Disclaimer; I'm a twenty-two year old man, and I'm looking for a woman that – what? This isn't a personal ad? Ship (THE DIRTY WORD WAS REPLACED BY CENSOR)! I got the letters mixed … er … here is the real disclaimer. I do not own Harry Potter or any of the characters invented by J.K. Rowling. I have no intention of gaining any money from writing this … where did this coin come from? Hey! Stop throwing money onto the stage! I'll get a lawsuit on my hands! Oh, well … I did at least say I didn't intend on making any money … anyway. This is meant to be an outlet for my overly active imagination – look at the pretty birdies – and a practical way for myself to increase my vocabulary, not to mention set somewhat of an example for others in spellchecking what I know, and asking about what I do not, and correct errors as they are reported. If any grievous error is discovered, please report this to me before you do so to anyone else so I get a chance to correct it. You do this by pressing the "Submit Review" selection in the bottom left hand corner and pressing go next to the scrolling menu. Don't worry, you don't have to be a member of to review my stories – anymore – as it is an open link. However, I do not wish to be bothered by unimportant flaming with no real base. Save your opinions of my works until you are either finished with the story and wish to state how I could improve it, or for your friends and family. Also, I do not wish to be bothered by people that merely wish to ask when I will post the next chapter or story, have real reasons for reviewing, thank you.
PS: this fiction has not been properly proof read, but was released anyway, because for the next two months, I will be unable to work on it, and by then, this will have become an AU story as it starts in sixth year. However, I will, some time after those two months, return to it and fix mistakes, please inform me of any found. Suggestions for improvement will be taken under consideration.
I am aware of the fact that I am borrowing ideas, both directly and through alterations, from others, but at the moment cannot list them due to time, or lack of it.
This story will be in nine chapter, as it appears this thing has trouble uploading more than sixteen thousand words at a time, but be aware that the first four are sixth year, the next are seventh, and the ninth is the epilogue. I am aware of the fact that part of this seems rushed, but it is, as i had less than a month to complete it, homework and University Exams included.
In a normal house, on a normal street in a perfectly normal part of Surrey, on a normal and wonderfully warm and sunny day, a teenage boy is sweating as he strains the muscles of his arms and back in rapid series of push ups, while straining his eyes to read the words of the page of the book under his face. This boy is Harry Potter, fifteen years old, soon sixteen, and the ward of his uncle Vernon Dursley and aunt Petunia nèe Evans. Harry lost his parents on a tragic Halloween not long after he had become one year old. The Dursleys has a son about the same age as Harry, a grossly obese boy named Dudley. All the Dursleys dislike Harry, even going as far as to loathe him for things that are well beyond his own control. You see, despite Harry's normal, although shabby and scrawny, appearance; he is nothing of the kind. Harry is in fact a wizard.
Now, one might wonder why a wizard is doing something as menial as push ups when he could easily do a spell while he was reading his book. The answer is; he isn't allowed. Harry is still a wizard-in-training, and as such is not allowed to perform magic out of his school; Hogwarts School of Witchcraft and Wizardry. If one still wonders about the reason why Harry is doing physical labour, the answer is simple; he is keeping himself occupied, mind and body. Not more than a month earlier, Harry lost his godfather in a fight between himself, his friends and a group of evil wizards and witches calling themselves Death Eaters. As the pain of his loss is still fresh, he decided that occupying himself with simply reading was boring, and occupying simply the body left his mind free to wander, so he combined the two by always carrying with him a book to read while he went on a training regime that only stopped when he dropped dead asleep at night.
Harry Potter, also known as the Boy-Who-Lived due to how he survived his parents' killer, gave in to his aching arms, and instead of stopping his exhausting training, turned over and propped the book on his knees as he started his sit ups.
The door of his small room opened, and a large woman with an impressive moustache for her gender looked over the room from the outside. Harry ignored uncle Vernon's sister as she nearly closed the door on her cast when she closed the door. She had been staying with the Dursleys for nearly two weeks, having tripped over her favourite dog, Ripper, and broken her arm. She had never liked him, and having to spend time in the same house as him while she was "crippled" with a broken arm, which happened to be the arm she holds her drinks with. She normally sets her dog, Ripper, at him when she feels annoyed with him, but Ripper and all her other dogs had to remain at her house under the care of the Major, because aunt Petunia had for one glorious moment put her foot down about having that beast dirty up her clean and beautiful floors. The large woman named Marge had been prone to enter Harry's small room at random times to see that he wasn't making a bomb or something.
The reason why "aunt" Marge was assuming that Harry was making bombs when he was alone; was that the only ones in this neighbourhood that knew of Harry's "freakishness" which his aunt and uncle called it, were the three permanent residents named Dursley, to the rest of the neighbourhood of Privet Drive, and most likely Little Whinging, Harry was a mentally disturbed criminal that was sent away for most of the year to a correctional facility named; St Brutus' School for Incurably Criminal Boys.
Harry fell back onto the floor, his brow sweaty and his stomach aching, his arms limp and his mind trying to memorise the words he had just read.
After a moment, he became aware of his mind drifting from his chosen subject towards more unpleasant things, and sat up, despite the screaming protests of his muscles, picked up his book and went out for a run, while keeping his eyes from bouncing as he read and ran.
On his run, Harry passed Dudley and his gang, he passed old batty Mrs Figg, and the park where a gaggle of children were playing around the solitary functioning swing, taking turns pushing or swinging. Harry could not remember a time when he had been that carefree or innocent, he had always been treated badly by his only remaining family and it was only through a threat by adult wizards that Harry was treated somewhat decently this summer.
