Nothing You Can Do
Summary: When Seamus Finnigan finds himself outside protection during a Christmas tide attack on Hogwarts, he must join Harry Potter in seeking refuge in the Muggle world. But what happens when he learns more about The-Boy-Who-Lived than he ever wanted to know?
"Everyone's stealing from someone:
Burglars get burgled as well.
There's nothing that's new under heaven;
There's nothing unique over hell."
Simply stated - It ain't mine, I'm just borrowing. Actually the disclaimer isn't even mine.
The idea behind this story was conceived upon a rereading of Chapter 16 of OotP, "In the Hog's Head". It occurred to me how little the rest of the Wizarding World knows about Harry's life. While JKR may keep Harry in the dark more often than he may like, he (and in turn, the reader) is still privy to much more information than the average witch or wizard.
"And did you kill a basilisk with that sword in Dumbledore's office?" demanded Terry Boot, "That's what one of the portraits on the wall told me when I was in there last year."
OotP, Chapter 16, "In the Hog's Head"
We as the reader have taken it for granted that Harry went down into the Chamber of Secrets and killed the Basilisk his second year. It is something that the reader takes for granted, but it seems that it is nothing more than a rumor at Hogwarts.
Actually, come to think of it, this may be why no one believes Harry when he tells them that Voldemort is back. Much of what gives him credibility in our (the reader's) minds is hushed up over his years at Hogwarts. Hardly anyone knows of Harry's hand in the Chamber of Secrets and no one knows what happened with Sirius in third year. Not to mention that the fact that Voldemort was at the end of all those enchantments first year was probably hushed up. If you recall, Harry was awarded 60 points for "Pure nerve and outstanding courage." (SS), not for preventing Voldemort from getting the stone. Certainly the rumors have circulated, but as far as anyone can tell they're just rumors.
I chose Seamus to be the narrator because he knows Harry well enough that he has gotten over the star-struck phase but he still didn't trust Harry enough to believe when he said that
Voldemort is back. Harry is still a bit of a mystery to Seamus, despite having lived together for five years. He just doesn't know what to think about his secretive, famous roommate.
It was nearing Christmas at Hogwarts and the Castle had been decked in all it's finery. The house-elves had covered the halls with greenery and even the paintings had dressed up for the holidays. A light snow had fallen the night before, leaving the grounds covered in a dusting of white. The trees in the Great Hall had been covered in ornaments and someone had cast a scent charm so that the Gryffindor common room was filled with the aroma of pumpkin pie.
Seamus Finnigan had never seen the school looking so festive. It seemed as though the teachers were trying to help the students forget for a moment that there was a war going on right outside the castle gates. Lessons continued on as usual. The stress of O.W.L. preparations had disappeared with the end of fifth year and the students (with the exception of those in N.E.W.T.'s Potions) were being treated to a relatively stress-free homework load as they approached the holidays.
It was a crisp Thursday evening that found Seamus relaxing in front of the fire in the Gryffindor common room working with Neville on an essay for the latest Defense Against the Dark Arts teacher, Professor Gerdan. They had been assigned a short summary of the three different types of Secrecy Magic.
Across from him Dean was being beaten in a chess game by Ron Weasley. Seamus had been surprised as anyone when Ron and Harry Potter had joined their three other roommates in front of the fire. Everyone knew how much the Golden Trio preferred to keep their own counsel. Hardly anyone got past the shroud of secrecy that surrounded them. Seamus knew that Neville, Ginny Weasley and (surprisingly) Luna Lovegood knew more than most, but they wouldn't say anything either. Speculation over what trouble the Trio would next be immersed in was a favorite pastime at Hogwarts and it had both entertained and frustrated the gossips for the last five years, whenever they could find no juicy details on the three.
Harry was sitting quietly to the side, immersed in another defense book. It seemed to Seamus that every time he looked at his famous roommate these days he was either reading up on or practicing Defense. He had tried to tease Harry about his newfound obsession during the first few weeks of school but all Harry ever did was to stare darkly at Seamus before returning to the text.
