Disclaimer: I do not own the rights to the Harry Potter universe, or any of its characters, because they belong to J K Rowling. Any original characters and the plotline belong to me.

Author's Note: Hello, I'm Potterfan3002! This fanfic is an AU set in 5th year, with a Powerful!Harry and a Powerful!Hermione, as well as some moderate Ron and Dumbledore bashing. This story will have some excerpts from Rowling's book, but otherwise it'll be all original. Now, on with the show!

---------------------------------------------------------------------------

---------------------------------------------------------------------------

Harry Potter and the Order of the Phoenix

Chapter One: And So It Begins. . . .

The hottest day of summer so far was drawing to a close and a drowsy silence lay over the large, square houses of Privet Drive. Cars that were usually gleaming stood dusty in their drives and lawns that were once emerald green lay parched and yellowing; the use of hosepipes had been banned due to drought. Deprived of their usual car-washing and lawn-mowing pursuits, the inhabitants of Privet Drive had retreated into the shade of their cool houses, windows thrown wide in the hope of tempting in a nonexistent breeze. The only person left outdoors was a teenage boy who was laying flat on his back in a flower bed outside number four.

He was a skinny, black-haired, bespectacled boy who had the pinched, slightly unhealthy look of someone who has grown a lot in a short space of time. His jeans were torn and dirty, his T-shirt baggy and faded, and the soles of his trainers were peeling away from the uppers. Harry Potter's appearance did not endear him to the neighbors, who were the sort of people who thought scruffiness ought to be punishable by law, but as he had hidden himself behind a large hydrangea bush this evening he was quite invisible to passerby. In fact, the only way he would be spotted was if his Uncle Vernon or Aunt Petunia stuck their heads out of the living room window and looked straight down into the flower bed below.

On the whole, Harry thought he was to be congratulated on his idea of hiding here. He was not, perhaps, very comfortable lying on the hot, hard earth, but on the other hand, nobody was glaring at him, grinding their teeth so loudly that he could not hear the news, or shooting nasty questions at him, as had happened every time he had tried sitting down in the living room and watching television with his aunt and uncle.

As though this thought had fluttered through the open window, Vernon Dursley, Harry's uncle, suddenly spoke. "Glad to see the boy's stopped trying to butt in. Where is he anyway?"

"I don't know," said Aunt Petunia unconcernedly. "Not in the house."

Uncle Vernon grunted.

"Watching the news . . ." he said scathingly. "I'd like to know what he's really up to. As if a normal boy cares what's on the news — Dudley hasn't got a clue what's going on, doubt he knows who the Prime Minister is! Anyway, it's not as if there'd be anything about his lot on our news —"

"Vernon, shh!" said Aunt Petunia. "The window's open!"

"Oh — yes — sorry, dear . . ."

The Dursleys fell silent. Harry listened to a jingle about Fruit N' Bran breakfast cereal while he watched Mrs. Figg, a batty, cat-loving old lady from nearby Wisteria Walk, amble slowly past. She was frowning and muttering to herself. Harry was very pleased that he was concealed behind the bush; Mrs. Figg had recently taken to asking him around for tea whenever she met him on the street. She had rounded the corner and vanished from view before Uncle Vernon's voice floated out from the window again.

"Dudders out for tea?"

"At the Polkisses'," said Aunt Petunia fondly. "He's got so many little friends, he's so popular . . ."

Harry repressed a snort with difficulty. The Dursleys really were astonishingly stupid about their son, Dudley; they had swallowed all his dim-witted lies about having tea with a different member of his gang every night of the summer holidays. Harry knew perfectly well that Dudley had not been to tea anywhere; he and his gang spent every evening vandalizing the play park, smoking on street corners, and throwing stones at passing cars and children. Harry had seen at it during his evening walks around Little Whinging; he had spent most of the holidays wandering the streets, scavenging newspapers from bins along the way.

The opening notes that heralded the seven o'clock news reached Harry's ears and his stomach turned over. Perhaps tonight — after a month of waiting — would be the night —

"Record numbers of stranded holidaymakers fill airports as the Spanish baggage-handlers' strike reaches its second week —"

"Give 'em a lifelong siesta, I would," snarled Uncle Vernon over the end of the newscaster's sentence, but no matter: Outside in the flower bed, Harry's stomach seemed to unclench. If anything had happened, it would surely have been the first item on the news; death and destruction were more important than stranded holidaymakers. . . .

