Harry Potter was taken from the remains of Godric's Hollow by Sirius. Sirius and Remus have been raising him, pursued by Death Eaters, the Order of the Phoenix and various others for fifteen years. They finally caught Harry and Harry is not happy about it. In fact, Harry Potter is one pissed off young man. Albus Dumbledore doesn't care. Harry Potter is only fifteen, and what can he do?
Wizarding Britain is about to find out and they may not survive the experience.
Dedications: To Kinsfire and Ishtar, who have supplied some of the best Beta services I have ever found for this story, who's comments and suggestions have been extremely helpful and illuminating.
Disclaimer: I am seriously tired of finding new and interesting ways to say I don't own Harry and his friends. If you think that I am the type of person that would own slaves, you go right ahead and think that. I know that I am not making anything off of this and that it's all in fun.
Serious Acknowledgements: To the wonderful people, men, women and other beings not so easily classified at Caer Azkaban, for their unwavering support, advice and criticism, most of which I used, adapted or filed the serial numbers off of and used. In the words of the greatest blond since Marilyn Monroe, "Yay." (Yay is the intellectual property of rorscharchblot, used here without his permission or consent and he is welcome to come over to my house to punish me. I plan on locking him in the attic with a computer and never letting him out. Of course, there are a few others I'd like to get my hands on as well... hm, Maybe a party. (Innocent smile.) Some of you will be getting invitations...) Thanks are also due to Neil, who reminded me that the last straw is the one that breaks the camel's back, and the Penultimate straw is the one where someone says I won't take any more. Thanks, Neil.
Harry Potter and the Penultimate Straw.
What Has Gone Before
OoOoOoO Harry Potter, The Ministry, 07JUN1996. OoOoOoO
Harry Potter sat in his cell under the Ministry building and stared at the two signet rings on his hand. Inside, he burned with fury and hatred. People were going to pay for this. They had stolen his life and killed the only people that Harry had ever loved and they would pay for that.
Harry Potter was a tall young man with vivid green eyes and the healthy build of a boy who did a lot of physical things. He was handsome most of the time, but right now his mental state twisted his face and more than one Auror on the Potter watch shivered as they spied on him.
Harry thought about revenge and pain for a very long time before he heard a voice in the back of his head. "Harry, you always have to plan ahead. Great ideas deserve equally great planning."
Harry closed his eyes and concentrated. He knew they were watching and he wouldn't allow them to see him cry. Remus Lupin had taught him about planning, but Remus was dead, cut down by Aurors after they caught him helpless on a full moon night. Remus had been locked in a cement room, unable to do anything as the Aurors burned the building down around him and roasted him alive.
Harry concentrated, using the meditation techniques he'd learned from Yumiko to push emotions back, allowing him to think clearly. He had to start planning. There were a lot of people that had to pay for this. He settled into a comfortable position and sank deeper into his meditations. He began, as all good plans should, at the very beginning.
OoOoOoO Sirius and Hagrid, Godric's Hollow, 31OCT1981. OoOoOoO
Hagrid arrived at the Potter house just before midnight. He slowed as he approached the gate that led into the garden behind the house. He had Flooed to the nearest wizard home and taken the most direct route to the Potter's home, which had cut through the woods between the two houses. The house was a blazing mass of flame and even as he entered the garden, the house collapsed with a roar and hundreds of sparks soaring into the sky.
Hagrid ran around the front, hoping beyond hope to find the Potters out in the front of the house.
He found the Potters. James and Lily were laid out next to each other and their eyes were closed, as if they only slept.
Hagrid had seen too much death to be fooled, though, and he came to a stop next to them and closed his eyes as tears flowed.
He stood there in silence for a minute and then looked at the other man present. "Yer alright there, Sirius?"
Sirius Black looked up at Hagrid. "It was my idea. I suggested using Peter as the secret keeper. I killed them." The naked anguish on his face as he looked at the bodies of his best friend and his wife was raw and mixed with an intense loathing. "I trusted that rat, and he betrayed us. I may go to hell for my part in this, but I will send that bastard ahead of me."
A feeble cry made both men stare at the bundle Sirius held. Sirius uncovered the head of a black haired toddler of about one and tried to comfort the boy. "So Harry survived? Dumbledore said he would. I dunno how, but he knows things."
