Summer of Independence
Disclaimer: None of this belongs to me and I am not making any $$$ off of it. This world belongs to the talented JKR, I am just playing with it.
Note: This story is AU to HBP as I haven't been able to come up with a good story line using the HBP info. My favorite fan fiction stories are after the 5th book and this one begins there as well. I do not have a beta, I spell checked as best I could… but please no flames for spelling, punctuation or grammar errors. I am an engineer not an editor so forgive me ahead of time.
Warnings: This story will contain moderate Dumbledore and Weasley bashing. So this is your warning in case this is not the type of story you like to read. There will be nothing graphic or explicit as it is a PG story.
The story begins at the end of book 5…
Chapter 1: Finding Comfort in the ROR
Harry stumbled out of Dumbledore's office in a daze trying to process everything he had just been told as well as the consequences of their little trip into the ministry. His emotions were everywhere and he knew he couldn't go back to Gryffindor tower like he was or he was libel to scare someone and be seen as even more of a crack pot than the papers were making him out to be. Without even realizing where he was going he ended up in the hallway that housed the Room of Requirement. He was aware of the fact that he paced back and forth in front of the spot 3 times as needed but his head was too jumbled to form a request so he was surprised when the doorway appeared. Perhaps the room knew what he needed even if he didn't himself.
When Harry entered the room there was a comfy looking sofa sitting in front of a coffee table with two items on it, a photograph and a journal. The first was a framed photo of Sirius and Harry sat down heavily on the couch clutching the frame to him and crying over the loss of his godfather. The tears were therapeutic and he felt some of the weight lift as he gently set the picture back on the table. He was glad that the room had given him the picture as he knew he never would have cried in front of his friends. He reached forward and grabbed the journal off the table to find that it was Sirius' and the tears began anew.
Before he was able to start reading Dobby popped into the room and pointed out the clocks on the wall and explained that for every hour he spent in the room only a minute would pass outside and that the room would take care of him until he was ready to leave. Harry did some quick math and determined he could stay for a month and still make it to the Great Hall for lunch so no-one would worry about him. His heart was aching terribly from loosing Sirius and from Dumbledore keeping so many major secrets and he knew he wouldn't be ready to face everyone for a while. He decided to stay and start to read Sirius' journal. He would figure out what else to do with the extra time later. So he opened the journal to the first page and was surprised to find a note to him.
If you're reading this then I am gone. I'm sorry for leaving you pup and I hope that however I went that it was doing something to help you or the war. Don't morn me too long. I have been miserable stuck here in this house and I still feel the years of Azkaban. Be happy for me as I am finally free and with your parents. The only times I have been happy these past few years where when you were around. I love you Harry, you're the son I never had and I wish all the best for you. There are many things that Dumbledore has kept from you and I have written all that I know in here for you. I was hoping to be able to tell you in person but this will have to do. Don't cry when you remember me, but live every day to its best and try to have some fun.
All my love,
Your Godfather Sirius aka Padfoot
Harry began the journal after his tears stopped. By having the journal it finalized that Sirius was really gone and he had been trying to believe it wasn't true. The journal started after his escape from Azkaban as a way to try and get his mind back in order. Harry hadn't realized how much damage the dementors had done to his godfather, but then he didn't remember him from before then so he had nothing to compare to. One of the passages caught Harry's attention from after he helped Sirius escape on Buckbeak. It seems he stayed with Remus Lupin for a while and it was the transcript of their conversation.
"I can't believe he was able to conjure such a powerful patronus," Sirius said with pride. "I didn't realize just how powerful he must be."
"I don't get it though Pads," Remus said to his long time friend. "He's never shown that kind of power before. He barely scrapes by in most of his classes."
"I don't understand; he's very smart. He has to be; James and Lily were top of every class!" Sirius said.
"He doesn't try at all and his homework looks rushed and un-researched. I understand that he spends all his time with the lazy Weasley boy but he should be able to do so much better without any real effort. It's like he tries to do poorly," Remus told him.
"Maybe he does try to do poorly," Sirius suggested. "That muggle cousin of his doesn't have two brain cells to rub together. If Harry was punished for doing well in school growing up maybe he is subconsciously doing it still."
