Disclaimer: I don't own Harry Potter, it belongs to JK Rowling, etc etc.
Authors Note: First chapter of the sequel - Yay! Thanks for the support on my last story and all your awesome reviews. I hope you enjoy this one as well. In case any of you didn't figure it out by now, this is the sequel to my story Harry Potter and the Alternate Universe: Year Six. So make sure you've read that one before you read this.
Also, I want to make it perfectly clear that while this is a Harry/Hermione fic, the other characters will not be ignored. Meaning, they will have just as much paper time devoted to them. So if you only want to read Harry/Hermione, this fic is probably not for you.
Another warning, this fic will have lots of death. Probably not main characters, but people will die. At the moment, the current plan is for two main characters to die. One for sure, but the other is on the table at the moment. Meaning, I haven't decided yet. It could be either of two characters. Maybe I'll decide not to kill either of them, I don't know yet, but I'm just warning you that if you don't like major character deaths, you might not want to read this.
Hopefully I didn't put any of you off, I certainly don't want that. Anyway, now that that's done, enjoy!
Harry Potter and the Year of Discord
When one looked at the world, it was almost impossible to imagine that hidden from today's society was a completely different world, one full of magic and wonder. A world where wizards lived and died, loved and lost, and learnt and forgot. A magical world one would normally find in a children's fairy tale book. However, such a world did exist, and its existence was becoming more and more evident to those who lived in the other world, the ones referred to as Muggles.
Why was this world that managed to remain hidden for so long finally being noticed? The answer was simple. It could be found almost everywhere you looked, the balance that kept the world from tipping and falling apart. Put simply, it was good and evil. As with everything good, it was no use without the evil to justify it. Good could not be good without evil, and evil could not be evil without good. Without the other, they would just be.
In other words, for everything magical, there was something terrible in this other world, the hidden world. Trolls, capable of causing mass amounts of destruction with a single swing of their club. Even more terrifying, Giants capable of causing avalanches with a single step. Cloaked beings known as Dementors, with the horrifying ability to drain the happiness from the world, and even to suck a person soul from his body with a solitary kiss.
It was this evil that was causing the concealed world of wizards and witches to become more and more visible to their Muggle neighbours. Specifically, it was one source of evil, a wizard so seeped in malevolence that his visage was that of a human and snake hybrid – a man so hungry for power and immortality that he had torn his own soul into seven pieces. The world of magic and wonder was being overrun with evil, tipping the balance in favour of darkness.
It was that world that Harry Potter lived in, the one wizard capable of righting that balance, by decree of a prophecy created before he was even born. His entire life had been shaped by a few words, heard out of context. Nevertheless, it was the world he lived in, and the life he lived, and he loved it, despite its downsides.
But for now, Harry was stuck in the world he had grown up in, the world he hated. It was not the Muggle world in general that he disliked, but the family that had raised him, the prison he was forced to return to every summer by order of his mentor and Headmaster.
The Dursleys had never troubled to hide their loathing of him and everything he stood for from him. They had tried to beat the magic out of him when he was younger and had neglected him for the most part of his young life. It was only when he learnt who he really was and returned to their household after his first year at Hogwarts – the best wizarding school in the world, as far as he was concerned – that he had taken charge of things. He refused to let the Dursleys bully him and had done everything in his power to make sure they couldn't harm him anymore. He wasn't a member of Slytherin house for nothing, you know.
Even though the Dursleys no longer troubled him, he still hated returning to their care, even for the short amount of time that was required. They might not lock him in a closet and throw insults at him anymore, but they never stopped sneering at him. It was pretty annoying.
So Harry spent most of his time locked up in his room, ticking away the days until he could leave and never return. After all, this was the last time he would have to spend a summer here. After he turned seventeen, he would be gone, and gone forever.
The days passed slowly for Harry, but finally the day arrived. He was awake as the twelfth hour came and then passed. He smiled to himself, looking out the window of Privet Drive and staring at the star speckled night sky. He was officially no longer a minor in the wizarding society. He was of age. An adult. In other words, he could use magic whenever he wanted now.
