Title: Harry Potter and the Lost Heir
Email: (general, hetero or slash): General
Pairing/Characters: No pairings, all characters from previous books. Gwendolyn MacCollum, Charles Evanston and Trinidad Lozada are mine.
Rating: Um… FRT – Fan Rated for Teens 13 and older
Summary: Harry and his friends start their 6th year at Hogwarts; a stranger seeks refuge at the school from Voldemort.
Warnings: Some swearing, as we all know that in real life just about everybody curses… especially teenagers. wink
Notes: This is one writer's humble postulation on what could happen in Harry's 6th year based on the previous 5 books.
Disclaimer: Not mine, just couldn't resist the adorable rabid plot bunny that ambushed me one day. No infringement intended, and this is just my humble way of thanking JKR for her inspiring creation.
Harry Potter and the Lost Heir
Another year at Hogwarts was rapidly approaching, and Harry Potter for once didn't feel the thrill of excitement at his impending departure from 4 Privet Drive.
After everything that had happened in the previous 5 years, he was left wondering if the whole world would be much better off if he'd have stayed with the Dursley's and never attended the school for witchcraft and wizardry.
So many people were dead. And all because of him.
It was already 15 minutes into Harry's 16th birthday, but he really didn't see what he had to be happy about. It seemed that everyone he loved and cared about was destined to die, all because they had the ill manners to love The Boy Who Lived. He just didn't know if he could take any more of that. Knowing that his parents died to protect him from a self-fulfilling prophecy that never should have been recorded in the first place (at least in his opinion, seeing as how Sirius then wouldn't have gone and gotten himself killed trying to protect his beloved godson), well, that was bad enough. But then the only person who had turned out to be the next best thing to having his actual parents around was murdered, by his own evil cousin no less, which just had to be the icing on the damned cake for Voldemort…
Harry growled and threw his book across his small bedroom. He didn't even care that his action had woken up his portly cousin, Dudley, whose violent snores were abruptly cut off by a picture that suddenly fell on his face due to the forcefully thrown book from the next room that had dislodged it.
A small and distant part of Harry's mind was surprised that Dudley didn't come charging in to pummel him for the rude awakening. Hell, not even Uncle Vernon dared come into Harry's room uninvited any more… not after the dire threats leveled at him by the bulk of the members of The Order of the Phoenix when they'd escorted Harry into the care of his surly Muggle relatives at the beginning of summer vacation.
Even that thought wasn't enough to bring a smile to the beyond-troubled teen's face as he faced yet another sleepless night. The nightmares were getting worse, and now included Cedric Diggory's murder by Voldemort as well as what had happened afterwards. Not a single night went by the entire summer where Harry didn't wake up screaming and throwing warding spells right and left. The Ministry of Magic didn't even send him threatening letters at his unconscious misuse of magic. As a matter of fact, they had only sent him one very strange letter so far, personally written by the Minister of Magic himself, apologizing for Harry's horrible treatment by the Ministry the year before, and asking him of all people for forgiveness.
Harry snorted in derision. He was no person to be asking forgiveness from. If anything, he felt that he owed the entire wizarding world a huge, honking apology for being so rude as to be breathing. His dark thoughts grew even murkier, as Harry wondered if he should spare the world any more pain at his expense by just going outside, hailing the Knight Bus, and tossing himself in front of it at the last second. Maybe then, and only then, his dearest friends would be spared any more heartache and despair because of his very existence.
Just then, Hedwig and three other owls arrived in a vast flutter of wings at his windowsill, interrupting Harry's spiraling despondency. They were loaded down with packages and letters, and Harry could tell who they were all from by look alone. He just sat there on his bed, fruitlessly willing the birds to go away and leave him to his dark thoughts, but Hedwig leaped nimbly to his side and sharply pecked Harry's cheek.
"Ow! What the bloody hell was that for!" he snapped, rubbing his face and coming away with a spot of blood on his fingers. His owl merely glared at him, voicelessly chastising him for his horrible state of mind as she peremptorily held out her leg to be relieved of its burden.
