Author's Note:This is an edited version as of 8/6/06 that combines chapters 1 & 2, with corrections. Nothing was changed to alter the story. Don't own anything in the Harry Potter Universe!
Chapter 1: ThingsClick/Questions & Answers
Harry was walking back from the hospital wing after visiting with the D.O.M. crew, lost in thought. Deciding he didn't want to be bothered eating in the Great Hall, he made his way down to the kitchens for a snack and then left to sit by the lake hoping that the calm of his surroundings would help quiet the storm in his head.
The loss of Sirius to 'The Veil', Cedric dieing during the third task, the possession by Voldemort in the Atrium of the Ministry of Magic, and after the devastating and damning information revealed in the Headmasters office shortly thereafter, Harry was completely overcome with the loss he felt and the burdens now placed upon him. 'I just want this all over with. I'm so tired of fighting….Dumbledore….the Ministry….the Dursley's….who's going to die next? If I died, I'd be able to see Dad, Mum and Sirius again….but if the prophecy is true, I'd also be condemning the world to the fate of Voldemort….why does it have to be me?' thought an anguished Harry.
He'd been sitting by the lake for a few hours going over every detail he could remember about the events of the D.O.M., trying to figure out if there was something different he could have done to effect the outcome. Harry understood the muggle phrase, "Hindsight is 20/20", but after losing so much to Voldemort and his Death Eaters in his relatively short life of almost 16 years, he needed to understand what had happened to avoid making the same mistakes again.
Speaking quietly into the wind, "Merlin, I could use a pensieve right about now...it's just to hard to think right now….I need you, Sirius."
"Harry?" said Neville. He had been worried about his friend after he didn't show for lunch and decided to look for him.
"Hey Nev, what are you doing out here?" the numbness he was feeling coming through in his monotone voice.
"I got concerned when you didn't show in the Great Hall after visiting Ron and Hermione, so I decided to check and make sure you were alright." After a long pause he continued, "Look Harry, I know what happened is none of my business, but if you ever need someone to listen….just know that I'm here. I can't imagine what you must be feeling right now, but know you aren't alone if you don't want to be. You've always stood by me and helped even when others thought me hopeless and that's something I'm never going to forget...it works both ways if you need it to."
"Thanks Nev. I'm just trying to get the world to stop spinning right now and honestly, it isn't working. It has to get better, right? The Fates can't keep hating me, can they?" Harry said. At that, he finally turned around and Neville almost gasped as he caught the first glimpse at the true weight of the devastation Harry was feeling. Those normally brilliant green eyes were dull and lifeless, but held a yearning only those who have truly felt a great loss would understand. Simply put, his whole demeanor spoke of one word...WHY!
Scared that is dorm mate and friend would fall too far into his depression, Neville decided to stay with Harry, if for no other reason than to make sure he got back okay. He motioned, asking if it was alright to sit, and with a slight nod from Harry, did so. There was a long silence that lingered between them, but it wasn't uncomfortable.
Next to him, he heard a soft sigh as Harry started to speak, "You know the hardest part of the last few days has been the fact that all my dreams of a good home and future are gone. Did you know that Sirius was my godfather. Everyone thinks he set up my parents and betrayed them, but he was innocent…..it was Peter Pettigrew, a.k.a. Wormtail, a.k.a. Scabbers."
Looking up at Neville, and seeing how totally shocked his friends was, he continued, "Yeah, I know, scary. With the death of my godfather, I know Dumbledore is going to send me back to my muggle relatives for another summer of hell on earth.….Neville, I just don't think I can handle their bigotry and hatred of me after everything that has happened."
"Why do you have to go back? Can't you stay at Ron's or somewhere else for that matter?" asked a perplexed Neville.
Harry let out a little snort then said, "Not likely! Dumbledore said I have to stay at my Aunt's house because of some ancient blood protection that my mother cast on me. He thinks that's why I survived the Avada Kedavra curse as a baby. Trust me, I've argued and pleaded till I'm blue in the face. I've explained that I don't think the protection is active anymore, or at least not as good since my blood aided Voldemort's return, but he says that I have to keep going back to recharge the blood wards for another year."
Neville was sitting contemplating everything Harry had said and for the life of him, it didn't make any sense. If Voldemort has his blood, then blood wards are bypassed, or at least from everything he had ever heard or read on blood magic and wards. The biggest misconceptions about Neville were that, one, he was an idiot and, two, that his power was that of a near squib. That was, in fact, not the case. He may not have been very good at potions, though could you completely blame him for that, what with the constant hovering and barking of Snape and the Slytherin's ambushing him at every turn, but he was an avid reader and loved learning almost as much as Hermione.