Seamus was just putting the finishing touches on his essay when Ginny entered the common room and strode over to the boys, dropping into the chair next to Dean.
"Would you lot mind helping me with something?" Ginny asked the group without preamble. When no one refused she continued, "I'm supposed to come up with a list of examples of accidental magic in childhood for Charms. Has anyone got anything I can put down?"
"Well, I've told you all about how my Great Uncle Algie dropped me out of an upstairs window and I bounced." said Neville, "That's about it for me. My magic didn't show up until shortly before I started Hogwarts so I don't have many stories of accidental magic."
Ginny looked up from her writing, "Seamus?"
"Well, I used to levitate boxes of Lucky Charms down from the shelves when I was little." Seamus grinned, "Dad used to bring it home all of the time and I liked trying to enchant the green leprechaun on the front of the box to move."
"What's 'Lucky Charms'?" asked Ron, "It sounds like a spell."
"It's actually a Muggle breakfast food. A type of cereal. It's really popular in the States and Dad likes it so he gets hold of boxes from a friend of his. Mum can't stand the stuff."
"Well, I already know what to write down for Ron," smirked Ginny, "You were constantly trying to play with Mum's wand when she wasn't looking and you turned George's ears into cantaloupes that one time."
"You did WHAT!" Seamus exclaimed.
"It wasn't my fault!" Ron blustered, his face turning trademark 'Weasley Red', "George had been trying to juggle fruit all afternoon and he conviently kept throwing them too hard and hitting me instead. I just reacted!"
Seamus burst out laughing. Not only was that typical Ron but he could just picture George Weasley 'accidentally' hitting his brother with fruit over and over.
"What about you Harry?" Ginny asked, interrupting Harry's reading and catching his attention for the first time. "What accidental magic have you done?"
"Let's see," said Harry, setting his book down for once, "I got in trouble for climbing the school building one time, I'm pretty sure that was a levitation spell because I certainly couldn't have Apparated at that age. I turned my teacher's hair blue once and I think I used a Hair-Growth Charm once after Aunt Petunia tried to take a pair of scissors to my head." Harry laughed ruefully, "What else...I set a boa constrictor on my cousin, but it was telling me that it had never seen Brazil before so..." He drifted off in thought.
"Don't forget when you blew up your aunt!" Ron grinned and slid his castle to take Dean's bishop.
"Oh, Merlin. Aunt Marge. What a mess that was."
"I remember that!" said Ginny, "We were in Egypt at the time. Mum nearly drove the lot of us batty with worry."
Dean looked at Harry in confusion, "You blew up your aunt? When was this?"
"Summer after second year." Harry smiled sheepishly, "I'm sure the accidental magic reversal squad had their hands full that night! I was terrified that I would be expelled!"
"But you blew up your aunt. Didn't she- Did she- What I mean is," Dean seemed to be having trouble stringing a sentence together. Finally he swallowed and blurted out, "Did she live?"
"Of course she lived, what are you on about?"
"When you blew her up, didn't she, explode?"
Harry gaped at Dean for a few seconds, baffled. Then realization filled his face.
"I blew her up like a balloon! What did you think I tore her to pieces or something? No, she was perfectly fine once the reversal squad was done with her. They obliviated her of course, she doesn't even remember it happening. Of course my aunt and uncle weren't too pleased."
"Well," said Ginny, "I think I've got enough here to satisfy Flitwick. Now I just need to write it up. Thanks for your help guys. I'll see you at dinner." She got up and headed up the girl's stairway.
Seamus turned back to his assignment his quill scratching away at the parchment. ...the three Secrecy Magics, named so in 1756 for their effects on truth telling, consist of the Fidelus Charm, the Falsehood hex and Vertaserum. While each has their own effect on the telling of the truth, they are all very dangerous, both physically and emotionally, and should be used with caution...