He let out a long, slow breath and stared up at the brilliant blue sky. Every day this summer had been the same: the tension, the expectation, the temporary relief, and then mounting tension again . . . and always, growing more insistent all the time, the question of why nothing had happened yet. . . .

He kept listening, just in case there was a small clue, not recognized for what it really was by the Muggles — an unexplained disappearance, perhaps, or some strange incident . . . but the baggage-handlers' strike was followed by news on the drought in the Southeast ("I hope he's listening next door!" bellowed Uncle Vernon, "with his sprinklers on at three in the morning!"); then a helicopter that had almost crashed in a field in Surrey, then a famous actress's divorce from her famous husband ("as if we're interested in their sordid affairs," sniffed Aunt Petunia, who had followed the case obsessively in every magazine she could lay her boney hands on).

Harry closed his eyes against the now blazing evening sky as the newsreader said, "And finally, Bungy the budgie has found a novel way of keeping cool this summer. Bungy, who lives at the Five Feathers in Barnsley, has learned to water-ski! Mary Dorkins went to find out more. . . ."

Harry opened his eyes again. If they had reached water-skiing budgerigars, there was nothing else worth hearing. He rolled cautiously onto his front and raised himself onto his knees and elbows, preparing to crawl out from under the window.

He had moved about two inches when several things happened in very quick succession.

A loud, echoing crack broke the sleepy silence like a gunshot; a cat streaked out from under a parked car and flew out of sight; a shriek, a bellowed oath, and the sound of breaking china came from the Dursleys' living room, and as though Harry had been waiting for this signal, he jumped to his feet, at the same time pulling from the waistband of his jeans a thin wooden wand as if he were unsheathing a sword. But before he could draw himself up to full height, the top of his head collided with the Dursleys' open window, and the resultant crash made Aunt Petunia scream even louder.

Harry felt as if his head had been split in two; eyes streaming, he swayed, trying to focus on the street and spot the source of the noise, but he had barely staggered upright again when two large purple hands reached through the open window and closed tightly around his throat.

"Put itaway!" Uncle Vernon snarled into Harry's ear. "Now! Before anyonesees!"

"Get — off — me!" Harry gasped; for a few seconds they struggled, Harry at his uncle's sausage-like fingers with his left hand, his right maintaining a firm grip on his raised wand. Then, as the pain in the top of Harry's head gave a particularly painful throb, Uncle Vernon yelped and released Harry as though he had received an electric shock — some invisible force seemed to have surged through his nephew, making him impossible to hold.

Panting, Harry fell forward over the hydrangea bush, straightened up, and stared around. There was no sign of what had caused the loud cracking noise, but there were several faces peering through various nearby windows. Harry stuffed his wand hastily back into his jeans pocket and tried to look innocent.

"Lovely evening!" shouted Vernon, waving at Mrs. Number Seven, who was glaring from behind her net curtains. "Did you hear that car backfire just now? Gave Petunia and me quite a turn!"

He continued to grin in a horrible, manic way until all the curious neighbors had disappeared from their various windows, then the grin became a grimace of rage as he beckoned Harry back toward him. He moved a few steps closer to his uncle, making sure to stay just out of reach of his large, beefy hands should Vernon be inclined to resume trying to strangle his nephew.

"What the devil do you mean by it, boy?" Vernon asked, his voice croaking with rage. "Making that racket, probably with your freakishness too. . . ."

"But, Uncle Vernon, I didn't —" Harry started, trying to defend himself, but Vernon cut him off.

"I will not listen to your freakish excuses, boy. I've had just about enough of you. . . ." he trailed off as he reached once more for Harry's neck, but the teen sprinted away from Number Four as fast as he could before the fat man could lean out and resume his strangulation. "Bloody freak!" was all Harry heard as he rounded the corner and dashed towards Wisteria Walk.

Five minutes later, Harry walked into the play park on the far side of Magnolia Crescent. He glanced over at the jungle gym and sighed at its ragged appearance: it was covered in graffiti and the slide had been bent, making it unusable, while the swings fared no better; save for one on the end. Harry sat in the only remaining swing and thought back to the last few weeks of his time at Privet Drive. It had been a trying time for Harry, with Hermione on her two and a half week vacation to Greece with her parents and everyone else off doing Merlin knew what. The letters from Hermione had been stuffed full of information, including the frustrating news that Fudge had started an "Anti-Potter/Dumbledore" campaign with the Daily Prophet.

