Disclaimer: If I owned Harry Potter, I wouldn't waste my time on fics! And this disclaimer applies to the rest of the story too.
Note: Welcome to the new revised edition of the Phoenix Gate. No explanations will be given as to the previous books; in reading this fan fic, I assume you've read all four books. If not…then what are you doing here?
It was dark outside.
Harry Potter sighed, peering blearily at the alarm clock positioned facing him, before sighing again and glancing back down at his desk. His potions essay was nearly complete, but now that he glanced back at it, he realized he'd have to rewrite it. There was a big black blotch towards the beginning, and his already untidy scrawl became illegible at some points. He skimmed through the last paragraph he'd just written, and realized that not only was it unnecessary information, but it was pointless babble. Not that Snape'll really read it before failing it anyway.
His thoughts shifted to rogue Professor Severus Snape, a topic that had recently been surfacing in his mind agitatedly. He felt he had quite the right idea: Snape was a spy for Dumbledore. But he still hadn't been able to come up with any reason for Dumbledore to trust Snape.
Maybe something really bad happened, he thought to himself, idly twirling his quill between his fingers as he thought. Maybe Voldemort did something that made Snape turn to Dumbledore. Maybe Snape was a spy from the very beginning. Maybe Snape's a spy for Voldemort. Or maybe he's a double-agent, and he's a spy for Voldemort as much as he is for Dumbledore. There were so many possibilities as to what could've made Snape choose whichever side he was on…but what in the world had made Dumbledore trust him?
Harry sighed a third time, and leaning back in his chair, took off his glasses and rubbed his eyes tiredly. He didn't want to sleep, but his body demanded it. Not only from the lack of sleep he'd been suffering lately, but he's also had slight growth spurts the past few months. He was taller by a few inches, but still just as thin and gangly. His appetite wasn't really rearing its head as it normally did.
Resigning himself to the inevitable, Harry turned his lamp off and made it to his bed in the dark, lying down and pulling the blanket over his tired body. He hated this.
He had gotten better at blocking memories out of his mind, but he could not yet control his dreams.
"Harry! Get down here!"
Harry jerked awake and sat up straight in his bed, wide-eyed and unblinking, before a drowsy confusion settled on his mind. What time was it?
Through the tired haze, "Coming!" he called back down to his Aunt Petunia, his voice barely loud enough to reach her. As he was getting dressed in Dudley's large hand-me-downs, Harry carefully avoided looking at himself in the mirror. He knew what he would see – a skinny, somewhat short boy with untidy black hair, pale skin, and a thin lightening bolt shaped scar on his forehead.
He ran down the stairs and without a word, began to prepare breakfast for the three Dursleys. After placing the eggs and bacon on the table, he placed the plates and utensils, grabbed two slices of toast, and then went straight back up the stairs without taking a second glance back.
The Dursleys had been leaving him alone a lot lately. He wasn't getting as many pointless chores, and as long as he cooked breakfast for them without any problems, they let him be.
Harry shrugged to himself, not really caring. Dumbledore must have written to them or something, because he couldn't see any other reasons for the Dursleys not to be as nasty as usual, except under the threat of getting involved in any sort of trouble with "their kind."
Entering his room and shutting the door behind him in one graceful movement, Harry returned to his desk and took out fresh rolls of parchment. He needed to get back to rewriting that potions essay.
As he readied his quill, he glanced up at the calendar that he had tacked to his wall. July seventh. He looked closer at the date, a nagging feeling at the back of his mind, and when he read the word he had scribbled by the number, he remembered what had been so important about today.
Aunt Petunia had invited Mrs. Figg over for the afternoon because of her nosiness. Aunt Petunia's circle of gossip had heard that old Figg would be going back to teaching again and Aunt Petunia just had to know for herself. Harry gave a snort of laughter at the thought of eccentric old Mrs. Figg teaching.
Harry put his quill back in its holder and leaned back, much like the night before, and let his thoughts drift back to that night in the infirmary.
"Sirius, I need you to contact some people. Lie low at Remus Lupin's, and gather Fletcher, Figg…you know, the Old Crowd…"
He hadn't noticed it when Dumbledore had first said it; there were too many other things going on in his mind to properly process them, but he had realized them on the train back to King's Cross. The Figg that Dumbledore had mentioned – he couldn't have been talking about old Mrs. Figg, his baby-sitter…
Harry had his suspicions. If…if Mrs. Figg was the person Dumbledore was looking for, then he would find out today whether or not his baby-sitter was a witch. What her place could have possibly been in all this, Harry didn't know.
