Title: The Story of the Seventh Magus: Trials of a Hero
Disclaimer: Harry Potter and everything affiliated with it belongs to the amazing Ms. Rowling. Some of the ideas in this story come from the-dreamer4's fabulous work of fiction, The Awakening of a Magus. I own nothing except the Harry Potter books and my imagination that created this!
Rating: R (I doubt the story deserves an R rating, but just in case...)
Summary: With the prophecy and Sirius's death weighing heavily on his mind, he returns to Privet Drive for the summer. However, there was more to the prophecy than anyone had realized. Follow Harry as he struggles with the newest revelation in his life. Harry could never have imagined his sixth year at Hogwarts to be like this...
Author's Note: Please read! This story is a post-OotP, slash (Harry/Draco) "version" of the-dreamer4's The Awakening of a Magus. Therefore, there will be parts that are very similar to hers, simply because this is sort of a spin-off of her work. For those of you who have already read The Awakening of a Magus, please bear with me - the story will be different from hers once the basics are in place. If you have not yet read the-dreamer4's story, go do so because it is a great read.
I'm Canadian and so I apologize in advance for uses of slang that will undoubtedly occur in this story. Once again, please note that there will be SLASH. If that's not your cup of tea, then please don't read it! I welcome reviews and criticism as long as it is constructive so please let me know what you think!
Huge thanks to my betas, cadpig and Brittany for betaing this story for me. However, they haven't looked at the final copy of this chapter yet so I apologize if there are any mistakes. Enjoy and don't forget to review!
Chapter One: Yet another event in the life of Harry Potter
Harry smiled as he spotted a grinning Sirius running towards him out of the corner of his eye. Laughing, Harry turned towards his godfather to greet him with a hug when the scene suddenly changed to that of the Department of Mysteries. He saw Bellatrix hit Sirius with a spell and witnessed his beloved godfather falling through the veil. He heard him scream, begging for Harry to help him…
And Harry Potter woke up in the smallest bedroom in number four Privet Drive, shaking and sweating, his godfather's screams still ringing in his ears.
Every night in the weeks since Harry had returned to the Dursleys for the summer, he had relived the events that occurred at the Department of Mysteries. Lately, Harry had taken to working himself into exhaustion, hoping that he would be too tired to dream. It hadn't worked so far.
Not wanting to remember, Harry got out of bed and stood by the window to stare out at the still dark sky. It had become his favourite pastime as of late – the vast and seemingly endless heavens somehow eased his many burdens and lifted his spirits a little. He needed that, especially after yet another dream of Sirius's death.
Harry sighed. Although logically he knew that the blame lay with Voldemort and Bellatrix, the guilt he felt remained. Dumbledore thought his innate goodness and his strong ability to love, despite or perhaps because of the tragedies he suffered throughout his young life, was likely the reasons he felt guilty even for the things he had no control over. Knowing the why though did not make Harry feel better nor did it lessen the feelings of guilt. While he may not have cast the spell that ultimately ended his godfather's life, he had been the one that fell for the trap. Had it not been for his foolishness and "Gryffindor stupidity", he had no doubts that Sirius would still be alive. Harry vowed to never let something like that happen again – he would not let anyone else suffer the consequences of his rash actions.
Thinking about the Department of Mysteries invariably brought on the memory of his first week back at Privet Drive. The entire week had been spent in complete isolation, Harry having all but locked himself in his cousin Dudley's second bedroom. With the exception of sending off the required "I'm fine" letters to the Order every three days, he did nothing but think about Sirius and the prophecy. It wasn't until the week was nearly over that he recalled casting the Cruciatus Curse on Bellatrix Lestrange, something that had him thoroughly terrified. Even though it didn't work – his "righteous anger" not nearly strong enough to effectively cause his victim pain – the thought that he was angry and out of control enough to cast such a curse had been more than enough for him to turn to Dumbledore for help. At that moment, the only thing that had mattered was his long-standing fear of turning into a Voldemort.
Dumbledore immediately came to Privet Drive after receiving Harry's owl, and Harry remembered how proud the old wizard had been of him. "Harry, my boy, that you came to me about this, even as angry and hurt as you are, proves why you will never be like Voldemort. Remember what I told you, Harry: it is our choices that show what we truly are. You cast a terrible curse in the heat of the moment, but unlike Tom, you regretted your actions and chose to turn away from the darkness. That is why, Harry, I don't fear for you as I have feared for Tom."
