Four Pivett Drive. To a casual observer, it would seem like your ordinary home. Vernon Dursley, husband with a successful job. Petunia Dursley, a loving housewife. Dudley Dursley a, err, a growing son. To most people, there would be absolutely nothing wrong with the house.
That is, of course, if you don't count having a 16 year old wizard living in the smallest bedroom.
Harry Potter. 'The Boy Who Lived.' He was made famous when he, as a one year old, defeated the most feared Dark Lord in a century, Voldemort, and banished him. Voldemort had tried to kill Harry with the infamous Killing Curse, the Avada Kedavra after he had murdered Harry's parents, but the love of Lily Potter, Harry's mother, invoked a powerful counter-charm which deflected the Killing Curse back to Voldemort. For 14 years, the Wizarding world had been living in peace, happy that the feared Dark Lord was dead. Harry, on the other hand, didn't know this. For the first 11 years of his life, he had been living under the cupboard of his only living relatives, the Dursleys of Four Pivett Drive. On his 11th birthday, the half-giant Ruebeus Hagrid rescued Harry, and told him the 'truth'. That he was a wizard, and that there was a 'Wizarding' world existed, a society of magic users. That his relatives, the Dursleys, were muggles – non magic users. Hagrid informed Harry that he was to be a student of Hogwarts School of Witchcraft and Wizardry. From that moment on Harry's life would never be the same.
In his first year, he had rescued the Philosopher's Stone from Voldemort and his servant, Quirrel. In his second year, he defeated Salazar Slytherin's Basilisk and Voldemort's 16 year old memory at the Chamber of Secrets. In his third year, he discovered his godfather, Sirius Black, and rescued him from the Dementors of Azkaban. In his fourth year, he was unwilling drawn into the Triwizard Tournament, which ultimately led into the death of his fellow competitor, Cedric Diggory, and the revival of Lord Voldemort. And last year, Harry's Fifth, the wizarding world had thought Harry was a liar for believing Voldemort had returned. Harry and five of his friends, Ron Weasley, Hermione Granger, Ginny Weasley, Neville Longbottom and Luna Lovegood had ventured into the Ministry of Magic, in an attempt to save Harry's godfather, Sirius Black. It was a trap set by Voldemort and his followers, and although Harry, his friends, and the Order of the Phoenix had triumphed in the end, Sirius was killed when he was struck by a curse fired by Bellatrix Lestrange, which knocked him into a Veil which to lead to the land of the dead. Because ministry workers had seen Voldemort himself, the Wizarding world was forced to believe that the Dark Lord had returned. Harry had ended his Fifth year, and was now back in Four Pivett Drive. The Dursleys had always hated him for being a wizard, but because of the threats made by Alastor Moody, Nymphadora Tonks and Remus Lupin (members of the Order of the Phoenix), their animosity had lessened.
Harry had always thought that living with the Dursleys was hell. They always put him down as being a worthless brat, he was always getting beaten up by Dudley, he was underfed, and he was forced to do back breaking work for the Dursleys, even though they were wealthy enough to hire people for it. But thanks to the order, he was now being fed three times a day with regular food, the Dursleys hardly spoke to him anymore and he did less chores. Not that it mattered to Harry, because he had plans. Before he left Hogwarts, Harry made one last trip to Hogsmeade (his ban had been lifted)…
"Harry! Hey, look at me, mate!" Ron Weasley was desperately trying to get his friend's attention, but to no avail. The scars on Ron's head due to the injuries gained at the department of mysteries had already begun to heal. Harry was simply looking lifelessly ahead, as he sat in the Gryffindor Common Room. Harry's other best friend, Hermione Granger, clicked her tongue,
"You're so tactless!" she said. Ron looked insulted
"What did I do? I was only trying to tell him that we've got a Hogsmeade trip tomorrow. He needs cheering up!" Ron protested. Hermione shook her head,
"He needs time alone. He just lost closet thing he ever had as a father! Let's…let's give him some time alone for now, ok? We'll talk to him when we're on the Hogwarts express." Ron looked worried.
"If you say so, then…"
Harry paid no attention to them. He pretty much zoned out for the rest of the day. Until that fateful moment after potions class…
"Potter! See me after class!" sneered Professor Snape, the potions master. Harry gave him a blank look, and nodded. After the class, he went to see Snape as requested.