"Checkmate." said Ron, looking up from the chess board as Dean's king threw down his crown in defeat.
"What!" Dean exclaimed, "I almost had you cornered this time! My rook-"
"Dean, you were paying so much attention to attacking me that you forgot to defend your own king." Ron stretched and got to his feet. "I'm going down to dinner. Does anyone want to come with me?"
Neville shrugged, shutting the book on his lap. "I'm not going to understand this anyways. Not until I can get Hermione to explain it to me."
Seamus shrugged and met Dean's eyes. There was nothing else they could work on, unless they wanted to start the essay for Sprout that was due next week.
"Sure." Seamus said. He started gathering his books together.
"Harry?" Ron asked softly, "Are you coming?"
"No thanks," Harry replied, without taking his eyes from the book in his lap, "I need to finish
this. I'll catch up with you later."
Seamus rolled his eyes and snorted. Harry had been doing this all semester. Closing in on himself, ignoring everyone else, and sitting there reading those bloody Defense books (actually in some cases that was literally true). Seamus could understand Harry wanting to know more about defense but this was getting ridiculous. He had snuck a look at a few of the titles one day and it wasn't just the standard defense books that Harry was reading. Some of the books looked more like dark arts than defense and Seamus doubted that they could even be found in the restricted section. How Harry had gotten hold of them Seamus didn't know, but those books were just dangerous!
"Bugger Harry!" Seamus exclaimed. "We know you like defense but you've got to take a break sometime. You're turning into Hermione! You keep this up and you're going to ruin the curve for the rest of us." Seamus joked. When he didn't get a reaction he sighed. "I can understand you of all people wanting to be more prepared but this is just crazy. It's not like you're supposed to save the world or something! Just take a break and come down and eat with us."
Harry just glared up at Seamus before returning to the text before him. Seamus got the distinct impression that he had said something wrong, but for the life of him he couldn't figure out what.
Ron sighed. "We'll see you in a bit Harry. Just promise me you'll get something to eat. Don't just skip dinner again."
Harry nodded. "I'll be down later."
"You better be or I'll sic Dobby on you."
Harry grimaced at the thought, but there was a sparkle in his eye that Seamus hadn't seen in months. "In that case you can count on it." He replied.
"Good." said Ron, turning to leave the common room.
Seamus glanced back at Harry once more before following Ron out of the room. He felt uneasy, as though he had just seen something he shouldn't have. He couldn't fathom why the exchange between Ron and Harry had bothered him, but it had.
The four boys left the common room quietly. As soon as the portrait closed Seamus spoke.
"There's something wrong with Harry. I mean, really, really wrong." Seamus said, "Has anyone else noticed how strangely he's behaving lately? He acts like he's going to be attacked at any minute!"
Dean snorted, "If you were Harry wouldn't you be worried about being attacked at any minute?"
"True. But it's more than that, isn't it? It's almost like he's somewhere else all of the time."
Dean and Neville both nodded in understanding.
"I know he's going through a lot," said Neville, "But still, I'm worried too. Everyone seems to be looking to him to get rid of You-Know-Who, like he did last time. I know Hermione's taken to hiding the Prophet from Harry every morning so he doesn't have to read about it." Neville sighed, "Can you imagine what you would be like if the Wizarding World decided that you were supposed to kill an evil wizard who murders everyone who gets in his way? I'd probably go hid in a cave somewhere and never come out again!"
"We're all worried." said Dean.
"Listen," said Ron. "I've got more of an understanding of what's going on with Harry right now than any of you. He may not be telling me everything–"
"You don't know everything?" Seamus asked in surprise.
"You should know by now that Harry never tells anyone everything." Ron sighed. "Dumbledore knows what's going on. At least I think he does. Harry's coping with it the best he can. Really, the best thing you can do for him right now is give him some space. Plus, you know he'd be absolutely furious if he heard you talking about him so just leave it be, alright?"
