Harry hates Britain and everyone in the country right now, but they need him to stop Voldemort. Albus Dumbledore thinks he has a way to make Harry do what they need. Harry thinks he can get away and leave. Let's see who is correct, shall we?
A note on author errors: The author of this fiction made a huge error, which she only caught during the writing of this chapter. I have stated that Harry is fifteen here and about to start his fifth year. If Harry was born in 1980 and started Hogwarts in 1991, that means that the year should be 1995, not 1996 as I wrote in chapter one. It is corrected in this chapter and I will correct the first chapter eventually. Harry is still fourteen at this time, turning fifteen in just under two months. Also, I have called the ICW the International Conference of Wizards in both chapters and as one CA member pointed out, it is the International Confederation of Wizards, which will also be corrected. Can we say Oops? Those of you who have pointed out others errors are hereby thanked and offered another chapter to read.
Disclaimer: I own everything in the world, including the moon. I am willing to sell shares at three pence a share. If you believe that, I am not going to try and convince you that I don't really own Harry Potter, nor will I waste page space on telling you that this is all in fun.
Serious Acknowledgements: This chapter is for all the Luna-tics, Harry fans, Hermione-icans and other Machiavellian minds currently inhabiting Caer Azkaban, without whom this would be a much poorer story, and who encouraged me to continue it after I asked for their advice. In the word of our favourite Blonde: Yay. Special thanks go out to Kinsfire and Ishtar, who graciously took time out of their schedule to look over and beta this chapter.
Harry Potter and the Penultimate Straw
OoOoOoO The Wizengamot, In Session, 09JUN95. OoOoOoO
"Are you sure this will work, Dumbledore? We must have Harry Potter's assistance against You Know Who." The speaker was an elderly wizard.
"I have many qualms about letting young Mr. Potter out of custody. He is a very angry man, who might be as dark as the one we hope to destroy." Albus Dumbledore sighed. "We have no choice however. Without Harry Potter, our world will fall to Voldemort. Harry Potter is still young and under a great deal of stress right now. Perhaps, with time and care, he might be turned from his anger and return to the light. Keeping him locked up is not the way to get him back, however."
"How do you plan on keeping him in Britain? He does not, by all accounts, want to stay here."
Albus nodded. "I know that, but I think we can make it worth his while to stay. This is what we will have to do. First, we have to change the Head of Family law of 1254."
Albus sighed as half the group exploded in protest. This was going to be a long meeting.
OoOoOoO Harry Potter, His Cell, 08JUN1995. OoOoOoO
Harry moved though the familiar katas in a single smooth flowing motion, each kata beginning the next one until he had run though all the katas twice. The end of the last kata was the beginning of the first and for twenty minutes, Harry was a blur, focused on the imaginary opponent, who bore a distinct resemblance to Albus freaking Dumbledore.
Harry sat down and considered his options. The Shugenja style magic he could work would get him out of the cell, of that he was certain. He could probably kill most of the Aurors on this floor, but in the end, they would win, by sheer numbers if nothing else. Without a better plan, some sort of distraction and the location of the nearest exit, any attempt at escape was doomed before it began.
His network had smuggled a short note to him this morning and they were working on getting him out of here, but it would take time. Harry didn't want to take that time. He had always been an active person and all of this sitting around was going to drive him nuts. He was seriously debating the amusement factor in simply smacking old Dumbdork the next time he came in the cell.
The old geezer had already been here twice after his initial visit and Harry had withdrawn into meditation until he'd left the first time.
The second time, he'd told the old man to leave and when Dumbdork started to talk, Harry had simply pissed on Albus' feet. In the oriental culture that Harry had been trained in, that was an insult that could lead to blood feud and Harry had hoped Albus knew just how badly Harry had insulted him.
He looked up as the door opened again and speak of the devil, here was Albus Dumbledore again. Harry sighed and debated hitting him as he lay back and closed his eyes.
"Mr. Potter, you are free to leave."
Harry sat up, staring intently at the old man. "What's the game?" he demanded.
"No game, Mr. Potter. You have made it perfectly clear that you would not help us and we do not need you in our way while we fight. You may leave Britain. You may not return, ever."
Harry snorted. "Like I would want to?"
"Of course, since you would not be a British citizen, nor eligible to be entitled under British law, you would have to give up the Head of family status for the Potter family. Given that Sirius raised you and the goblins refuse to divulge the contents of his will without you there, I assume that would include the leadership of the Black family as well."
Harry shrugged. "Keep your titles. I will take my things and go." He stood up.
"I do not think you understand, Mr. Potter. Since Britain doesn't recognize OWLs from a foreign country and you have not completed the required time in a British school, you are not the head of any family, under the law. Therefore, you may not take anything from Britain save what you had when you arrived."
"In addition, the law states that no person who is not deemed fit may inherit a title. For three hundred years, that has meant passing your OWLs."
Albus looked at Harry. "That does not include the rather considerable fortune you had either. As an underage British wizard, you were seen performing magic. Remarkably, the money you were carrying just happened to cover all the fines for doing underage magic."
Harry stared at the old man as he thought about it. Without a title, a family or any money, the old family network would dry up and desert him, nor would he be able to stand before the International Confederation of Wizards and press his Feud on the ones that had killed Sirius, Remus and Yumiko. He had some money they couldn't touch, stashed away in case of emergency in a Swiss account, simply because the goblins and gnomes rarely cooperated with each other and the gnomes would refuse any request for Harry's money that didn't come from him.
More importantly, between the two families, there were close to three thousand years of history that would go to someone that didn't give a damn about what those things meant to either family, just what they were worth in Galleons.
Harry looked at Albus. "I assume you have some sort of compromise. Spit it out."
"There is no compromise, Mr. Potter. If you wish to claim your place as the head of family you will behave in a legal and moral manner. You will attend Hogwarts. You will take your OWLs at the end of this year, provided you can convince us that you know enough to pass them. This would have been your fifth year, had you stayed in England, so you should know almost everything you need to know. At the end of that year, if you pass your OWLs, you will be allowed access to the family vaults under strict supervision. You will attend Hogwarts until the end of your seventh year and take your NEWTs. If you pass them, you will be allowed to assume the titles of the families."
Harry stared at the old man and then shrugged. "I cannot accept those terms. I will leave now."
Albus stared at Harry and was dumbfounded to see that Harry was serious. He would give up everything. "Tell me why you cannot accept these conditions, Mr. Potter."
"On the first of September, 1993, Sirius Black, acting as the Guardian of myself, and with my knowledge and approval, went before the International Confederation of Wizards and filed a formal state of Feud between the Potter, Snape and Prince families. If I go to Hogwarts, I cannot attack Snape on sight, but by law and Honour, I have to. On that same day, Sirius Black filed a formal declaration of Feud between the Black and Malfoy families for the abuse of one Narcissa Black-Malfoy. As the Heir-presumptive of the Black family, I am involved in that feud. Since Draco Malfoy is a student at Hogwarts, I have the same problem again. Either way, I would be breaking a law, whether I attack them or I do not. Therefore, I cannot attend Hogwarts, and since that is contingent to the rest of your conditions, I must refuse."
Albus frowned. "The first of September, you say. The one day you knew I would not be in the International Confederation of Wizards, since I have to prepare for the Sorting that night."
He looked at Harry thoughtfully. "Why would you declare feud on Snape? I know Sirius didn't like him-."
Harry cut him off scornfully. "Get serious, old man. Sirius and I have many contacts in Britain and one of them told us that Snape was the one that told Voldemort about the prophecy." He smirked at the flicker of surprise in Albus' eyes. "Yes, I know the entire Prophecy. You heard it, Snape heard part of it, but you had to record it in the Hall of Mysteries. The unspeakable that recorded it is known to one of my people, who took that information out of his head. A short visit to your idiot Divination Professor allowed us to fill in a few blanks and another visit to your brother filled in the holes. Sirius and I have known the full prophecy ever since. Snape told the prophecy bit to Voldemort in front of four Death Eaters, one of which is being spied on by Sirius' network."
Harry stared at the Headmaster. "Had you left us in peace, fool, we would have come back after we knew how to kill Voldemort and killed him in vengeance for my parents. You, for whatever reason, couldn't leave us alone. I will kill Voldemort, and glad of it, for Sirius, for Remus and for my parents. But now, you have added a lot of names to the list of people going down with him."
Albus stared at Harry, his face blank. "Mr. Potter, there are conditions under which two members of a feuding family may meet and not have to fight. You will abide by those terms."
Harry looked at Dumbledore. "No, I will not. Snape is third on my list of people to kill. You, Pettigrew and then Snape, followed by Moody and an Auror who's name I don't know yet." Harry considered it for a minute. "Draco is only about thirty-fifth, so he might live a day or two longer."
Dumbledore did not let his distress at hearing how long Harry's list was show. "Mr. Potter, you do realize that if you do not claim the Black family, it will go to the nearest relative."
Harry frowned, thinking about it. It was not time to let this idiot know about Narcissa. "I don't think so. Malfoy is not getting Sirius' things."
Dumbledore held out his hands. "I am afraid that as the only child still living, who is not a wanted criminal or disowned, Narcissa Malfoy will receive the property, but the Black family may not pass to a woman, so her oldest child will get it."
Harry looked at the door. "I will accept the armistice on one condition. Snape and Malfoy must observe the terms as well. If they attack me or my family in any way, magically, physically or even verbally, the armistice is over in that instant and I may act under the rules of Feud. I assume that your minions can follow the rules?"
Dumbledore nodded. "I will see to it that they both know the rules."
Harry nodded. "Then I will do it your way, for now. I expect a formal written contract, explicit in all details as to what I must do, before the school year starts. If it is not acceptable to me, I will leave." He looked at the door. "So, pursuant to the rules you have forced on me, this agreement starts when I step outside the door?"
Dumbledore nodded. "It does. You will be a student of Hogwarts until you complete your NEWTs and then you may do as you wish."
Harry nodded again as he got up and started across the room. He stopped in front of Dumbledore and saw the glimmer of victory in the older wizard's eyes. Harry launched into the fourth kata, "Blooming Flower Reaching for the Sun," and his palm came up under Dumbledore's chin, knocking him to the floor and loosening several teeth. Harry stood over Dumbledore as alarms sounded in the corridor.
"I will kill you, old man. I will be of age in two years, one month and twenty-two days. Remember that number, Dumbledore. It's the rest of your life." He spit the words out, hate and fury in every syllable. Harry stared at the old man, who could only look at him. No one had laid hands on Albus in over a hundred years and his shock eclipsed even the anger. Harry saw that Dumbledore had gotten his message and took a deep breath, calming himself. He turned toward the door, ignoring the old wizard.
Harry stepped outside the door as the Aurors opened it and smiled innocently at them. "Albus Dumbledore and I have come to an agreement. May I have my things back?"
Twenty-five minutes later, after Albus had been seen by a Healer, he was watching as Harry claimed the things he had been wearing when he was captured. Harry checked each item and replaced them in the bag he'd been carrying. Albus recognized it as a similar device to a magical tent, somewhat larger on the inside than it would appear. Judging by the amount of things Harry had been carrying, it was a well made one.
Harry put everything back in the bag and then fished around in it for a minute. He stiffened and looked at the Aurors. "Where are the swords?"
"Mr. Potter, minor children are not allowed to carry dangerous weapons in public." Albus was unprepared for the sheer fury that rolled off Harry.
"You listen to me, you ignorant fool. Those swords were Yumiko's, and she gave them to me as she lay dying, to hold until her family came for them. I cannot even draw them from their scabbards. Do you know what will happen if her family finds out that anyone has drawn or handled a samurai's swords?" Harry was tense and his feet were braced, as if he was preparing to attack them all.
Albus stopped. "I did not know that your companion was one of the Old Blood families, Mr. Potter. Would you mind giving me her name?"
Harry froze, staring at the old wizard in sheer disbelief. "You had my blood bond mother killed and you didn't even know her name? You sheep shagging idiot, you have no idea what you've done. My mother's name was Iuchi Yumiko."
Albus was not a fan of cultures outside of Britain but his time in the International Confederation of Wizards had made him conversant with all of the Pureblood lines of the world, no matter what they were called in their own country. In Japan, there were just thirty Old Blood families left and the Iuchi family was high in that group. They had ruled the Wizard areas of Japan for nearly two hundred years and still were close to the top of the hierarchy. If they chose to take offence at Albus' actions it could be trouble. "I see. Mr. Potter, your mother's weapons will be returned to you. Since you may not draw them, I see no problem in having you take charge of them until they are claimed." Albus was hoping this gesture helped calm the problems he would have when the Iuchi came asking about Yumiko.