"So since Ron is his best mate he just makes sure he stays at Ron's level so he doesn't attract attention?" Remus asked. When Sirius nodded he added, "Well Ron is the jealous type, maybe Harry is afraid he won't stay his friend if he's smart. And Hermione would feel threatened by anyone she perceived as smarter than her."
Harry stopped reading and thought about his time at Hogwarts and realized that he never tried hard to learn anything, other than the patronus, until he started to look up spells for the DA. He decided then that he would go back through all his books and re-read them. He made a promise to himself and to Sirius that he would actually try and do well from now on. He figured that now that he was aware of what he was doing he would be able to stop, hopefully.
It took Harry 8 hours to finish reading the journal and when he finished the ache in his heart over loosing his godfather had started to heal. He had a long way to go, but he was on the road to getting over Sirius' death. He had taken a few notes to remind him of what he needed and wanted to do when he finished the journal and the list looked like:
Become better in school
What are the wards at #4 Privet Dr?
Talk to Gringotts goblin about finances
Review laws for underage magic
Buy new clothes
Buy more books
See Eye Doctor
Determine who I can trust
Read about Prophesies
Find if there is another copy of my smashed prophesy
Write to the Department of Mysteries
Write to the Department for Underage Wizardry
Find a lawyer about the Dursleys
Did Sirius have a will?
Did my parents have a will?
Make plans for summer
He had read about how Sirius was suspicious of the Weasley family's friendship with Harry. That there had been Order meetings that he wasn't allowed to attend, even though it was his house, and that it was best not to trust the Order blindly. Sirius told him about the prophesy and said that he wasn't sure it was complete and not to put too much hope on it as divination was very imprecise. He also found out that Dumbledore and the Order KNEW how his family treated him growing up. They knew how they starved him and verbally attacked him and how Dudley beat him up. He also found out that the Dursley's were PAID to take care of him. He was determined to get a lawyer about that!
After eating and sleeping for a few hours Harry was at a loss of where to start. The 1st thing on his list was to do better in school but without his OWL results he didn't even know where he stood with his scores as he'd never seen any. He smiled when a folder appeared on the table; it was his school file! He realized that Remus was right as he barely averaged Acceptable in most subjects and would do worse if he didn't do so much better on the practical than the written or homework. He realized that Umbridge had been right about one thing, he wouldn't be getting a job at the Ministry with scores like his!
What really upset him though was finding his personal records in the file and the list of maladies and injuries that Madame Pomfrey had recorded over the years. The report from his 1st year made him angry as she reported to Dumbledore signs of abuse, severe malnourishment, stunted growth, eye problems from poor diet, poor muscle tone suggesting prolonged confinement and evidence of multiple crippling injuries that were poorly healed and evidence of multiple concussions and lasting damage to the left lung. The reports from the next years were not as detailed but all reported on his poor treatment at the Dursley's along with suggested courses of treatment that he was never given that would repair the damage, fix his height problems and improve his eyesight. He decided he needed to add 'See a Healer' to his list for the summer.
As he flipped to the last page he smiled at the info he was seeing:
Student: Harry James Potter
Mother: Lily Marie Potter nee Evans
Father: James Tiberius Potter
Grandparents: Tiberius Charles Potter & Marguerite Lynn Potter nee Wilson
Grandparents: Marcus Heath Evans & Jasmine Hope Evans nee Stevensen
Godparents: Sirius Orion Black & Alice Jane Longbottom nee Cooper
He finally knew his family's names, he decided to write them down and research to see if he could find out anything about them. He had been wondering if he had a godmother and why she had not come for him before; so at least he knew why. He wondered if that made him and Neville god-brothers or something.
As he put the file down he lamented that he had already taken his OWLs and wished he had gotten his act together sooner so he could have done better. He was startled by a big thick book appearing on the table open to a page in the middle. He grinned as he read that a student could request to be re-tested in OWLs or NEWTs if their test had been interrupted or disturbed in any way. The downside or reason most never took advantage of the rule was that you had to retake your entire OWLs not just the one that was disturbed and you had to file the petition to retake your exams before you received your scores. Harry decided it was exactly what he needed to do. He would send out a petition before he left for the summer. He knew if he came back to the ROR again after curfew the night he went back he could get an extra 25 days of studying in without being missed at all and he could do that every day until the train left if needed so he had a potential of 125 days to study plus the 27 days he had left currently.
