Disclaimer: I do not own Harry Potter, nor will I ever. I don't make money on this, and no infringement is intended …I love fanfiction!
RATED: M, Language & sexual content (later) ...you have been warned!
Harry Potter & the Never-Ending Summer, by Kassien
"Hedwig," yelled a startled and sweaty Harry with a raspy sore throat, "what's going on?"
Hedwig gave a dignified hoot to Harry before glancing at the dark brownish-grey hawk owl, and then taking off to Harry's desk with a package still attached to her feet. Harry immediately recognized Ron's handwriting on the top-most letter, and relieved Hedwig of her burden but set aside the stuff from his friends until he solved the question of the mystery owl. The hawk-owl was very professional, and not at all affectionate, as he stood like a statue as Harry removed the letter. Once free, the large hawk-owl took back off into the night without a second glance at the letter's recipient.
Once Harry turned over the letter, he knew something was wrong. When had they ever had to write to him? He quickly broke the seal that he now recognized as belonging to the Goblin bank, Gringotts. He unfolded the short letter and began reading quietly.
Dear Mr. Potter,
Your presence is requested at Gringotts Bank in London on Friday the 14th of July at Ten o'clock am. The reading of the Last Will and Testament of Sirius Orion Black, will be taking place at this time, and all beneficiaries are required to attend to stake their claim. We look forward to meeting with you Mr. Potter, despite the unfortunate circumstances, and wish you well.
Director of Gringotts
Harry stared blankly at the letter from Gringotts for what felt like hours but was probably only a minute or two. Quickly, silent tears seeped through his tired eyes. He still couldn't forget the dream he was just woken from, and now this.
He didn't want any of Sirius' money, he just wanted him back. The letter from Ragnok was like a hammer to his chest striking him with blow after blow, taunting him of his failure to save the closest thing he ever remembered to being family. The words of Voldemort taunting him in his dreams came back hauntingly. Another person you love has left you, abandoned you, you are alone again.
Harry's pain and guilt increased exponentially and he fell back into his bed sobbing uncontrollably. Painful, deep, guttural sobs broke out as the loss of Sirius crushed his spirit and made him feel empty, like a large part of him had gone missing and couldn't be refilled. He for once didn't hold it back, and let everything come out. The pain was unbearable, the guilt churned and ripped at his chest and stomach, shortening his breath, almost choking him as cramps and convulsions erupted from his stomach and throughout his entire body.
He had never felt this guilty, unclean, and bad, as images of his past kept flashing before his eyes, playing on his mind like a series of Shakespearean Tragedies stuck on repeat. His sobs continued to shake his body heavily as they became even more labored despite the lack of tears that were long dried up and overspent. Everyone he loved was gone, first his parents and now his godfather. Almost as if it was calling him, Harry quickly jumped out of bed and found what he wanted, no needed. He returned to the bed and opened the beautiful photo album that Hagrid had given him after his first year at Hogwarts, and immediately stopped dead in his tracks.
Looking up at him from the photo of their wedding day, were two of the happiest faces he could ever remembered seeing. The young man with his black messy hair, soft brown eyes, and strong build looked up smiling at the crying wizard that looked so much like him. The young women, with her beautiful long red hair and trim figure in her gorgeous white wedding dress, gazed happily up at the crying boy who shared her striking emerald eyes. Then Harry spotted the third figure in the portrait laughing happily while winking mischievously to his best friend, the man in the photo next to him. His handsome face snapped up to look at the crying young man, his dark almost black shaggy hair tamed, his dark eyes alive with joy.
Harry sat on his bed in a complete fog, staring unblinkingly at the three people in the photograph for who knew how long, struck dumb he was overwhelmed with more pain, grief, and guilt. He could hear and feel a pounding like a big drum being beaten in a slow methodical rhythm. Very slowly, everything else around him faded away into nothingness as he began to focus on the heavy pulsating rhythm deep within his chest. At first he thought it was his heart beating or breaking and trying to explode, but then, he wasn't so sure.
The pounding steadily grew in volume and speed into an intense crescendo, until Harry could feel it escaping his body like tidal waves crashing out from within his very being. Harry embraced the powerful pulsating and rhythmic feelings, anything was better than how he had just felt moments before. The pulsating only continued to increase until Harry's breathing grew heavier and turned into deep gasps for air as sweat began dripping down his forehead over his uncharacteristically calm scar.
The waves of energy were crashing one right on top of the other, and Harry's body was reaching its physical limitations quickly from lack of food and sleep. He tried to hold on to the pulsating feeling crashing through him, relishing the releasing almost cleansing feelings, but knew he would collapse at any second. And with one final high powered crescendo, Harry collapsed.
"Oww! Ger' off," Harry yelled as he sat up in bed flailing his arms and legs at his attacker, who hooted and nipped him hard on his arm with its sharp beak. He immediately remembered what had happened, and knew it was still very recent, because he could still feel a lingering pulse of palpable magic reverberating quietly in his bedroom. He was still sweaty and short of breath, but sat up in time to avoid another owl attack. As soon as he spotted the letter attached to the bird's leg, he knew what it was, and couldn't believe it. With a trembling hand, he reached out and removed the owl's burden, before it took off immediately. With shaking hands, he slit open the letter that resembled the one he got when Dobby, the House-Elf had visited him before his second year at Hogwarts, and read.
Dear Mr. Potter,
We indicated that accidental magic of an unknown kind was performed at your residence in Little Winging. We are sending an auror to investigate the magic you performed and confiscate your wand. This is your second offense of underage magic, and actions will be taken immediately by the Ministry.
Improper Use of Magic Office
"Shite," mouthed a stunned Harry, "what did I do?"
Almost as if to answer his question, a flash of flames erupted in the center of his room, before it yielded to Fawkes, Dumbledore's brilliant red and gold phoenix. He flew to Harry's shoulder with a short note held in its powerful beak.
Don't move, don't surrender your wand. I'll be right there.
"Oh, Fuck. This is just great!" screamed Harry oblivious to the waking sounds of his walrus of an uncle, as he began grabbing all of his things and throwing it haphazardly into his school trunk as he waited for what would happen next.
"What's the meaning of this, BOY-" yelled Uncle Vernon as he was rampaging down the hallway towards the door to Harry's room, when the doorbell interrupted his tirade, "Who could that be, at this hour?" he mused to himself as he descended the stairs heavily to answer the front door.
