(A/N) As you may have noticed, this story was never told from Harry's point of view. Since his perception of the world is very different from normal people, his POV is reserved for a very small portion of the story. His mind goes into detailed monologues about things that may or may not be related to the current situation… Read on and let me know what you think.
Chapter 11: Shaman Harry
At the end of the day, a loving family should find everything forgivable.
-- Mark V. Olsen and Will Sheffer
"But daddy, I am telling the truth. It really was Stella. She –"
"Abby! Don't make this anymore harder than it is. You were unconscious along with the two muggers in the middle of the road, when we reached you. We can't be sure what might have happened. You may have dreamt it all while you were unconscious. I am just grateful that you were not injured." James said with a relieved sigh and hand firmly around his daughter's shoulder as they made their way into the Potter house living room.
"But, dad. I know what I saw. It –"
"Abby, please." James all but pleaded his daughter with both hands on her shoulders and bent down to her face, "We are already under so much tension about Harry, and all… I can not bear to see you also hurt. You are unhurt, and that's all matters now. Ok?"
Abby understood her father's anxiety all too clearly. She could remember clearly how happy her parents were mere hours earlier. That happiness seemed so long ago in light of her father's anxious face that she hated herself for being the cause. Again!
So, Abby did the only thing she could. She bit her arguments down and nodded.
James smiled lightly at this and said, "Good girl" as he bent down to kiss her brow.
"Now, lets go to the kitchen and –" and what, James never got to finish as Sirius ran into the room with a piece of parchment in hand and a wild look of happiness on his face.
"Sirius, what?" James cried out.
"Harry! He's awake!" Sirius blurted out waving the parchment "I couldn't find Amy at home, so I looked around to see if she left any note and– "
James did not hear anymore as he bolted up the stairs towards his son's room.
But Abby stood rooted at her spot. The bottle of oil from Master Zhang fell down to the floor. Her mind completely halted and blood drained from her face. Over the past two months, she had wished a number of times for this to happen. Her biggest wish and her worst nightmare had suddenly come true, and she was not sure how to proceed.
Sirius took a couple of steps towards the stairs, and turned back towards Abby with a frown.
"Aren't you coming, Abby?"
Abby turned her frightened unfocused gaze towards her uncle. One look at her terrified face was enough to tell Sirius what was going through her mind. He moved over to her and put a hand over her shoulder. "Abby?"
"Wh- Is – Is he –"
"Let's go and see for ourselves, shall we?"
"But, what if – what if he – "
Sirius took a deep breath and said, "Abby, you have known Harry all your life, and know him better than everyone of us. I know you think it's all your fault, but, do you really think he will hold you responsible for what happened?"
Abby took a deep breath, which returned some color into her face, and followed her uncle at a more sedate contemplative pace.
At the door of her brother's room, her uncertainness took over again as she paused to hear what was happening inside. She could hear her mother's soft sobs, Hope's excited chatter, her Aunt Amy's diagnostic drone like questions, and most importantly, Harry's taciturn responses.
Too many questions were going around in her mind as she stood at the threshold of the room 'would he accept her? Would he ever forgive her? Has she lost his love and respect forever? Will she ever have what the twins had before? – '
Luna, who was standing by the door on the inside (in her pajamas?), came to her rescue. She gave Abby an encouraging smile, held her hand and pulled her into the room.
As soon as she entered the room, Harry's gaze turned to her. Immediately she noticed the first difference. The Harry she remembered always had an unfocused gaze, unless he was training or involved in a fight. But she could never remember the focused piercing nature that his gaze held at that moment. The force of his gaze caused her meager confidence to ebb away and all her insecurities hit with even larger force than before.
No sooner did Harry realize who was at the door, lips arched up into small smile that softened his gaze. Suddenly Abby could not bear it anymore. All the anguish and pain she felt over the last two months, all the hate she had for herself came crashing down on her as she ran over to Harry's bed and hugged him around his neck. She fell into an incoherent babbling muffled into his shoulder - about how sorry she was, how glad she felt now, and how she will make it up. She was beyond caring that her entire family or Blacks were around, or that her brother could not understand what she was talking about.
But all Harry did was to hold her in the hug and wait. He waited listening to her babble, waited for her to calm down by herself, waited until Abby's cries subsided down to bitter sobs, and held her waiting as her body slowly lost its stiffness, as she pulled herself together enough to get up.
She pulled her tear stained face off her brother's shoulder and looked closely into his eyes, those sharp unearthly piercing eyes that sent chills down her spine, as she said with all the sincerity she could muster in her heart, "I am sorry, Harry"
Harry simply gazed back at her, and turned his face to the side. That shot a spear of pain through her heart, feeling a dread of rejection. But Harry just came back with a clean piece of cloth from the side table and wiped her face off tears.
"What?" was his first response.
Harry just woke up from a two month long magical coma, and he was consoling her. Pathetic, can anyone say?
"Can you ever forgive me, Harry?" Abby all but begged.
"What for?" he asked with a slight tilt of his head that she most definitely understood as being confused.
"I was so bad to you, and I almost – almost got you –" Abby couldn't bring herself to finish
Harry shrugged his shoulder and said, "You did. Now you know it. So it's over" as he wiped another stray tear off Abby's cheek.
Abby, along with the remaining occupants of the room looked at Harry flabbergasted. Up until then, they thought Harry did not notice his sister's bad behavior. To hear that he did, and still did not act any differently was an eye-opener
"You are my sister. My family. Like mum taught us, Family is the most important thing in the world".
That lesson Harry taught, no one in the room could ever forget.
"Families are like fudge... mostly sweet with a few nuts."
-- Author Unknown
It had been 171 days since the beginning of the year. That was 126 days or exactly 18 weeks since Harry had woken up from his magical coma. Harry preferred to count the days as just a number since the beginning of the year, or at times, in weeks. He did not like the concept of months at all. After all, if each month has different number of days, how can it be correct? If someone had decided that February must have 28 days, why can't someone else decide it have 32 days, and March be made 29 days? Then, which one is correct? Both, of course, can not be true.
It just did not make sense in Harry's mind.
Like every other day, Harry woke up at the seventh ring of his alarm clock that was set for 7:30AM. His mother and twin sister liked to wake up as early as possible, but Harry was more like his father and his other sister Hope about waking up. Well, maybe not as bad as Hope, Harry thought as he got off the bed. He made his bed immediately, with the bigger pillow set diagonally between his bed's mattress and headboard. He tried to find the correct angle to set it at, but Luna told him, any angle should be fine, because that evening he was anyway going to pull it flat before sleeping.