Everyone assumed Neville was almost sorted into Hufflepuff, when in all actuality, he was almost in Ravenclaw. His power problem, for lack of a better explanation, was his wand….or should it be said his fathers wand and a lack of confidence. The wand was completely wrong for Neville, but that would be rectified this summer, as his old wand was now destroyed due to the D.O.M. fight. As to confidence, he was starting to make some major headway in that department, and he would forever give Harry credit for that. Little did any know that in the coming months, people would see all the preconceived notions about Neville shatter.
"Harry, I don't know what Dumbledore's thinking, but that just doesn't make any sense. Blood wards are only as good as the purity of the blood. If Vo-Vol-…Oh BLOODY Hell, Voldemort!…if he shares your blood, then the wards are null and void. We have to figure out a way to change his mind or this could be really bad!"
Harry was shocked that his friend knew anything about blood wards, and by the pure panic he could see in his friends eyes. "Neville! It's okay! I survived last year, I should be able to survive this year, too. I have tried all I can think of to change the Headmaster's mind but he won't budge. It's odd, really, when you think about it, he won't even listen to my reasoning..." Harry trailed off softly, obviously lost in his own words.
Staring out at the lake for few more moments, Harry began questioning Dumbledore's complete disregard of his opinions and that led to other thoughts and events where the Headmaster's influence was involved. 'Why do I have to do everything Dumbledore says and what right does Dumbledore have in making decisions for me. If Aunt Petunia is my guardian, then by all rights shouldn't she control what goes on in my life? Why does Aunt Petunia have guardianship of me anyway? Everyone's always told me that Aunt Petunia hates anything to do with magic, that she was always very bitter and resentful towards Mum….I just can't believe Mum and Dad would give me to Aunt Petunia to be raised. It just doesn't make any sense.'
With his mind going full tilt, he turned to Neville, with a look that spoke of someone engrossed in a great mystery and said, "Let's get back up to the school Nev, I think I need to start organizing my thoughts….maybe in a journal or something, so I can try and sort out what I'm truly thinking and feeling. I also need to write a few letters to get some questions I have answered. If I wrote to your Grandmother, do you think she could recommend a good lawyer? I have a feeling I'm going to need one." Neville just nodded his head affirmatively and as they stood up to walk back to the castle Harry said, "Thanks for listening and just hanging with me this afternoon, Nev. I needed to not be alone more than I was willing to admit."
"It's not a problem, that's what friends are for. Let me know if I can help anymore." With that they walked back up to the castle. Realizing it was dinner time, Neville made his way to the Great Hall after Harry said, "I'm going to eat in the kitchen so I can have some privacy while I write these letters. Don't wait up, afterwards, I'm going to head up to the owlery to spend some time with Hedwig before I send her to deliver them." With that they parted ways, each lost in their own thoughts.
Leaving Neville at the Great Hall doors, Harry started to make his way to the kitchens, when he unfortunately ran into the Headmaster. A brief conversation later, what he told Neville would happen came to pass. He was going back to his muggle relatives and was not to contact anyone except for the order and only in an emergency….for his own safety and the safety of his friends, of course. 'No surprise there!' Harry thought with a bitter sigh. Once they parted ways, Harry sat down at a table in the kitchen, Dobby bringing his favorite meal of fish and chips over, and contemplated who he should write first. Deciding his first letter should go to the goblins, he was hopeful that he'd be able to obtain a copy of his parents will.
To Whom it May Concern,
I am writing in regards to the will of my parents, James and Lily (Evans) Potter. I am, of course, assuming that they had a will, and that upon their deaths, the will was executed. I realize that in the wizarding world I am not of legal age to claim any inheritance until I turn 17, but was hoping that at the very least you could convey to me what the will stated, or send a copy of the will to me. Any help in this matter is greatly appreciated. Also, could you give me an accurate account statement of my vault, #687, as I have to make some purchases this summer and would like to know how much is left.
After rolling it up and sealing it, he figured he might as well write to the department, within the Ministry of Magic, that dealt with children services and orphaned children.
To Whom it May Concern,
My name is Harry James Potter, and I was hoping you could give me some information on the laws regarding the guardianship of orphaned children. How are the laws carried out if the parents left a will that stipulates who should be granted guardianship, and also, what would happen if no stipulations had been left, what happens to the child. If the will states certain criteria, and it is not carried out, who is held responsible for the breach in executing the deceased will. I realize this may seem like an odd request, but certain events have transpired lately that make me question why I was put with my muggle relations and not with a magical family, since I am indeed magical. Any assistance you give is greatly appreciated.
Harry J. Potter
Next, he felt it would be wise to seek out the advice of Mrs. Longbottom in finding a lawyer. He had no doubt, as he thought more about his situation, that he was going to need one.
