldn't be able to find it to send him a hearing notice. Harry allowed himself a small smile. "All right; let's go." Harry said.

Harry sat by himself in a mostly empty room in the basement of Grimmauld Place surrounded by a small pile of books. Most of the books he had found in Sirius's former room. He's found a locking spell on the door to Sirius's room, but it had been easy to break through. Harry hadn't wanted to spend much time in the room, especially alone, so he'd just grabbed all the books that sounded at all interesting.

He'd ended up with quite a good stash of books. He had all six volumes of Defense though the Ages, three advanced Charms books, two Potions books with mostly basic, but still useful potions, and four books of hexes and fighting curses. Harry wasn't sure why Sirius had such a stash of books. Maybe he had been trying to prepare for facing Voldemort as well. Maybe that's what happens when you leave someone alone when there's a Dark Lord on the loose,' Harry thought, but he was glad for the books and the freedom nonetheless.

Today had been Moody's turn to watch' him. More like baby-sit,' Harry thought. He told Moody politely that he was going downstairs to study his summer homework, but if he had any questions, he'd be sure to come up and ask. Harry was sure that they had plenty of charms on the house so that they would know the instant he left, which was also probably why they often allowed him out of their sight if he told them where he was going.

He spent the entire morning reading one of the books about hexes. He wrote down all the incantations, wand movements and supposed effects of hexes as he went along. The only reason he knew that it was noontime was because a house elf appeared in front of him with a lunch tray.

"Master Tonks sent me to bring you lunch, Master Potter," the elf said.

So, Tonks was here now, and she hadn't bothered him. That was a good sign. He would probably have the rest of the afternoon to practice his hexes in peace. Harry quickly ate his lunch, and the elf disappeared with the tray as soon as he was finished.

The few hexes on his list were easy enough, but it was hard for him to tell if they were effective though when he was just shooting them in the air. Harry thought about this as he looked around the room. There wasn't much there except for a desk, a chair and a full-length mirror.

The mirror,' Harry thought. Maybe if send the hex at the mirror, it will come back at me. At least then I'll know if I did it right.' It would also be nice to know exactly how the hex felt. That way he would be able to predict how his opponent would react.

Harry looked back at his list to see the effects of the first hex. It was a tripping hex. That could be quite useful...if it worked. He walked over to the mirror and stared himself in the eyes. He pulled out his wand and pointed it at himself.

"Offrendere!" Harry spoke clearly. Then he felt his feet being pulled right from under him as he landed on the ground.

"Cool," Harry said out loud. It had worked. Of course that one had been easy. They had learned something similar in the third year. Harry went back to the list. Hex number two was a little more complicated, and he'd never attempted a hex like it before. It was meant to send a projectile towards an opponent.

Harry looked at himself in the mirror again and raised his wand. He opened his mouth, but stopped just short of saying the incantation. He slapped himself mentally. If he threw a projectile at the mirror it would break, and then he would have nothing to practice with. Plus it would probably bring attention to him.

Okay, next,' Harry thought. The next hex was supposed to make the opponent feel like his bone was broken. The pain was felt at whichever bone the spell had been aimed at. Harry knew well enough how much it hurt to break bones, which made him realize how useful that hex could be. He didn't exactly want to feel like his bone was broken, but it was the only way he could think of to test the hex.

"Fangere!" Harry said pointing his wand at his hand in the mirror. He figured the pain from breaking a smaller bone would be less intense than a larger one, but when the spell surrounded his fingers, he realized that he was wrong.

His hand hurt so much that he felt himself falling to the ground. He couldn't concentrate on anything other than the pain. After a few moments the pain started to subside a bit. Harry figured he just had to wait for the hex to wear off. How long did it last anyway?

After a few more moments, the pain had gone down a little more, and Harry tried to get up. But when he put his weight on his hand, the pain redoubled. He fell back to the ground. Harry pulled his hand in front of him and saw that his first two fingers were hanging crooked. They really were broken. The hex wasn't really supposed to break his fingers. Maybe they just looked broken, but really weren't, Harry thought. But after many more long moments and attempts to use his fingers, Harry realized that they really were broken.

Now what was he going to do? He could always go upstairs to Tonks and tell her that he had had an accident. What, that one of your books started attacking you while you were just innocently trying to read it?' Okay, maybe not,' Harry thought. She would just get suspicious that he was doing something other than reading, and she would probably start to watch him more closely.

He couldn't have that. He had already learned so much in his privacy. He had to maintain that privacy. So, he would have to find a way to heal his fingers himself. He knew that there was a medical charm that healed broken bones, but Madam Pomphrey rarely used it. He wasn't sure why, but he suspected that either the charm was either too complicated or it didn't really work that well. Knowing that Madam Pomphrey was quite an accomplished medi-witch he assumed the later. And if the charm didn't work very well, and he was new at it, well that wouldn't be a very good combination.

That only left a potion. Sirius had left two books full of basic but useful potions. Surely one of them was for mending broken bones. Harry got up carefully this time making sure not to put weight on his hand.

He flipped through the potions book and quickly found the correct potion. It looked like a pretty easy potion to brew, even with his dismal potion skills, as Snape liked to remind him. The ingredient list looked pretty basic. There was nothing exotic, and nothing that Harry hadn't heard of. Harry stood up and carried the potions book under his good arm. He remembered from his previous visit that one of the other rooms in this hall was a stockroom, and he hoped that it was still stocked and not one of the rooms that had been cleared out.

