Disclaimer: I guess I wasn't a good girl this year because I didn't get them for Christmas! JKR owns them not me sigh.
A/N - I know, the coming of age thing! Sometimes I say 16, sometimes I say 17. I know it's really 17 but sometimes I need them to be able to magic without getting in trouble. This time I can wait until they're 17.
Warnings - it's the good ship Harry Ron! Don't like it, don't read it! Also I may not update this every day (or second day) be patient, it's still in progress!
Head Heart & Soul- by Shedoc
'And now for something completely different,' Harry mused as he scrubbed the last of the dishes from Aunt Petunias dinner party. The morning sunlight streamed into the kitchen, warming his skin, though he still felt cold. Nothing had seemed to warm him since Sirius…
Harry shook his head sternly and placed the last of the good dishes in the drying rack, putting the cutlery into the hot water to soak and turning to dry first his hands, then the good china. Since his return from Hogwarts his Aunt and Uncle had entertained nearly every single night. Dudley escaped into the neighbourhood of course, with his 'friends', vandalising whatever the council had managed to repair since their last spree and beating up small children for their pocket money so they could buy grog and smokes on the sly.
Harry escaped from the dinners too; he spent the evenings in his room making no noise and pretending not to exist. This time he had managed not to have any house elves visit him and levitate the pudding all over the unfortunate guests. Instead he spent the time curled up on his bed, reading through his schoolbooks and waiting for Hedwig to return from her evening flight.
She was free this summer, and a lot quieter as a result, which meant fewer rows with his Uncle. Since their return from Kings Cross, the Dursley's had for the most part ignored Harry, except to issue him with stern decrees about chores. The chores were all indoors, to keep them from Wizarding notice, and Uncle Vernon had stood over Harry every three days, breathing heavily while Harry wrote out the obligatory letter to the Order to reassure them he was still fine.
True, he had no energy, ate little and slept less, but no one was hurting him, so he wasn't lying or anything, and the funny thing was that he'd have said the same thing if Uncle Vernon stood over him or not. He knew better than to fuss over something that was deemed necessary, and after the Ministry any adult he might have complained to would surely be impatient with his whining now...
Harry put the dishes away and returned to the soaking cutlery. Every morning he would clear away the mess from last nights 'party' and clean the house up in preparation for the next. His Uncle had earned himself some kind of promotion at the company, and the new job apparently came with a new set of social acquaintances that had to be wined and dined and otherwise entertained. Of course the minute the guests were gone his aunt and uncle started critiquing their clothes and manners and conversations.
As Harry washed the knives his mind drifted over the nap he'd had last night. It couldn't really be called sleep - the shallow nightmare riddled period of unrest that he endured each evening was too brief to be called sleep. In it he'd dreamed once more of Sirius' death, followed by the old nightmares from the graveyard, where Cedric accused him of murder. He'd jerked himself out of that nightmare to one of Voldemort and his followers. Malfoy and Bellatrix Lestrange featured heavily, whispering about a spy to their master, and Nagini lurked at the edges, threatening to bite Harry with her sharp fangs. Harry was neither the evil wizard nor the snake, but an independent if intangible being, and couldn't tell if these were real visions, or just some weird thing that Voldemort was doing, trying to send Harry off the deep end.
He'd told the Headmaster at once, and had promised in the same letter to try to practice his negligible skills at Occlumency. It made his head hurt even more when he tried to practice the art that his Potions Master had drilled him in, as if the act itself was forcing something in him to act unnaturally, and Harry wished he could talk to his friends about it all.
Ron was in Egypt with Bill, working as a sort of apprentice curse breaker or something. He'd apparently set it up the moment he left the hospital wing, and because he was so far away it was hard for Hedwig to manage the flights. Pigwidgeon certainly couldn't and Ron wasn't likely to spend his hard earned money - he was apparently getting a stipend from Gringotts for his work this summer - in sending letters to Harry and Hermione.
Hermione was off visiting Muggle relatives for the summer to recover from the last of the curse that had hit her in the Ministry battle. Harry knew that he couldn't have Hedwig delivering letters to her either, and as a result he was desperately lonely. Ginny hadn't written to him, nor had any other Weasley after Ron's letter had arrived, and Harry felt their silence like a blow. He was in disgrace and he knew it; his propensity for playing the hero had put the two youngest Weasley's and the only Granger in severe danger.