Albus nodded to the Aurors, who looked nervous but opened a cabinet and handed Harry the swords. Harry checked them as carefully as he had everything else. He put them in his bag and looked up. "I have my things. Wizard Dumbledore, I will be going now. I am sure you will forward the required supplies for my stay in your prison."
"I am going to escort you to your relatives' house, Mr. Potter. You will be staying at the Dursley home until you leave Hogwarts."
Harry looked at him. "Breaking our deal already? I thought you would at least wait until I was in your Prison to be that foolish. Nothing was said about where I would stay while I was in Hogwarts."
"Mr. Potter, you are a minor and cannot stay alone. Since the Dursleys are your nearest relatives, you will stay with them." Albus had been expecting Harry to resist this and had his plans in place. "It is not legal for you to stay in any home alone."
Harry smiled tightly. "Fine. I will go to the Dursley residence. Just remember, old fool, their fate is on your head. I will not tolerate any disrespect to myself or my family, especially the ones that have passed on. I may not be allowed to do magic while in this backwards hell, but there are a good many ways to hurt them that don't require magic."
Harry closed his eyes and held out his hand. A ring appeared on his ring finger and he concentrated on the ring for a minute. "What has been done to my home at Godric's Hollow? The Potter signet cannot find it."
Albus swore to himself. He had suspected for years that Sirius had taken the Potter signet from Godric's Hollow, but he didn't have any proof. Now he had the proof, but Harry had already put it on. That was going to complicate matters. "Mr. Potter, it is still under the Fidelius. It will remain so until the Potter family has a Head of Family again."
Harry snarled, his fists opening and closing as he visibly struggled for control. "Since the rat gave up the secret, you must have cast it again or you know who did. I will have that secret. There are things in that house that you will not keep me from."
"What things, Mr. Potter?" Albus wasn't going to let Harry have a lot of things, especially anything that would strengthen his position under the law.
Harry looked at him and smiled as an evil thought came to mind. It would serve this old bastard right. "On second thought, keep the secret. Since you have taken that on yourself, Wizard Dumbledore, you can have all the responsibility." Harry concentrated on his ring. "As the only Potter of the blood, I pass the Secrets of the Hollow to Albus Dumbledore, his to keep, his to protect until I am acknowledged the Head of House or his death."
A bright blue flash of magic surrounded Harry for an instant and then jumped to Dumbledore who stiffened and froze. It faded away and Dumbledore shook his head as he thought. He stiffened and stared at Harry. He tried to say something but the blue flare returned and he shut his mouth, staring at Harry. Harry just smirked at him. "You cannot say, write or do anything about it, old fool, unless I allow it. Please, feel free to hold your breath until I allow you to say anything about it. You'll be a thousand years dead and in hell before it happens."
The Aurors were staring at the two of them, worried about this unknown wizard. Harry Potter was a legend, the Boy Who Lived and a thousand myths had been built around him, but Harry Potter in person was an angry young man, one with a serious hatred that he didn't bother hiding.
Harry was ignoring them. He looked at Albus. "So, you said we were going to the Dursley house. Let's go. The sooner I get your stench out of my nose, the happier I will be."
He started toward the door, forcing Albus to follow him. Harry smiled grimly, aware that Albus wouldn't even know about the insult, since he was poorly versed in any culture except his own. Eta, gajin and servants followed Samurai and Harry put Dumbledore somewhere below Eta right now.
"Foolish old flesh handler. I will be glad when the family comes for mother's swords. I have much to tell them." Harry muttered to himself in Japanese.
Albus followed Harry, still thinking about the geas Harry had laid on him. Harry didn't have the power to do that by himself, except for one thing: Albus was the secret keeper for Godric's Hollow. Since he was, Harry could use the Potter signet to lay this geas on him. Albus swore to himself. The Secret of the Hollow was something they could use against Voldemort, except that Harry had just bound it to him and only a Potter could use it. The secret would stay in Albus' head until Harry was the Head of House for the Potter line.
Albus tried to touch Harry's mind again, but ran into the same shields he'd found before. Harry didn't seem to notice and Dumbledore considered that. Whatever Potter was using, it wasn't Occlumency, not as Albus knew it. It had to be more of that eastern magic. He sighed. He would have to look into what Harry could do with it. Harry wasn't going to tell him.
They reached the Ministry Apparation point and Harry just stared at him. Albus held out his hand. "Since you cannot Apparate legally, I will have to Side Along Apparate you, Mr. Potter."
Harry just looked at him. "Wizard Dumbledore," he said in the formal manner he used when he was trying to control himself, "I am just barely keeping myself from finishing what I started in the cell. If you ever touch me for any reason, I will not be responsible for what happens."
Harry took a deep breath and looked around before looking at Albus again. He pulled a scroll from his bag and muttered a few words that Albus didn't understand. A globe sprang up around them and Harry looked at Albus after putting his scroll away. "Make no mistake, old man, I want the family things that belong to me, and I will not allow Sirius' honour to be sullied by letting his house go to a Malfoy. But, those desires only go so far. If you push too hard, I will leave you and this country to rot. Voldemort will win, and I can make a deal with him to claim the family things. Do we understand each other?"
Albus stared at Harry calmly. "I hear your words, Mr. Potter, now you listen to me. You are, despite everything you have done, still a British citizen and a minor. Since you have been absent, a Guardian was appointed for you, in the absence of any other claimant. I am your Guardian, Mr. Potter, and if I need to, I can strip you of your magic, any time before you turn seventeen. Push me too far, and you will be a Squib. Do we understand each other now?"
Harry stared at him and concentrated on his ring again. He felt the ties to the old man in front of him and looked up. "We understand each other. However, your power ends in two years, one month and twenty two days. Mine will never end." Harry made a mental note to check on Albus' statement. He'd never heard of anything like that, but that didn't mean it wasn't possible.
Albus nodded. "Time changes all things, Mr. Potter, even fury and vengeance." He turned. "Since I cannot touch you, we will need to take the Knight Bus."
OoOoOoO Several People, An ICW conference room, 09JUN1995. OoOoOoO
"We are in agreement, then? Britain and Wizard Dumbledore have overstepped the bounds this time?"
The ten wizards seated at the table looked at each other. "They have," said one in a Japanese accent. "They cannot be allowed to hunt and kill citizens of any country they wish. Had they hunted only the British citizens, they would have barely been within the law, if not within proper behaviour. When they started to hunt a person not from their country, they broke the rules, even of the International Fugitive Act. Iuchi Yumiko broke no law of Britain and was never in Britain."
He sighed. "Britain may have more problems than they know. The Old Blood families are very angry at one of theirs being killed this way. The Iuchi are sending a Clan Magistrate and a Shugenja to investigate. If they do not come back with a good report, it is quite likely that the Iuchi family and its allies could declare war."
The other men looked at each other and then back at the Japanese delegate. "Surely, they are not that foolish? A war between magical peoples would shatter the secrecy laws of every country it bled over into."
The Japanese man looked at them. "Iuchi Yumiko was not challenged, nor was she given a chance to fight a duel. She was cut down by a dozen or more British Aurors at once. When Britain did that, using officials to kill her, they declared war, by the laws of the Old Blood families. The Iuchi are simply waiting to see if they need to respond with their own declaration of war."
"We must head this off." The speaker was a quiet man who radiated a power quite at odds with his placid appearance. "To engage in war is not good for the harmony of body and soul." He sighed, folding his hands as he considered the actions that had led them to this point. He looked up at the Japanese man. "What do the Iuchi ask for, to stay their hand?"
The Japanese Shugenja shook his head. "They have made no requests yet. They wait on the report of the Magistrate. I expect to hear from them very soon after they have that report." He sighed. "I do not know that they will ask for anything. There are unconfirmed reports of the Clan mobilizing."
The Tibetan nodded. "We must stop this. Would they accept this child, this Harry Potter as the instrument of their vengeance? From the reports from Britain, he is very wroth with them, as can only be expected. As Iuchi Yumiko's Blood bonded child, can he take their actions to himself?"
"I do not know. They will speak to Iuchi Harry, to ensure his well-being and see what he wants. Since the family Daimyo has named him Iuchi Potter Harry in the family records, I assume he can be so empowered to act, should he be worthy of the name. If he is not, he will be stricken from the family and they will act based on Iuchi Yumiko's death. If that happens, they will go to war. Without the Iuchi Harry, her line ends for all time. If the Aurors ended her line, there will be war."
"We can do nothing about that now. It must wait on the words of the Magistrate. We must do something about the Supreme Mugwump right now. His actions were rude, but legal. Still, there must be consequences, else others may ride roughshod over the world."
A murmur of agreement ran around the table. The Australian delegate looked at the man who had spoken, the Russian delegate. "Why does the Imperial family want to push this? Your lands were not invaded."
"Her Imperial Majesty, Anastasia the First has decided that it is time for us to join the world again. We withdrew from all of the affairs of the world when the Imperial family was removed from the throne of Russia and she is aware that we are stagnating. She wishes to keep her people alive and healthy, a part of the world. We will be rejoining the International Confederation of Wizards as voting members."
The other delegates looked at each other. The Russian wizards had been mere spectators for nearly a century. This would change a lot of things. Russia was a large group, with more magical people than any nation except America and China. That would give them a large voice in the International Confederation of Wizards.
The Russian looked at them, watching the thoughts they were having. He had known what this would mean. "We have no plans to dominate at this time, but neither will we be used, as this Dumbledore has done to you. The Russian vote will stand with whatever course you decide on, provided you prevent further recurrences of this action."
The Tibetan delegate frowned as he thought about it. "The Supreme Mugwump has a great deal of influence. I do not think that even this will unseat him. America is still standing by Britain and China is abstaining, since they are not fond of Japan, but disagree with what Wizard Dumbledore did. Without the support of those two, not even the Russian vote can get enough votes to remove the Supreme Mugwump."
One of the wizards that had been quiet until now spoke. "Britain is the weak point here. We don't need to unseat Wizard Dumbledore, we need to see the claim Britain filed to ask him to enact the International Fugitive Act. I think it might make interesting reading."
The others looked at the Austrian wizard. "I think you are right. The first thing we need to know is why this child is so important to them. He is a child, one with many fantastic rumours and stories around him, but still only a child."
The Tibetan delegate looked up. "I have met Harry Potter. He trained at one of our temples for three years. Iuchi Yumiko was also teaching him the ways of Bushido and the Shugenja."
The other delegates looked at each other and the Australian delegate started to chortle. "Does Britain know what he can do?"
The Tibetan smiled softly. "They invaded us and killed one of our people, an innocent. We saw no reason to volunteer any information to them and they didn't ask."
The group was smiling, smirking and in some cases, outright laughing. The only one not sharing in the amusement was the Russian delegate. "Pardon my ignorance," said the Russian, "but we have been out of touch for many years. Why is that so funny?"
The Tibetan looked at him serenely. "Britain still holds to the view that wand magic is the only proper magic, that all the other arts are Dark or lesser arts, fit only for non-humans."
The Russian stared at him and began to smile. "This child, this Potter boy, he can speak to the Kami, and do the mental arts of your country as well?"
The Tibetan shrugged. "He is not well trained, nor has he the experience that he should have, but he has a firm grasp on the basics. Time will give him experience and he is strong enough to be a powerful wizard when he is grown." He sighed, turning solemn. "That fact worries me. The actions of Britain have given much reason for anger and he is not fighting it right now."
The Japanese delegate looked up. "I, for one, do not blame him. His fathers and his mother were killed, hunted like animals and murdered, after this Dark Lord of theirs killed his birth parents. Do you blame him for hating them all?"
The Tibetan shook his head. "His anger is now, and if he can work past it, it will only be a learning experience for him, allowing him to grow and mature. However, if he continues on this path of anger, he risks falling into the Darkness, becoming worse than the Voldemort person. Harry Potter is bright and strong. He has no one now, not one person that he cares about. If that does not change soon, he might be a greater danger than any wizard since Grindelwald and possibly worse."
He looked up at the others. "Grindelwald was a wand user, powerful and smart, but limited to the British style of magic. Harry Potter is just as strong, just as smart, but he is capable of learning more than one style of magic and willing to do so. Think about that, a Dark Lord who is not bound to a single style of Magic, and who is able to speak to the elemental spirits of the Kami."
Silence was his only answer for several minutes. It was the Austrian that spoke first. "Personally, I do not care if Harry Potter destroys Britain. They have shown an arrogance unmatched in this century, unmatched in my opinion since the days of the Roman empire. We must stop him there, though, insure that he does not look at us as he regards the British. How do we show him that we are not his enemies?"