At first, he was shocked and outraged that Fudge had played off Cedric's death as an "accident," but once he had finished that first letter from Hermione, he was calm once again; but in her second letter Hermione had mentioned that Dumbledore had contacted her and all but outright ordered her not to tell him anything about what was happening in the wizarding world, and that everyone else had been instructed similarly. At first he didn't want to believe it, but after getting letters from Ron, the twins (who did give him information, but told him of the order to "tell Harry nothing"), Remus, and Sirius, Harry had no choice but to accept that Dumbledore was intentionally keeping him in the dark.

In Hermione's letters, though, he had begun to notice a slight change from how she had written him the previous summers. She seemed more inclined to want to make him laugh and compliment him in every paragraph, which made him think that she may be flirting with him. And he wouldn't have believed that, let alone thought of it, if not for what had happened at King's Cross when they had gotten off the train: Hermione had kissed him. Granted, it had been on the cheek, but it had been very close to the corner of his mouth. It was then that he realized that Hermione Jane Granger, Gryffindor bookworm and smartest witch at Hogwarts, liked him, Harry James Potter, Gryffindor Golden Boy and the Boy-Who-Lived.

Harry thought back to their previous years at Hogwarts, trying to figure out when this had happened. Granted, he had harbored feelings for his best female friend since the end of their second year, but being around Ron all that time and thinking that she fancied him, like Ron fancied her, had coerced him into believing that keeping his feelings to himself would be for the best. Now, though, Harry wasn't so sure that he had been right in his earlier assumptions. He shook his head to clear his thoughts of personal mistakes and thought hard to remember his past time at Hogwarts.

First year, when they had all first started their schooling, was when they had all first met. Thinking back, he remembered noticing her stealing furtive glances at him the whole first two months, while he and Ron had all but ignored her. He remembered that, after Halloween, there had been subtle hints that she was crushing on him. Second year was the same, though he remembered she had been slightly preoccupied, like the rest, with the whole ordeal with the Chamber of Secrets. Then, the next year, the furtive glances started anew; but, because of Ron's influence, again, Harry was oblivious to the subtle hints. When he and Hermione had gone back in time to save Sirius, he remembered how tight she had clung to him while they rode Buckbeak; even when he knew she had become comfortable, she had hugged him tightly to herself, and the memory of her body pressed against his back got him blushing.

He smiled to himself and then thought about the previous year. The tournament had strained everything, and Harry realized that he couldn't count completely on Ron, for he had shown just how much of a prat he could be when something new was discovered or happened to Harry. From all the looks that were being tossed around, Harry was surprised that he hadn't noticed what was going on. But, apparently, everyone else did.

Harry sighed again, berating himself for being an idiot for the last four years. He was broken out of his musings as a group of loud people were approaching the park. As they got nearer, he recognized them as Dudley and his gang. They were going on about a ten-year-old that Dudley had just "taught a lesson" as they walked past the park entrance and stopped.

"We'll see ya tomorrow, Big D," one boy said, whom Harry was able to identify as Piers Polkiss.

"Yeah, later Big D," the others parroted as they all split up to go to their separate homes, and Harry decided that right then was a good time to leave, seeing as any time later than when Dudley got home was "too late."

"Hey, Big D!"

"Yeah, what —" Dudley began as he turned around, but he scowled as he saw that it was Harry. "What do you want, freak?"

"Nothing, Big D, just figured that I'd get back the same time you did, so as to forestall any yelling from Uncle Vernon," Harry explained with a casual shrug of his shoulders.

"Why are you so smug?" Dudley asked, and then he smirked maliciously. "Did you shag your girlfriend, freak?"

"What are you talking about?" Harry asked turning to glare at his overweight cousin.

"You keep moaning in your sleep," Dudley made a face and poorly imitated Harry. "'No, don't kill Cedric!' or 'No, not Hermione!' I figured that, since you were being all smug with yourself, you'd gone and shagged the bint." Dudley instantly knew he'd made a mistake when Harry's wand was pressed to his throat not one second after he'd finished speaking.

"Don't — ever — call her that again!" Harry hissed out at his cousin, almost slipping into Parsletongue as he spoke.