Harry settled into a schedule over the next few days trying to get a head start on his summer list. He would wake up and start to exercise on the track the room provided and then do sit-ups, pull-ups and push-ups before drowning himself and his aching muscles in the shower or swimming pool sized bathtub. He would then eat a hearty breakfast and start studying for his OWLs. He was starting with 1st year books and making his way through all the subjects and taking notes, practicing the spellwork, and even attempting to brew the potions. He would try to remember the good memories of Sirius before going to bed to attempt to slowly come to terms with his death. Thinking of him still hurt but he was able to concentrate on the happy times instead of the image of him falling through the veil.
His general schedule was as follows:
Study for OWLs
Study Laws, Wards, Prophesy, Etc…
Have Fun/ Be Creative
Try to Clear Mind
He continued on in his schedule for a few days until another potion exploded and he screamed to the room, "How am I supposed to know what to do? I'm muggle raised!" That was when a pile of books appeared on the table and he sat their in shock for a moment wondering what the room had just provided. The top item was a small pamphlet called 'Yes, Magic is Real' and went on to explain the Hogwarts letter, what to expect with school and how to access the platform as well as a list of contacts if you have questions as well as a recommended book list to help you adjust to your new world. It was obviously a pamphlet given to all muggle-born students. The books were: Muggle Guide to Wizards, So You Found Out You're a Wizard?, Magical Heritage, Hogwarts: A History, and a complete set of books called Wizarding Starter Books: A Comprehensive Guide to Beginner Magic.
Harry was livid that no-one ever thought to give him this information. The Muggle Guide to Wizards outlined the basic laws of secrecy and underage sorcery, how magic was tracked, what wands were and what their components meant. The book So You Found Out You're a Wizard? explained accidental magic and how to gain control as well as the basic principal of 'clearing your mind.' The starter books were exactly what he needed to help with his OWL preparation as they explained why wand movements and incantations needed to be precise, how certain ingredients interacted in potions, why you stirred certain ways and the theory behind magic as well as what subjects were easier with what wand materials. The book Magical Heritage explained the vast array of magical talents there were as well as how to notice and test for them. It also talked about blocks on magic and how they could be put on or taken off and their effects as well as how to test for blocked magic or powers. Hogwarts: A History explained not only about the castle but about the houses, all the classes offered and how each subject could help with certain career paths.
After absorbing the knowledge in all the books all muggle-borns are encouraged to read he realized that until that moment he had know almost nothing about the magical world or how his magic worked. He was actually shocked that he had been able to even squeak by without all this key data. He finished his 1st year texts in a week, including all the new books he should have read BEFORE Hogwarts. After realizing what Snape had meant when yelling "Clear Your Mind" Harry was able to focus better on his work and his thoughts became more organized.
He also noticed how he had to almost fight his magic to perform certain spells and began to wonder if he had blocked magic or powers. He brewed the potion that would tell him if there were any blocks and when they were placed. He had to add his own hair and blood to the mixture and soak a quill in it for 48 hours and then the quill would write out on parchment if there were any blocks.
Harry was glad he had added time to have fun to his schedule or he was sure he would have gone stir crazy. He had found out that he was a decent artist, he couldn't sew or knit to save his life and he didn't have a good singing voice but he was a natural at reading music. He was teaching himself how to play the guitar, piano, flute and harmonica. He had also found books on broom design and other magical crafts that looked intriguing. Some of the things he decided to look into further were woodworking, carving, metallurgy, jewelry design, stained glass and wand making. His favorite part of the day was reading up on new hobbies and deciding which ones he really wanted to pursue. He spent a fair amount of time reading about Quidditch and other magical and muggle sports and activities as well.
The 48 hours of soaking the quill revealed that Harry had more than one block. He had a block on his magic that was placed just hours after he was born. After looking up the block he determined it must have been placed by a Master Healer with his parents permission as it was a rare block only used if a child showed significant magic before a year of age and was to protect the child from damaging their magical core when performing accidental magic as it blocked off a good portion of the child's available magic. He also had a blocked power/ability of some sort relating to changing his body that was placed on him shortly after his 1st birthday. After researching he found that type of block was used regularly to block the metamorphmagi abilities or anamagi abilities of young children.
