A/N: Slightly different from my more conventional (read, more canon-esque stories in terms of in-character actions). AU Set after 5th year. Harry finds that those whom have guided his life may not have had the best of intentions. Likely H/Hr shipper, though there won't be much (if any) Weasley bashing. Also as is the case, if you enjoy what you read please leave me a note saying that you do, as they do help motivate me.
Without further adieu...let yet another fic begin.
Chapter 1: Secrets
The car ride home from King's Cross station was in effect a silent one. Harry kept to himself most of the way home, a fact that the Dursley's were more than keen to allow.
'Home,' Harry thought to himself, lost in his own thoughts, 'this place has never been home to me.' Harry deeply wished to be going anywhere, anywhere but here. He didn't care if Voldemort would be able to target him elsewhere. He'd almost rather stare down a dozen dark lords rather than face his Uncle should he come home drunk again.
Idly his mind wandered back to the conversation he had with Dumbledore at the closing of term. His blood still boiled over thinking about everything that the man had done in the name of "his own good." 'Shows what he knows,' Harry cheekily told himself, as he glanced at his three relatives in the car with him, and kept noticing that Dudley was situating himself along the seat, undoubtedly trying to protect his bum from anymore "freakishness."
It was nearly tea time when they reached Number 4 Privet Drive. Without a word Harry unloaded his trunk and Hedwig's cage and took them up to the small room he called his own. Surprisingly, Vernon didn't object to him or say much of anything for that matter. Perhaps he had actually taken to the conversation with Shacklebolt at King's Cross to treat him better...or perhaps he just didn't want someone like Mad-Eye roaming around. Harry idly thought that it was something he could understand fully.
Harry got into his room and quickly saw his familiar, Hedwig, sitting on the windowsill. "Hello girl," Harry said in as soft a voice he could muster as he opened the window and let the snowy owl inside. He noticed a small package taped to her leg. "What's this...something from Ron I guess." It didn't occur to him that Hedwig shouldn't have had anything on her leg after flying straight here from Hogwarts. He removed the small letter and set it aside, before setting up Hedwig's perch and cage in the corner near the window and handing her a small treat he had kept out. Idly Harry stroked the bird's head and earned a gentle coo for his efforts, which earned a small smile from Harry.
He was still awash in anguish over what had happened to his godfather, the one person in this world that he knew for certain loved him for being...well...Harry. Not the Boy-Who-Lived. Not The Chosen One. Not some ultimate weapon. Just Harry. And Harry could only come to one irrevocable conclusion, everything was his fault. If he hadn't been so stupid, so blind as to everything than he could have known. Sirius would still be alive and he might be able to stay with him this summer.
'No,' Harry was quick to remind himself with anger, 'Dumbledore wouldn't have allowed it.' The thought of his headmaster was something better ignored at the moment. Harry was about to go and see what Hedwig had brought him, when the thudding of steps from downstairs clued Harry to the impending arrival of his uncle. Sighing Harry sat down on his bed and waited for what was likely to be the usual "None of your funny business this summer boy or back to the cupboard with you," speeches he had grown accustomed to. Harry's door opened and he regarded the walrus-esque man with a mustache carefully. There was anger in his face, as much as there ever was, but something was missing. Harry didn't see the unflinching hatred that he had noticed in the man before. Harry filed it away for later use.
"Boy," the man said without his usual vitriol, "Let me tell you something right here and now. I don't want any funny business this summer. I don't want you here anymore than you want to be here, so let's just do each other a favor and stay out of everyone's way. If your Aunt asks you to do something though, it better bloody well be done!" At that note, Vernon closed the door and locked it slightly, leaving Harry with a dumbfounded look that was rapidly expanding across his face. This was not the way it was supposed to work. His Uncle was supposed to beat him around the bush and then send him to weed the garden, not treat him as a human being. Well, maybe he hadn't been treated as a human, but certainly better than your average house elf. It was as if somebody had decided to rewrite the rules of the world, turn it on its ear, and here he was last to know about it.
He internally chuckled at how far that wasn't from the truth.
