Disclaimer: Harry Potter is not mine. This is a fanfiction and no copyright infringement is intended.
A/N: Ships - Harry Potter, Susan Bones and Hermione Granger
This fiction is an AU Harry Potter story taking place after Harry's 5th year. JKR's story is only occasionally background. Rating is Mature.
Chapter 1: Summer Holidays
Harry was abandoned once again at his relatives place in Little Winging. Sighing, he made his way up the stairs with his trunk to the smallest bedroom.
This is getting old really fast, he thought. I hate it here, Dumbledore could have done something about my relatives if he wanted to, but noo, you have to go back to them Harry, it's for your own protection. Bollocks!
Lying back on his lumpy mattress, tears in his eyes, Harry contemplated his just completed school year. Sirius was dead! His friends were hurt and he now knew why Voldemort was after him. The prophecy revealed to him by Dumbledore stated:
The one with the power to vanquish the Dark Lord approaches...
Born to those who have thrice defied him, born as the seventh month dies...
And the Dark Lord will mark him as equal, but he will have power the Dark Lord knows not...
And either must die at the hand of the other for neither can live while the other survives...
The one with the power to vanquish the Dark Lord will be born as the seventh month dies…
"How am I supposed to defeat him? He almost killed me the last time we met. It's just by luck that I escaped. My friends… How can I even face them again after what happened? I need to get away from here."
Harry stood and listened. The house was quiet; his great oaf of an uncle could be heard snoring loudly, Aunt Petunia was also likely asleep. Dudley was staying with his friend Piers Polkiss and probably vandalizing the neighbourhood.
He had let Hedwig out to hunt earlier; she would find him wherever he was. Quietly sneaking down the stairs with his trunk, he opened the front door. It was a cloudy night and he could hear a soft snore coming from behind a nearby bush. Mundungus Fletcher must be on guard duty tonight. Harry grinned to himself. Dung was the least reliable member of the Order assigned to keep an eye on Harry. They must have figured that Harry would stay at home like a good little boy. Well, I've got news for them, I've had it with their manipulations! I can't protect my friends properly, so I'm giving them a chance to live by leaving. Without me to attract Voldemort, they'll be able to lead normal lives.
Carefully walking up the street, Harry was a couple of blocks away when he stuck out his wand, summoning the Knight Bus.
The next morning, Tonks relieved Mundungus.
"Everything okay 'Dung?" she asked.
"Yeh, quiet as a church mouse them is."
"Quiet? That doesn't sound right. The Dursley's usually yell at Harry first thing. I'd better check."
Walking to the door at Number 4 Privet Drive, Tonks knocked. Vernon answered the door, peering at a young woman with bright pink hair.
"Go away, we don't want any weirdo's…"
That was as far as he got, as Tonks stuck a wand in his throat.
"Where's Harry?" she growled menacingly.
Vernon blustered, trying to get the upper hand, "Now see here, you're trespassing, I could have you arrested…"
"I asked you a question tubby!" Tonks had shoved her wand deeper, causing Vernon to loose his courage.
"H-he's gone. D-don't k-know where. Petunia looked for him this morning but he'd left. Took all his stuff with him. Good riddance if you ask me."
"You idiot! The wards needed to be recharged here. Harry's presence was the only thing protecting you three. As long as he could call this place home, you all would be safe. If I were you, I'd get out of here as fast as I could. This place won't be safe by tonight. The wards are already weakening."
There was a loud clanging sound and the house shook. The wards were already coming down.
"Get out NOW!" Tonks yelled. "Get your family and leave!"
"What a load of tosh. This is my house, we're not going anywhere."
"You stupid muggle! She yelled. "Don't you understand? You'll be killed if you stay."
At that moment, multiple pops could be heard as a dozen Death Eaters apparated to the front lawn. Tonks retreated, rapidly firing spells at the dark hooded figures. Two fell, but a series of dark spells fired by the remaining hooded men narrowly missed her. She knew she was outnumbered, and grabbing 'Dung, disappeared. She knew it was too late to save the Dursleys.
Vernon ran in the house and locked the door as a grinning Death Eater cast a series of spells, sealing the house.
Albus was sipping tea in his office when one of his silver instruments sent a jet of black smoke into the air, startling the Headmaster. Carefully examining the instrument, he then called his longtime friend and Deputy Headmistress Minerva McGonagall.
"Minerva! The wards protecting Harry's home have fallen! Who's on duty guarding him?"
