Following the death of Dumbledore, Harry keeps to his word, and sets out to hunt down all of the remaining Horcruxes. However, little known to Harry, Ron and Hermione, their quest will take them to unforeseen levels of danger and surprise, as they find themselves in a world full of magical creatures, political strife, and two friends, with whom the three companions come face-to-face with unexpectedly…
The Eye of FateChapter One – Lands of Shadows
He still dwelt in a world of disbelief. It was cold and unforgiving, and it made his heart ache horribly. What did he really have left now? There were so many things that he loved in his life, so many people … but those who had been dearest to him were dead – his parents had died for him; Sirius had died over a horrible, horrible mistake he had made, coming to his aid, only to be murdered. And now Dumbledore was gone, he too murdered.
Ron and Hermione were his two best friends in the entire world – what if something happened to them because of him? What if one of them was used by Voldemort to get to Harry? If he lost one of them, either of them, both of them, as it could well be, what would he do? He could not allow that to happen. They were everything to him now, and he would not let Voldemort use them like he was so sure he would…
Harry lay staring at the ceiling in the darkness. Sleep would not take him, and the prospect of climbing out of bed and going downstairs did not even slightly appeal to him – the high possibility of encountering Uncle Vernon in the living room was not one he favoured. His Uncle had taken to sitting up into the early hours of the night, thinking of his family's … situation with regards to his nephew. Harry did not actually care. There was nothing for Uncle Vernon to really think over: Harry was merely visiting the house for a few days, just as he had vowed to Dumbledore. Then he would be gone. The Dursley's need never seen him again after that.
Hedwig ruffled her feathers at the other end of the room, her amber eyes regarding him with a quiet sort of interest. She wanted to go out hunting; having looked indignantly at the dead mice Harry had presented her with earlier before she had eaten them, Hedwig had hinted persistently that she wished to leave, often hooting loudly and flapping. Uncle Vernon, naturally, had complained and threatened to have Harry's "bloody pigeon" stuffed. However, Harry, in the aftermath of Dumbledore's death, did not take very well to threats of any kind made against him, and had come to the stage where even the mildest poke at his emotions or nerves caused him to draw his wand with very little thought. Forced to remember what Harry had managed to do to his sister Marge four years ago, Uncle Vernon now always backed down…
Harry rolled over onto his side to see the time on the small digital alarm clock on the bedside table. One thirty in the morning. He had been in bed for two hours already, though it felt like an eternity of staring at the ceiling to him.
The house was quiet, save for the grunting snores of his cousin Dudley in his room across the hall. As much as he tried to resist going downstairs, Harry's stomach was beginning to rumble, as though all this thinking was using up his energy resources. Yes, he could hear Dudley, but normally, Uncle Vernon's guttural snorts made themselves audible through the wall, despite the fact that there was the bathroom between his aunt and uncle's room and Harry's. This had to mean that Uncle Vernon was in the living room. He would, more likely than not, be slumped on the sofa, mumbling under his breath about weirdos and freaks using his house as a meeting place and hotel.
He finally got up, tired of not being able to sleep. He fancied something to eat, whether Uncle Vernon sat grumbling to himself on the sofa or not. He took himself quietly out of his room and onto the dark landing, wand in hand. He had taken to having it with him wherever he went, even in the house.
'Lumos.' The stairs were lit by the soft glow emitted from his wand tip, supplying him with adequate light as he descended. The yellow glow of the lamp in the living room spilled through the open door, creating a soft pool on the cream carpet. Harry stepped into it, and slowly pushed open the door. Uncle Vernon, as Harry had predicted, was indeed slouched on the sofa. He was, however, silent, and breathing deeply. That's lucky, Harry thought bitterly. At least I won't have to listen to him going on…
However, the door creaked as Harry pushed on it, and this smallest of sounds was enough to make Uncle Vernon sit bolt upright. He spun round in his fright, his panic making him grasp the arms of the sofa so hard that his knuckles were white. Finally, his piggy eyes settled upon Harry, and they narrowed unpleasantly as he watched his nephew.
'What are you doing up?'