The third block was placed upon him when he was around 5 years old and blocked his ability for accidental magic of the wish magic variety. The kind of accidental wish magic where the veggies disappear off a child's plate who doesn't want to eat them or the kid's favorite toy sails across the room to them. Harry was mad because this block had to have been performed by a wizard and he would have already been living at his aunt's. He had a feeling it was Dumbledore who placed it and was mad it had not been removed when he started school and learned conscious control of his magic.
There were two more blocks added after he started school. One to block a healing ability of some sort that was added at the end of his 1st year and one that was to block a mind ability at the end of his 4th year. He had wondered why he took so long to heal at Hogwarts when he recovered from major injuries before faster and realized that Dumbledore must have blocked his natural healing ability. He was very upset about the last block because if he was right then Dumbledore had made sure his mind was opened to Voldemort and there would have been NO WAY he could be successful at Occlumency with the ability blocked. Harry also realized that with the number and type of blocks that he had, he would have to wait until he could have a healer remove them. He decided to ask Gringotts if there was a goblin healer he could see so he would know he could trust them.
He finished through his 3rd year schoolwork by the end of his stay, including the texts and workbooks for Arithmacy, Ancient Runes and Muggle Studies. He hadn't determined if he would have to take all the OWLs or only those he took classes for and decided he would much rather take the Arithmacy and Ancient Runes classes in the future than either Divination or Care of Magic Creatures. He was fascinated by runes and even read all the recommended extra reading the text book suggested on different cultures' runes like Egyptian Hieroglyphics. He realized he was quite gifted with languages and decided to add language study to his list, especially Gobbledygook and Mermish.
Harry gathered up all the letters he had written that he would send off after lunch in the Great Hall. He took a deep breath and then left the ROR what felt like 30 days from the fight at the Ministry but was actually just lunch time the following day. He made his way to the Great Hall and sat down next to Neville as Hermione and Ron were still in the hospital wing.
"Are you ok Harry?" Ginny asked from across the table. "Why didn't you come to the hospital wing with us?"
"Professor Dumbledore took me to his office and then I just wanted some alone time to think about everything." He told her wondering if she really cared or was asked to keep tabs on him since his best friends weren't there.
"I'm very sorry about the loss of your godfather," Neville told him sincerely. "If you ever want to talk or something…" he offered and Harry was glad there was someone he knew he could trust.
"Thanks Neville, why don't we go see those new plants you were telling me about in the greenhouse? I don't think I want to be inside any more this afternoon." Harry said and had to hold in his smirk at Ginny's pout at not being invited.
"Aren't you going to go visit Ron and Hermione?" She nagged.
"I doubt Madame Pomfrey will let us in there yet. I'm sure Professor McGonagall will tell us when it's ok to visit." Harry said wondering if he would have even noticed he was being manipulated without the ROR's help.
"So what's up Harry?" Neville asked once they were in the greenhouse. "You've never been too interested in plants before."
Harry smiled, "You're right, I just wanted to talk to you without everyone around. I am trying to be interested in your plants too. I figure if you like them so much there has to be a reason."
"Thanks Harry," Neville said with a smile, "Now spill; no more stalling!"
Harry laughed, "Ok, did you know that your mum is my godmother?" He asked.
Neville looked shocked for a moment and shook his head. "No, but it shouldn't have surprised me too much as your mum was mine. I never told you because I didn't want you to feel bad."
"So we are definitely god-brothers then," Harry said with a smile and the two spent the next few hours talking and really getting to know each other. Harry realized that if it hadn't been for Ron hogging all his time he would have become much better friends with Neville as they had much more in common. "I'm sorry your dad's wand broke," Harry told him. "Will you be in a lot of trouble?"
"Probably, but honestly I'm glad it happened. That wand is not suited to me at all but my Gran won't hear of it. Finally I may be able to get my own wand!" Neville told him and Harry wondered if Neville had blocks on his magic as well.
"Nev, have you ever had anyone check if there were any blocks on your magic?" Harry asked. "I mean if your parents placed one on you, your Gran might not have known."
Neville looked thoughtful for a moment. "I never thought about it; but Harry the same would be true for you."