As he finished his run, Harry ran out of book to read, and hurried to his room for another book before returning to his training, not bothering to apologise to Dudley as he cut in front of him as he was about to leave his own room.
Harry had already exhausted more than half his library of books, and made smalls notes in the margins when he saw something that needed further exploration. He later wrote these things down in a free moment, and used his other books as cross references. His scribbled notes now numbered enough to compose his own book or compendium of those he had with a few ideas and questions tucked in, and a few assignments he thought of making for the fun of things.
So far in his summer holiday, Harry had not received any mail, either by normal Muggle – which is the word witches and wizards use to categorise non magical folk – means or wizarding means which is by owls. He had only sent letters to the Order of the Phoenix every three days, stating that his relatives were treating him well, and he was being fed. Hedwig, Harry's snowy white owl, was not all that happy with her master spending so much time ignoring her, and only noticing her when he needed to send his notes. She made her displeasure known by occasionally dropping a dead frog or mouse down Harry's neck, or by nipping at his ear with unnecessary strength.
Harry knew he was being watched by an invisible member of the Order of the Phoenix, Harry's headmaster Albus Dumbledore must have made sure of it, after what happened the previous summer, and he probably had doubled his guard as well to make sure he was not unwatched if one of the guards should fall asleep on the job. Harry had been forced to fight for his own and his cousin's life last summer, when a pair of dementors – dark cloaked beings with rotting bodies, sucking the happiness from their environment and if they got the chance, they would devour human souls through a kiss – that had come for him. The reason he had not been helped; was that the wizard that was supposed to be on duty – Mundungus Fletcher, a small time wizarding crook that only dabbles in petty theft and fencing and seems to suffer from mild kleptomania – had gotten wind of some stolen cauldrons, and had gone to get them, leaving Harry alone and unwatched. Harry and Dudley had escaped the two dementors with their souls intact, although uncle Vernon and aunt Petunia had to make extra sure by shaking their son to hear if anything rattled in there.
Their lives came with a price, as Harry had to perform magic out of school to do it, and Harry was summoned before a wizarding court. The Minister for Magic – Cornelius Fudge, a chubby fellow in a pinstriped suit and green bowler, incompetent at best, but much loved anyway – was the judge, and he did not believe that two dementors, who were under their control at a prisoner island called Azkaban, could have possibly strayed away from them without his knowledge, and that Harry had simply claimed this to excuse the use of his magic within the sight of a Muggle. Some members of the court were impressed to learn that Harry could produce a fully corporal Patronus – a being of silver like material, conjured from happy or hopeful thoughts, taking the form of what the conjurer finds the most protective subconsciously to chase away dementors and lethifolds – but that was not what saved him from being sentenced to anything. Albus Dumbledore had stepped in and made a fool out of the Minister, but also acquitting Harry of his charges. There had been a witness to the events, a squib – a child of magical parents that do not possess an ounce of magic themselves, similar to witches or wizards being born of Muggles – named Arabella Figg, or as Harry knew her; Mrs Figg, the old batty woman that had watched him as a child when his family went somewhere. He had not known until the dementor incident that she had any knowledge of the hidden magical world.
Harry paused in his writing to remove the dead frog from his neck, giving his owl an annoyed look.
'I'm sorry for not giving you any attention, Hedwig, but I need to do this, I must be prepared,' he carefully explained, hoping not to earn another dead rodent or amphibian down his neck.
The owl hooted in a manner that could only be interpreted as annoyed, and turned her back on him as she stood in her open cage.
Harry sighed and tossed the frog out the window, earning a satisfying surprised girlish scream from Dudley who must have been skulking about in the garden, trying to smoke somewhere out of aunt Petunia's sight.
What Harry felt the need to prepare for, which was one of the reasons he was reading so much as well, was to fulfil a prophecy made nearly a year before he was born.
The one with the power to vanquish the Dark Lord approaches … born to those who have thrice defied him, born as the seventh month dies … and the Dark Lord shall mark him as his equal, but he will have power the Dark Lord knows not … and either must die at the hand of the other for neither can live while the other survives … the one with the power to vanquish the Dark Lord will be born as the seventh month dies …
Lord Voldemort – original name; Tom Marvolo Riddle, the Dark Lord of their age, a wizard corrupted by the power of dark magic – had fulfilled part of the prophecy by seeking out Harry of the two choices. Voldemort, being only a half blood – a wizard or witch with either one Muggle parent or Muggle born parent with a magical one – thought that of the two choices; Harry Potter and Neville Longbottom, Harry, being a half blood as well, was the biggest threat to his power.
This was how Harry became an orphan, Voldemort had sought him out, and found them in hiding in Godric's Hollow. Harry's parents had put up a fight to keep Harry out of the megalomaniac's hands, and paid the ultimate price. Voldemort had cast the Avada Kedavra – or the killing curse – at Harry, only to have it rebound on the caster, banishing the man's soul from his smouldering being and making him hide in deep and dark forests until such time as he could recover, surviving only by possessing the bodies of rats and snakes. Harry had only gotten a lightning bolt shaped gash on his forehead, which would forever leave a scar.
