Chapter 1 - July 15
Dursley Residence, Privet Drive
Harry Potter sat in lotus position on his pitiful excuse for a bed in the predawn light. He'd woken up almost three hours earlier when something inside him had, metaphorically, snapped. He'd opened his emerald eyes to see the world differently. Instinctively knowing something about him was different, Harry had been just sitting, trying to find the change. After just a few minutes of trying to 'clear his mind', Harry had given up and retreated into his favourite mental landscape: one where he was on his broom hundreds of feet above the Hogwarts grounds, just floating as the wind rushed through his hair. Only this time, there were millions of golden snitches around him. Having never seen his favourite place like this before, Harry reached out and grabbed one of the snitches. Suddenly he found himself viewing, as an observer, one of the many games of quidditch he'd played at The Burrow before his fourth year at Hogwarts. Grabbing another nearby snitch out of the air, Harry found himself witnessing one of Oliver Wood's fanatical pep talks before a game. Moving through the air on his broom almost effortlessly, Harry found that the snitches orbited around each other on their own separate paths. Moving in towards the centre point of the orbits, Harry grabbed another bright gold snitch. The memory it played was of Sirius asking him if he wanted to move in. Pushing aside the pain he felt at seeing his godfather so happy to hear his positive response, Harry finished watching the memory with fondness and not a little bit of sadness. Moving in deeper still into the centre of the orbits, the raven-haired teen found himself watching a younger version of himself creating his Prongs Patronus in Remus Lupin's office. Moving into the innermost orbit, Harry grabbed one of the many tarnished snitches after only a slight moment of hesitation. It played Voldemort's rebirth. Grabbing another dull coloured snitch he replayed another of his worst memories; his mother's death.
Looking around the scene, Harry frowned before he mentally banished all the snitches. The teen watched in amazement as the winged balls all dove toward the ground and hid themselves in the seemingly innocent scene below. Filing the observation away for future investigation, Harry urged his mental representation to just relax. Soon the teen sitting on the bed smiled, as in his mind he dove and rolled and loop-de-looped in the air over Hogwarts.
Dursley Residence, Privet Drive
Harry grinned to himself as, after breakfast, his relatives left the house for a day out in the city. Returning to his room with a few crisp green apples tucked between his left arm and his body, Harry flopped down on his bed and pulled his first year texts out of his trunk. Flipping through the pages, he grinned as all the information came back to him quickly and effortlessly.
Hours later, as he was halfway through his third year charms text, Harry froze on the pages dedicated to Cheering Charms. A burst of anger shot through his body as he hurriedly searched for the words he knew he'd read.
"Warning:" Harry read aloud to his snowy owl as she watched patiently from the perch in her cage, "Cheering Charms are closely related to compulsion charms. Compulsion charms are used to control a subject to behave in certain ways. ...dangerous to use for extended periods, ...can be successfully applied over distance if applied to letters or other correspondence... The detection charm is as follows:..."
Harry looked around his room before letting his eyes come to rest on his holly wand, which was laying on his pillow, just out of arms reach. Knowing he couldn't perform the detection charm without the Ministry of Magic finding out, Harry let the anger boil up inside him.
"Damn!" he shouted, startling his avian companion. "Damn them all!"
The owl looked reproachfully at her owner and Harry found himself apologising to his feathered friend.
"Sorry, Hedwig. I didn't mean to wake you, but if Dumbledore has been controlling me and the Dursleys all these years, that would be the final straw. That would be it! I mean, he would have had to have known how they were treating me since I arrived, and he would have been the one to make them treat me the way they did! I know he's lied to me, and he's withheld the truth so often, now. I don't know what is true, and what isn't! If I could just..." Harry shook his head as he deliberately tried to calm himself. "I just wish I could know if they had been used on or against me, somehow."
