Disclaimer: I own nothing, not Harry Potter, not a house, not a car, and only shreds of pride left.
"Harry, may I have a word with you?"
Harry, who had been seeing off the Beauxbatons and Durmstrang students like the rest of the Hogwarts students turned around upon hearing his name called. He looked behind him to see Albus Dumbledore, headmaster of Hogwarts, bearing the same solemn expression he had during the feast when he acknowledged Cedric Diggory's death.
"Uh, what is it about, sir?" Harry asked, and Dumbledore looked around cautiously, slightly more nervous than usual, which unsettled Harry. His mentor, who was usually a source of strength and comfort was a picture of anxiety and something which Harry had never seen in Dumbledore's eyes before – fear.
"Follow me, Harry." Dumbledore spoke softly, and Harry turned to Hermione and Ron, who nodded, as he followed Dumbledore through the school grounds, all the way up to the familiar office which he had visited many times during his tenure in Hogwarts. "Cockroach Crunch." Dumbledore said, as the gargoyle guarding his office moved aside, revealing the stone staircase which they climbed up and into his office.
"What did you want to see me for, Professor?" Harry himself was nervous, Dumbledore's own unusual anxious expression confused Harry and made himself feel the same way. No good news could come from this.
"Well firstly, I think you'll be pleased to know that you won't have to spend your summer this year in Privet Drive." Dumbledore said, staring at Harry, waiting for his reaction.
"That's… That's great!" Harry beamed, and Dumbledore nodded. "So will I be staying with the Weasleys?"
"Ah, no." Dumbledore replied, and for a moment Harry's smile faltered. "You will be spending the summer with your godfather."
"Hello, Harry." Harry's attention was diverted, as the appearance of Sirius at the corner of the office took him by surprise. Harry nearly jumped for joy, though the surprise had him frozen in his seat. Though Harry was very happy, he was still a little worried by the fact that Dumbledore's expression had not lightened at all. There had to be a catch.
"Wait, we're not going to be staying in a cave, are we?" Harry asked, and Sirius laughed.
"No, I have a house." Sirius said. "It's alright, if you ignore the screaming profanities in the middle of the night."
"You'll be surprised to what I'm used to." Harry replied. "So is that all, is that what you wanted to speak to me about?"
Dumbledore cleared his throat, and removed his glasses whilst massaging his forehead. Sirius's joyous expression dropped as well, as Harry realized that Dumbledore's glasses were like a mask. Once he had taken them off, they revealed just another tired, old man. "Voldemort has returned Harry, and as you know he will be coming for you. We are afraid he will make an attempt on you while you are in your home, which is the reason for the move. We want to delay him as much as we can, as we fear that he is trying to prepare something to use against us."
"Like a weapon?"
"For the lack of a better word, yes. Something of that sort." Dumbledore nodded. "Our biggest problem is that we fear he has a mental link of sorts with you. He is an accomplished Legilimens, and as such is able to read minds, so he should have no problem further probing yours allowing him access to things we would much rather keep to ourselves."
"And you think he's going to use me to spy on you…"
"Yes. Though I am uncertain of whether he knows yet or not of the connection the two of you have." Dumbledore explained.
"Is there anyway to counter this?" Harry thought deeply. Just as Dumbledore opened his mouth, he was interrupted, as another arrival in the office startled all three of them.
"You called me to your office, Professor?" Severus Snape arrived in the office, and a scowl immediately came over his face when he saw the two other occupants of the room. "Oh."
"I have talked with Professor Snape about this, and he has agreed to help to teach you an ancient wizarding art over the summer, called 'Occlumency'." Dumbledore said. "It will help guard your mind from any attack, and will provide useful in the future."
"Can't you or Sirius teach me, instead?" Harry asked.
"It seems your godfather never managed to learn such an advanced form of magic." Snape interrupted, and Snape and Sirius exchanged glares that burned into each others eyes, as if they were ready to murder each other at the slightest provocation.
"Sirius will be teaching you other forms of magic to help prepare you as well, Harry." Dumbledore tried to reassure Harry, though Harry still did look slightly disappointed. "Nevertheless, I guarantee you that both of them will teach you skills that will become invaluable. Which brings me to my final point."
"Yes. For the near future, it would seem that Hogwarts may not be as safe for you." Dumbledore stood up, and began pacing the room, looking out the window onto the school grounds below in an attempt to avoid Harry's reaction. "The Ministry did not quite like me insisting the return of Voldemort had occurred, and as such they are placing certain 'protective' measures over the school over the following year."
"Wait, I'm not going to go back to Hogwarts next year?"
"Your magical education will continue, Harry." Dumbledore said. "I'm instilling a program Hogwarts hasn't participated in for quite a while. You will be representing Hogwarts as an 'exchange student' of sorts in a school that will provide you a better scope on the wizarding world and teach you some new and different magic not taught often enough in the halls of Hogwarts."
"Durmstrang?" Sirius asked, interested.
"Beauxbatons." Dumbledore corrected, as a look of horror was reflected on both Harry's and Sirius's faces.