Harry only learned of the prophecy a month ago, not even an hour after he had seen his godfather – Sirius Black, an escaped convict from Azkaban, unrightfully imprisoned for a crime he had not committed but had no proof in his favour to be acquitted – fall through a veil covering an archway, and not emerge on the other side, Harry was told that Sirius was dead. It was quite an emotional evening, as the only reason why Harry had come to the place of his godfather's death in the first place, was to save him. Through his scar, Harry had an unwilling connection to Voldemort, and Voldemort had discovered this near the end of Harry's fifth year. Harry was in the middle of his History of Magic OWLs – Ordinary Wizarding Level tests – when he fell asleep, which is hardly surprising considering how dry the subject is when one is unmotivated, and had a very realistic dream that told him that Sirius was being held captive by Voldemort in the Department of Mysteries in the Ministry of Magic. Harry had tried to find out if this was true, and all signs pointed to it, so he went after his godfather, followed by Harry's two best friends, Hermione Granger and Ron Weasley, and Neville Longbottom, Luna Lovegood and Ginny Weasley – Ron's little sister.
Harry reached for some parchment to replace the full one, and dipped his quill into the inkwell. Runic symbols mixed with regular writing on the finished page, and small numbered illustrations of wand movements decorated the margin. He really wanted to learn as much as he could to fight off Voldemort, and to train wand movements out of school he had to use a pencil in place of the wand, and make sure not to focus too intently on the spell, as he had managed to produce sparks from the sharpened tip of the pencil earlier and did not want another trial for use of magic when he wasn't allowed.
Among his papers was a list of ideas for training. The list title included the abbreviation DA, which meant the Defence Association, or as it was more fondly called; Dumbledore's Army. This association had been started because of the teacher they had for Defence Against the Dark Arts at Hogwarts during Harry's fifth year. She was a toad like witch with a sugary taste in clothing, and appallingly sweet voice for such a sour face – or any face for that matter – and had been issued by the Ministry of Magic because the headmaster, professor Dumbledore, had not found a suitable teacher for the position, and the Minister was not a big fan of neither Harry's or Dumbledore at the time, as they were spreading "false rumours" stating that Voldemort had regained his body and was again a threat. Dolores Umbridge, the new teacher, taught nothing but theory, and apart from politely coughing to gain attention, tormenting Harry was one of her favourite past times. In her class, the first thing said, was "Put your wands away and take out your book on chapter -". The DA started as an idea for a study group, but evolved into a resistance to the Minister's regime, sneaking about to learn how to properly duel and defend oneself. Surprisingly enough, to him, Harry had been elected the leader of the group. He had not liked it, but he proved a good teacher, as many of his students went on to have a much easier time of their End of Year Exams in Defence Against the Dark Arts because of his teachings. Although there might not be any need for his teachings this year, Harry thought it best to be prepared, and that it was time to take the proverbial kid gloves off when it came to his training of them. And he was already banned from playing Quidditch – a wizarding sport with three hoops on each end of a pitch, seven players on each team, two balls that fly about to knock players off their brooms, a ball to score through the hoops and a ball to end the game – he needed something to occupy his time.
Harry ignored the sounds of his family as they congregated in the kitchen without calling for him to come down for dinner. They would leave out a plate of something for him, and something to wash it down with. There was no need for him to lose more of his appetite by watching three huge persons gorge themselves on food and one barely nibbling it, as he had a very nauseous feeling in his stomach that came from guilt. Guilt, because he was indirectly the reason for four persons to die; his parents, Cedric Diggory – a fellow student at Hogwarts, in Harry's fourth year they hosted an international school contest, Cedric had died when the trophy turned out to be a trap that took them to a graveyard where Cedric was killed and Harry was used as a tool to return Voldemort to his body – and finally Sirius. He was partially responsible for their deaths, but he was not about to lose anyone else because of his own bumbling incompetence and ignorance. From now on, he was going to be prepared and cautious.
He absently fingered his wand where it was strapped to his wrist with an old sweat band as he rubbed his sore wrists from the cramp he was getting from writing. He so longed to actually perform the magic he was learning through theory.
Outside the light grew dimmer, and Harry's lamp flickered as a signal to change the bulb. Not wanting to inconvenience his family before morning, Harry abandoned his writing in favour of rooting through his trunk until he came upon a closed glass jar with a blazing blue flame within it. He had kept this since his first year, never knowing when he might need it. It had been Hermione that had conjured it during winter in the courtyard to help keep them warm. A Bluebell flame. Gives light and heat, but will never be able to burn anything, and doesn't require oxygen to survive. He placed the jar on top of some books to give him good enough light to read by. It was a feat of good timing, as the light bulb flickered out not a moment later.
With a relieved sigh, Harry returned to his studies, making sure he had memorised every spell, charm, curse, jinx, hex and potion used in all his five years. As he still had some ingredients left, Harry did use some time to test a few of his potions to make sure he knew them. He found it infinitely easier to brew proper potions without Snape hanging over his shoulder while dripping venomously cold snide remarks at him. It was lucky for him that potions' brewing was not strong enough magic to be detected by the Ministry of Magic, or the evidence against him would be damning. So far this summer, all that the Bluebell flame had been used for had been potions' brewing, as it gave no smoke and could be adjusted without any spells, although some prodding with the tip of his wand was needed.
Harry heard the satisfying thud of uncle Vernon stubbing his foot on the steps as he ascended to go to bed. It wouldn't be long until sleep claimed Harry as well, and the nightmares would haunt him. He had practiced clearing his mind of thought before going to bed, and was fairly certain that he had a nice shield around his mind, but the latest string of nightmares weren't sent by Voldemort – or as he was commonly called; He-Who-Must-Not-Be-Named, or You-Know-Who – the nightmares Harry got were the result of his own guilty conscience, and the result of him repressing his emotions all day. It was his own mind, and he could not protect himself against that.
