Disclaimer: I don't own Harry Potter, he belongs to JK Rowling, I don't own any other characters you may recognize from TV either.
Summary: This is a sequel to Redefining Summer, Post OotP AU with little or no reference to HBP or DH, Harry returns to Hogwarts for his 6th year.
WARNING: This fic is not finished. I have 7 chapters completed and have been requested to post them. I do intend to finish but do not know how soon that will happen.
Harry paused just off the apparition point, and gazed over platform 9 and ¾. Steam from the engine drifted over the platform; and people, trunks, and pet cages crowded the area. A scattering of Aurors patrolled the crowd, showing the change in the Ministry stance on Voldemort.
"All right there, Harry?" asked Neville from behind him.
"Yeah, I was just thinking about first year."
"We shouldn't block the point, accidents happen that way," said Augusta Longbottom.
"Yes, Gran," both boys answered with grins, as they moved away from the apparition point towing their trunks.
Harry reflected that it was much easier to get to the train when you could both apparate and lighten your trunk. The fact that Mrs. Longbottom was a strong witch and could side-along Neville didn't hurt either. It was a much easier trip than he'd ever had with the Weasleys. On that thought he scanned the platform once more looking for the group of redheads. He didn't see them and guessed that they were running late as usual.
He nodded to several students, then spotted a familiar head of bushy brown hair and made his way toward Hermione.
"Hello, Hermione, Mr. and Mrs. Granger," he greeted them.
"Harry, there you are," said Hermione, "I didn't see you come through the barrier."
Harry grinned, "I apparated on to the platform, I love apparition."
Hermione smiled back and said, "Well we should probably get on the train, then." She turned to her mum and dad and gave them each a hug, "Try, Hermione, to stay out of trouble this year," said her father. Hermione blushed and nodded, "Yes, daddy, I'll try."
She turned her trolley toward the train, and Harry started to follow but was roughly pushed from behind.
"Watch where you're standing, Potter, you could get hurt that way," said Draco Malfoy with a sneer, as he stalked past. As Harry watched him, another voice spoke, "You alright, Lord Potter?" Harry turned to the voice, and recognized the Auror he'd met in Diagon Alley that summer.
"Yes, thank you, Auror Gibbs. It's just Malfoy being a git," he said.
Gibbs smirked, and said, "There's one in every crowd." He gave Harry a look, and asked, "You still carrying that phone of yours?" At Harry's nod he handed over a business card, "You have any trouble don't hesitate to give me a call."
Harry looked at the card, and said in surprise, "Aurors carry cell phones?"
Gibbs laughed, "Some of us, I've got a man on my team who understands that sort of thing, he's taught us something about muggle tech."
Harry would have like to ask more, but a lady down the platform started shrieking about losing her daughter, and Gibbs just waved and moved toward the commotion.
Harry caught up to Hermione and found Neville helping her with her trunk, his gran watching from the side.
"Thank you for asking me into your home, Gran," said Harry.
"You are most welcome, Lord Potter, anytime. I do hope you'll consider coming for the Yule holidays as well," she said.
"I'd love to spend at least part of the holiday with you and Neville," he answered, then impulsively he leaned in and gave her a hug and kiss on the cheek. She hugged him back and whispered, "Please look out for Neville."
"Of course I will, though it may be the other way around, he's got a good head on his shoulders."
Harry heaved his trunk onto the train, and followed Hermione down the aisle to the last compartment, while Neville said his goodbyes and then followed Harry.
"Hannah joining us?" asked Harry, once they'd settled into the compartment and Luna had joined them a few moments later.
"No, I spoke to her on the platform. She's sitting with some friends from Hufflepuff," said Neville.
"Ron and Ginny better hurry or they'll miss the train," said Hermione.
"You'd think it would be easier to be on time this year. We aren't with them and the twins aren't either." said Harry with a laugh as the last call whistle sounded.