Neville had written to him - much to Harry's surprise - and Harry had been glad for the short notes, even if all they discussed was Quidditch. He'd made sure to apologise to his housemate for leading him into such danger and thanked Neville properly for saving his life. Mrs Longbottom had sent him a short note, stating how proud she was of Neville and warning Harry not to do anything so foolish ever again. Harry had sent an equally short yet fervent reply promising not to. He made sure to tell Mrs Longbottom how Neville had saved his life, and apologise once more for his foolishness.
He would never again ignore the advice of clear-headed people, and he would certainly never allow his friends to follow him into danger. He'd stun them all and tie them up first.
Glancing at the clock, Harry noted that Dudley was right on time. His whale of a cousin came home at two am precisely each night. Harry listened for the little stagger that Dudley always made when starting to climb the stairs and shook his head. While he was familiar with the idea of underage drinking - he had shared a House with the Weasley twins after all, and what Hermione didn't know she couldn't hurt him for - Dudley was going to turn into an underage alcoholic if he wasn't careful. Not to mention the row there would be when his Aunt and Uncle found out.
Unsteady footsteps plodded their way to Dudley's room and the door banged shut loudly enough to make Uncle Vernon snort in his sleep. Hedwig took her head out from under her wing and glared in the direction of Dudley's room, before ruffling her feathers, shifting about irritably and going back to sleep. Harry grinned at the little performance fondly. There were times when she almost seemed to speak.
He sighed and put his book aside, too tired to read it, stretching out on his side and closing his eyes reluctantly. He'd already napped for an hour earlier, until his nightmares woke him. He wasn't looking forward to trying again. Over the last week the dreams or visions or whatever had become a lot more… real. It was harder to wake up, and harder to banish them from his mind. Voldemort was not a happy Dark Lord at the moment, which meant that his followers were getting quite a bit of punishment meted out to them with Harry a silent, horrified witness to it all. Even Death Eaters didn't deserve the stuff he'd seen this last week.
Sleep crept over him, and for a while Harry enjoyed a rather pleasant dream of flying on his broom. Ron was perched behind him, arms around his waist and leaning into his back. They were flying over a forest beneath a quarter moon, and the air was clean and crisp. The Dog Star was very bright on the horizon, and so was Mars. Harry was warm and Ron's breath tickled his neck as they flew in silence. Bits of him were very happy with this dream, which is why he got very annoyed when Ron took one arm away to point down at a house they were flying over.
"What's that?" the redheads voice was easy to hear over the slight rush of wind and when Harry looked down he recognised Riddle Mansion. He shook his head stubbornly and tried to direct the broom away from it, but Ron threw his weight off to the side and sent the broom into an uncontrolled dive straight for the front door.
Harry landed unexpectedly on the cold stone floor, his knees stinging from the impact. Death Eaters were in their usual circle around their self styled Dark Lord, who was pointing his wand at some poor man screaming and writhing on the floor. His scar ached dully, and Harry hauled himself up to his feet warily. Voldemort never seemed to notice him there, nor did any other Death Eater despite the fact that he'd kicked Lucius Malfoy in the bollocks pretty sharply the other night over what the man was suggesting about Sirius. He was sure that he heard Malfoy grunt in reaction, shifting in his place in the circle and drawing Voldemorts most unwanted attention. Harry had woken not long after that, gasping for air and shaking, sick to his stomach.
He looked around carefully now, relieved when whoever it was on the floor was given respite from the Cruciatus curse. All the usual people were in attendance, with Bellatrix Lestrange simpering at her Master in a truly sickening fashion. If she actually carried through with the flirting she sent Voldemort's way Harry had no idea, and no wish to find out. The knowledge would send him straight to the nut house, screaming all the way.
"Well, Severus the spy, what have you to say now?" Voldemort's words caught Harry's attention and his heart beat faster when he recognised the man huddled on the floor at Voldemort's feet. He'd always known that his Potions Master was a spy and that he risked a lot remaining in the ranks of the Death Eaters, but even their mutual hatred wasn't strong enough for Harry to want to see the man tortured.
