Disclaimer : I'm only going to say this once – I own nothing but a house a two vehicles! Thank JK for anything that comes of my imagination and her plots and characters. And if you really need acknowldegements for flashbacks or quotes then you aren't that big of a fan!
A/N: Please do not flood me with emails – my wonderful gal pal is being kind enough to let me use her email since I won't have one for awhile due to my travels. She can answer any questions you might have. Thanks to my wonderful friend and beta Texy! You have been my muse and my rock thru all of this and I love you to pieces. I am also giving you 50 pecent credit for this story despite your protests. I urge anyone who falls in love with this story to urge her to write her own fanfic. If the scene pulls at your heart is was due to her miraculous way with words. I hope you enjoy the story and your reviews are welcome...good or bad! I would also like to thank Texy's friend Sil for giving me the title...I don't know you but you rock!
Nightmares, Changes, and Freedom
It was a hot humid night on Privet Drive. A boy sat alone in a corner of his room, rocking himself back and forth with his knees drawn up against his chest. He was shaking in uncontrollable sobs and muttering the same phrase over and over again. I am so sorry, I am so sorry, please forgive me I am sorry. He had been like this since his first night back when he was woken by screams, his screams. He had relived the worst night of his life in the terrifying nightmare of his Godfather's death.
He was laughing at her. "Come on, you can do better than that!" he yelled, his voice echoing around the cavernous room. The second jet of light hit him squarely on the chest. The laughter had not quite died from his face, but his eyes widened in shock.
"SIRIUS!" Harry yelled, "SIRIUS!
He hadn't been to sleep since. He had been rocking in that corner and crying for five days, since his return home from his school. A special school for witches and wizards, Hogwarts School of Witchcraft and Wizardry. Harry was a famous wizard in this world for defeating an evil wizard, Lord Voldemort, when he was only one. It was the same night he had lost both his parents and was sent to live with his aunt and uncle on Privet Drive. There he grew up alone, hated, mistreated and unloved until he had received his letter from Hogwarts and learned of his heritage. It was the best moment of his life. Until he discovered he had a Godfather, he got to spend time with him last summer and over the holidays at Christmas. He was so happy to have someone who loved him. Then he had gone and gotten him killed. He had been tricked by Lord Voldemort and his Death Eaters into thinking Sirius was in trouble and being held captive at the Ministry of Magic. He couldn't reach help and tried to save Sirius himself. He fell into the trap taking his five friends with him; nearly getting them killed until help arrived. Sirius died trying to save him, just like his parents had.
As the new day approached, Harry still continued to rock, repeating his chant of apologies. He had had nothing to eat or drink and had not moved. Despite the hatred for the boy his Aunt Petunia did begin to wonder about his health. He must have something horrible going on in that head of his for him to be in this bad of shape and she did not want those people to come around asking questions. Despite being his mother's sister, they showed no family resemblance. Petunia had a long skinny neck and was tall and thin with light colored hair. Harry had jet black hair that would never lay down like it should, deep emerald green eyes, glasses and his most unique feature…a lightning bolt scar from surviving Lord Voldemort's attempt to kill him using the Avada Kedavra spell the night his parents were killed.
"Harry! Harry! I think you should come eat. Vernon has already headed to work and Dudley went to the library with his little friends. HARRY! Are you listening to me at all? You come out here right now! I don't want any of those people to come here thinking we aren't taking care of you!" She was finally silenced when the doorbell rang. "Never mind you ungrateful child! It maybe the new neighbor from across the street and I would hate to have to explain you!"
"Hello Petunia!" the door slammed as she threw her hands on her face and screamed in total horror at the man standing outside her door. He had deep brown eyes that were soft and kind with long light brown hair that showed a touch of early grey. He was a little over six feet tall and very good looking. He had on relaxed fitting jeans and an un-tucked v-neck t-shirt that fit snuggly across his broad shoulders with a pair of old but comfortable looking trainers. He was standing there with his hands in his front pockets looking around suspiciously.
A knock came from the door as it was opened by the visitor. "Um…Petunia, I do think we can handle this in a much more mature way. After all, it's not like we have never met before." Petunia shook her head repeating, "You have to go, the neighbors will see. GET OUT! GET OUT!"