The two had stopped in the alley that linked Magnolia Crescent and Wisteria Walk, Dudley with his back to the wall and Harry pointing his wand into his cousin's jaw. The great lump whimpered and muttered incoherently as the teenage wizard continued to glare menacingly with his wand out, neither noticing the abnormally darkening sky until they could barely see each other. Harry, snapping out of his angry state, whirled around and searched the alley for any signs of a wizard present. Both teens felt a great feeling of icy coldness wash over them, chilling them to the bone, and Harry suddenly had only one dread filled word escape his lips.

"Dementors!"

There was a whooshing sound as the dementors swooped down towards Harry, circling around him as an overwhelming coldness filled his being. The familiar screams filled his mind as Dudley continued to whimper and sob behind him, the dementors stopping and hovering to Harry's left and right. Suddenly they lunged forward and the left one seized him by the neck and arm while the other drifted over to feed off of Dudley. Harry was pinned against the wall as the dementor did something he had never expected one to ever do. It spoke to him in a dry, raspy voice.

"So, this is the one who drove away over a hundred of my kind from the grounds of the magic school," it rasped, bringing its face dangerously close to Harry's. "It's hard to believe that one so small has so much power. . . ."

As the dementor spoke, the screams in Harry's head began to change from a grown woman's to a girl's, but the difference wasn't too much. An image formed in his head, one that had been haunting his recent nightmares every night. An image of Hermione, bloody and beaten, as she screamed on the ground at the feet of Voldemort, who was laughing manically. Something inside Harry snapped then, and there was a loud cracking sound, like the sound of glass being broken, and a flash of light as his wand started to burn in his hands. Crying out in pain, both Harry and the dementor released what they were holding, and before it even hit the ground, Harry's wand shattered into millions of shards as the phoenix feather core burst into flames.

"What sorcery is this?!" the dementor hissed, its hand smoking from where it had been on the young wizard's neck.

Harry slowly rose to his feet, magic flowing off of him in visibly green waves which gave him a very imposing image. As he turned his now glowing emerald gaze to the dementors, they felt fear and dread for the first time in centuries. He raised his right hand and pointed it at the dementor who spoke to him, releasing a sickly green blast of magic that incinerated the dementor, leaving nothing behind; not even an ounce of ash. Its companion fled, fearing the same fate would befall it, as Harry stopped glowing and slumped to the ground as Dudley stood up shakily and held his head in his hands.

"Wh—what happened? Where am I?" he asked, not really expecting an answer as his head cleared and he turned to see Harry slumped against the wall. "Harry, are you alright?!"

Harry didn't reply as he stared weakly at Dudley, and then turned as he heard footsteps approaching. As they drew nearer, Dudley got into a fighting stance, ready to defend himself as best he could. But the person who turned the corner was not who either teens had been expecting.

"Mrs. Figg?" Harry asked; his voice quiet as he tried to stand, leaning against the wall as his legs tried to give out.

"Don't just stand there, Dursley," she barked at Dudley. "Help me with Harry; we have to go before they come back! Oh, I am going to kill Mundungus Fletcher!"

"What?" both teens asked, one still dazed and the other a bit confused about what was going on.

"Grab your cousin, you great lump!" Mrs. Figg practically screamed at Dudley, who jumped to do what she said without another thought. "We need to hurry and get you both home! Oh, just wait until I tell Dumbledore what that Fletcher has done! Apparating away, during his shift, and leaving you unguarded!"

"Mrs. Figg, what are you talking about?" Harry asked weakly as Dudley half carried him towards Privet Drive. "How do you know Dumbledore?"

"Oh, I'm sorry Harry, dear," she said. "I'm a squib, dear, and I was placed nearby to keep an eye on you while you grew up. . . ."

Her voice faded out as they rounded the corner onto Privet Drive and Harry's head started to feel like it was being squeezed in a vice. Suddenly, as if floodgates had been opened, he was able to sense and feel every sentient creature within a few miles of himself, and he was overwhelmed for a few moments; it took all he had not to cry out, but he was unable to keep moving and he collapsed to the ground. He clutched his head in his hands as both Dudley's and Mrs. Figg's voices were muffled by the heartbeats of hundreds. Then, he felt something that seemed familiar to him, and his eyes widened as he whirled around to see a rat run out of a nearby bush; a rat, with a silver paw.