"Here they come," said Luna without looking up from her upside down newspaper. Hermione frowned at her, then glanced out of the window just in time to see Ron pushing the loaded trolley though at a run, Ginny sprinting behind him. Hermione looked at Luna, and then glanced at Harry who just shrugged.
The train had begun to move before Ron found them.
"Where's Ginny?" asked Hermione.
"Sitting with some of her dorm mates," said Ron with a shrug, as he fell into his seat.
"Oh, well we have the prefects' meeting so get back up and come on," said Hermione.
"So Luna, I didn't get to ask when we were in Diagon Alley, how was your summer? Did you find your snorkacks?" asked Harry.
Luna looked up from her Quibbler and said, "No, we didn't but it was fun looking. Daddy and I quite enjoy hiking and camping and it's rather nice just to spend time together."
"That's nice," said Harry, "family is important." He glanced at Neville and grinned.
Luna looked puzzled for a moment and asked, "I thought you didn't care much for your family, Harry."
"Well, I got along with my muggle relatives much better this summer, and then I found out I had a few in the wizarding world that I didn't know about. A couple of cousins and a god-brother," said Harry with a grin.
Her face cleared. "Oh, I see. That is nice for you, both of you," she said nodding at Neville.
Neville blinked, and Harry grinned again. "I thought you would," he said. Neville raised an eyebrow at him, and he shrugged as Luna looked back at her newspaper and began humming.
Harry pulled out a snap deck, and they played until Ron and Hermione returned.
Hermione laughed when she entered the compartment. "Honestly, exploding snap, what are you eleven?"
"We're reliving our youth, Hermione. You want in?" said Harry with a laugh.
"I'll play," said Ron settling in beside Harry. "Hey has the snack lady been by with the cart yet. If we are reliving our youth, I need chocolate frogs."
"Not yet, " said Harry with a laugh.
"Harry did you know that Malfoy is still a prefect? After everything he did last year for Umbridge," said Hermione.
"Well it stands to reason, Hermione, after all he was only following the toad's orders. So he can't really be punished for it. Besides can you imagine Snape removing him?" said Harry.
"Well I don't like it at all," she complained.
"We just need to keep an eye on him this year," said Neville.
"And that different from every other year how?" asked Ron.
"Well, he really has a reason to try to kill Harry this year," said Neville.
Ron blinked and asked, "What?"
Harry blushed and answered, "Well I'm the Head of the House of Black, Sirius left me everything. Draco was urm, kind of upset when he found out."
"Gods Harry, are you the master of understatement or what? Kind of upset? He was practically foaming at the mouth. His mother had to hex him to keep the goblins from killing him, it was perfect. If Harry will let me I'll show my memory in his pensieve later," said Neville with a wide grin.
Ron frowned and asked, "But why was Malfoy mad?"
"Don't you remember Ron, Malfoy was on that tapestry of Sirius's family," said Hermione.
"Yeah, Malfoy though he should be the heir," said Neville.
"I thought Headships had to stay in families," said Ron.
"I'm actually related to the Blacks, Ron, through my Grandmother," said Harry.
"Ew, Harry, that means you're related to Malfoy!" said Ron with horror.
Harry laughed, "Yeah, but I'm related to Neville too, and when Malfoy turns seventeen I can disown him."
"Wicked," said Ron finally grinning.
When Malfoy slammed open the compartment door an hour later, both Harry and Neville drew their wands. "What do you want, Malfoy?" asked Harry.
"You better watch your back, Potter, you won't get away with stealing my birthright," snarled the blond boy.
Harry faked a yawn and said, "You spend a lot of time thinking that one up? You know an Auror saw you assault me on the platform, I wonder what would happen if I file a complaint?"
"Like anyone would believe you," said Malfoy with a sneer.
Harry drew himself up and said, "I am the Head of the Houses of Potter and Black. The public also knows I was telling the truth about Voldemort, and I'm quite willing to offer pensieve memories of this and other incidents to the authorities."
