Rating: PG-13, I s'pose.
Story Summary: After the DoM fiasco, Harry's friends abandon him. Nemesis appears and poses the question: if you have nothing left to fight for, why fight? With her help Harry vanishes, leaving a big ol' mess back in wizarding Britain. Contains a talented Harry, stupid self-righteous friends, and one GoodGuy! intelligent, caring, furious Dumbledore.
Setting: Summer after fifth year. AU.
As you might have noticed, this fic's been reorganized a little. It's now got a prologue, because I seriously dislike flashback scenes, and I've rewritten this chapter slightly, because it was too disconnected and difficult to follow. It's now slightly longer, and should flow more easily.
BETRAYAL AND ITS DUE
Harry sat alone in his room at Privet Drive, staring out the window without really processing the view.
It had been a difficult summer. He'd gotten his godfather killed in an absolute mess in the Department of Mysteries, and his friends injured.
As though that wasn't enough, he'd found out that he was subject to a prophecy that stated that either he or Voldemort had to kill the other. He'd been devastated.
For several days he'd wandered the castle by himself, shunning company as he tried to come to grips with everything. The loss of Sirius burned like a vast hole in his chest.
It was his fault, he knew. If he hadn't been so bloody stupid, rushing off to the Department of Mysteries – if he'd taken Occlumency more seriously – then Sirius wouldn't be dead. Sirius had been stupid, too, treating the duel with Bellatrix like a game, but who could blame him after being locked up for so long? Then there were his friends, injured because they were too loyal to let him go dashing off on his own.
He couldn't talk to them, not yet, knowing that it was all his fault.
Then, on the last day of school, they'd cornered him.
For a moment he'd idiotically thought that they'd hunted him down to reassure him, and it was like a warm bubble of emotion swelling in his chest. Then he'd seen the looks on their faces, and they'd spoken their harsh, cutting words, and left him standing by himself by the train, unable to speak or move or think properly: his mind was just a swirl of hot, hurt thoughts that he couldn't articulate even to himself. And then Lupin had written to him…
Harry blinked and shook his head, focusing on the view outside his window. Grief and loss kept swamping him whenever he had nothing to concentrate on. In some ways it was just like last summer, locked up alone with no word from anyone, but instead of having the terrible anger he'd experienced to carry him through, Harry was drowning in a sense of deep despair.
"Friends. Always betraying and looting and backstabbing. It's a wonder people trust anyone in this world."
Harry whirled in shock and sudden vigilance, aiming directly at the speaker before he had properly absorbed their appearance. It was a tall, blonde woman, little more than a girl really, dressed in a kind of ornate toga with a scarlet shawl around her shoulders, her fair hair pulled back into an intricate bun and held in place by two thin gold headbands.
She clapped, completely at ease, not even slightly discomposed by his aggressive stance.
"Nice draw. What ya got, Jedi reflexes?"
She grinned, without waiting for an answer.
"My name's Nemesis. I'm the Goddess of Vengeance and Retribution."
She examined her fingernails.
"You, kid, definitely qualify for a little karmic help, I figure. Fate's been a bitch, that's all I can say."
"Why are you here?"
Harry was wary and confused.
Nemesis raised her eyebrows.
"I told you. Goddess of what? Vengeance and Retribution. I'm here to help you get 'em on your disloyal friends, stupid sheep-like people in general, and possibly manipulative headmasters."
She leaned forward, speaking directly and candidly.
"Listen, you're sixteen years old, no friends or family, lost a loved one, and have just been told you're expected to battle a Dark Lord. How is this fair? How is this just? I mean, what do you have to fight for?"
Harry blinked as that particular truth struck home. Nemesis didn't pause.
"If you have nothing left to fight for, then why fight? Why not leave Britain, either permanently or just until you're a little better-equipped to fight Riddle? You don't owe anyone this. Why should it be your responsibility? Surely he's done enough to you?"
Harry stared into the black eyes. They were sincere, with a flame-like quality deep at the back of them that made the hairs on the back of his neck stand on end.
"What do you have in mind?" he asked slowly.
Nemesis gave a slow, cat-like smile.
Later that day Harry stalked downstairs to where the Dursleys were having dinner.
"I have two things to tell you," he announced abruptly, making them scowl at him for attracting their attention. "One, I am leaving. I may never come back. I certainly hope not. Two. I do not consider number four, Privet Drive, Little Whinging, Surrey to be my home, and I renounce the Dursley family as blood kin. Have a nice life."
The collapse of the wards at his words felt like a wave of static electricity cascading through the house, leaving his and the Dursley's hair standing on end and a visible tingle of magic in the air.
Petunia knew instantly what he'd done. While Dudley sat uncomprehending and Vernon cursed at the manifestation of magic, she stared at Harry in rage and horror.