With weary eyes, Harry looked out the window to see the stars lighting up one by one, like someone prodding holes in the velvet sky with a needle. It was a beautiful sight, but he was hardly in the mood for it, as his eyes drooped. Not bothering to travel the distance of a metre to his bed, Harry knocked off his own glasses before resting his face on his arm as he lay over his desk, falling asleep in mere moments.
Harry was running. Behind him, a huge mountain troll was chasing him as they passed through the enlarged corridors of Hogwarts, club raised. Harry entered the first door he came to and closed it, using the small latch on it to lock it, before seeking shelter in one of the toilet stalls. He could hear the door rattling and shaking as the troll was banging on it, trying to defy the flimsy little metal latch.
The dragon burst through the door, spurting fire all around the room, and Harry had to run again before he became charcoal. He knew the spells that could help him in this situation, and he had the wand, but whenever he tried to touch the wand, he got a shock. Harry ran again, and his speed, despite his increasing effort, was slowing down and the dragon was bearing down on him. The troll's club was about to crack open his skull when he fell from his broom, at rapid speeds towards the Quidditch pitch. The wind was screaming in his ears, the pitch of the scream changed and suddenly a pair of warm and gentle arms encircled him, screaming not to take Harry, but her instead. Harry looked up and saw –
'Aaaaarghhh!' Harry screamed as he saw a pair of curious eyes not two inches from his own.
Hedwig flapped her wings in indignation, as though saying that she wasn't ugly enough to warrant being screamed at in that manner this early in the morning. She retreated from the stack of books she had perched on to examine him and once more turned her back on him, clearly offended.
'Sorry, girl,' Harry quickly apologised once he regained his breath, 'I didn't mean it as an insult – you startled me that's all.'
Hedwig looked around once before turning back towards the wall with what could be taken as a huff.
'Oh well,' Harry stated, feigning disinterest, rooting in his trunk with one hand, 'I guess I can enjoy this owl treat all by myself …' the hand pulled out a mass of ground, dried and compressed rodent intestines and sunflower seeds, in tablet shapes, and poised it to be tipped into his mouth.
Hedwig was immediately facing him and hooting at him for attention. She had always liked those treats, and Harry rarely offered them, because he didn't often visit her in the Owlery at Hogwarts, and she did most of her own hunting during summer because the Dursleys usually tried to chase her away if she rested outside the house too often. Smiling to himself, Harry held out his hand, the treat on his palm. Hedwig hopped from her cage and snatched the treat in her beak, gobbling it up so quickly, he didn't even see her crushing it before swallowing it. She was still not completely warm towards him, but he had been at least partly forgiven for neglecting her.
'I'll give you another if you promise not to drop anything down any part of my clothes today, deal?'
Hedwig hooted in agreement and opened her beak expectantly, like a baby bird waiting to be fed by its parents.
Harry chuckled for the first time he could remember that summer and got another treat for his faithful companion, stroking the feathers of her head once after he had given her the treat. This seemed to have helped a lot with getting the snowy white owl to forgive him, but he wasn't there yet, and it would not be done instantly.
Picking up his glasses from his desk, Harry perched them onto the bridge of his nose again, and returned to the book as he got down onto the floor to do push ups. Outside, he could hear Dudley's gang arriving to retrieve their great leader for their "tea parties" which was really just what they told uncle Vernon and aunt Petunia, in reality, they would go into Little Whinging and get an adult to buy alcohol and tobacco which they would consume near the park while either beating up or scaring little children. Of course, only the Dursleys would believe these idiotic excuses, and if anyone blamed their precious "Duddikins" for any wrongs, they would assume that Harry had done it and used his "freakishness" to transfer guilt onto Dudley.
Harry didn't bother to count how many repetitions he did as he read about spell modifications and spell creations, what was important was that he got tired, too tired to lift his torso any more, then he would turn over and do the same with sit ups. As his neck was starting to go sore and his stomach ache, his belly reminded Harry that he hadn't eaten in nearly twenty hours. Although he didn't have much of an appetite, Harry halted his training for now and went downstairs, remaining in erect position despite his stomach's wishes to double over. It wouldn't do to have his aunt banging on his door to get him to eat so they wouldn't get into trouble with those "freaks" that had threatened them at King's Cross.
The kitchen was luckily empty, and no one objected to Harry making himself some sandwiches and a glass of orange juice.
While he ate, Harry read some more, having moved on to the Defence Against the Dark Arts books he had gotten for Christmas. He felt that he really needed some new books, he had memorised more than half of all the books he'd had through his five years at Hogwarts, and the small store of Pepper-Up Potion he had ready showed that he knew the practical aspect of the books as well. The Pepper-Up was good as an endurance drink, unfortunately, it tasted nearly as bad as fish water, with peppers stuffed in. But he wasn't drinking the stuff for the taste, but rather the effect, although he didn't drink it too often, as too much could start an addiction.
Harry went out for his run after havin sat still for half an hour, reading while he let the food digest in peace, the book still firmly held in front of him.
He ignored the couple of cats that followed him, as he knew them to be part Kneazle and under the employ of Mrs Figg, to help keep an eye on him. He ignored Dudley and his gang as they stood at a street corner and pelted passing cars in pebbles as they smoked cigarettes and drank beer. He ignored the looks of contempt that followed him from behind the nets of windows in the respectable homes, where there were no delinquents to ruin their names. Some children ran away in fear as Harry approached the park, making sure that he didn't see them, obviously Harry's fictional criminal career had evolved into either killing or kidnapping to warrant that amount of terror.
