POTTER AND THE PHOENIX'S SONG
Disclaimer: I do not
own HP and am making no profit from this.
Feedback is very much appreciated.
Someone was shaking him hard, telling him to get up, but Harry didn't want to wake up yet. It was too early and it wasn't the right time. He was tired and he wanted to sleep more, but whoever it was wouldn't stop. Harry tried to roll away, but he couldn't escape. He groaned and was about to tell them to bugger off, but the person spoke first: "You must get up."
Oh god, Harry knew whose voice that was. It was Snape. Harry squeezed his eyes shut even more, not wanting to open them and see the greasy git's face. Maybe if he just thought really really hard then this nightmare would end and he could wake up and Snape would not be there.
"Potter," snapped Snape, "get up, now!"
If there was one thing to be said about Snape, Harry thought, cracking his eyes open, he knew how to raise his voice. Just as Harry suspected, Snape was looming over him and he could see Snape rather well despite not having his glasses on. Harry reached instinctively for them, but to his surprise he didn't feel the table or his glasses. He turned away from Snape and squinted hard. Where were they?
"Pay attention," said Snape, grabbing Harry by the chin and dragging his face back to him. "There isn't much time."
"I need my glasses," said Harry as he tried to jerk his chin away from Snape's hold, but didn't succeed.
"Listen carefully," said Snape as if Harry hadn't said anything at all. "The blood protection on your aunt's house disappears the day you turn seventeen. There is only one way to restore it and it requires a sacrifice that must be willingly made." Snape suddenly started wheezing and Harry felt his hand go cold. Harry blinked a few times and sure enough, Snape looked more like a ghost than a real person. "Not much time," he croaked. "Look at the book, the back. It's all there."
Harry opened his mouth, actually wanting to ask Snape a question, but Snape was already gone. He had disappeared and Harry suddenly realized he was the only one here. There was nothing else, no bed, no walls, nothing. This was dead space and Harry didn't know how to get out of this nightmare. He would have crouched down, but he no longer felt like he had a body he could control. Once again, someone else was shaking him quite hard.
"Wake up, boy!" said Vernon, sounding like he was a mile away. "Get your lazy arse out of the bed!"
"Don't bother him," Harry heard Aunt Petunia snap at Uncle Vernon. "If he wants to sleep, let him."
"I don't understand why you're being nice to the boy," said Vernon. "Why do you care? He's a freak!"
"Don't you have to be at work?" said Petunia.
Harry couldn't hear Vernon's reply, but he did hear his uncle walk away. There was no mistaking the sound of Vernon's heavy footsteps going down the stairs, especially when Dudley wasn't home. While Harry certainly didn't mind his aunt finding a way to get Vernon out of the house, he still would have liked to hear her answer. Why was she being so nice? And why did it seem like she might actually care about him? At least, she wasn't letting Vernon get at him.
That was something.
The book was sitting on his dresser, waiting to be opened, but Harry didn't want to listen to his dreams. They had been wrong before. And it wasn't like he was Dumbledore. He didn't really trust Snape, even though he knew pensieves didn't lie and whatever Snape had sworn to Dumbledore must have been pretty damn powerful for Dumbledore to trust him that much. Harry rolled over onto his stomach and placed his head on his pillow. He didn't want to look into the book. He didn't want to listen to Snape.
His eyes shifted from the book to the egg and he wondered when and if it would even hatch. But those thoughts didn't hold his attention. Soon he heard Snape's voice again. It kept saying in his head that there wasn't much time. That he needed to look in the book. It's all there and it's all there. All he had to do was open it, to the back, and it would be there. Of course, that was all a dream. Wasn't it?
Harry pushed himself off the bed and grabbed it and flipped it to the very back. He had to turn a few more pages and there he saw it, outlined quite clearly in a crimson so deep that it looked almost black, but somehow, Harry knew it was actually red. On the page, it said quite clearly what this spell was for. Blood Given is Blood Protected.
It turned out the blood protection spell was quite complex and time consuming, which was probably why Snape had told him that he didn't have much time. At first had Harry thought Snape had been referring to himself. Either way, if Harry wanted to get this done so he could leave and go after the horcruxes any time soon, he needed to get started. The only problem was he didn't quite know where to begin. He knew what he needed to do, but it wasn't like he could ask Aunt Petunia if she would kindly give him a knife and her wrist so he could slash it open and combine it with his blood. She would look at him like he was crazy, even if it was to protect her house and family.