"You wanted to see me, sir?" he asked quietly. Snape gave Harry a strange look, before saying,
"Potter…you know that me and Black were not on the best of terms. I almost made a mistake, trying to hand him to the dementors two years ago. I must admit that, I was…excited that particular night. Things have not changed much in these last two years. But now…as much as I hated Black, I did not want him to die. You have my sympathy, Potter. If you try to vouch for Black's innocence posthumously, I will act as a witness, if you wish." Harry stared. Snape, of all people, was being nice to him? Hell must've frozen over!
'I…Thanks, Professor." Harry replied softly. With that, he gave the potions master a nod before walking off. That night, in the Gryffindor boy's dormitory, Harry began to think.
Sirius…I'm so sorry. It was all my fault! If I hadn't had been so stupid…with my hero complex…you would still be alive. I wasn't even smart enough to use your mirror! What kind of person am I? I led you to your death! And my friends! They were about to die, too! All thanks to my stupidity. I want to see you again, Sirius. I want to say sorry, and that I never had a chance to say I love you like the father and brother I never had. If…if only I could make things right. If only I could do something to avenge your death. If only, I could make you as happy as you were during my parent's wedding…
Harry slept that night, with a tear running down his face.
On the next day, he dressed up to go to Hogsmeade. At the Great Hall, he was confronted by Hermione and Ron, who immediately started to rant simultaneously,
"Harry, let's go to Hogs-."
"Yeah, you need to be cheer-." Harry held up his hand. They had no idea what he was feeling right now! They had never been alone in their life! They had never lost their family! Harry was about to blow when he mentally calmed himself down, and said quietly,
"Guys…I appreciate what you are trying to do for me. But…I need to be alone, for a while." With that, Harry left his seat in the Great Hall and stalked off. Ron and Hermione exchanged sad looks, before they left to go Hogsmeade.
Harry ventured aimlessly around Hogwarts. He ignored the taunts for Slytherins, or the cries of 'I've always believed that You-Know-Who was back' from the Ravenclaws and Hufflepuffs. He walked passed the library, the DADA room, the staff room, with his mind in its own little world. He was still thinking of ways to make up for Sirius' death. As luck would have it, he was passing the Room of Requirement when the portrait of Barnabas the Barmy spoke,
"You 'right there, young man?" asked the portrait. Harry looked up at the figure being clobbered senseless by trolls in tutus.
"No…not really." he replied sadly. Barnabas gave Harry a critical look with his un-bruised eye.
"You've lost someone close to you, haven't you? And you feel responsible for it, am I correct?" Harry stared,
"How'd you know?" Barnabas nodded knowingly, before wincing as a troll kicked him in the back,
"I know that look. When I was alive, I saw that look everyday when I looked in the mirror. I had lost my two younger sisters during my teenage years. I was walking with them hand in hand in a forest when we were attacked by forest trolls. We managed to escape, but we were heavily injured. I managed to survive because of my fit body, but my sisters…they couldn't handle the injuries…they were only 10 and 8…they…you know..." Barnabas paused, and sniffled. The trolls in the picture felt sorry for him, and so they stopped beating him up.
"I'm sorry to hear that." replied Harry sincerely. Barnabas smiled slightly and continued,
"Thank you, young man. Well, I kept looking at myself in the mirror every day. I kept thinking, what if I was stronger? What if I never led my sisters into the forest? My parents didn't blame me, they knew I did my best to protect them. I then came to the conclusion that it was not my fault. I didn't force my sisters to come with me into the forest, they wanted to come. I didn't tell the trolls to attack us, it was their decision. I finally realised that I am not responsible. People do things because they believe in the cause. I went into the forest because I wanted to be an explorer. My sisters followed me into that forest because they loved me that much. And for me, to try and take the blame, to claim that I led them to their doom, would be an insult to their memories. It would insult what they believed in. That they believed in me. And so, I stopped feeling sorry for myself, and I began to live again. I wanted to make my sisters happy, because I remembered that they were always unhappy when I was, and I wanted to make them happy, wherever they are." said Barnabas simply. Harry's eyes widened,
"I…well, thanks for telling me this, Barnabas. You've lifted a burden off of my shoulders." said Harry in a slightly happy voice. Barnabas nodded,
"Glad to be of help, young one. Do visit, won't you? I enjoyed watching your little rebellion." Harry grinned,
"By the way Barnabas, I was curious. Why did you train trolls for the ballet?" Barnabas smirked as he replied,
"Well, my sisters always loved the ballet. What better way to honour their memory than to train trolls in what they loved the best?" Harry laughed at this; this was the first time he had laughed since the fiasco at the Ministry of Magic.