The pounding on the pavement ended when Harry had completed a run around the block about five times, which was about the time he started feeling dead tired, at least in his legs. He returned to his room and gathered a fresh set of clothes before commandeering the bathroom for his shower. He hadn't more than closed the door before he heard his uncle yell 'No more than five minutes, and keep your hands above your navel! We don't want to have to clean up after you!'
Harry rolled his eyes at this, as it had up till he started attending Hogwarts been him that did most of the cleaning, cooking and tending of the home. This might have been the only summer since then that he had not been bullied into doing chores for his room and board, and frankly, Harry didn't care. He'd taken care of them for so long, he was nearly sure that the day he moved out, and they no longer had a scapegoat in the house, they would run their own lives into the ground by taking their frustrations out on others.
Harry spent exactly two minutes in the shower, and the rest getting dressed and dry, letting the warm water run full steam while he was getting dry and dressed, and the warm water tank was soon empty. It looked like Dudley would have to take a cold shower if he wanted to have another "sleep over" with his friends, which was code for bribing the bouncer of a club to let Dudley and his friends in. How on Earth any female on this planet would wish to dance with a boy that could literally "shake the house" while doing the spastic movements that passed for dancing, Harry never wanted to know. It was a medical miracle for Dudley to fit through the doors let alone walk for a while to "dance" at a club with some strange female characters.
Before Harry settled in for a night of studying, he hurried downstairs and retrieved a light bulb from the kitchen cupboard to replace the one that had burned out in his room.
Harry placed the book back in his trunk and sighed. That was the fourth time he had read that book, not to mention all the other books he owned and the ones that Dudley had thrown in there upon receiving. Harry had enough notes to make several books on the subjects he studied. He was bored, a dangerous thing when he was on the edge of emotional flooding.
DING – DONG!
The sound of the doorbell brought Harry somewhat out of his thoughts, but he quickly lowered his head to his notes, he had to check if he had made any mistakes in them.
'BOY!' uncle Vernon bellowed from the downstairs hall, 'GET DOWN HERE!'
Wondering what on earth he could have done now, Harry stomped downstairs, only to see two policeman's uniforms and a crisp grey business dress. The policemen were quickly identified as Remus J. Lupin – a werewolf, taught Defence Against the Dark Arts in Harry's third year, was one of Harry's father's best friends in a group that called themselves the Marauders, his nickname was Moony because of his lycanthropy – and Alastor "Mad-Eye" Moody – retired Auror, was supposed to teach Defence Against the Dark arts in Harry's fourth year, but was kidnapped by Bartie Crouch Jr who was an escaped Azkaban convicted Death Eater, and kept in a trunk to supply hair for a Polyjuice Potion so Bartie could impersonate him and put Harry through the Triwizard Tournament and help Voldemort regain his body through Harry – while the woman in the business dress was harder, until she winked and briefly changed the colour of her eyes. Nymphadora Tonks – rookie Auror, Metamorphagus, and an all around silly young woman who speaks her mind and looks how she wants be it in clothes or body, but hates her first name.
'Mr Potter,' Tonks stated in a serious tone that Harry could tell she was uncomfortable with, 'we are here to escort you to school early. Your family's application that you spend more time at St Brutus' has been approved. I will follow you to your quarters and oversee your packing so it is done properly and without smuggling along any forbidden items.'
Harry nodded slowly because of aunt Marge who had come out of the living room to watch the spectacle, and went back up the steps, followed by Tonks who had to take smaller steps because of her skirt. Once inside the room and the door firmly closed behind them, Tonks sighed and changed the colour of her hair seven times before returning to the one she had arrived in.
'I hate having to keep it the same for too long,' she explained the packing Harry, 'makes me feel restricted.'
Harry nodded absently as he struggled with the huge pile of notes he had made.
'Here, let me handle this,' Tonks offered and whipped out her wand, although from where, Harry didn't want to know, as that suit looked like it had been painted on. She swished her wand at the papers and they flew into the trunk, the few books Harry had left out ended up inside as well, and that was it. Harry hadn't unpacked many of his things this summer, having simply returned his things to the trunk when he was done with them.
Harry went over the room to make sure he had everything packed, lifting the loose floorboard, looking under the bed, and behind the desk.
'Got everything?' Tonks asked cheerfully, seeming to try and force as much of it out before she had to return to her stern façade. Harry nodded and lifted both trunk and cage at once, ready for his lift. She took the hint and opened the door after a steadying breath, then let Harry walk down first. Lupin and Moody stood on either side of the front door, and opened it when Harry came into view, showing Kingsley Shacklebolt standing outside a police van.
Harry walked towards the back of the van, arriving just as Kingsley opened the door for him, and hopped in with his trunk, quickly followed by Lupin and Moody. Tonks sat up front with Kingsley after the back door was slammed shut, Harry seated along the side wall of the van with the two "policemen" sitting on the other side, the trunk between them.
Not long after, the car shifted form and became more like a taxi cab, the trunk in the boot, and with Harry in the back seat with Moody and Lupin next to him. This was obviously an enchanted car, and judging by the alley they were currently in, Harry guessed that they had waited with changing its appearance until they were out of sight. Tonks had even changed her hair to shocking green and in spikes all over while complaining to Kingsley about having to have taken the part because professor McGonagall was unavailable.