"How fitting." Snape said, now in a merry mood, as he began to laugh.
"I swear Snivellus, you have two seconds to stop laughing before the spells start flying."
"What are you going to, bark at me 'til I'm deaf?"
"Are you alright, Harry?" Hermione asked, as they sat on the train on the way back to Kings Cross, where Harry would be picked up by Snape in secret and be taken to Sirius's house. "You seem bothered."
"I'm fine." Harry lied, as Dumbledore had forbidden him to tell anyone of his departure – not even Ron or Hermione. Various angry thoughts circled Harry's mind, as he realized that having him stay with Sirius was only to appease him slightly.
"Disappointed that you're going back to the Dursleys, then?" Ron asked.
"Yeah." Harry said, starting to get up. "Listen, I'm going to stretch my legs a little."
"Harry." Hermione stopped him, grabbing his hand. "Sit down, and tell us what's wrong. I don't have to be a mind-reader to tell that you're troubled."
The last comment annoyed Harry, and he was sure it showed on his face, as he sat down again, and took a deep breath. Screw what Dumbledore said. "This will probably be the last time I see you for a while."
"Pardon?" Ron asked.
"I'm staying over Sirius's during the summer and when school time comes around, Dumbledore is shipping me off to Beauxbatons – an all girls school, mind you – where I will have to be in hiding until further notice." Harry summarized.
"Harry, I'm so sorry." Hermione said, but the look on Ron's face said something different.
"You lucky son of a-" Ron almost shouted, and Harry looked at him with a confused expression, as Hermione interrupted him.
"Ron!" Hermione said, slapping Ron on the arm.
"What I'd do to be you, Harry Potter." Ron laughed.
"What, not being able to see your friends for a whole year?" Harry replied, offended.
"Well there's that part, but think about it this way, Harry. You're living every hormone-charged boy's dream!" Ron said. "The only boy in an all-girls school, in which almost every girl is drop dead gorgeous and part Veela? Sure sounds like a nightmare!" Ron continued laughing, while Hermione looked absolutely appalled.
Harry paused, digested the information, and blinked.
"Sometimes, Harry, you amaze me." Ron continued laughing. "Look on the bright side of life!"
"Pig." Hermione snorted, and Harry continued thinking. Maybe Ron was right, maybe he wasn't thinking about the better side, no matter crude it may be. "We can still write though, right?"
"I don't think so, 'mione." Harry said. "Dumbledore insisted not telling anyone, and I'm not allowed any contact. No one's supposed to know."
"Who knows Harry, maybe one of those Veela girls will have roped you in during the year?" Ron still was laughing in the corner of the compartment, as Hermione blushed.
"Harry can control himself, unlike you, Ron." Hermione snapped.
"Hey! I can control myself! It's just that when you're surrounded by hundreds of them, it may prove to be quite the challenge. Constant Vigilance, eh?" Ron replied. "Anyway Harry, I won't mind if you don't write about how bad it is over there."
"I think I should stretch my legs now… I need to think about this…" Harry said, and got up, making his way out of the compartment, making sure to take a certain bag out with him. He walked past compartments, until he found the one he was looking for, opening to see Fred, George, Angelina Johnson and Katie Bell, all four looking quite cozy together.
"Oh, sorry, did I interrupt something?" Harry asked, seeing George and Fred's disappointed looks with their arms draped around Katie and Angelina respectively.
"It's fine, Harry." Angelina nodded, while George made a cough sounding a lot like 'not!'.
"I was wondering, if I could talk to you two, just for a second, Fred, George?" Harry asked, and Fred shrugged.
"It's all good, they can hear it too." Fred said. "We don't mind."
"Alright then." Harry said, revealing the sack of gold he had been holding the whole time. "I want you to have this."
"That isn't… Your winnings, Harry?" George said, as Harry tried to hand it over, but he refused. "Keep it, Harry, that's gotta be a thousand Galleons!"
"Around enough to open and operate a shop, don't you think?" Harry asked, and Fred shook his head.
"You're a crazy git, you know." Fred said. "Take your money, and march your way back to your compartment."
"Look, I don't need it, I want you to have it. You're the two people I want to have it most." Harry said, practically shoving it into George's hands.
"Harry, I… I…" George began, shaking his head profusely, but Harry interrupted.
"I want you to do one favor in return though. One thing just for me." Harry said, and a reckless grin appeared on his face.
"Good." Harry began. "Firstly, I'll need you to…"
"So this is goodbye." Harry said, as they got off at Kings Cross Stations, facing Ron and Hermione, both with their luggage at their sides.
"Nah, mate." Ron shook his head. "Just 'til we meet again."
"I'll shake on that." Harry replied, shaking Ron's hand. "I'll be back before you know it."
"Who knows," Ron said, his face and especially his ears getting red and his eyes watering up, "maybe you'll end up loving it so much you'll stay there."
"I'll still send an owl every so often." Harry joked. "I'll have to keep you up to date with all my adventures."
"Send pictures." Ron said quickly, before covering up. "I mean. No, actually, that's exactly what I meant. And don't you dare get another sidekick."