He liked to keep things in a proper order, so that he need not make any decisions about where to look for a particular item when he needed it. Like for example, if he wanted to look for his toothbrush, he just need to go to the bathroom, open the closet behind the mirror on the right side, and look at the second shelf (from the bottom). If he did not follow such an order, then the toothbrush could be anywhere. It could as well be in his dresser drawer, or in his parent's bathroom, or even in the kitchen. Then he would have to make a decision of where to start looking for his toothbrush. That is a bad thing.
So he went past both his sisters' rooms on the way to the bathroom. He saw Abby's room was open but bed was not made. He knew his mum would get angry with Abby if she did not make her bed as soon as she woke up (though Abby said she never liked making bed). He did not want that to happen. So, he quickly made her bed, picked up her socks and dropped them into her laundry basket, and made his way out of the room.
He once asked Luna what angry means, and how it feels. He saw his mum, his dad, his sisters get angry many times, but did not understand what it really means. Like few days before, Hope was angry at herself that she lost to her friend Candice in a game of chess and so 3 of her chocolate frog cards (they were Agrippa, BrockleHurst and Aristotle). Harry told her if she played better, she could have won the game, and so wouldn't have had to lose the cards. But Hope got angry at him, and shouted at him before going into her room – fast. Harry did not understand why Hope was angry first with herself, than at him. It was so logical what he said. So what's the point of being angry?
Luna told him, when people get red in face and brow in a frown and talk loud, they are angry. But he saw his Sifu get like that when he was training them, and Sifu assured him that he was not angry at them, only pushing them to do better. So, Harry decided that people are illogical and mad. They could never make up their mind and stick to a routine.
When he did not fully understand what someone meant or what decision to make, he would simply ask Abby or Luna to help. That was the logical thing to do!
Harry finished his bathroom ritual in 16 minutes, got dressed and made it into Hope's room. He sat beside her on bed, and shook her "Hope. Wake up. It's morning"
Hope groaned and turned over saying, "F've m're min's, Harry".
He looked at the clock, 7:54AM. He sat there watching the digits change. When it turned 7:59, he shook Hope again. "Five minutes are up Hope. Wake up"
Hope groaned a bit more and sat up on bed with a scowl. "Good Morning Hope" Harry wished.
Hope leaned over and gave her brother a short hug and sat back, slowly leaning back into her pillow. "No, you don't Hope. You will be late for the trip to Diagon Alley" Harry pulled her off the bed and pushed her out of the door. With a good amount of grumbling, Hope went into the bathroom as Harry made it downstairs.
"Morning Harry" Abby wished him from the breakfast table where she was already eating. Her magical training was supposed to start at 8:30 AM everyday with her instructor Emmeline Vance. But Ms. Vance always floo'ed in 3 to 7 minutes early or late, but never at exactly 8:30. When he pointed it out, his mum simply laughed it out and said, people in general are not that particular about punctuality. Again, People are illogical. And mad.
He wished "Good Morning" to Abby and his Mum (his dad goes to work at 7:30AM every day).
"Morning Harry. You are looking sharp today" His mum said looking him over.
Harry looked down at his clothes, his nails and replied, "I don't have any sharp edges, mum."
Abby giggled from the table and said, "She meant you are wearing nice clothes and look pretty, Harry"
Harry looked over at his mum's smiling face and replied copying her smile, "Thanks." just as he was taught to respond when complimented, then added, "Hope wanted to go shopping for her school day event dress today, remember"
Lily's eyes widened. "Oh, I forgot to take my day off. Let me talk to your father. Maybe he can take you shopping in the afternoon"
Harry nodded, but Abby grumbled, "Wish I could go too. But Ms. Vance says I can't miss training at all, or there will be accidental magic happening around me. Can't we go in the evening or something?"
"I need the dress for rehearsal in the evening, Abby" Hope said as she ran into the kitchen.
Harry got two plates out, and scooped three spoons of fried eggs into Hope's plate and four into his. When she was younger, Harry used to feed her, but now, she was much older and did not like being fed everyday. So now he did not. He moved on to bacon, and carefully placed two strips into each plate without touching the eggs. For a second he thought if the strips of bacon should touch, but he told himself, since its food of same type, it can. He moved over to his mum, who was frying potatoes. In her haste, Lily dropped potatoes into the plates a bit too quickly and the potatoes fell half on bacon.
Harry dropped the plate beside his mum and took the other plate to his sister. He sat down in his seat and folded his hands, closed his eyes and began humming. He did not like the food touching, and did not want to think about it.
"Harry! What happened?" he heard his mum. He wanted to answer, but to do it, he has to think about the potatoes on the bacon and –- he kept on humming.
Abby shook his shoulders and said,
"Harry, see. No food touching other food" Abby assured him pointing to the plate before him.
Sure enough, the potatoes were not on the bacon strips. Logically, he knew Abby or his Mum removed it. But he could not see it anymore, so it's not a problem. And he did not want to think about it anymore either.
After breakfast, Harry's Mum fire-called his dad and chatted for a bit. She pulled her head back and smiled at Hope and said, "Well, your dad is free in the afternoon, it seems. He agreed to take you shopping"
That got an excited squeal from Hope, but disgruntled mumbling from Abby about being 'unfair' and 'being normal'.
Before leaving the kitchen, Harry saw Lily fold the day's Daily Prophet under her arm as she made her way upstairs. That was strange to Harry because, since the kids could read properly, their parents had encouraged them to read the newspaper every day. In fact his dad used to make Abby or Harry read the paper as he had his breakfast. So, Harry followed her upstairs to ask her.
When he reached his parents bedroom, he saw his mum look at the paper intently. Harry noticed that her face was a bit red and brow in a frown. His mum was angry about something. So he waited for a bit as she got ready. He saw her throw the paper under the bed. Harry turned away from the door. He can get it from there later.
Harry made his way back downstairs where Ms. Vance had arrived, and Abby was chatting with her.
Vance seemed to look around a little more than normal as she said, "… can't go against your parents wish Abby. Besides, it's not safe outside at this time"
"But, why?" Abby whined.
