Disclaimer: I do not own anything recognised as belonging to other people.
The man stood outside Azkaban's smooth grey walls, watching the clouds float by, the surf rising and falling around his bare ankles and the wind tugging his hair out like a silken banner.
Harry was twenty-one now. His sentence for 'breaking into the Ministry of Magic' and 'wilfully destroying valuable Ministry property' had been five and a half years.
Five and a half years of not being able to reach his warm reservoir of magic. It had been horrible and lonely and cold without it always within his reach, begging to be used like an enthusiastic puppy. Now, after being help captive for so long, Harry's magic was like an enthusiastic Cu Sith, practically demanding use in an overly affectionate manner.
He gently shushed it and assured it that he would be using it very soon. The magic whined but nevertheless settled back to wait for the moment it could be formed.
The heavy woollen guard's cloak fluttered slightly in the wind, lent to him by the Master of the Guard, Arden Salvador, who had made sure he ate during his self-imposed trance. Yesterday, when he had been released and moved to quest quarters, Salvador had brought him several potions to return him to full health quicker and given him back wand.
As asked, Salvador had delivered a letter to Gringotts from Harry, asking the goblins to freeze all except liquid accounts, which were to be placed into a new vault, the keys to all vaults belonging to him to be recalled, adding that any locks to which the key was lost or missing were to be changed, and for all keys to be given to Salvador for safe keeping.
Harry became rather depressed when he found out that only five people had tried to visit him during his incarceration. Luna Lovegood had visited once every three months since he was sentenced, sitting and talking to him from the other side of the door for hours, knowing he was too deep into his trance to hear her; Remus Lupin had, unfortunately, been unable to visit because of the strict laws prohibiting 'Dark Creatures' from entering Azkaban as anything but prisoners since a month after the attack on the Ministry; Neville Longbottom had visited once during the first year with his Grandmother but hadn't been able to stay for more than half-an-hour, too upset with what Harry had become after only fours months in that place; Augusta Longbottom had caused quite a fuss, outraged at his apparent mental instability until Salvador had informed her that Harry had only put himself into a deep trance for the period of his sentence, leaving her quite unhappy but understanding. The final, and quite astonishing, visitor had been Draco Malfoy. He had come at the very beginning of Harry's sentencing when he was still periodically coming out of his trance before diving again. Salvador told him that Draco had studied him quite intensively for quite some time. It was also he who left the silver chain in Harry's unresponsive hand.
Salvador had also told the Man-Who-Lived-To-Be-Betrayed what had been happening outside the stone walls during his incarceration over hot porridge, his stomach too unsettled for solid food.
The war with Voldemort had escalated into Wizarding World War II, the first being the war against Grindelwald during the muggle World War II. Unfortunately, as far as European wizards were concerned, the American wizards had brought with them their muggle Navy SEALS and Army Rangers and, though the European wizards would never admit it, they were doing a better job of eradication Death Eaters than the International Wizarding Confederation's Battle Mages and Elite Aurors. The other countries involved in the war were kinda pissed at Britain for letting it get so far.
The Order of the Phoenix was publicly active but hadn't garnered much support after the first few massacres because of their unwillingness to kill. No doubt Dumbledore was waiting for Harry to be released into his 'care' so people would begin to flock to his banner once again. But Harry had learnt the true meaning of 'Once burned, twice shy', effectively screwing Dumbledore's campaign.
The British Ministry Of Magic had another Minister, the third in five years. This new Minister was, in fact, Madam Amelia Bones, previously head of Magical Law Enforcement. She was doing better than either of her predecessors, Cornelius Fudge and Rufus Scrimgeur.
Salvador had also informed Harry that his imprisonment was being kept hush-hush from the general public and other countries to stop the general outcry resulting for his release immediately. Everyone thought that he was training in a top secret facility.
"Harry! The boat's here to take us to the mainland."
Harry shook himself out of his thoughts and moved out of the water and back onto the pebbly beach, the small stones causing his par-numb feet to ache. Once clear of the surf, Harry dried his feet with the ends of the cloak so he could put on the stout leather boots given to him. Laces done up, he rolled his black woollen pants back down from above his knees.
Straightening, the young man made his way up the trail up the small cliff face to where Salvador was waiting.
Arden Salvador, the Master of the Azkaban Guard, was a man in his late-thirties, early-forties with serious blue-grey eyes, a salt and pepper beard and longish dark hair pulled into a low pony-tail. Salvador was a master Legimens who had known Harry didn't deserve his sentence the moment he had seen what the trial report had said and pulled the trial itself from his mind. Indeed, if he had been almost any other person, Harry would have been given a slap on the wrist and a fine given the circumstances.