There was very little conversation in the car, as no one seemed to know what to say, apart from Tonks' complaints about having to be so serious. Harry was sure that there was more to his protection than what met the eye, probably invisible witches and wizards on broomsticks circling overhead like birds of prey.
Harry just sat there, focusing on building a secondary shield around his mind, trying to master Occlumency – a technique or branch of magic to defend the mind from outside intrusions - so he wouldn't have to have more lessons with Severus Snape – his Potions Master at Hogwarts, hates Harry because of something his father did to him, a spy for Dumbledore in Voldemort's forces. Last year, they had gotten into quite the row when Harry's curiosity had gotten the better of him, and he had taken a look at Snape's memories.
When they were about three streets from their destination, Moody had Kingsley stop, because for all they knew, the Ministry could have tracked this car, and it would not be wise to show them where the headquarters of the Order of the Phoenix was.
Harry didn't mind, he hadn't had his run today, so he felt that this could somewhat make up for it. While Kingsley took the car back to the Ministry, from where it had been borrowed, Harry, Tonks, Lupin and Moody went on. Tonks was her graceful self, and halfway there managed to trip on a pebble, right into a collection of trash bins filled to the rim, causing quite a racket. The best part was that she had to keep from using magic to clean herself up because of the Muggles that might be watching, so she had to walk around with unidentifiable mass covering various parts of her, as she smelt of diapers, rotten bananas, and fish. Harry had barely been able to keep himself from laughing his head off, as it was a very hilarious scene. Tonks' glare silenced him, but didn't keep Lupin from snickering like a first-year at Hogwarts. Moody was also making a sound that could be taken as a deep and raspy chuckle.
When they arrived at their street, Moody looked around with his magical eye to make sure they had no observers before Harry was ushered into the hidden house of number twelve Grimmauld Place, between two other properties.
Harry had no sooner gotten inside the door before he was swept into a very powerful hug by a worried Mrs Weasley. Ron's mother had always thought of Harry as her eighth child, and worried just as much about him as she did any of her other seven children. She was a short and dumpy woman with a long blaze of red hair. She simply radiated of motherly tenderness … unless one happened to be either caught in one of her infamous hugs or were at the receiving end of one of her triads. Ron had at one time joked privately to Harry about his mother strangling a dragon to death with her strength if she had the chance, but Charlie – Ron's second eldest brother – wouldn't bring any home for fear of just that. Not a very likely scenario as dragons were too large to go unnoticed if brought into a Muggle neighbourhood and it was illegal to breed them or have them as pets. (Not that this stopped one of Harry's first and best friends at one time …)
'How are you, Harry? Oh, you hardly have any meat on you!' Mrs Weasley started as she turned him around forcefully, lifting the occasional limb to get a better view. 'Ooooooooh, when I get my hands on those rotten Muggles, leaving you to starve like that – I've seen how fat their son is – as they gorge themselves on Lord only knows what!'
Harry knew better than to interrupt this ranting, as that would bring further attention to himself.
'Mum, let him breathe without worrying about you squeezing the life from him!' Ron to the rescue, Harry thought happily as he was released by Mrs Weasley. He immediately started gathering up his trunk and owl cage.
'Hello, Ron,' he greeted, feeling much better now that he was able to breathe freely.
'Hi, mate,' the redheaded boy greeted in return before a blur of red sped past him, followed by a brown one, and Harry once more found himself in a tight hug, this time by two young women – calling them girls at this age and stage of maturity would nearly be an insult. They were Hermione Granger – Harry's best friend, apart from Ron, for over five years, and his councillor when dealing with emotional matters, his conscience had oddly enough taken on her voice – and Ginny Weasley – Ron's younger and only sister, she had a crush on him since she was ten, but lately had grown out of it.
It slightly annoyed him to see that even Ginny had outgrown him in height. It was not fun being the shortest of all his friends.
This was forgotten not long after the thought appeared, as he started having trouble breathing from their double pincer grip. Luckily, Mr Weasley arrived in time to start prying the two young women's arms from either Harry's neck or chest.
Hermione was very excited and bubbling about the Black Library being uncovered within the building, and how it was now open from quarantine, and clean. This was actually good news for Harry, as he wanted more books to read, and a library was sure to have more books for him to read. Ron merely rolled his eyes at Hermione's ranting, stating that Harry had better things to do than sit around reading musty old books in summer.
It came as a great shock to him when Harry actually showed interest in the Library. Not only that, Ron looked very faint when Harry stated that he had already memorised all his books first year through fifth and those he had gotten as gifts and had lent from Hogwarts' Library, and made notes about them all. Hermione became even more excited and started chattering to Harry about Arithmancy and Ancient Runes, and Harry's opinion of them and so on. Tonks interrupted this budding discussion by reminding Harry that he had some unpacking to do before he could start a discussion group about homework, something Harry found a silly remark, as those just out of their fifth year had no more summer assignments than those just out of their seventh year, as they had just finished a milestone within their education and were preparing for the next step. They hadn't even received their OWLs yet, so how they could have any assignments in classes they had yet to pick was beyond him, although he assumed it was meant as a witty remark, or that it was directed mainly at Ginny.
'So,' Hermione started awkwardly, 'How was your summer so far?'
Ron halted immediately and glared at Hermione as though to shut her up.
'Oh never mind, Ron,' Ginny cut in, 'she never mentioned Sirius, and -'
'Shhh!' Ron interrupted, as though expecting Harry to blow up in their faces upon hearing the name.