'Coming downstairs, apparently,' replied Harry icily. 'I am allowed to do that.' He crossed the living room, passed through the dining area, and turned on the kitchen light, saying 'Knox' to his wand to put out the light. He began to rummage in the fridge for something to eat, finally emerging after much sifting with a jar of jam and tub of butter, before putting two slices of bread into the toaster. Then he gave his wand a flick: 'Accio plate and butter knife.' The draw and cupboard opened simultaneously, and both plate and knife settled on the counter before him.
Uncle Vernon - who had been watching Harry's actions from the relative safety of the sofa - jumped up, pointing an accusing, shaking finger at Harry. 'You're not allowed to do magic outside school!' he shouted triumphantly. 'Now you'll be expelled!'
Harry merely glanced at his uncle, then Summoned the toast to himself. 'Actually,' he replied, 'I turned seventeen an hour ago, which means I can do as much magic as I like. And I'm not going back to Hogwarts.' He proceeded with buttering his toast while it was still hot, allowing the statement to hang in the air between himself and his uncle.
'Oh, expelled, were you?' sneered Uncle Vernon at last, after the initial shock of hearing that his nephew was not going back to school. 'I knew it would only be a matter of time until-'
'My Headmaster was murdered!' Harry cut in, slamming down his toast with such force that the slice broke in two. His temper, always short, flared at the tone Uncle Vernon was using on him. 'He was murdered by one of my teachers,' he muttered, almost to himself. Harry's eyes no longer focused upon Uncle Vernon. All he could think of was Snape's sneering, hook-nosed face. All the times Harry had questioned Snape's integrity, both to his two best friends and Dumbledore…
"Professor … how can you be sure Snape's on our side?"
"I trust Severus Snape completely."
The mere memory of that conversation hurt him inside, a kind of agonising ripping at his soul, his heart tearing with the pain. The intensive anger he had felt on that fateful night began to bubble within him again, his chest constricting with the sheer force of his hatred … he was not aware that his hand screwed up the toast, jam spilling from between his fingers like blood. Why had Dumbledore trusted Snape, why? His insistence of being able to see the good in people took him to his death…
Uncle Vernon, who had been watching without Harry even realising, chose not to not remark upon the dribbling jam, turned his back on the kitchen, flicked on the television and put on the twenty-four hour news through his Sky box. In a second, the female newsreader shone from the screen, seemingly in the middle of a report on a particularly aggressive storm that was battering the South West… 'The Met Office is at a complete loss as to how this storm could have arisen without their knowing. Oddly, this strange phenomenon occurred at this time last year…'
Harry knew exactly how it had happened, and he also knew that it would not be the last. He began to peel the broken toast from his fingers, rinsing them under the kitchen tap to rid them of the remnants of raspberry jam, squelching the bar of soap in his hands…
'And now to our next story,' chimed the newsreader, shuffling her papers showily. 'The Police declared today that they are closing the high-profile murder case of Amelia Bones-' the bar of soap shot from Harry's hands, ricocheting off the wall above the sink and flying into the living room. He instantly followed it, but, rather than picking it up, he came to a halt beside Uncle Vernon, his eyes fixed on the woman. 'Ms Bones's murder occurred in her London home in the July of last year, and completely threw police due to the fact that it took place in a room locked from the inside. The killer left no evidence and has completely mystified police…'
'I knew Amelia Bones,' Harry declared sadly. 'She was a good person.'
'Don't be ridiculous!' snapped Uncle Vernon. 'How could you possibly have known her? You're always at that bloody school of yours – when do you ever go to London?'
'Once a year, actually,' Harry responded. 'More than that two years ago, because of my trial. Amelia Bones was on the panel. She believed me about the Dementors. She was Head of Magical Law Enforcement – that's why he killed her.'
'The same one that killed my parents and countless others,' Harry replied flatly. He took the soap back into the kitchen as the newsreader commenced with a different report. It did not surprise him that the police had given up searching for the killer. After all, how would they be able to catch the Dark Lord when the whole of the wizarding world could not? The whole of the wizarding world, that is, save for Harry…