Dear Mrs. Longbottom,
This may sound like an odd request, but after speaking with Neville, who assured me that you would be able to assist, I would like your opinion on a good Law Wizard. Recently, there have been several things that have led me to start questioning events in my life, and have decided that in the event that the answers I seek should lead to the conclusions I'm expecting, I will definitely need a good lawyer. Being of the Ancient and Noble House Longbottom, I'm hoping that you will be able to offer me the name of someone I can trust to handle my affairs.
I would like to apologize for Neville being involved in the Department of Mysteries fiasco and for him almost getting hurt by Voldemort and his Death Eaters. Having said that, I would like you to know that he was at his best that night and I'm truly honored to call him a friend. Out of all who came, only Neville and myself came away fairly unscathed. When the time comes to purchase his new wand, if you would, let me know how much it is, I'd like to purchase his new one….had it not been for me, he would not be needing a new wand. Once again, I would like to thank you for any help you can offer me.
Harry J. Potter
Finishing his last letters, Harry went up to the owlery to spend some time with Hedwig. Petting her soft feathers, and giving her several owl treats, he sent Hedwig on her way. He was hoping to have some answers within a few days. They still had almost a week of school left, so he was going to try and get as much information compiled as he could, and start working on the solutions while still in the magical world. It would get rather hard to correspond once he got back to the Dursley's, what with Dumbledore telling him to keep contact with the magical world to a minimum...for his own protection. Harry snorted at this thought, like it did him any good last year! The more information he could gather now, the better off he would be.
As Harry made his way back to the common room, he remembered the journal he'd received from Hermione, and thought that he could probably use it as a way of cataloging his thoughts and organizing the answers he was hoping to receive. Once he entered, he noticed that Nev was still up and waving him over.
"What's up Nev?" as Harry said this, Neville looked around and because he didn't have his wand, asked Harry to cast a silencing spell. This request seemed odd coming from Neville, so Harry knew what ever was going to be said had to be important.
"Harry, I need to tell you what I heard, here, in the common room after coming back from dinner. Did you know that Ron and Hermione are out of the hospital wing?" at Harry's shake in the negative, he continued, "I don't think Ron realized that he wasn't alone, but when I was in the entry tunnel of the portrait, I overheard him mumbling to himself. Harry, he's been informing the Headmaster about all your comings and goings." To say Harry was shocked would be an understatement, but trying to give his friend the benefit of the doubt, he asked what Ron had said and if it only pertained to gathering info about the D.O.M..
Neville responded, "I'm afraid not. To quote Ron, 'I can't believe that Dumbledore is mad at me for letting Harry slip through and get to the D.O.M. With all the information I've given him over the years, he should know you can't control everything Harry does. It's not my fault!', at this, I concluded that he's been spying on you for a while now. I'm sorry I had to be the one to tell you this."
"No, it's alright Nev. I just can't believe he could think so little of me and our friendship to do this. I always knew Ron was a little jealous of my fame and stuff, but I didn't think he was so jealous as to sink this low!" After taking a few deep breaths to calm himself down, Harry sat and decided to keep this new information to himself for now and would confront him later after he'd made some progress with the other problems in his life. "For now, let him think nothing has changed. I will handle my so-called 'friends'' betrayal later." With that said, he went to bed after thanking Neville for the information.
Surprisingly, at lunch the next day, Harry received a reply from the Goblins of Gringotts and Mrs. Longbottom. When he was done eating, he made his excuses to Ron, his backstabbing friend, and to Hermione, then went out to the lake again for some privacy.
We here at Gringotts were completely shocked that you had not already received a copy of you parents will and to make matters worse, that you have not been getting your trust account statements. To make sure you are indeed who you say you are, we have enclosed a document that will verify your claim. All you need to do is sign the bottom and put three drops of blood on your signature and the document will instantaneously return to us. If the parchment shows you are indeed Mr. Harry James Potter, we will forward all documents to you immediately, and you should receive them by 6pm this evening.
Wills and Inheritance Department
Harry read over the simple document, signed his name and took his quill, poked his finger and let three drops of blood fall as indicated. Within seconds, the document disappeared, so opened the next letter.
Dear Mr. Potter,
Let me get straight to the point and offer your the name of our families personal law wizard. His name is Anthony Rooks, from Rooks, Rooks, and Burke. They have been serving the Longbottom line for almost 300 years with great success. I have taken the liberty to forward a copy of your letter to Tony in the hopes that he can be alert and ready for any correspondence you may send him.
Now, as to your apology, I thank you, but it is unnecessary. I had always hoped that Neville would come out of his shell a little and it seems with your help, and make no mistake he has kept me fully appraise of your personal tutoring, it has come to pass. You will not be paying for a new wand as it was my stubbornness that Neville be like his father that created the lackluster performance seen by him thus far. However, the thought is greatly appreciated and lends you credit. I hope this information is accepted well.