"Guess you're not going to leave me alone until I open these, are you?" Harry snarled quietly. "Well, move closer so I can get it off then." Hedwig obliged, her reproachful gaze never wavering as Harry relieved first her, and then the other owls of their deliveries, before quickly gliding across the room to her open cage with its waiting snack and fresh water.
The young man looked over his small pile of presents and letters with distaste. This was one birthday he heartily wished his friends would have just forgotten. Along with him. But the owls were all glaring at Harry as if they'd perform a repeat of Hedwig's chastisement en masse, so he grudgingly began to open the packages.
The first was from Hermione, along with a short letter.
I have been wondering how you were doing since my last letter, but I think I already know the answer to that. I miss you terribly, and wish there was something I could do to help you sort everything out. I won't wish you a happy birthday, as I am sure you think it will be anything but. Please remember that I will always be there for you, and will always support you.
Just in case you read my letter before Ron's, I won't spoil his surprise, but I will say that I am looking forward to seeing you soon.
Until then, take care, Harry. Please.
The simply worded letter filled with his friend's concern for him caused the back of Harry's eyes to burn with unshed tears, and his hands shook a little as he carefully rested the paper on the bed beside him. His head tilted back to rest on the wall as he tried to get a grip on himself. One of the things Harry could always expect from Hermione was the simple truth, yet worded in such a way as to remind him that he still had people who cared about him.
Maybe it would be best if Harry started encouraging all of those people to stay away from him. For their own good.
He shook his head, disgusted with himself. Wallowing in self-pity did nothing to lessen the danger imposed by Voldemort. The best that would happen if he continued indulging himself would be that his death would come that much quicker, and his friends would still all die. As Harry knew all too well by now, Voldemort was not the forgiving kind, and took great pleasure in ruthlessly destroying each and every person who would dare defy him.
He picked up the small package the letter was attached to and opened it to find a simple silver frame with a wizard picture of Ron, Harry and Hermione all bent over their homework in the Gryffindor common room, their heads almost touching as they examined a piece of parchment with great interest. Harry was sitting in between his friends, with both Ron and Hermione resting a hand on his shoulders.
Black brows furrowed in slight confusion. Who would have taken such a picture? Certainly not Colin Creevy, since he had such a horrible case of hero-worship for Harry that he would have made a big deal out of it.
Harry shook his head. It really didn't matter who had taken the picture; what was important was the message the photo imparted. In Ron Weasley and Hermione Granger Harry would always have stalwart companions and true friends, and nothing he said or did would ever shake their friendship. It was the perfect accompaniment to Hermione's letter, and exactly what Harry needed right now.
The threatening tears of earlier spilled over and cascaded down Harry's cheeks. He closed his eyes tightly, wishing like hell that this all wouldn't hurt so damned much.
He sat there for who knew how long before he heard something moving towards him. Harry cracked open an eye in time to witness Hedwig land lightly on his outstretched leg. She sidestepped up to his thigh and extended her white head towards his face, hooting softly, eyes wide and mirroring the gut-wrenching heartache in his chest. Harry reached up and gently scratched his beloved owl on the side of her face, a small sad smile curving his lips.
"Thanks, my friend," he whispered. The snowy owl hooted once more, and began nibbling on Harry's fingers affectionately.
He continued to scratch Hedwig as she alternately groomed him and herself, and with his free hand reached out for what was obviously Ron's present and letter.
I'd wish you a happy birthday, but I think it'll all be much more grand if I said it in person! Mum and Dad talked with The Others, and tomorrow after breakfast we'll be over to pick you up. Say 8:30? Don't worry, we won't come by Floo, especially since the Dursley's were so put out the last time. Instead, Dad was able to borrow a Ministry car, so we'll actually be knocking on your front door like we were Muggles! I don't know about you, mate, but I have a feeling that'll put your Aunt and Uncle's knickers in quite a bind.