"Now listen Dursley! We warned you at King Cross Station that we would be paying a visit if we thought Harry was not being looked after properly! No one has seen or heard from him since his return and we also know that he has not had anything to eat or drink since then either!" After a pause the words struck the visitor with a sheer force of reality. "HOW THE BLOODY HELL CAN YOU NOT GIVE A DAMN ABOUT YOUR OWN SISTER'S SON! WHERE IS HE PETUNIA?"
Harry had not heard any of this as he continued to rock, lost with in himself. He was vaguely aware of someone sitting next to him calling his name.
"Harry. Harry what is it? Harry, please stop crying. Harry? HARRY!" Harry looked up with his swollen, bloodshot eyes only to lock them into the eyes of the last person on earth he wanted to see. Remus Lupin.
"Harry, how long have you been like this?" Harry shrugged his shoulders still not able to answer from the left over sobs.
"Do you know what day it is? Have you eaten or anything Harry?" Harry shook his head no drawing his knees up tighter towards his chest. He felt a comforting hand on his back and had reality hit him so hard he thought he would throw up!
"How can you look at me?" He asked in a weak voice that began to grow louder as he was hit with a new wave of emotion. "How can you be here acting like you care after everything I did?" "How can you stand the site of me?" "Why are you here?" "How can you stand the site of me after I took everyone you loved away from you?" As a look of realization hit Harry's face he began to find another emotion…anger. "DID HE SEND YOU HERE? DID HE USE YOU TO FIND OUT WHAT IS GOING ON IN MY LIFE? WELL TELL HIM HE CAN TAKE HIS BLOODY CONCERN AND GO SCREW HIMSELF!" Harry was not going to sit here in his house and take this anymore. He stood up rather suddenly and felt the world start to spin out of control. He felt arms go around him as a sudden pain went shooting thru his knees.
"Harrrrryyyy!" He was in complete darkness.
There was a hint of light in the dark room as the moon began rose high in the sky. Harry knew he was in his room at Privet Drive but could not remember how long he had been there or how long he had been asleep. He tried to pull up onto his elbows and found himself rather weak and shaky. He had just enough time to see an outline of a dark figure sitting in the corner of the room before his strength failed and his head hit the pillow. He rubbed his temples trying to figure out what had happened; he was just so groggy.
"Hello? Hello?" his voice croaked in a whisper. His hand rubbed his throat in an absent kind of manner as if it would instantly heal the dry sensation burning in his aching throat.
"Harry?" The figure answered as he got up from the corner and approached the bed.
Harry was shocked and confused at who his eyes were seeing. "Remus?"
"Nice to see you finally up! I was beginning to wonder if I shouldn't call Poppy or Molly here to look at you."
"What are you doing here?"
"We hadn't heard from you in five days Harry and none of the watchers have seen you in or out of the house so I came to see if anything was wrong."
"So Dumbledore has the Order watching me again? What's the bloody point? It didn't stop me from being attacked by dementors last summer now did it! So are you going to report everything about me to the almighty bloody old git Dumbledore?"
"Harry, is there something you need to talk about? I thought you looked up to Dumbledore?"
"What? You mean you don't know about me?"
"Know what about you Harry?"
Harry began laughing. What bothered Lupin most was the evil sound it made. Harry began to try and move as he continued in his hysterics and soon found himself in darkness.
"WHAT THE BLOODY HELL DO YOU MEAN I CAN'T? WHO ARE YOU TO TELL ME NO?"
"Remus, please calm down and lower your voice. I am sure you are a bit surprised and emotional…"
"YOU'RE DAMN RIGHT I AM SURPRISED AND I AM NOT EMOTIONAL, I AM OUTRAGED RIGHT NOW WITH YOU! HOW COULD YOU KEEP THIS QUIET AND NOT TELL US THIS?"
"This has to do with Harry and was not my place to tell it to anyone else besides or before him."
"IT WAS YOUR PLACE TO TELL HIM AS SOON AS POSSIBLE! HOW COULD YOU NOT?" Remus paused trying to control the anger that was raging inside of him. "Did James, Lily, or Sirius know?"
'That was the reason James decided to use the Fidelius charm. Sirius knew some but not all of it."
Remus continued in his brisk pacing and occasionally looking at the bed where Harry laid.
"How could you keep this from him Albus? That is what I want to know most."
"I will tell you like I did Harry, I thought I was doing what was best…giving him a childhood without worries." The man was showing every bit his age and sat down sighing.
"Did you really think right after he watched his Godfather, the only parent he has known die was such a good time?"