With Harry's worries put to rest for the moment, he and Dumbledore talked, their conversation having been long overdue, in light of the revelations in Dumbledore's office. Harry let everything out: his frustration and helplessness, as well as the fury he felt at the world, at Dumbledore, and at himself. He screamed and yelled and spoke and whispered until his voice grew hoarse and there was nothing left to say. Exhausted, Harry collapsed onto his bed and Dumbledore held him gently in his arms as Harry finally broke down and let the tears flow. A lifetime of loneliness, grief, pain and burdens were released, given into the gentle loving care of a man who had watched out for him in some way from the moment of his birth. And whose only crime, really, was being human and thus fallible.
Since then, Harry and Dumbledore spoke often. At first, their conversations had been stilted and awkward, especially when Dumbledore took over the Occlumency lessons from Snape and anything that remotely troubled Harry was ultimately revealed, since Harry had trouble hiding his thoughts at first. But Dumbledore never purposely sought out embarrassing or painful memories Harry had, one of the reasons why Harry felt, if not comfortable, then more willing to share them with the older wizard. Eventually, the awkwardness faded away and they became comfortable around each other. Dumbledore even became something akin to a father for Harry. And thanks to Dumbledore's gentle, if sometimes infuriating, nature and patient understanding, Harry learned to deal with the implications of the prophecy. Harry doubted he would ever be happy with his lot in life, but at least he was no longer furious at the world for the tremendous burden placed on his already too-heavy shoulders, and understood and accepted his destiny, however reluctantly.
Harry was immensely grateful that Dumbledore decided to teach Harry himself instead. While Harry no longer blamed Snape for Sirius's death, he still despised the greasy git and was glad he didn't have to put up with the abuse from the dour Potions master. Besides, Dumbledore was a far better teacher than Snape could ever hope to be. Without Snape's unhelpful orders – clearing his mind had never worked, seeing as how Snape never quite explained to Harry how to do so – thanks to Dumbledore's more useful instructions, Harry quickly learned to protect his mind.
Harry closed his eyes and rested his forehead against the cool window. He knew he should tell Dumbledore that he had trouble sleeping, but he didn't want the older wizard to worry. Harry knew Dumbledore and the Order of the Phoenix had their hands full, working in conjunction with the Aurors to stop seemingly random Death Eater attacks against Muggles. Besides, since he wasn't sleeping as much, he found he had more time to focus on his training, something he had become almost fanatical about in the weeks since he'd been back at Privet Drive.
After Cornelius Fudge publicly admitted to Voldemort's return, his incompetence and vendetta against Harry and Dumbledore for speaking the truth continued to make the front page news in the Daily Prophet, despite all attempts by Fudge to get the paper to focus on other issues. No one, it seemed, remembered that it was the Prophet that published all the defaming articles against the "Boy Who Lived", the purported saviour of the wizarding world, and Dumbledore, the greatest wizard of modern times, in the first place. And absolutely everyone insisted that they had known all along that Harry and Dumbledore were telling the truth. The wizards and witches of Britain demanded Fudge be removed as the Minister for Magic; so, with his job in jeopardy, Fudge did the only thing he could – he begged Dumbledore for help.
Since the last thing the wizarding world needed was political instability, Dumbledore agreed to support Fudge – as long as he granted everything the older wizard requested. Not having much of a choice, Fudge grudgingly agreed. He promised to stop interfering with Hogwarts. Arthur Weasley became the liaison between the Department of Magical Law Enforcement and the Order of the Phoenix, coordinating the two main forces against Voldemort. Fudge granted Harry a waiver, allowing him many adult privileges, such as Apparition and the use of magic over the summer. He even pardoned Sirius with compensation for the twelve years the animagus spent in Azkaban, though it had been too late. Of course, Fudge scheduled a huge press conference and told them all he was doing in his efforts to stop Lord Thingy with the help of Dumbledore and the "Boy Who Lived". To his credit as a politician, his ratings went through the roof.
As the sky slowly began to brighten, Harry moved away from the window and quickly got dressed before quietly making his way down the stairs to make breakfast for himself. Knowing his relatives would be up soon, he hurried. While the Dursleys had been on their best behaviour so far thanks to threats from Moody and the Order, Harry nonetheless did not want to be around his relatives unnecessarily. In the weeks since he'd been back at Privet Drive, Harry had yet to have been in the same room as the Dursleys. They took their meals at separate times, and since Harry had no chores, he was mostly out in the backyard training, or in his room, reading. It was an ideal arrangement for all involved, and something Harry had no desire to wreck.