Harry nodded, "I found evidence of more than one block and am going to have them removed this summer. Don't tell anyone but I think at least one of the blocks has been added since school so I can't trust Madame Pomfrey."
"I'll have my parents' healer check me this summer," Neville said still shocked that one of the professors would do that to Harry.
"I don't know who to trust anymore Neville," Harry told him sadly. "My godfather's journal was magically sent to me last night and it mentioned some lies I've been told and he told me he was suspicious of the Weasleys. He thought they may have been told to befriend me and could be reporting on my activities and keeping me ignorant."
"That's horrible!" Neville told him. "I always wondered about you and Ron as it seems he dictated what you should and shouldn't do and was always angry and jealous. Besides he is mean to me all the time unless you or Hermione are around. And this year Ginny has been hanging around more than normal." Neville observed.
"Now that I think about it, don't you think it strange that an entirely magical family would be wandering through King's Cross and boldly announcing 'Platform 9 ¾ this way.' It was probably a set-up so I would trust them more." Harry said sadly.
"Yeah, why wouldn't they have just flooed there then?" Neville asked and Harry knew in his heart that Dumbledore had sent Molly Weasley to 'direct' him through the barrier and to set-up his friendship with Ron.
"Did you know that I'd most likely be in Slytherin if not for Ron telling me that all dark wizards were from Slytherin?" Harry told him. "The hat told me I'd do well there but I just kept saying 'Not Slytherin'!"
Neville laughed, "I was the opposite; I begged for Gryffindor! My Gran had said she expected me to be in Gryffindor like my parents so I just said 'Gryffindor' over and over and over!" The two laughed at how neither one was a true Gryffindor before heading back in for dinner. Harry ate slowly knowing he would have to go visit Ron and Hermione afterwards.
Harry was relieved when he was forced to go by Madame Pomfry and was able to escape to his dorm. He charmed his curtains closed and sneaked into the ROR under his invisibility cloak. He had packed his school bag this time with an extra set of clothes as well as his pajamas, toothbrush, photo album and all his spare parchment and quills to take notes with. He was prepared for his 10 real time hours in the ROR or 25 days inside.
By the time he returned to real time he had finished 4th and 5th year schoolwork in all subjects and was well on his way to learning Gobbledygook, Latin, Gaelic, and Egyptian. He had also determined that he would never be the type to play rugby or American football as he was too small. He was interested in trying football/soccer and baseball and maybe even skiing and kayaking.
He had experimented with a few of the hobbies he had read about and decided he really liked working with wood on brooms, carving and wood working. He was sad it was time to go back to reality.
Harry spent the next day playing chess with Ron in the hospital wing while Hermione read library books. He ate dinner with Neville and excused himself early to bed to give himself 12 hours in the ROR or 30 days. He knew he was using the room as an escape mechanism but also knew he needed the time so he could finally make informed decisions about his life.
He spent some time each day revising schoolwork but only and hour or two and used the rest of the time to exercise and learn. He found warding fascinating, especially wards that used runes, and in the month he was in the room exhausted the room's source of books on the subject. That was quite a feat as the room could pull any book from the castle including the library, classrooms and the professor's or students personal libraries. That was how it had gotten the journal since it had magically appeared in his trunk in his dorm when Sirius died.
Harry was probably one of the most well versed 15 year olds on laws. He decided that he didn't want any more surprises and studied up on the laws, discovering that quite a few had been broken in regards to him over the years. He had been avoiding the topic of prophesy until now and as he prepared to leave the room again he knew he would have to focus on it next time along with self-defense techniques.
Harry spent the day outside with Neville enjoying the sunshine and breeze that he missed in the Room of Requirement. "Harry do you mind if I ask why you never wear your Potter ring?" Neville finally built up the courage to ask.
"What do you mean?" Harry asked him not knowing of any ring or family heirlooms at all.
"You're Lord Potter of the Ancient & Noble House. Every lord has their signet ring they use to seal official correspondence and to cast their vote in the Wizengamot." Neville told him.
"I'm only 15 Nev; I'd have to be of age right?" Harry asked thinking over everything he had read.