"No, but that was as good as any to drop that kind of news. That much I have learned." He pulled a lemon drop out of his pocket and offered one to Lupin. Lupin just shook his head no and walked over to the bed.
Harry thought he heard voices but was not sure. It just sounded so mumbled. Why was he so drowsy? He didn't seem to have the strength to open his eyes. He tried to recall the events that had taken place. He remembered Remus coming to see him, and yelling at him. Harry felt horrible about this…Remus had known Sirius almost his entire life and was his last marauder friend left. All Harry could think about was how bad he would feel if he lost Hermione and Ron. He needed to find Lupin. He needed to apologize. Harry felt the urgency and the guilt rising in him. He tried again to open his eyes but shut them instantly when he was greeted by a bright light.
"Harry!" Remus sat up straight wondering if he had really just seen Harry's eyes open. Harry turned his head in the direction of the voice and tried again to open his eyes.
Harry saw a room full of people. He kept his eyes squinted and tried to raise his hand to shield them when he realized he couldn't pull it up very far with out something stinging his forearm.
He tried to speak but realized his voice was rather dry and croaked, "W-W-Where am I?"
Remus was the first to reply. "Harry you really scared me there, passing out twice on me. I brought you to the hospital."
Harry tried to shoot up out of bed only to be grabbed by many hands and pushed back down.
"Harry, please don't try to get up. Remus was worried and so was I when he called to tell me he brought you here."
Harry smiled and said weakly, "Hi H'mione."
Remus after a few seconds cleared his throat, "The Weasleys were here a little while ago but we decided it was best that they left since this was a muggle hospital and it was too exciting for them. We had to stop Arthur twice from trying to pull out your IV to examine how it worked." Everyone laughed a bit, including Harry.
"Can I have some water?"
"Sure honey." Harry looked around for the voice and recognized Hermione's mother standing next to her. "I had to hope to meet you again under better circumstances later this summer Harry but we knew Hermione would want to be here for you. We have been trying to get Albus to let you stay with us all week. Now I wish we had tried a little harder." Harry knew right then who Hermione got her big heart from. She looked exactly like Hermione did when she felt guilty.
Hermione chimed in, "Hagrid really wanted to be here too but he thought it best not to draw so much attention to us."
"Why, aren't I at St. Mungo's?"
"I think I can answer that Harry," Professor McGonagall, his transfiguration teacher, stepped forward. "You see we figured that it was safer here. You-Know-Who doesn't care for anything muggle so we figured he would not be looking here for you, plus you are not quite as well known among muggles so word could not be leaked out about you being in the hospital." Harry just nodded his head realizing that it made perfect sense.
After a short while of visiting, most of the guest decided to go grab lunch. Hermione asked, "Remus would you like to come? Or I could bring you back something?" Remus smiled slightly, "I'd love for you to bring me something back. Thanks." He gave her hand a reassuring squeeze; then turned back to Harry. "Sure thing Remus." Hermione joined the others waiting outside in the hallway.
"So, want to tell me what happened to you. You gave me quite a scare Harry. I have been worried sick!"
"Sorry Remus, I don't really know myself. I had a nightmare about…"
"It's ok Harry, you can say it…Sirius." Sadness presented itself for the first time on Remus's face since he had been with Harry.
Harry suddenly remembered why he needed to open his eyes so bad. "Remus I am so sorry for Sirius" he tried not to choke up and tried to hold back the tears forming again in his eyes, "I didn't want to…I didn't mean…it's all my fault and now because of me all your best friends are gone…and it's ALL MY FAULT!"
"DON'T YOU DARE BLAME YOURSELF FOR THIS HARRY! HE KNEW NOT TO GO, HE KNEW NOT TO TOY WITH BELLATRIX! YOU WANNA BLAME SOMEONE, FINE…BLAME HER OR KREACHER…BLAME VOLDEMORT…HELL YOU CAN EVEN BLOODY WELL BLAME SNAPE OR EVEN SIRIUS BUT DON'T YOU DARE BLAME YOURSELF! I WON'T LET YOU!" Remus had stood up by now and was just inches from Harry's face. Harry sat on the bed as still as possible with shock written all over his face. "Do you hear me Harry? Have you blamed yourself enough yet?" Harry just sat there as the door opened and a nurse came in.
"Please keep your voices down this is a hospital after all!" She left just as soon as she had arrived.
"I am sorry for his death. I know you missed him a lot, then he came back and…well…now he's gone again. How do you not blame me? Everyone is dead because of me?"