Sirius looked at Hagrid. "If he knows so much, how did Peter escape his attention?"
Hagrid frowned but let the remark pass. Sirius was upset right now. "What are yer goin do now?"
Sirius looked at Harry, his hands holding the fitfully sleeping boy close. "I'm going to take Harry somewhere safe and then, I'm going to hunt down a rat and kill him."
Hagrid stirred and sighed. "Professor Dumbledore wants me tuh bring 'im Harry. He says there's a safe place for 'im."
Sirius Black stood up and stepped back a couple of paces while Hagrid stared at him in astonishment. Hagrid noted uneasily that Sirius had turned so that Harry, still cradled in his left arm, was protected by Sirius' body and that his wand hand was toward Hagrid. Hagrid had seen the other man's quick draw tactics many times in Hogwarts and had no real wish to pit himself against the man that stood there gazing at him.
"Sirius, Dumbledore will protect Harry, yuh know that."
"He might, but I can't take that chance. Four days ago, I swore an Unbreakable Oath to protect Harry if anything happened to James and Lily. I will fulfil my Oath."
Hagrid stared at the determined man as he thought about that. Hagrid wasn't stupid, but neither was he the fastest thinker, and it took him a few minutes to work it all out. "I'm sorry, Sirius, but Dumbledore wants Harry. I gotta take Harry to him."
Sirius shook his head and his wand came shooting out of his sleeve. "I can't let you do that."
"Hagrid, old friend," came a voice from behind Hagrid, "I'm afraid I have to side with Sirius on this. I also swore that Oath."
Hagrid turned, but he already knew who he would see. Remus Lupin stood there, his wand in hand and tension in every line of his body. Hagrid stared at Remus and was very cautious about his movements. Remus' eyes were normally brown, but tonight they were the amber yellow of a wolf.
Sirius spoke from behind Hagrid. "Remus, I'm taking Harry to the Den. Join me there." A second later, the crack of an Apparation sounded and Hagrid sighed. He would have to tell Dumbledore that he had failed.
Remus noted the release of tension in Hagrid and knew he would not attack. "Tell Professor Dumbledore that one of us will be in contact in a day or two, after we have Harry protected." With that, Remus disappeared with a crack.
Hagrid sighed and went to get Aurors to take care of James and Lily. Telling Dumbledore that he'd failed could wait that long.
OoOoOoO The Aurors, The Ministry, 07JUN1996. OoOoOoO
The two Aurors on watch looked up as the monitors on the cell changed. For two days, ever since Potter woke up, they had registered anger and pain, hate and other dark emotions. The sensors that should have been picking up his thoughts were blank, repelled by the tightest Occlumency barriers they'd ever seen in such a young person. His physical monitors had shown a normal healthy young man with an amazingly strong amount of magic.
All at once, the physical and emotional monitors changed. The emotion monitor went dead, as if Harry wasn't feeling anything at all, and the physical monitor began showing a slowing heart rate and reduced breathing.
In ten minutes, Harry was breathing just ten times a minute and his heartbeat was a mere twenty beats per minute.
The Aurors had instructions about what to do if anything changed and one of them folded a note, which flew off. It drew a response in less than ten minutes. Pius Thicknesse, Head of the Department of Magical Law Enforcement, came in the room and looked at the monitors and then at the charmed wall that allowed the Aurors to watch Harry. "What happened?"
"I don't know, sir. One minute, nothing had changed, and then he sat like you see him now and the monitors changed to what you see now. Is this one of those strange magic techniques he used before?"
Thicknesse looked at Harry again. "I don't know. He shouldn't be able to do any magic in there, but stay alert. Now that he's stopped being hostile, I have to Floo Dumbledore." He turned and left.
OoOoOoO Remus and Dumbledore, Hogsmeade, 05NOV1981. OoOoOoO
"Why is Moody hunting us, Professor? He's ruined two hiding places for us already, and a couple of Death Eaters almost found us before we found this last one." Remus was polite but clearly irritated.
"Remus, I have to ask you to bring Harry to me. There is a place where no Death Eater can find him." Albus was attempting to use his Legilimency on Remus and finding it hard to get any solid thoughts from him. He'd noticed this before in werewolves; it took a lot of effort to read anything in their mind. He thought it was because humans couldn't understand the minds of animals and werewolves were at least partly animal. He kept talking, trying to keep Remus here long enough to get the whereabouts of Harry from his mind.