'It's been fine,' Harry stated, ignoring the sibling squabble, 'been keeping busy. Reading, writing, keeping myself fit.'
'Oh, Harry,' Hermione clearly regretted bringing the subject up. 'We miss him too.'
'Yeah,' Harry agreed dully, 'I know.'
Harry reached the room Ron and he shared last year, but Ron nudged him on.
'You've got your own room this year,' he said, pointing down the hallway, 'the one next to the Master bedroom.'
Harry swallowed heavily and walked past the door of the Master bedroom, and entered a room that contained two doors besides the one leading from the room, a bed was along the centre of the far wall, and a desk were the only furniture in the room apart from the painting of Phineas Nigellus.
After setting his trunk at the foot of the bed, and Hedwig's cage on the desk, Harry investigated the two other doors. The first opened to a large closet, nearly as large as his room at the Dursleys. The second opened up to a bathroom, complete with shower, bathtub, toilet, sink and talking mirror. Said mirror made a concerned remark about how awful the Nazis must have treated him during his captivity. Hermione said she'd get Mrs Weasley to have a look at that mirror to see if it was broken, after she heard the remark. Neither Ron nor Ginny understood what that mirror was referring to, and stood blinking at the closed door.
After opening Hedwig's cage, Harry grabbed some fresh sheets of parchment and his quill and inkwell, and bid Hermione to lead the way to the Library, surprising Ron enough to stumble.
Harry kept his training and reading at a slowly increasing pace while at Grimmauld Place. However, he never went down to the Library before ten o'clock after his first morning.
The reason for this, was that the Library was fitted with a huge bay window that was an excellent source of natural light, even if it showed the view of a tropical beach, as though the Most Noble and Ancient House of Black was located in a tropical paradise instead of a grimy street in the London area. This window in itself was not much of a reason, but Harry had gone down in the morning to study as normal, and after a while, went for a new book when he tripped as he crossed the warm rays of sunlight pouring from the window. It would be silly to say that it was the light that tripped him, but to a degree it was so. Harry looked about to see a stark naked Tonks on a blanket with a bottle of tanning lotion next to her. She barely lifted her head as Harry got to his feet and apologised repeatedly.
'I've been coming here every morning since we found this place,' she explained lazily. 'Great place to get a tan and relax. Just look at that tropical paradise the window shows …'
After that, Harry made sure that no one were nude in the Library as he entered after ten before he settled in. Neither he nor Tonks told anyone of this incident, and Ron, Ginny and Hermione were starting to wonder why Harry refused to enter the Library before certain hours.
Harry was, however, not left completely to his own devices. Mrs Weasley made sure that Harry was present at every meal, and that he put away anything she dished out. As his body now had some building material, Harry's training was slowly starting to show its physical effects. Hermione was unable to study near Harry before dark, as he was never standing or sitting still, always hopping about doing something as training while he read, thereby distracting her from her own studies. Ron found Harry's constant activity annoying as well, as he was distracted from it while playing wizarding chess with Ginny, and nearly lost. It was obvious that Harry's behaviour grated on several other nerves, but the elder members of the Order couldn't argue with the results of Harry's constant studying and training, as he was slowly regaining the mass he was supposed to have, and there is never such a thing as too much knowledge.
Mrs Weasley felt bad for Harry, repressing his emotions by doing all of this, and had tried a couple of times to shake him out of it, without any luck. The Weasley twins, Fred and George, had offered to tie Harry down until he faced reality, but the suggestion was declined as it was too cruel, and he might resent them all for it. But that didn't stop them from arranging pranks directed at Harry, and try to flush his emotions out with accumulation of other emotions. Unfortunately, Harry seemed to gain a certain talent in spotting traps set for him, and simply avoided them until someone else had triggered them. Mrs Weasley was most unpleased about having her hair coloured blue, and Snape didn't appreciate the trick step they had temporarily installed in the steps for the kitchen which lead to him stumbling and twisting his foot. Ginny was on the verge of breaking the rule for Underage Wizardry when she got a facefull of Sneezing Solution as she got a book for Harry, her infamous Bat Bogey Hex sprung to mind, and the twins fled in terror while proclaiming that they had business to attend to.
Harry looked up from his notes as Hermione stormed in with an ecstatic expression while holding an opened letter in one hand and an unopened one it the other.
'They're here! They're here!' she exclaimed gleefully, doing a silly little jig before coming to a full stop in front of Harry. 'The OWL results! They're here!'
Ron entered during this spectacle with his own letter, looking both relieved and disappointed.
'What did you get?' Harry asked Ron cautiously.
'Nine,' was the simple reply. 'Still, better than Fred or George got … at least I won't have to stand that greasy git Snape again.'
'Ron!' Hermione scolded, 'That is no way to speak of a professor … even if it's true!'
Harry's lips twitched at the last mumbled comment, Ron hadn't heard it because he was retreating, recognising the beginnings of one of Hermione's rants a mile away.
'Anyway,' Hermione said, changing the subject, 'I brought you yours.'
'Thanks,' Harry accepted carefully, preparing for the worst while hoping for the best as he broke the seal of his official OWL scores. Hermione respectfully seated on the other side of the table, despite obviously wishing to stand over his shoulder and read the results for herself. She was practically shaking as though holding in a great secret, and was bursting to tell someone.
Dear Mr Potter
In the included papers, you will find the Scores for your Ordinary Wizarding Level tests (OWLs) a suggested selection of choices has been included for your chosen occupation guideline of Auror. Please note; any abnormalities in the marking of your OWL scores will be shown with a star shape like this; .