"Oh Harry!" Lupin looked so tired. "You have to stop blaming yourself for your parents' death. Parents do that, they give themselves for their children. They loved you; they wanted you to live, to find happiness and love. They already had in their minds. Your parents thought they could do nothing greater than you…they fought against Voldemort to give you a better life…they already had everything they could ever want!" Remus stared at Harry. "You are so much like them Harry, always trying to do everything for everyone. They would be so proud, Sirius and I would sit and talk about how they would react to who you have become…James would have loved hearing about your adventures, although the parent side of him would probably ground you until you were 30!" His eyes lit up as he remembered his best friends. "Sirius thought you were the greatest thing to ever happen to him…he used to tease me that he was the one who got the official title of Godfather; but he knew it was only luck!"
"Luck? How is that?" Harry questioned with one eyebrow raised.
Lupin threw his head back in laughter. "I knew it! I knew he hadn't told you yet! That git! You see James couldn't decide who to choose to be your Godfather and didn't want to hurt either of our feelings, so your mother came up with a solution we all agreed to. I'm sorry Harry…you got stuck with ol' Padfoot as your Godfather instead of me because he called tails instead of heads!" Remus's eyes held a spark that Harry had never noticed before.
"Remus, are you telling me that my father chose who to leave me with by a coin toss?" He was fully aware that his mouth was hanging open from shock but couldn't help it.
"No…I am saying your mother did!" He roared with laughter when he saw that Harry's mouth had somehow managed to drop even lower.
"Thanks…for you know…all this."
"I wouldn't be anywhere else Harry; wouldn't want to either. I promised both your parents and Sirius that I would always be here for you…I am sorry I wasn't here sooner. There are some things we need to talk about but they can wait a bit longer. You realize…you said some things to me that I need to ask you about, but first I need you to tell me what happened to you after you left the station…can you do that?"
"Yeah, I think so…you may not like some of it…some of it's…hard…I miss him."
"It's ok, just tell me."
"I guess it started on the way home. I had plenty of time to think about everything that happened that night…I could have killed my best friends…Hermione tried to warn me, she tried to tell me it was a trap…then Sirius came too my thoughts. Did you know the first night, walking back from the shrieking shack, he asked me if I wanted to come and live with him? That is the thought I use for my patronus." Remus smiled as he remembered that night, the night his best friend returned to his life after escaping Azkaban, the wizarding prison where he was wrongly incarcerated in. "I thought I was finally going to get to leave the Dursley's and have a real home, but Dumbledore made me go back to back to Privet Drive. Do they know where I am? The Dursley's I mean?" He couldn't believe he had not asked about that sooner.
"Yes Harry, Petunia was the one who called an ambulance for me…not that I gave her much choice." He grinned at the memory of getting to hold that wretch of a woman at wand point.
"Oh…I'm surprised. Anyhow, that night I fell asleep and as usual the nightmares returned. I keep seeing him smile, and my friends getting hurt, and then…Remus what did Dumbledore tell you about that night at the ministry?"
"I think that is for another time…I just want to hear about what caused you to end up here."
"Remus…I …I sort of…well you see when he fell…oh bloody hell! IusedanunforgivablecurseonBellatrix."
"I'm sorry Harry, I thought you just said that you used an unforgivable curse on Bellatrix…tell me I heard that wrong…please?"
Harry hung his head in guilt and shame. "No Remus, I tried to use Crucio on her but it didn't work. The nightmare keeps playing it over in my mind, she laughed at me. Said I didn't mean it enough. I saw Sirius's face as he fell thru the veil. That's when I woke up screaming. I…want to tell him I'm sorry…I was just trying to help him, I thought he needed me." Harry looked down trying to fight off the tears.
"Harry, I need you to listen to me. You have been through so much, this is normal to have these kinds of dreams. It's how we learn to process all that has happened. You have to realize that Sirius died exactly how he wanted to. We talked a lot about things like this. He died protecting you…just hear me out…he was fulfilling his promise to James to keep you safe no matter what! He died fighting against Voldemort; that was the way we always said we would go. He wasn't getting to lead a full life Harry; he hated Grimmauld Place without you there. Dumbledore basically locked him in with memories he couldn't handle anymore. Well, I shouldn't have to explain his delightful mother to you." He rolled his eyes and smiled. "The point I am trying to make Harry is the worst thing you could do to Sirius, and you parents, would be to stop living the life they fought and died to protect. I have had a…chat with Albus, he seems to think that he knows best for you but I think I may have a few better ideas, if you're interested in them." He looked at Harry with an anxious look in his eye.
