Disclaimer: All of the characters in this fanfiction belong to Ms. Rowling. I don't own them and am not making any money off of this story.
Time to Prepare
Prelude – Breaking the Law
For the ninth day in a row, Harry Potter sat alone, reading in his small bedroom at Number Four, Privet Drive. Contrary to what his friends might believe, he was dealing with the loss of his godfather fairly well, all things considered. Although the death still pained him, Harry knew that Sirius would not want him to waste away in endless depression. As such, he had thrown himself into studying with a vigor that would make Hermione jealous.
After re-reading all of his books from classes, birthdays and Christmas, Harry had sent a letter to Dumbledore begging for a brief trip to the #12 Grimmauld Place library to pick up some additional reading material. Having already removed all of the questionable books in the library, Dumbledore readily agreed to the request, hoping to repair some of the damage that had been done to their relationship over the past year.
Harry guessed that most of the books in the Black Library were at least several hundred years old, but they were in remarkably good shape. He had picked up 8 books on his trip, which was about all he could carry given the size of the texts:
Harnessing the Mind
The Compendium of Laws (Self-Updating)
Getting There: Wizarding Transportation
The Complete Guide to the Healing Arts
Something from Nothing: A Primer on Conjuring
Guide to Spells
Harry started with Harnessing the Mind, hoping to learn a few things he could actually practice over the summer. Surpassing his wildest expectations, he found that the book was a comprehensive guide to Occlumency and Legilmency but went far beyond just those skills. In addition to learning more about Occlumency than he ever had with Snape, Harry learned a great deal about memorization techniques, fast recall, lucid dreaming, and focusing his magical power.
The Compendium of Laws (Self-Updating) was up next, realizing that it was probably the only book that would not tempt him to use magic over the summer. Although practical, the book had nearly lulled Harry to sleep until he came to page 182:
Restriction on Underage Use of Magic – Passed June 20, 1624
Young wizards and witches are prohibited from the use of magic until reaching their majority at the age of 17 except while attending a magical educational facility and under the supervision of a qualified adult witch or wizard.
Addendum – Passed March 8, 1628
The Restriction on Underage Use of Magic shall apply only in times of peace and when the underage witch or wizard is not in danger of imminent harm.
Harry leapt from the bed and rifled through a stack of old Daily Prophets, finally finding the issue from the day after the debacle at the Department of Mysteries. There, plain as day, was a quote from Minister Fudge:
"It is time to publicly announce what I have known for over a year - that You-know-who has returned. Make no mistake! The Ministry has been secretly working to bring this monster to justice for the past year. However, the time has come to inform the general public of this threat. The wizarding world is officially at war with He-who-must-not-be-named and his followers and your Ministry will not rest until the threat is resolved."
It was almost too good to be true. With the "official" declaration of war with Voldemort, did that mean that underage wizards were no longer prohibited from using magic outside of school?
"Well, no time like the present. Lumos!" he said with slightly less confidence than he would have liked.
Harry took a deep breath and waited in silence. Several minutes later, a non-descript brown owl was tapping on his window. He opened the window and retrieved the letter from the owl. Not surprisingly, it was a notice of an upcoming hearing for using magic outside of Hogwarts.
Harry asked the owl to stay for a moment and sat down to write his response.
"Hmmm, what would Malfoy write?"
Dear Sir or Madame,
I am in receipt of a notice implying that I violated the Restriction on Underage Use of Magic law this evening. This notice was clearly sent in error as no such violation occurred. Per the addendum to said law passed on March 8, 1628, the restriction applies only in times of peace.
I suggest you update your tracking system to reflect Minister Fudge's recent declaration of war against Voldemort and his followers. For my records, please reply with a confirmation that my hearing in three days time has been cancelled.
Harry re-read the letter. Finding it to be sufficiently Malfoyish, he tied it to the Ministry owl and sent it on its way. Having not finished the book of laws, he sincerely hoped that there were no laws against getting snarky with the Ministry that he had not yet read.
Dear Mr. Potter,
The Ministry of Magic apologizes for any inconvenience caused by the notice sent earlier this evening. Upon further review, we find that no violation occurred at your residence and your hearing has been cancelled accordingly.
Improper Use of Magic Office
Harry sighed with relief. "Well, this summer just got interesting…"
This is my first attempt at writing HP fan fiction. Future chapters should be up relatively quickly and will be longer than this prelude.