Harry sighed and ran his hand through his perpetually messy hair. For some reason, it really never did want to stay down. One day while at the Weasley's as they were waiting for Bill and Fleur's wedding to begin, Hermioen had suggested that he ought to just grow it out. It would take a while, but Harry thought her idea had merit. If he couldn't get it to stay put, maybe gravity would do the work for him.
Of course, he knew thinking about that was only an excuse so he didn't have to think about the more difficult issues that were spinning around in his head. Like how to approach his aunt and ask her if she'd mind giving him some of her blood. Then there was the actual spell to perform. The incantation was written in Latin, easy enough to read, but he was worried about the pronunciation. After all, one syllable off could change the purpose of the spell and he couldn't have that. Petunia needed the protection, and Dudley, and even Vernon.
Harry rubbed his tired eyes and blinked until his vision cleared up and he could actually read the text. Snape's handwriting, while legible, wasn't exactly easy to read. Harry softly started saying the spell, slowly and making sure each syllable wasn't pronounced any differently than the rest. He read and read until the words began to blur and he didn't know what he was reading anymore.
"I hope this time," said Snape because there was no mistaking that voice, "you will listen to me!" Harry would have cringed, but he didn't want to show weakness. So he just opened his eyes, looking steadily at his former professor. "Have you found the spell?"
Harry nodded, seeing no reason not to confirm it, considering that this all had to be a wild, wild dream. He knew that he must have seen the blood protection spell before, but had just never connected it to the one his mother might have used. In a way, he couldn't believe he was taking it seriously. But then, the spell on Malfoy had worked. It had worked astonishingly well. It'd been crueler, though, than he had suspected. But if the protection spell was more powerful than he thought, that would be a very good thing.
"You must act quickly," said Snape. "You cannot delay this. Do you understand me?" He didn't wait for Harry to answer, though. He paused only a moment before continuing, "You have to finish this soon. Do not hesitate!"
Easy enough for him to say, Harry thought. It wasn't like Snape had to go up to his Aunt Petunia and say: Would you mind bleeding for me? Though, if Snape did go up and ask her, she probably would do it. There was something quite intimidating and menacing about him. Harry sighed. Too bad this was all just some weird, crazy dream and any minute now he'd wake up and Snape would be gone.
"Potter!" exclaimed Snape so loudly that Harry jerked his head to look at the man where he was still standing in front glowering down at Harry. "Are you paying attention?"
Harry felt his cheeks heat up and he wished he could just disappear right this second. But, of course, his dream wouldn't oblige him and he was still here, had to face this unreal Snape in this conjured world and it was so real that Harry really wanted to wake up. Like, right, now.
Instead of being removed from this dream, he was thrust further into it when Snape grabbed his by the chin with enough force to leave marks. "The Dark Lord is moving." Snape leaned close enough that Harry wished he could just sink to the floor to escape him. "He is coming for you. He knows that the protection is fading. He knows you are weak, Potter."
"Harry!" exclaimed a shrilly voice that could not be Snape's. Indeed, Snape would probably rather suffocate than call him by his first name. "Get up! It's dinner time!"
Already was Harry's first thought before he registered that it must be Aunt Petunia speaking. But why was she so loud? He was right here, in the same room, and she really did not need to shout. Harry cracked his eyes opened and as usual, she was a blurry, angular blob. "I heard you," he said, more for his benefit than hers. It would get her to stop shouting and thus let his ears stop ringing.
"About time," she muttered and turned to walk out the room. "Get downstairs before your dinner gets cold."
If it were any other day at any other prior time, she would have said that he unfortunately wouldn't be having dinner because he was not down in time to set the table. How things change, he thought and rubbed his aching scar, and what odd dreams he had.
Dinner was good and Harry enjoyed it. Aunt Petunia wasn't a bad cook and it didn't hurt that Uncle Vernon was no where in sight. He must have a late night at work again. Thank Merlin. Harry didn't think he could deal with him tonight, not when he had important matters to discuss with his aunt. Things that would be difficult with just her and probably would be impossible with Uncle Vernon there.
Well, here went nothing.
"Uh," began Harry and he fidgeted in the chair. For a brief moment, he thought it was funny how he could bravely face Voldemort and yet shy away from his own magic-less aunt. "You know about the protection wards on this house, right?"