"My father-" Harry interrupted before the rant could go any further. "Is in Azkaban Malfoy, he can't help you now. In fact all he can do is paint you with the same brush, Death Eater. Have you been marked yet? Do you suppose the wards tell the Headmaster if someone marked enters the grounds?"
Malfoy flushed hotly and Crabbe and Goyle glanced uneasily at each other.
"You'll be sorry!" snarled Malfoy again and then he turned on his heel and stormed away. Goyle gave Harry a strange look before he turned and followed Malfoy and Crabbe down the passageway.
Harry kicked the door closed and let out a long breath. "Wow, that was tense," he said.
"Do you really think the wards can tell who is marked?" asked Hermione.
Harry shrugged and said, "I don't know but if it causes Malfoy to worry then I'm happy. As long as he's not thinking about me it's a plus."
Hermione looked thoughtful and said, "Harry do you have that necklace I gave you for your birthday? I have some charms I'd like to put on it. I can do that tonight after the feast."
Harry pulled the gold chain with its lighting bolt charm from beneath his shirt. "What did you have in mind Hermione?"
They discussed protection charms, and the pros and cons of embedded shield spells for the rest of the trip.
As the carriage passed through the gates of Hogwarts, Harry stiffened and blinked at the tingle of the wards. He'd read the book Tonks had gotten him on Mage Sense, and knew he had an affinity to wards but hadn't realized just how strong Hogwarts' wards were.
Ron had to nudge him to get out of the carriage, when it stopped because he was deep in thought. Then he stopped in front of the large doors, he could see the magic in the air hanging like a curtain across the doorway. Harry hesitated to step through the cascade of inner wards. Everyone but Neville had gone ahead, and Neville stood with him, his brows drawn together in worry.
"Harry, something wrong?" he asked.
"I can see the wards, Nev," Harry whispered, "they're beautiful."
"Er, okay, but people are beginning to stare, you know," said Neville with a little chuckle.
Harry blinked, and blushed slightly, and passed though the doorway. The wards tingled with a rush of welcome, and Harry felt energized, as if he could do anything. As he made his way through the crowd of students into the Great Hall, a kind of hum settled into the back of his mind. An awareness of the wards, of Hogwarts and the people around him. Harry pushed the feeling down, and greeted those around him as he sat at the Gryffindor table, he would think about it later, when he was alone.
"Hey Harry, do you suppose that's the new DADA teacher?" called Dean from several seats away.
"Any bets on how long it is before he tries to kill or torture you, Harry?" laughed Seamus.
"Seamus!" said Hermione outraged.
"That's Neville's cousin, Philip Charles. I met him this summer, he's not bad," said Harry with a grin. Most of the heads within ear shot turned to look at the man, who began to look nervous at the attention.
Harry then met Dumbledore's eyes. The Headmaster looked sad for a moment and then nodded to Harry. He hesitated for a moment and then nodded back. He would give the old man just one chance. He ignored Snape's glare, not meeting his eyes. Tonks had told him his occlumency was good but he didn't feel up to combating Snape tonight. It would come soon enough he was sure. Instead he settled back to enjoy the sorting and feast to follow.
After the feast and the usual announcements, they were dismissed to their dorms. Harry spent a short time in the common room, and then headed up to his dorm. Once readied for bed he closed his curtains and said quietly, "Dobby?"
The small, oddly dressed elf appeared on the end of the bed.
"Harry Potter sir, calls his Dobby?" said the little elf bouncing slightly.
"Are you my Dobby?" Harry asked.
Dobby blinked, stopped bouncing and fingered an ear. "Does Harry Potter sir, not know his Dobby?"
Harry smiled slightly and said, "Oh I know you Dobby, but I'm wondering about something. Are you my Dobby. Are you bonded to me?"
Dobby pulled on his ear said slowly, "Dobby belongs to Master Harry Potter sir," he stood unnaturally still, and looked at Harry, "Is Master angry with Dobby?"
Harry shook his head, "No I'm not angry, a little surprised, but not angry. Why didn't you tell me?"