Harry grinned. That it surely would. Every time the Weasley's came to call on 4 Privet Drive, something inevitably went wrong, usually involving Uncle Vernon turning all shades of red and purple and sputtering like a backfiring car. Not to mention Dudley turning tail and bolting out of the room squeaking like a terrified mouse. Too bad the Dursley's had the pig's tail surgically removed; it would have made the whole scene all the more hilarious to see the tiny twisted appendage jerking and twitching on his cousin's fat arse as he hot-footed it out of the living room.
That particular imagery cheering Harry up some more, he turned his attention back to the letter.
Mum would kill me if she knew I'd ruined her surprise, but oh well. I didn't want you to freak out, considering how things have gone lately, but Mum's planned a birthday party for you. And when I say it's huge, I mean it's bloody huge! Most of Gryffindor's invited, and from what I could see of the replies, mate, we're going to have to hold the whole thing outside. Yeah, that's how big this thing is. I won't go into any more details, since this is supposed to be a surprise and everything, but I figured you'd like a little warning on what you're in for. I hope you don't mind, but I wanted you to get your gift from me before the others. It's not much, but dad and I thought it would come in handy.
See you in the morning!
PS – I figured you'd have noticed that Errol didn't come this time; he'd broken one of his wings last week, and is having a lot of problems bouncing back from it. And Pig just really needed the exercise.
Harry snorted. Pig always needed the exercise. That tiny owl was so hyperactive that if he ever held still for more than a minute he'd probably explode. More than likely Ron just wanted the menace out of his hair for a few hours. As a matter of fact, as soon as Harry had relieved the little bird of its burden, it had zipped around the room a few times before heading back outside and dive-bombing the voles in the neighbors' yard a few doors down.
His smile faltered. Pig had been a present to Ron from Sirius. Harry's eyes shut again for a few moments before he mentally shook himself. He'd better work on putting on his game face if he didn't want to completely ruin his surprise birthday party with his melancholy demeanor. He felt like he belonged more in some Shakespearean play right now than acting out the role of a teenager that wasn't really marked for death by the centuries' most powerful Dark wizard.
"Presents don't open themselves," he muttered to himself, and he opened the small box with Ron's present.
Inside was a peculiar sewing kit, with another note from Ron.
In case you're completely confused and wondering why I put empty spools in here. This is a repair kit for your invisibility cloak. Of course the thread is invisible too, which will make it bloody difficult to work with. But hey, at least the spools are visible, right?
Harry almost laughed. The cloak was starting to get a bit frayed around the edges, as he'd noticed stepping on some stray threads and tripping from them during his last few illicit forays through school. Ron was right; actually getting the needle threaded was going to be damned hard, but well worth the effort if it meant extending the life of his father's cloak.
Harry poked through the rest of the box, coming across a coupon for a free sample of a special potion to clean and restore invisibility cloaks. "Because even magic cloaks get smelly if not washed!" He carefully closed and set the box aside and reached for the next present with a lighter heart.
It was from Hagrid. Inside was a small cake, decorated with chocolate frosting and glowing letters wishing Harry a happy birthday. He opened the letter and read:
Wasn't sure if you'd get a cake or not, so here's one. Don't worry, your little elf friend Dobby made it, since I'm out of the country on official business for You-Know-What.
Harry's face firmed. He hoped his friend wasn't doing anything too dangerous for the Order, as the last time Hagrid left on an Order errand, he'd almost gotten himself killed by the last known remaining giant tribe.
Which reminded Harry: wonder what Hagrid did with his half-brother?
"Hopefully stashed him somewhere in the mountains," the now-lanky teenager murmured before reading on.
I should be back long before school starts, specially since I'm still a teacher, but I won't be able to go to your birthday party. Can't remember if that was a surprise or not.
Anyway, happy birthday, Harry. I'll give you your present after school starts. Take care.
Harry swiped a finger through the frosting on the cake and tentatively tasted it.
"Not bad," he commented with raised eyebrows. "Need to see if Dobby'd be interested in cooking for Hagrid from now on."