The Japanese delegate smiled. This was the opening he'd been looking for. "Minister Fudge is trying to accommodate us, but their Wizengamot is blocking the Magistrate. Perhaps a bit of blatant pressure on them would show Iuchi Harry that we are not against him."
The Australian looked up. "They are trying to keep a family member from talking to one of their children? Correct me if I'm wrong, but you did say that Iuchi Yumiko Blood bonded Harry Potter, didn't you?"
The Japanese delegate nodded, looking at the Tibetan delegate. He was the only person here that would know about what he was about to do. "She did, quite properly, after she married his Godfather, this Sirius Black. She did it in the Temple of the Hidden Winds, before the Master and the Gods. The union was blessed with a silver light."
He winced internally, knowing that the deliberate lie would come back to him in his Karma, but not willing to tell anyone that the light had been golden, not silver. That would open more problems for young Harry and he would not add to Harry's problems now. There would be time later to explain that Harry was touched by forces no mortal could control. He sighed, and his compassion for the boy under the hand of some Prophecy grew. Harry Potter must have been a very bad person in some past life to have this much negativity dropped on him in this life.
"That is our opening. By International law, they don't have the right to stop this Magistrate from seeing Harry Potter. I think, to drive the point home, he should be given ambassadorial status by us, and diplomatic immunity while he is in Britain. After all, Britain has shown that it doesn't count the lives of non British people very highly." He frowned. "It is also a way to keep an eye on the Potter child. We can send an occasional visitor, who will be there to insure that the Magistrate is being treated properly, but who can also report on Potter and his actions."
"Then we will watch the boy. If it becomes a problem, we must take steps. Another Mage war must be avoided at all costs, even the life of this boy. We cannot hide a war from the non magical population again. Their science and technology are stretching us as it is." The South African delegate spoke up for the first time. "It is becoming harder and harder to hide from all the machines and things they make. A Mage war would make it impossible to hide any longer and I do not trust Muggles to act rationally in the face of magic."
The delegates looked uneasy but no one could disagree.
OoOoOoO Narcissa and her friends, Malfoy Manor, 09JUN1995. OoOoOoO
"Dumbledore has gone too far this time. He has changed the oldest laws of the families to trap Harry Potter here. That is bad enough, given what we know, but what the fools in the Wizengamot are not thinking about is that those same changes can be applied to a dozen more. Pardon my bluntness, Augusta, but your grandson is one short step from being in the same boat. With the sole exception of the Weasleys, every one of the Purebloods is one or two deaths from being in the same boat as Harry and none of them have a prophecy to help them." Narcissa looked around at her guests.
Most of them were from the old money families, and most were Purebloods as well, although there were a couple that were here as new money, with family names less than fifty years old.
Augusta Longbottom, strict, honest and so stepped in tradition that she would face down Voldemort himself to keep the old ways.
Mary Parkinson, here as a 'guest', but fully behind Potter. Voldemort had destroyed her birth family, killing them off for reasons that made sense only to him. She was also here with the tacit agreement of her husband, who was more adept than most at reading the ebb and flow of international politics and knew that the British wizards were riding a very thin line, on the verge of being censured by the International Confederation of Wizards. He might support Voldemort, but no one, not even the Dark Lord, could fight the combined forces of the Confederation.
Maggie Prewitts, last member of that family, after Molly's marriage to Arthur Weasley and the deaths of her brothers. She hated all Death Eaters with a passion that was scary in many ways. A Slytherin in school, she was smart enough that only only the people around this table knew of that hate, or the things she'd done to quell it.
Arlene Nott, of the cadet branch of the Notts. Forty years ago, the newly created Lord Voldemort had asked her father to join him and had been turned down. The Notts, while Slytherins to the core, had not been Dark, until the family was given to the former cadet branch and Arlene's line had been reduced by blatant murder to a lesser branch. Her hatred of Voldemort and the other Notts was exceeded only by her money. Keeping that money out of the family coffers was her primary joy these days.
Sue Chang, one of the new money families, and here because Voldemort was very bad for business. Her coldly analytical mind could calculate the cost of any action to a Knut, but she never counted the cost of a life. She was nearly as cold blooded as any Death Eater.
Debra Brown, here for the other new money family, and only with this group because they didn't have any idea how to fight Voldemort, being the newest family in the Wizard world and willing to join anyone that would help them destroy the evil of Voldemort. She was possibly the only one here that was here for the justice, with no other agenda. She was also the only person here with a Muggle grandparent.
Patrice Bones, last of the name, except her daughter Susan. Her sister Amelia, had died just a year earlier and her brother and his family had died before Voldemort was stopped by Harry Potter. She was here for vengeance and because the Bones family was bound to the Potter line by oaths she couldn't talk about.
Between them, they covered a great spectrum of the Wizard world of Britain and they were all here for one reason. They wanted Voldemort gone for one reason or another and Harry Potter was the only one that could make that happen.
All of them fought in their own ways, coordinating their action through Narcissa, who was bound by oaths to the Black Lord that nothing short of death could break. Right now, that Lord was Sirius, but as soon as his death was confirmed, that Lord would be Harry Potter.
Sirius and she had made dozens of plans for a thousand situations over the years, refining them as the situation changed and she had her orders, from the head of her family.
She smiled thinly. Lucius trusted her to keep his secrets but he was too wrapped up in Voldemort's ways to even check on her. Had he checked even once, he'd know that Sirius had dissolved their marriage years ago, bringing her back into the Black family and allowing her to act against the Malfoy interests in a dozen small ways.
She had asked to be allowed to enact the Black vengeance on the Malfoys. It had been the beating she had taken at Lucius' hands that had rendered her incapable of bearing children after Draco was born. With him following in his father's footsteps, her line of the family was gone forever and she owed Lucius for that. When her vengeance was revealed, Lucius was going to be livid and she hoped that he dropped dead of the shock.
"Thoughts of revenge, Narcissa?" Augusta Longbottom broke her chain of thought. Narcissa nodded. "That's all well and good, but what are we doing for Harry now?"
Narcissa shook her head and brought her thoughts back to the reason for today's meeting. "Dumbledore stole a march on us, by having himself appointed Potter's guardian. He's sending Potter to live with his closest relatives, who are Muggles. I don't understand that, but his reasons were good enough to convince the Wizengamot. My source will be finding out what happened today and I'll let you know as soon as I do."
One of Narcissa's best agents was a Legilimency expert in the Ministry, one who also had a very nice body and a willingness to use it to lower a Wizard's resistances. She had been the one that had discovered the Prophecy and brought this group together. Lord Black's mother had started it and ruled it with an iron hand before her death. Now Narcissa ruled, but her way was an iron fist with a velvet glove. She ruled, but she also listened to the others before making her decisions.
They all had uses and agents in different areas and Narcissa was smart enough to use their various expertises. She couldn't know everything after all.
"We're going to counter that by controlling the Dursley family. The Chang and Brown families have bought that Muggle business that the male Dursley works for. In a few days, after we see how Harry is doing with them, it will be made known to him that we know of a dozen Muggle laws he has broken, mostly petty pilfering. If Harry is happy, he keeps his job. If not, he'll be in the gaol before Harry finished making his first complaint."
"We also have moved a wizard family into an empty house a couple of blocks away to keep an eye on him. They are a mixed couple, one wizard born and a Muggle born so they will blend in. Dumbledore has sent a spy as well, a Squib he has used for years, one of those Order people of his. She will be watched, but we have to assume Dumbledore will have some sort of wizard watching Harry as well. We are going to have to find them and make sure they don't interfere. If he uses Moody, that could be a problem. Hopefully, he'll use Fletcher, who is my man, since I pay him better than Dumbledore."
"We also need to start the goblins pressuring to have Sirius' will read. It will give me more power, if it doesn't free Harry outright."
The group sat and made plans, trying to account for any situation that they could think of. Albus Dumbledore was a master at the game, but he was only one man. This group was bound by common cause and by Harry Potter. They also had one other advantage, although it would never be mentioned or even acknowledged.
They had at least one member who didn't give a damn about any law that stood in her way. Bribery, blackmail, even murder and the Unforgivables were merely tools to her.
If Dumbledore pushed the group too hard, he might find out that Harry Potter's guardian was not as lucky as The Boy Who Lived.
OoOoOoO Harry and Dumbledore, Diagon Alley, 09JUN1995 OoOoOoO
Albus Dumbledore led Harry out of the Ministry. As they left the building Harry looked at the older wizard. "I understand that Diagon Alley is nearby. If there is a book store there, I need some materials."
Albus considered the matter gravely. "It is unwise for you to be out in public without certain precautions, Mr. Potter. There are those who would attack you if they knew and you may not use magic now."
Harry smiled. "I don't have to do any magic that will register to the authorities to defend myself. I do need to study however, unless you have no intentions of allowing me to pass the OWLs. I have already passed the International Standard OWLs and I have no fears in most subjects, but I know that your version of the history of magic is very different from everyone else's. I also need to know the recent history of Britain, everything Voldemort has done."
Albus nodded. Harry was right, even if his disdain for all things British made him sound bitter. "You have no money at the moment, Mr. Potter. How will you pay for this books?"
Harry smiled and reached into his bag. He came out with a small platinum key. "It will cost me a bit extra, but I have some funds available from an account with the gnomes of Switzerland. Gringotts has an exchange service I can use."
Albus nodded and the two of them walked to Gringotts, where Harry stood in line until a teller was open. He walked up and spoke in halting Gobbly-gook. ("I would use the services of a manager. Make haste, for time is money.")
The teller looked at the boy before him and noted the platinum key in his hand. ("The Billing begins when you convince me you need a goblin of value.")
Harry concentrated and translated the sentence. Harry had been taught enough of the goblin language to get by in minor meetings. ("I am a client with money. I can continue to be such or I can send it all to the gnomes. I am Harry Potter. You count the cost.")
The goblin wrote something on his pad and watched as something appeared there. ("Your Billing starts now. Griphook will take you to a conference room.")
Harry nodded. (" You work well,") he complimented the teller, ("I will remember competence.")
He followed the goblin to a conference room with Albus following him. "I am surprised that you speak Gobbly-gook, Mr. Potter. Few people bother to learn any of the non human languages."
"Maybe here, or among those who cannot talk to the Kami, but I have been taught a smattering of most spirit and non human languages and am always willing to learn more. The Kami appreciate a scholar." Harry was quiet for a minute as he thought about something. He started to say something and then stopped.
Albus watched and waited, unwilling to end the first civil conversation that he'd had with Mr. Potter but certain that Harry would not be pushed. Harry finally sighed. "The Dursleys, do they know we are coming yet?"
"Yes. I informed them yesterday."
Harry frowned. "Were they polite about it?" Harry was struggling between his hatred of everything that had been done to him, the stories he'd heard about the Dursleys and the code of Bushido. The code had certain requirements for family and the Dursleys had done nothing to him yet, but the stories Remus and Sirius had told him over the years did not paint a good picture of these people.
Before Harry could make a decision, a goblin came in. ("I am told that you wish to speak to me. My time is limited.")
Harry nodded. ("I have two requirements for this meeting. We will conduct it in English now and it will be valuable to us both.")
"Why do you need a manager, Mr. Potter? Transactions with the gnomes can be handled at the counter."
"I require extended services from you, regarding my learning. I need a tutor to expand my use of the goblin tongue and any other of the non human tongues that your people know."
The manager looked at Harry for a minute. "You have an appalling accent, that is true. It could be fixed, but the services of a good instructor are not cheap."
Harry glared at him. "You have already checked my vault and know what I can afford, or you would not be here now. Do not waste my time with foolishness."
The goblin grinned. "Do you wish further instruction in the language only or in the customs that we will teach others as well?"
"Any instruction offered will be learned. What is the cost?" Harry was going by the three basic rules of dealing with a goblin. Yumiko had taught him after Sirius had cost them a few hundred pounds offending a teller. She had tried to teach Sirius, who was willing to listen but still had a hard time overcoming years of indoctrination from his family.
Harry and the goblin finished their negotiations and Harry got some money from the vault that had been set up for their use with the gnomes. Albus was not allowed to go with Harry to that transaction and he used the time to consider Harry Potter. He could be very polite, as he had been with the goblins and Albus took that as a good sign. Harry could be brought back to the light.
Now, Albus simply had to figure out exactly how he was going to work it. First, Harry needed someone to care about. A nice witch, one who would listen to Headmaster Dumbledore would be a good start. It was a pity the Weasley girl had died. She would have been perfect for this.