"Did he tell you? Did you know about the prophecy? Did my parents or Sirius?"
"Oh let's just say…Dumbledore and I agree to not agree on this matter."
"I thought I heard yelling earlier. Was it you and professor Dumbledore?"
"Yes. I am sorry if we bothered you."
"It's ok. But why am I here…in the hospital?"
Remus smiled, "I wondered when you would get around to that question. Did you know you had not had any food or drink for five days?" Harry looked down feeling bad for being so out of it that he had not realized it had been that long. "You were extremely distraught and dehydrated. You kept passing out on me. You were too weak to stand or anything else so I decided it was time for someone to start looking after your best interest."
"Well, isn't that what good ol' Dumbledore has been doing?" Harry said rolling his eyes.
"Harry…are you angry about the prophecy, or that Dumbledore didn't tell you sooner?"
Harry snapped back, "ALL OF IT! I'm sorry I didn't mean to yell at you."
"You have every right to be mad. This is something that has affected your whole life. I am sorry too, Harry, when Sirius was taken away to Azkaban…I should have stepped forward and stopped being a coward." He took a deep breath and continued, "Hopefully, you'll let me fix it now."
"What do you mean?" not realizing he was holding his breath.
"If it's ok with you…I mean if you want to…well what I am trying to say is…IthoughtmaybeyouwouldwantmetobeyourguardianlikeJamesandSiriuswouldhavewanted?" he was so nervous he bit his bottom lip waiting for an answer. Harry sat there with his mouth hanging open. "I see…I should have known you would probably not…"
"Are you kidding? I would love that! You're the last of my parents' best friends. Does that mean I can leave the Dursleys'? Where will we live? Do you have a house? Can we go now?" Harry's mind was racing. He hadn't been this excited since he had dreamed of going to live with Sirius. Remus laughed at the enthusiasm radiating from Harry's whole face. After the state in which he had found Harry, he thought it would be a long time before he smiled again. It was better than he could have imagined. "Slow down there Harry, that nurse will come back in if you set off that machine over there and then we would both be in trouble." He placed a hand on his shoulder, "You would really want to live with me…even with, well you know…everything?" Remus had plenty of reasons to worry since he was a werewolf.
"YES! It never bothered me before Remus…besides, if my dad and Sirius didn't mind, why would I?"
"Well for starters, someone else would have to look after you once a month…"
"I could stay at the Burrow…"
"And, well to be honest Harry, some people may talk and you being…well, who you are…it could be hard on you."
"I don't care, besides at least now the stories would be true" he finished by shrugging his shoulders and rolling his eyes.
He couldn't believe it. The last of the marauders wanted him to come live with him. Good bye Dursleys! Hope Duddykins doesn't blow up after his next bite of twinkie! His mind was spinning with excitement. After Sirius died he thought he would be stuck on Privet Drive for ever. But Remus was here, saving him just like he had in the third year when he taught Harry how to produce a patronus. Right now, he could produce one to scare off 1000 dementors. Before he realized what he was doing he had thrown his arms around Remus's neck in a tight embrace. Suddenly embarrassed by this act, Harry let go and gave him a pat on the back as he let go.
Remus was smiling when he was suddenly crushed by Harry's arms around his neck. He was startled by such an open display from Harry. He reached up his arms returning the brief hug while patting Harry on the back.
"Hmm hmm…am I interrupting something?" Both of the guys turned their head to the door to see Hermione looking very shy and holding a plate of food in her hands.
Harry and Remus both smiled. "No, come on in. I was just…umm…asking Harry if he would like for me to be his new guardian."
Hermione squealed with excitement as she ran over, set down the plate, and threw her arms around Remus. Harry couldn't recall if he had ever scene Hermione act so much like…well a girl. Remus was beginning to try and wiggle out of the surprisingly strong grip of Hermione, "I can't breathe."
"Oh, I am sorry I am just so excited! Oh Harry isn't this exciting? I was so worried about you having to go back to those horribly wretched people, but now you can go with Lupin and you'll be safe and better taken care of. Hey! Maybe this means we can see you more this summer. Does Ron know? Oh, I bet he is going to be so excited. When do you get to move in? Where are you going to live? Is it a big place…"
Remus and Harry were almost dizzy from how fast she was pacing around the bed talking. Harry interrupted her before she could really get on a roll, "Hermione. Slow down, breathe a little there. I haven't even been told when I could leave this place yet."