He looked back down at his desk and looked at the letter. Taking it into his hand he noticed that it glowed red for a moment, and then blue, and finally green. After which it seemed to shimmer for a moment before Harry could make out the seal of wax that held it closed. He watched intently as he saw an orange seal written in a language he couldn't quite understand. Written below it in English was "Gringott's Wizarding Bank."
Harry stared at the letter for a moment with curiosity. He had never received a letter from the goblin's at Gringotts. Without warning he opened the envelope and pulled out what appeared to be a tome of a letter. Setting aside the envelope he sat down on his bed and put his feet up on his desk. He idly twirled his wand as he read the letter.
Dear Mr. Potter,
It has recently come to our unfortunate attention that there are several discrepancies in dealing with your trust vault. The vault was to contain a grand total of 95,984 galleons in it as of this time, and upon your birthday on July 31st would be reset to the level of 100,000 galleons per your father's instructions in setting up the vault.
However, an audit of all assets within the bank have shown up that there is exactly 49, 723 galleons currently deposited in your trust vault. The only known way of this occurring is due to unauthorized transactions from your vault. Examinations of your vault over the last twelve years have shown there to be similar transactions, though there has been more activity within the last five years. Rest assured, all automatic withdrawals from your accounts have been suspended pending further investigation. We at Gringotts assure you that this is a most uncommon occurance and that we will work in every way to ensure that it never happens again.
Though I would like to convey good news to you at this point, unfortunately I cannot. We have also received confirmation of the death of one Sirius Orion Black. Under normal circumstances you would not be informed of this until your seventeenth birthday, however Mr. Black's circumstances are not normal. Upon the reading of his will, it was determined that he had named you his heir and thusly as the new head of the Most Noble and Ancient House of Black. Per his instructions, you are to come into your inheritance immediately.
Also, further examination of our records show that you are the Heir to several other Houses as well. By blood you are the direct heir of the Most Noble and Ancient House of Potter, The Most Noble and Ancient House of Seldon & The Most Noble and Ancient House of Warrens. By way of being the last male heir of distant relation, you are also entitled to the Most Noble and Ancient House of Draven. As you will be considered an emancipated adult upon your acceptance of the inheritance for the House of Black, you will be eligible to claim your other inheritances as well.
It may interest you to know that should you choose to do so upon accepting your inheritance of the above-stated bloodlines, you would further be eligible to claim the ancestral lines of one Godric Gryffindor, Salazar Slytherin, Rowena Ravenclaw & Helga Hufflepuff. There has not been an heir to all four in the last 900 years, and you will have to undergo a significant ritual to claim their inheritance per their instructions to the Glorious Goblin Nation. Do not undertake this ritual lightly, for should you be judged unworthy you will not be able to undergo the ritual a second time.
Please come to the main branch of Gringott's in Diagon Alley, London, at your earliest convenience to resolve these matters.
And once again, we apologize for the horrible oversight in security as it concerns your trust vault. Rest assured the perpetrator will be caught and that any assets of theres will be repaid to you by way of reparations. We eagerly anticipate your arrival.
Director of Inheritance and Estate
Gringotts Bank-Diagon Alley-London
Harry sat and read the letter again, his mind abuzz with its contents. He read it over twice more, and then pinched himself to make sure he wasn't dreaming. He wasn't quite sure about all the laws and such as it concerned the Houses of Wizards and their estates. Heck he could barely make a summoning spell work at times. Almost instantly the guilt for his godfather had faded to the back of his mind as he considered everything.
First on his mind was who could possibly have been taking his money? His mind went through a list of people who might have access to it and who would actually do such a thing, and when that came up empty he grimaced in frustration. He knew that he should be hitting on something obvious here, but was uncertain as to what it was.
Secondly he looked at each of the Houses in turn and resolved to assume all of the inheritance. He didn't quite know what made him decide so quickly to do so, probably a bit of that Gryffindor courage he was so famous for.