"That is something your parents should talk to you about. Now, for today, lets first review the basics of charms, okay?" Ms. Vance ploughed in.
Harry sat in the chair beside his sister as he listened to the lecture. Harry thought Ms Vance knew the subject well, but did not know how to teach. His Sifu always said that the best way to teach a student is for the teacher to go down to the level of the student's knowledge, and walk them up. Since each student has their own way of accumulating knowledge, the teacher must not assume just one way would work with all. Like for example, when learning new katas, Harry liked his Sifu to teach the entire kata on a board, before even attempting the initial form. But Luna liked it when Sifu showed each form individually and helped her walk through them until the entire kata was reached.
Ms. Vance seemed to talk more like a buzzing bee and it was not more than fifteen minutes that Harry saw his sister's eyes roam all around the room, except at her teacher. He poked his sister a couple of times when he saw her look out through the window, but that did not help much either. It was only when the practical part of the training started that Abby paid more attention. That day, Ms. Vance was teaching Abby the levitation charm.
Harry had asked Ms. Vance as well as his parents why Abby's magical training was so slow. Being bored at home, Harry had read some magical tomes to help Abby, and even without the specialized training Dumbledore promised for her, Harry felt he had more magical knowledge than Abby. But the answer given to him was that since Abby was so young, she could not sustain the magical strain. This made no sense to Harry since he thought using magic was like using muscles. The more you use it, the better you become at it. Dumbledore and his parents seem to disagree and Harry did not argue. He never liked to argue. If others did not like what he said, he will not push it anymore. Because, he felt if he has to argue correctly, he must know everything about everything related to the argument. Since he did not know it, he simply can not even start the argument.
Since he understood a lot of diverse subjects easily, Luna had advised him to read as many books as he can. But Harry did not understand the point. If there was something he did not know and needed to know, he would read about it. Why bother reading about how ancient Vikings used Gaelic symbols or how agriculture is done in Brazil, if he was never going to make use of the knowledge.
When Harry saw his mum leave, he waited for fifteen more minutes (like Hope told him he should when he went snooping around places he was not allowed), and made his way up into his parents room.
He bent down carefully and pulled the paper out. He began looking through the headlines:
Minister Fudge to propose the new werewolf act
Pureblood scion Lord Malfoy urges public to not degrade tradition by mingling with muggles
Lord Sirius Black opposes Minister Fudge's reform act, as well as Lord Malfoy's call
St. Mungo's healer suggests the mutated magic Harry Potter shows may not be so rare
Unspeakables' research suggest Abigail Potter defied Dark Lord and Death: calls her The-Girl-Who-Lived
Lord Black: Is he helping or hurting the Magical community
Harry thought a bit as he read through the headlines. He figured that his parents did not want them to read bad things about his uncle Sirius, and so hid the paper. But he did not understand why this time would be different. He knew his uncle had been facing trouble at the ministry since the day he took up his seat in wizengamot. His uncle had told them that he was stepping on too many people's toes with his firm unwavering stand on equal rights for all. Harry suggested he watch the floor while he walked, so he would not step on others toes. But his uncle just laughed it off. Harry didn't understand why.
For a second he thought maybe the article about his sister was the reason, but he quickly dismissed it. It was not uncommon to see an article or two every week about the Halloween 1981. So, that could not be it. Harry simply gave it up and threw the paper under the bed, and walked back downstairs.
That afternoon found Harry, Hope and James at the Diagon Alley finishing up their shopping. As Hope browsed through the mountains of clothes deciding which colors she liked, what styles and combinations, Harry sat to the side reading through the book his Sifu suggested about meditative state of mind. When she asked Harry for his opinion, all he advised was "anything but purple". Harry never liked the color purple. He could never explain it correctly, but he said the color purple made him feel helpless, like when he could not stop some boys at school from hurting his friend or sisters.
On the other hand, his favorite colors were the most nondescript grays and blacks. He said they made him feel safe. His family never understood that either, but just accepted it as part of being with Harry Potter.
Harry watched his sister rummage through the mound of clothes as his dad and the store clerk gazed on with a smile. Harry frowned at this. He did not understand what there is to smile about, since his sister was taking so long to select a dress that he was getting tired of waiting. They should also be feeling tired rather than happy watching Hope. After what seemed to be a hundredth trial, Hope decided on a dress she liked.
"Harry! Look! Do you like it?" Hope asked twirling around in her new dress.
"It's not purple" Harry replied with a nod.
"I know. How do I look? Or should I try something else?" she asked musingly.
"You look pretty. But if you want to try the other dresses, go ahead" Hope turned around with a frown and Harry added, "I still have 17 pages more to read in this book"
Hope squeaked, as she turned around, "Hey! You are supposed to help me. Besides, I didn't take that long to select!" Hope cried out, while his dad simply laughed.
"Well of course, Hope dear. You only took an hour and half this time to select this one dress." James said chuckling as Hope nodded with a serious face. As Hope turned towards the shop clerk, James turned to Harry and whispered loudly, "Next time, don't forget to get me a book too"
"Daddy!" Hope cried out.
"Oh! Nothing, Hope dear. It-It was Harry!" James immediately backpedaled.
Harry looked at his dad mischievous face with a raised eyebrow and turned to his sister, "Hope, doesn't this dress come with a scarf?"
Hope's face brightened, "Oh! I didn't think of that. Thanks Harry" She happily skipped over to a different section, while James gave Harry a scandalous look. Harry returned to his book.
A good forty five minutes later, the three Potters were making their way to the Florean Fortescue's Ice Cream Parlor. "I can't believe you did that" James whispered to Harry as they made inside carrying Hope's shopping bags.
"It was a good book" Harry replied blandly. But amusement was quite evident in his eyes. His dad made it to the side of the parlor, as Harry and Hope made it inside.
Hope sat down as Harry got her order from the store front. Hope looked down at the plate and began giggling.
"Harry, Banana split is supposed to be one dish. Not three ice cream in three bowls and an unpeeled banana on the side"
Harry shrugged and replied, "It's less messy". But it was in vain. In front of his horrified face, Hope began mixing the banana and the ice creams into a single bowl. Harry simply shook his head and sighed.
Hope beamed at him, and went back blissfully to her ice cream dish.