The School Board wishes you further good luck with your scholastic career.
Professor Griselda Marchbanks
Head of the OWL & NEWT Examinations Board
Harry skipped over the pleasantries and went straight to the results.
Ordinary Wizarding Level Results for Harry James Potter
Not Applicable NA
Failed Attendance FA
Please note; An Outstanding mark is awarded two OWLs, if a score is not completely the best, only one OWL will be counted. To achieve one OWL, at least a mark of Acceptable or above must be achieved. Scores below Acceptable will not count as any OWLs.
Subject Practical Mark Theoretical Mark TotalDeviation OWL(s)
History of Magic NA P P 1
Divination P A A 1
Herbology A A A1
Care of Magical Creatures O E O 1
Charms O O O2
Defence Against the Dark Arts O OO 3
Transfiguration E E E 1
Potions OE O 1
Astronomy A A A 1
Total number OWLs; 12
# 01; the Historical Society demanded that Messrs Potter, Weasley and Ms Granger & Ms Weasley be awarded one additional OWL to their History of Magic OWLs because of their help in uncovering the whereabouts and legality of the Chamber of Secrets. Note; this demand will not count on the NEWTs
# 02; Due to NEWT Level spell; the Patronus, and knowledge of the subject beyond expectations, one additional OWL has been added to your score
# 03; Due to interference during the testing, all results have been marked, taking the interference as cause of poorer test results into account.
If you Harry J. Potter wish to retake one or more of your OWLs, please contact the Examinations Board before 05 August with the request.
You have chosen the possible career option of; Auror, and the as requirements were me, the following subjects have been suggested:
Charms, Potions, Transfiguration, Defence Against the Dark Arts + Elective subjects, no more than three permitted, no more than one recommended
Please send application for subjects to your Head of House before 07 August.
A booklist will be sent when the Head of House has received and approved the application. Please note, if the Head of House finds you unfit for one or more of the subjects applied for, they are allowed to notify you and ask you to reconsider. If unsuitable subjects still are applied to, those subjects will be dropped and replaced with more fitting ones.
Harry dropped his letter in shock. He'd made it into the classes he wanted.
'What's wrong, Harry?' asked a concerned Hermione and made towards his letter. 'It wasn't that bad, was it?'
Harry wordlessly handed her the letter, staring into space while trying to comprehend what had happened.
A high pitched squeal of delight was Harry's only warning before he found himself bouncing in time with Hermione's hopping hug as she expressed in a loud and high tone how proud she was of him. Harry felt like a rag doll as he was unable to get out of the excited grasp of this young woman as she herself bounced all over the Library whilst defying the laws of gravity and energy by effortlessly dragging Harry along with her.
The loud noise attracted the other occupants of the house to the Library which was normally so silent when the Weasley twins were out. They were greeted to the sight of Hermione bouncing around with Harry in a pincer grip as she screamed 'Twelve OWLs! Twelve Owls! I'm so proud of you!' in excitement.
As soon as the meaning of Hermione's screams became understandable, Mrs Weasley joined in, and nearly succeeded in grinding Harry's innards into pâté with the help of Hermione, both screaming how proud they were of him. Harry silently vowed never to reveal any test results to either of them ever again, as it might prove fatal. The look Ron held didn't bode well either, as he looked like a pressure cooker that was about to blow its top. Why must Ron become jealous about things beyond my control? Harry thought exasperatedly. After what felt like an eternity of light breathing from constricted lung capacity, Harry was released, causing him to topple halfway over and gasp for the much desired gas he had been mostly deprived of for minutes.
'Mum almost did the same thing when she heard I made Prefect,' Ginny remarked to her father who had come in during the female squealing.
'Oh, congratulations,' Harry wheezed. He knew exactly how proud Mrs Weasley would be when her children achieved that status. 'What did you ask for?' Last year when Ron got to be Prefect, he was awarded his very own new – although not top of the line – broomstick.
'The choice stood between a new broomstick and a pet of my own,' Ginny shrugged. 'I don't often send letters nor need animal companionship, so I chose a new broomstick.' She shot her parents a look before adding quickly, 'Not top of the line, of course. Still, it might be better than Ron's, because with Fred and George out of Hogwarts, we have a little more gold to spend now that their tuition doesn't need to be paid. It could help the team when the Quidditch season starts.'
'Speaking of which,' Ron interrupted, 'you don't think that stupid ban is still active, do you?'
Harry sighed and took off his glasses before pinching the bridge of his nose.
'Ron,' he started slowly, 'it is called a life-time ban for a reason. As much as I'd like to be hopeful, chances of having an official ban lifted are so slim, Snape would have a bigger chance of finally admitting that the reason he was angry with my father was that he was jealous of my mum for marrying him than the ban being lifted. What's so funny?'
Looking around the room, Harry saw Ron and Ginny doubled over with giggles, Hermione trying to control her laughter while looking reproachfully at him, and Mr & Mrs Weasley turning their backs at him to hide their smiles.
'I'm serious here!' Harry stated, 'If my ban had been lifted, not only would half the Ministry and Hogwarts be accused for nepotism, but I'd already have my broom back! We might as well face facts, Ron, there's no chance of me rejoining the team this year, or any year.'
This sobered the youngest Weasleys up.
'But that means that nearly all the team has to be replaced this year!' Ron complained.
'Complain to Umbridge, she's the one that banned me,' Harry sighed and returned to reading, knowing he could hand his application directly to professor McGonagall when she came for an Order meeting.