"Oh Harry I am just so happy for you!" This time it was Harry who received the bone crushing hug. Harry's face was covered in brown wavy hair. He suddenly noticed it was smooth instead of bushy, soft, like silk…and that scent! What was that? It smelled like…vanilla and honey! Why had he never noticed it before? "Uh, Hermione?"
"I think you can let go of me now." Harry said as he blushed hearing finally what must have been Remus laughing.
Hermione pulled back with a very red face, "Sorry" She said with a timid voice.
"It's ok Hermione. Not the first time you have tried to kill me by hugging me to death." He teased giving her shoulder a slight nudge. "So did everyone else get lost?"
"No, I had just finished and wanted to get the food to you before it was cold Remus."
Remus being brought out of his silent chuckles by this answered while taking the plate from her, "Thanks. That was very sweet of you."
Harry suddenly had a thought, "Can someone tell me what day it is?"
Remus and Hermione howled with laughter. Hermione finally calmed enough to reply, "Little…slow on the…uptake there, aren't…you?" she took a moment to catch her breath "You have been out of school for two weeks now! You were really tired and sick." She looked down and played with her hands as she said timidly, "You really scared me. When Lupin called, I…I thought Voldemort had finally found you. I was so scared until he told me what happened then I begged my mum and dad to bring me here. I hope that was ok?" she barely raised her eyes to look at Harry and began chewing her lower lip like she always did when she was nervous or anxious. "Oh Harry, if I had only known! My parents have been pleading with Dumbledore to let you come to our place but he just kept saying no, wouldn't even tell us why! I am just so…MAD! He kept saying it was for your own good, but I knew it…I knew that those horrible people wouldn't take care of you like you needed. Bloody hell you just lost your godfather!" Both of their eyebrows shot up in shock at the anger radiating off of Hermione. Harry had only scene her a few times like this, like the time she punched Draco Malfoy, his worst enemy at school, with everything in her. He couldn't help but smile at the memory.
''Hermione, it's ok. Really. I just don't want to talk about him right now, ok?"
Harry spent a few more days in the hospital. Remus stayed by his side the majority of the time only to leave for showers and fresh clothes when Hermione came to visit with her parents. He had only met them on a few occasions but he was really getting to know them now. Hermione's mum had an incredible heart and treated Harry like she had known him his whole life. Her dad was nice enough too but every time he tried to talk to Harry he ended up mad all over again at the Dursleys for getting away with what Dr. Granger called abuse. Harry enjoyed his visits none the less. It was nice to see an adult as angry as he felt. He had also seen the Weasleys, but just briefly, Mad-eye Moody, Professor McGonagall, Mundungus Fletcher, Tonks, Neville Longbottom and his grandmother, and even Dumbledore tried to stop by, Harry lost it when he came in so Tonks asked Dumbledore to leave. Kinsley Shacklebolt stopped by at one time along with a few other Order members. The Order was a secret organization to fight against Lord Voldemort. It was founded in his first reign of terror and established as The Order of the Phoenix by Albus Dumbledore. His parents and Sirius had all been members, even the Longbottoms who were Neville's parents. It was this group that rescued and saved Harry, Hermione, Ron, Ginny, Luna Lovegood, and Neville last semester from the Death Eaters at the Ministry of Magic.
Harry was going to get to leave today. Remus explained that he would have to go back to the Dursley's long enough for him to get guardianship papers arranged. Neither was happy about this but they didn't have much choice. Dumbledore had told Remus that he would help anyway that he could as some sort of a peace offering. Remus was not happy about accepting his help but knew he needed all the support he could get and Dumbledore's word held a lot of weight with the Ministry of Magic and the magical world in general. He would do whatever he needed to do to get Harry away from those people. He also talked to Harry about where they would live and prepared him for his return to Grimmauld Place. Harry wasn't sure if this was good or bad. He had great memories of Sirius there but it was these memories that would be hard to face. Remus had also been to see Uncle Vernon and Aunt Petunia, Harry was quite confident they would be no trouble but the Order would also be checking in on him to make sure he was eating properly. When he was ready to go, the nurse gave Remus a list of instructions for him to follow carefully and stressed the importance of Harry getting some exercise to recover his strength. Remus thanked the nurse and walked Harry out to the front of the hospital where they were greeted by Mad-eye and Tonks. Tonks took his bag and loaded them into the trunk of the car. "Wotcher Harry!"