As the siblings enjoyed their peace after the tiring trip, they heard a commotion from outside the shop, towards its side. It was loud voices coming from the side ally connecting to Diagon Alley. Knowing his sisters curious nature, Harry knew she would jump up to investigate the disturbance. So, Harry did the most logical thing. He leaned over, and closed the window. It had the desired effect of cutting off the sound almost entirely.
"Maybe we should see what's going on, Harry" Hope suggested craning her head towards the back, trying to get a glimpses through cracks.
"No," was Harry's simple response. After all, their dad was a trained Auror, and it is his job to take care of such disturbances. Not theirs.
"Maybe, we should –" what, Harry never found out, as there was a loud cry of pain from the side alley. The voice was one they could easily recognize anywhere. And judging by the continuous cry, it was obvious that their dad was in deep trouble.
This time, before Harry could react, Hope darted out of her chair and off through the side entrance.
"Daddy!" she cried out as she made her way out.
Harry, who was only a pace behind her, grabbed the back of her jumper and pulled her towards himself. He maintained a firm grip of her jumper as the siblings got their first glimpse of trouble.
There were three black cloaked people, two men and one woman. The men stood guard over the unconscious body of a red robed man ("Auror", Harry thought), while the women had her wand trained on their father, who was crying out and withering on the ground.
"Leggo, Harry. We have to help dad! Lemme go" Hope struggled while Harry held on tightly. His Sifu's teaching racing through his mind as he analyzed the situation. Being outnumbered, with the liability of protecting not just Hope, but his injured dad was not a good fight to get into. But, he needed to get his dad away from the people. He needed a diversion to slip them away. He began looking around to see if he can use the narrow side alley to his advantage to-
At that moment, Hope's jumper tore as she got free of Harry's grasp and ran straight to her dad. It had the one desired effect of breaking the woman's concentration, and the curse was lifted off their dad.
"Well, well, well. James Potter," the woman crooned, "looks like we have more toys to play with" she finished with a shrill laughter that reeked of insanity.
"No. Don't. Please" was all their dad could get out as he struggled to catch his breath.
"Oh, but I dooooo" the woman dragged the word childishly, and one of the men finished smirking "unless you tell us what we want"
"Shut up!" the woman shrieked at her companion. "That was MY line!!" She then turned to James, and with the insanely sweet face, she finished her line, "unless you tell us what you know about the whereabouts of our Dark Lord". She giggled, and turned to her companion, "See! My line was so much better!!"
Her eyes turned to James again as she looked, expectantly.
"I. Don't. Know!" Harry's dad croaked out, holding Hope away from the insane woman.
"Oh! Poor you! Guess you have to see us play with our toys then" she said brightly as she pointed her wand at Hope. Horrified, Hope shrank into her dad's hands, as he unsuccessfully tried to hold her away from the insane woman looming over them.
"Please don't hurt my sister" a quiet but even voice was heard from the side. The people in black turned to see the almost eleven year old boy making his way calmly towards his family. The moment Hope broke out of Harry's hand, his strategies about the fight flew out of his mind. After all, he thought, the best laid plans are only good enough till the beginning of the battle.
"Harry! Get away, run and get help" Harry's dad cried out.
"Aww. Another widdle toy wanna pwayy too?" she crooned, as her companions guffawed.
"No" Harry answered, to whom the response was directed at was unclear, "I don't want to see my sister hurt, so please don't."
"But, I doooo" the woman dragged again, as she raised her wand.
"If you do," Harry said in the same even voice, "then I will kill you"
That paused every activity in the side alley. The three black robed people turned their surprised faces towards the little boy who made the unexpected statement. Even James and Hope forgot their perilous situation as they stared at Harry.
But Harry stood perfectly still as he gazed on at the people with the same expressionless face, and piercing green eyes. He gazed on with his legs a bit apart and slightly leaning over his walking stick which he clasped in both his hands and held in front of his body.
"Silly little boy" the woman spat in contempt, "what can a squib like you possibly do to ME!"
She flourished her wand towards the prone figure of the father and daughter and waved the wand. As the dark magic left her wand, her face took an expression of maniacal pleasure. An expression that screamed of her triumph.
But a split second later, there was a shift in the air. Magic concentrated itself in the narrow side alley, causing the air to feel heavier. Every movement seemed sluggish and hard. James immediately recognized it as what Lily had experienced in Harry's bedroom, just after he had woken up. The feeling of being suspended in an aqueous gel where even breathing needed an extra effort.
The heaviness did not just have the effect on them, but on the buildings around them as well. As the gazed on, the walls were noticeably pushed away, and the wall and chimney on the side of Florean Fortescue's Ice cream Parlor began cracking at the base and tilting to its side.
For James, as terrifying as being crushed by the falling wall was, a more welcome effect was on the dark magical stream that left the woman's wand. Just as a weight at the end of a bamboo stick causes it to curve down, the stream curved down and hit the ground a few feet in front of the father-daughter pair.
For the first time, the black robed people's faces took an expression of fear. Take a person out of their comfort zone, his Sifu had taught him, and their true nature would show out.
With his eyes fixed on the woman, Harry walked on as though the heaviness did not have any effect on him.
The three offenders raised their wands towards the little boy who seem to have more control over them than they had foreseen. But they immediately realized that their casting rhythm was shot out of whack by the heaviness in the air. Casting the spells and pronouncing the right syllable with the right wand movement proved difficult for them to co-ordinate. The spells they did manage to cast were shot way off their aim. The little boy made his steady course towards them, very much unaffected by their attempts at offence (or did it turn to defense!)
Harry reached the first person, who simply threw his wand down and attacked Harry with his fists. Harry moved his upper body back and to his left by a few inches, which caused the man to overstretch. The man could not stop his momentum of punch, and caused his back to be exposed to Harry. Harry's walking stick came up, and the U bend at the head of the walking stick hooked around the man's exposed neck.
With his eyes still focused on the women, Harry kicked at the back of the man's knees causing him to buckle. At the same time, he pulled hard on his walking stick as well.
CRACK! Was heard as the man's neck dislocated at the same time as Harry's walking stick broke.
Without bearing a single glance to the falling man, Harry walked on towards the woman, who, along with the other man was trying their best to cast spells. Harry was a mere feet in front of them, when Magic surged from their wands curving through the thick air and hit the ground just before the boy. Harry stopped, with the remaining half of his walking stick held like a knife. The jagged edge where stick was broken off, along with the first man's neck, made a good enough edge weapon to pierce a human body without much difficulty.