The next thing was a letter from Hogwarts, detailing the now-standard confirmation of the beginning of the school year, as well as including a list of what books Harry would need for his classes.
'Hm, looks like Firenze is going to continue teaching… for now,' Harry mused. But then, he doubted the centaur would ever be allowed back in the Forbidden Forest by his brethren. 'Might as well make the best of a bad situation, eh old chap?' Harry knew exactly how that felt. He scanned over the rest of the list, noting the strange statement that he and his classmates would be learning Apparating in Hogsmeade this year, as well as the absence of any mention of Defense Against the Dark Arts.
Harry made a mental note to ask Dumbledore or Professor McGonagall just how exactly the students were all supposed to learn how to defend themselves against the very obvious threat of the Dark Wizards now. He highly doubted that he of all people would be asked to teach such a class; Harry only knew a few more spells than his classmates, and wasn't about to share exactly how he avoided being killed by the Avada Kedavra curse.
Also included was a page detailing the results of Harry's O.W.L.'s. 'Wow, eight,' he was mildly surprised. In the grand scheme of things, he guessed it was impressive, but it just didn't hold the importance it once did. Sirius would've been proud, but Harry hastily veered away from more thoughts about his godfather.
What Harry didn't expect was a personal letter from Dumbledore folded in the back of the envelope.
I hope this letter finds you well. I wanted to let you know that I shall be continuing your Occlumency lessons personally soon after the beginning of the term. I believe it would be a most wise decision to continue to strengthen your skills in that particular area.
Harry grimaced. "Strengthen what? Obviously I didn't do a very good job of learning the first time around, did I?"
I shall also be available any time you need to talk. No matter the time or what is happening, I want you to feel free to contact me whenever you feel it is necessary.
"So how am I supposed to contact you, huh?" Harry muttered darkly.
If you would please refer to the package attached with this letter, you will find a small mirror. If I recall correctly, the one that had been given to you for your last birthday had been broken. I managed to repair it, and have its brother in my possession.
How could that be? Sirius had given Harry the mirror, and had had the other one on him when he'd… when he'd…
"When he died," Harry choked out.
You may not have been told this, but the mirrors were part of a set of four; carried by your father, Remus, Peter and Sirius. Remus was kind enough to lend me his mirror for the time being. I am sorry I was not able to get the mirror to you earlier, but these things can be quite tricky to properly repair. Again, Harry, should you feel the need to talk, just hold up the mirror and speak my name.
Take care, my son.
Harry sat there, feeling numb. He didn't know what to think about this. What was he supposed to do? Call Dumbledore every time he felt like putting his head through a wall? The headmaster would get annoyed at that pretty quickly, as Harry always felt like that these days. Call every time he had a nightmare? Same thing there: that happened every time Harry closed his eyes.
And what was there to talk about? Oh, hello Professor, I just wanted to tell you that I feel responsible for everything that's happened, since I am a right stupid twit who can't even learn how to keep Voldemort out of my head? Oh, yeah, and it's all my fault that my parents and Sirius died, and I've been seriously thinking of killing myself to save Voldemort the hassle of murdering everyone I care about to get to me. By the way, have you heard the news about the Chudley Cannons' Keeper?
Harry shook his head. Yeah, right, saying all that would probably land him in the mental ward of Saint Mungo's. 'Maybe that's where I deserve to be,' he thought bitterly. He ran his hand through his untidy hair, snorted derisively, and abruptly rose from his bed. Hedwig tilted off of Harry's lap with a squawk, and hopped across the floor to launch herself back onto her perch. Lost in his thoughts, Harry swept all of his presents into an untidy heap and dumped them into his trunk. He then rummaged around until he found a small potion bottle. He uncorked it and quickly downed the contents, silently thanking Madame Pomfrey for the few phials that allowed him a dreamless slumber. He only allowed himself one bottle a week, as he didn't want to become addicted to the powerful elixir and therefore gain unwanted attention.
He settled back on to his bed and waited for the potion to numb his brain.
Now if Harry could only do that with his broken heart…