Yeah, I've got nothing to really say here. Blah blah blah, pending rewrite, blah blah blah.
Chapter XIII- The Taste of Freedom
Harry leant back in the armchair, the old tome in his lap. He cracked it open to where he had last opened it, grimacing at the musty smell as he began to read.
The other sixth years had gone out to play Quidditch or whatever it was they did. Harry vaguely remembered them inviting him, but he had chosen to stay in the common room. To do a little research into creating Portkeys.
He couldn't Disapparate from Hogwarts, but he'd heard Portkeys worked well enough. And, after all, it was a Portkey that had brought him here. He'd been reading up on how to create the damn things for the past few days now, and he was sure he was ready to try creating one.
He was already fully dressed and ready in case it worked.
Harry took a quill from his pocket, and tapped it with his wand. "Portus," he muttered, focusing on the Ehynware Islands.
With the spell cast, now it was simply time to state the trigger word. "Return."
He felt a tug as he was whisked up- and then he crashed back into the armchair, his head feeling like it had cracked, while the remnants of a destroyed quill floated down upon him.
"Oh, for the love of-" he groaned as he clutched his throbbing head, brushing off the bits of quill. It was those bloody wards, it had to be. Clearly, Portkeys made outside the islands didn't work.
He stared into the depths of the fire. "Now what?" October had already reached them. Somewhere out there, there was some madman called Voldemort who'd like nothing more than to see him dead. Dumbledore still hadn't helped with that seal or lock he'd placed on his magic. But now, in Hogwarts, he was at least safe- for the moment, it seemed.
Harry let his hand brush the necklace that Dumbleore had given him as a temporary fix to the problem. Although Dumbledore had got this right at least, there seemed to be no enchantments on the necklace besides the one he'd been informed about- but surely, there had to be some way Harry could terminate this power-draining link between him and Voldemort completely?
And more importantly- the memories that grew foggier day by day. Eleven years were fading from his life and he could do nothing about it. He could still hear the war-drums, and he could still carry out the stances of the staff, but would he end up wondering how they had occurred there in the first place? He'd assumed the Elumvians would be fine with the idea of him having the memories safely locked away thanks to their spells, but it appeared they'd prefer to remove most of it.
He had to do something. But in the end, what could he do? He couldn't force Dumbledore to remove the seal. He couldn't deal with Voldemort. And as his little Portkey plan had proven, neither could he get back to the Ehnyware Islands.
Harry shook his head. "Why am I sitting here just bitching about my life?" He asked himself. "I made it into the island myself, didn't I? And if I can't deal with Dumbledore or Voldemort now- I'll have to get more powerful, won't I?"
Of course, that was easier said than done. The path of obtaining more power took years to accomplish. Years he did not have.
'Then I've got to try again. I've got to get back to the Islands.'
Portkeys were out of the question now- wait a second. He still had that Portkey he'd used to get here, didn't he? Wasn't it possible to be able to fix them to go back and forth?
What had the Portkey been? He'd forgotten, having dismissed it in his mind as solely an object. It had been a stone of some sort, had it not? Had he dropped it as he landed in the Alley? No, he remembered he'd shoved it into a pocket as he headed to Diagon Alley. So that meant it would either be back at his bedroom in the Potter household, or it'd be here, having been tossed into his trunk without him realising what he was doing.
Harry jumped out of the chair, sprinting to his dorm. He had to get to his trunk and see-
Then he crashed into someone, knocking them to the ground.
"Sorry," he said, offering his hand. Closer inspection revealed that someone to be that peculiar girl Luna Lovegood.
She took his hand, after first inspecting it suspiciously. Harry pulled her up. "Are you in a hurry?" Luna asked him.
"Yeah, so I'll be going," Harry said.
"You should be careful," Luna said before he could leave. "If you're always running into things without care you might find yourself unable to run."
"Did you just threaten to break my legs?" Harry asked.
Luna looked confused. "That'd be a shame. You have very nice legs, Harry."
"Thanks- I think." Harry slowly backed away. There was no way all of that could be real, could it? At least part of it had to be a facade, right?
He made his way to his dormitory. It was deserted, and he headed over to his trunk, throwing it open and digging through it. Clothes, clothes, clothes, some more books, spare parchment and quills, other bits and pieces- but no unusual stone.