Harry resigned himself to sitting on his now packed school trunk with his wand safely tucked away in his pant's waistband, awaiting the auror and Dumbledore to come. The growing feeling of dread that his wand would be snapped, and that he would be expelled from Hogwarts suddenly became very real as he counted down probably his last few moments as a wizard.
Albus Dumbledore, Headmaster of Hogwarts sat at his still slightly disheveled desk, with a few recently repaired trinkets sitting peacefully about him as he thought about the coming war and the Order meeting he had just come from. All of a sudden, he was interrupted from his thoughts as one of the large silver instruments on his desk flashed a dark black once, then twice, and so on until it began flashing dangerously at an ever increasing pace. Dumbledore knew immediately that something was terribly wrong at Privet Drive.
This particular sensor had only activated three times in the last five years since it was attuned to Harry's magical signature in his first year. The first instance happened before Harry's second year began, when the house-elf Dobby used a levitation charm. The second occurred in the summer before his third year, when Harry's accidental magic got the better of him and he blew up his 'Aunt Marge' into a balloon. The third happening just last summer when the Dementors showed up in Little Whinging and Harry was forced to defend himself and his muggle cousin by casting the Patronus Charm.
The detector in the past had just flashed a light blue in the first instance, light red in the second, and pure white twice last summer before it began to hum lightly. Now however it flashed jet black at a rapidly increasing rate almost like a muggle strobe light, and was humming so loudly that it threatened to shatter the small silver globe. Even more surprising was another glass instrument that lay next to the flashing magical detector globe, which had only flashed a cloudy gray at the first pulse of the original globe before breaking completely, leaving the Headmaster to be unsure of the spell or spells being performed by Harry Potter.
Dumbledore quickly stood from his desk knowing he had to find out what was happening and quickly before the Ministry, and more importantly Cornelius Fudge got too involved. He made his way towards his fireplace, when it flashed green and the head of the young auror and tonight's guard, Nymphadora Tonks, appeared among the green flames looking quite shaken up.
"Dumbledore …somethings happened …Harry is …releasing some sort of …magical pulses …but there isn't …anyone here …he's alone in his room …I see a Ministry Owl …heading this way," stated Tonks between continuing pulses of magical energy coming from Harry, several houses away. "Ummfpt …what was that?" she finished as the strongest of the pulsating waves racked through her weakened frame, before they ended all together, leaving both to worry about what happened.
"Stay out of sight Nymphadora in case the Ministry sends someone, I'm going to the Ministry now to try and head them off," replied the aged Headmaster quickly with a somber expression on his heavily lined face.
Nymphadora Tonks' head disappeared from the fire as Dumbledore scribbled a quick note to Harry to let him know not to panic, and that he would be coming to help, and gave it to his trusted phoenix, Fawkes to deliver immediately. He then went to the empty fireplace and threw in a pinch of Floo powder and called out clearly, "Amelia Bones' Office, Head of Magical Law Enforcement."
He stepped out of the fireplace and into a warm cozy office with hard wood floors and many bookcases filled to the brink of collapse scattered around the walls. A large oak desk stood in prominence, which at the moment sat its owner, Amelia Bones, while in front of it sat the very person he had hoped to see. The middle aged woman with gray hair pulled into a tight bun, was none other than Mafalda Hopkirk of the Improper Use of Magic Office, and the one who would have monitored the Ministries many detector globes.
"Albus Dumbledore, to what do I owe this pleasure?" Amelia asked curiously, all the while having a pretty good hunch as to why the Leader of the Light would be in her office well past one in the morning.
"Ah, Director Bones, Madam Hopkirk, always a pleasure," the old wizard spoke with a smooth calming voice and a slight bow towards the two women. "I have come on behalf of Mr. Potter."
"Really? I was just going to call in Kingsley Shaklebolt and send him to investigate and then collect Mr. Potter and his wand for questioning?" she replied matter-of-factly, watching Dumbledore for his reaction which of course remained stoic and unflinching.
"Would you allow me to accompany Mr. Shaklebolt, Mr. Potter may be in need of a friendly face in his corner right now?" he asked politely while paying careful attention to the two witches who were watching him skeptically.
"Well …we would like to know what kind of magic he performed, perhaps you could assist us in that respect?" asked Amelia straightly.
"I would like to get the answer to that question as well Director," he replied honestly.
"It destroyed our globe for the boy, and none of the regional or other sensors could tell what type of spell was cast, only that it registered on his magical signature detector globe," supplied Madam Hopkirk in her curt and no-nonsense voice, entering the discussion for the first time since Dumbledore arrived.
"As it did mine Madam," replied Dumbledore politely.
"Very well, you may accompany Mr. Shaklebolt to help investigate what spells were cast, but I want Mr. Potter brought here. Nobody outside this office knows anything of what happened tonight, and I'd like to keep it that way until I get to the bottom of this," commanded Amelia Bones with a sense of great authority and need for justice or at least understanding.
Dumbledore simply nodded his head as Kingsley Shaklebolt arrived into his boss' office. After filling him in on what was happening, he and Dumbledore took the floo to the Ministry apparating sight before popping off to Privet Drive only a few feet away from the stationed Order guard, Nymphadora Tonks.
"Professor, Kingsley, thank the gods you're here," spoke the young auror in a worried and still shaky voice.
"Tonks, what happened?" asked Kingsley to his auror partner and friend as he began following Dumbledore towards Number Four, cautiously due to the lingering feel of magic in the air that gave him the creeps.
"I don't really know, there were these like pulsating waves of magic coming from his room …it was awful," she replied still shakily.
"What did the magic feel like?" asked Dumbledore as they neared the house.
"Sort of like a Dementor only not cold at all. It came in ever increasing waves, and I just felt so much pain, grief, and guilt. I couldn't tell if it was mine or not, but it felt so real …and powerful …like tidal waves," she finished somewhat winded, but pleased that she was able to do some justice in describing the horrible feelings that were just now starting to leave her.
"Stay here, Tonks," spoke Kingsley importantly, "Let's get moving Albus."
The two wizards walked up the driveway and rang the doorbell to Number Four Privet Drive, both anxious and worried at what they might find within. The door eventually opened to an enormous walrus like man with blonde hair and a thick comb mustache, his beady eyes immediately widened at the sight of his two late night guests.