"You fool boy!" she screamed at him. "You've taken our protections!"
Harry gave her a cool stare.
"Then maybe sometime in the last fifteen years you should have given me reason to leave them."
He walked out.
It was the last anyone in Britain would see of him for some time.
oo o0o oo
A day later Albus Dumbledore sat in his office, contemplating the situation with Harry.
He'd received an incoherent, desperate letter from Petunia Dursley that morning, and gone to investigate. What he found wasn't good. Harry had left the Dursley residence, bringing down the blood wards as he left. Albus didn't know for sure whether or not this had been deliberate. He suspected, from what Petunia had said, that Harry had indeed done it on purpose, but couldn't find it in his heart to condemn the boy, having seen the hatred and vitriol with which his relatives regarded him.
So Harry had run. Albus didn't blame him. To both lose his godfather and learn what fate had in store for him at once would have been hard for anyone and Harry, for all his astonishing bravery, was still a child. Albus knew that the blame for the current situation lay at his own feet. If he'd only kept Harry more informed, and allowed Sirius more freedom, things wouldn't have turned out the way they had. Somehow, no matter how he tried, attempting to do the best for everyone always ended in heartache.
Rubbing at the tension at his temples and between his eyes, Albus sat down and began to write a letter to Harry, hoping that he could at least improve the current situation.
He wondered how long Harry had planned this, where he had gone, and who else knew what Harry was doing.
He hoped fervently that the boy was all right.
Later that day, Hermione, Ron, Ginny, Neville and Remus all received a letter. It read thusly:
My former friends,
I'm just letting you know that I'm taking your advice. I'm staying away. More than that, actually. Since I'm so dangerous, I've removed all possibility of endangering you by leaving. Britain, the wizarding world, the lot. You made it clear this move can only be welcomed.
All that's really left to say is this: I have no family. I have no friends. I have nothing to fight for. One day, quite possibly in the near future, you may understand what this means.
I'm staying away. Just as you asked.
Harry James Potter
Prudens Fortuna Javat
oo o0o oo
A day later, Harry's owl winged her way into Dumbledore's office with a reply to his letter.
Albus opened the bulky envelope hastily. He unfolded the letter to see it written in an unfamiliar, curling script.
My dear Albus,
Harry can't reply right now as he is too busy improving his flirting methods through practice on the girls giggling at the hotel bar. Having been informed how important this is in a young man, he is now practicing diligently. So I am afraid his reply will have to come from me.
Sadly, Harry had no plans to return to Britain in the near future or, for that matter, fight psychopathic and powerful dark lords with complexes and nasty tempers. If you want to know what brought him to the decision that this is for the best, I'd talk to Neville Longbottom, Hermione Granger, Ronald & Ginevra Weasley, and Remus Lupin.
Have fun untangling this mess.
Hugs and kisses,
Postscriptum. I'm sure you know what I've stuck in this envelope, don't you?
Albus paled as he read the letter, and paled even further at the signature with the sizzle of magic embedded in it. Reading the postscript, he reached into the envelope again to pull out whatever remained in the envelope.
Two halves of a smooth, polished stick, the bedraggled remains of a crimson and gold feather hanging from one snapped half.
Harry's wand, the brother to Voldemort's.
Fawkes cooed in sympathy.
That same day someone clad in the blue, hooded robes of an Unspeakable walked into the Daily Prophet's building and went straight to the editor's office.
"I have a prophecy for you," the distorted voice said.
"What do I care for prophecies?" the editor asked irritably, "we print real news, not vague and pointless speculation about the future."
"My apologies," the voice said evenly. "I merely thought that the contents of a prophecy involving Harry Potter and the Dark Lord would interest you."
The editor's head jerked up.
"Potter? You-Know-Who? What's it say?"
The Unspeakable told him.
"Morgana's tits!" the editor exclaimed
"The Dark Lord has heard all of what I just told you. Something else you may find interesting is the fact that Mr Potter vanished without trace a few days ago. I would say he feels no urge to defend us. Given that he has always behaved in a brave and heroic fashion, my guess is someone's pissed him off. I feel that the Prophet has a duty to the public to find out exactly who, and to exact retribution."
Nemesis left the rapidly-paling editor screaming for his staff to stop the presses and get here now.
She smiled cheerfully to herself.
The betrayers would soon be exposed.
That evening an emergency Order of the Phoenix meeting was held and all of Harry's former friends were invited. The Order's usual policy was to refuse membership or information to anyone underage, so the teenagers were understandably curious and excited about why they might have been summoned to the meeting.
"I have some grave news," Albus said seriously. "Harry Potter has left the wizarding world. So far, all searches to determine his whereabouts have proved fruitless."
There was an alarmed murmur. Albus looked at the four students in front of him.