"Nice. Well, see you later, Barnabas." and with that, Harry walked off. He reached into his pocket and drew the Marauder's map, and stopped by the Gryffindor Common Room to get his invisibility cloak from his trunk. Although Filch would not allow anymore students to go to Hogsmeade, Harry need to pay the town a visit. Taking the secret passage to Honeydukes' cellar, Harry began to reflect. Barnabas' words had struck a chord within him.
I've been such a prat lately. Here I am, pitying myself, when I've always hated being pitied. I chose to go to the Ministry of Magic because I believed in Sirius being captured by Voldemort. It wasn't my fault that Dumbledore didn't tell my the truth. And, although I was pretty snappy with Hermione, she did choose to go with me, even though I told her she didn't have to. Ron, Ginny, Neville and Luna all chose to go, knowing that they might face off with Voldemort. Sirius came after me because he loved me that much, that he would risk Azkaban or death to make sure I was safe. Thanks, Barnabas. You've opened my eyes. I've mourned enough. Now I will make sure I will honour Sirius' life and beliefs. I'll make him happy, wherever he is now…
As Harry walked through the passageway, he cast his thoughts on Voldemort and Dumbledore. They were so powerful, when they duelled each other. He himself didn't stand a chance, even though he was the one who was supposed to kill him. He had frozen up, a scared and weak little boy, and as much as he disliked Dumbledore as of now, if it wasn't for him he would be dead. And so, Harry resolved to become stronger. He wanted to make Sirius happy, and what better way to do it then to defeat the one who had caused all of this trouble? Harry swore that he would fulfil the prophecy, on his terms.
As soon as Harry got the cellar of Honeydukes, he put on his invisibility cloak. Opening the trap door slightly, he made sure no-one was around before he climbed out. He entered the candy store and saw a repeat of his third year, when he observed Hermione and Ron picking out sweets for him. As much as Harry wanted to tell them that he was there, he had things to do. He left the store and headed over to a building that said 'King & Rook Solicitors.' He had seen this shop before, but this was the first time he had even gone there. Heading over to the side of the shop, he took off his invisibility cloak before he entered the premises as casually as he could.
Harry took a look at the office. It was pretty much a wizarding version of those offices he had seen on muggle TV. There was a desk with a smart looking middle aged wizard, who was looking curiously at Harry. Instead of lights, flames illuminated the office. The carpet was a violent purple colour, with yellow stars. Several comfortable seats were situated next to the walls. Harry strode towards the desk and sat down on the chair in front of it. The wizard's eyes flicked towards Harry's scar for the briefest moment, before saying,
"My name is Edward King. Can I help you, Mr Potter?" Harry sighed inwardly, knowing that his scar was a dead giveaway,
"Yes." he replied nervously, "I'd like to apply for emancipation."
Harry had heard of emancipated minors during a particularly boring History of Magic class. An emancipated minor was a wizard or witch under 17, who still had full adult rights. Emancipation was given to these youngsters if they fulfilled certain requirements. If Harry was going to become stronger, he needed to be able to do magic during the holidays. It would also save any troubles he had with the ministry over any more accidental magic. Mr King raised one of his eyebrows at this request,
"Emancipation? I can do that, but there are requirements that must be met." Harry nodded, and the King continued, "Firstly, your parents and god parents must have been deceased, and/or incapacitated. Secondly, you must not have any magical relatives. Thirdly, you need to have enough money to last through the end of your schooling. Do you fulfil those requirements, Mr Potter?" asked King. Harry nodded,
"Yes. My parents died 15 year ago. My godfather, Sirius Black," King blinked at this, "is…at large. I have an aunt on my mother's side, but she is not magical; my mother is muggle born. Finally, I have a Gringotts account which will last me until the end of my schooling days." King seemed satisfied at this, but then asked,
"What about your godmother, Mr Potter?" Harry shrugged,
"I don't know if I even have one, Mr King." King then said,
"Ok. We can check your records, if you like." Harry nodded, "I'll be a moment."