"I will not have anymore of your kind in my house," yelled Vernon Dursley threateningly at the two wizards as he attempted to slam the door in their taken aback faces. Albus was the first to react, sticking out his hand and catching the door with a strength that belied his age.
"We are very sorry Mr. Dursley, but we must speak with Harry, it is a matter of great importance," replied Dumbledore very calmly and politely, trying to reassure the angry man.
"Fine," snapped Vernon as he remembered that he had two oddly dressed freaks at his doorstep that he wouldn't want the neighbors to see. "But be quick about it."
The two wizards entered the house cautiously, and followed the large beefy man up the stairs to the bedrooms. He began fumbling with a heavy set of keys as he began unlocking the several locks on his nephew's door before finishing with a huff and storming off to his own bedroom without a backwards glance. Dumbledore and Kingsley exchanged stunned looks at the sight of the locks and cat-flap, and the eldest of the two immediately realized the grievous mistakes he had made regarding Harry's care.
The two adult wizards slowly entered the smallest bedroom and immediately took notice of the rickety desk and chair along the back wall, the old broke-down wardrobe by the door, and the small and flimsy looking bed in the corner. The room was otherwise completely bare, nothing out on the floor or desk, nothing on any of the walls, only a lone teenager sitting on his school trunk at the end of his bed clutching the two letters he received and eyeing his visitors skeptically.
"Harry is everything alright?" asked a very concerned and saddened old Headmaster as he watched the boy carefully.
"That depends on how you define alright, sir," spoke Harry hoarsely as he stared back at his Headmaster unflinchingly, making the older wizard nervous due to the horrible feelings of the darkest of magic that still lingered in the small bedroom.
"What happened? Are you hurt?" interrupted Kingsley trying to ease the growing tension in the room, and also stop the starring contest he was witnessing.
"I'm fine," replied Harry shortly as he finally looked over to find a wide eyed and nervous looking auror, "and I don't really know what happened, I was hoping one of you could tell me."
"Oh…," paused Kingsley unsure himself of what had happened as he turned to find Albus already beginning to run through a long series of wand movements and whispered incantations in the dense air of the small bedroom, and joined him.
"I can sense the residual magic without even doing the spells, but I cannot determine what kind of spell would have caused this," replied Albus quietly after a few short minutes of running tests.
"There are two magical signatures, one is really faint that matches Potter's, the other stronger one I can't tell, Albus," spoke Kingsley in wonder, as he looked to the Leader of the Order despite this being an assignment for the DMLE.
"Let me check it," replied Dumbledore, as he began the spell only to pale immediately, "…it's Tom's."
"What!" shouted Harry, as Kingsley stared between them with a look of understanding and horror on his face?
"That is, or was Tom's magic, Harry," spoke Albus softly, trying to calm the younger wizard.
"Albus, I think we should get back, Bones is waiting on us," spoke Kingsley as he looked all around him somewhat nervously.
"Harry, Director Bones has asked us to bring you to her office. If you cooperate, she has promised to keep Minister Fudge completely out of this and settle it between us, she does not want to see you expelled or in jail" spoke Dumbledore with a placating tone hoping to reassure the young wizard that nothing too bad would happen.
"Okay," was all Harry replied as he got up and fixed his Headmaster with his intense green eyes, wondering what kind of strings he had to pull to swing this?
"Here Harry," said Kingsley as he handed the young wizard a large skeleton key which all three wizards grabbed.
The familiar tug of the port-key instantly made Harry nauseous and nervous as his mind once again relived the Third Task of the Tri-Wizard Tournament. He landed with a stagger inside a warm and cozy office, with a familiar yet formidable looking witch sitting expectantly behind her desk, and another of to the room's side. Three wooden chairs appeared before the new arrivals into the office, and they each took their seats, cautiously in some cases.
"Mr. Potter, thank you for coming," began Madam Amelia Bones, looking exactly as she had during Harry's Wizengamot hearing the previous year. "We would like to know what spells you performed at your residence this evening?"
"Spells?" asked a still confused Harry, "I already told them that I didn't use any spells, I don't even know what happened."
"We have proof Mr. Potter," interrupted the strict looking witch with grey hair near the quietly contemplating Professor Dumbledore. "Our magical sensors on both you and Little Whinging indicated spell after spell firing in increasing frequency for almost a full minute until it destroyed those sensors beyond repair. We demand to know what spells you used."
"I already said I didn't use any spells, I didn't even have my wand with me," replied Harry exasperatedly.
"What do you mean you didn't have your wand?" stared Madam Bones, "then could it have been accidental or even wandless magic?"
"I guess it could have been accidental, because I wasn't trying to do anything," replied a confused and now a little scared Harry. "I haven't used my wand since school, honest."
"Kingsley can you check Mr. Potter's wand with the priori incantatem, so we have that on record," announced Madam Bones, making Harry nervous about how many spells they could or would go back.
"Your wand, Mr. Potter …don't worry, you will get it back."
Harry handed his wand very slowly and almost unwillingly over to Kingsley who performed the spell only once, and found to everyone except Harry's surprise, a glamour charm. After making a notation of it in a file on her desk, Madam Bones looked over the two wizards who went to collect Mr. Potter for there interpretation of the events, "Albus, Kingsley, what do you think?"
"Director, if I may," started Dumbledore as he began rummaging around in his large cloak before pulling out something very familiar to the office's occupants. "Could we perhaps ask Harry to view his memory of tonight's 'episode'? I think that would give us a much better understanding than anything I could provide through mere speculation at this time."
"Is that alright with you Mr. Potter?" asked Madam Bones as she gazed questioningly at the Boy-Who-Lived and his startling green eyes.
"Yes Ma'am, but I don't know how," answered Harry nervously as he ducked his head in slight embarrassment.
"Just think of your memory of tonight, as much as you can, what you were doing before it happened. When you're ready, Kingsley will extract it, don't worry it doesn't hurt," spoke Madam Bones comfortingly, curious as to what the poor boy had gone through that stumped Albus as well.
Harry did as instructed and watched as Kingsley touched the tip of his wand to Harry's temple, extracting a long spindly silvery substance and placed it into the empty Pensieve on the desk before them. Once it was deposited, they all stood up and gathered around the ancient runic carved Pensieve and each touched a finger to the flowing silvery surface, upending them and bringing them into the memory of the fifteen year old Boy-Who-Lived.