Well, he could hardly send his parents a letter requesting they root around in his room for an unusual stone and send it in the mail.
Harry almost hit himself. He had to stop messing around. He'd just go and collect it himself. That was why the Floo existed, didn't it? All he really had to do was go back to the common room, look around if anyone was there- and then he remembered he didn't have any Floo powder.
Fine, he'd just find some. It mattered little, how hard could it be? Some student probably had Floo powder lying around, or more likely, a teacher had some.
Harry groaned. This place was turning him into a thief. Actually, instead of just making this up as he went along, he may as well make an actual plan or something.
Steal Floo Powder.
Travel back to the house at a time no one will be around. Night would be easier.
Get Portkey and get back to Hogwarts.
Find some way to reverse Portkey's effects.
Right now, reversing the Portkey would be hard enough. He knew it was possible, but it was going to be incredibly difficult to go back when it had been designed as a one-way journey. But it was possible. He knew it was possible. He'd make it possible.
Harry made his way back to the common room, and walked over to the fireplace. A few things were stacked over it, and he searched them, but no signs of Floo powder.
"What are you doing?" Luna asked, the girl sitting in an armchair a few metres behind him.
"Trying to find Floo powder," Harry replied. It probably didn't matter if he told her, it was doubtful most people believed just about anything she said.
"You won't find any there," said Luna. "It's a conspiracy, you see. We're trapped here with our only means of communication with the outside world being owls; anyone can interfere with the mail and control our minds."
Harry fidgeted uncomfortably. It was probably more of her random theories, but that comment about minds hit a little close for his liking. "So, you know where I can get some Floo powder?"
Luna leaned forwards. "They need those with influence inside the school-" She stopped, as she saw Harry's face.
"Please, Luna. Can you just tell me who has Floo powder?"
"The teachers all keep a bit," she said.
Harry nodded to himself, he'd thought so. "Thanks." But how would he get into a teacher's office? If he tried to talk to one of them about the subject, they'd still keep his eye on him. And he wasn't going to break into any more places any time soon.
"You're not going to steal any, are you?" Luna broke him out of his thoughts.
"No. I'll just ask if I can borrow some or something."
"But they must uphold the conspiracy," said Luna. "They shall not let you get at the precious Floo powder."
"There must be some way."
"Even if you got some, it wouldn't matter," Luna said. "The attempt to kill Severus Snape, the Overseer of the Information Manipulation Conspiracy has been used by them to monitor every Floo fireplace. Any student would be stopped, and so the assassination that may have freed us has resulted in conditions becoming even worse."
"So, I can't get any Floo powder, and if I did, I'd be caught in a fireplace," Harry summed up. "Absolutely brilliant."
"Where do you need to go, anyway?" Luna asked.
"Can't you just send a letter to your parents about whatever you need? Or are you just homesick?"
Harry snorted at the idea of being homesick. He'd only returned to his house after eleven years only a few months ago. "The item I'm after seems normal enough but I know that if I specifically request for it, it'll be checked."
"What is it?"
"Maybe I should send your parents a letter for you," said Luna. "If it's a very unusual stone, who knows? Some stones can give immortality, some can resurrect and some can kill all your friends and turn you into a massive demon."
"Wow, I never realised just how important stones are in this world."
If Luna noticed the sarcasm, she ignored it. "Aren't they?" She said, clasping her hands together. "Do you think your stone could have some mystic power?"
Harry blinked. "Well, uh, it once transported me from a far off land filled with beings no other person had seen, to an alley outside The Leaky Cauldron."
"Hm. A stone of great reversals, you mean?" Luna asked seriously. "Wait one moment; I'm off to write a letter."
Harry watched Luna walk away, presumably to get her hands on some parchment. He couldn't help but laugh, this was the stupidest-
Harry stared dumbly at the stone Luna handed to him a day later. It actually worked.
"There you go," Luna said brightly. "I've met your parents before, so they didn't mind my letter."
Harry did not take his eyes away from the stone, gripping it tightly in his fist. In this stone, still lay that magic that lingered from a used Portkey. He'd have to coax it out once more, but this stone would be his key.
"Thanks, Luna," he said, and after receiving a cheerful nod, he went back to reading the old tome on Portkeys.