Which witch could he use for this?
He was still contemplating his plans when Harry returned. The two of them spent nearly an hour getting Harry a lot of books. He bought all the books for the full seven years of Hogwarts as well as a dozen or more on recent history and a copy of 'Hogwarts, A History," which made the counter person at Flourish and Blotts smile. "I haven't sold a copy of that since that poor Muggleborn girl, that one that went to Beaubaxtons after the troll."
Harry looked up. "A troll?" he asked.
Albus winced. The counter man didn't even notice. "Aye, it was four years ago that some professor let a troll into the school. It attacked some poor Muggleborn girl, nearly killed her. She never returned to Hogwarts. She comes in here in the summer occasionally, buying books. She's attending Beaubaxtons."
Harry looked at Albus Dumbledore. "A professor let a troll into a school? Please tell me that that instructor is not still teaching."
Albus sighed. "Professor Quirrell had an unfortunate accident at the end of the year and died."
Harry shook his head and looked at the counterman. "I have been out of the country for some time. Would it be possible to get a few back issues of the paper, so that I can catch up on current events?"
The counterman nodded. "Do you want the individual papers or would a weekly digest suit you better?"
Harry opted for the weekly digest and finished his business. As they stepped outside he looked at Dumbledore. "Trolls and dying instructors? Students being hurt so badly they won't return? What sort of school do you run here?"
Albus shrugged slightly. "Not everything can be planned for, Mr. Potter. You will learn that sometimes you must take things as they come. Is there anything else you need, Mr. Potter, or may we proceed to your new home?"
"Residence, Wizard Dumbledore. It is not now and never will be my home. I need a wand, since your country is somewhat biased about wands."
Albus looked at Harry. "You have a very nice wand, Mr. Potter. Why would you need another?"
"Because I know very well that you have not registered my wand yet, and I will keep it that way. I will not allow everyone and their brother to find out what my wand can do. I will have a wand for using in this country."
Thirty five minutes later, Albus was even more troubled. Harry Potter had a brother wand to Riddle. Harry hadn't cared, which Albus took to mean that Harry didn't know about the brother wand effects. Albus debated warning him but remained silent. Potter was becoming more and more like Riddle. Maybe a mutually destructive end was called for here. Albus would have to insure that all his options stayed open.
OoOoOoO Harry and the Dursleys, No 4 Privet LN. 09JUN1995 OoOoOoO
Harry was quiet on the bus, thinking about the Dursleys. He had the beginning of a plan to deal with them, based on his fragments of information, but he could not make a decision until he'd met them. They might have changed since Sirius and Remus had met them. He would see soon enough.
They got off the Knight Bus in a quiet neighbourhood and Harry heard the old wizard cast a muttered concealment spell, designed to keep anyone from noticing anything odd about the pair.
Harry looked around. This was the type of area that Sirius and Remus had always avoided when looking for a place to hide. Everyone's nose would be in everyone else's business and anything that happened would be all over the neighbourhood in an hour or so.
They came to Number 4 and turned into the walkway. The house didn't look like anyone lived here. Every blade of grass, every plant, was perfect, as if it was laid out for a photo shoot.
Harry sighed. He didn't think these were going to be his sort of people.
Albus knocked on the door, ignoring or not seeing the doorbell. The door opened and Harry was hard pressed to keep his expression neutral. The boy that had opened the door was almost as wide as the doorway and very little of it was muscle. This was the biggest tub of lard he'd ever seen.
He was forced to revise that a second later, as an even bigger tub of lard appeared behind the boy. "Get in here before someone sees you freaks at our door." Harry followed Albus inside and down a hallway to a living room that was exactly like the outside. Magazines on the table were precisely lined up and everything was in its proper place, even the remote for the television was lined up with the edge of the table.
"Why are you freaks bothering us now? We haven't had anything to do with your kind since Petunia's sister was killed and we like it that way." The father was glaring at Albus.
"Harry Potter has returned from his trip abroad and needs a place to stay while he finishes his schooling. Since you are his relatives."
Dumbledore's speech was interrupted. "Be damned if we are. Petunia's sister was an Evans, but that is it. When she married one of those freaks, we refused to have any more to do with them. We don't need some freaky devil's spawn in this nice, normal house."
Harry looked at the man. "I see that the old fool here has made a mistake. I was told that you would be willing to have a boarder, one that paid well and was family, so that people would not know that you were being paid for my presence. Since he was wrong, we'll be going now."
The man looked at him. "Hold up here," he said, as greed covered his face. "The old fool didn't say anything about being paid."
Harry shook his head sadly. "You must forgive him. After a hundred and eighty years, the mind starts slipping. Shall we discuss your compensation between ourselves, so that we know where we stand?"
In the end, Harry agreed to a payment that he was quite certain would cover the entire mortgage payment in return for a place in their guest room. He also made it plain that he would not be having any of the 'freaks' over at all. In return, he would get three meals a day and a lock on his door, so that visitors would not have to be exposed to any 'freaky' things that he might keep in the room.
Harry also made it plain that he would be here as little as possible, mostly just the summers, giving them a year's rent for three months use.
He had only one request. "I understand that you do not like magic or the people that use it. Given the type of mages in this country, I don't blame you. I do ask that no matter what your opinion, you refrain from insulting my family in front of me."
Vernon was looking at a thick pile of pounds in his hands and barely looked up. "As long as you refrain from doing any of that unnatural stuff here, we will never refer to them or that perversity again."
Harry nodded to Albus. "I am here. Since I have to assume you will have minders in place, I will be going into Diagon Alley tomorrow at 11:00. I would prefer they came with me, rather than following me. The Death Eaters will be after me soon enough and I would hate to mistake one of yours for one of them."
"I would rather."
Albus was interrupted for a second time. "I don't care what you want, old man. I have work to do, things to learn and OWLs to pass. If you're going to keep me from doing that, then our deal is off."
Albus frowned but before he could say anything Harry shook his head. "Under the Family Code of 1345, I am required to present myself in person to the Ministry within two days of returning to England and register my return. I am in a state of Feud, remember? That is not an option, since you have required that I act in a 'legal and moral' way."
"You are correct, Mr. Potter. I will have a young woman here to guide you around. I would prefer that you call on her or another wizard when you wish to go somewhere. You are very important to us and we would not like to lose you in a pointless battle."
Harry shrugged. "All acts of war are pointless, except to those who fight. To die is not bad, provided you die well." Harry looked at him again. "I will die as well as Yumiko or Sirius did."
Albus nodded and disappeared.
Harry spent a couple of hours settling in and unpacking some clothes. He sat at the small desk in his room and considered what had been done today. He could feel the ties that bound him to Albus Dumbledore, but he didn't know that the old man could do what he'd said. He would have to find out soon. That would make his life harder if it was true.
Making contact with the goblins was just planning ahead. Harry didn't know that he would ever have a use for them, but it was better to waste a few galleons than not have the contacts if he did need them.
He would have to get an owl tomorrow. He had to be able to contact the network Sirius' mother had started and an owl was the best way. He also needed a cellular phone and a few other things.
He began making notes in Japanese. Somehow, he thought the Dursleys would be quite willing to snoop, but he didn't think any of them would have learned to read Japanese.
He would also need to find a Dojo and a gym. He could not allow his skills to fade, especially if Yumiko's family came soon. Yumiko had blood bonded him, something that could mean many things.
At the minimum, it had made Yumiko his mother. Depending on what the Clan Daimyo decided, it could give him a place in the Clan, or even in the family. Harry didn't think that would happen, since Yumiko had been the only daughter of a family head and earning a place in the family would put him in the running for the next family head and that was not going to happen. He would be happy to be just a Clan member.
Someone knocked at the door and Harry opened it. The boy, whom he had learned was named Dudley, stood there. "You want to go out for a bit? There's a park a couple of blocks over. Some of the guys want to meet you and Dad says the neighbourhood should see that you're a normal person."
Harry nodded. "I fully understand keeping up appearances. I will be right out."
The two of them walked toward the park a few minutes later. Harry was privately amused by the sheer number of people that just 'happened' to be in a position to say something to them, making Dudley introduce "my cousin Harry, from overseas."
By the time they reached the park, Dudley was scowling. Harry grinned at him. "Bunch of nosy buggers, aren't they? At least they'll spread the word and we won't have to do this again."
Dudley grunted. "I hope not. Most of the biddies around here are a pain. It's bad enough I had a few problems when I was younger and they've never forgotten."
Harry stopped. "These problems," he said quietly, "They weren't my sort of problems, were they?"
Dudley shook his head. "Nothing like that. I was a spoiled kid and I did a few things that gave me a reputation until I was shown the error of my ways, quite explicitly. I've been working on that, but they never let me forget what an arsehole I was."
Harry nodded. "I see. Look on the bright side, now they have something new to talk about for a while."
Dudley was about to say something when a new voice entered the conversation. "Yo, D, who's the new guy?"
Harry turned and looked at the short, skinny boy that stood there with a sneer on his face. "Piers, this is my cousin Harry. He's been overseas and has returned to finish his education."
Harry nodded. "Hello."
Piers examined him. Before he could say anything else, a few more boys came up and Harry was introduced around. The group found a table and sat down. Harry found that with one exception, the boys were just like teenage boys everywhere else he'd been, talking about cars, girls and 'stuff', except for Piers.
Piers was different. He was the one that insulted everyone and anything they were talking about and he seemed to have a different bad idea every few seconds, from smoking to harassing people walking by. He also had a smooth, nearly oily way of convincing the other boys that it was acceptable to do whatever he was thinking about right then.
Harry was tired of him in less than an hour. When Piers made a comment about his accent Harry looked at him. "You have a good many comments to make, but few things to say. Why don't you exercise your right to leave?"
Piers sneered at him. "What are you going to do about it, wanker?"
Harry shrugged. "Nothing. I merely thought that it would be a nicer evening if the air was not polluted with your mutterings."
Harry looked at Dudley. "I'm going to practice my katas while we're here and I have the room. I need to find a Dojo tomorrow." He stepped off a bit and started going through the katas.
He was pretending to ignore the boys while he worked out but he heard one of the others snickering. "Go ahead, Piers. Attack him. I'm not helping you."
By the time he finished, he had an audience of younger kids and Piers was nowhere in sight. Harry talked to the younger kids for a minute about what he'd been doing and where he learned it. Harry showed them a couple of basic blocks, but gently refused to show them how to hit things. "There are many things that you have to learn to do before you hit someone. Learning to fall, learning defence, others. I was learning blocks for six months before my Sensei allowed me to throw a punch."
One of the boys said, "my father says you can get a black belt in a year."
Harry shrugged. "Anyone can learn to make the motions in a year. Learning how to use the skills you have been taught in a way that brings honour to you and your teacher may take a lifetime."
He got up from the kneeling position he had taken when he started talking to the children and looked for Dudley. He found him talking to a pair of giggling girls. The girls left as he came closer and Dudley turned to him. "They think you're cute and are going to invite you to a party next week."
Harry blinked. "I would, but I'm not certain the Warden will allow it."
Dudley looked at him. "Want to explain why you came back, and why you hate that old man you were with?"
Harry sighed. "I don't think you want to know. It's not a pretty story."
Dudley frowned. "This is something that could affect us all, isn't it?"
Harry nodded quietly. "Let's save this for the house. It's about a few things that shouldn't be spoken of in the open."
On the way back, Harry stopped for a second. One of the girls that had been talking to Dudley was standing in a driveway, watching them. She was young, about his age and blonde.
That didn't interest Harry nearly as much as the fact that the house had magical wards around it. Harry knew that few British wizards could see magic, but the Temple of the Hidden Winds had shown him a way to see the ebbs and flows of magic and Harry could see the structured lines of wards around the house.
OoOoOoO Rita Skeeter, The Knight Bus, 09JUN1995. OoOoOoO
Rita was sitting on a bed in the upper floor of the Knight Bus wondering what she would use for her next story when it stopped and Albus Dumbledore got on. He had a young kid with him, about sixteen or so and Rita watched them without attracting attention. Who was the boy? Were the rumours true? Was Albus a lover of men? Rita shook her head after a second. She'd almost forgotten that she'd started those rumours to sell a few more books papers.
She studied the boy for a minute, certain she should know him. She'd never met him but he was familiar for some reason. A minute later Harry brushed the hair out of his eyes and Rita sat there stunned, staring at the most famous scar in Britain.
She nearly stood up and started dancing on the spot. Harry Potter was back and she was the only reporter who knew. Not a whisper of this had come out of anybody in the Ministry. She looked around and made sure that no one was watching and changed into her beetle form.