Because of the effects of the residual despair in the walls left by the Dementors, the Azkaban guards were forced on a three-month payed holiday every nine months; it was Salvador's turn for a vacation so he was going to help Harry settle down, unmolested by the various factions out to make him their stalking-horse.
He'd be going to Gringotts tomorrow or the next day to avoid certain parties. Harry had also written letters to Neville, his grandmother, Luna and Remus which would be posted at the earliest convenience, thanking them for their support. He was unsure what to do about Malfoy though.
The two men wandered down the pebbly path to the walkway that led down to the landing. A large yacht was waiting to take them across the channel to Britain, having already off-loaded the latest prisoners from the war.
Passing the last trio of Death Eaters with their contingent of auror guards, Harry recognised Pansy Parkinson, Loran Redfern, from the year above him in Ravenclaw, and a man he thought might have been Zacharias Smith. He didn't look back but he heard Pansy pause and gasp out "Potter!?" before the aurors dragged her away.
The two wizards wandered down in a comfortable silence, not exactly happy, but calm and mildly content.
This calm was shattered when the two reached the landing and the group waiting there for them.
Albus Dumbledore, Mad-Eye Moody, Severus Snape and Kingsley Shacklebolt stood near the base of the landing where people waiting for prisoners to be released waited. Seated on a stone bench to the left and a little away from the Order members was a tall willowy woman with long silvery blonde, staring out over the water with her silvery-blue eyes, a wand tucked firmly behind her ear.
The members of the Order of the Phoenix glanced at them, noted their cloaks and lost interest. Luna turned and looked straight at Harry. She smiled and put a finger to her lips in a gesture to be quiet before standing and going back to the yacht.
Harry smiled to himself slightly, allowing himself to be gently steered onto the watercraft and below deck by Salvador's large hand on his arm.
Once below deck, Luna fell in beside Harry and the two followed the older wizard into the empty guard's quarters.
Once inside, Harry turned to the blonde young woman and hugged her tightly, his chin resting on her shoulder, shorter than her because of a lifetime of malnutrition. Luna hugged him back.
"Thank you for coming to see me so often. You're the only one who did." He murmured into her pale hair like a lost child.
Luna rubbed his back in soothing circles, not making any attempt to pull back. "Neville would have come more often but he's too prominent a figure in the HA to be risked. Nobody really notices me, so I can come and go as I please."
Harry frowned, troubled, and pulled back slightly, just enough to see her face but not to break the circle of her arms.
"Stands for Harry's Army." Answered Salvador's deep voice.
Harry looked between Luna's dreamy smile and Salvador's staid countenance, thoroughly baffled.
Luna nodded, the familiar dreamy look returning to her eyes. "Yes. The organization created from those of us who knew the truth about and are totally loyal to you. Many of us were members of the DA, people who knew and believed in you or shared our views on the other parties involved in the war. All of us have trained to our greatest capabilities and yet others are spies for you in other organizations." Harry found the exultant tone in her voice almost scary, but it was, well, Luna.
"It's not just witches and wizards, either." Salvador put forward from across the small cabin where he leant against the table there, arms folded. "Werewolves, vampires, veela, squibs, some muggles and various other magical races have also thrown their lot in with us, though our official name is 'Chimera's Calling'. The HA is just the inner circle of your Guard."
"Guard?" Harry inquired plaintively, vaguely wandering if the surprises would stop soon.
The older wizard chuckled. "It's what the remnants of the DA and several of your school mates have decided is their calling; to protect you."
"We are ready for you to lead us into either war or exile or anything else you want to do." Luna announced gravely, the dreamy look leaving her face for the time it took her to say this.
Harry gave her an odd look which was interrupted by a jaw-cracking yawn. Harry was exhausted; his body not used to so much movement.
He leant his head forward into her shoulder, murmuring a soft and plaintive, "Sleepy. Talk later?"
Harry could see Luna's dreamy smile in his mind's eye as she said, "Of course, Dear One. Anything you want."
The tall woman led him to a small bunk to the side and lay him down with his head in her lap. He was asleep almost instantly to the scent of strawberry lollipops and long, soft hair brushing against his face.
He woke later to a loud hammering on the cabin door. Salvador answered and Harry could hear the Guard's deep, rumbling voice speaking coldly to an elderly one before Luna's hand petting his hair lulled him back into darkness.
Reviews are welcome.