"Wormtail!" he hissed, again almost slipping into Parsletongue as he thrust out his hand and pushed his magic out to the rat. Roots shot up out of the ground at Wormtail, forming a cage around the traitor as he squeaked in fear, thrashing about trying to bite and claw his way free, but to no avail as the roots were transfigured into a metal cage. With a flick of his wrist, Harry caused the roots to raise and lift the cage over to him before retreating back into the ground; and then Harry motioned to Dudley, silently asking him to help him up, as he grabbed the cage and stood up with Dudley.

"H—Harry, do you know what you just did?" Mrs. Figg asked with wide eyes as she stared at Harry.

"Y—yes," he croaked out as he leaned on his cousin. "And. . . . I—I'm sure that. . . . I'll be ex—expelled. . . ." Harry trailed off as they continued down the street towards Number Four. Wormtail continued to squeak and thrash around in the cage, his silver paw clanking against the metal as he tried in vain to claw apart the mesh. Mrs. Figg continued to mutter curses under her breath about the man called Mundungus Fletcher, Harry and Dudley hearing things that neither teenager had heard before. They turned up the drive and as the trio neared the door, it opened to reveal Petunia Dursley.

"Dudley, where have you — Oh my goodness! Vernon, come here quick!" she screeched as she rushed out to her son and nephew as Vernon Dursley appeared in the doorframe. "Dudley, what happened?! What's wrong with Harry?!"

"It was dementors," Mrs. Figg said, stepping forward. "Two of them, to be precise. I saw them attack the boys, but because I'm a squib I couldn't do anything. . . ." She trailed off as Wormtail started to thrash and squeak once again. Mrs. Figg glared at the rat and banged her umbrella on the cage, causing the traitor to cower in a corner. "Where was I? Oh, yes; well, one had Harry pinned to a wall while the other was hovering over Dudley. Then Harry's wand fell out of his hand and burst into flame," Petunia gasped as Vernon's face paled, "And then the dementor let him go. I'm not really sure what happened next, but. . . . I—I think that Harry used the Killing Curse on the dementor.

"And not only that, but he did it wandlessly and silently. . . . Then, as we were coming back, he did something similar when he spotted this traitorous rat," Mrs. Figg pointed her umbrella at a still cowering Wormtail, "Who is the real reason that Harry's parents were killed on that horrible night. Anyway, once we had the rat we came right over here." By the time she had finished with her explanation, Harry and the Dursleys were all deathly pale with shocked, and in Harry's case, horrified expressions on their faces.

But before anyone could say anything more, there was a loud crack and a strong smell of mingled drink and stale tobacco filled the air as a squat, unshaven man in a tattered overcoat materialized in front of them. He had short bandy legs, long straggly ginger hair, and bloodshot baggy eyes that gave him the doleful look of a basset hound; he was also clutching a silvery bundle that Harry vaguely recognized as an Invisibility Cloak.

"MUNDUNGUS FLETCHER, I AM GOING TO KILL YOU!" Mrs. Figg screeched as she rounded on Mundungus.

"'S'up, Figgy?" he said, staring from Mrs. Figg, to Harry, to the Dursleys. "What 'appened to staying undercover?"

"I'll give you undercover!" cried Mrs. Figg. "Dementors, you useless, skiving sneak thief!"

"Dementors?" repeated Mundungus, aghast. "Dementors here?"

"Yes, here, you worthless pile of bat droppings, here!" shrieked Mrs. Figg. "Dementors attacking the boy on your watch! And where were you?! You were off buying stolen cauldrons! Didn't I tell you not to go? Didn't I?"

"I — well, it—it was a very good business opportunity you see. . . ." Mundungus started, but he never got to finish as Mrs. Figg started to whack him around the face and neck with her ever present shopping bag, and judging by the clanking sound it was making, it was full of cat food.

"Ouch — gerroff — gerroff, you mad old bat! Someone's gotta tell Dumbledore!"

"Yes — they — have!" yelled Mrs. Figg, still swinging her bag of cat food with every word, at every bit of Mundungus she could reach. "And — it — had — better — be — you — and — you — can — tell — him — why — you — weren't — there — to — help!"

"Keep your 'airnet on, woman!" Mundungus said, backing away quickly. "I'm goin', I'm goin'!" With that, Mundungus apparated away with a crack that the group was lucky no one had heard.