When Albus Dumbledore and Harry Potter got off the bus in a Muggle place called Little Whingding, neither of them noticed the beetle that flew after them.
Other eyes did notice. The Kami of the area were following the one that could talk to them, feeling the power he had and they saw the beetle following him. They felt the wrongness in the beetle and acted on their own accord.
Rita was flying along when a small whirlwind swirled around her, dragging her beetle form away from Harry and Dumbledore. She tried to resist but the wind was too strong and before she knew what was happening, she was smashed into a tree. She was stunned and left on a high branch that supported her beetle form but wouldn't support her human form.
By the time she recovered and could fly down and transform, Harry and Dumbledore were gone and Rita had no idea where they had gone.
OoOoOoO Harry and Dudley, Harry's room, 09JUN1995. OoOoOoO
Dudley was frowning by the time Harry finished as much of his story as he was going to tell. "You mean that old man is responsible for forcing you to come back after killing your family? That's bloody wrong."
Harry nodded. "I agree with you completely. The first moves of our game have barely begun though, and it's my move now."
Dudley frowned. "This Voldemort person, can he find you here? I don't think it would be good for us if he did."
Harry shook his head. "There are wards in place to prevent it. Strange wards, tied to blood and family. I've never seen anything like it."
Dudley nodded, taking Harry's word for it, but still dubious. Harry saw that and looked at the door. "If you won't say anything, I can do a couple of things to help out."
Dudley looked at the door and then back at Harry. "That magic stuff? If dad catches you..." he trailed off.
Harry grinned at him. "If you don't say anything, he'll never know." Harry concentrated, seeking a familiar presence. He sent out a call and a few seconds later the presence was there. ("Greetings, my friend. How has your sojourn in this new land been?") Harry used Japanese for this talk because he'd been taught that way.
The elemental spirit, an Earth Kami, was slow to respond. ("The magic here is weak in many places. These people are too attached to the making of things and restructuring of their land to suit themselves.")
("I am not fond of this place either, but I must dwell here for a time. I would ask that you watch for those who followed us before, the humans with the touch of evil, and warn me if they come here. Soon, we will go to a place of greater magic, where we will both be served better.")
("I will watch. The ones of evil are jarring to the balance of nature and I do not like them at all. I must warn you that I am cut off almost entirely from my element here though; some things could slip by.")
Harry and his friend talked a bit more and then the Kami went down to live in the ground in the garden. When he was gone, Dudley was frowning. "What was that? I could almost feel something here."
Harry frowned in turn. "Hold still for a second." He concentrated, reaching for the mental disciplines that he had learned in the temple. Dudley's aura was bright and Harry took a minute to examine it.
"You can sense magic around you. Barely, but you can. You can't do any of the magic taught around here, but you can feel it, like a cool breeze on your skin." Harry looked at him. "If normal is your thing, don't marry anyone that you can feel like that. Your children will almost certainly be magical if you do."
Dudley thought about it for a bit. "My parents want nothing more than to be normal, just another family on the block. I don't understand that. I won't say anything about the magic and you don't tell them I can feel it, agreed?"
Harry nodded. "I have no problems with that."
The two boys talked about the places Harry had been and some of the things he'd seen in his travels. Rome and the Vatican, the ruins of the Coliseum, a dozen other famous places and sights.
Vernon came in around eleven to suggest it was time for Dudley to go to bed and found them talking about the differences between boxing and the martial arts Harry did.
As Harry crawled into bed he smiled to himself. Dudley would be an excellent ally and a perfect patsy, if Harry needed one.
OoOoOoO Harry and Tonks, Diagon Alley, 10JUN1995. OoOoOoO
Harry had gotten Tonks, as she introduced herself, out of the Dursley house quickly. Her shocking pink hair was not going over well.
He frowned at her as they rode the Knight Bus. "Did someone curse your hair that colour, or is it one of those Muggle things, a fashion statement?"
Tonks shrugged. "I like it this colour." Her hair went through a variety of colours and then settled on pink again.
Harry sighed. "I see. Could I ask you to be a little less outstanding for a bit? I don't want to attract attention today. All I need is an owl and few things."
Tonks sighed and then grinned at him. She stared at him for a minute and then blurred. She looked like a female version of Harry, only she was an inch or so shorter and much lighter. "Mind having a little sister for the day?"
Harry's eyes went cold. "Change. That damn fool you work for killed my family."
Tonks changed and stared at Harry. "What are you talking about? Dumbledore never killed anyone."
Harry just stared at her until her look registered on him. Tonks didn't know what had happened. "Never mind. If he won't tell you and you can't read about it, then it is not my place to tell you."
Tonks was getting even more puzzled and starting to get angry. She tossed a copy of the Daily Prophet at him. "I read the paper every day and there has not been anything about any deaths in it that were not the work of Death Eaters."
Harry picked the paper up and read it. There had been an attack on a Muggleborn witch by Death Eaters two days ago and the only other news of note was an article about a robbery attempt in Surrey. Some one had tried to rob an old Pureblood manor but they had been chased off. They were still at large.
Harry hissed. Someone was covering up Sirius' death. Since Harry knew what Sirius' will said already, he was fairly certain that he knew who was covering it up. A sudden thought occurred to him and he grew still. What had the Aurors done with Sirius and Yumiko's bodies?
He was still thinking about that as they approached Eyclops's Owl Emporium. He was looking at the owls when he happened to overhear the man behind the counter talking to another customer. "I am sorry, but I cannot pay for an owl right now. I don't need a used owl."
"You don't understand. My son was the only magical person in the house and we can't use the owl. I don't need those Death Eaters coming around thinking there's a magical being in the house." The man who held the owl cage was dressed in black and seemed very scared and depressed.
"That is not my problem, but I suppose I could give you a sickle for the bird."
Harry blinked. That was an insulting offer. A good owl was worth ten or twelve Galleons at least. He looked at the owl. It was a snowy owl, not more than five or six years old. He reached with his senses and touched the owl. It was very intelligent for an owl and calm. Harry made a hasty decision. "Excuse me, Sir," he said to the customer, "I couldn't help but overhear your conversation and I'd like to make you an offer for the owl."
The two men turned to look at Harry. They saw a tall young man, dressed in a slightly foreign manner, but whose clothes said taste and money to anyone that could tell. Before they could say anything Harry was reaching for the owl cage. "May I see the owl?"
He let the owl out and she perched on Harry's arm, examining him as Harry examined her. Harry used the magical senses he been taught about in the temple to examine the bird. He knocked a year off of his earlier estimate of her age. About five years old, maximum She was in good health and very strong, as if she flew long routes regularly. "I'll give you a hundred pounds for her, and save you the trouble of going to Gringotts for the exchange."
"Done," the man said and Harry dug the money out to pay him. The man told him about her habits and gave him the cage and a bag of owl treats. "Don't bother buying the other kind," he warned Harry, "she's mighty picky about those treats."
Harry waited until he was gone and turned to look at the man behind the counter, who was ignoring him. "I heard what you said, when I gave him pounds. Do you have a problem with Muggleborn?"
The man turned to sneer. "Of course not, as long as they remain in their place."
Tonks came up to Harry. "Don't push it." She had been warned that Harry had a temper and that he was not to get into any trouble today.
Harry didn't even look at her. "My mother was a Muggleborn. I am very displeased with your attitude. I think I shall have to let all of my friends know that this shop is not the place to shop."
The man sneered at Harry again. "So? A few Muggleborn more or less won't do anything to this shop."
Harry smiled slowly and brushed the hair off of his forehead. "Maybe so, but my friends are not all Muggleborn. I am Harry Potter, and you have added yourself to the list of things that must be fixed."
The man's eyes were fixed on Harry's scar. He was just beginning to turn pale when Harry left, taking the owl cage with his new owl in it out of the shop.
Tonks was fuming. "What the hell was that? You're supposed to keep a low profile. There aren't enough of us here to put up a decent fight."
Harry looked around. "You know something? I can get everything else I need by owl order. Let's go." Harry was beginning to understand why Britain had such a reputation among the world community. Magic was magic to most of the world and while having a long magical heritage was something to be proud of, it didn't make you better than anyone else. These people were bigots of the first order. He stopped suddenly. "Wait, I do have to make one more stop."
Tonks took him to the Ministry where Harry handed over his new wand. He went to the Department of Magical Law Enforcement and registered, getting the latest copy of the rules governing Feuds while he did so.
The Auror at the check in point and the one in the Department were startled to find Harry Potter talking to them but Harry kept it short and they were on their way out of the building fairly quickly. As they left, an Auror came up to them. "Mr. Potter, I have been instructed to place this in your hand and get a receipt."
Harry looked at the think envelope and nodded. He took the envelope and put it in his bag, tucking it away securely before signing the receipt the man held out.
The trip back was silent, except for occasional sounds from the owl. Harry left Tonks at the door, not inviting her in at all. He took the owl to his room and opened the cage door, allowing her freedom while he charmed the window to open when she approached it from either side. After he finished that, he laid a Shugenja spell on her, making her almost unnoticeable to most people.
Harry spent the rest of the day going through the old papers he had bought. By the time he was done, he'd covered almost four pages in notes. When he was done, he sat back and thought.
Even given the bias the paper showed, a little thought and some reading between the lines pointed to some disturbing conclusions. Voldemort was winning. It was a slow process, but he was claiming victory after victory and the Aurors were catching few Death Eaters.
More disturbing than the obituaries were the stories from Hogwarts. The place was a trouble magnet. In the last four years alone, there had been a number of disturbing incidents.
Four years ago, a troll had gotten into the castle and nearly killed a student, one Hermione Granger. She had been saved only because Professors Vector and Sinistra had heard her screams and found her trapped in a bathroom. They had killed the troll, but not before it had flung the girl across the room with a blow from its club.
The next year, a Basilisk had been let loose from some hidden chamber and killed at least four people before being trapped between a giant squid in the lake and the instructors. Three more instructors and the grounds keeper had died there before the thing was killed. Another young girl, Ginny Weasley was still missing and presumed consumed by the monster.
Just last year, the Tri-Wizard's Tournament had ended in the complete disappearance of the Hogwarts champion, Cedric Diggory. Two days later, a being claiming to be Voldemort had attacked Hogsmeade with nearly twenty Death Eaters. They had rampaged through the town, killing a dozen people before Albus Dumbledore and some unknown number of others had Apparated in and stopped them.
Harry was quite frankly surprised there was still a school there. That old man must be expending a lot of his political power just to keep it open.
There had to be a way to take advantage of that.
OoOoOoO The International Confederation of Wizards, 10JUN1995. OoOoOoO
Albus Dumbledore sighed as he walked down the hall. His allies were unwilling to be seen with him today, which could only mean that politics were involved. He sighed again. He had enough problems back home without having to deal with this now.
He went to his office and looked at the agenda for the day. He bypassed all the things that had been scheduled for some time and looked at the things that were last minute additions to the list. Three inquiries. One into the International Fugitive Act, one into England's use of that act and the reasons behind it and one into his actions regarding the entire event.
There was also one request for compensation for the death of a local wizard due to the actions of the Aurors.
Albus sat back and thought. He hadn't known that someone not involved in this had died. He would take care of that personally. That would lessen Tibet's complaints. Done properly, it would also enhance his personal standing, never a bad thing.
Changing the International Fugitive Act would require a seventy-five percent majority in the vote and no faction had that much power yet. He could set that aside, maybe even agree that it needed study. Yes, that was the way to go. Have the Act put into a committee to study it and allow tempers to cool.
The inquiry into his actions was not a problem. He had acted within the law all the way. He could push the actions of the Aurors off on the Wizengamot. He would face some censure, but a well played apology would take enough of the heat off to allow him time to rebuilt his standing.
Someone knocked on the door. Albus waved his hand and the door opened. "Here are the papers that need a signature, Wizard Dumbledore." The Witch laid the papers on his desk. "This was forwarded for you, but it is informational in nature." She finished sorting the papers and left.
Albus looked at the papers. Routine things, mostly. He paused as he read the information sheet. A Japanese Magistrate and a Shugenja had applied for and been granted diplomatic immunity to investigate a family matter. Albus frowned. This was going to be bad. He couldn't keep the two out of England so he would have to deal with them soon.
Right now, he had to talk to some of the other representatives. There was just enough time to talk to the Tibetan and possibly a couple of others.
OoOoOoO Harry, The Dursley house, 10JUN1995. OoOoOoO
Harry and the Dursleys were almost painfully polite. Harry made no references to magic or anything that could be unnatural to them, while they were uncertain of what to talk about with their guest.