Reassured, the man started the next spell. But, never got to finish it, as the already precarious wall of Florean Fortescue's Ice cream Parlor tipped its final sustaining angle, and fell on top of the two. As if in a slow motion, the brick work fell down, over and around the two standing figures. They moved as fast as the sluggish air could allow them, as the rubble and bricks started hitting them.
As it happened, the man escaped a sizable chunk of brick and mortar work that missed him by mere inches. He moved as far away from the falling debris as he could. But in his haste to move away, his path took him straight towards Harry. The jagged edge of his walking stick shot up, and the man ran straight into it.
Harry pulled the blood covered stick out of the man's gut and let him fall down to the ground as his focused gaze never left the woman.
The woman was luckier (or unluckier as others would say) that she took smaller rubble, and cleared the primary impact zone. But she did not come out unscathed. She leaned down to the ground, taking her weight off her twisted ankle, blood on her face, and her wand away from her reach.
Harry walked the final couple of paces and stood over the woman with a bloody stick in his hand.
"What!!?" she spat at him.
Harry turned his piercing eyes towards the fallen woman, and replied in his even voice, "I told you not to hurt my sister, and what I will do now", as he raised his broken walking stick in one hand.
The woman's eyes grew wide in fear. There was no shadow of her previous insanity in her face then. Only the sheer terror of a living being in the face of its inevitable end.
"No" she whispered, trying to push herself away from the freakish little boy. "No" she cried out as her back felt the fallen chimney, that blocked her escape.
"Too late" the even voice of the little boy executioner said. It was not what he said, but the way he said that struck even more terror in the woman. It was a voice filled with no emotion at all. No anger, no hate, no malice nor was there triumph, but just a mere fact. There were no bounds to the terror the voice had caused. Her face froze in a terrified scream that refused to come out of her throat as Harry raised the jagged edge like a knife ready to drive into her wicked heart.
"Harry, NO!" there was a shout from behind Harry, that paused his hand. With the hand still positioned to strike, he turned his head towards his sister.
"Please Harry, Don't" Hope begged, tears in her eyes sparkling. "Don't do it"
Harry looked on for a few more seconds, before he brought the jagged half of his walking stick on to the women's body. The squishy sound of flesh ripping and blood spraying out, and the agonized cry from the woman caused Hope to turn her head away.
Harry bent his blood covered face down, turning his piercing green eyes towards the woman's shock filled face and stated, "Please do not try to hurt my family again. I don't like it much"
He then stood up and turned away from the broken form of the fearsome lieutenant of Lord Voldemort, Ballatrix Lestrange, who was going through a shock-induced shivering, and had half of a wooden walking stick sticking out of her right shoulder.
Immediately as Harry turned, the heaviness vanished, and the sounds of the businesses, the gathering crowd from Diagon Alley filled the ears of Potters. Hope ran towards her brother, who was slowly limping his way towards them. In a single leap, she jumped into her brother's arms and hugged him tightly, legs wound around his waist, muttering about how scared she was.
Harry calmly carried her over to his dad, who was being helped up by two men in red Auror uniforms.
"Harry" James shrugged his fellow Aurors, and made his way to his son, "Are you alright?"
Harry held on to his sister, as he looked at his dad, then down at himself, and back at his dad, and replied, "No. I am not"
Immediately James reached over to pull Hope away, "Are you hurt? Do you feel dizzy? Let me call the medi-wizards. Where does it hurt?" he fired his questions.
Harry looked on quietly at his dad, almost disinterestedly, as he replied, "I broke my walking stick"
James halted on his tracks, and turned his amazed eyes to his son, "You, broke your walking stick. And so you are not okay?"
Harry nodded, "It was my favorite walking stick," then added, "You need a medi-wizard though" and walked past, with his sister still in his arms.
"It is called Evocational Magic" Albus Dumbledore told to the Potter parents, "a very unstable type of magical release from a wizard. After Mrs. Potter's description of her experience in young Harry's room, I suspected it would be Evocational Magic. But could not confirm the fact until today"
"I don't think I ever heard of something like that before from anyone" James said as he sat in his living room, once again in conference with his friends and the headmaster.
The day's events had left him drained, but this was one meeting he could not afford to miss.
"I would be very surprised if you had heard about it, Mr. Potter," Dumbledore replied, "It is not very common around our part of the world. Besides, it takes a very powerful trigger to awaken this latent magic in an individual. I am sure you can imagine what acted as the trigger in Harry's case"
"Tony Wilson" Lily muttered before asking, "What can you tell us about this kind of magic, Professor?"
Dumbledore sighed heavily, "Not much I am afraid. But, I do know that this is not some sort of mutated strain of magic. Rather, I would go as far as to say that it is you and I that hold the mutated strain of magic. His is pure. Tell me Messrs., have you ever heard of a Shaman?"
James shook his head while Lily answered, "Only the saying that a Shaman doesn't change his ways"
"Indeed. It is a very old class of magic wielding, that has many myths and legends surrounding it" Dumbledore informed them, "Some believe that a Shaman was just another name for the leader of a tribe. But the more people research, the more they find that a Shaman never truly showed any inclination to lead their tribes. Yet, they were just as strong a pillar for the tribe as its leader"
"So," James gently urged the professor, "What exactly is a Shaman?"
"The truth, Mr. Potter is, I do not know. There is much tribal lore surrounding the capabilities of a Shaman, which tell us that they certainly are magic wielders. Some tribes attributed them with spiritual magic, some with earth based or pagan magic, and even some attributed magical power to control weather. However, what attributes set them apart from the other regular witches and wizards is unfortunately lost over the time."
"But," Dumbledore continued, "the lore from various places around the world describe that rare as they may, one merely needs to be in the close vicinity of a true Shaman to feel his power, and at times that power can even feel suffocating."
Here Dumbledore paused, letting the information sink into his former students. One after the other, their eyes widened as the realization struck them.
"Harry" Amy was the first "Lily and James both described that the air felt so heavy that even breathing took effort"
"Indeed, Mrs. Black. Young Mr. Potter does not seem to be the first to show this kind of magic"
"So, Headmaster," James commented, "What else can you tell us about this Shamanism and Evocational magic?"