"Mr Longbottom. Miss Granger. Mr and Miss Weasley," he asked. "Have you any awareness of Harry's plans, or why he chose to take these steps?"
"Probably because he nearly got us all killed," Ron spat.
"I beg your pardon, Mr Weasley?"
"He took us to the Department of Mysteries and almost got us killed, professor," Hermione explained coldly. "With Sirius he succeeded. So we told him we didn't want anything to do with him and to say away."
"So did I," Remus snarled.
The werewolf had gone into a deep depression following Sirius' death and currently looked as though he hadn't bothered with hygiene or grooming for at least a week. "I couldn't bear to deal with him."
"And you told him this?" Dumbledore said, very calmly. "That he had gotten Sirius killed? That you blamed him for this and for you injuries, and had abandoned your friendship?"
"To a boy who has only just lost the only family he has ever known?"
Sullen looks answered him.
Albus closed his eyes as fury built in him.
"I am ashamed of all of you."
The room recoiled at the sheer rage and contempt present in the voice normally mild-mannered, forgiving headmaster. His eyes were blazing blue fire and it was suddenly apparent why it was said that he was the greatest wizard of the age, one whom even the Dark Lord feared the wrath of.
"After all that Harry has done for all of you, you abandon him when he needs you more than ever. The people he loves most."
Albus shook his head in disgust, unable to believe that the lot of them could have treated Harry with such callous abandon. His anger settled and hardened to something colder.
"Unfortunately, you have done more than simply behave abominably to one who needed and deserved your loyalty."
"Congratulations," Snape hissed, unable to hold himself in any longer, "you idiots have just doomed Britain!"
"What are you talking about?" Ginny demanded coolly, looking scornful.
"Miss Weasley, I take it you have not read the Prophet this morning. For once its summary is accurate," Snape sneered. He thrust a copy in her direction. "I advise you to read the front page article."
Ginny took it and began to read, Hermione reading aloud over her shoulder for the benefit of the room, in tones of growing horror.
"It can't be true," Neville stammered when she finished. "He can't be the – the only –"
"Sadly, he is," sneered Snape. "And thanks to you he's decided he's got no reason to!"
At Hermione's shocked gasp everyone looked in her direction.
"Great Merlin! The letter! The one he sent! He knew! That's what he meant about nothing to fight for!"
The students and Remus turned even paler as they remembered what else the letter had said.
I'm staying away. Just as you asked. They knew what Harry meant, now. It was a bitter pill to swallow
"Look for him!" Ron shouted, "find him, it can't be that hard, everyone knows him–"
"Everyone in the wizarding world," Albus agreed sadly. He pulled something from his pocket. "Do you recognize this?"
"Harry's wand," Hermione whispered, her eyes showing that she'd already made the connection.
"Correct. I received it in a letter this morning. As you can see, it has been snapped in two. Harry has not merely gone into hiding. He has renounced the wizarding world entirely."
Cold, blue eyes ran over them, piercing into their soul.
"I hope you are happy with yourselves. You have doomed us all to Voldemort."
"They ought to be turned over to the Furies as oathbreakers," a new voice remarked idly, "but personally, I think my way is more fun. I love to put a spoke in Fate's wheel. She's a bitch."
They all spun to look at a woman perched on the edge of a sofa wearing a caramel coat and a twenties swing dress.
"Nemesis," Albus greeted her heavily. He wasn't truly surprised.
She grinned at him.
"Good to see you remember me after all that helping-out I did for you, Albus. Just wanted to tell you, Harry's fine; he's somewhere driving round LA in his new Mercedes. Personally I think it would be better if he had lessons first, but what would I know?"
"Why are you doing this?" Hermione asked angrily, knowing very well who Nemesis was, and not caring in the least. "People are going to die!"
A cold, nasty smile grew on Nemesis's face.
"Why am I doing this?" she purred, almost demurely. "Because you deserve it. You wizards have been corrupt and bigoted and ignorant, and you've placed burden after burden on the shoulders of one boy. Now karma's come back to bite you in the arse, especially you" – stab, stab, stab, stab, stab of a finger at each of the betrayers – "who were his friends! And it's about time!"
She vanished, leaving the room filled with her triumphant and cruel laughter.
oo o0o oo
The next day, one final letter was delivered.
I'm not really too keen on this whole 'fight to the death' thing we have going. You're a merlin-knows-how-old psychopathic, brilliant, powerful dark lord. I'm a sixteen year old boy with glasses. There's a certain disparity here - I think I like living, thanks. So don't worry about me any more; I've left Britain. In fact, I've left the wizarding world completely. I'll just sit abroad and contemplate how stupid everyone who told me I was endangering them was.
Have fun beginning your reign of terror and attempted subjugation of Britain,
Harry James Potter
Prudens Fortuna Javat