Before any of them could react to the vagabond's abrupt departure, they heard the flapping and quiet hoots of an owl. Harry looked up and saw a dark brown barn owl flying towards them and got a sinking feeling in his gut. The owl swooped down and dropped the letter at Harry's feet, then flew away, leaving three confused Dursley's, a pale squib, and a shaking wizard. Petunia picked up the letter and motioned for them all to move inside as Vernon came to relieve Dudley of his burden, moving Harry to the living room couch as per instructed by Petunia. As Harry lay down, he looked over at his aunt and silently asked her to read the letter. Petunia opened it up and pulled out the letter, reading it out loud to everyone gathered.

"Dear Mr. Potter,

"We have received intelligence that you performed the illegal Killing Curse at twenty-three minutes past nine this evening in a Muggle-inhabited area and in the presence of a muggle. The severity of this breach of the Decree for the Reasonable Restriction of Underage Sorcery has resulted in your expulsion from Hogwarts School of Witchcraft and Wizardry.

"Also, your use of an Unforgivable Curse has further resulted in a lifetime sentence in Azkaban. Ministry representatives will be calling at your place of residence shortly to destroy your wand and escort you to Azkaban Prison where you will await trial. Your trial will be held in Courtroom Ten on August 12th at 9 A.M.

"Hoping you are well,

"Yours sincerely,

"Mafalda Hopkirk,

"Improper Use of Magic Office,

"Ministry of Magic."

As Petunia finished reading the letter, all those gathered in the room wore shocked and horrified expressions. Harry's skin had taken on a ghastly pallor while he listened, dread filling his entire being once his aunt had finished. Before he could think or do anything further, there was a flash of fire above the couch, causing the Dursleys to let out startled cries, and Harry caught a brief glimpse of Fawkes before the phoenix dropped a letter on his chest and disappeared in another flash of fire. Harry slowly sat up, with Vernon's help, and grabbed the note as he opened it. He recognized the hand writing of Mr. Weasley as he read the note.

Harry —

Dumbledore's just arrived at the Ministry and he's trying to sort it all out. DO NOT LEAVE YOUR AUNT AND UNCLE'S HOUSE. DO NOT DO ANY MORE MAGIC. DO NOT SURRENDER YOUR WAND.

Arthur Weasley

Harry stared in a somewhat confused state at the note. Dumbledore was sorting it all out? How much political power did the headmaster have to override the Ministry? Harry looked over at Mrs. Figg, who saw his confusion and sighed. She set her bag and umbrella down and moved over to sit on the armchair next to the couch.

"I think that an explanation is in order," she said, as she sat down. "Several years before that dreadful Halloween night, I was forced to find a new home, and Dumbledore was kind enough to help me locate a nice place to live. I didn't know it at the time, but he had placed me near the home of the Dursley's for some reason that I haven't figured out. Anyway, I had met your aunt and uncle several times and found them to be good company. Your parents stopped by frequently before they had to go into hiding; Lily and Petunia were always laughing about something or other, and Vernon would help James understand things about the muggle world.

"After your parents went into hiding, Petunia and Vernon changed, somehow. They became more snobbish and seemed to have forgotten about my being a squib, which didn't make sense to me. The few times I had been over on the short span during your parents' hiding, I noticed a change in décor from warm and homely, like your parents' home, to cold and sterile. After your parents passed, and you were left with Vernon and Petunia, I kept watch over you, Harry. As the years went on and I noticed signs of both physical and emotional abuse, I told Dumbledore repeatedly about what I knew was happening, but he just waved off my concerns like he knew and didn't give a wit about it!

"I'm not quite sure, but I think that Dumbledore somehow bewitched your aunt and uncle, as well as your cousin. I'm so sorry, Harry, dear. . . ." she finished, looking down at the ground and wiping a tear from her face. She looked up at Harry with a shame filled face, and Harry knew, as he looked into her eyes, that she was telling the truth.

"I don't blame you, Mrs. Figg. If anything, I should be blaming Dumbledore after listening to your explanation," Harry said, shifting and leaning back onto the arm rest of the couch as another Ministry owl swooped in and dropped an official looking letter in his lap. All the occupants of the room watched the owl leave, and then they all looked at the letter, watching as Harry picked it up and opened it. He pulled a slip of parchment out and began to read it out loud.

"Dear Mr. Potter,

"This is to inform you that the previous arrangements of the last letter have been amended. You are to be confined to your place of residence, until such a time as Headmaster Dumbledore wishes to move you to a secure location, which he has not named. Your trial has been moved up to August 1st at 9 A.M. An Auror team will stop by your place of residence shortly to confiscate your wand until after your trial date.