"It is a very imprecise and unstable type of magic, whose results are quite often then not indeterminate" Looking at the stunned expressions on the others' faces, Dumbledore continued, "You have seen the effect it has today afternoon. Both the kin and foe felt the suffocating sensation. I must say, with his unique mental stature, I am worried what effect he may have on any innocents that happen to be around him the next time he uses the Evocational magic" Dumbledore finished gravely.
Lily and James were very troubled by that. It seemed that the happiness they felt when they discovered Harry was not a squib evaporated in light of this new information. It was as if he was not destined for alienation based on bigotry, but rather by this new kind of fear.
"So, what do we do" Sirius asked the question no one else wanted to ask.
Dumbledore sighed and began, "The research I had conducted led me that the Evocational and Ritualistic Magic did not fade away in many parts of the eastern world. Particularly in India, Tibet and surrounding regions. As I dug deeper, I found a school in Himalayas that concentrates its curriculum around ritualistic magiks. Also, the Shamanism was widely prevalent in regions not far from the school"
Dumbledore paused here, studying his students closely. After all, the last time he suggested them to send Harry away did not go well, and he had no intention of getting on the bad side of the adults responsible for the prophesized child.
Lily and James on the other hand did not have the courage to counter argue the headmaster's suggestion. It was not just the question of their children's safety, but the innocent bystanders who may get hurt just by virtue of being at a wrong place at wrong time when Harry's magic fires off. Besides, logically, it would be better for Harry all through his life, if he can learn to control his magic. But it just did not seem right.
"But, if Harry is not a squib," Remus suddenly said, "then isn't it possible that he be the prophesized one? And not Abby?"
Dumbledore did not answer immediately. Eventually, when he answered, he chose his words carefully, "I do not think so - for many reasons. The reasons that I had stated so many years ago, still remain as valid today. An emissary from the Magic itself, who is supposed to bring equality to everybody, would at least be ready for a bit of interaction with others, don't you think? Judging from the outgoing personality of Abigail and introverted autistic Harry, who do you think would be good at diplomacy? Who among the two is opinionated and who is willful? What of sociability and capacity for negotiations that an emissary must perform"
Dumbledore took a deep breath before saying, "But the most important point is still that for the emissary to vanquish the Dark Lord must be of light. Judging by the remorse which Abigail showed in the last few months, and the ease with which Harry was ready to take a life, who amongst them is light and who dark."
As expected, the friends jumped in defense of Harry with "Saving his sister", "his protective instinct", "his concern for his family" arguments. But Dumbledore easily over rid them by saying,
"Yes, there is no err in what you say. But, understand this. The saying that "Shaman does not change his ways" is not just a mere saying but based on the hard time-tested truth about willful nature of a Shaman. Whatever behavior Harry shows now, I am willing to bet my wand when I say that he will hold fast to the same behavior all his life. He will not change"
"But," Remus cut in, "Isn't being a Shaman special enough that he could be this emissary?"
"I do not think so, Mr. Lupin" Dumbledore replied, "Being Shaman is not anything special. Shamanism is not very uncommon until quite recent past. After all, that is how we know so much about that cult, and evocational magic. It is like metamorphism which is not very common, yet, once in a while we see one being born. I believe it is just a chance that Harry is a Shaman. Chance and Tony Wilson" Dumbledore finished.
The discussion drifted to other topics after that, until it was time for Dumbledore to leave the Potter's Residence.
On his way out, he met Harry and Luna sitting in the foyer playing with the chess board between them. Harry's Pet cat Stella was sitting on the third side of the board, looking down at the game as intently as the players themselves.
Dumbledore assumed they were playing chess and stood beside to watch. He thought, it may be give a bit more insight into the boys mind.
But within a few seconds, he realized that they were not playing chess. Each was moving the pieces of both colors, and at a very rapid rate, following rules that seem to make sense only to the children. Or with no rules at all. And the cat seemed to referee them.
"Is that chess you are playing?" Dumbledore asked curiously.
Harry lifted his head up and looked at Dumbledore unfocusedly, but did not answer. Luna replied, "Yes. The regular rules were boring, so we made our own"
"You know you are not supposed to do that. Like you can not play with pieces of both colors, and both can not play with the same piece"
"Yet you play the game similarly every day" Luna answered.
Dumbledore paused, considering the words. He was quite certain what the young girl alluded at. But before he responded, Luna said, "The regular chess allows players to forget the moves they made to reach a particular play. That was the first thing we changed. The second is for us to realize that there are certain pieces we can not play with, nor can we play against" She placed her gaze on Dumbledore's eyes when she added, "your game plan does not consider that"
Dumbledore thought about her words carefully before responding, "Do you see the pieces I do not consider?"
"Two, actually" Luna replied airily.
"And they are?"
"The most important of them," Luna bent her head closer to Dumbledore with a serious expression said, "is Nargles"
Dumbledore had to struggle to stifle his mirth at the little girl's response. He asked in a jovial voice, "and the other, if I may ask, Miss Lovegood?"
Luna did not respond, but Harry's voice carried over from the other side of the chess board, "I know you never liked me to be associated closely with Abby, but I will never be far from my sister. So, please don't try to push me away from my family. I do not like it" he added with a deep frown and scrunched nose (which happened to be the most expressive face Dumbledore had ever seen on Harry) "At all"
The children went back to their game board, moving the pieces rapidly around completely oblivious to the frown on Dumbledore's face.
After a few seconds, Dumbledore turned away deep in thought. His one time, now long gone dear friend's words ringing in his head, "Never be foolish and discount any point, however insignificant it might seem, until it becomes moot".
Maybe inviting Harry Potter to Hogwarts for his magical education is a good idea. It becomes easy to keep an eye on him, Dumbledore thought. After all, in the off chance that he chose the wrong twin as the chosen one, he might quickly make amends, and lead the wizarding world's newest leader of light in the right direction.
"Come on Harry, wake up" an exasperated Abby cried out for his brother, "We have to get to Diagon alley and buy our school supplies"
A very sleepy Harry Potter lifted his head to see the time.
Harry groaned, "Even the shops don't open until eight, Abby" and dropped his head on his pillow.
"But it will be crowded late in the morning. We have to get our stuff early" Abby pestered on.
"No" Harry simply said.
"No?" Abby said in surprise. "No?" this time mischievously.
An hour later, when Lily woke up and went down into kitchen, Harry was making the eggs in one pan, and frying potatoes in another, while Abby was sitting at the table talking at Harry.