Harry was surprised moments later when old letters began flying out of his school trunk and under his bedroom door. Moving to the door, the letters by his feet followed and as the door was opened, dozens more added themselves to the pile. As the flow of letters stopped, Harry felt a little drained, yet at the same time exhilarated. Bending down, he examined the letters; all bar one was in the same loopy writing that Harry recognised as belonging to his headmaster. Taking a moment to recall what he had wished for, Harry felt his blood boil.
"Compulsion charms, Hedwig! Look at them all! Just look!"
The teen returned to his books to discover why all the letters were at his feet.
"If applied to letters or other such correspondence, it is typical to add a second charm to prevent the receiver from destroying the letter in any way, as doing so would break the initial compulsion charm," Harry read.
Spurred into action, Harry grabbed an old box that had belonged to some broken toy of Dudley's and shoved all the letters from Dumbledore inside, before carrying the box downstairs. Stopping in the kitchen to grab of box of matches, Harry headed straight out into the back garden and over to the kettle barbeque Dudley and Vernon had placed in one corner of the patio. Pulling the letters out of the box, Harry shoved them in the barbeque, lighting the corners of each wad before adding them to the growing flames. Soon, black smoke and a pungent smell were being emitted and Harry groaned.
"Come on!" Harry begged. "I don't need all this smoke and stink."
No sooner had the words left his mouth, than the black smoke all but vanished, and the acrid smell disappeared.
"Wicked," Harry grinned to himself as he realised what he'd done.
It took another twenty minutes, but soon the letters were destroyed, leaving nothing but ash that Harry spent the better part of the afternoon adding, with a little compost, to the flowerbeds around the backyard. Cleaning up the mess he'd made, Harry slipped into the house and showered, changing into clean clothes. Packing up the books strewn over his room, Harry moved downstairs to prepare dinner for his relatives, dismissing the feeling of freedom as one associated with teenage rebellion.
Dursley Residence, Privet Drive
About three o'clock, while in the middle of London, Petunia Dursley had the most peculiar feeling, and it returned the moment she stepped through her front door four hours later, at seven that evening.
"Smells like Harry's carbonara sauce," Dudley remarked, sniffing the air, "with mushrooms. Yum!"
"It's true. The boy can cook a plate of pasta I'd pay at least eight pounds for," Vernon commented, following his son into the dining room.
Petunia shook her head and paused by the mirror in the hall to check her appearance. Double-checking, she noticed that her normally sea blue eyes were, in fact, sea green.
"Green?" Petunia asked her reflection. "My eyes haven't been green since the last time I saw Lils alive."
Slowly the woman focused on the figure in the mirror behind her: a thin man with inky coloured hair, and eyes the colour of steel. He waved to her before huge wings the same colour as his eyes sprouted from his back. A moment later, the image vanished, and Petunia was alone in the reflection.
"Sirius?" Petunia whispered in confusion as forgotten memory fragments were replayed in her mind.
"Pet? Come to dinner, dear," Vernon called from the kitchen. "Harry's been busy today. It seems he's mulched the back garden as well."
Pulling her eyes away from the mirror, Petunia moved into the kitchen and moved straight over to the doors leading into the garden. "So he has! Good job, Harry," Petunia said, before pausing to work out why she'd used the boy's name.
"Thank you," the raven-haired teen replied in a quiet voice.
"Aren't you going to eat with us?" Dudley asked as Harry began to wash up the saucepans he'd used to make their dinner.
"I'm not really hungry. I had something to eat once I finished gardening," he replied.
"You may be more of an Evans than we realised," Vernon joked. "All skin and bones, like your aunt here. Come on, boy, get some pasta and get it into you. You need to put on a little muscle!"
"Yes, Uncle Vernon," Harry replied obediently, but Petunia noted it was with slight surprise.
"You should get Harry a gym membership too, Dad. Maybe then I'll use mine, because I'll have someone to go with," Dudley suggested. "Or better still, we buy the equipment and set up the spare room as a home gym so you can use it, too."