"As the last of your line you could claim lordship by the age of 10. Your advisor and regent should have informed you or you could press charges." Neville told him. "Who is your regent?" He asked curiously.
"I have no idea Neville; I didn't even know my family was Ancient & Noble until you said so. I'll have to investigate with the Goblins when we get back." Harry told him and Neville was shocked as it was a huge injustice that Harry was never informed of his heritage or duties.
"You'll have to review all the financial and legislative decisions your regent made in your stead to make sure they align with your family's beliefs. You have the authority to change your vote since you were never informed of your heritage." Neville said.
"Are you a Lord Heir?" Harry asked him.
"We are a lesser family, only Noble not Ancient & Noble but my family does still hold a seat on the Wizengamot. My Gran is filling in while my father is sick and I am underage. Since my dad is still alive I cannot claim Lordship and can only take his duties over once I am of age." Neville explained sadly.
"Are they any closer with a cure?" Harry asked.
"No, but I refuse to give up hope. I figure if there was no hope they would have died and moved on by now so there must be a chance to bring them back," He said softly.
"Then we will hope together and wait for them to wake up. After all we are a family of a sort as god-brothers. I've already lost one of my godparents and my parents; there is no way I am giving up hope on my godmother!" Harry told him.
Neville grinned realizing that Harry did understand and was relieved to have someone else get it, to realize that he was not capable of giving up on his parents.
"Madame Pomfrey said we should be released sometime tomorrow," Hermione told him when he visited after dinner. He was glad they were on the mend but realized he may not get another chance in the ROR once Ron was out and tailing him again. When he entered the ROR that night he decided to treat it like the last time and hope he finished everything for the summer. He kept reviewing his studies some but focused more on prophesies, responsibilities of the Head of an Ancient & Noble House, what laws were voted upon since his fathers death, self defense techniques and body wellness and fitness.
He had heard that for his treatments from the healer to be most successful he would need a healthy diet as well as weight and conditioning training and cardio exercise. His study of prophesy led him to the conclusion that they were sketchy and self-fulfilling and most only ever made sense once they were fulfilled. He also found out that the globes returned to their shelf again if smashed and that he could go back in and listen to it to see if it matched Dumbledore's version.
He had been unable to tell who had been acting as the Potter Regent but had made a list of votes he wanted changed, 3 of which would change legislation since his was the vote or there was a one vote difference between pass and fail. He looked forward to eliminating the anti-werewolf legislation that banned them from holding government jobs or any job with contact with the public (almost all jobs); as well as that banned them from marrying and having children. The other was a law that stated that only a pureblood could hold a department head position, be Minister of Magic or a Hogwarts Professor. Harry hated how that kept half-bloods and muggle-borns from advancing. The last law was one where his changed vote would approve a new law. The law was that wand/magic privileges be given to anyone who passed at least 2 OWLs in either Charms, Transfiguration or Defense Against the Dark Arts. This would allow many more students to protect themselves before they turned 17. He had made a list of his new votes and would give it to a goblin as soon as he got his signet ring. The goblins would have quite a busy day with him when he arrived.
When he left the room again he felt sure he knew what he needed to do for the summer and confident he could pass all the offered OWLs with flying colors. He was a new Harry and soon the world would see it as well, he just needed to hide it until the train arrived in London. He was prepared to deal with his uncle and take on the Order if he had to. It was time for him to begin to live!
Ron and Hermione were released before lunch and Hermione kept pestering him to talk about loosing Sirius. "Look Hermione, I get that some people need to talk about their feelings to deal with them. But I have never been one of those people. I don't want to discuss it. Am I hurt and sad? Yes, of course but I don't need you to dissect it and attempt to make me feel better. I'll get over it in my own way; not in yours. Now can we please drop it or do I have to leave?" He asked after the 10th time she mentioned it that afternoon.
She just glared at him and tossed her hair before returning to her book. "So what did Dumbledore have to say when you got back?" Ron asked eagerly, for the 5th time.
"Ron I told you that I can't talk about it and I don't want to talk about it so stop asking already, the answer won't change." Harry said, quickly loosing his patience.
"You've never kept secrets before," Ron said like that should matter.
"Dumbledore never asked me not to say before either," Harry countered, wishing desperately that there were not 2 more days until term ended and he could avoid all their stupid questions.