"…and then we should get at least two pairs of shoes, 'coz, Percy, that's Ron's brother, he said the house elves don't clean them properly everyday and we need a clean pair for special occasions, and… oh, morning mum"
"Morning Abby" Lily said, and looking at Harry's sour face, she added, "What did you do to wake him up so early?"
"I didn't do anything mum" Abby quickly replied, "I did not even touch him! Honest!"
"Only jumped on my bed beside me" Harry grouched, while Abby smiled impishly.
That got Lily laughing also. Harry simply piled the breakfast onto a plate and got it to Abby.
"What about you, Harry?" Lily asked.
"I will wait till you make it" Harry replied.
"You can share mine" Abby offered magnanimously with a sniffy turn of her nose.
Harry looked at his sister with a raised eyebrow, and replied, "No. I will wait for the good breakfast"
Two hours later, the entire Potter family and one cat walked into Diagon Alley to pick up their school supplies. Their first stop was at the Gringotts, where the Potters waited in line beside a Goblin teller for their turn to take them down to their vault.
As they waited, Harry stared at the goblin. It was Abby who first realized how closely Harry was studying the goblin. While she was afraid to say anything in front of the goblin, lest they be offended, Harry had no such qualms as he stared at the goblin. Within a couple of minutes, even the goblin noticed it, and directed his fiercest glare at Harry. But the staring did not stop.
Eventually, the goblin barked, "What, human?"
"Nothing" Harry replied, but didn't turn his head, as the goblin muttered about "obnoxious humans" and "worthless creatures"
After a while, "I repeat, WHAT! Human?" the goblin said, this time, forcefully.
"I was simply wondering about the difference between you and me" Harry said
The goblin's face darkened and in a low angry hiss, he asked, "Do you have a death wish? Or are you simply too stupid to realize that you offend me so, human?"
The adult Potters, immediately pulled Harry back, as they began apologizing to the incensed goblin.
But Harry responded, "You are not very different from me, are you? You are shorter, but you have the same number of limbs as I do, two eyes, a nose and a mouth. It's almost as if you are a shorter human," Harry paused, looking pensive, then added, "Or, I am a taller goblin. So, how are you different?"
The goblin and the humans around him stared at Harry in surprise dumbfounded. Comparing himself with the goblin, whatever way Harry might have offended the goblin, he was offending himself as well. So, the goblin could say neither good, nor bad about Harry.
There was a booming laugh from their side. The Potters turned to find a decorated goblin laughing heartily. It was clear that he heard what had transpired between the human and the goblin.
"Well, that is a sentiment I had not heard in a long time, least of all from a human. It is quite fascinating that a foul ye young shall think so. It would be quite interesting what else he thinks" It was almost as if, the goblin was talking to himself than to anyone around. He studied Harry's face for a few moments before barking, "Griphook! Help the humans with their transaction courteously."
The goblin standing beside the Potters jumped at the order and led the waiting Potters out of their waiting line, to the side door. Much to the displeasure of others in the line, the Potters were immediately led to the carts. The Potters were too bewildered at this sudden show of courtesy by the ever-spiteful goblins. It was completely unheard of, but they did not dare to ask. They finished their work in their vault and exited the bank as quickly as they could. While exiting, Harry waved his hand at Griphook, and to the surprise of his family, the goblin waved back.
Exiting the bank, they split up to do the remaining shopping. Harry and Abby went over to Madam Malkin's Robes for all Occasions, while the adults split up to buy the remaining items from the list.
Inside the store, a pale blonde boy with a pointed nose was already getting measured by the Madam's tape measure. She made Harry stand over a stool beside the pale boy and went inside.
"Potter" he wished Abby with a curt bow, "I trust you are well, and are invited to attend Hogwarts?"
Abby nodded watching him warily.
"And you. What are you doing here?" he asked Harry with a sneer. He turned to Abby and asked, "Are you here with just him?"
Harry did not respond, but Abby got a scowl on her face when she responded, "What's it to you, Malfoy?"
"It is truly unfortunate that a lady of your stature should be escorted by such a person" he said the word person as if he did not consider Harry as one. "My father would be mortified to hear that you are treated so. Allow me to escort you around the shopping district" he said pompously.
"I think I am fine with my brother, Malfoy." Abby replied coolly, "We have the same list of things to shop for"
Malfoy turned sharply to Harry, and asked in a horrified voice "Did they let you into Hogwarts too? I can not believe how low Hogwarts has sunk to if they even let such mentally unstable kids in. My father will surely hear about this."
Abby had enough, when she grabbed Harry's walking stick from the side of the table, gripped it with both hands, swung it over her shoulder as she faced Malfoy and hissed angrily, "Do you want to repeat that, Malfoy? I dare you."
The blazing eyes and her stance made it perfectly clear to Malfoy what Abby intended to do if he opened his mouth.
Any confrontation was averted when Madam Malkin walked in. She seemed to understand the tension between the children as she quickly finished her work on Malfoy kid and promptly dismissed him.
The last order of business for the Potters was wand shopping. The five humans and one feline walked into the best wand shop in all of England – Olivanders.
As they walked in, a small bell chimed somewhere inside the shop. They walked inside the shop to find it dusty, and quite empty. They looked around the shop at what seemed to be thousands of small rectangular boxes stacked from floor to ceiling and from wall to wall.
James was about to call for someone when a voice sounded, "I had been waiting to see when I would get to meet you, Messrs. Potter". Lily, James and Abby jumped at the sudden voice, while Harry seemed mesmerized at the rows and rows of boxes in every direction.
Without any further cue, the old man Olivander said, "Let us start with Ms. Potter. Which is your wand arm?"
"Er. Right, I suppose" Abby crocked out.
A charmed tape measure jumped up and began measuring her. Abby turned red in embarrassment when the tape measure began measuring her legs and the size of nostrils. But the old man did not pay any attention to the tape measure as he looked through the boxes.
"The wand chooses the wizard, Ms. Potter. It is never clear why, but each wand has its own spirit that binds to only one wizard for life" He handed Abby a wand as he said, "Try this. Willow with a dragon's heartstring. Good for transfiguration, like your father's"
Abby took the wand and before she could even flick her wrist, the old man, and surprisingly Harry said, "No"
Olivander turned to Harry and asked in a surprise filled voice, "How did you know, Mr. Potter"
Harry did not reply, but kept staring at the man, standing half behind James.
"Harry?" Lily prompted.