'Speaking of which'...he wondered idly what would go through his friend's head the minute they found out that he was not only the Heir to several of the oldest Houses in the wizarding world, including some that he was certain had died out over the years, not to mention he was the possible heir of all four of the Founders. He idly wondered at how Voldemort would react to that bit of news as well...wasn't he supposed to be the last heir of Slytherin anyway?
Harry was broken from his revery almost immediately. There was a flash in the middle of his room, and quickly he saw Fawkes appear. Harry regarded the phoenix, who jumped up onto his desk and dropped a note there, giving a trill that brought Harry a good deal of comfort. Harry picked up the letter and read it. Whatever it was he was expecting, it wasn't this:
Unfortunately I must contact you immediately following your departure. Though the wards at Privet Drive are strong indeed, they will fade in protection the further you get from the House. I must ask that you not leave the premises unless you are accompanied by one of your guardians or an Order member. I do hope you understand.
Harry regarded the letter, but not with the disappointment that he though he would. Instead his feelings were one of distrust, one of a bit of rage. Dumbledore was essentially sentencing him to prison for three months, and though it wasn't Azkaban, one would have to wonder how much better it really was. This raised another problem too. He knew that Order members would be guarding his house nonstop to make sure he never left there. So how then could he go to Gringotts?
There was really only one way out. He would have to have his relatives help. He was sure he could get it, but it was the enticements he would have to offer to get it. One such enticement was financial, the other was to rid themselves of him altogether. Harry planned to use both.
If Harry was the heir of all of the above estates, than surely they had property included. He knew for certain that Grimmauld Place would be included in the Black estate, but he didn't want to use that unless he absolutely had to, because that would be the first place Dumbledore would go looking for him to usher him back to his makeshift jail cell. If worse came to worse, he could always hide out at a Muggle hotel for a few days while he planned his next move.
Steeling his resolve, he noticed that Fawkes was still sitting there, waiting for a reply. Hurriedly Harry grabbed a piece of parchment and scribbled out a reply to the effect that he understood and would see him later. Leaving out all the other details, he handed the note back to Fawkes and prayed the bird couldn't read minds. As soon as the phoenix had left the room, he took a few deep breaths, and made his way downstairs.
He stopped when he saw the Dursleys sitting down to dinner. They hadn't asked him to make it. His Aunt Petunia looked up at him and, rather than her usual smug glare, offered a callous but empty, "Oh it's you. I suppose you'll be wanting to join us then?" Harry just nodded, and took the offered seat. He was even more surprised when Petunia spooned out a small piece of meat and potatoes onto the plate in front of him, and said nothing when he grabbed a roll from the basket. Harry glanced around at the whole lot of them as if they had suddenly turned into flobberworms or something. There was something wrong with all of this, and it was annoying him. It couldn't just be the talk, something else was happening.
Dinner proceeded off with little more than a few conversations about the weather. Vernon had even asked how his grades were, which made Harry explain the O.W.L. exams to him, all the while hiding the horrid feeling of uneasiness that was alerting him. He idly checked the hallway, half-expecting Moody to be standing there with his wand pointed at the Dursleys, with them firmly under the Imperious Curse or some such thing. When the day was complete Harry was asked to do the dishes, something that didn't bring him much trouble at all and simply relieved him a bit. As he finished with the last one he sighed again and headed for the small sitting room where his family had gathered to watch television.
"Uncle Vernon," he asked in the most polite voice he could muster. "I was wondering if I could ask you something."
"What is it boy," Vernon replied, never once glancing up from his newspaper crossword.
"I had some business in London I need to deal with. School business. I was wondering if you could take me there tomorrow...if you don't have anything else planned of course." Vernon took the time to look up at him this time and regarded him. Harry could almost catch a hint of some flagrant force trying to overtake his uncle's features, but quickly dismissed it as a trick of the light. After a few moments Harry added, "I'd be really grateful...and I can pay for the trip. Say...500 pounds." At this he almost saw a light appear across his uncle's face.
"Alright then. Be up by 7 sharp and be ready to go at 8." Harry stood stunned, absolutely stunned. Lord Voldemort could have pranced behind him in tights and a tutu while singing Dancing Queen and he wouldn't have been more stunned. "Was there something more," his Uncle asked, before going back to his crossword.