"Master, I only spy for you," Snape gasped, his usually smooth, arrogant tones replaced with a weaker, pain filled whisper. Harry moved closer to him, stepping between him and Voldemort unconsciously.
"That is not what I am told, Severus," Voldemort hissed, "Several of my loyal Death Eaters have come to me with news of your actions. You are betraying us to that old fool of a Headmaster."
"My Lord…" Snape's words changed to agony filled screams as Voldemort once more cast the Cruciatus. Harry grit his teeth and grabbed for the wand, his hands passing through Voldemort's wrist and making the foul being twitch in surprise, breaking the curse for a moment.
"Bellatrix," Voldemort purred, "Persuade Severus to tell me the truth."
"My Lord," Bellatrix breathed and pulled a wickedly sharp knife from her robes.
Harry lurched up in bed, his head swimming. He could still see the main room of the mansion, overlaid on his current surroundings like a ghostly image. He couldn't hear Snape screaming any more, but that was not really a bonus right now. What he could see was bad enough.
He flung his legs over the edge of the bed and lunged upright, grabbing his wand and glasses and pelting down the stairs. He couldn't go rushing off to rescue his Potions Master - he knew that he'd never manage to get through that many Death Eaters, and wasn't suicidal enough to entertain the notion of trying - but he could summon help from the Order. There was a guard outside right now, and Arabella Figg was still living just up the road. After last year he was sure that Dumbledore would have given her a way to contact the Order in times of emergency. At the very least his guard would have to reveal himself.
Harry slipped the front door open and scanned Privet Drive carefully. Nothing was out of place, and nothing moved. He stepped out onto the front step and took a deep breath, wand clutched openly in his hand. The thought that this was another trap by Voldemort had crossed his mind, though how the Dark Lord knew that Harry would react to seeing a much-loathed teacher being tortured was unclear.
He shook the thoughts from his head and began running, flinching away from Malfoy's form as the blonde man kicked Snape over and over, each blow landing with deadly accuracy. Harry thought that both of his teachers legs were broken now, and it was decidedly unnerving to be running full pelt along a street and have part of the scenery stay with him as he moved.
Mrs Figg's house was dark, but Harry didn't hesitate, knocking loudly and ringing the front door bell insistently. He could hear harsh breathing behind him and hoped that it wasn't Mundungus Fletcher on night shift. They'd have to practically revive the rascal before he was in a fit state to help.
"What in the name of…Harry!" Mrs Figg wore a hideous paisley housecoat and clashing fluffy pink slippers, her hair a veritable rats nest. Harry pushed forward, apologising for his rudeness and waking her in a nervous rush even as he moved. Mrs Figg hesitated long enough for their unseen watcher to enter as well before shutting the door and leading the way down the hall a little.
"What are you doing Potter?" Mad Eye Moody's voice was exasperated, though the man didn't remove his cloak, "Running around at this time of the night."
"Mr Moody, you've got to warn the Headmaster! They've got Snape! They know he's a spy and they're hurting him right now!"
"Who?" Arabella asked and it was all Harry could do not to scream.
"The Death Eaters! Voldemort himself is torturing him! They're killing him!" he blurted and Moody growled under his breath.
"It's just a dream lad!" the disembodied voice held no conviction and Harry shook his head. He'd never had a waking dream in his life and had some vague idea that it wasn't possible for Voldemort to send him one without at least partially possessing him. This was not the case here; Harry wasn't in nearly enough pain.
"I can see it right now! I'm not asleep! Lestrange is cutting him with a knife and Malfoy and the others are taking turns to kick him," he almost shouted, "Mrs Figg, you've got to warn the Headmaster!"
"Alastor?" she asked uncertainly and Harry heard the invisible man sigh.
"We'll tell him that Snape has been compromised. He'll have to vacate Headquarters and pull our people out for now, in case Snape knew more than he was supposed to. Wouldn't surprise me if the slimy shite had been doing a bit of spying on his own behalf," the malice in Moody's tone chilled Harry to the bone. They couldn't abandon Snape to his fate, not after all he had done for the Order. Just because he wasn't a nice person didn't mean he didn't deserve their help now.