Ritual of Reversing. Portkeys created with the common "Portus" incantation cannot be reversed, as they are-
He skipped ahead a few paragraphs, until he found a line that looked promising.
-nevertheless, it is possible to reverse one-way Portkeys. But only truly skilled wizards have a chance of finding the traces of the long gone magic and reforming the bonds once more. The following instructions explain briefly how to attempt this, but to grasp this, it is something that is instinctual, rather than something to be learnt from books. However, it is advised you practise in a wide open space, preferably outdoors nowhere near Muggles, as there can be somewhat large and sometimes explosive results.
"Oh for the love of-" Harry cut himself off as he noticed Luna staring at him curiously.
"What is it? Is it the wrong stone?" Luna asked. "A stone that reverses great reversals, perhaps?"
"A stone that goes forwards? Wait, no, I meant- well," Harry bit his lip. Luna had been a great help to him so far, he had to admit, but was it too much to ask that she would know a place he could use? "Luna, I don't suppose you know anywhere in the castle where I could do something away privately?"
"Well, everyone uses the broom cupboards, or just their dorms," said Luna.
Harry blinked, before he realised what Luna meant. "No, I meant somewhere quiet to practise a spell. It can mess up badly and cause some damage, though, so I'd prefer it to be quiet."
Luna tapped her forehead. "I know just the place."
"Is this the right place?" Harry asked himself, looking down the corridor. He shrugged, and just hoped Luna hadn't just made up the place she'd talked about.
'I need a place where I can reverse a Portkey. I need a place where I can reverse a Portkey. I need-'
But the fabled Room of Requirement did not appear. Harry sighed. Perhaps he was in the wrong place, and it probably would-
Harry wheeled around to face Malfoy, his hand itching for his wand. "Malfoy. What do you want?"
"Never mind that, what are you doing here?" Malfoy said, his eyes narrowed.
"Seeing the sights," Harry replied.
Malfoy looked past him as though he thought Harry was hiding something behind his back. "Wait, you're looking for the Room, aren't you?"
Malfoy seemed like he was struggling with something, but eventually, a strange grin appeared on his face. "Just down there," he pointed. "Past that tapestry."
Harry walked to the tapestry, and began to think again. And this time, a door appeared. "How about that."
"What are you going to do there, anyway?" said Malfoy, who evidently had followed him.
"Well, I believe that's none of your business. Thanks for helping me find the room, and goodbye," Harry finished as he reached for the door.
"Are you going to make a Portkey?"
"What the hell would make you think that?" Harry asked.
"You're holding a book on Portkeys," said Malfoy, pointing at the tome in Harry's hand.
"Why do you even care? Stop bothering me."
"Wait- how about we make a deal?" Malfoy said.
"A deal?" Harry repeated. "What you could possibly have to- no, in fact, why would you ever make a deal with me? Last time I checked, we don't exactly get along."
"Hence why we're making a deal," said Malfoy. "You may not know this, Potter, but at the Malfoy household, my father has an impressive collection of books and knowledge-"
"Can you stop wasting my time and just be blunt for once?"
"I can help you with whatever it is you need," said Malfoy.
Harry watched him, his eyes clearly suspicious. "And why would you ever help me?"
Malfoy muttered something, and Harry grinned. "Sorry, I didn't catch that, Malfoy. Do you think you could repeat that?"
Malfoy muttered something in a slightly louder voice. "Still didn't catch it, Malfoy."
"I said stop Banishing me into stuff!" Malfoy shouted, before spotting the potential loophole. "And no, that doesn't mean "use other spells instead"!"
"I had no idea you were so upset by this," Harry replied. "I've only used it about-"
"You Banished me into a broom cupboard just yesterday," said Malfoy.
"And you Banished me into the lake last weekend-"
"I was actually aiming for-"
"And last week you-"
"Alright, I see your point," said Harry, rubbing his forehead. "Fine. You help me, and I'll stop randomly attacking you. But if you randomly attack me, it's over."
"Deal," said Malfoy.
Harry left the door open for Malfoy as they entered the Room of Requirement. The walls were lined with books, a table and chairs sat in the middle of the room and at the far end, there was a clear space.
"So anyway, what are you doing?" Malfoy asked.