Aunt Petunia looked at him and raised an eyebrow as if to say, was he stupid or something? "Of course," she said. "That's why you're here."
Harry cleared his throat and nodded. "But the spell ends when I turn seventeen, unless…"
"I renew it." He looked down at his nearly empty plate. "I need your blood to do it. Your blood and mine."
Aunt Petunia turned out to be quite cooperative, though a bit squeamish when Harry had gotten the knife out. Still she'd held out her hand, just looking away when he sliced her wrist and let the blood drip to the heart of the house. Then he cut his own wrist and let his blood mingle with hers.
He dropped the knife to the floor and picked up his wand. He whispered the healing charm he'd learned just before and he was relieved to see it close both wrists neatly. His aunt looked at him and nodded. She held out her hands and he took them in his, glad she had remembered the next part of the ritual.
Harry closed his eyes and started chanting the ancient spell. It was in Latin and some other language he wasn't sure of, but the pronunciation had been there, written in the margins as if the book knew he had no clue how to pronounce these words. Harry kept murmuring them, remembering to keep each syllable distinct but not overemphasized. He could hear Hermione lecturing him faintly in his head, to be careful, be careful.
Words held much power.
He had to be doing right, it would feel wrong otherwise. It would be disastrous. Blood magic. Who knew what would happen? But it felt warm and soft like a blanket wrapping around him and when he opened his eyes the room was filled with a light that burned his eyes. And it seemed to say, everything was going to be okay.
"Oh," said Petunia. She was looking around the room and her hands actually tightened their hold on his. "We did it." She glanced back at him. "Didn't we?"
Harry nodded. "You're safe."
That night Harry dream of fire and ashes and smoke, the first time he had dreamt of anything other than Severus and those weird events that had strangely helped him get done what needed to be done. He abruptly opened his eyes and jerked his head toward the table where he had kept the phoenix egg wrapped up in one of his old shirts. He fumbled for his glasses, snagging them on his second try. He put them on and suddenly everything was back into focus and he could actually see the egg instead of just knowing its general location.
The egg was shaking rather violently, so much so that Harry was afraid that it was going to fall to the ground. He grabbed the egg and tried to steady it, but he had to tear his hands away because it was simply too hot. Harry glanced in alarm at the egg when it suddenly burst into flames, and for a moment he thought it was going to set the house on fire and his Aunt Petunia would surely wring his neck, but then he saw that his shirt wasn't on fire and neither was the table.
Harry didn't quite know what was going on, but it looked like it was time for Fawkes to rise. If Hermione were here, she'd know what to do. All he could do was sit there and stare, watching the flames reaching further up and widening around the egg until he couldn't even see it anymore. Everything would be all right, even if he couldn't help and felt powerless. It had to be.
Suddenly he was certain everything was going to be fine. It was such a pure feeling that Harry almost felt like not only this would be okay in the end, but everything. Even Voldemort. For one moment, Harry felt sure of who he was and who he had to be. It was then that he saw the flames burst outward and head toward him, swirling around him with such a speed that even if he had his Firebolt in hand to try and escape it, he still would have been trapped. And slowly and surely, the flame disappeared and Harry saw the small, wrinkled and fairly ugly phoenix flapping his fuzzy wings, a phoenix that most definitely did not look like Fawkes.
Instead of brilliant red, this phoenix was a pale gold with glints of fiery orange. When the phoenix lifted his head up and looked at Harry with his silver eyes, Harry knew that he was right. This phoenix wasn't Fawkes. This phoenix said his name was Aywell and that Harry Potter belonged to him. Immediately after Aywell had said that, Harry had almost wanted to laugh, his thoughts running away from him as he thought back to Dumbledore and Fawkes. He couldn't imagine Fawkes saying something like that, but then he'd never really heard Fawkes' voice. He only knew Fawkes as well as he had let himself be known.
You, said Aywell once more, staring at Harry with swirling eyes, belong to me.
And Harry could hear Hermione protesting this in his head, but he actually didn't think he minded this possession. It felt nice to belong, for once, to someone—even if it was a phoenix.
A/N: I am off to the UK to study abroad for a semester so updates will probably be non-existent. If you're in the UK and wouldn't mind me visiting wherever you are, drop me an email or review or something. I'll be on the southeast side, but definitely up for some traveling.