"That's not such a bad idea, Dudders," Vernon said proudly, nodding his large head. "You're growing into a fine young man, son."
"Always thinking of others," Petunia agreed, though part of her knew it hadn't always been true.
"What do you think, Harry? Shall I teach you how to fight?" Dudley asked his much smaller cousin.
Harry paused for a moment before giving a rare smile. "It would be good to know a move or two."
"That's settled, then," Vernon announced. "I'll get some exercise equipment for here at home after work tomorrow."
"Shall I adjust your meals to help you lose weight and gain muscle then?" Harry asked, slowly eating his smaller meal to finish at the same time as everyone else.
"Yes, that would be splendid," Vernon nodded.
"Maybe you should help your cousin, Dudley. He might be able to teach you a thing or two about cooking," the large man then suggested to his son.
"Sure! I'll look up some things on my computer, later: grab some recipes off the internet, and all that," Dudley agreed.
Petunia looked around the table and was astounded by the seemingly transformed personalities of her family. Immediately she looked at the boy, who was hiding behind an indescribable expression, which Petunia had taken, over the years, to dubbing his 'Mona Lisa' face.
The meal was soon finished, and while Vernon and Dudley left to look up fitness equipment on the computer, Petunia remained at the table while Harry tidied up.
"What have you done?" she hissed, applying pressure to her temples with her fingers. "What have you done to make them so pleasant? Us so pleasant? What happened, today?"
Harry frowned and waved a hand toward the plates stacked on the sink. Seconds later, they were dry. Petunia looked at the obviously tired teen, surprised by his action involving magic as he happily stacked the dishes away.
"Shall we take a walk in the garden, Aunt Petunia?" he asked, heading out into the twilight.
Petunia followed, and ended up standing next to her nephew in the middle of the garden.
"How many letters a year do you receive from Albus Dumbledore?" he asked, looking up at the sky.
Petunia looked at her nephew in surprise. "Four, maybe. It depends on what happens at that school of yours."
"And how many does Vernon receive, roughly?" Harry asked.
"Vernon receives letters from Dumbledore?" Petunia asked in surprise.
Harry frowned. "Shall I presume, then, you didn't even know that Dumbledore was sending letters to Dudley, then?"
"Yes!" Petunia snapped. "Where is this conversation going?"
"I had a slight slip up today of the accidental magic kind: which went undetected, so there will be no consequences. You see, I figured out today, totally by accident, that Dumbledore has been interfering in my life for far too long. I knew he had been when I lost my temper with him at the end of last term and damaged some of his many possessions." The teen paused, closed his eyes, and sighed before opening them again.
It was in that moment Petunia knew that what he had to say was very important. Harry had just copied a trait Lily had, and used often when she was alive and trying to make a point.
"This morning I woke up and I saw an entirely different world. After you went out for the day I did as I always do: studied my school books. And while studying, I found a reference to compulsion charms. These charms are magical spells that influence people to act in certain ways. I found out that they can be used over great distances by charming correspondence. I... I suppose you could say I willed it to happen," Harry explained, "and suddenly there were dozens... dozens of letters at my feet, each spelled with a compulsion charm. Judging from the discolouration of the envelopes, some were very old: others looked as fresh as last week."
"What happened to them?" Petunia asked.
"I destroyed them. I burnt them all. Then I mixed the ashes with compost, and dug it all into the flowerbeds."
Petunia raised her chin to look at the stars as they started to appear in the night sky. "Is that why Vernon and Dudley have had such extreme personality transformations in the last few hours?"
"I would assume," Harry shrugged. "It's one of the first lessons of magic; if a spelled object is broken, the spell is weakened. If it is destroyed, well, the spell is destroyed."
"He was influencing us?" Petunia choked, looking back to the barbeque on the corner of the patio.
"Dumbledore? Yes. " Harry said with a shrug. "I, however, would say controlling, but it's the same thing."