"If I find a nice girl for you, Ron, I'll bring her back." Harry laughed, and embraced the boy that was practically his brother.
"Boys." Hermione said, once Harry and Ron had let go and practically leapt into Harry's arms, planting a kiss on his cheek and letting go, staring back at him, her eyes expressing everything the two boys wanted to.
"Dumbledore says I won't be able to see you all holidays, and that the only people I'm allowed to be in contact with is Snape, Padfoot and him." Harry said, bitterly. "He wants it so that everyone thinks I'm still at Privet Drive."
"What about the Dursleys?" Ron asked.
"Dumbledore's got them sorted out." Harry replied.
"This… None of this makes any sense." Ron said. "Maybe I'll have to start sending owls to Padfoot, if you know what I mean."
"Me too." Hermione affirmed, as the golden trio nodded at each other.
"I'll see you later, then." Harry said, and with one last look at Hermione and Ron, he walked out of Kings Cross station, his suitcase and Hedwig in tow, as he followed the plan Dumbledore had etched out for him. He continued walking out in the open on the streets of London, stopping only to check his watch once every so often. Finally he stopped walking, and as if on cue, a taxi appeared right at his feet.
The taxi's window rolled down, and a familiar drawling, monotonous voice answered him. "Do you know where you want to go?"
"To a place as grim as it is old." Harry replied quietly.
"Then hurry up and get in." The voice said, and Harry opened the door of the taxi, revealing that it was much more spacious inside. He was able to wheel his trolley in, and get in himself, finding at his feet a black, shaggy dog.
"Since when did you learn how to drive?" Harry asked the driver, as the car started rumbling.
"Since when did you learn how to be so annoying?" Snape shot back. "Oh wait, you've always been that annoying. How did I forget that?" Sirius barked loudly, and Snape made a noise of disgust, while Harry laughed to himself.
"Maybe you've been too busy making sure you're hair is greasy enough to notice anything." Sirius spoke, now transformed back to his normal form. "We are in the clear, right Snape?"
"That we are." Snape hissed. Harry noticed strangely, that Snape wasn't as hostile as he usually was. Normally he would get worked up over such a comment – maybe Snape out of school was different than Snape in school.
Suddenly, Snape turned sharply, and Harry and Sirius, with no seatbelts, were thrown to the far side of the very spacious car. Hedwig chirped loudly, as Harry and Sirius groaned in pain.
"Hah." Snape let out a little laugh to himself, as Harry shook his head. Maybe people never changed at all. Just as Harry and Sirius began to get up, they were thrown to the back of the car, as the taxi took flight, as Sirius began uttering more profanities under his breath, along with something along the lines of 'slimy git'.
This would turn out to be an interesting year indeed.
Dumbledore often found solace once all the students had left Hogwarts. It meant a lot less children running around the halls, a lot less noise and a lot less 'accidents', but it also meant a lot less 'life' in the place. Though the day after the school year had ended, Dumbledore was in no mood to rest, as he walked down the halls of Hogwarts with a specific intention in mind.
Dumbledore walked down a certain hallway and passed by Filch, to whom he nodded to courteously. "Filch, how is our guest feeling?"
"As uncomfortable as he could be, headmaster." Filch beamed, rather proudly, and Dumbledore flashed a smirked much unlike the smiles that often graced his face, as he tapped on the wall besides him with a wand, and it opened up to reveal a dark chamber. He nodded to Filch, before walking down the chamber as the wall closed off behind him.
With a flick of his wand the chamber was illuminated, as he heard a small, whimpering sound that echoed off the walls of the chamber and seemed to get louder and louder as he walked further down. At the end of the chamber, behind a steel gate, was a once-handsome but now shaggy and tortured looking man, his hands bound together and his body chained tightly together and to the walls on either side of him.
"Are we ready to comply, Barty?" Dumbledore spoke softly, but while his tone of voice was quiet, he gave off both a commanding and threatening feeling in his words, as Barty Crouch, Jr. quivered underneath them.
"Go to hell." He spat, and Dumbledore chuckled, as with another flick of his wand the gate removed itself. Dumbledore walked over to wear Barty was kneeling, and stood over him.
"Voldemort's abandoned you, Barty. He thinks your dead. He thinks the Dementors got you, as does the Ministry, as does your father, as does the rest of the world. Except for me." Dumbledore smiled, kneeling down to Barty's level and holding his wand at his neck, forcing him to look up and into Dumbledore's frightening, glistening silver eyes. "What do you say, Barty?"
"Go… To… He-"
"Formidilosus." Dumbledore commanded in a dark, raspy voice, as a silver stream of light slowly seeped from his wand and wrapped itself around Barty's head, reaching his eyes and flowing straight into them, causing him to scream out in pain.
"NO! STOP! PLEASE!" Barty pleaded and yelled, and Dumbledore shook his head. "PLEASE STOP! PLEASE STOP!"
"No one can hear you, Barty, because down here - it's just you and me." Dumbledore chuckled once more. "And I don't know what the excuse for a Dark Lord has told you, but there are things much, much worse than death… And I'll be happy to show you some examples…"
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