They were deposited into the smallest bedroom of Privet Drive, to see a relatively barren room occupied by a lone figure thrashing about on the bed, captured in the throws of a nightmare. Within seconds, a large Eagle-Owl from Gringotts descended into the room through the lone window, causing Harry's own Snow-Owl to begin hooting and finally nipping on her owner's fingers to wake him. Waking with a start, the sweaty, pale faced boy fumbled for his glasses wondering what had woken him when he spotted the unfamiliar owl.
After a quick read of the letter, Harry collapsed into gut wrenching sobs that shook his whole body. For a full minute he laid in bed crying uncontrollably, until all of a sudden he jumped up out of bed and after a quick search through his trunk pulled out a worn photo album and sat back down on his bed, staring with watery eyes at the album's first page.
A very short amount of time passed while staring at the photo album, crying openly, causing the spectators in the Pensieve to glance at one another apprehensively at what they were witnessing or supposed to be seeing. Then something none of them had ever seen happened to the crying boy, a faded flash of light illuminated his image seemingly from inside his body for only a split second and then disappeared. Immediately the four adults in the room gasped in surprise and turned to look at the real Harry standing quietly, watching the scene play out in front of him with red-rimmed eyes and a heavy heart.
Then there was another flash, this one a little brighter, then another, and another. Each flash was growing stronger and brighter than the last, and they were slowly growing in frequency that they were beginning to occur almost on top of one another. The light was a bright white, with tiny bits of dark black on the edges, and grew to such strength that the viewers of the scene had to shield their eyes to avoid the intensity. The flashes were happening so fast that the image of Harry collapsed on the bed seemed to be clothed in the white glow of whatever was happening to the young wizard. Then suddenly there was a large flash, more powerful than all the others, and when they blinked the spots out of their eyes, the image of Harry grew dark as the young wizard collapsed into unconsciousness.
"I woke up a few minutes later when your owl arrived with that letter for underage magic," spoke the real Harry into the darkness right before they were all lifted out of the Pensieve and deposited back into Madam Bones' cozy office.
Harry still didn't know what happened, and judging by the looks on most of the adult's faces, they didn't have a clue either, and that it couldn't be good. After a long pause, the silence was finally broken by Amelia Bones, who seamed the first to recover from the shock at the scene they all just witnessed.
"What exactly was that? Albus, do you have any better ideas now?" she asked in a quiet voice, but filled with awe and a little fear.
"I'm not exactly sure…" replied Albus Dumbledore who seemed to be deep in thought as he prepared what to say next.
"I believe that the letter young Harry received at the beginning was a summons to Gringotts, am I correct?" he asked as he turned to Harry who simply nodded, trying to avoid the penetrating gaze of the Headmaster.
"The photo album from Hagrid with a picture of your parent's wedding day?" another nod in reply.
"What are you getting at Albus?" asked a still very shaken and confused Mafalda Hopkirk.
"I am simply trying to understand things more clearly, Mafalda," replied Albus as he paused momentarily, deciding how to reveal what Tonks had described happening at the scene. "At the moment, I have a guard watching young Mr. Potter at Privet Drive. Upon Kingsley and my arrival, she described feelings of great pain, grief, and guilt hitting her like tidal waves in an increasing pattern and intensity. It does fit with the pulsating light we witnessed coming forth from young Mr. Potter, which also grew in both speed and intensity."
"My earlier questions," continued Dumbledore after a slight pause to let them assimilate everything he said, "were to determine what Mr. Potter was thinking of or feeling when the light show began. If I am correct, the letter from Gringotts, summoned Harry to the Will Reading of his late godfather, and the photo album's picture is one not only of his parents, but also their best man, the same godfather who has just recently left us, Sirius Black," finished Dumbledore sadly as he looked at Harry struggling to hold back the tears that were starting to fall.
"SIRIUS BLACK," yelled Mafalda Hopkirk, the only adult that seemed surprised at that bit of information. "He's a murderer!"
"NO HE WASN"T," screamed Harry as he jumped to his feet, drew his wand, and spun in a lightening fast motion before anyone even realized what was happening.
His wand was pointed right between the eyes of the strict grey haired witch in a flash of a second as he stared at her with an utter rage tearing through his body. Mafalda let out a tiny squeak and cowered deeper into her chair as her eyes remained frozen in fear, staring at the most intense emerald eyes sparkling with an unholy rage, piercing her very soul.
"Harry!" yelled the two men that had brought him earlier as they jumped to their feet with wands drawn and at the ready as they struggled to get between Harry and the scared witch.
The room was filled with a raw power, radiating off of the young wizard in front of them that terrified even Dumbledore. Harry caught a quick glance at the three other wands pointed at him, and slowly lowered his wand from the frightened witches face, but continued to stare at her for several seconds before breaking the very tense silence that permeated the room.
"You will NOT insult Sirius Black in front of ME. Don't speak of something that you know NOTHING ABOUT!" hissed Harry in a cold voice that left chills in the air, and forced the terrified witch to whimper at the intimidating young man in front of her.
Harry calmly and slowly retook his seat, looking at the floor and trying to take deep calming breaths. When he looked up at the faces of those around him and the wands still pointed at him, he realized he had made a terrible mistake.
"I'm sorry …you can lower your wands," he finally choked out as his suppressed emotions of rage and anger came flooding out as guilt and remorse, and he buried his head in his hands to hide his falling tears from the adults watching him .
"Harry? ..." asked Dumbledore kindly, after a long silence where the adults returned to their seats and settled down, and the young boy continued to cry silently. "Could you please tell us what you were feeling back at Privet Drive?" hoping to get back to the topic at hand, but still very conscious of the younger wizards emotional instability.
"I …I-I felt …g-guilty …it's my fa-fault …th-they're all d- … dead," whispered Harry in a broken voice between sobs that racked his entire body. "I-I just wanted that …that feeling to go away …I started to focus on my heartbeat, or …I thought it was my heart beat …but it just kept getting faster and louder until I-I …I couldn't breathe …and then I just passed out. I didn't even know there was light coming off me."
"Harry," began Albus pleadingly, "please listen to me, it is not your fault. You did not kill them, Tom did. Please Harry, you must believe me, you must put that guilt behind you, and put the blame on those it truly belongs. I care too much for you to see you hurting so."