"Lily's spell has a second part, Remus." Albus kept his voice low and soft, threading it with a touch of magic. Very few people knew that wandless magic, while insanely hard to do, opened up the user to a wealth of possibilities. If you could use your magic from your hands, you could use it in a dozen other ways. Voice, gesture, blinking, any body motion could cast a spell, once you could do wandless casting. "If Harry is with her blood, he cannot be harmed by any Death Eaters at all. We both know there are still some out there. Look what happened to the Longbottoms."
Remus snarled savagely. "If your idea to keep Harry safe is putting him with the Dursleys, Professor, you can think again. Those people are haters, and magic is at the top of their hate list. I met Petunia once. Harry will never go to them, not as long as Sirius and I live."
Remus was fast losing all respect for Dumbledore. His wolf could feel the intrusion of the old wizard's mind and was going crazy. Add this attempt to soothe him with magic, and Remus was about to leave. Didn't the man realize that to the enhanced senses of a werewolf, his magic laden voice was plain? Fortunately, no wolf would ever be caught or bound that easily.
"Remus, this must be." Albus stepped up the magic a bit, trying to ensnare Remus. "Harry must be protected."
"He will be. Don't push us, Professor. We have our Oaths to consider, and the wishes of James and Lily, who specifically told us never to let the Dursleys have Harry." Remus turned to go. "Good-bye, Professor."
"Remus Lupin, you owe me and I think it is time to collect."
Remus stopped and sighed. The last of his respect for this man died and he turned. Sirius had thought that Albus might play this card and he had made plans for it. He didn't really like it, but he had no choice. He did owe this man a debt for allowing him to enter Hogwarts when the law said that no werewolf could be in a school with children.
"Wizard Dumbledore," he said formally, "Lord Black has accepted me into the Black Family as chattel, pursuant to the Werewolf Act of 1780. As such, any debt I owe must be brought before him for determination as to its repayment." Remus shook his head. "I used to respect you."
Remus Lupin Disapparated. That would be the last time Albus Dumbledore ever saw Remus Lupin.
OoOoOoO Albus Dumbledore, Hogwarts, 07JUN1996. OoOoOoO
Albus was in his office thinking. Harry Potter had disappeared from Godric's Hollow fourteen years ago and Hagrid had come back to Dumbledore with the disturbing story of Sirius pulling a wand on Hagrid when he said that Dumbledore wanted to take Harry. Sirius had then told Hagrid that he and Remus had sworn an Unbreakable Oath to the Potters to take care of Harry.
Sirius left with Harry and that was the last time anyone in Britain had seen either of them.
Sirius Black had access to immense resources, because even though she didn't like Sirius, his mother was not going to throw one of her family to the ones hunting them. Plus, helping Sirius stay free kept the Potter child out of Dumbledore's hands and that was an excellent idea in its own right.
Albus knew some of what they'd done simply because Alastor Moody was an excellent Auror and he'd been tracking the three of them since they disappeared. He would hunt them down and even sometimes get close enough to see them. Twice, he'd engaged in fights with them, fights they'd won because Moody wasn't trying to hurt them and they had no such compunctions about hurting him to keep their vow.
Somewhere along the way, Sirius Black had picked up a female companion, a Japanese witch who was every bit as determined to keep the three free as Remus and Sirius. They had gotten married in New Zealand just before the Aurors got involved in the hunt.
From talking to people who had known them in the places where they settled down, Albus knew that Harry was bright, friendly and had a large mischievous streak, which was not surprising, considering who had been raising Harry. They were private people, not speaking about themselves, but they were always polite.
When Voldemort regained a body last year, Albus had run out of options. He called a closed session of the Wizengamot and told them about the prophecy, after getting an Unbreakable Oath from them not to tell anyone what they were about to hear.
Discovering that Voldemort could not be stopped by anyone except Harry Potter had changed the equation considerably. Where Albus had one trained person to hunt for them, the Ministry had hundreds with far greater resources.
In order to keep the prophecy from being released, Albus used a little known and rarely used power of the Supreme Mugwump of the International Conference of Wizards to allow the Aurors permission to hunt for fugitives across all Wizard boundaries.