"What about you?" Petunia asked.
"I've also received spelled letters from him. They were destroyed when yours were."
"I have something to give you," Petunia said quickly, as her memories continued to return. "I just remembered. How could I have forgotten so much?"
"Do you really want me to answer that question?" Harry asked cheekily, Lily's emerald eyes sparkling as they looked out of the aristocratic Potter visage.
"No," Petunia smiled, before catching Harry staring at her. "What?"
"You look just like Mum in one of the photos I have of her when you smiled just now. It was uncanny. And I never noticed before, but your eyes do have green in them," Harry replied, looking away at the horizon.
"It's because the spell is breaking," Petunia whispered. "Lils will explain better in the letter she wrote you. Come. I'll give you something I was meant to give you years ago."
Dursley Residence, Privet Drive
Harry walked from the doorway of his aunt's bedroom, a large box in his arms, past Dudley's bedroom where Vernon and Dudley were still searching exercise equipment and diet plans online and after bidding each relative good night, he opened his own bedroom door and passed through. In the dark, he place the box on the end of his bed before turning back to close the door and flick on the light. Turning back to face his bed, Harry started and grabbed for his pocket, and his wand.
"So, do I have a bedtime story for you, Harry James, or do I have a story for you?"
Harry backed up until he was leaning against the wall next to his door. "No!" he moaned. "This isn't fair. What did I do to deserve this?"
"Hey, what's not fair, Harry?"
"After my day... That is, removing my only living relatives and myself from the control of Albus Dumbledore's compulsion charms, and receiving a box full of items formerly belonging to my mother," Harry groaned, sliding to the floor. "Now, after all that, I see a shirtless dead man sitting on my bed. Not only that, he's talking to me! A dead man is talking to me!"
Harry closed his eyes and wished for the vision to go away, but he soon felt himself being pulled to his feet and strong, yet thin arms being wrapped around him.
"Do I feel dead, Harry?"
"No," the teen whispered in reply.
Harry felt his arm being pinched. "Did you feel that?"
"Yes. It hurt."
"Do still think I'm not real?"
"I don't know. I don't know!" Harry frowned pushing back. "How could you be alive? I saw you get cursed by Bellatrix. I saw you fall through the veil! How could you be alive?"
"The Twelve Souls of Judgement, the Five Kings of Magic, and a little help from my friends."
"Be serious, please!"
"That's me! However, your pronunciation is a little off. It's Sirius. And if you remember, I'm your godfather."
Harry looked up into the familiar steel grey eyes and couldn't help but smile despite his confusion. "What did you ask me right after we climbed out of the Whomping Willow?" Harry asked, praying to all deities that the man would answer him correctly.
The man in front of him smiled. "I asked, in a very convoluted way, if you would live with me."
Harry couldn't help but laugh as his heart soared and his hope rekindled.
"And what was your pseudonym when we shared letters?"
"And where did I first see you?"
"It wasn't far from here, actually, and I do believe you were running away and that I scared you more than anything else."
"Startled. You startled me," Harry clarified.
"Whatever you reckon," Sirius grinned, his face lighting up with a handsome smile.
Harry laughed and grabbed his godfather in a hug comparable to those of Molly Weasley, and let the tears slip from his eyes as the embrace was returned with equal fervour.
"Only to me. This would only happen to me," Harry laughed wiping his face.
"That's about right," Sirius said nodding, a content expression on his face.
"So," Harry announced, sitting down on his bed. "What is this bedtime story about?"
"Well, it's half the reason I'm shirtless," Sirius replied, moving to the centre of the room and turning back to face Harry. "You see it's about these..."
Sirius grinned as his godson's jaw dropped, as two steel grey wings emerged from his back, half as long as his arm span again.
I'm sorry to do that to you, but it was an opportunity that my beta, Draeconin, and I decided that was too good to pass up. The next chapter will be up soon. I promise.
Catherine or Cate.