"Mr. Potter, I agree with Albus here," spoke Madam Bones sadly as she watched the broken teenager and her heart went out to him for what he has suffered through. "I also do not feel that punishment is in order. While magic was indeed performed, I find it completely unintentional, and am willing to send you home with only a warning to be more careful in controlling your emotions."
"Thank you, Madam Bones," replied Harry in a very small but polite voice as he tried to better compose himself and clean his tear stained face.
"You may also want to thank my niece Susan the next time you see her. If she hadn't always spoken so highly of you over the years, I might be more inclined to get to the bottom of this mess," she stated matter-of-factly with a small warm grin playing at the corners of her lips. "On an entirely different matter, Mr. Potter, I was wondering if you would be willing to testify at the upcoming trials of the Death Eaters you faced at the Ministry three weeks ago. We will be trying them together in a few weeks time, and a few of them, which I am sure you are aware of, carry a great deal of influence, and without hard evidence and testimonies, it will be difficult to convict some of them."
"Malfoy," Harry stated blankly, knowing entirely too well to whom she was referring, and already starting to feel a burning deep in his body that demanded justice of some kind.
"Yes among others," she replied to Harry with a respectful grin at the apparently quite intelligent young wizard.
"Anything you need from me, to see that they never hurt another of my friends, you've got," replied Harry with a determined fire igniting in his formerly depressed and glassy eyes. "If you would like to view my Pensieve memory of that night, I could show you now, but I would rather not talk about it yet."
"You sure you don't mind seeing it again and showing us?" asked a concerned Amelia Bones, not believing her ears.
"I see it every time I close my eyes, once more isn't going to kill me," replied Harry sarcastically, or rather morbidly based on the looks of concern on the faces of the adults around him, as he thought of the fight that night with the now captured Death Eaters.
"Do you have the memory ready?" she asked nervously, and somewhat scared at what she would see that gave nightmares to the boy who had seen and fought Voldemort, and at his nod prompted Kingsley to extract the memory.
As soon as the memory started to play, Harry knew he didn't really want to watch the scene play out, the image of Sirius falling through the veil repeated over and over in his present mind until the sound of the shelves in the Hall of Prophesies breaking brought him back to the scene before him. Needing to focus on anything other than the final result and feeling of guilt and helplessness towards Sirius' death, Harry began focusing on and studying the memory for things he might not have seen when living it. He immediately realized his two biggest mistakes which were obvious from this position as an observer to the situation as opposed to its main participant. The first being that everyone he stunned, was later revived by other Death Eaters, and the second was that he didn't break they few wands of the enemy when he had the chance.
Watching as Hermione took the dark purple cutting curse across her chest and then collapse, Harry swore that he would never make these mistakes again, and would never lead his friends unprepared into danger again. The adults were watching the Pensieve scene with rapt fascination at the incredible battle that was playing out, and were often gasping at various points of the memory. Soon enough, the memory was at the circular chamber that led downwards towards the raised dais and the drifting veil, causing Harry's tears to renew.
He forced himself to keep watching, he had come this far and had to come to accept what had happened if he ever wanted to survive this war. Bellatrix, in all her madness, had just dropped Tonks with a stunner, and was now fighting Harry's godfather, Sirius Black. Harry didn't need to actually watch the next few moments, they had been playing so much in his mind since it happened. He knew when it happened, because both Madam Bones and the still present Mafalda Hopkirk let out small gasps right before Harry's yelling after his fallen godfather began. The last image of the scene was of Dumbledore capturing up the remaining Death Eaters in the circular chamber, and Harry struggling in the arms of a crying Remus Lupin.
As the scene faded, and the viewers returned to their seats in the office, there was a collective releasing of breath, some for the evidence they saw, and one for the scene coming to an end where it did. Dumbledore was unsure of why Harry ended the memory there, before he went up to the atrium and met Voldemort, but knew that now was not the time to bring it up. Everyone else in the room was shocked speechless, with a varying mixture of expressions.
Amelia and Kingsley were both in awe that Harry and five other kids even survived that long against that many high level Death Eaters, while Mafalda looked terrified, having been a Fudge supporter and never believing that Voldemort and his Death Eaters were a legitimate threat. A long silence followed the viewing of the Pensieve scene, and Dumbledore seemed the only one capable of breaking it.
"I would like to note, that all five students that accompanied Mr. Potter are home safe and sound. Only Mr. Weasley and Ms. Granger needed anything more than minor care, and they were both fine by the end of term," added Dumbledore, trying to calm some of the worry in watching those particular injuries, and proving that luckily, none of the kids were permanently harmed.
"Yes …well …um, excuse me. Mr. Potter, I am sorry, I really had no idea. That was a bit more than I expected, but is absolutely perfect in ensuring that not a single Death Eater will walk free," finished Madam Bones as she tried to compose herself, and then give a warm smile as she caught eyes with the remarkable young wizard. "I just have one easy question Harry. Who was the group of wizards that came to your aid, and did you know any of them?"
"Um…" began Harry before looking over to Professor Dumbledore, who merely nodded for Harry to answer truthfully. "Their members of the Order of Phoenix, and yes, I knew all of them that came that night, some better than others of course."
"So Kingsley, am I to understand that two of my best aurors are part of this Order?" asked Amelia sharply to the tall black wizard who continued to look at his boss proudly and without fear.
"Yes Ma'am, Auror Tonks and I have been a part of the Order of Phoenix for over a year now. Ever since You-Know-Who was reborn last year, we have fought along side Harry and Dumbledore," finished Kingsley proudly and unashamed of his actions fighting the good fight.
"Very well, we will discuss this in a few moments, but first, I would like you and Albus to return Mr. Potter to his home, and then come back here with Ms. Tonks. All three of you will have some serious questions to answer before I will be satisfied," spoke Amelia Bones importantly, and bringing the meeting with Harry to an end as she stood up and walked over to where Harry was sitting quietly. She reached out a hand to shake and in a pleasant voice added, "I look forward to seeing you again Mr. Potter. The trials will be held near the end of July. Please take care of yourself and I will see you then."
"Thank you Madam Bones," replied Harry politely shaking the older witches hand firmly.
Albus, Kingsley, and Harry all stood and touched the large skeleton key again, before Kingsley tapped it with his wan, and the familiar tug behind the naval signified the activation of the port-key. Harry staggered on his feet, but was supported by a steady hand on his shoulder from Dumbledore who landed smoothly next to him in the darkness of Privet Drive.