With few flicks of his wand, Harry got the spatula and the frying pan making eggs, bacon and sausages. As he put the toast in the toaster oven, he once again mentally thanked Hermione for the books: some on conjuring and practical household magic, although most were on magical theory and defence. She had found majority of them at number twelve Grimmauld Place, although she sent a few from her own collection as well when she had found out about his waiver.
Hermione and the rest of the Weasleys (except for Charlie, who was in Romania and Percy, who had not yet returned to the family) were staying at Grimmauld Place for the summer. Voldemort, furious at the loss he suffered at the Department of Mysteries, had his Death Eaters destroy The Burrow. Luckily, no one had been home – Fred and George had been at Diagon Alley with Ron and Ginny; Bill had been on a mission for the Order; Arthur had been at the Ministry and Molly had been at the Headquarters. In light of the disaster, Hermione's parents left for the States temporarily, although Hermione opted to stay behind to finish her schooling at Hogwarts with her best friends, despite her parents' objections.
For a while, Harry had tried to distance himself from his friends and even tried to convince Hermione to transfer to Salem Witches' Institute in America. He had to be involved in the war – it was his destiny after all – but his friends didn't have to be. His closeness to them put them all in danger and Harry wanted them to be safe. Hermione, Ron and Ginny, however, put that notion to rest with a Howler. With very loud insistence that they had been a target before and they are still a target now and they will continue to be a target whether or not they were friends with him, they ignored Harry's arguments, letting them fall on deaf ears. They told him quite clearly that they weren't going to simply stand by and watch Harry get himself into trouble. And although Harry was still worried, he was partly relieved. His friends were important to him and he was glad they were still in his life.
Keeping an eye on the food, he quickly made himself some freshly squeezed orange juice. He placed everything on his plate and levitated it along with the utensils onto the kitchen table. Knowing his lesson would begin soon, he began to eat quickly and he was about halfway through when Aunt Petunia came down. Seeing him, she froze for a minute then she merely sniffed, stuck her nose up in the air as though he were beneath her notice and began to shuffle around the kitchen, making breakfast for Vernon and her Ickle Diddykins. For the umpteenth time, Harry wondered how she could possibly be related to his mother, Lily.
The Durselys acted like Harry wasn't sitting with them at the table – which was just fine with him. Ignoring his presence was far more preferable than their treatment of him in the years prior. Ignoring his fat cousin's envious glances at his plate (Dudley was still on a diet), he softly said, "Evanesco," before levitating his now empty plate, cup and utensils back into the kitchen. Rolling his eyes at their looks of fear (Dumbledore had already assured them that Harry wouldn't curse them unless he was provoked), Harry stepped out into the backyard that they had been using as a training arena (under wards and charms to keep the training from being seen and heard, of course) to wait for his trainer of the day.
Though he was by no means up to the standards of the Aurors, he was definitely improving. When Harry had first duelled with various members of the Order, he had barely lasted five minutes. Now though, after weeks of lessons, he could hold his own for about half an hour, something he was incredibly proud of.
It was during yet another gruelling match with Dumbledore himself when things became interesting. All throughout the lesson Harry had felt uneasy, but he wasn't sure why. It looked as if a storm was brewing, but there wasn't supposed to be any rain that week. Since Dumbledore didn't seem to notice that anything was amiss, thinking it to be all in his head, Harry continued to focus on the new spell Dumbledore was teaching him.
When they had begun to duel, Harry was on the defence as usual, firing off spells whenever he could. He had just lost his wand to Dumbledore when lightning suddenly struck a huge tree on the other side of the yard. The tree began to fall towards the house and Harry saw that it was going to hit the kitchen – where Aunt Petunia sat reading one of her gossip magazines while Dudley and Uncle Vernon were watching the television, completely unaware of the dangers heading towards them. Despite how the Dursleys had treated him for almost fifteen years and his oft-dreamed wish of seeing them get their just desserts, Harry didn't want any of them to be hurt. He reached out, as if to somehow stop the tree from hitting the house, yelling, "NO!" A beam of white light shot out from his hand, engulfing the tree, and in the next moment, both the tree and the light disappeared as though they had never existed.