"I'm trying to reverse a one-way Portkey," Harry replied, taking a seat, but still he kept wary of Malfoy.
"Why would you even want to do that?"
"Are you going to help me or not? If not, there's the door," said Harry, pointing with his wand, before he cracked open his tome.
"Fine, fine," said Malfoy. He grudgingly came over to Harry's side. "Move over, I can't see."
"Potter," said Professor McGonagall, "You've been staring at that fox for the past eight minutes."
Harry looked up. "Sorry," he said, getting up from his chair, and he pointed his wand at the fox, changing it into a wolf. "That okay, then?"
Professor McGonagall inspected the wolf with a critical eye, and Harry was about to tell her that maybe it wasn't that great an idea to get so close to a wolf, when the animal met her eyes and suddenly lay down on his belly.
'How about that, even wolves are terrified of her,' Harry thought.
"An excellent Transfiguration," McGonagall grudgingly admitted. "You certainly have your father's talent for Transfiguration. Take ten points for Ravenclaw."
"Thanks, I guess," said Harry, and McGonagall went off, presumably to find someone else to criticise.
"You alright?" It was Hayden. He sat on the desk as Harry turned the wolf back into a fox.
"Yeah," said Harry. "Why?" He hadn't spoken to Hayden since they'd come to Hogwarts, and for once he was curious as to what his brother had to say.
"Well, for a start, dad sent me a letter asking why I hadn't told them I was gay," Hayden said, irritably. "He said you'd told them that in your last letter."
"You're not? I thought you and Ron- never mind, then," Harry had to suppress a grin at Hayden's twitch. "Anything else then?"
"My scar was aching the other day," said Hayden, raising his palm. "The night after Snape got attacked in the library."
Harry didn't say anything. Truth was, he'd felt it as well. He'd put it out of his mind that morning as he went to the Owlery- and then found out Ollivander had been kidnapped by the Death Eaters. He'd just incinerated his letter, chucked all the copied notes into the bottom of his trunk and returned the book the next day.
"You felt it too, right?" Hayden said, gazing piercingly at Harry.
Harry frowned. Hayden was more perceptive than he'd first thought. "Yeah."
"You know, that's a result of Voldemort up to something, right?" Hayden said. "He's planning something big."
"Something to worry about then?"
"Nah," Hayden grinned. "If the past years have shown me anything, the real important stuff only happens around May. Don't know why."
"Never mind," said Hayden, still grinning. "Anyway, Harry- you had any dreams of Voldemort, or anything?"
Harry looked at Hayden, as if trying to decide if his brother was mad. "Why would I dream of him? I haven't even seen him."
Hayden looked around the classroom. "Well, it's like this. Last year, I'd get dreams of what Voldemort was up to- I was looking into his head, I guess you could say. But they stopped this year. Dumbledore told me he was just closing his mind off to me because he figured I can't be used from it. But then even my scar has been hurting less this year. And then Dumbledore said it was because you were near, and now you were receiving some of it as well."
'He doesn't even realise Dumbledore told him that so he would get to verify it from me,' Harry thought.
"So, yeah, if you ever get weird forewarning dreams, ignore them," said Hayden.
"I'll keep it in mind," said Harry.
"By the way, then, Harry," said Hayden. "Where'd you get that scar?"
Harry had stopped wearing the face powder that concealed the scar of Snape's curse about two weeks after the incident. He figured that by then no one would connect the two events, except Anthony, but he had to keep silent if he wanted his masculinity intact. Seriously, Harry had wondered, why did Anthony have make up?
"Accident while shaving," Harry said. "I was using a spell, and then I got a little distracted midway."
"Oh, right," said Hayden. "It looks like something pretty sharp cut it."
"It's nothing," said Harry. "See you 'round, Hayden."
Hayden nodded, and headed back to his own desk where his friends waited. Harry meanwhile, began reading his Transfiguration textbook.
Although if anyone saw the actual words, they would realise Harry had just cast a spell to give a book on Portkeys the same cover as the Transfiguration textbook.
"I got you this," said Malfoy, as he entered the Room of Requirement, where Harry already awaited for another one of their meetings. He placed a book upon the table. "I managed to persuade my mother to send it to me. It's from the Malfoy Manor library, of a far higher class of material than the trash in the school library-"
"Yeah, sounds brilliant," Harry said, waving his hand to indicate he wanted Malfoy to shut up. He put down his own tome, and began flicking through the book. He had to give Malfoy credit, this was certainly better and would no doubt be more useful.