Harry ate with them and offered to help with the dishes but Petunia shook her head. "I've taken care of this family for more than fifteen years, Mr. Potter. I'll be doing it fifteen years from now."
Harry nodded and went out into the garden. He looked around and made sure no one could see him just then. He cast a Shugenja spell, one that would invite the Kami to stay here and then he did a second spell, to make the garden more inviting to them. He'd barely finished when Dudley came out of the house. "Yo, Potter. You've got a visitor."
Harry looked up. "One of you, or someone like me?"
Dudley grinned. "Neither. It's a girl."
Harry stood up. "I see. No, actually I don't see. Who is she?" He started toward the door.
Dudley grinned. "You remember those two birds that wanted to invite you to a party? The blonde one is at the door with an envelope."
Harry nodded. That was the girl that had been standing in the driveway of the warded house. He went into the house and down the hall toward the front door. Just inside the door Petunia was talking to a young girl, about Harry's age. "Yes, Ma'am. We've just moved here from Cambridge. Dad has a job in the bank."
Petunia nodded. "I see. What does he do for the bank?"
The girl saw Harry then and smiled. "He's in the loan department, Ma'am, something to do with acquisitions. I don't really pay attention."
Petunia frowned slightly but didn't say whatever was on her mind. The blonde girl smiled at Harry again. "Hi, I'm Daphne and we're having a small gathering for some of the neighbours that have been so nice to us as we settle in. I have an invitation for you and the Dursleys. Mum invited them, and when I heard last night that they had a guest, I thought it would be nice to add you to the invitation."
Harry accepted the card. "I would be honoured to attend your party," he said sincerely. He didn't know who this girl was, but she knew, or someone in her house knew about magic, which made them interesting to Harry. He assumed that they were there to watch him, but he didn't know who sent them. That would be something interesting to learn, and going to this party was the best way to do that.
Petunia looked at the card. "I'm afraid we won't be able to attend. My husband's sister is in town that night and we already have plans to attend a dog show. I will send a formal letter to your parents."
Daphne smiled. "That's not a problem, Ma'am. My folks understood that not everyone would be able to make it on such short notice. We're planning another party around the end of summer. Perhaps you'll be able to make that one."
Daphne chatted for a few more minutes and then had to go. She left and Harry looked at the card. He frowned and took it into his room. He took out his wand and tapped the card. Words appeared on the bottom of the card.
"The House of Greengrass is pleased to extend their compliments to the Houses of Potter and Black. We hope to introduce you to mutual friends at a small event."
Harry smiled. This had Narcissa's touch all over it. He'd corresponded with her a few times, practising the proper letters and invitations of the Purebloods and he was impressed with the mind of the woman he'd written to. She was a dangerous woman and Harry was not foolish enough to completely trust her. Right now, their goals were similar. If that changed, Narcissa would do whatever was best for her.
Since he stood to be the next Lord Black, he thought she would continue to be a good ally, but he would still watch her. He began to go through the books for his schooling. He was appalled at the near total lack of mention of other countries or the good things that had happened in them.
He began to see a pattern in the history curriculum. The children of Britain only heard about other countries and races when there was something bad happening. Goblin rebellions, Centaur uprisings and killings of humans, (Without, Harry noted, specifying what the human had been killed for.) Merfolk drowning people, Veelas entrancing men, even the harmless and very useful House elves were enslaved here. Harry thought about it for a minute. That would make them think, without even realizing it, that only bad things came from non humans and other countries. The children of Britain were being subtly guided into a sense of superiority and they wouldn't even know it.
Harry frowned as he thought about it. How on earth did they keep this quiet? Surely, someone from another country had seen this pattern before now. He tore up the notes he had written and destroyed them. He didn't know what he'd walked into here, but something was very wrong in this country. He skimmed the other text books.
Potions was a nightmare. No reaction charts, no adverse combination diagram, nothing, just lists of ingredients and recipes for the potions. How on earth did they keep from blowing themselves up? He began looking at the potions taught and he was appalled. They were all on the International OWLs list, even the ones that Hogwarts taught as NEWT level potions. No wonder the International Standards Association would not accept British OWL or NEWT results. This course had been watered down so far that no British student could pass the requirements for the International standards.
Harry thought about it for several minutes, but the only possible reason he could think of to do something like that was to keep the British mages from going overseas for long or for good and that didn't make sense.
Divination he tossed aside in less than twenty minutes. It was the most annoying mish-mash of unworkable techniques and fuzzy logic that he'd seen in a long time.
The Charms area was fairly good, if severely lacking in any type of charms or hexes that could be termed even remotely dark.
Transfiguration was the best of the classes he read about, although they still claimed that the Animagus Transfiguration was extraordinarily difficult. He snorted. Three third year students figured it out with no help and achieved it, working in secret and in their spare time, in just two years. How hard did they think it was supposed to be?
The Defence class was based on good books, except for the junk by that Lockhart moron, but the simple fact that the Instructor changed every year and many of them appeared to be incompetent made proper instruction impossible.
Arithmancy and Runes were almost the same as the International classes, although you would never get to the international NEWT standards in Britain, since you couldn't even take the class until third year. Harry could understand why these classes were unchanged. You had very little margin for error in those areas and mistakes could kill easily.
Harry sat back and thought. The curriculum that was laid out would result in people that couldn't defend themselves, couldn't fight against anyone that had been trained properly. Hell, they couldn't even compete for jobs or anything in any other country. These people were being set up for something.
Harry didn't make any notes on any of this. Whatever this was, it had to come from someone high up in the Ministry or the Wizengamot. This could not be a plot of Voldemort. Harry was inclined to believe that Dumbledore was involved, but he had to admit to himself that he had no proof of that, other than his own admittedly biased opinion.
As he paced, he remembered the letter from earlier. He took it out and opened it.
I am Minister Fudge and I am not your enemy. It should be easy enough for you to discover that the Wizengamot went after you over my protests and arguments. I would prefer to have a nice quiet term but events have been taken out of my control. I believe that you and your friends could be the lever I need to break Dumbledore's hold on the Ministry and the Wizengamot. In return, I will offer you the assistance you need in fighting that bit of evil you have to fight.
It would not hurt my feelings if you chose to leave Britain afterwards. I want a calm world to run. You can help me do that and I can help you. Please let me know if we can work together.
The Minister of Magic,
Harry stared at the letter. He would have to pass this to Narcissa and let her begin the process. Harry was not old enough or experienced enough to pit himself against a career politician.
He sighed, falling back on the bed and staring at the ceiling. The feelings he'd been suppressing all day hit him hard and his sight blurred as he cried for all the ones he'd lost.
OoOoOoO Daphne, Malfoy manor, 10JUN1995. OoOoOoO
"He's tall, black haired and green eyed, with a sort of gliding walk. He reminds me of those hunting cats at the zoo, actually. His hair was a mess, but I don't know if that was natural or if he'd just not combed it recently. He dresses well and looks good."
Narcissa rummaged through a box and took out a picture. She handed it to Daphne. Daphne looked at it and started to say something and then stopped. "This isn't Harry, he's wearing glasses and this man is older. Is this James Potter?"
Narcissa nodded. "So Harry looks like James, but he has Lily's eyes. From your description, he got James' hair as well." Narcissa looked at Daphne. "You seem to have noticed quite a lot about Harry's physical appearance."
Daphne blushed. "He was doing some sort of martial art movements in the park the first time I saw him and he's very cute. He's a lot better looking than most of the boys at Hogwarts."
Narcissa thought about it for a minute and shrugged. "You would make a suitable match, if you could catch his eye. I wouldn't be too blatant about it if I were you. He's not the happiest person in the world right now."
Daphne looked offended. "Aunt Narcissa, when have I ever been blatant about anything?"
Narcissa smiled. "I seem to recall a birthday party and some gifts that were about to change hands."
Daphne blushed. "I was seven. It would have worked though, if you hadn't come in just then."
Narcissa frowned as she thought about the reports from Diagon Alley. Harry had been irritable in the store and had left after buying some Muggleborn's owl. The clerk had been very close mouthed about Harry and Narcissa's agent thought that Harry might have threatened him. The only other stop he had made was at the Ministry, where he had registered as a Feud participant.
She smiled. Harry had done that just right. Since he was not technically a Black yet, he had only registered the Potter feuds. That would help keep Lucius quiet for a bit longer. The longer she had to use the Malfoy funds helping Harry the better. She reflexively touched the Gringotts key in her pocket. She'd slowly siphoned a lot of money from the Malfoy vaults and now all she had to do was get the key to Harry and he would have a lot of untraceable funding at his disposal. Albus was going to keep a firm grip on the family vaults and Harry would need that money.
"Do you think Harry will be in Slytherin?" Narcissa considered Daphne's question thoughtfully.
The letters she'd exchanged with Harry showed a bright mind and a certain natural flair for cunning. Given the reports that had come out of the Ministry regarding the fight where Harry had been captured, he was brave enough as well. "I don't know. He has the skills and the right mind set, but he's very bright as well. Ravenclaw is a possibility and we can't forget that both of his parents were Gryffindors. He might be a legacy student."
Daphne sighed. "I hope not. Dating a Ravenclaw would be acceptable, but with the way the houses are now, dating a Gryffindor is out of the question."
Narcissa thought about it and smiled. "If Harry is in Hogwarts, date him if he'll let you, no matter what house he's in. Anyone foolish enough to attack Harry will not do it a second time, and anyone stupid enough to attack the girl he's dating is going to find out that angering Harry is suicide. Plus, I'll be able to use the attacks on him to get him out from under Dumbledore's wand."
Daphne nodded. "Is he really that strong?"
"It's not that he's so much stronger, as it is that he's been taught magic that most people don't understand. I've been looking into some of the other forms of magic since Sirius told me that Harry was being trained in other types of magic. Harry can talk to something called Kami, elemental spirits that will do his bidding, and he is trained in an eastern style of magic called Mysticism, which appears to be a completely wandless form of magic."
Daphne looked interested. "Do you suppose he would be willing to teach me any of that?"
Narcissa shrugged. "You'll have to ask him about that. I don't know him well enough to say. I still need to meet him myself and see what he really wants."
Daphne smiled. "That is why we're throwing this party, Aunt Narcissa. I think you'll like him."
Narcissa sighed. "I hope so. As soon as we have Sirius' will read, he will be the Lord Black and I have sworn a number of oaths to Lord Black. We'd better be able to get along or this is going to be a very long life, no matter how short it is."
OoOoOoO Albus Dumbledore, International Confederation of Wizards, 09JUN. OoOoOoO
Albus sat back in his chair and thought. The morning session had not gone well for him. It had started well enough, with his speech about the 'Tibetan tragedy' and his willingness to pay for the death of the native, who's name he'd never learned had gone over well. He smiled softly as he remembered his speech, where he'd admitted to allowing the British Aurors to hunt down Sirius and Harry, but only under the guidelines of the International Fugitive Act. Then he'd taken the responsibility of not having overseen their actions after that and offered to pay the full compensation from his own pocket for it.
He sighed. The value some people put on a simple shepherd was all out of proportion to the value of a simple hedge wizard. So what if he had been a community leader? He was still just a lesser wizard.
Not that he'd said anything like that. These people didn't see that some wizards were meant to rule, thinking everyone was equal. Foolishness. If everyone was equal, everyone would be able to do all the things he could. Since they couldn't, it was obvious that Albus should guide them into the right path.
He sighed. It was going to be a long road, making everyone do things his way, but it was for the greater good. Britain was coming along nicely, unable to stop a single half breed without his assistance. Once Potter was properly indoctrinated and subservient, as was only right for a mongrel, he'd eliminate Riddle and Potter both.
The fame that would come from stopping two more Dark Lords would cement his position in Britain, allowing him to control the entire country from behind the scenes. He almost did that now, with his position as the leader of the Educational side, the Wizengamot and his grip on Minister Fudge. Albus weighed the possibilities in controlling the Ministry and found that after Riddle was put down and Potter was discredited, his chances of having an iron grip on Britain were very good.
That, in turn, would give him an international reputation unmatched ever. Not even Merlin had put down three Dark Lords in his lifetime. Once these two were gone, he could reveal that he had built his own Philosopher's Stone while he worked with Flamel. He would be able to lead the entire magical world down the same path Britain was already walking, no matter how long it took then.
He smiled again as he thought of Harry Potter. The boy was a novice in the political arena. Dumbledore might need him to stop Riddle permanently, but the boy was causing waves with his attitude and it would be remarkably simple to show him in the worst possible light after Riddle was gone and 'stop' the rising Dark Lord Harry Potter.