King left his seat and opened a door behind him, which he went through. For five harrowing minutes, Harry waited anxiously for the result. He would be happy if he had a godmother, but he also wanted to be emancipated. King returned with a file in his hands, but also a sorrowful look on his face. Harry became tense.
"You have a godmother, Mr Potter." said King sadly, "Her name is Alice Longbottom."
Harry's insides began to freeze up. Neville's mother, his godmother? He never knew…
"I…I never knew." choked out Harry. King bowed his head as he continued,
"I am sorry to say this, Mr Potter, but Mrs Longbottom is at St Mungos'. She…she is incapacitated."
"I…understand." was Harry's only reply. He already knew this, because he himself had visited St Mungos late last year. He looked up at King's pitying face, and gave him a look which prompted him to continue.
"Yes…I have checked your Gringotts account. You have 2,506 Galleons, 10 Sickles and 19 Knuts left, which is more than enough for your remaining two years at Hogwarts. You qualify for emancipation, Mr Potter…" King passed an official looking document over the table, as well as a quill.
"Please sign here and here." King pointed to the document, "As soon as you do so, please tap the document with your wand."
Harry signed the document, and presented it to King. King gave it a quick inspection, then nodded. Harry tapped the document, which vanished with a puff of smoke. His phoenix feather wand glowed for a few seconds, before returning to normal. A card appeared on the table, which King picked up and gave to Harry.
"Congratulations, Mr Potter. You are now an emancipated minor. You have full rights of an adult, including the ability to do magic outside schooling terms. Of course, you know not to do it in front of muggles as states the law, but in your case, since your aunt knows of magic, it's ok around her." Harry took the card gratefully and shook King's hand.
"Thanks very much, Mr King. And I'd appreciate it if no-one knew I was here." King widened his eyes slightly, and chuckled,
"Don't worry, Mr Potter. All transactions here are confidential."
Harry left King & Rook Solicitors in high spirits. He could do magic now! His goal to avenge Sirius was fast becoming a reality. Putting on his cloak, he strode over to a shady looking bookshop called 'Balthazar's Book Bazaar.' There were rumours about this shop selling expensive light and dark arts books, but Harry needed them. He bought several, including Moste Potente Potions, Banishing the Dark: Introduction to Light Arts, Erasing the Light: Introduction to Dark Arts, Without a Wand: Guide to Wandless Magic, Auror's Battle Handbook, Legilimency and Occlumency: Playing with the Mind and Defeating Death Eaters: A Guide to Battling You-Know-Who's Minions. The total cost for the books was 45 Galleons, but luckily Harry had enough to cover it. He was about to take his purchases back to Hogwarts when he found a major problem. How on earth would he get his books back?! There were so many!
The shopkeeper looked at Harry's distressed form. He himself was a Legilimens, and he probed the boy's mind ever so slightly, to discern the truth. After all, not many people would request the types of books Harry had ordered. Seeing and approving what the boy had in mind, he drew two items from below the counter, a purple velvet bag and something that looked like a notebook. He passed the two items to Harry, who looked at the shopkeeper in confusion.
"What's this, sir?" The shopkeeper chuckled merrily and said,
"The bag is a special charm bag; it can fit a large volume of items and yet remain in that shape, and it's also got a feather-weight charm placed on it. It's also charmed with a para-Fidelius charm, which means that only the owner of this bag can see it, unless the owner chooses to reveal it to someone else. The notebook is an order form that is magically linked to London Potion Suppliers, the largest supplier of potion ingredients nationwide. Simply write down what ingredients you need on the notebook, and it will magically write down the cost, amount left in stock and the delivery time. If you want to order ingredients, simply rip off the page you wrote on, and owl it to them. Oh, that book automatically refills its pages when the last page is used. It would come in handy for Moste Potente Potions, eh son?
Harry couldn't believe his luck. How on earth did the shopkeeper know that these were the things he needed the most right now? He was planning to smuggle his books back slowly in one go, and he was planning to raid Snape's potion stores for the things he needed, but now he didn't need to.