"Anyway, there have been Portkey wards put up since Professor Snape was attacked, so when we actually get this done, you'll have to leave Hogwarts to use it," said Malfoy.
"Oh? I didn't know that," said Harry, not looking up from his book.
"Why do you know nothing about the school?" Malfoy asked. "Who do you even hang out with?"
"You," said Harry. "Oh, and Luna Lovegood."
"There's your problem," Malfoy sneered. "Well, unlike the Disapparation wards, you don't have to leave the grounds, you just have to leave the castle, since Dumbledore's lot still use Portkeys."
"Dumbledore's lot?" Harry repeated. "What are you talking about?
Malfoy walked over to his side of the table. "You know, all those weird Mudbloods Dumbledore seems to be inviting over for tea everyday-"
"What's that in your hand?" Harry asked.
"This?" Malfoy's left hand was wrapped around something small and spherical, and his right hand seemed to be reaching for his wand. "Er, nothing."
Harry stared at him, clearly disbelieving, and Malfoy walked back over to his side of the table. He was acting strange for the rest of their little session.
The room was dimly lit, but the darkest shape of all waited in the stone throne. Lord Voldemort's pale fingers curled unpleasantly on the arm rests, and he leant forward. "All of you leave," he said, to the occupants of the round table before him. "All except Lucius."
The Death Eaters filed out of the room, none of them daring to look back save Bella, who looked oddly spiteful towards Lucius.
"Ye-yes, my lord?"
Voldemort relished in the fear, but now was not the time. "Why is dear Draco taking so long, Lucius? I grow…displeased."
"My- my lord, Draco is inexperienced, he needs more time-"
The Death Eaters outside all heard Lucius' screams.
Voldemort waited for Lucius to recover, and climb to his feet. "Explain, Lucius. I want to know what progress Draco has made. Every last step."
"He's gaining the target's trust-"
"I don't want his trust, Lucius, I want Harry Potter! Crucio!"
Harry's scar burned. He awoke, wondering why he felt so angry, before shaking his head and drifting back to sleep. When the morning came, he wouldn't remember it at all.
It was Saturday morning when Harry left the Room of Requirement, in the best mood he'd been in for months. He'd skipped breakfast to come earlier than Malfoy, and he'd finally cracked it. A working Portkey was in his pocket, and he'd already readied himself to go.
"Oh, hey Draco," said Harry.
"Draco? What happened to Malfoy?" Malfoy asked. He looked oddly pale today. "Anyway, why are you leaving? We need to work on the-"
"I've finished it."
"Sorry you couldn't be there for the finale," said Harry. "But thanks a lot for the book, Draco." He passed it over to Malfoy, who took it dumbly. "For a week and a bit we got nowhere with that crappy school book, and then you gave me that and it was done in a few days. Cheers. Well, see you. You won't have to worry about me attacking you again."
Harry walked past Malfoy, humming a tune as he headed to the staircase. Time to go down to the Entrance Hall and-
Harry turned to see Malfoy pointing his wand at him. "What the- you realise by doing that, this might just void the deal?"
"I don't fucking care about the deal!" Malfoy screamed. "You're coming with me Potter!" His free hand dug into his pocket, and pulled out the sphere again. What was it- and Harry realised. It was a Portkey.
"So, this is it, huh, D- Malfoy? You're working for Voldemort?"
"I have to," Malfoy said, but his words seemed as though he was talking to himself. "I have to! He'll kill me and my family!"
"But sadly enough, Malfoy," said Harry. "You don't stand a chance against me."
Harry had already jumped out of the way, hiding behind a suit of armour. He pulled out his wand, and peered out of cover, only for Malfoy to send a curse his way.
"Well, since I'm in a hurry, I'll just spare you the Banishers and just knock you out," Harry shouted. He pointed his wand at Malfoy. "Stupefy!"
Malfoy shielded it behind a Protego, and Harry stepped out from behind the suit of armour to blast him with a few more Stunners. "Well Malfoy, you-"
Harry fell back onto the floor, a great gash across his chest. Malfoy advanced, grinning. "That shut you up, didn't it?"