"But we have to get him out of there!" he protested, "Mrs Figg, please!"
"There's nothing I can do dear," Mrs Figg replied gently, "Perhaps you should go back to bed. Alastor, go in with him and make sure he's all right."
"No! You can't leave him there!" Harry yelled, his temper flaring high. Far off in the back of his mind, Harry noted that his fingers and toes were tingling, as if something big was about to happen. He pushed the distracting sensation aside; wanting to concentrate on making the adults rescue their spy.
"He's a Death Eater, lad, and no friend of yours by all accounts," Mad Eye replied, the malice even more pronounced, "He's getting no more than he deserves."
Harry's head spun. He couldn't believe that they would even think about this! He took a few steps closer to the huddled shape that was his Potions Master, wanting heart and soul to do something for the man, anything…
There was a sharp crack, and Mrs Figgs hallway disappeared, replaced with the howling of the Death Eaters and the foul stench that was Voldemort's ancestral home. Harry stumbled forward and shoved Lestrange away from Snape, barely registering that the woman shrieked as she fell on her own knife, leaving a deep gash in her own arm. His scar flared with agony, but Harry ignored it, falling to his knees and putting his hands over the deepest wounds, tying to stop the blood that flowed sluggishly from the nearly dead man. A high-pitched voice was screaming orders, the words flowing over Harry like prickly cold water as he met the despairing dark eyes of his Potions Master. They were dead, both of them, they just hadn't stopped moving yet. No one was coming to help him, no one was going to save them, and Snape was dying of his injuries just as surely as Harry would die of the killing curse. Harry bit his lip. He'd got his wish, someone had gone to Snape's aid, and it was going to kill them both. His stomach lurched unpleasantly, and cold hands closed around his shoulders. Harry flinched, and desperately closed his eyes, hoping that when he opened them they would be safely at Hogwarts. No one would be able to hurt them if they were in Madam Pomfrey's care. The stones beneath his knees shifted and it got a lot quieter for a long moment. Then a woman shrieked in shock and the scent of home surrounded him moments before he blacked out.
There was a sharp crack, and Mrs Figgs hallway disappeared, replaced with the howling of the Death Eaters and the foul stench that was Voldemort's ancestral home. Harry stumbled forward and shoved Lestrange away from Snape, barely registering that the woman shrieked as she fell on her own knife, leaving a deep gash in her own arm. His scar flared with agony, but Harry ignored it, falling to his knees and putting his hands over the deepest wounds, tying to stop the blood that flowed sluggishly from the nearly dead man. A high-pitched voice was screaming orders, the words flowing over Harry like prickly cold water as he met the despairing dark eyes of his Potions Master. They were dead, both of them, they just hadn't stopped moving yet. No one was coming to help him, no one was going to save them, and Snape was dying of his injuries just as surely as Harry would die of the killing curse.
Harry bit his lip. He'd got his wish, someone had gone to Snape's aid, and it was going to kill them both. His stomach lurched unpleasantly, and cold hands closed around his shoulders. Harry flinched, and desperately closed his eyes, hoping that when he opened them they would be safely at Hogwarts. No one would be able to hurt them if they were in Madam Pomfrey's care. The stones beneath his knees shifted and it got a lot quieter for a long moment. Then a woman shrieked in shock and the scent of home surrounded him moments before he blacked out.
If he had to spend time in the hospital wing, then Harry was at least grateful that the beds were soft and warm. He was curled comfortably on his side, and there was a weight in the middle of him, like someone was sitting in the curve his body made. It would have to be a small someone, and after a moment Harry decided it was a house elf. Madam Pomfrey probably had an elf watching him while she tended to Snape. Something about the way the air pressed onto his blankets convinced Harry that it was night.
That thought made him wonder how Snape was. He'd seen enough of the torture to know that Snape had a lot of healing to do, magic and potions aside, and wondered how much could be healed magically before the body stopped healing itself. He took the awareness that had alerted him to the presence of the house elf and extended it beyond his bed, beyond the privacy screens that had been set up three beds down where Madam Pomfrey was working. She was changing a bandage with the slow tender movements she used once her patients had been under her care for a while. Snape was ok, then, she wouldn't be taking her time like this if she were still trying to patch him together.