"Master Harry Potter sir is a great, and good, and kind wizard, and was so happy Dobby was free. Dobby wanted Master Harry Potter sir to be happy, but Dobby needed a master." He jerked on his ear.
Harry reached out and pulled Dobby's hand away from his ear, "Please stop that, Dobby."
"Master Harry Potter sir is to punish Dobby, now," said Dobby his eyes downcast.
"Yeah, I suppose I should," said Harry.
Dobby looked up in surprise. Harry grinned and said, "Dobby, your punishment it is to explain to Hermione why house elves have to bond."
"Dobby can do Master Harry Potter sir," agreed the elf beginning to bounce once more.
"Oh, and Dobby please just call me Harry," he begged.
"Yes, sir Master Harry sir," said Dobby with what Harry suspected was a smirk.
Harry sighed and said, "We'll talk more later, I think I need to go to sleep."
Dobby grinned and bounced away with a slight pop.
It was still early when Harry dressed after his shower, though Neville was up and gone. Harry supposed he'd gone to the greenhouses. The other three boys would probably sleep in since it was Sunday, and they had the day free.
Harry descended the stair to the common room, and found only a huddled group of first years, who stared at him. He smiled at them and asked, "Is something the matter?"
"You're Harry Potter," said a small red headed girl.
"I am," he agreed.
"I've heard about you," she said. A dark haired boy nudged her and said, "Everyone's heard about him, dummy."
Harry's eyes narrowed and he looked at the boy, "There's no need to be rude."
The boy's eyes widened, and he gave a small bow, and said, "Your pardon, Lord Potter and yours Lucy."
Harry winced, "Er, it's Harry, just Harry, since we are all in the same house. I'm just another student, you know."
The boy looked doubtful, and two of the girls giggled. Harry sighed and asked, "So are you lot headed to breakfast?"
"No sir, that Prefect girl said we had to wait to be escorted down and to be ready at 7:30, but she hasn't shown up yet," said a blond with pigtails.
Harry frown and glanced at his watch, it was 8:15. "Do you know her name? It wasn't Hermione was it? Brown hair?"
"No, Mary something," said the red head.
"Hm, well come along then, I'll show you the way," he said with a shrug.
"Are you sure?" asked the blond.
"Yeah, come on, don't worry, I'll smooth it over if it's a problem. I know the sixth year prefects pretty well," said Harry with a smile. Then he pointed out McGonagall's office and the short cut to the charms room, on the way down to the Great Hall.
"Why aren't you a Prefect, Lord Potter," asked the dark haired boy, as they sat down at the table.
Harry laughed, "I get into too much trouble, what's your name?"
"Melvin Thistledown, Lord-" Harry held up a hand, "It's Harry, please."
"Um, I'm not sure my mum would approve, er, Harry," said Melvin.
Harry frowned, "Why not?" he asked.
"She'd think it a bit cheeky to be so familiar with you, Harry. After all your father did for us and all," said Melvin.
Harry blinked and shook his head, "Sorry Melvin, but I don't know what you're talking about. I don't know much about my dad, what did he do for you?"
Melvin smiled shyly and said, "Well my dad was in Auror training with yours and they were sent out to fight You-Know-Who during the first war even though they were only trainees. My dad was hurt bad and couldn't finish the training. The Ministry said since he didn't finish his training, he didn't qualify for benefits. Your father gave my mum and dad the money to start their own business and a long term contract for the shop and flat. Dad always said we owed you our fealty if you ever called on us."
Harry nodded, "I see, well it sounds like our dads were friends so we should be too, don't you think?" He stuck out his hand, and Melvin shook it then dug into his breakfast.
The other first years who had been listening to this exchange, took the opportunity to begin asking Harry questions. He told them about classes and the various teachers, in between bites of his own breakfast. Half way though Neville came in and sat down near the group, and Harry introduced him.