Either way, at least Uncle Vernon or Dudley wouldn't be there. He'd be freer under his aunt's care than his uncle's. Dudley had gone out with Piers and some of his other friends – Harry supposed that wherever they were, they were picking on someone or another. That's what they spent most of their time doing, anyway.
He began to redo his essay, but five minutes into the assignment, when he heard the doorbell ring towards noontime and even before hearing Aunt Petunia's fake tone drifting through the mostly empty home, he knew Mrs. Figg had arrived. Not five minutes later, there was a brisk knock on his door, before Aunt Petunia entered it.
She dropped her nice and kind expression, trading it for a deep scowl. "Now, listen here, boy. That woman wants to speak with you, see how you've been, and you had better be on your best behavior. No funny stuff. If you do anything to make her think you're – you're – well, abnormal, then you'll regret it. I'm going to prepare something to eat while you two are talking."
She turned to leave the room, and he was about to follow, but then Aunt Petunia spun around hissing, "And do something about your hair!"
Harry ran his hand through his raven hair absent-mindedly as he went downstairs and went to the living room, where Mrs. Figg was undoubtedly sipping her tea. When she saw him, she set her tea down, and smiled warmly at him as she got to her feet to greet him.
"Oh, how are you, child?" she asked fondly, clasping his outstretched hand in both of hers, giving a firm handshake. She took a step back, and her blue eyes looked him up and down. "Oh, dear, you've grown into such a handsome young man. You'll be fifteen at the end of this month, I remember."
Harry smiled rather blandly. He suddenly felt sorry for Ron. With all those family members, he must have gotten this kind of thing every time extended family members got together. He could just imagine his red-headed friend rolling his eyes at an old woman telling him of how much he'd grown since the last time they'd seen each other.
Well, at least she remembered his birthday. That was more than he could say for the Dursleys.
He sat down across from Mrs. Figg, and she returned to sipping her tea. She looked the same to him as always. She wasn't dressed very fashionably, as Aunt Petunia always complained, but he supposed that was rather normal for an old lady, and he didn't know the first thing about women's clothes anyway. But he did notice a cabbage-like smell wafting from her direction. Eccentric old Mrs. Figg…a witch….
He decided they might as well just get to it. If worst came to worst, Mrs. Figg would get affronted and tell Aunt Petunia, which would then leave to his getting locked in his cupboard for a week or something of the sort. That didn't sound very appealing, but Harry had been waiting since the end of term to find the answer to this. Mrs. Figg would never talk about it in the Dursley house – under muggle eyes – unless provoked, if she really was a witch.
He leaned in closer towards Mrs. Figg, and asked, hesitantly, "Er…Mrs. Figg, I was wondering…er, are – are you a witch?"
Mrs. Figg stopped sipping her tea very suddenly, and looked up at Harry with piercing blue eyes. After a moment in which Harry's heart was absolutely sure that this was who Dumbledore had been looking for – that Mrs. Figg really was a witch – when Mrs. Figg burst out laughing, leaving him completely bewildered.
"Oh," she laughed, as only an old woman could, seeming dignified as she did so, "oh, my dear boy, what a funny thing to say!" Her laughter abated. "Whatever made you say that?"
Harry slowly shrugged, and although feeling slightly suspicious, he also felt rather embarrassed. What if she really was a muggle? "Just wondering."
And that was that. Aunt Petunia walked in with the tea and sweets and Harry was about to get up to leave, when a sharp look from his aunt sat him back down again. Sitting beside Mrs. Figg, Aunt Petunia smiled at the old woman and shot a look of pure disgust at Harry.
"These are absolutely scrumptious, Petunia dear," Mrs. Figg said, taking a bite of a flowery decorated biscuit of some sort. "Your own recipe?"
"Yes, of course," Aunt Petunia bragged.
Mrs. Figg and Aunt Petunia conversed with small talk for quite a while as Harry's mind wandered to other things. Harry watched the old woman discreetly. A muggle would've been more offended than Mrs. Figg seemed. A muggle would have been upset and then wondered what could've made them seem like a witch.
Harry felt a headache coming on. He still wasn't sure whether or not the woman was a witch or not, although there was something ridiculously familiar about her, more than the fact that she had baby-sat for him when he was little. She looked familiar too, but Harry pondered over it, and could not uncover the nagging feeling he had.
Harry's head snapped up as he heard Mrs. Figg say his name.
"Petunia, I was wondering, would you let Harry come stay with me the rest of the summer?" Mrs. Figg asked, to the utter surprise of both Aunt Petunia and Harry. She continued quickly, not wanting to give Petunia the chance to refuse. "You see, I'm going to be visiting a lot of places this summer, and if Harry wasn't doing anything, I was hoping I'd have some company as well. My cats really do adore the boy." Mrs. Figg smiled at Harry.