"Hoping you are well,

"Yours sincerely,

"Mafalda Hopkirk,

"Improper Use of Magic Office,

"Ministry of Magic."

Harry looked up from the letter to see somewhat relieved expressions on the faces of the other people in the room, causing himself to relax slightly. As he was shifting back into an upright position, so he could stand if need be, there was a knock at the front door. Vernon stood up from his arm chair and went to go see who was calling at that late hour. There were some muffled voices, one was distinctly female, and then Vernon re-entered the room with two people in dark, midnight blue robes following behind him. The taller of the two, a dark skinned man with a gold earring in his left ear, had a serious expression on his hardened face, while the shorter of the two, a strange young woman with spiky pink hair and punkish clothing under her robe, had a slightly confused expression on her face as she looked at Vernon.

"Evening, Potter," the dark skinned man said in a low baritone. "I am Auror Shacklebolt and this is my partner, Auror Tonks. I presume you know why we are here?" Shacklebolt asked, motioning for Harry to come over. Harry stood shakily, but didn't move closer to the two Aurors.

"I do, sir," Harry replied, but looked down at his shoes. "But I can't give it to you."

"And why is that, Harry?" Auror Tonks said, her soft and cheery voice a stark contrast to the baritone of her partner.

"Because it shattered, back in the alley where the dementors attacked my cousin and I. . . ." the teen replied, as Dudley nodded his head in agreement. Both Aurors stared at Harry in shock, then they shared a look and were about to say something when a frantic squeaking brought everyone's attention to the small metal cage on the floor.

"H-Harry," Tonks began shakily, as she heard the silver paw clanking, "Is that who I think it is?" The residents of Little Whinging just stared as the Aurors swiftly moved over to the cage and crouched down. The squeaking, which had been getting louder as the Aurors got closer, was silenced as Auror Shacklebolt sent a silent stunner at the rat.

"Tonks, you finish up here while I take this traitor down to the Ministry," Shacklebolt said as Tonks nodded, and then he moved toward the kitchen and they heard the distinct crack, though severely more silent than Mundungus, of apparition. Tonks turned back to the residents of Little Whinging to see confused looks on all but Mrs. Figg's face.

"How did you —" Harry started to ask, but was cut off by Mrs. Figg's hand on his shoulder.

"They know about Pettigrew because they are both members of the Order of the Phoenix," the old squib said, and seeing Harry's confused face she explained further. "It is an organization that Dumbledore started to battle against the forces of You—Know—Who. Your parents were members, as well as Sirius, Remus, Frank and Alice Longbottom, and that rat, Pettigrew. Dumbledore called the Order back together the very night that You—Know—Who returned, and they began to recruit more people."

"That's right," Tonks said in a cheery voice, though she still looked shaken slightly at the news about Harry's wand. They put off any further conversations as Auror Shacklebolt apparated back into the kitchen and strode into the living room.

"Pettigrew has been taken into custody by Madame Bones, and she will be interrogating him under influence of veritaserum tonight. There will be a story in the Daily Prophet the day after tomorrow announcing Sirius' innocence and Pettigrew's sentence," he said. "She has also told me that she will be launching a formal inquiry into just how two dementors found themselves in Little Whinging."

Harry just smiled as he lay back down onto the couch, the exhaustion of the night finally catching up to him. The two Aurors asked a few questions of both Dudley and Mrs. Figg, then they left to file their report. Mrs. Figg left after ten minutes, promising to bring over her copy of the Daily Prophet when they ran the story about Sirius. Harry and the Dursley's all sat in the living room for a while longer before Dudley and Vernon helped a magically exhausted Harry up the stairs and into his room, easing him onto the bed and silently closing the door behind them. As Harry fell into a deep sleep, both Dumbledore and Fudge's faithful followers gathered to go over the events of that warm, August night. . . .

---------------------------------------------------------------------------

---------------------------------------------------------------------------

Author's Note: Wow... You know, this plot bunny has been nagging at me for a while and, seeing as I now have a little more free time, I've put it into type! And no, I have not abandoned my other story. . . . I've just hit a bout of writer's block with that story is all. I will endeavor to overcome it and get the second chapter of ASR up within the next couple of weeks, and you may see a double post with that one, seeing as the second chapter will most likely be split in two. shrugs Anyway, I hope you enjoyed this little tidbit and don't forget to click the little purple button below and review! Go clicky, now! grins