He held his wand aloft, staring at it in the darkness; it's smooth surface shinning from the small amount of light flittering in through the window. He twirled it around once, before pointing it at his bed. Immediately, the bed grew in size, the sheets became tidier and cleaner, turning a dark green colour. He smirked at his handy work, just enjoying the freedom of being able to do magic whenever he wanted.
"What do you think Hedwig?" Harry asked, looking over at his snowy owl. "Good?"
Hedwig hooted an affirmative, hopping on her perch, restless.
"You want to go out girl?" Harry asked, and got another affirmative. "Okay, give me a second then. I've got a job for you anyway."
Harry crossed the room and pulled out his chair with a hooked foot, before sitting down and grabbing a piece of parchment. He inked up his quill and then started writing:
How are things going for you? I know I said I'd write more, but the more I write to you, the more I miss you and wizard world. But, on the bright side, this is the last time I have to be here. Anyway, I'll get to the point. I don't think it's a good idea for you to stay out in the open like you are. I'm sure you know what I mean. I can't say much, in case this owl is intercepted, but I'm going to try and sort it out, okay? So don't be surprised if I show up out of the blue or something. In the meantime, keep an eye out and be careful. I really miss you and can't wait to see you again.
Lots of love, Harry.
Finishing up, Harry folded up the parchment and sealed it in an envelope, before handing it to Hedwig and opening the window. He gave his owl a few gentle strokes on the head.
"I'm going to be at Grimmauld Place from tomorrow onwards, so don't forget, okay girl?"
Hedwig softly and flew out of the window, her version of a friendly goodbye.
Finally, Harry climbed into his immaculate and very comfy bed, intent on getting a good night sleep for the last time under the roof of the Dursleys. He snuggled into his blankets and let out a soft sigh, before closing his eyes and rolling over. It normally took him a long time to fall asleep while staying with the Dursleys, some part of his mind not trusting them to fully relax, but this time, he was sleep before his head hit the pillow, figuratively speaking.
The next day dawned early for Harry and he found himself creeping down the stairs (which was basically walking normally for him – why do you think he was so good at not making a sound?) of the Dursley household and into their kitchen. He quickly made himself breakfast, only realising half way through that it would be a whole lot easier to use magic. After that, he was done in seconds. Being of age really was great, Harry decided.
Sitting at the dinning table, he enjoyed a nice quiet traditional English breakfast of bacon and eggs (his eggs well done, just the way he liked them) with a side order of toast and a glass of orange juice. He was halfway through his breakfast when his aunt Petunia arrived, clad in a highly offensive (at least to Harry) pink robe, tied at the waist.
"Oh," she said, surprised, "you're up."
"How observant of you," Harry returned.
His aunt frowned at him, but didn't make any comeback at his sarcasm, just going about her business. His uncle arrived next, also glad in a horrible bathrobe, but his was a dark blue colour. Vernon glared at him on sight, taking a seat across the table and unfurling a newspaper he must have picked up at the door.
"I'm leaving today," Harry said, just in case they had forgot. He didn't think they would have.
"Good riddance," his uncle grunted from behind the paper.
"You really should be nice to me you know," Harry said, bringing his wand out and twirling it around his fingers.
"And why - " Vernon stopped when he spotted the wand in Harry's hand, his bulging eyes turning to glare once again at Harry. "Put that away! I'm not stupid, I know you can't use…it…outside of that freak school of yours."
"What?" Harry said, leaning forward with a smirk. "Magic?"
"I told you not to say that word!" Vernon raged, going purple in the face.
"You know what Vernon," Harry said, "I really don't think I care what you say anymore. I'm leaving this place for good and I'm never coming back. But just so you know, today's my birthday, and I'm officially allowed to use magic. So I'd be nice to me, or something…bad…might happen, understand?"
Vernon's eyes looked like they were about to burst, a vein bulging out of his neck and his face so purple Harry was sure it would light the room even in the darkest of places. His aunt Petunia had stopped whatever she was doing and was staring at him.
"My godfather will be here soon," Harry said, standing up, "so I'm going to go pack. Petunia, be a dear and clean up my mess will you. I could use magic, but I'm just so tired." Harry mocked yawned, grinned at them, and then left the room. He could practically hear the vein on Vernon neck pulsing.