"Nymphadora Tonks, Albus. She just took over from Mundungus Fletcher. Albus, how could this be? Those were blood wards, they wouldn't collapse unless Harry…" she gasped, "is no longer there," she whispered.
The floo flared and Tonks' face appeared. "Headmaster! Harry's place was just attacked by a dozen Death Eaters! Harry's left, I don't know when or where. 'Dung and I barely escaped. I think Voldemort was there. I'm afraid the Dursleys didn't make it out. Vernon told me that Harry was gone when they arose this morning."
"I need you to go back there and check, Nymphadora," Albus commanded. "Check for anything Harry may have left behind. A note, anything."
Tonks growled, hating her given name. "Yes, Albus," and Tonks' head disappeared from the green flames.
Meanwhile, Harry was far away, having taken the Knight Bus to the Leaky Cauldron. After a good nights sleep, he walked to Gringotts. Entering the wizard bank, Harry waited patiently in line until a goblin motioned him aside.
"Mr. Potter, if you will follow me please."
Harry recognized the goblin as Griphook, the same goblin that greeted him many years ago on his first trip to Gringotts. "Hello Griphook, I haven't seen you in many years."
Griphook was startled. Not many wizards recognised goblins. "It's a pleasure to meet you again Mr. Potter."
Harry followed the goblin until they came to a heavy polished oak door inlaid with gold runes.
Griphook opened the door and bade him enter. An old goblin sat at an impressive desk. Carved from a solid piece of gut rock, it was a reddish colour, inlaid with precious stones. Harry recognized rubies and emeralds and what must have been a huge diamond set in front.
"Ah, Mr. Potter, or should I say Lord Potter, we meet at last," the old goblin greeted. "My name is Ragnok, I am the director of Gringotts, and I welcome you. As the largest depositor at our bank, it is my duty to introduce you to your account manager. Since Griphook has maintained your parents account for many years, I would like to suggest he continue the post. You, of course, may request a new account manager if you feel that Griphook has not performed satisfactorily.
Harry nodded but could only gape. He had no idea that he deserved his own account manager; much less that he apparently was their largest account. Managing to regain his voice, he bowed and thanked Ragnok. "I had no idea that my account was large enough to deserve this attention. I've never received a statement, and just assumed that my vault 687 was all I had. And why are you referring to me as Lord Potter? Please. Just Harry will be fine."
"Then Harry, since you are the last of the Potter line and have inherited your family's vault, property and title, you are entitled to be addressed as Lord Potter. Your family is The Most Ancient and Noble House of Potter, therefore the title. You also have a hereditary seat on the Wizengamot, as well as the right to be emancipated. About your statements Harry, has not your Financial Guardian given them to you? You should be receiving them once a month."
Startled, Harry's mouth dropped again. He could be emancipated? He had no idea that he had a Financial Guardian, much less who it might be, but he had a suspicion. "And who is my Financial Guardian, Ragnok?"
"Albus Dumbledore appointed himself after your parents died," Ragnok answered. "He should have kept you abreast of your holdings. To not do so, is a serious breach of wizarding law, not to mention that goblin law takes precedence in any case of banking irregularities. Mr. Dumbledore is in serious trouble if you wish to press charges!"
Harry groaned; yet another interference in his life by the old man. Well, he was fed up with it! "Ragnok, can you summarize my holdings? I have no idea how much I'm worth. I'll deal with Professor Dumbledore another time."
"I'll have a statement prepared for you, detailing transactions and holdings. It may take awhile, since your vault is a large one and has been accruing interest for fifteen years. Your trust vault is a very minor part of what you own, Harry."
"Then there is the matter of Lord Black's will. It was due to be read next Monday. You are named as a beneficiary, so you will be required to attend."
"Lord Black? That would be Sirius Black?" Harry enquired.
"Indeed, Harry. The Black family also had extensive wealth, and a full accounting will be given at the reading of the will. Since he never received a trial, his will is still valid. Already you are the wealthiest wizard in Britain. If Lord Black has added to that wealth…"
"I don't care! I'd rather have Sirius and my parents than all the money in the world!" Harry stated heatedly.
"I understand, Harry," Ragnok said gently. "To a goblin, family is everything, even above gold."
"Ragnok, I don't know where I'll be for the next two months. Can you provide a portkey to bring me back here when the will is read?"
"Certainly, Harry. And I would expect you might need a more convenient method of withdrawing money, so I've taken the liberty to provide you with a special Gringotts card. This will enable you to debit your account automatically without bothering to come here. I'll need a blood sample to key the card to you alone."