"Feeling better now, no more drama for a while?" she said giving him a playful wink. Nymphadora Tonks was an auror for the Ministry and one of the youngest members of the Order of Phoenix; but what ever you did, you never called her by her first name. She had long blonde hair with silver streaks and vibrant lavender colored eyes. Alastor "Mad-eye" Moody had long grey hair and a large chunk missing out of his nose. He had one magical eye that was electric blue and made of glass, it could see through anything and spin to watch everything around him. He was an ex-auror, retired from the ministry and one of the original Order members. Harry climbed in the backseat along with Remus and they were off to his aunt and uncle's house where he would stay until Lupin could settle all the paper work. He didn't care this time since he had the hope of leaving soon for the rest of his life.
Harry was sitting in his room at the Dursley's watching the minutes tick past until midnight. At midnight he would finally be sixteen. For the first time in years Harry finally had something to look forward to on his birthday. He watched as a figure flew towards his window. He knew this figure well. Hedwig his owl, she had beautiful snow white feathers and blue eyes. She was the best pet he could have ever imagined, she was also the very first birthday gift he had ever received. Rubeus Hagrid had bought her for him when he was eleven and first starting at Hogwarts. Hagrid was a half-giant and the first friend Harry had ever had. Keeper of the Keys and Gates at Hogwarts and the Care of Magical Creatures professor; thanks to Harry, Hermione, and Ron. He had come and taken Harry from the Dursley's six years ago today to be exact. It was one of the moments he held closest to his heart. It was then that he had discovered he was a wizard and had begun a new life with friends, best friends, and people that really did care about what happened to him. He also had met his parents' best friends and was beginning to learn about them. He would never be able to fully express to Hagrid how much that meant to him. It changed his life forever and that was hard to say thank you for.
As Hedwig flew over and landed on Harry's shoulder, he removed the letter from her claw and handed her an owl treat. "Hey there girl, where have you been? I missed you while I was away. Did you have a good time at Ron's? I see you didn't go unfed." At this she nipped at his ear affectionately. "Ok ok I was just teasing girl. Shall we see who it is from?"
Harry opened the note and read:
HAPPY BIRTHDAY HARRY! I am glad to hear you are doing well. I have the most exciting news to tell you. A guard is coming just after midnight to bring you back to where we stayed last summer. But the best part is, or at least I hope you think so, is that I will be there too! Isn't that exciting, they are moving my whole family there. They think we are too big of a target with You-Know-Who and want to keep a better eye on us. I just can't wait to see you again! They told me Ron would probably be coming with his family soon also. Well I better go and let you pack. I can't wait for you to get here. Have you heard about the O.W.L. results yet? See you soon.
With love from
Harry smiled; leave it to Hermione Granger to be thinking of nothing but test results during the summer holidays. She was one of his best friends. She was extremely smart, loyal, trustworthy, and had stood by him through all his adventures. She was a little over five feet tall, long honey brown hair with cinnamon colored eyes. Her hair, naturally curly, was normally very bushy because she never took the time to fix it but he had noticed that was not the case at the hospital. Harry smiled as he remembered that wonderful smell when she hugged him. She had also gotten a nice tan and a few new curves. She was growing out of her awkward stage and into a beautiful lady. He and Ron had not cared for the bossy-little-know-it-all when school first started but hey, when you save someone from a mountain troll an unbreakable bond is formed. She had been there for him even when Ron had not been and the rest of the school had turned against him. He couldn't wait to see her and was happy that they could spend the rest of summer together. In truth he had been worried about her and her family. Hermione was what the wizarding world called a muggleborn, a person without magical parents. Some of the people in the wizarding world, like Voldemort's Death Eaters, would call her a mudblood. This is a foul name for someone who was muggleborn and Harry hated the word. Harry realized he had been sitting there too long and jumped up to begin packing his trunk. He checked to make sure he had all his school books, quills, scrolls, and clothes. Most importantly his invisibility cloak, the Marauder's Map, and his photo album. Harry double checked under his bed and in the hidden floorboard of his room to make sure he had everything. After everything was packed Harry sat and waited. It was a just a few minutes before Harry heard a popping sound and looked up to find several Order members had apparated right into his room.
''So are you ready to go?" Remus asked as he closed the lid to Harry's trunk.