Harry stood, surrounded by the white light, frozen in shock at what he had just done. The storm clouds disappeared and Harry's legs gave out moments after. As he fought to remain conscious, he heard Dumbledore speak excitedly.
"Oh, my dear boy! I should have expected something like this would happen! It explains so much!"
Harry, once he was sure he wouldn't faint, stood up carefully. "Sir? What just happened? What did I do?" Harry was trying his best to not panic, but it was difficult when he could feel an incredible amount of power flowing through his veins. It took everything in him to stay calm, lest he unleash the magic within him.
Dumbledore's eyes, if it were possible, seemed to twinkle even more. "I'm afraid this isn't the best place to talk, Harry. We need to get you relocated to Hogwarts immediately." Dumbledore flicked his wand to disable all the wards and charms around the backyard. "Well, shall we?"
Harry, even though he was afraid that something had happened to him once again, was excited at the prospect of leaving the Dursleys to return to Hogwarts, the only home he had ever known. Harry quickly ran inside, and chuckling at Harry's enthusiasm, Dumbledore followed.
Harry opened up the cupboard, his home until five years ago, to pull out his Firebolt and his empty trunk. Dumbledore looked at the small cupboard that he'd heard about from Harry during their many conversations over the summer. He shook his head at how cramped it must have been, even for a small child. Although Harry had understood his need to be placed with his Muggle relatives for his protection, Dumbledore couldn't help but once again doubt over his decision to place him here almost fifteen years ago. Releasing a deep breath and putting the past where it belonged – in the past – he waited as Harry headed upstairs with his belongings floating behind him before following him to his current room.
Harry quickly packed up everything and placed them in his trunk. Letting Hedwig out of her cage, he told her to go ahead and meet him at Hogwarts. Hooting in agreement, she flew out the window and he shrunk her cage as well as his Firebolt and placed them both in his pocket along with his trunk.
"Harry, since you will never have to return to Privet Drive again, you should tell the Dursleys goodbye before you leave."
Harry's eyes lit with delight, thrilled he would never have to return. Though he was still confused as to what was going on, his joy overrode his curiosity and Harry all but ran downstairs to where his 'family' was still gathered, having been shocked into stillness at the sudden entry of Harry and Dumbledore.
"Well, Uncle Vernon, Aunt Petunia and Dudley, I'm leaving now and you probably won't ever see me again. I'd like to say I'd miss you, but I'd be lying. Aunt Petunia, I came here as a helpless baby, your nephew, and you've treated me no better than you would a criminal. Actually, I'm pretty sure a criminal would have faired better – at least he would have been fed and clothed properly in prison."
Vernon's face, which had been showing delight at the prospect of never seeing his freakish nephew again, turned various shades of red and purple as Harry continued to speak. Not willing to take such insolence from a mere boy, and a freak at that, he stepped forward and raised his arm to punch the boy. Harry reached up with both of his hands to block his uncle's fist, though he knew it was a futile gesture. However, Vernon's fist never made contact with Harry's head – his beefy arm stopped as though it had hit a wall when his fist hit Harry's palms, his face first registering shock and then pain as he howled, clutching his now limp hand closer to him. Vernon snarled in anger but was prevented from doing anything as Harry had his wand aimed right between his eyes. Vernon paled and Dudley whimpered in fear as he unsuccessfully cowered behind his mother. Dumbledore gently reached for Harry and turned his fury onto the man who had tried to hit the child whom he thought of as his own flesh and blood.
"Vernon Dursley!" Dumbledore said imperiously, his anger barely leashed. Harry saw something he had seen only once before, the fire hidden within the kindly Headmaster, the power that even Voldemort feared. "Fifteen years ago, I thought that leaving Harry with you was better than his growing up among wizards as a figure of legend. I will tell you something that very few people have ever heard… I was wrong. You no longer have the obligation to see to your nephew."
Ignoring the Dursleys, Dumbledore disabled the wards on number four Privet Drive. "We must go, Harry. Just Apparate to Hogwarts – you will be guided to the gathering point outside the wards automatically."
Glancing back at the Dursleys, Harry spoke to them. "Goodbye. In spite of everything, have a good life, whatever that means to you." They then Disapparated from Privet Drive, leaving behind happy, but slightly fearful Dursleys.