Dumbledore steered the group towards Mrs. Figg's house, and upon arriving were met by the crazy cat lady and a nervous looking Nymphadora Tonks. Well, Harry thought it was Tonks, her hair was spiky, but it lacked the usual flair and was a depressed blue. Also she looked worn out, like she hadn't slept in weeks, and Harry instantly thought about how he must look. He hadn't slept in weeks either, not peacefully anyway. She gave Harry a small smile as he entered, but her nervousness continued to show through her projected lax exterior.
"Arabella, please keep Harry here with you until I return to get him," spoke Albus respectfully towards the old squib who had watched Harry most of his life without him even knowing until last summer.
"Harry," continued Dumbledore as he turned to the boy, "I will return shortly to bring you back to Privet Drive and fill you in on what is happening. I must say, I am not happy with your treatment from the Dursleys, and I wished it had not digressed so poorly. Please forgive an old man, I will try to help remedy the situation soon, but for now I need you to stay under the protection of your Aunt. There will be a guard at Privet Drive at all times, so if you must leave, stay out where they can see you. I fear Voldemort is growing more and more desperate, judging by his appearance at the Ministry, and I do not want to take any unnecessary chances. I promise to keep you more informed this summer with what has been going on, but for now I must return to Madam Bones' office. I will return shortly."
"T-Thank you, sir," responded Harry honestly as he gave his Headmaster the first truly friendly smile he had since before Sirius' death.
Albus Dumbledore, Kingsley Shaklebolt, and Nymphadora Tonks grabbed the port-key that every auror carried, taking them directly to their boss' office. They reappeared in the office, to find Amelia Bones sitting comfortably behind her desk awaiting their return. She immediately motioned for them all to sit in the three empty chairs before her before she began her questions.
"First, I have sent poor Mafalda to St. Mungo's for some calming draughts, she was having a very difficult time with everything she saw, and I felt she needed the break. I also have removed tonight's memories from her mind, it should help her cope better, and sure up any possible information leaks," stated Madam Bones crisply before she eyed each person in her office carefully. "Auror Tonks, I would like you to join us as we visit the memory Mr. Potter left us, I would like to view it again, now that I know what I am looking for, and I could use all the eyes we have…"
"Now… what is the story with Sirius Black," started Bones after emerging from the Pensieve, who became startled as her youngest auror started to cry in pain, just like the boy had moments before, "I thought he was a supporter of You-Know-Who, and you Kingsley have been in charge of his capture since he escaped. Have you known where he was all this time?"
"Sirius Black, was wrongly accused, Amelia," spoke Dumbledore with a calming grandfatherly voice, "he did not betray the Potter's, he was not their secret keeper. It was Peter Pettigrew, an unregistered rat animagus who is still alive and serving Voldemort that betrayed James and Lily. He also framed Sirius for the murder of those fourteen poor muggles after escaping in his animagus form through the hole he blew in the street. We have several witnesses to his being alive, as well as to his confession to Harry, Sirius, and Remus Lupin."
"Then why not try to clear his name if you had evidence and proof?" interrupted Amelia.
"Who was going to believe the word of an escaped criminal, his half-werewolf friend, or the boy the Ministry deemed deranged and unstable," interrupted Tonks, speaking for the first time despite the tears that still fell slowly down her face, as she thought about Remus' words to her earlier, and the look of pain on Harry's face as Sirius fell through the veil.
"Good point," replied Amelia as she glanced at her young auror questioningly, "and where do you stand Ms. Tonks?"
"Ma'am, Sirius is my …was my cousin …and a good man. I believed him, and I believe Harry and Remus too," she replied as she tried to compose herself best she could in front of her boss, and started by whipping her face clean on her sleeve.
"Very well," replied Amelia, "my next question, is for you Albus. What is the function or purpose of this Order of the Phoenix?"
"It is a group of wizards and witches dedicated to fight against Voldemort and his supporters. It has been around for centuries, and was instrumental in the defeat of Grundewald back in the forties, and was restarted during Voldemort's first reign and again last year after his rebirth," replied Dumbledore plainly, not afraid at this point to tell Amelia the truth, she was always someone they had hoped to have recruited to join.
"What then does this Order have to do with Harry Potter?" she asked trying to find the connection and also why Dumbledore was always so interested in the boy some called, The Chosen One.
"Whether any of us want it to be this way, I seriously doubt: but nonetheless, Mr. Potter is Voldemort's greatest adversary," spoke Dumbledore sadly. "He destroyed his body as a baby, he thwarted attempts to regain that body twice at the ages of eleven and twelve, he escaped Him and His Death Eaters at his rebirth over a year ago, and just again three weeks ago. It is safe to say that Harry has been a perpetual thorn in the side of Voldemort, and is therefore still very much a target and at risk, especially over the summers, away from the protection of Hogwarts, and without the ability to use magic. That is the reason that we have kept a guard stationed at Privet Drive, to answer your next question."
"Am I correct in assuming then that Auror Tonks was on guard duty tonight?" asked Amelia turning towards her youngest auror questioningly.
"Yes ma'am," replied Tonks proudly.
"Very well," started Amelia with a small smile on her face as she glanced at the no longer crying metamorphmagus. "Albus, do you know why the memory ended there; you have already said that he again fought and escaped V-V-Vol …You-Know-Who that night, I was kind of hoping to see it?"
"Ah, I wondered that myself Amelia," replied Albus in apparent deep thought, "perhaps the memory ended with the capture of the Death Eaters, because it is they who are on trial, or maybe he was too upset, angry, or ashamed of what happened and did not care to revisit it..."
"When I showed up," continued Albus after a short pause, "Harry was standing with his wand to his side, only meters in front of both Bellatrix and Voldemort himself. The first thing I saw was a killing curse being sent at him, which I was able to block thanks to the statues of Magical Brethren. I began fighting Voldemort after subduing Bellatrix behind another statue until He possessed Harry, at which point I could no longer attack. Mr. Potter was able to force Voldemort out of his body and he fled with Bellatrix as other Ministry officials began arriving for the day."
"I can understand why he wouldn't want to relive that particular memory," exclaimed a shocked Amelia Bones. "He is a special boy, isn't he?"