And then he realised Harry's wand was still in his hand- and it was pointed at him.
He was Banished into the ceiling.
"What comes up, comes down," said Harry, already casting a quick spell used to stem bleeding.
Malfoy fell down, hitting the floor face first. He didn't move.
Harry finished treating his wound before going over to check on Malfoy. He was out cold. Except Harry couldn't really care about that after Malfoy had nearly killed him with that lucky shot. If he hadn't been taught healing spells... he shook his head, not wanting to go into what'd happened. He'd probably have been killed by Snape's curse before it reached any of this, then.
With that, Harry turned away, and broke into a run, heading down to the Entrance Hall before anyone could stop him. He thundered down staircases, terrifying some first years, but making good speed.
In under a minute he had run down all the floors and had made it to the Entrance Hall, taking a moment to catch his breath.
"Harry? Is that blood?" Oriana's voice sounded.
Harry's head snapped up. Then he remembered. He'd missed breakfast- and had come down just as most the people were leaving. Oriana was there, as was Hayden. Best of all? Dumbledore was there.
He stood there, and let his eyes go to the door. Just that door and he was out.
Harry ran to the great doors, but Dumbledore had his wand out, and they locked themselves before him.
"Harry, I realise today is a Saturday, but I feel it might be an idea for you to stay in the castle today," said Dumbledore, in a warning tone.
Harry took out his wand, and pointed it at the doors. "Reducto."
While the doors were strong enough to withstand it, it left a hole the size of Harry's torso. And then, just as Harry was admiring his handiwork, a Stunner left Dumbledore's wand.
"Magus Contego!" Harry put up his shield, and Dumbledore followed suit with a barrage of Stunners that nearly sent him flying from sheer force.
He made to turn to blast the doors with more Reductos, but already Dumbledore had sent more Stunners at him, and he was soon too busy dodging or shielding to even have a second's gap.
The students were shouting, some running for it, and he could just vaguely see teachers trying to get closer but were blocked off by the mass of students. But Hayden and Oriana remained at the front, watching the spectacle with a look of abject shock on their faces.
"Hayden! Oriana!" Harry shouted. "Blow the damn doors down!"
"What?" Hayden said, as though he was sure he'd misheard.
But Oriana had figured it out. "Why? You want to leave again, don't you! We're your family!" She shouted at him.
"Now's really not the time!" Harry shouted back. "I need to go!"
"Why?" Hayden asked.
"I need to get cured!" Harry yelled. "I need to fix what they did to me! You've seen it, both of you! I need this!"
Oriana didn't shout, but Harry caught her every word over the noise. "How do we know you'll come back?"
Harry weathered another bombardment of Stunners behind a shield, this time also taking Stunners from Snape, who'd made it past the students. "I'll come back soon. I promise."
And in that instant, Hayden and Oriana exchanged looks.
"No!" Dumbledore cried. "Both of you, don't do it!"
It was too late. Both had raised their wands and pointed them at the doors. "Reducto!"
That glorious word, uttered by his siblings, was what Harry needed. He watched it blow through the doors, and with the mark he'd made earlier, left a gap big enough for him.
He jumped through it, and looked back one last time with a smile on his face as he activated the Portkey in his pocket. Just as he was whisked away, he saw answering smiles on his siblings' faces.
Harry crashed onto the floor. He rose to his feet, and to his surprise, his old room was not occupied by some new student, nor was there any real indication that anyone had stepped foot in here since he had left.
He frowned. He could feel something was wrong.
Harry walked to the window, and then he saw it. There were no students anywhere, and although it had to be daytime, there was a gloomy air over the place in the dim light. Absolute silence ruled the place. The trees seemed despondent and forlorn, and all in all, it was certainly nothing like the place he had spent eleven years growing up in.
"What on earth has happened here?" He asked himself.
He saw no trace of life, no indication that anyone was here anymore. The Elumvians were all gone. He had returned, but everyone was gone.
He was the last person here.
And then he heard a sound outside the door.
AN: I am just a dick when it comes to cliffhangers. Oh, and sorry about taking a year to update. Promise I'll do better next time.
And yes, I actually mean that. The next couple of chapters is time for the shit to finally hit the fan.