I don't own a thing. It all belongs to J.K. Rowling. I'm just picking up where her last story ended.
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Of Ordinary Wizards
Chapter 1 Reflections
After Dumbledore's funeral, Harry Potter was an emotional boggert, his moods changing color, shape, and appearance at an alarming rate. One moment he was inanely gratified to be spending a peaceful afternoon on the grass by the lake with Ron and Hermione and the next he was railing against Snape, absently yanking large tufts of grass and earth from the ground, threatening to kill the bloody bastard should he ever see him again.
Given his mood swings, he found himself wandering to the last location one might expect to find him on this of all afternoons. There were certainly places in and around this castle he had long loved that held much kinder memories: hanging out with mates in the Griffyndor Common Room, zipping around the quidditch pitch, or prowling the restricted section of the library. Let Madam Pince frown sternly and hmph to her hearts content. It was far too late to report him for detention And yet on his final afternoon as a student at Hogwarts School of Witch Craft and Wizardry, Harry chose to visit the Astronomy Tower. He'd told Ron, Hermione, and Ginny, who had joined the three of them under the shade of the Beech tree after the funeral, that he wanted to go for a walk.
"Do you want company?" Ginny offered with a small smile.
"Not really," Harry returned the smile sadly. The two of them had so little time together, and now it was over. "I just want to think for a bit." Harry gave a short wave as he turned in the direction of the castle.
"See you at dinner then, mate." Ron told him, plucking absently at bits of grass, while Hermione nodded affirmatively.
Harry ascended the familiar enclosed stairway that recent events had made seem threatening. He walked across the ancient bricks and after a moments contemplation, he rested his back against the same spot Dumbledore had minutes before the great man met his end.
Harry pressed his spine against the sun warmed stone and tried to think of swear words that were both profane and creative enough to express the wicked injustice that had befallen the wizarding world. None but the usual came to mind, and Harry let his body slowly slide down the wall much as Dumbledore's had night before last. And much as Dumbledore's had, Harry's body began to slowly weaken from the stress of events too bizarre to be believed.
Harry shook his head as if to clear it, and shoved a frustrated hand in the pocket of his trousers. He squeezed his fingers painfully around the metal of the fake Horcrux. Harry could not reconcile himself to the unfairness of it. Dumbledore need not have been weakened in the first place. They had been on a fools errand to that bloody cave and it had brought them no closer to ending Voldemort than they had been before. At least if they had brought back a bit of the demonic bastards soul maybe the sacrifice would have been worth it. No! Harry shook his head sharply. It wouldn't have been worth this.
Harry yanked the golden locket from his trousers and stared at it accusingly. But what if it had been a true Horcrux? Harry pondered, thinking of the moment when he had discovered the locket beside Professor Dumbledore's lifeless body. How would he have known how to destroy the thing without Dumbledore to help him? Harry would not know where to bloody start.He expelled a ragged sigh and tried to focus again on what the other Horcruxes might be.
"Locket, cup, snake, something Griffyndor, or Ravenclaw." came his thin lipped whisper. "Locket, cup, snake, something Griffyndor, or Ravenclaw. Locketcupsnake, somthingGriffyndororRavenclaw."
When he did find one, would the Horcrux attack if he tried to destroy it? But just finding them would be a miracle in itself. How Dumbledore found the fake locket in the cave was bloody amazing. Just figuring out that the cave opening wanted blood or the invisible chain that brought up the boat for Merlin's sake. The Headmaster had not explained how he had done any of it really. He just said all magic leaves a trail. What the bloody hell had that meant? There was so much Dumbledore hadn't had time to tell him. There just wasn't enough time. Although, Harry had to admit, the last months had been the most time he had ever spent with the Headmaster, and thankfully the young man had realized how special that time was. Harry remembered the feeling of enthusiasm that would spread through him each time he got one of those scrolled bits of parchment from the Headmaster and recognized the slightly slanted writing.
Harry had appreciated spending time with Dumbledore, it was true, but he had expected to learn more. Not that he did not see the point of learning about Tom Riddle's past. And Harry agreed with Dumbledore that the information about the Horcruxes would be key in destroying He-Who-Should-Be-Named-A...Vile... Blood-Thirsty...well, something disgusting, but Harry didn't have the energy just now to think of what. If Harry was completely honest he had expected The Headmaster to teach him how to fight. Even Ron and Hermione had thought, when Harry first told them about the lessons, that Dumbledore would teach him all sorts of hexes and curses. Maybe the Headmaster had meant to, or was going to later.
The boyhad felt pretty confident about his fighting ability last year with the D.A. He'd been confident enough to take on a band of Death Eaters at the Ministry. Of course that confidence had been put sharply in check when Voldemort showed up. There was no way around it, Harry would have been dead if Dumbledore hadn't been there. Even before Voldermort possessed him things had been pretty grim. Voldermort seemed to be everywhere at once. He had been behind Harry and then in front him... Harry paused for a minute.
"Hang on," Harry blinked into the sun, which was getting considerably lower in the sky. "Was Voldemort just apparating?" It had never occurred to him before. Was that nifty little trick as simple as what the sixth years had learned in their apparation class when they went from one hoop to another. Harry scratched his back a bit along the roughness of the brick, while working out the logic of that. But still, it was no good, Voldemort could do wandless magic. Harry would somehow have to train to fight better, if he was going to take the Dark bastard down.