Harry was surprised to find that the room had actually been upgraded. There was a workbench with a cauldron and cutting boards and the shelves behind the workbench were filled with ingredients and not just dusty bottles. Harry looked carefully at one of the bottles. Newt eyes,' the neat script read. Next to the newt eyes, were newt tails, and newt toes. Everything was neatly labeled and perfectly organized. This had to be Professor Snape's workroom. Snape must make potions here for the order,' Harry thought. Harry couldn't believe his luck. Of course, he would have to be extra careful to clean up and put everything away when he was done.

Harry easily found all the ingredients that he needed for the potion and placed them on the workbench beside the cauldron. He placed one of the jars on the edge of the book to help hold it open, and he began to follow the directions. He was as careful as he possibly could be when handling the ingredients, because he didn't want to waste any. He hoped that the small amount of ingredients he was using would go unnoticed, and he didn't want to use any more than necessary.

The potion was going well. The color was exactly as the book said it should be. He just had one more ingredient to add after he finished stirring twelve more times. Harry picked up the spoon between the thumb and forefinger of his good hand and held the woodland bark between his next two fingers. He wanted to be ready when the time came.

"POTTER!"

Harry jumped at the unexpected noise dropping both his spoon and the bark into the potion.

"What do you think you're doing in my workroom?" Professor Snape yelled.

Harry ducked away as his potions started to rumble and smoke. He managed to duck under the table just seconds before the whole potion exploded.

"Answer me, Potter. What are you doing?"

Harry pulled tried to pull himself off the ground, but he forgot about his broken fingers and winced in pain. He tried to hide that fact as he used his other hand to help him up.

"Er...sir, I was trying to make a potion."

"Trying humph. Let's just see what you were trying to make," Snape said.

Harry tried to get to the book before Snape did, so that he could close it, but Snape snatched it from under his hands. Not like Snape couldn't have figured out what the potion was anyway, Harry thought.

"A bone-mending potion? Why were you trying to make that of all things? And why did you fail so miserably? This is a simple potion."

Harry didn't bother to argue. Of course it was simple when someone didn't come into the room and startle you. "I was just working on my homework. I got bored with just reading. I didn't think anyone would mind if I just tried it out."

"First, this potion is not part of your summer assignment, second, you do not come into my workroom without my permission, and third, you are not to do anything without informing the person who is watching you. I thought that had been made clear to you."

Harry wasn't sure how to defend himself so he decided just to stay quiet.

"You didn't by any chance hurt yourself doing something stupid, and then come in here to try and heal it before anyone could find out?"

Harry looked down immediately so that Snape couldn't look into his eyes, but then he shook his head.

"Really, then there's nothing wrong with your hand?"

Harry shook his head again. Maybe he could make Snape believe that he wasn't really hurt. But Snape reached out and grabbed Harry's hand from behind his back. Snape held Harry's hand by the wrist in front of their faces. They could both clearly see that two of his fingers were handing at impossible angles. Harry took a chance and looked up.

"Now, tell me how this happened," Snape said "and don't bother lying to me. I will know." Snape looked right into Harry's eyes as he said this, and Harry knew that it was true.

He decided he would just tell the truth. It wasn't like he could get into any more trouble now, and it wasn't like he would be able to hide the books before anyone found them, so maybe if he told the truth he would at least get to keep reading some of the books. He could learn something even if he didn't have a wand, which was one thing he was sure would be taken from him shortly.

"I found some books in Sirius's room. One of them was about hexes. I was trying out some of the hexes that I read about."

"You were trying them out on yourself?"

"Well there wasn't exactly anyone else to help me."

"Did you even ask anyone?"

"I didn't have to. Dumbledore gave me books on Quidditch to read this summer and Remus helped pick them out. I know that if I want to learn this stuff than I have to do it myself."

"My - noble, aren't we? Did you ever think the reason they didn't give you books on hexes was because it's dangerous?"

"Dumbledore never wanted to help me prepare. Remus thinks that I won't be the one to actually duel the Dark Lord. I know the truth, and I don't want to pretend otherwise."

Snape didn't say anything, and he surprisingly let the subject drop. "And exactly what hex were you performing on yourself that led to this result?"

"Er, Fangere. I didn't think it would actually break my bones. I thought it was just supposed to make it feel like they were broken."

"It is not supposed to break the bones. How did you do the hex?"

"Well, I was looking into a mirror and I pointed my wand at my hand, and just said the spell."

"Stupid boy. The mirror doesn't just reflect the hex, it doubles its effects. I guess you're lucky that you started out with something that wouldn't kill you."

Snape dropped Harry's wrist unceremoniously and reached into his robes. He pulled out a small vial and handed it to Harry.

"Sit," Snape ordered pointing to a hard, wooden chair in the corner of the room, "and drink. While you're waiting, I want you to write a parchment on why your potion failed."

Harry accepted the potion and sat and drank. He felt the potion start to take effect almost immediately. He knew it was working because he could feel the pain. The pain was much like the skele-grow only sharper and stronger.

Snape cleaned up the mess from the explosion with one wave of his wand making Harry wonder why he didn't do that more often during class. He always seemed to make such a big deal out of cauldron explosions.

"Get to work, Mr. Potter, and there will be no more practicing hexes on yourself alone, understood?"

"But I have to practice them somehow," Harry insisted hoping that Snape would understand his situation at least a little and not take that away from him.

"It is dangerous and stupid to practice hexes on yourself especially when you don't know what the results will be, and you will not do it."

"Yes sir," Harry replied.

"When you are finished writing your essay, I will show you how to perform that hex properly," Snape said.

"Yes sir."