Harry chuckled a little as he could imagine the stern looking woman writing this, if everything Neville said about is grandmother was correct. After sitting back against a tree, Harry started thinking about the letter from Gringotts. The more he thought about it the more upset he became….he should have received the very information he was requesting already. As he banged the back of his head on the tree, he thought, 'Merlin Sirius, I wish you were hear...maybe Remus will be able to help...Sirius and my parents certainly trusted him. I'll write him after dinner when I've received the correspondence from Gringotts.'
Deciding to take advantage of the great spring weather and being alone for the next few hours, he pulled out his journal and started unraveling the events of the D.O.M.. Harry's plan was to go step by step through every event that has transpired during his time at Hogwarts, but figured he should start with D.O.M. since it was still fresh in his mind. He spent the next several hours writing every detail he could recall, from when the vision happened during the History of Magic exam, straight through to the conversation in the Headmasters' office.
So lost in thought, Harry didn't even realize that the sun was starting to set until an owl swooped down on him with a package carrying the Gringotts seal. Opening the package, noticing all the documents enclosed, he fished out the letter first.
Dear Mr. Potter,
Enclosed please find a copy of your parents will and the accounting statements of all vaults in your possession to date. After discussing your lack of information with Hordak, Chief Goblin of Gringotts, it's been decided that a complete audit of your vaults is in order. When we complete this, we will, of course, forward any finding to you. It has also come to our understanding that you are unable to come to Gringotts Bank, so to make it easier, when you get home for the summer, send a note via the mail pouch provided, no owl is necessary, and we will send a representative to you. Once again, we at Gringotts would like to express our apologies to you and will get everything straightened out.
Wills and Inheritance Department
Harry proceeded to pull out his parents will and it read:
THE LAST WILL AND TESTAMENT OF JAMES AND LILY POTTER
Being of sound mind and body, we James and Lily Potter do bequeath all our worldly possessions to our son Harry James Potter. This includes all titles, monies, gems, homes, property, businesses, artifacts and anything else in our homes or vaults throughout the world. Harry should be made aware of his holdings at the age of 14 by his guardian, so that he can become acquainted with everything the Potter estate entails. At the age of 16, Harry will take over the estate from his guardian. We realize that normally this happens at 17, however we want our son to handle the estate as soon as possible.
To the guardianship of our beloved son, the list of possible guardians is shown below in order of preference.
1. Sirius Orion Black, Godfather and Friend
2. Poppy Pompfrey, Godmother and Friend
3. Remus John Lupin, Friend
4. Frank and Alice Longbottom, Friends
5. Amelia Bones, Friend
Under no circumstance is Petunia Dursley to be given any say in her nephew's life. She may be blood related, but she hates all things magic.
Any guardian shall be paid a sum of 4000 galleons per year, to help in taking care of Harry. They will also oversee any investments, making sure they are sound so the future of the Potter legacy prospers. A trust fund has been set up that contains 100,000 galleons, 50,000 knuts, and 10,000 sickles, to be capped off every year while Harry is in school. Tuition for school will come out of this account.
These are our last wishes if we cannot be with our son.
Lily Evans Potter
Witness: Albus Percival Wulfric Brian Dumbledore
By the point he had finished his letter he was reeling with anger and felt a great sense of betrayal. Tears streamed down his face, as he finally lost the battle to contain them after so many days of feeling the overwhelming loss of Sirius, the betrayal of his friend and supposed mentor, and over losing his parents and having their wishes ignored for some unknown reason.
Harry had wanted a good home for so long, and by the list of guardians his parents had supplied, he should have had that all along. Pulling himself together, he picked up the packet from Gringotts and his journal, and made his way back to the Gryffindor 5th year boy's dorm. Sitting on his bed, Harry was going over the letters and will again when Neville came in.
Sensing the tension, Neville approached carefully and said, "Harry? I noticed you received some owls at lunch. Did you get the information you were looking for?" Harry looked up and motioned for his friend to sit down and began to show him the packet he was going through. After going over everything but his financial statements, they sat in silence for a few moments.
"Well, this definitely answers some questions, but leaves me with many more. I think I'll contact that lawyer your Gran suggested and get some legal advise….my brain is too overwhelmed to think straight. I guess before going to bed I better write Tony Rooks, then I should write Remus. Thanks for all you help, Nev."
"Not a problem. When your ready to go over your financial statements, let me know. I have some experience with those kinds of things, being the Longbottom Heir. Goodnight."
"Yeah, thanks Nev….I just might take advantage of that offer. Goodnight." He proceeded to write his letters then sent them off with Hedwig. After such a trying day, Harry laid on his bed for a night of fitful sleep.