Wandless magic for the love of Merlin, Harry hadn't even been able to master one non verbal spell this term. Well except for... but hold it... Dumbledore knew wandless magic. Harry had seen him do it more than once. Why hadn't he used it to save himself from Malfoy and the Death Eaters? Had he truly been that weakened by the potion? He'd had long, excruciating minutes alone with Malfoy. Couldn't the Headmaster command a last bit of his strength to accio his wand or set Harry free? He was Albus Dumbledore for goodness sake. Or why hadn't he summoned Fawkes. The phoenix was right handy at getting one out of tight spot. But the old man had just talked to Malfoy.
Even when the Death Eaters and Werewolf showed up Dumbledore was as cool as a freezing charm. He was in rare form with that manner he had of sounding completely courteous and respectful while at the same time reprimanding and in some cases insulting the other person. It was almost funny how the old man politely told the Death Eaters that he was afraid he wasn't very happy to see them, and how he reprimanded Malfoy for bringing Fenrir, the Werewolf, into the castle. And even though the blond boy had held a wand on the Headmaster at the time, he responded defensively that he hadn't invited Fenrir, as though he expected to be given detention or something.
"Old habits die hard." Harry chuckled lightly to himself, truly amazed that he could find anything funny about that one of all nights. But Harry had always admired the way the Headmaster carried himself. No mater the situation he was just so damned unruffled. The old man was facing down a group of Death Eater and a Werewolf, and he was behaving like the group had rudely invited themselves to tea. The Headmaster had been so self-assured, facing them all down with a courtly arrogance... until...Snape arrived. Harry could hardly believe it. The Headmaster, the great Albus Dumbledore, had pleaded. Harry could not for the life of him understand what had happened. One minute the old man was telling off the Death Eaters for showing up unannounced, and the next he was begging Snape.
"Severus," Dumbledore had implored in a tone Harry had never heard the old wizard use before. But why? Why had he begged Snape?" The Headmaster had trusted Snape. Didn't he just assume that Snape would try to save him. Harry had, right up to the moment the maggot had hit the older wizard with the killing curse. Harry had expected Snape to try to rescue the Headmaster. Snape may not have been successful against the group as it was three on one. Malfoy didn't count. If he couldn't kill Dumbledore, he sure as hell wouldn't have been able to kill Snape. The little ferret had been Snape's pet for six years. But none of this mattered, Harry thought, his confusion giving way to anger again. The barking old man had been wrong to trust Snape. Snape was a filthy, lying, murdering, disloyal, disgusting, cowardly arsehole. And if Harry ever saw him again he'd...
"What?" Harry questioned himself bitterly. "Get your arse kicked again?" Harry crushed the locket so tightly in his palm it began to break his skin. It wasn't true. Snape hadn't actually kicked his arse. The bloody bastard wouldn't even fight back. The only curse he threw was when Harry called him a coward. And while that whip like curse had hurt quite a lot, it didn't even leave a mark.
Snape had even stopped the big blond Death Eater from torturing Harry, saying that Harry was to be saved for Voldemort. No. What disturbed Harry was the ease with which the other man blocked his curses. It was almost as though he was idly shooing away flies,
persistent little flies, that while irritating, posed no real threat to anyone. If the way Snape fought was anything like what it would be against Voldemort, even after Harry found the Horcruxes, the boy knew he would have to improve tremendously before he attempted Vanquish the Dark Lord. Harry was struck by a sudden thought.
"What if Dumbledore knew he himself mightn't get a chance to train me," Harry pondered, "what if that's why he gave Snape the Defense Against the Dark Arts post?" Harry shook himself abruptly from such thoughts. "I doesn't matter!" Harry admonished himself angrily. "Snape was a murderer all along. He was never on our side. The Headmaster was a mental old fool for trusting him so blindly. And now I still have to vanquish old Voldermort. Bloody bastard."
Harry sighed and wasn't clear whether he meant Voldemort, Snape or Dumbledore for that matter. "And I haven't a clue how to get it done." The last bit came with something of a chuckle. Harry pushed his back against the wall in a stiff attempt rise. He wondered briefly if he might be going around the bend, what with all this talking to himself and his emotions swinging from one extreme to the other.
As Harry shook out his legs and peered over the wall. He returned Horcrux to his pocket and gingerly rubbed his cut palm along his pant leg. Harry's eyes wandered over to the white tomb by the lake. By the look of the sky, and the dull emptiness in his stomach, Harry supposed it to be near dinner time. He hadn't been hungry at breakfast. And he, Ron, Hermione, and Ginny had all skipped lunch coveting the calm sanctuary of the Beech tree by the lake.
Harry's eyes came to rest on Dumbledore's tomb once more. The light was getting a little funny, but he almost thought he saw the outline of a phoenix, flying just past the Headmasters tomb. Harry thought back to during the funeral when Dumbledore's body had been briefly obscured by flame and Harry had thought he saw a phoenix take to the clouds, just before the lid was placed on the tomb. As Harry speculated again if they had seen the last of Fawkes, he slowly became aware that winged form had solidified and was growing closer until Albus Dumbledore's phoenix landed elegantly on the wall of the of the astronomy tower.
"Fawkes," Harry whispered experimentally, as the boy and the bird looked each other frankly in the eyes. Tears brimmed in the phoenix's eyes two of which Fawkes shed into Harry's abused hand.
As Harry mumbled his thanks Fawkes held out the talons of one leg in which there was a scrolled piece of parchment. Harry gave a sharp intake of breath as he caught sight of the familiar slanted script.