Properly chastised, Seamus, Dean and Neville dropped the subject.
It was as the boys approached the Great Hall that Hermione Granger met up with the group.
"Hi Ron." Hermione greeted, nodding to each as she said their name. "Neville, Dean, Seamus."
"Did you just get out of Arithmancy?" Ron asked.
"Professor let us out early." Hermione replied as she scanned the students scattered throughout the hallway, "Where's Harry?"
"Where do you think?" Ron grumbled.
"Defense books again?"
"Of course. He says he'll come down to eat later."
"And you believed him!" Hermione exclaimed. "You know he won't tear himself away from those books Dumbledore gave him."
" 'Course I didn't believe him, that's why I threatened him with Dobby if he didn't show."
"What! You can't yell at me about Dobby. Dobby's free and getting paid. Plus you know he drives Harry batty when he's in a bad mood so Harry will be sure to show up to dinner. You have nothing to complain about."
"Just because Dobby is getting paid doesn't mean that you can abuse a house-elf's services like that. I have been trying..."
Seamus tuned the two out as Hermione started into one of her house-elf rights rants. He sat down at the Gryffindor table in the Great Hall and started piling his plate with food. The Shepherd's pie was looking particularly good. He dug in, ignoring the conversations of his surrounding classmates, preferring to listen and eat. As he polished off his first helping he started to pay a bit more attention to the chatter surrounding him.
Across from him, Parvati Patil and Lavender Brown were discussing different techniques for palm reading and cooing over Professor Trelawney's latest 'prediction' earlier that day during class. Seamus shook his head. If Trelawney ever made a true prediction he would eat the Sorting Hat. Upon learning that Firenze had left the school to help with the war, Seamus had dropped Divination. He preferred to have free time rather than trudging up all those stairs to Trelawney's loft.
Actually, all of the boys in Gryffindor had dropped the class. Unfortunately Seamus had missed it, but when Trelawney found out that half of her students had dropped the class she had been throughly vexed, and more than a bit flabbergasted. Luckily Dean was there and relayed the story to Seamus through a fit of laughter. Apparently Trelawney never saw it coming.
A few seats down Neville was questioning Hermione on the Defense assignment.
"Veritaserum makes you tell the truth and the falsehood hex makes you tell lies, right?"
"Close. The falsehood hex makes others believe that you are telling lies, while you are actually telling the truth. That not only protects the secret but also damages the reputation of the person who is hexed."
"Well everyone believes they are telling lies. Of course it only works on a specific time period or incident."
" But what about the fidelus charm?"
On the other side of Seamus, Dean and Ron were discussing Quiddich.
"Did you see the article on the Arrows match last week against the Wasps?" asked Ron, "I heard an angry Wasps fan let loose a cage of real wasps that were charmed to attack only the Arrows players. One of the beaters got so distracted that he missed one of the blundgers attacking and got knocked off the broom. George was there. He said the beater fell over 60 feet!"
"Was he alright?"
"Oh, he only had to spend a few days in St. Mungos. He'll be fine once the swelling from the stings die down. Actually, he was lucky. The swelling broke the fall. Probably saved his life."
Seamus snorted in his pudding.
It wasn't until the rest of the school was nearly finished eating, and Seamus had gotten up and headed for the door, that Harry (book in hand) bother to show up to dinner. He took his normal seat next to Ron and Seamus caught a snatch of their conversation as he walked by.
"Hey Harry," Ron was saying, "You've got Remedial Potions tonight, right?"
Harry grimaced, "Unfortunately. I probably won't be back until late."
Remedial Potions? Seamus wondered as he climbed the stairs to the Gryffindor Common Room. Didn't Harry get into NEWTS Potions? Why would he need tutoring? Or rather, why would Snape bother to tutor Harry? They hated each other.
Just another puzzle in the mystery that was Harry Potter.
Reviews are nice, constructive criticism is even better. Flames will be used to grill hamburgers.