"Um...well...this business probably means I won't be coming back here for the summer...so...yeah..." Harry was at a loss for words. His Uncle merely nodded and added an affirmation as if Harry were discussing a telephone number with him. Harry looked to his Aunt Petunia who was working on crocheting something or other and then to his cousin, who was idly flipping through television channels.
"Right then," Harry said to himself, "I'll just go pack." In truth he hadn't really unpacked...but that was neither here nor there. Stumbling a bit as he headed upstairs, he went into his room and shut the door, more than a bit disturbed. Either this was a trick of Voldemort's...he was dreaming...or something was majorly screwed up with the world. He headed for his desk, not really glancing around at anything, when he noticed a small black owl sitting on his window sill. He opened the window and the owl slid in and quickly slid away. He unfurled a small letter he had gotten, not knowing who it was from considering that he didn't recognize the owl.
I don't have much time so I'll be brief. You might remember on the train I was reading a book on cursebreakers. I know you were sulking a bit and didn't notice much but...well anyway I found this nifty spell about how to check auras as it related to potential curses and I was curious as to the effect your scar would have, thinking we might be able to help you if we understood how it affected your magical aura. I cast the spell and couldn't make out everything but it looked like there were dozens of curses on you. I hadn't gotten to the cursebreaking section of the book yet so I flipped forward a bit and found the simplest one I could and seemed to get rid of one of the curses on you. I don't know what it did and I didn't have time to research it more.
One other thing, I don't know how much we can trust the Headmaster. After looking at more of the book, some of those curses were pretty complex and he's the only one I know who could cast them. I'll let you know more.
Don't blame yourself for Sirius, Harry. You couldn't have known.
Oh and don't mind the owl, it was a gift from my parents for completing the OWL's. His name is Thoth. I'll see you soon.
Reading the letter brought mixed emotions to Harry's head. Firstly it was from one of his dearest friends, and one that had become a bit muddled in his mind as of late. When she had been stunned at the Ministry, the thought of anything happening to her had caused him greater heartache than even possibly the death of his godfather.
Suddenly, his second emotion came to the forefront as everything made sense now. His Uncle. The good treatment (borderline on kingly treatment as far as Harry was concerned.) Hermione must have done something to him to make his relatives treat him better. But...if they were acted on by a curse caused by him than shouldn't he know about it...
He didn't quite understand everything, and he didn't want to tell even her everything yet. But he knew that a response would be in order. He pulled out another piece of parchment and wrote a letter to his friend.
Whatever you did, it seems to have had some positive impact. My relatives are treating me decently, like I'm actually a person. Please let me know what you've found out as soon as you can.
What I'm about to tell you cannot be repeated to anyone, not even the Weasleys and not to Dumbledore. Especially not to Dumbledore. I'm leaving Privet Drive. I don't know exactly where I'll wind up, but I assure you I will be fine. Please Hermione, trust me on this, I know what I am doing.
Let Hedwig stay with you for a day or so before sending her off. Don't worry...she'll find me, wherever I am. And in your next letter, tell me how you're doing. I hope that you still aren't injured from the Ministry incident.
There was a moment when Harry wanted to write something besides "Take Care," but for now he decided that it was best to keep as many people in the dark as possible. Handing the parchment to Hedwig and giving her a quartet of treats, he spoke gently to her as she gazed into him with her deep amber eyes.
"Listen to me girl, I want you to stay with Hermione for a day or two while I work some stuff out," before she could let out a hoot in protest Harry put his hand up. "I know we just got back but we're going to a new place now. I know you'll find your way." At that he stroked the bird on the head and allowed her to nip him on the ear once playfully before opening the window and sending her off into the night sky.
Finished Harry put away the few things he had gotten out in his trunk and threw on a pair of pajama pants and laid down in his bed, turning in early for the big day yet to come.
A/N: Probably like a billion other stories out there, but hopefully you will enjoy it.