"Yeah, I just have to grab Hedwig's cage. How are we getting there?"
Moody answered, "Just like last year boy."
"But I don't have my broom" Harry stated remembering how his broom was confiscated from him at the beginning of last year. He frowned remembering that his Firebolt would be the last present he would receive from Sirius ever again.
Remus had a twinkle in his eyes as he let out a small chuckle. Kingsley Shacklebolt stepped forward from behind several members of the group with a smile on his face and presented a shiny broom to Harry. Harry stared at it in complete shock.
"My Firebolt! But how? Umbridge locked it in the dungeon at school." He was looking over every inch of his pride and joy checking for any sign of damage. When he found none, he looked back up at the many faces.
"Well, how else would you fly?" Dung answered as if it was the most simple thing in the world.
Remus placed a hand on his shoulder, "Are you ready to leave now Harry? The signal will be coming at any moment."
''What about my aunt and uncle? Not that they would care but shouldn't we let them know or something?"
"We have left them a note and your aunt Petunia is waiting down stairs to say good bye."
Harry's mouth dropped open in complete shock, "Did you just say my aunt was waiting to say bye? She has never said bye to me in my life! Why now?"
"Because I had a talk with your aunt about a few things, I made her see she had made too many mistakes and that you would not ever be returning here if I had anything to say about it."
"Oh, well I guess we should get this over with then." Harry turned and began to take the stairs two at a time. Aunt Petunia was waiting in the living room with a blank expression on her face. She stood when Harry entered.
"Remus tells me you will no longer be living here and I just thought you may like to have the rest of your mother's things." glancing at some boxes in the corner.
''Thanks, umm…why are you giving me these now? I have been in this house for fifteen years and you never once mentioned them. Matter of fact, you refused to let me speak of them at all. What are you up to?"
"I am not up to anything Harry. I just thought I would do what is right for once in my life. I know I have treated you horribly. I realized just how bad when they took you away from here in an ambulance…"
"ARE YOU SERIOUS WITH THIS BLOODY CRAP! I LIVED IN A CUPBOARD TIL I WAS ELEVEN. YEARS. OLD! YOUR SON TRIED TO KICK MY ARSE EVERYDAY AND MADE SURE I HAD NO FRIENDS AT ALL. YOUR HUSBAND PUT BARS ON MY WINDOWS AND ONLY ALLOWED ME TO HAVE ONE CAN OF SOUP A DAY! HOW DARE YOU STAND THERE AND SAY THIS BLOODY SHITE TO ME. YOU CAN TAKE YOUR NEW FOUND CONCERN, YOUR PRECIOUS DUDDLEYKINS, AND THAT PRAT OF A HUSBAND OF YOURS AND SHOVE IT UP YOUR ARSE!" Harry had never been so mad in his life. He then realized that everyone in the room was standing with shocked expressions and not moving a muscle.
Tonks was the first to break the silence. "Did you just say a cupboard!"
"Yeah." Harry replied but never taking his eyes off his aunt.
BAM! Everyone turned to see Remus pulling his fist out of the wall. "What the hell do you mean Harry? Is all of that true?" He whirled around to Petunia with a fire in his eyes, "You better pray to God that I let you live."
Tonks placed a hand on his arm and tried to pull him towards the door. "Come on Remus, it doesn't matter now. He's leaving this terrible place and won't come back because you have custody now, don't mess it up Remus! Come on, let's go, the signal has been given."
Remus began to gradually move towards the back door but never stopped glaring at the shaking and frightened Petunia until he saw the door under the staircase. Harry could not believe his eyes, no one had ever shown that much concern for his well being before. He was surprised by the reaction he had received, he thought for sure the whole order knew about the way he was treated. Did Dumbledore know? He had always believed he knew how the Dursleys' treated him, after all his Hogwarts letters were addressed to Harry Potter, Cupboard under the Stairs. Harry turned one last time to look at the house and his aunt. He would never have to be here again, he felt calm for the first time in a long time. He decided to let go of one last thing on his mind as he walked out into the backyard and into the night air. "Oh by the way Aunt Petunia…I am rich, really really rich! I have more gold than Uncle Vernon will ever make in his life!" he grinned a mischievous smile "I just thought you would want to know!" He winked at her, threw his leg over his broom and kicked off into the night time sky with a huge smile on his face. He had never felt so free in his entire life! It was the most incredible feeling he had ever felt. Life for Harry was finally…perfect!