"How much?" he eagerly asked the shopkeeper. The shopkeeper simply smiled mysteriously and said,
"For you, my young vigilante, it's free. Use it well, alright?"
"Thanks!" With that, Harry stuffed his books into the bag, and stashed the notebook into his pocket. After leaving the shop, he donned the Invisibility cloak, and made his way back to Hogwarts. After arriving, Harry had to make sure no-one would know of his plans to get stronger, not even Dumbledore and the Order. So upon arriving at Hogwarts, Harry once again took the persona of a sad, broken-hearted young man. He even completed his act by asking Nearly Headless Nick to try and return Sirius as a ghost. It was so good it even fooled Luna, who tried to console him (in her own, Luna-like way). As much as he didn't want to lie to the blonde Ravenclaw, Harry had to try and act like he was really upset over losing Sirius. He still was, but no-one suspected Harry was planning to avenge Sirius. No-one suspected poor, grieving Harry to be reading Moste Potente Potions at night, looking up the potions he would want to brew. Before the Leaving Feast at Hogwarts, Harry had already sent off an order via Hedwig and the Owl Post office to London Potion Suppliers, ordering the ingredients he needed to make a potion that would reveal his Animagus form. He wanted to honour Sirius, and what better way to start than to become an (illegal) animagus? As he left Platform Nine and three quarters with the Dursleys, he passed a quick message to Lupin, who read it out to the others (who hadn't had left yet)
Dear Friends and Order,
You guys have been great to me over the years, and I want to apologise for acting like a prat earlier this year, and throughout the year. Ron, Ginny and Hermione, I'm sorry for taking out my anger at you. I don't deserve great friends like you, when all this time I have been putting my own pride and feelings in front of our friendship. I can only hope you can forgive me.
Professor Moody, Tonks, Kingsley, I want to thank you for being my Advance Guard earlier this year. Even though I didn't like it, you were willing to risk your life to protect mine. I understand that, I respect that, I like that. In my entire life, you're the only people apart from Sirius (there was a tear stain here) who would do that.
Professor Lupin, I have lost my godfather, you have lost your friend and brother figure. Considering how you are, I know that Sirius' friendship meant more to you than most people can understand. We have both lost people, and now I want to ask you something: Moony, would you be my unofficial godfather? I trust and love you like I did Sirius, and I would be overjoyed if you would accept.
Everyone, I am still grieving for Sirius. Although I have not known him as long as the people in Order have, in the brief time he was with me, I knew what a fatherly and brotherly love felt. I can say without fear of contradiction that I loved him the most, out of all of you. His death still hangs over me, and I am still coming to terms with it. All I ask is that you leave me alone for the holidays, as I want to come to terms with his death. I will still owl you; just leave me alone. I am not pushing you away, please understand that (there was another tear stain here). I will be back on September the 1st, hopefully over his death. Please, just give me time and space for now.
There was not a dry eye when a sad Remus Lupin read the letter to the intended audience. Hermione, Ginny and Tonks were sobbing quietly, Molly was bawling completely muttering things like, 'that caring, selfless boy', and even Ron was rubbing his eyes frantically. They knew that the author of that letter was a 15 almost 16 year old boy who had undergone so much in the year, as well as his life. To them, Harry had swallowed whatever pride he had and told them how he felt. Far be it from them to ignore Harry's wishes; as long as they got a regular letter from Harry, they would respect his needs for being alone.
Within the Dursley car, Harry smiled to himself.
And so, Harry got his wish. Even within the first week of his stay at the Dursley's, no-one had shown up to meet him. Sure, Harry did look out the window and saw Tonks trip over a trashcan, or Moody quietly giving stray cats second looks in case they were animagus Death Eaters, but apart from that, Harry's needs were met. The threat the order issued at the Dursleys was stronger than ever since Vernon and Petunia had seen Order members hang around their house, and so they no longer treated Harry with loathing, but rather cold indifference.
Utilising his more cunning side, he suggested to Vernon one night that he needed to use the basement to complete his 'homework', and that the 'funny looking fellow with the messy eye' would get pretty mad at the Dursleys if he wasn't able to do his homework. Vernon sneered at first, but he reluctantly let Harry have the basement. This was good, since the ingredients Harry had ordered at the end of Hogwarts were scheduled to come that night. And because he was now an emancipated minor, he could start on the animagus potion. It wouldn't take long, but the preparation was tricky. Harry had sealed himself up in the basement and cast the Scentio Nullius Charm, which blocked all smells from emerging from the place it was cast. He prepared his potions making kit, when a rather loud banging was heard on the basement door. He opened it, and found a red-face Vernon.