Harry gave an uncertain grin. He wasn't sure which was a worse way to spend the summer: with the Dursleys, or with Mrs. Figg's cats. He fast made up his mind and told himself that anything was better than the Dursleys.
"Oh," Aunt Petunia said, looking at Harry, then to Mrs. Figg, then back at Harry. She wasn't smiling anymore. "Oh, I don't know, this is a surprise – "
"Oh, go on Petunia," Mrs. Figg said with a chuckle, "he'll be having a good time, and learning new things as well. I can leave him at the train station for school when the new term begins, as well."
Aunt Petunia laughed rather dubiously at that, but with a sigh and a frown, nodded. "I…I suppose it should be all right. Will he go with you now?"
"Yes, yes," Mrs. Figg nodded, smiling jovially. Turning to Harry with a gleam in her eyes, she said, "go on and get your things, I'll be waiting here."
Harry, not believing his luck, sprinted up the stairs, into his room, and started throwing all his things into his school trunk. When he came down, Aunt Petunia stared at him with immense dislike.
"She's waiting outside. Now you listen, boy – if she finds out about your…you know, when Vernon and I find out, he'll flay you to within an inch of your life. Now…now just leave."
Harry shrugged, used to all the threats coming from his aunt and uncle, and dragging the trunk behind him, he followed Mrs. Figg down Privet Drive to what he hoped would be a nice summer. "Bye, Aunt Petunia."
Once they were out of earshot and sight, Mrs. Figg stopped and turned to Harry. Glancing up and down the street, Mrs. Figg took out a long, thin piece of wood.
Harry caught sight of it and grinned, as Mrs. Figg waved the wand, and muttered weightless and shrinking charms over his trunk. Picking it up from the ground and putting it in his pocket, Harry looked at the old woman. "So, you are a witch."
She merely smiled and continued walking. As they turned the corner of privet drive, she said, "Yes, Harry, I am a witch. Albus told you, I assume."
Harry looked at her and said honestly, "No, not directly. I recognized your name when he was speaking to S– " Harry suddenly stopped, and then continued smoothly, "to some other people that were there." He didn't think that Mrs. Figg knew that Sirius was innocent, as only very few people knew it.
"Ah, Mr. Black, I presume," Mrs. Figg supplied, a knowing look on her face. Her eyes twinkled. "My brother has told me all about it."
Harry followed in silence. The only other people that knew were Ron, Hermione, Snape, Dumbledore, and Remus Lupin. Now Mr. and Mrs. Weasley, too. But…Mrs. Figg was too old to be Snape's sister, or Remus', and Hermione and Ron were definitely crossed out. But then there was no one else….
Harry's eyes widened. She's got the same blue eyes…the same expression. Vaguely, he remembered from long ago – it wasn't so long ago, was it? Harry thought in wonder. When Rita Skeeter's horrible article about Hagrid had come out, Dumbledore had been reassuring Hagrid with a story of his own brother. Aberforth Dumbledore. If Harry had just learned that Dumbledore had a brother six months ago, why would this be so hard for him to accept? Albus, Aberforth, Arabella…
Mrs. Figg still wasn't looking at him as she walked, seeming to instead take in the greenery of Little Whinging during the summer. "Hmm, yes," she said, smiling. "Albus is my older brother."
Harry watched her dumbstruck for more than a few moments.
She finally looked over at Harry, and her gaze softened. "I was told what happened on the night of the Third Task."
Harry didn't stop walking, but his muscles tensed and he felt a familiar ache race through his being, then he looked down; his mind wandering to the things he saw that night. Cedric, dead, on the floor – Wormtail's scream and the sound of his severed limb falling into the cauldron – Voldemort rising and touching his face, with one long, piercing digit – the wands connecting – his parents –
He suddenly realized that Mrs. Figg was watching him, and decided that – as he had nothing to say to her in reply – that he would just stay silent. He looked up and forward as they walked, keeping to his silence.
Mrs. Figg noticed this, but made no mention of it. Her eyes looked through him, just as Dumbledore's would.
Those eyes…they knew him. It was as if they felt the same things he did – they felt his fear, hope, and all the things between. They saw everything about him.
He wished they didn't.
A/N: All right, that's a helluva lot more satisfying than the first round. I like this redo much better. Harry doesn't seem abnormally clever, the whole intro is much better presented…blah blah blah.
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~ Jedi Cosmos