Harry held out his hand and a small prick drew a sample of blood from his index finger, transferring itself to the card, where it was immediately absorbed.
"Harry, this card is good throughout the world, both wizarding and muggle. I sense you may also need a passport to travel. I've also arranged that and you can pick it up from Griphook as you leave.
Bowing and thanking the director, Harry left the office. Griphook was waiting for him and handed him a passport. He noted that it had a wizarding picture of him on it.
"This passport will take you anywhere, Lord Potter. It will appear as a normal diplomatic passport to muggles, which should smooth your entry and exit from any country. A wizard will see the passport as a high level ministry official passport," Griphook proclaimed. "Here is a timed portkey that will return you here for the reading of Lord Black's will."
A smile slowly worked its way across Harry's face. Thanking Griphook, he was now ready to disappear for a couple of months.
Susan Bones was quietly enjoying a relaxing day at her Aunt Amelia's place. Her parents had wanted her to accompany them on holiday to Switzerland and Susan had almost said she'd go, but at the last minute, changed her mind.
"Mum and Dad wanted to visit relatives in Lucerne and I found that boring. I told them I'd join them later in Interlaken," she told her aunt.
Susan was a beautiful girl, with long blond hair done in a plait down her back. Over the years, she had developed quite nicely, with shapely legs, a prominent bust and a trim waist. Her face was one of her better features, with soft brown eyes and a pert nose. Many a boy at Hogwarts had succumbed to the beauty of the Hufflepuff, but she remained stoutly unattached.
"I love to have you visit, Susan, I see the family too little. I seem to be so busy at the Ministry these days, what with Voldemort back and all the attacks."
"It's good to be able to relax Aunt Amelia, after the horrid year we had at school. Harry Potter suffered the most, loosing his Godfather and being subjected to that terrible Umbridge woman all year. Thank goodness she's gone!"
Amelia knew that Susan had a crush on 'The Boy Who Lived' and decided to tease her a bit. "Oh, you and Harry? Do you see much of him?" She knew that Susan belonged to the DA and was always talking about Harry at home. Her sister told her that Susan talked constantly about Harry in her letters home.
Susan blushed a deep red, stuttering, "H-Harry and I are just f-friends, Aunt Amelia."
Amelia just grinned, amused that her niece seemed tongue tied at the mere mention of Harry.
Hermione sat at home, worried about Harry. It seemed that her best friend had forgotten her. She was still recovering from the battle in the Department of Mysteries and the scar across her chest was only now starting to fade a bit. The potions that Madam Pomfrey provided helped the healing and she looked forward to the day when her full strength returned. Ron was still recovering from the attack by the brain that had grabbed him, and the others were also recovering slowly. Neville seemed to be the least harmed and had owled her today to see how she was. She was just sitting down to reply when there was a knock on the door. Professor McGonagall stood on the doorstep when she opened the door, a worried look on her face.
"Good afternoon Miss Granger. May I come in?"
After guiding her to a seat in the family room, Hermione asked, "Is everything alright? You look worried."
"Miss Granger, Hermione… Have you heard from Harry?"
"N-no Professor. Is he all right? What's happened? I expected Hedwig with a message by now."
"I'm afraid Harry is missing. His relative's house is destroyed and the Dursleys are dead."
Hermione's hand flew to her mouth and she gasped. "H-Harry wasn't there then?"
"No, he seems to have left quite a bit earlier. We thought he might have contacted you or Ron."
A tear formed in Hermione's eye. "No! He promised to keep in touch! Why didn't he let anybody know? He must feel somehow responsible for what happened. We don't blame him, we knew what we were doing, following him."
"If you hear from him, you will let us know, won't you," McGonagall asked.
"Certainly, Professor," Hermione replied absently, her mind turning over the possible places Harry would go.
"Professor Dumbledore is checking Gringotts, and I've already checked the Burrow and the other DA members homes. You were our best hope," she sighed. "When Harry left, the blood wards fell and a dozen Death Eaters apparated there, including Voldemort, we think. They sealed the house and burned it to the ground. By the time the muggle firefighters arrived, there was nothing left except smoldering ashes and three bodies. Tonks thinks she got two of them, but there was no sign of anyone else."
Hermione was horrified. Her best friend could have been killed.
"Hermione, the reason the wards fell, was because Harry deliberately abandoned his home. That would have been the only reason. We have to find him."