That power had been created more than seven hundred years ago, during the Great War of Mages, when all of the Wizard nations had closed their borders to people from other Magical countries and criminals had been escaping justice by simply stepping from one country to another. It had taken nearly five years for the Great War of Mages to end, and most people forgot about the International Fugitive Act of 1204.
Since then, the power had been used just twice. The first time had been when the Dark Lord Cloud of Darkness, an American Indian Shaman, had tried to destroy all of his people's enemies in 1810. His Shamans and their spirits had been destroying everything in an area of Europe and moving on in hit-and-run raids.
The second time had been in 1943, when Grindelwald had been assisting the forces of the Muggles called the Axis in their conquest of the Muggle world.
The Aurors had broken into sets of five and started hunting their targets with just one order; Bring Harry Potter back alive and undamaged.
That the four of them had managed to evade capture for thirteen months after that was astonishing.
It was when they were finally cornered that everything went wrong. The Aurors had to bring Harry Potter back alive, but after thirteen months of chasing them, they were angry. Remus had been caught on a full moon and killed.
Sirius, Harry and the witch had been running from nearly twenty Aurors and had been unable to get back to protect Remus. Killing Remus had changed the way they fought though. Before Remus' death, they fought only until they could escape and then disappeared again.
Now, they fought to kill.
A month after Remus died, the three of them had killed seventeen Aurors. They were finally cornered in a remote village in Asia, apparently trying to get to Japan.
That battle had taken three days and in the end, only Harry had been left alive. He still fought, using magic techniques the Aurors had not seen before, as well as several Muggle things that most of the Aurors had not seen before. After Sirius died, it had taken them nearly four hours to take Harry alive. Three more Aurors had died taking Harry.
Albus sighed. His original plan was hopeless. Harry would never be moulded into what Albus wanted. He frowned as he thought about the reports he'd gotten. Harry was as dark as he could get without actually claiming Dark Lord status. That was a pity, but Albus needed Harry to kill Voldemort and it didn't matter if he was dark or not for that. Albus could make sure that Voldemort was a danger to Harry, one way or another.
Albus sat and thought. He would make sure Voldemort died, one way or another. If Harry was as Dark as the reports said, he would have to return to the Light before Albus let him go.
If he could not be returned to the Light, well, heroes had died tragic deaths before, destroying evil. Another Potter martyr to Voldemort's evil would be better for Albus in the long run anyway. Living heroes had opinions and minds of their own.
A dead hero could be spun any way Albus wanted.
OoOoOoO Minister Fudge, The Ministry, 07JUN1996. OoOoOoO
Minister Fudge looked at his morning mail and his schedule for the day and swore. Four letters from other heads of state and two meetings with ambassadors. All of them would have the same topic. Harry Potter and the actions of the Aurors as they pursued Harry and the people that had been caring for him.
He had tried to protest the actions they took, but the Wizengamot had overruled him. Fudge was a coward and a fool, but he had a very highly developed political sense and he had known that sending Aurors after the fugitives without waiting for the permission of the countries involved was political stupidity.
The Wizengamot, herded by Dumbledore, and scared of You-Know-Who, had ignored his warnings and now he had to deal with the consequences. He sighed and thought about his options. With You-Know-Who's Death Eaters running rampant and claiming he was back, he couldn't simply give the Aurors that had led the teams to the other countries. That would alienate the Department of Magical Law Enforcement and cause divisions in the ranks, right when they needed every Auror.
Fudge snarled to himself. Dumbledore and his obsession with controlling Harry Potter had ruined what credibility they had left. He sat and thought about what he was going to do and when his assistant came in to tell him his first appointment was here, he had the beginning of a plan.
OoOoOoO Harry, The Ministry Cell, 07JUN1996. OoOoOoO
Harry came out of the trance and thought about what he'd been told about the early years. After Dumbledore had made it plain that he would not leave the three of them alone, Sirius and Remus had made the decision to leave England entirely. They had tried to go to Ireland, but Death Eaters had found them in less than a year.
Scotland, France, Norway, Greece and then, when Harry was six, they had gone to Italy, hiding themselves in the magical section or Rome, where they met Iuchi Yumiko.
