Harry Potter and the Season of Hell
Harry had looked back at Rufus Scrimgeour in utter incredulousness. He couldn't believe the gall that ran through the mind and thought processes of the minister of magic. Harry thought now that the man probably needed his assistant, Mr. Weatherby to aid him with troubles in the lew. The bottom line was that Stan Shunpike was still in Azkaban, and the minister wouldn't bend on his release.
The minister was looking toward Harry for help in a propaganda onslaught towards the Daily Prophet, and hopefully aid in bringing about the end of the Dark Lords minions. This didn't happen, and only because of a pimple-faced Knight Bus attendant. That boy would see to it that everything came to a halt because of his idealism. That boy would be the end of his career as Minister of Magic. Rufus Scrimgeour would not have that at all. He had spent far too many years as the head of the Auror Division in the department of magical law enforcement. He had to find a way around this. There had to be an angle. Weatherby would know a way. He had been Fudge's assistance for nearly five years, and once more, his brothers and sister were very close friends with the boy-who-lived.
"Percival, I want a detailed report on my desk, no later than tomorrow morning. I want to know everything that there is to know about Mr. Potter. That will also include all the bumbling that Fudge attempted against him. You have fourteen hours. Make is so."
"Y-yes, Minister!" Percy said, stumbling backwards, and heading towards the front gates to the closest apparition point.
What the minister didn't realize at this particular time was that this effort to manipulate Harry Potter would prove not only to have been a grave error in judgment on his part, but would also be the Rosetta Stone to his fall from grace.
Harry Potter, however, walked back towards the Castle, not focused on the interaction with the minister. His thoughts were still firmly planted on what lie ahead for him. He thought about the horcruxes, and the responsibilities that were his and his alone. He thought about the night that the headmaster died and looked at it from each and every angle. Something about what happened didn't sit well with him, but he couldn't figure it out.
There were other things that were just not making sense to him as well. He entered into a relationship with Ginny, one that he had just ended a few moments ago. He thought of that relationship and where things were going. For years, he had no interest in her, and he knew of her crush. There were years that she could barely stand in the same room with him without having an extremity finding itself lodged in butter dish. When they had previously been in the same room, she would stammer, blush, and couldn't form complete sentences. She had matured this past year beyond that. In fact, since returning from the Department of Mysteries, she had matured into a different person altogether. He just wasn't sure that everything between them was real or surreal.
He had to get away. He had to think, and he couldn't do that while they were together, because more often than not, when he wasn't concentrated on the horcrux tasks, he was consumed with thoughts and images of her.
Once back in the castle and in his dorm room, Harry quickly checked to make sure that his trunk had been packed, and verified that all of his belongings where were they should be. Ever since the death of the headmaster, many parents of the students had started pulling their children to go home. It was only May and there would still be a couple of weeks before the Hogwarts Express would have been due to return to retrieve the children, hoever, due to the circumstances the interim Headmistress, Professor MacGongall had arranged for it to retrieve the children the second week of June.
These days saw many different changes in the boy-who-lived. He spent a lot of his time alone in the Room of Requirement. No one new what he was doing or where he was at during these times and that was because he kept the Marauders map with him at all times. He changed his diet drastically. Instead of the usual meat and potatoes that he would generally consume, fish and vegetables in mass quantities replaced them.
His friends Ron and Hermione had approached him many times to broach the subject of why he was making himself an outcast in the attempts to get him to confront his fears. These attempts had remained a futile effort. He would shrug them off, stating that he had to work some things out.
In secret this remained true. From sun up until breakfast in the great hall he found himself working out physically with pushing ups, sit ups, free weights in the make-shift gymnasium that he had transformed the room of requirements. Upon finishing his breakfast, which consisted of large quantities of eggs, bacon, sausage, and equally large quantities of fruit, he would spend the following hour and a half running laps around the quidditch pitch.
He would spend hours meditating and working on his occlumency. He had found a few books in the restricted section that helped far greater than the remedial potions classes ever could. He was able to clear his mind almost instantly, and would hold that blank slate for untold amounts of time. This in a way would prove to be far more beneficial for Harry in the future than he would ever know.
The final days prior to leaving on the Hogwarts Express were to show Harry that he really was on his own. He preferred it that way. He walked into the Gryffindor common room to see Ron and Hermione sitting on the coach. Hermione head gently resting against Ron's shoulder. Harry smiled to himself, remembering how that had started at the funeral, and had continued. The days of huge rows between the two seemed to be a thing of the past. They seemed to have worked past it to aid each other during their times of grief.
The night before it was time for them to depart was one of quiet solitude. Harry found himself looking at himself in the mirror that Sirius had given him. His thoughts always drifted towards Sirius because he had been the closest thing to a father that Harry had ever known. He looked at himself now. His weeks of exercise had transformed him into a new person. He was lean and healthy. He kept this hidden from everyone else now. School robes being rather concealing did this for him as well.
He had to find a way to maintain his workouts while with his relatives. He couldn't afford for the starvation to rob him of all of the hard work that he had been putting himself through. The work outs, both physical and mental had paid off. The diet had made him more healthy that he had ever been. His thoughts drifted towards Dobby.
"Dobby!" He said quickly, and with a soft pop, the house elf stood solemnly before him.
"Master Harry Potter sir, how can Dobby be assisting?" He said buoyantly.
"Dobby, as you know I will be returning to my relatives shortly and I was sort of wondering if you could help me while I am there?" He said, hopefully, noticing that the depressed house elf, looked at him incredulously and them exploded into fits of utter glee.
"The great Harry Potter sir wants Dobby's help! Harry Potter is the greatest wizard alive! Dobby is most agreeing and accepts to help Master Harry Potter in any way he can! All Harry Potter has to do is call Dobby's name, and he will come."
Ginevra Weasley was pissed off, and that was putting it mildly. All of her careful planning lay in waste and for nothing. She had just received her first howler from her mum. Screaming at her in her disappointment for the loss of not the Headmaster, but for the Weasley's loss of one Harry James Potter. The plan was ruined. There was no way to get around it. She had to go down to the room of requirement, and even there had to put up a silencing spell before opening the howler.
She opened her trunk and pulled out the heart-shaped rose colored bottle before slinging at full force against the wall. Shards of glass and droplets of Amortentia slid down the wall. She quickly scorgified the mess before storming off down the stairs with her trunk prepared to board the Hogwarts Express.