Albus would have to insure that his actions in Hogwarts were shown in the worst possible light. He had been going to try and use Harry to rule after Riddle was gone, showing him off as a good person brought back to the light by Albus' efforts, but it was impossible. He couldn't enter the boy's mind to change his thinking to a proper way of thought and so far, all of Snape's potions had failed as well. The boy was too intractable to be used the way Albus needed to use him.
He shook off thoughts of Potter and Britain as he thought about the rest of the meetings that day. The second meeting had started the ruination of his day, when the Russians, of all people, had asked to see the request Britain had made to him to use the International Fugitive Act.
Albus couldn't show it to them, not today, because it had been his action, acting as the head of the Wizengamot that had started the whole thing. He'd put it off until the next meeting, simply so he'd have time to write it up and made it sound very good. He was still considering what sort of a light to paint Sirius and Remus in, how to phrase it to make them seem worse than they were.
The nerve of the pair. Stealing Harry and raising him without Albus' input. It had taken a lot of delicate manoeuvring and no few sessions with Pettigrew and Snape, sessions they would never remember, due to Albus' use of Legilimency and Obliviation, to set up the deaths of the Potters. He regretted the necessity of their deaths but it would not have been possible to mould Harry the way he wanted if he'd grown up with his parents. And then, Remus and Sirius had ruined three months of planning by taking Harry and not letting Hagrid take him. All that work and effort, from the time he heard the prophecy right up until Pettigrew gave in, just two weeks before Halloween, wasted on that pair of duty struck idiots.
At least he'd put that off for a week. The inquiry into the International Fugitive Act had gone even worse for Albus. A surprising number of countries had risen up, led by the Australian delegate, to insist that it be modified to suit the changing times. Albus had been completely unable to stop it going to an action committee, who could change the act, instead of the study group he'd wanted.
Worse yet, the committee was led by the Russian delegate, as a neutral party. Albus frowned. Of course they were neutral, they'd stayed out of politics for nearly a hundred years, which was a sign of weakness to Albus. He'd have to find some thing he could use against the Russians.
The rest of the session had been normal business, but even there, Albus had seen a disquieting trend. Many of the normally neutral countries were deliberately voting against his wishes. He'd seen as least five delegates waiting for his vote and then voting the other way.
He knew this tactic, of course, it was a common way of subtly telling someone that they had offended people, without actually coming out and calling for a censure vote.
Albus sighed. He began to plan his actions in the International Confederation of Wizards carefully. Having this position was critical to controlling Fudge and the Wizengamot and he simply couldn't afford to lose it now.
OoOoOoO Minister Fudge and Percy Weasley, The Ministry, 09JUN1995. OoOoOoO
"Weatherbee, I want you to look into everything we know about Harry Potter. Go back at least two generations on both sides of his family. I want a complete report as soon as you can get it to me."
Percy nodded. "I will assume that you would prefer that the Wizengamot and their Supreme Idiot not find out about this?"
Fudge snorted. "Weatherbee, if I could arrange it, the Supreme Idiot wouldn't find out if the sun rose in the morning. We have to have Harry Potter here until You-Know -Who is dead and then I want Potter out of the country as well. He's too popular and could be a significant force in politics. I don't need that sort of competition. It's bad enough I have to put up with Albus in my face every time I breath."
"Do you think Harry Potter may be the lever we need to break Dumbledore's hold on the Ministry?"
"I hope so. If Albus still has us in this grip when You-Know -Who is gone, we're going to be puppets dancing on his strings forever."
OoOoOoO Harry Potter, The Dursley's house, 10JUN1995. OoOoOoO
Harry woke up early, and sat in meditation for nearly an hour before he had suppressed his sorrow and anger at what had been done to his family over the last month enough to keep from hexing any British mage that came near him. Just like yesterday, he remembered them, honouring them the only way he could right now.
Sirius, proud, sometimes arrogant, always looking for a way to have some fun. Remus, studious and sombre, compared to Sirius, but every bit as willing to play a joke or two, although his jokes and pranks involved a lot less nudity than Sirius'. Yumiko, serious and Samurai, in the old sense of the word, when they were the warriors and protectors of the Japanese people, fighting each other, outsiders and the magical animals that covered Japan. There were nearly as many magical animals in Japan as there were mages and that was saying something. Japanese magic was one of the easiest types of magic to learn and there were a great many mages in Japan.
Harry got up and started his day with a shower after performing a few exercises. He was deep in the phone book, looking for local gyms and Dojos before any of the Dursleys woke up. Dudley was the first to wake up.
Harry was sitting in his room when Dudley knocked. "Hey Harry, want to join me? With all the stuff you do, I assume you know your way around the weights."
Harry looked up in surprise. Dudley didn't seem like the type to exercise. "You have weights?"
Dudley led him into the basement, where there was a decent, if small, training area set up. "Dad got it for me, when I was boxing," he said, a shadow passing over his face. "When I quit, it just sat here. You got me thinking last night, with all that talk about conditioning the mind and body, so I thought I'd put it to use." He grimaced. "I'm not real motivated to use it though. Even the biggest person can be beat." His last sentence was said in a bitter tone.
"There is always someone or something bigger or better," Harry agreed as he examined the set up, "honour lies in fighting for the right reasons and winning is sometimes in not backing down, no matter what the cost to you personally."
Harry set the pattern for his summer that day, spending an hour with Dudley working out each morning, instructing Dudley in the philosophy behind Harry's thinking as they exercised. Harry didn't even realize he was instructing the other boy in the code of Bushido.
Yumiko had been the first female to mother Harry for any extended time and Harry had been badly in need of a mother's touch. He had taken to her ways in a subconscious attempt to make sure she stayed with them, mirroring her ways as she taught him, and applying the considerable intelligence he possessed to mastering her teachings as well as he could.
OoOoOoO Harry, The Greengrass Party, 12JUN1995. OoOoOoO
Harry knocked at the door of the house Daphne lived in. According to the name on the door, this was the residence of the Kinsmen family. The door opened and Harry looked up. A tall man stood there, looking at him. "Good evening, Sir. My name is Harry Potter and Daphne invited my family and I to your party. Aunt Petunia sends her regrets, but family matters prevented their attendance."
Harry saw the flicker of recognition and the quick glance the man sent towards his forehead, but his expression didn't change, remaining a welcoming smile. "Good evening, Mr. Potter. My daughter tells me that you're new here as well. Come in and join us."
Harry followed him and as he closed the door the man murmured, "we have some of the Muggle neighbours over and a woman named Mrs. Figg. She works for the Headmaster." Harry nodded.
"My name's Theodore Kinsmen and you have met my daughter, of course. Allow me to introduce you to some of the others."
Theodore took Harry around, introducing him to the various people, including his wife, Debra Kinsmen, Mrs. Figg and a woman called Delilah Kinsmen, Theodore's sister. She smiled at him. "Daphne tells me that you have been overseas, Mr. Potter. Would you mind talking about some of the places you've been? I've never had the chance to travel, but I find those other cultures so fascinating."
Harry looked at her again. She was a short, heavyset woman, about forty or forty-five years old. She had black hair and brown eyes and Harry assumed that Polyjuice Potion was involved, since she had opened the conversation with a code phrase that Narcissa and Sirius had set up. "I would be glad to talk about some of the things I've seen," said Harry, "Not that many of them are very interesting."
Narcissa smiled. Harry was playing the game as if he'd been born a Black. Sirius had trained him well. He'd accepted the coded words and given the right counter without batting an eye or looking around to see if they were being watched. Narcissa was keenly aware of Mrs. Figg watching them. Harry and the two adults were interrupted then, as Daphne came over. "Dad, quit hogging Harry. I want him to meet some of the others." She took him by the arm and led him away, chattering away about the other teens, who were avoiding the adults by hiding in the back yard.
Harry met half a dozen kids he hadn't met around the neighbourhood yet, along with seeing two of the boys that had been hanging out with Dudley in the park. Daphne was always quite close, chattering like an airhead and generally staking a claim on Harry. He really hoped that attitude was a game, something to create a reason for her to be around him often and not her real personality.
At dinner, the adults were seated in the house, while most of the kids ate outside. While Mrs. Figg was inside, Daphne put something in Harry's back pocket, a small lump of some kind. Harry ignored it, since Daphne was flirting outrageously, making the motion seem to be just another excuse to touch him.
Harry was polite, a bit reserved, something easily explained by being a guest in someone's house. Harry also explained that the eastern lands that he'd been in had different rules of hospitality and he didn't want to do something embarrassing.
That led to a discussion of the differences in the cultures, with Harry explaining, or trying to, about face and honour while the British teens talked about the latest fads and 'cool' things.
Despite himself, Harry was enjoying the talk until one of the kids asked him why he'd returned. Harry stilled and everyone who saw his face went silent. "My guardians were killed in a terrorist attack, so I am staying with the Dursleys until I finish my schooling."
The teens were silent for a minute until Harry shook his head. "Terrorists are the same the world over, and I can do nothing about it yet. Maybe someday, when I am older, I will be able to fight those types of cowards." He flicked a glance at the tree in the backyard, where the Kami had told him a person was hidden. Harry suspected it was whomever Dumbledore had set as his watcher, but didn't have any way to ask.
Harry and Narcissa didn't have a chance to talk that night, as Mrs. Figg and the hidden watcher never left Harry alone for more than a few minutes, but Harry wasn't worried. Narcissa would think of something, and Daphne had made her intentions very clear. She was 'smitten' with Harry. At least, Harry hoped it was an act.
On the way home, Harry stopped to look at the stars for a minute, silently checking. Sure enough, the hidden watcher was still with him. Harry smirked to himself, debating the consequences of doing something to the watcher. He finally decided that it wouldn't be worth it to announce that he could find their hidden watcher, no matter who the person worked for.
In his room, Harry took the lump out of his pocket after asking the Kami to conceal his actions. The air Kami created an illusion of Harry sitting at his desk reading while concealing the real Harry.
The lump turned out to be a small compact, such as women used to check their make up. He opened it and a small parchment fell out. He picked it up and unfolded it.
When you can use this unobserved, tap the mirror with your wand and speak my name. I have one similar to it and we can converse privately. I will have the other on my person and will be awaiting your call tomorrow, preferably after ten in the morning.
Harry smiled. This was better than a cellular phone. He grinned as he remembered Sirius talking about Narcissa's hatred of early mornings. The grin disappeared quickly as the thought of Sirius brought the emotions he'd been suppressing during the party back. He put the compact away and went down to the weights, to work out the rage building in his heart.
Harry knew full well that suppressing his emotional distress every day like this was bad for him in the long run, but he needed to keep a cool head until it was time to unleash this fury. One day soon, he would have a chance to hurt someone and he would take full advantage of that.
Harry worked out with the weights for nearly an hour and then slipped on the gloves to pummel the standing heavy bag Dudley had in the corner.
As he beat the bag, he saw Dumbledore's face, Snape's face and others bleeding and battered.
It was a very tired Harry that went to bed that, only to have dreams of vengeance and bloodshed.
OoOoOoO Voldemort, Somewhere, 12JUN1995. OoOoOoO
Voldemort sat in his private chambers and considered the faint emotions coming from Potter. Very few things came through the mental shields Harry had, but even his defences couldn't mask the hatred and fury all the time. When he slept, or when the feelings were particularly strong, Voldemort felt them, like a tickle at the back of his head.
He could sometimes get flashes of what Potter was thinking of when he was very angry, if Voldemort sat in solitude and concentrated hard. Most of Potter's hatred was toward Dumbledore, Snape and Pettigrew and Voldemort smiled as he thought about the possibilities in this.
His agents in the Aurors had reported that Harry blamed Dumbledore for the deaths of his family and those recent deaths had pushed his hate of Voldemort to the back of his mind. Voldemort wasn't foolish enough to think Harry Potter would ever work with him, but a mutual truce, until their common enemy was gone, now that had possibilities.
Voldemort sat thinking late into the night, considering all the ways he could turn the return of Harry Potter to his advantage.
OoOoOoO Harry Potter, 13JUN-27JUL1995. OoOoOoO
Harry kept a very innocent profile the rest of the summer as Narcissa and he worked out various strategies, continuing to try and weaken Dumbledore's hold on Britain. That wasn't to say he didn't annoy Dumbledore as much as he could, but he spent most of his days studying magic in the British style. He continued to find serious flaws in their training, as he saw it, but he couldn't very well tell anyone except the Magistrate that had shown up a week after the party.