Harry extended his awareness a little more and felt pain that had been muted by potions and spells, as well as the restlessness that came with being confined when the person in question would rather be up and doing something, or at least anywhere but where he was. Snape's temper had not been improved by this little incident, and Harry made a mental note not to piss the man off in Potions - assuming he was accepted into the NEWT level course.
He withdrew his awareness with a sigh, feeling sleepy once more, but reluctant to give into the pull. He might have gotten away with no dreams while he was unconscious but he sure didn't want to risk a vision from Voldemort now, not when the Dark Lord was sure to be highly annoyed to put it mildly. The elf at his side patted his hip and Harry felt oddly soothed by the action. A wave of contentment washed over him and he slid willingly into sleep.
His next waking was to the warmth of daylight. The elf was still sitting in the curve of his body, and when he opened his eyes he saw that it was quite old - judging by the wrinkles and tufts of grey hair - and wearing a perfectly clean Hogwarts tea towel. It stared at him very solemnly with its big eyes and after a moment Harry stirred himself enough to take a deep breath. There had been no nightmares, and no visions, making this the best sleep Harry had in years. Literally.
"Hello Loola, I'm Harry," he introduced himself carefully, sensing that this elf was a Very Important Person, and that it was best to be polite. He was pretty sure they'd never met, but he was also pretty sure that he'd gotten the elf's name right. It seemed to be tied in with the way he'd been aware of Snape and Pomfrey earlier.
"Loola is pleased to meet young Harry," Loola seemed pleased with his manners, but before they could say and or do anything else another voice intruded. Harry wasn't too startled, he'd been well aware that the man was standing at the foot of his bed, even if he couldn't see that far without his glasses.
"Good morning Harry."
"Good morning Headmaster," Harry lifted his head a little to acknowledge the other man and Loola stood up.
"Loola will get Harry's breakfast," the elf announced and disappeared with a faint pop. Dumbledore came further up the bed, into Harry's visual range and Harry rolled onto his back and sat up carefully, feeling a little light headed. He was hungry, but that was always the case during summer. A pat to the bedside table located his glasses, and Harry put them on, bringing his surroundings into focus.
"I didn't know you had met the Head of the Hogwarts Elves, Harry," Dumbledore sat on a chair he conjured up and folded his hands in his lap neatly.
"Err… how is Snape?" Harry changed the subject, unable to explain how he'd known the elf's name. He wasn't too sure himself, it had just come to him out of the blue. Dumbledore smiled and for once didn't correct Harry for failing to call the Potions Master Professor.
"Much better," Dumbledore's eyes twinkled a little, "Madam Pomfrey is confident he will make a full recovery in time, and he has seen a Healer as well. You got him here just in time Harry."
"Good," Harry nodded. No one deserved that kind of torture. He looked up at the Headmaster, who seemed to be waiting for something.
"I don't know how I did it," Harry forestalled the inevitable question, "It's all kind of a blur."
"Perhaps you could talk me through the night," Dumbledore suggested just as Loola appeared with a tray for Harry. There was extra toast and tea on it, and Harry handed his Headmaster the cup and plate with a smile. Loola once more sat up on Harry's bed, this time balancing on the headboard so he sat at Harry's shoulder. The elf turned down Harry's offer of a part of the breakfast that had been laid out for him, and just sat quietly while Harry munched on his first slice of toast and thought about where to start.
"I've been having dreams still," he sighed in the end, "About Cedric and Sirius. And they turn into visions from Voldemort. Usually he's torturing someone for something, and my scar hurts while I watch. I know you're going to start telling me I should have been practicing the Occlumency, but no matter how hard I try it doesn't work ok? I'm too dense to get it."
Dumbledore eyed him carefully and decided not to push the issue right now. Harry was grateful - he didn't want to get into a huge shouting match right now. He sipped his pumpkin juice to clear his throat and sat back, fiddling with his fork in the eggs.