"That he most definitely is," replied Albus, with a bright sparkle in his deep blue eyes.
"My last question is just for curiosity sake, but how did six fifth and fourth year students, even survive against a dozen of You-Know-Who's best Death Eaters?" asked Amelia, who thought she might have known the answer, after seeing how much better her niece was this year, but wanting to know more.
"Mr. Potter himself began training a select group of students this year in Defense to compensate for the lack of education they were receiving from Madam Umbridge," replied Albus with pride in his voice.
"I thought something like that. Susan wouldn't give me any details about how she improved so much with that awful woman teaching," answered Amelia. "I had no idea that she was being taught by Mr. Potter himself."
"And I would not expect many answers from your nice on the subject, Amelia. Every member of the group signed an enchanted paper, that will definitely discourage anyone from talking after the incident with Ms. Edgecombe," replied Dumbledore with the trademark twinkle going full force as a small smile met his lips.
"Ah yes, Marietta was not at all pleased when her daughter returned from school, and learned that St. Mungo's couldn't cure her. So that's where it came from, Potter's group?" asked an interested Amelia, having gone to school with Marietta Edgecombe and never having really got along.
"Yes, unfortunately for her, the moment she betrayed the group's confidence, she was hexed through her own signing of the paper's enchantment. A very brilliant bit of magic performed by Ms. Granger, if I do say so myself," replied Dumbledore with a small grin on his old and wrinkled face, as the other three occupants of the room held back giggles at varying degrees of success, Tonks failing the loudest.
"Well Albus, I think that will be all. I have taken care of the restriction for underage magic charge, and erased all evidence of such an event. I don't think I would have been able to if Cornelius had gotten wind of this first. For some reason, he really has it in for Mr. Potter, and I don't see his position changing any time soon. He is absolutely livid over what happened to Delores, and blames Mr. Potter exclusively for most of his troubles now. I would alert Harry of the situation he is in regards to the Minister, and I will do my best to ensure his fair treatment for as long as I can," finished Madam Bones as she stood up and reached out a hand for Dumbledore to shake, signifying the end of this particular meeting. "Ms. Tonks will be with you in several minutes."
"Thank you Director," replied Albus who left the office and walked slowly to the floo network to return to Arabella Figg's, thinking intently all the way.
He arrived minutes later into the cluttered living room of seventeen Magnolia Crescent, and greeted a tired looking Arabella watching over a ravenous Harry, eating happily away at a plate of sandwiches. Dumbledore watched the boy eat, and for the first time that night, took a good look at his favorite pupil and didn't like what he saw at all. The boy was far too skinny, and with the way he attacked that food, he realized that he was probably being starved by the Dursleys, and thinking back to his bedroom door, it was probably much worse than just that.
Several more minutes later, Tonks appeared in the living room brushing off soot, as Harry was finishing the last of the mountain of sandwiches. Tonks had a short whispered conversation with Dumbledore, while Harry took his plate to the kitchen thanking Mrs. Figg profusely. Dumbledore then relayed Amelia's warning about Minister Fudge to Harry who just kind of shrugged it off, already dreading being returned to Privet Drive.
Then Dumbledore asked if Harry would let Tonks or his guard come and talk to him everyday at lunchtime, to keep him company and up to date on any Order or Voldemort information. Although Harry knew he didn't want the company, he was slightly happy at the prospect of being included and let in on what was happening in the magical world, since most of it did affect him in some way. Harry reluctantly agreed, realizing that his Headmaster was just trying to keep his promises from the end of the year to include Harry and not keep him in the dark for which Harry was grateful, letting some of the built up anger he had felt towards the old man dissipate.
Dumbledore bid his goodbyes before leaving through the floo towards Hogwarts and another very late night of thinking and worrying. Tonks and Harry began the slow walk back to Privet Drive in the darkness and quiet of the night in relative silence. Tonks continued to give the younger wizard nervous sideways glances as they walked, while Harry just walked on steadily, never taking his eyes from his feet and the ground directly in front of him, completely unaware of the nervous auror next to him.
"Uh …umm …Harry? Are you okay?" she asked very timidly as she watched him closely.
"I'm fine Tonks," mumbled Harry quickly and quietly.
"Yeah right!" exclaimed Tonks loudly and disbelievingly, before her eyes widened in fear at what she said, and her hand reflexively went up to cover her mouth from saying something stupid again. "Oh …I'm sorry Harry …I didn't mean it like that."
Don't worry Tonks," Harry waved it off without even looking up at the stunned auror as he continued studying the path his feet were taking.
"No Harry, I really am sorry ...you don't owe me anything, I-I …I just hope you're going to be okay," she replied sincerely while studying the teenager that had been through more than most senior aurors, including herself.
She was amazed at what she got to see in the Pensieve, and couldn't forget his resourcefulness during the fight at the Ministry, or the look on his face as Remus held him back from following Sirius through the veil. She thought back to his earlier display of power that started this whole mess, and just thinking about it brought many of those feelings of guilt and pain back full force causing shivers down her spine and the tiny hairs on the back of her neck to stand up, alert and sensitive.
The feelings made her slow her pace a little, and after a few seconds, Harry realized that the auror was no longer next to him and stole a quick glance around. He noticed her a few steps back from him, with a far away look in her cloudy and dull blue eyes, and a definite lag in her steps. She looked completely lost, just how Harry himself felt, and the bubbly spirit that normally accompanied the pretty auror seemed to be completely destroyed, unnerving Harry to no end.
"Tonks …hey Tonks, are you okay?" he asked after he realized that she was moving so slow she had almost stopped altogether, and the look of pain and sadness on her normally happy face made his own guilt and pain double inside of him.
"What …oh yeah …I'm fine," she replied as she seemed to snap out of her daze and tried to catch up with him.
Harry knew that excuse all too well, having used it himself only minutes before, and knew that she was anything but fine. And then he remembered like a hammer striking him right in the torso knocking his wind out while he felt the constriction of pain in his chest. She was Sirius' cousin he thought to himself as he relived his godfather falling through the veil for the seemingly millionth time. These thoughts froze him in place as Tonks approached him slowly as he continued staring at the young auror.
"I-I'm really sorry Tonks, I-I …I wasn't thinking," mumbled Harry as he shuffled his feet nervously and stole glances at the sad looking woman.