The Magistrate had merely nodded and changed the subject. Later, a Kami had delivered a note. The Magistrate had warned him not to say anything about it. The other countries were well aware of the shortcomings of the British, but bad things tended to happen to British subjects who figured it out.
The Magistrate had spend a week with Harry, talking to him and testing him on the code of Bushido, Honour and a dozen other subjects. He had left then, going back to Japan for a few days, to convey his report to the Iuchi Daimyo. He'd returned after a week with startling news.
Iuchi Potter Harry was the heir of Iuchi Yumiko. Provided he continued with his studies, continued to learn and practice the ways of Bushido and took on a duty for the Iuchi, he would be one of three who would compete for the Family head when the current head of Family died.
Harry was glad to be Yumiko's son, her child in the eyes of the Old Blood families, but he had not expected to be named an Iuchi heir. In their own way, the Samurai were every bit as biased as the British and Harry had forgotten that anyone could be elevated to the ranks of Samurai by the Emperor.
Magical Japan still had an Emperor, since they had never entered World War II. He had convinced the Iuchi family that a magical war would be bad for everyone right now and in return for certain concessions to the Iuchi, Harry had been elevated to Samurai and made the Hand of the Iuchi, their instrument of vengeance against those who had wronged them all by murdering Yumiko.
Harry had been happy and terrified in turn by this turn of events. If he succeeded in his mission, he and his descendants for the next thousand years would be remembered in the family, elevated into family legend in a single generation. If he failed, Yumiko's name and his would be wiped away, her line ended for all time, as if she'd never been born.
The Shugenja that had come with the Magistrate was a middle aged woman, Iuchi Yumi. She would continue Harry's training in the Kami magic, as well as the other things he had to know to be Samurai. She had already bought a house in Hogsmeade, using the Family money.
The Iuchi, by Imperial command, could not interfere in anything that happened in Britain, except through Harry, who was a British citizen. That did not mean that they couldn't supply things he needed to assume his position as the Iuchi heir. Harry would finish his schooling, taking the Head of the Potter and Black families, the Daimyo decided. It was British law, that only the Head of a family could declare feud before the International Confederation of Wizards, and a wizard family from one country could not declare feud against a wizard family from another country without taking a chance of starting a magical war. Families brought allies, and allies brought other allies, until the feud became a general brawl.
Since no one wanted that, everyone involved in this mess was given something. Albus had the Iuchi inquiry into his actions dropped. The International Confederation of Wizards had a rider added to the International Fugitive Act, that stated that any pursuit of fugitives would have a representative of the International Confederation of Wizards with the pursuers. The Iuchi family got Yumiko's body and several concessions from the Emperor that put them that much closer to being the next Imperial family. Harry got two secret decrees from the Minister and the right to carry his swords, the same swords that had been Yumiko's at all formal occasions, and to keep them with him.
That had been very disquieting to Albus. Harry had them on the wall in his room and every time Albus came by, Harry would take them down and lock them up tightly before saying so much as hello to him.
Harry also continued to take lessons once a week in Gobbly-gook and goblin customs, as well as meeting the Shugenja three times a week for lessons.
Other than his Dojo lessons, Harry rarely left Privet Lane. He became a familiar sight, running around the neighbourhood in the early morning and occasionally wandering in the park at night, mostly with Dudley and or Daphne.
On the British side of things, Albus Dumbledore was still stonewalling the goblins. Iuchi Yumiko's body had been released to the family and laid to rest in the family way. Harry had not been allowed to attend that ceremony, as Albus figured quite rightly that Harry wouldn't come back from Japan.
That had only added fuel to the rage Harry had. Harry's rage and bitterness toward Britain was growing in leaps and bounds that summer. Sirius and Remus' bodies were still missing and not even Harry's newest ally, Minister Fudge could find them. Without Sirius' body, Harry's word about seeing him die was not enough to have the will read.
Albus stopped by once a week, attempting to instruct Harry in various things, adding to his anger.
Harry was also growing tired of the constant watch on him by invisible wizards. Like any teen, he wanted at least the semblance of privacy, but everywhere he went, waking or sleeping, he had the watcher.
On the bright side, Daphne came over at least every other day, flirting outrageously and acting her part as the airhead of the block. She'd informed him in private that while she wouldn't mind dating him, if he ever made the mistake of treating her like the act she put on when they weren't being watched, she'd relocate his privates to somewhere between his larynx and his brain, if he had one.
That didn't keep them from using the Shugenja magic to mask Harry's room when they were alone in there. When he was asked about it, Harry merely looked at Albus as if he was stupid. "I realize you're about two hundred years old, Wizard Dumbledore, but surely you know what boys and girls do when they are alone. Or do you need a reminder? There are a few girls in London that would even show you, if you have enough money."
Daphne was actually using that time to instruct Harry in the latest news and passing information and papers back and forth between Harry and Narcissa.
Harry had been relieved to find out that she was not as dim as she'd acted. He had also managed to tone down his anger in any public place, maintaining a calmness completely different from his private feelings. Narcissa had warned him that the news of his return was out and some one had gotten an Auror to talk and the Daily Prophet was filled with reports of his anger and the threats he'd made.
Three days before his birthday, on an outing to Diagon Alley, Harry had been given a chance to release a goodly amount of anger.
OoOoOoO Voldemort, Somewhere, 25JUL1995. OoOoOoO
"Do you understand what you are to do?"
"Yes, my Lord. I am to find a way to talk to Potter alone and see if he will open a private dialogue with you."
"You will convince him to do so. If you do, your place in my inner circle is assured after you finish school. If you don't..."
Voldemort didn't bother finishing the threat. All of his people, marked or not, knew what the price of failure was.
OoOoOoO Rita Skeeter, Britain, all summer. OoOoOoO
Rita had tried to find Harry Potter in the small Muggle community just twice more. Both times, freak weather had caused her to stop. The second time, she'd had to go to St Mungo's, as her leg had been broken when a stone she'd landed on had suddenly rolled over and pinned her leg.
She'd quit trying to get an interview and just started printing rumours and hearsay about Harry. It had taken five separate accidents before she realized that every time she wrote something about Harry, she got hurt. She finally gave up as the accidents kept getting worse. The last time, a brick had fallen from the Ministry wall as she walked by and nearly killed her.
Harry was blissfully unaware of the air Kami that had taken a dislike to the bug human that insulted the blossoming Shugenja. Had he asked them, they would have told him, but since he never connected the reports of her injuries with himself or the Kami, he never even thought about it.
OoOoOoO The International Confederation of Wizards, that summer. OoOoOoO
The Australian delegate kept the pressure on the Supreme Mugwump, but he acted entirely properly and all they could do was wait for Dumbledore to make another mistake. Harry's threat to Dumbledore had somehow become public knowledge and most of the Confederation was willing to wait a mere two years. Watching Dumbledore trying to deal with Harry was the most fun they'd had in years.
OoOoOoO The Iuchi family, that summer. OoOoOoO
They waited, patient in the way of the warrior. Iuchi Yumi reported that the Iuchi Potter Harry was an excellent student and that he kept the memory of his mother alive as was only proper for a son.
Their vengeance would come at the hand of one of their own.
OoOoOoO Narcissa, Malfoy Manor, in two separate meetings. OoOoOoO
"I swear on my magic that everything I have told you about the death of Sirius Black is true."
Tonks watched the magic flare around Narcissa and then watched as she conjured a pillow for her feet. Tonks considered the news she'd been given. Sirius Black had brought the Tonks family back into the Black family after his mother died and Andromeda and Narcissa met occasionally, keeping in touch as sisters did.
"If Albus Dumbledore killed the Lord Black, I cannot work for him any more. I will end my association with his Order today."
"Don't be silly, dear. The new Lord Black needs you right where you are."
Tonks looked up. She thought about what Narcissa had said and matching smiles grew on the two women's faces as they planned.
OoOoOoO Narcissa and another. OoOoOoO
"I could kill him. He is very regularly in the Wizengamot. There are several places that I could hit him with an Avada Kedavra and be gone before anyone knew what happened."
Narcissa considered the matter seriously. Killing Albus while Harry was visibly in Hogwarts would put all the rumours about Harry's ill spoken threat against Albus to rest and get rid of the biggest stumbling block in their path.
"Save that thought, sister dear. We may do it later, if it becomes needed, but Harry wants him personally. I do not want to deprive our Lord of his vengeance."
The other woman smiled, a cold smile filled with secrets and blood-lust. "If Harry was just a few years older, I would teach him myself about the joys of revenge and the ways of pain and we could rule the world, him and I."
Narcissa was used to suppressing shivers around her sister and barely noticed this one. "On the other hand, sister, the editor of the Daily Prophet refused my request to stop printing those filthy rumours about Harry and we need good public opinion of Harry right now."
The other woman's eyes lit up. "Lord Black is very publicly at his training every Friday morning, out in the Muggle world, isn't he?" At Narcissa's nod she smiled again and Narcissa hid another shiver at that smile. She loved her sister, but she was every bit as insane as Voldemort. "I'll take care of it tomorrow."
OoOoOoO The Black Hand, The Daily Prophet. OoOoOoO
The editor walked into his office, reading the latest rumours from the Potter rumour mill. He started toward his desk and was suddenly frozen in his tracks. He recognized the full body bind, but he was helpless as someone cast spells to insure their privacy.
A voice, a woman's voice, came from behind him. "For five hundred years, one child of every generation of the Black family has been taken in secret," the voice said conversationally, "and trained in certain skills and spells. They are known as the Black Hand, the instrument of maintaining the Black family, tasked to eliminate enemies and problems that the Blacks cannot openly destroy for one reason or another."
His eyes bulged as the woman walked around in front of him. "I cannot take the time I want with you, you who slandered my Lord, sullied his name with your lies and rumours. I have to make your death appear as a dozen more before you, an accident."
She pouted. "I would rather spend an hour or so peeling the skin from your bones, leaving you alive until I dropped you into a tub of salt water and watched you thrash your life away, but the mental fear you feel now will have to do this time."
She raised her wand and smiled at him, a smile filled with cruelty and he saw his death in that smile. "This is going to hurt."
He couldn't even scream as her spell tightened around his lungs, stopping his breathing. It took him nearly a minute of silent screaming to pass out from lack of air.
She smiled at the dead body a few minutes later and arranged it behind his desk, making it appear that he'd died reading the sheets he'd had in his hand. With her spell released, no one would ever be able to tell what he'd died of.
She Apparated away, appearing close to her home. Andromeda Black-Tonks took a minute to push away the Black Hand, locking it in the Occlumency enhanced part of her mind that hid it until it was needed.
OoOoOoO Voldemort, Somewhere, 28JUL1995. OoOoOoO
Voldemort froze as Potter's emotions exploded in his mind. He saw the scene Potter faced and his laughter echoed in his chambers as he found the first flaw in Potter's mental defences. He started to work on exploiting it while they were weak.
OoOoOoO Harry Potter, Diagon Alley, 28JUL1995. OoOoOoO
Harry was in Diagon Alley to be fitted for the robes he needed for Hogwarts. Tonks, the hidden watcher and Daphne were with him. They had finished their fittings and Harry was headed to the Quidditch shop to look at and possibly buy a broom when multiple Apparations sounded.
Harry was just over a metre from the closest one. He saw the black robes and mask and his eyes lit with a fire unrestrained by any thought of mercy or justice of any kind. Rage burned there, tempered by weeks of pretending and hiding his feelings into a fury unbound by anything but the urge to kill.
A dozen Death Eaters stood there, wands raised. "Kill everyone in sight. Destroy those who oppose the Dark Lord."
OoOoOoO The Author, Here and Now, 23MAY2008. OoOoOoO
Right... I think everyone is going to be talking about Harry tomorrow. He's about to let out quite a lot of anger on the Death Eaters and Britain has never seen anything like what Harry is becoming. I meant to take this chapter all the way to the train or the Sorting, but two things happened. First, I hit 22,000+ words and I try to keep the chapters under 20,000 words.
Second, how could I possibly pass up a cliffie like that?
For those of you reading SoG, chapter 13 is almost finished and should be off to the Betas right soon. It should have come before this chapter, but I am going to kill off a dozen people or more and one of them is a major character. Writing deaths has never been easy for me and killing a major character after thirteen chapters of showing you what I think they could be is even harder.
In the next chapter of this story, Harry will make it to Hogwarts, the public will react to what Harry is about to do, and several factions will be doing political things, both for and against Harry. Albus will continue to try and mould Harry into a tool, someone willing to kill Voldemort.
On the amusing side, Harry is going to make a friend, an owl named Pasteur. If you've been following this story, that should give you a clue as to who he belongs to.