Harry tore his gaze off the old man and looked at his mother.
"How did you know?" Lily prompted again.
Harry shrugged and replied, "Didn't seem right"
From then on, Olivander would take a wand out of the box, and look at Harry. Harry would either shake his head or simply not respond. The wands Harry shook his head for, when Abby tried, always seemed to cause small explosions or something destructive. The ones Harry did not respond usually caused small amount of sparks or simply nothing at all.
As the time passed, the Potters were frustrated at the lack of results, but the old man was ever so excited.
Eventually, with a curious frown on his brow, Olivander pulled out a dusty box from below his counter. He held the wand lightly in his fingers, and turned to Harry. For the first time, Harry nodded affirmatively.
Abby took the wand into her hands. Immediately a sense of warmth filled her, and a geyser of red and gold sparks spurted out of the end.
"Holly and Phoenix feather. Curious" Olivander muttered. "Very curious"
Abby turned her happy face to the man and asked chirpily, "What, Mr. Olivander?"
Olivander looked at Abby, then her parents closely, and in a serious voice replied, "I remember every wand I had ever sold, Messrs. Potter. As it happens, the Phoenix that gave the feather for your wand gave just one other feather. It is curious that you were destined for this wand, while its brother gave you that scar" he finished pointing at her forehead.
The Potters looked horrified at the wand and Abby almost dropped the wand in her hand.
Harry's hand clasped Abby's and stopped her from dropping the wand. He said, "It chose you. Now it follows what you command it to do"
"Indeed, Ms Potter" Olivander said, "A wand is but a mere tool in the hands of a wizard. Eventually, a wizard is identified by what one does, not what one's wand is made of"
He turned to Harry, and asked, "What is your wand arm, Mr. Potter"
James cut in, saying, "Er. Mr. Olivander. Harry is a little different from the rest of us. The normal wands do not respond to his magic"
"Really?" Olivander said looking at Harry closely. "That is most curious. Then what responds?"
James answered for Harry again. "A bacillum is the only thing that ever reacted. That too, only in the past few months. The runes inside the bacillum began to light up when Harry held it"
"Evocational?" Olivander muttered as he looked at Harry.
"Yes. That is what Professor Dumbledore thinks too. He said something about Shamanism as well"
Olivander went inside the shop and came back with five ornate boxes in his arms. "I am sorry Mr. Potter that I do not make tools for rune masters or Shaman. All I have are these five older tools from the men of past"
He replied as he opened the boxes and very reverently placed the wands on the counter. Four of the wands were very ornately decorated in many colors. Each had gold inlays on its side that formed a specific design. They formed a lightning bolt on one, a tree, a wolf, and a cloud on the others.
The last wand was the most simple of them all. It was a cylindrical piece of wood about ten inches long and an inch in diameter. Unlike the other wands, this one did not have any design, except for a crack that ran the length of the wood. It neither had a bark, nor any kind of polish. It was as though someone had picked it up from the floor of a forest.
Olivander flicked his wand, and all five rose up into the air. They hung in the mid air side-by-side. "Try them, Mr. Potter" he urged.
Harry, who was standing behind his parents, looked up at them, and upon receiving an encouraging nod from them, lifted his hand up.
Lily was about to give Harry a nudge in the back towards the counter, when it happened.
The wands remained in their place above the counter, and Harry remained where he stood, about six feet away from them. But as the others looked, the distance between the wands and Harry reduced. But neither the wands nor Harry moved from their place. It was the space in between that bent.
Harry's hand closed around the last wooden wand, the most simplest of all, and slowly the space bent back to its place while Harry held the piece of wood.
Unlike the other customers, when Harry held his new wand, there were no sparks, nor was there a warm glow surrounding him. Except for the universe bending to hand Harry his new tool, there was no other indication of successful pairing.
All the inhabitants of the room watched in surprise as Harry said, "This is mine".
Olivander slowly let the breath he held out saying, "Marvalous"
"W-What is?" Lily asked.
Olivander turned to the older Potters, and replied, "That is no normal wand, Mrs. Potter. It had been in our ancestry for as long as there were records. Its wood unknown, core unknown, length varies every time measured. No. It is no normal wand"
"But there were no sparks" Abby cut in.
Harry looked at the wand in his hand with a frown, and suddenly, a burst of white sparks leapt out.
Olivander seemed more pleased about this. He said, "You are a Shaman, Mr. Potter. A Shaman's tool responds to what its owner commands"
Abby smiled at this, and said, "Try something else, Harry" It was almost a relief for her that her brother could do magic and found a wand. Now, nobody can stop him from going to Hogwarts.
Harry nodded and looked down at his new tool. As seconds trickled, the wand grew in length, until it was almost three foot long. As the others watched in surprise, one end of the wand rounded itself, forming an oval shaped head. Harry gave a curt nod, and grasped the head of the wand. He thumped the other end of the wand on the floor couple of times, and looked up pleased.
Abby asked in a bewildered voice, "Harry! You get a priceless ancient artifact that can do anything you command, and you make it into a walking stick?"
Harry nodded, "I like it"
Olivander seemed pleased at this. He said, "Two amazing things happen in one day. Two of the greatest mysteries in my mind were answered almost together. But one thing is certain, Messrs. Potter. We can expect great things from these twins. Great things, indeed."
"Er. How much for the wands, Mr. Olivander?" James asked.
"Seven galleons for Ms. Potter's wand, and I will not charge for Mr. Potter's tool. I only ask for a promise to return it back to my shop or my descendents when Mr. Potter no longer needs it"
"Harry, your wand is so different from others, we have to name it" Hope chirped.
Harry looked down at his new magical focusing tool, which even he agreed is not just a wand.
"Trudis" He said.
(A/N) I am very sorry for the delay in updating. In the last four months, my life had been quite hectic, with two vacations and catching up the work I missed, and a few more obligations, that I could not find much time to write. Now that I started writing again, I hope to update at regular intervals. Please don't give up on me just yet. :-)
(A/N2) I hope Harry's retribution was not too gory for my readers. After all, he dealt exactly one blow to each of his opponents.
(A/N3) Please let me know about the pace of the story also. it may seem a little slow, but when I think, I do not have a targeted size for each chapter. I write what flows through my mind. If it seems a little too slow, please let me know. I will try to speed it up a bit.
Enjoy, and don't forget to Review. It helps more than you can imagine.