"It was different this time because I'm not… in Voldemort. I can walk around and look at things and Voldemort doesn't seem to know I'm there. Anyway the visions are getting pretty strong, and one night when Malfoy insulted… well you don't have to know that, but the point is I got so mad that I… erm… kicked him… in the privates. I didn't think it would connect, you see, I just got so mad at him. And I think he felt it, because he definitely reacted, though not as strongly as I thought he would because I kicked him really hard, which if we'd been in the same actual room they'd have lodged in his nostrils…"
Harry clamped his mouth shut and blushed, ducking his head and eating the cooling eggs quickly while Dumbledore chuckled and shifted on his chair. When Harry was sure that he wasn't going to die of embarrassment he cleared his mouth and started talking again.
"So… on the night in question I had a dream where I was flying on my broom, and well the short version is I ended up in Riddle's Mansion and they were torturing Snape. When I woke up I could still see it, like… like looking through a window that's got something painted on it to the view outside, only the painting moved. I couldn't hear things any more, but … I knew he needed help so I ran to Mrs Figgs house. I knew my guard would follow me there and we could warn the Order," Harry sighed and put his fork down, "Moody was going to warn you all right, but he wasn't going to help Snape. I got so mad at him, and while we were arguing I could see them breaking his legs and trying to kick his ribs in. I just wanted someone to help Snape and the next thing I knew I was there. It was bedlam, and he was dying and I was going to be next and I wished, really wished we were in the hospital wing with Madam Pomfrey and …pop!"
Harry shrugged and blushed a little, not sure how he'd done it, but sure that he'd just discovered another 'talent' that made him a great big freak. You couldn't Apparate into Hogwarts - the wards prevented it, and it was a fair bet that Voldemort had some pretty strong wards up too. Not to mention the fact that Harry didn't have the first idea of how to Apparate, nor if it was even possible to take another person with you when you did.
"It is not so difficult to explain," Loola spoke up before Dumbledore could, "Harry is doing elf magic."
"Pardon?" Harry blurted, and Loola beamed at him proudly. The gleam in the elf's eye was one of a grandfather with a particularly precocious grandchild, and it warmed a part of Harry that he hadn't realised felt cold.
"Harry Potter is a great wizard, and has learned to do elf magic," the old elf repeated, "Is simple!"
"Loola, I'm not sure…" Dumbledore interrupted cautiously, and Loola bristled. Harry could feel that the elf was angry that his employer doubted him after so many years of loyal service, and felt a bit indignant on the elf's behalf, though he kept that to himself for the time being.
"Harry Potter remembers the small table beside the kitchen door?"
Harry nodded, wondering what that had to do with anything. It was a funny spindle legged thing that was always polished to a high sheen and had a stack of tea towels sitting beneath it. Ever since Harry had started sneaking into the kitchens he'd wondered what something so old and delicate looking was doing in the solidly furnished kitchens.
"Put the tray there!" the elf ordered and Harry frowned, then looked down at his tray. He could see the table clearly in his minds eye, and pictured putting the tray on the table. There was a pop and it disappeared from in front of him. Loola patted his head proudly and folded his arms, glaring at the Headmaster in a very un-elf-like manner.
"When you is first waking two days ago Harry, Loola felt you use your magical sense to check on your teacher. Loola used elf magic to introduce his self to Harry, and Harry is using elf magic to move things!"
Dumbledore frowned in confusion, but to Harry it all suddenly made sense.
"It's to do with feelings and what we sense, isn't it? Elves use their sense of magic to discover what their masters want. I was trying to discover if Snape was alive so I stretched out my sense of magic to see how Madam Pomfrey and her patient felt. I was so mad when Moody refused to help Snape and really wished someone would go to help him that I ended up there instead, and once there I wished I was with Madam Pomfrey," he turned to look a the elf who nodded sharply and patted his head again.
"Well I suppose there's a first time for everything," the school Matron chuckled as she approached his bed and Harry chuckled at her, glad that she hadn't taken offence. He didn't like to be here because it meant that he or a friend had been ill. It was nothing personal.
"Loola will help Harry to master moving his self safely from place to place," Loola announced, "Loola doesn't think it will take long."
"Thanks, Loola. As soon as I'm allowed out of here I'll come to the kitchen," Harry glanced at the Headmaster who nodded approval, "This could really save my life."
"In fact it already has," Dumbledore murmured and both he and the elf left Harry to Madam Pomfrey's scrutiny.