For the first time, Sirius found a woman that was his equal in every way and better in some. Iuchi Yumiko was a Pureblood Witch of a Samurai line who could trace her family back more than a thousand years. She lived the Code of Bushido and expected those around her to have honour as well.
Sirius had always been more pragmatic than honourable, but Yumiko changed him. She changed the entire focus of their group. Before Yumiko, it was about hiding and making sure that Harry was safe.
Yumiko made the two men see that constant travel was not good for Harry and that they needed to find a place to hide that the Death Eaters couldn't find. Moody, who was much better trained, might still find them but Yumiko was more than willing to go head to head with one man.
They spent two years in the magical areas of Asia, where Moody couldn't hide as well. Asian magic was different and wand users stood out. They finally had to leave when the Death Eaters found them by following Moody.
Yumiko killed both of the Lestrange brothers in that fight and Bellatrix only escaped because she had a hidden Portkey. They went to ground and Yumiko called in some favours.
The group spent the next three years in the Temple of Hidden Winds in Tibet until the Muggle fights between China and Tibet came too close and the danger was too great.
Harry learned a great deal from Remus and Yumiko during that time, as well as studying at the temple school. Sirius tried to teach Harry things, but Sirius was not a teacher of anything except the Pureblood customs and pranks. Anything else Sirius tried to teach was a mixture of theory, (sometimes) and practical use.
Sirius was a good Wizard, but he'd never been a scholar.
Harry finished thinking about his past and moved to his present. What assets did he have?
OoOoOoO Albus and Harry, the cell, 07JUN1996. OoOoOoO
Albus stared at the boy he had been looking for since Voldemort had marked him. Harry was kneeling in a position Albus knew. Someone had taught Harry meditation, probably the as yet unnamed Japanese witch. He looked at the monitors. Harry was deep in his meditation and Albus was impressed by the boy's control.
He looked at the Aurors. "I will see him now."
One of the Aurors nodded. "If you will follow me, Sir." The Auror led Dumbledore out into the hall and to another door with an Auror in front of it. "Headmaster Dumbledore will be going inside."
The Auror outside the door looked at Professor Dumbledore. "I have to warn you that the prisoner has been very abusive to everyone who has gone in there. He has not attacked anyone yet, but his mouth should be registered as a weapon."
Dumbledore nodded. "I understand. Harry has been in the company of some people that I would have saved him from. I am sure I can come to an agreement with him."
The Auror nodded and opened the door. Albus went inside and felt the power of this child. Harry was very strong, stronger than any student in Hogwarts right now.
Harry felt the presence of someone new and began withdrawing from his meditations. He didn't know what was going on, but he knew that it was not the Auror who had been bringing him his meals.
Harry looked at the new person. It was an elderly Wizard dressed in flamboyant robes and Harry controlled his hate. He knew this wizard from pictures and a Chocolate Frog card. Albus Dumbledore.
Albus saw the flicker of hate in the boy's eyes and the control that hid it.
Before he could say anything, Harry spoke. "You can leave now. I will have nothing to do with you, murderer." Harry closed his eyes again and began to clear his mind for meditation.
"I will not go away, Harry."
Harry looked up. "Let me make one thing perfectly clear, old man. You employ Death Eaters in your school, protect them. They killed my parents, hunted me for years and anyone that deals with them is an enemy. In two very short years, I will be The Potter, old man, and on that day, the House of Potter will go before the International Confederation of Wizards and declare that a state of Feud exists between the families of Potter and Dumbledore. There will be others, but they do not concern you." Harry stared at the wizard and made no attempt to hide his hate. "You are directly responsible for hunting me and my family for fourteen years and you are responsible for their deaths. I will end your family as you ended mine."
Harry closed his eyes again and and Albus felt the anger and hate fade under Harry's meditations. He tried to speak to Harry but Harry didn't respond. Albus touched Harry's Occlumency shields and found no flaws in them, but even that received no response from Harry.
Albus left the Ministry a very troubled man.
Harry continued to think about his plans.
OoOoOoO Various people, around the world, 07JUN1996. OoOoOoO
"Iuchi Yumiko is dead, Katsumi-San. Aurors from Britain were responsible for her death. She died well, as did her foreign husband."
Iuchi Katsumi looked at the messenger. "And what of the boy, the one she Blood bonded as her child?"