"You have nothing to apologize for Harry," she replied distractedly as she thought about what was bothering the younger wizard so much.
"Yes I do! It's my f-fault he's dead," he chocked out as his feelings of pain intensified causing him to cry suddenly.
"WHAT?" she yelled, unable to believe the young wizard's guilt over what happened, and staring at him in shock? "It was not your fault Harry. S-Sirius knew what he was doing."
"It was my fault he was there in the first place …and it's MY fault he died," yelled Harry uncontrollably, starting to breath heavily as his anger, guilt, and sadness began to overtake him quickly.
Deep in his chest, he could feel a distant pulsating that immediately scared him to the core, remembering what happened only a few hours ago. He took one last look at the stunned and slightly crying auror before turning and sprinting back to the front door of Privet Drive, and the solitude of his small bedroom. He dove onto the bed as his tears erupted and heavy sobs began shaking his whole body forcefully. The distant pulsating was trying to strengthen within him, but he concentrated with all his strength to suppress the growing sensations and let his tears wash away his pain and torment.
It was almost a whole hour later, when Harry woke up sweaty and stiff, with dried tears crusting on his face. Immediately, Harry remembered yelling at Tonks earlier and the hurt look on her face, and now, if possible, he felt even worse. He no right to be angry with Tonks, along with himself and Remus, it must be hardest on her. Sirius was her blood cousin, the only non-Death Eater of her family's relatives, and now he was gone. Guilt again became Harry's most dominating emotion, guilt over the many lives ruined because of their association with him, and it tore painfully at his chest.
After sitting up in bed and finding his glasses, Harry spied a bowl of soup and piece of bread, along with a small cup of water near the cat-flap on his bedroom door. His anger immediately started to surface as he remembered being imprisoned with his 'family', but it couldn't overpower the overwhelming desire for food. So grudgingly, Harry devoured the cold broth and some of the bread, leaving the rest and some water for Hedwig, who had returned last night with the Gringotts Owl, and was sleeping quietly in her cage on the worn down wardrobe.
He knew it was still very early in the morning even before dawn, and the food was actually last night's dinner which he hadn't noticed then. He was wide awake, and still thinking over all that happened to him last night; the dream, the letter, the photo album, the pulsating magic, the meeting with Madam Bones, the Pensieve memories, and finally Tonks. His thoughts continued to spiral downward, until an angry frustrated yell escaped his lips.
"I've had enough," he screamed not caring if it woke any of the Dursleys, he just didn't care, he was at his wits end, and just wanted it all to be over.
He lay in bed wondering if he would or could ever escape the horrible life that fate had handed him, when he thought back to the Prophecy. Either must die at the hands of the other …for neither can live while the other survives. There it was, his entire life decided down to one sentence. He would never have anything as long as Voldemort was alive, and being the only living being that could kill the Dark Lord, Harry knew his life was already forfeit.
How could a schoolboy defeat the Darkest Wizard of the age, when Dumbledore couldn't even do it? Harry had no chance, he knew, Voldemort knew it, everyone knew it. Why did people have to continue putting themselves in danger to save him, it was pointless and useless, he was nothing special and he believed it? He couldn't even pass his classes without Hermione's help; he had no real skills, only luck when it came to escaping maniacal Dark Lords.
There was only one way he could survive, and lead a happy life, and that was to become a murderer and defeat the greatest Dark Wizard alive. Harry looked around his prison among his 'family' and began to realize that his life had never been, nor would it ever be truly happy. This was about survival plain and simple. Either He or Voldemort would survive, those were the only truths. Despite his tiredness from not having slept in weeks, Harry felt a renewed sense of energy that told him there was only one way to survive, and that was to learn and fight with everything he could.
If Voldemort won, the entire world would be doomed, if Harry won, most likely only he himself would suffer. Obviously the victims of Voldemort would suffer, but not the average witch, wizard, or muggle. Their lives would continue on as if nothing had changed, only that the weapon to defeat the Dark Lord was used correctly, and that they no longer need worry about it. It was all up to a child, a child who knew nothing but pain and loss, who had nothing and nobody to fight for, except the memories of those who loved him and died for him.
There it was, his mother, father, and now godfather, all died to protect him, knowing that it was up to him to end the tyranny they had all suffered under for so long. Harry was the only person who could stop the evil from permeating the world, and he was doing nothing to prepare for that. He could kick himself when he thought back to his first few years of school, and how lazy he was. He let luck, Dumbledore and Hermione save him from his destiny, but no longer could he put that burden on anyone other than where it belonged.
It was not fair to have anyone risk their lives for him, when he did nothing to earn their help. He had to get smarter, make better decisions, learn, study, and train with everything he had, or he was just pissing on the sacrifices of those who loved him enough to die for him. He closed his eyes for a long second, and took a deep calming inhale of stale air, allowing his body to be filled with the lifeblood of all humans. Slowly releasing that breath Harry felt the first calm wash over him in weeks, if not ever. He knew there was only one way to win to live, and that was to fight with everything he had.
He grabbed the nearest stack of books by his bed, and immersed himself in re-reading all of his old textbooks, with a plan slowly forming in his mind. He would use this time imprisoned at Privet Drive to finally take control of his destiny. To prepare himself for what he knew was coming, and to be ready when it did.
Several hours later, his stomach let out a loud grumble of hunger, the soup having done little to sustain his energy. He remember the package he got back from Ron last night, that he threw aside in favor of the letter from Gringotts, and hoped to anyone that was listening that there was food in there. He quickly found it with a bunch of replies from his friends, which he would read later, and tore open the box to find the inside much larger and filled with a few meat pies and several plates of sandwiches.
After devouring the largest meal he had probably ever eaten at Privet Drive, Harry hid the remaining pies and sandwiches under the loose floor board, hoping that they would keep for the next day or so. He returned to his bed with a new stack of books and continued his re-reading of them with a renewed vigor as the other occupants of the house started making their first movements of the day.
AN: That's Chapter Two. I have hand written up to Chapter Twelve, but my typing is slow going…I should have Chapter Three ready to go soon, Wednesday's are good for me. Thanks to my first reviewers, they were great!
Melcangel, darthme1011, Dragen Ranger, Mellowyellow11, Aoedes Mortis, Shadow High Angel, Treck, RealityBender, Necessary-Evil, & bandqsecurtiyaw. You all made my day, and don't worry …tis not the end.