Harry took his time packing, just letting the moment wash over him. He was finally free of the Dursleys. He was certainly going to enjoy the moment. He finished of by shrinking his trunk, Hedwig's cage, and his Firebolt, stuffing them all into his pockets. He'd already transfigured the bed back into it's original musty, worn down state. He wasn't going to leave them with an expensive bed, after all. Actually, the only thing he would leave the Dursleys was something he was sure they wouldn't appreciate.
Harry left the room behind and was about to go downstairs when an idea hit him, and he turned to face the door leading to Dudley's bedroom. He figured Sirius must have been rubbing off on him, because he'd never been much of a prankster before. He was way too serious for that. However, today seemed to be his day.
Grinning, he entered the boy's room. Dudley was still asleep, snoring like a bulldozer, nestled in his blankets like an over grown whale. Harry took a look around at all of the junk that filled the bully's room. It was over flowing with video games, dirty clothes and empty take out boxes. On top of that, it smelt worse than a garbage can, a mixture of half eaten food and sweaty testosterone.
Wrinkling his nose at the smell, Harry raised his wand and gave it a wave, tracing a green arc in the air. Smirking, he left the room. Harry only wishing he could be here when Dudley finally woke up, only to find all his underwear had somehow gone through a miraculous transformation during the night, turning into pink frilly knickers, and that all of his clothes had decided to join in and turn themselves into equally pink, frilly dresses.
He descended the stairs and found his aunt and uncle sitting at the dinning room table, drinking coffee and sitting upright in their seats, almost as if afraid to move and offend him somehow. He chuckled, which earned him a momentary glare from Vernon, who quickly turned back to staring into his coffee cup when he noticed Harry's wand poking out of his pocket.
"Well," Harry said, looking around the room for the last time, "my Godfather will be here any minute now. I just have to say, it was a real pleasure staying here and being a pain in your gigantic ass uncle Vernon. And I can't forget my mother's jealous sister can I? Aunt Petunia, I can honestly say you are the stupidest, most petty person I have ever met, and boy have I met some stupid ones."
Vernon looked like he had finally taken enough, and was about to go into a rage, when the doorbell rang and Sirius's jovial tone echoed throughout the house:
"Honey, I'm home!"
"In here Sirius," Harry shouted back, and was joined a moment later by his handsome godfather.
"You ready Harry?" Sirius asked, looking at Vernon and Petunia with obvious distaste.
This just served to confuse his aunt and uncle, as they were under the impression they should be the ones disgusted. Harry gave them one last smirk and nodded.
"Sure am," he said.
"Everything packet?" Sirius asked.
"Yeah," Harry said, "I got everything in my pocket. It's really great being of age, isn't it?"
Sirius grinned. "It sure is," he said, "I remember the first thing I did when I became of age. But I'd best not tell it in front of the little muggles, it might frighten them." Sirius grinned at them, enjoying Vernon's purple face.
"Come on Sirius," Harry said, "it really stinks in this house."
"Yeah," Sirius agreed, turning and walking out of the room, following Harry. "It really does."
Leaving a stupefied Vernon and Petunia Dursley behind, they left the house and started down the lawn. Harry stopped Sirius half way, turning to look back at the house.
"What is it?" Sirius asked.
"I feel like I've got some unfinished business…" Harry said, pausing for effect at the end. "Oh yeah, that's it."
He pulled out his wand and waved it at the house, before pocketing it. Sirius laughed out loud, looking at the Dursley household through barely contained tears of mirth.
"Harry," Sirius wheezed, finally getting control of himself. "You really are your fathers son."
"Glad to hear," Harry said. "Come on, it's time to go."
Still chuckling, Sirius grabbed Harry's arm and Apparated away, leaving Privet Drive behind. When Vernon Dursley left for work, he almost had a heart attack at what was written all over his house in gigantic sparkling green paint:
"Vernon Dursley for Minister for Magic!"
"We love magic!"
"Petunia Dursley wants to be a witch!"
And Harry's favourite:
"Dudley Dursley wears girls underwear!"