"He did not die. The British Aurors took him back to their land."
The Daimyo nodded. "He may be foreign, but he was hers and that makes him one of ours. Yumiko wrote that he was a willing and able student and well versed in Bushido. We will investigate. Send a Clan Magistrate to look into the matter. Send a Shugenja with him. I want to know everything about the boy named Iuchi Harry."
"I don't care if the Supreme Mugwump authorized it or not. It was unspeakably rude to come barging in without at least telling us first. I want a protest filed with the Confederation and the British. Then we're going to get that law changed. We don't need this kind of havoc when our country is filling up with Muggles. They nearly broke the Secrecy Statutes a dozen times."
"You know, this could be a good time to have a vote of confidence for Dumbledore. He annoyed many people."
The two men looked at each other. "I agree. We need to start sounding out the other countries that were treated this way."
The Australian Minister of Magic sent off quite a few owls that day, looking for support in his goals.
It didn't take long to find that help.
In eight countries, people began making plans to deal with the outrageous actions of the British Ministry of Magic and Albus Dumbledore.
In Tibet, the leaders had additional problems. During the initial assault of the Aurors, a stray spell had killed an innocent and the village was very upset. Since the International Confederation of Wizards had allowed the attack, the leaders had to go through the Confederation to get any compensation for the village and the family.
The Confederation, however, had a poor track record when it came to the smaller or less populous countries. Of course, this latest action had annoyed many countries, including four of the largest.
Maybe it was time for a change in the management of the International Confederation of Wizards.
"So, what can we do to let Mr. Potter know we're working for him still?"
"One of the Aurors on his guard detail is one of my people. We could get him a short note."
"Do it. Tell him we're working on getting him out."
"Narcissa, what about Lucius?"
"He's so far up the Dark Lord's arse that he hasn't even come home in a week. Draco is with him and they have not spoken to me in two weeks. I don't foresee any problems with them. With the Dark Lord trying to consolidate his new holdings, they should be busy for a few weeks. Potter being back should make them hesitate or concentrate on him. I have my escape plan in place. Lord Black left me instructions, though, and I will follow them as long as I can."
"Harry Potter doesn't like Dumbledore at all. I don't think they'll come to an agreement that doesn't include blackmail."
"That's good for us. Make sure that Potter knows exactly why the Aurors were hunting him. It was the Wizengamot and Dumbledore, overriding my protests. Maybe Potter can help me break Dumbledore's hold on the Wizengamot and the Ministry."
"I will, Minister."
Around the world, magical attention focused on Wizarding Britain. In the last twenty years, since the first appearance of Voldemort, Britain had been sliding downhill in international opinion. They had refused help when he first came to power and things had slid downhill since then.
Over the last eight years their education system seemed to be going the same way. Britain no longer met ICW standards for Potions, History of Magic, Divination or Defence Against the Dark Arts.
Hogwarts set the standards for Britain and Hogwarts had slipped badly in all of those areas.
Until now, all the other countries could do was refuse to accept British O.W.L. and N.E.W.T. results, but now there was a crack that could be exploited.
This Harry Potter could be the crack in the Pureblood defences that kept Britain from caring what the rest of the magical world said or did. If he could shake enough of the Purebloods out of their trees, something could be done before the International Confederation of Wizards was forced to do something drastic.
OoOoOoO The Author, Here and Now, OoOoOoO
The stage is set and things will start moving in the next chapter. People being people, however, not all of the schemes and plans will work or come about. Enough of them will though, to cause Britain many, many problems and make Harry's life easier and harder at the same time.
Harry Potter has spent his life running from Death Eaters and Moody and seen his entire family killed by the forces of Voldemort and the Ministry. Does it surprise anyone that he doesn't really see a difference between them? The Death Eaters may have killed his parents, but it was the Ministry that killed Sirius, Remus and Yumiko. Albus Dumbledore was the guiding force behind the last three deaths and Harry's nomadic life. Harry has heard tales of Dumbledore, the way he tried to give Harry to Muggles that hated magic and how he tried to coerce Remus into giving him up, even though Remus was under an Unbreakable Oath all of his life. Harry has no reason to love Albus or England at this point... and that doesn't seem like it will change any time soon.
See you later.