"What's the meaning of this, boy?!" bellowed Vernon. He pointed the ground in behind him. Lo and behold, there were three Barn Owls with rectangular packages tied to their legs. Harry's ingredients were here!
"Oh, they're materials I need for…school, uncle Vernon." replied Harry delicately, as he untied the packages, placed a few Knuts in the coin pouches of each owl, and opened the window to allow the owls to fly away. While he did so, Vernon fumed,
"Now listen here boy, you may have a little leeway now with your freaky friends, but I will not allow you to stink up my house with your twisted rituals! It wasn't enough that your stupid mother tried to poison Petunia-" Vernon only got that far, when Harry pulled out his wand and pointed it at Vernon's neck. Vernon shut up.
"Now listen here, uncle Vernon," Harry hissed, "Never, ever, insult my mother. Or I will do some 'nasty' things to you."
"Are you threatening me, boy?!" snapped Vernon, "I know the rules, and you can't use your freakiness out of school-" Harry cut him off with a icy glare,
"Wrong again, uncle Vernon. You know what an emancipated minor is, uncle?" he asked in a silky voice. Vernon nodded with a grunt, "Well, I am now an emancipated minor. I have all the rights of an adult. That includes the use of my 'freakiness' out of school." Vernon's eyes bulged out,
"You…you can use your…you-know-what?!" he stuttered. Harry nodded grimly.
"Yes. So I give you fair warning, dear uncle. Do. Not. Mess. With. Me. Believe me, I'd rather not live here, but I don't have a choice." With that, Harry tucked the packages under his arm before he slammed the door in Vernon's purpling face. He sat down at his cauldron and began some preparations for the ingredients. He was so engrossed in his work when he barely noticed a 'hoot' sounding from the left. Harry turned and looked at the source of the noise. It was Hedwig, his beloved snowy owl. He grinned at the bird and stretched out his arm; Hedwig flew towards Harry's arm and perched on it. Harry stroked his owl's smooth feathers, before saying,
"Hey Hedwig, thanks. You're my only friend here in this hell, you know that?" Apparently, Hedwig did, because she rolled her gold coloured eyes as if she also shared Harry's trials and tribulations, "But everything's better now. You can fly out at night, because the Order and I threatened the Dursleys," Hedwig let out a triumphant hoot, "Yeah, I know you'd be happy. But for now, could your perch elsewhere? I'm going to make a potion." With that Hedwig let out a reassuring hoot before perching on the edge of a bookrack.
With that, Harry began to work on his potion. He really wanted to see his animagus form; all wizards and witches had one, but very few could successfully transform to an animal and back, and retain their humanity. He dutifully poured in the ingredients, and while doing so, he could only imagine what form he would have. Maybe an owl, so Hedwig might have company. Maybe even a stag like his father! He was so engrossed in his thoughts that he realised that he had finished his potion without knowing it. He poured some of the contents into a goblet, when he took a look at the liquid. The liquid in cauldron was bluish-white, but the diagram in Moste Potente Potions was more of a grey colour.
Damn, what did I do wrong? wondered Harry. Then he saw the problem. His supply of Kappa blood had not been opened. He had forgotten to add the Kappa blood! Cursing, he placed the goblet to the side and banished the contents of his cauldron with the Evanesco spell. Luckily, Harry had bought extra supplies of his ingredients, since he knew that his potions work was not sensational. He was about to begin work on another potion when a hissing noise caught his attention. He looked at the source of the noise, and the sight that greeted him made his blood stand still. He did what any person in his situation would do. He screamed,
"NO! HEDWIG! DON'T DRINK THAT!!!"
To be continued (of course)…
Now, I'd create a poll, concerning Harry's relationship with Dumbledore. There are three options:
1) Dumbledore regain Harry's trust fully, or
2) Dumbledore regains some of Harry's trust, but Harry is now somewhat colder and secretive, or
3) Harry is now jaded and mistrustful of Dumbledore, and strives to keep secrets from him.
You decide what you think would be best!