"This is Neville Longbottom, he's the one you want to ask if you have any trouble with Herbology," said Harry. The little blond girl, whose name Harry had learned was Lucy Knight, moved down next to Neville, and told him she'd already read the book, and then started asking questions about various plants.
Harry looked up at a sound from behind him, to find Professor McGonagall looking down at him.
"Good morning Professor," said Harry.
"Mr. Potter would you come to my office after breakfast? I need to speak with you," said the Professor. There were small gasps and looks of worry on some of the first years' faces.
"I'm not in any trouble am I, Professor?" asked Harry grinning up at her.
"Have you done something to be in trouble for, Mr. Potter?" asked McGonagall with a frown.
"No, ma'am I swear, I haven't done anything, yet," said Harry striving for a look of complete innocence. There were several giggles from the table.
"Hm, perhaps we have more to talk about than I first thought. Directly after breakfast Mr. Potter," she said and walked away.
Harry glared around the table, "Gee guys, you were a lot of help there," only to receive more giggles.
As Harry was just finishing up, a dark haired girl stormed up to the table, "There you lot are, what do you think you're doing just going off on your own? I told you to wait in the common room for me," she ranted.
"Excuse me," said Harry.
"What!" she said, then realized who was speaking to her and smiled. "Oh, hi Harry, I hope these brats didn't bother you."
Harry frowned at her and said quietly, "Listen, I brought them down to breakfast. Do you know they were up at 7 to get ready and here it is 9 o'clock before you even come looking? You've no call to yell at them that way either."
"Oh, er, um, well, since it was you, Harry that's okay, shall I just sit with you here then?" she said, trying to push in between Harry and Melvin.
"Actually I was done, you can have my place," said Harry standing. The girl glared a moment and said, "Never mind I see some friends," and stomped off amid the giggles of twelve first years. Harry shook his head, and rolled his eyes, and made his way to McGonagall's office.
He tapped on the door and stuck his head in. "Come in, Mr. Potter," said McGonagall. "Please take a seat. I have something for you."
He sat down, and then grinned as she laid his Firebolt broom across her desk. "I've had it professionally serviced," she said.
"Thanks, Professor, I'm really glad to get it back," said Harry pulling it to him.
"I hope you'll put it to good use this year, and keep the cup in my office," she said with a smile.
Harry looked at her, "My ban's been lifted?"
"Quite, though I expect you to refrain from further brawls, Harry," said McGonagall with a slight smile.
"Of course Professor, I probably won't use this broom though. I bought a Mark 2 this summer," he told her in a sly tone.
"Even better," she agreed.
"Was that all, ma'am?" he asked politely.
"No I wanted to discuss your schedule this year. You wrote that you want to take independent potions, but I have spoken with Professor Snape, and he has agreed to accept students with E's this year," she said pulling out a sheet of parchment.
Harry shook his head, "While I appreciate that you'd do that for me, I won't take his class. Neither Snape or I would be happy."
"My concern Harry is that many of those who sign up for independent potions do not in fact achieve their NEWT's. You need that to become an Auror."
"Please Professor, I don't think I want to work for the Ministry. I don't really wish to be an Auror any longer. I'm the Head of two families and have responsibilities. I also did some minor ward work this summer and started learning about runes. That's what I'm really interested in now, and why I signed up for Practical Runes. I wish I had started back in third year. I want to take Warding and Ritual Magic next year," Harry told her, letting some of his excitement show in his voice.
"I see, you have given this some thought. Very well, I'll remove your name from Professor Snape's roster. Is there anything else I should know?" she asked.
Harry ducked his head and said, "Well I have a few talents that I'm working on."
She raised an eyebrow, "Oh?"
"I've started reading Mastering Your Inner Animal and was wondering if you might be willing to tutor me if I run into trouble?" he asked shyly.
"Why am I not surprised, you are aware that not everyone can master the animagus transformation?" she asked dryly.
"Yeah, but I used a potion to find out my talents this summer, and I've 100 percent Animorph talent, so it shouldn't be too difficult. I've been practicing meditation for my Occlumency, and that's going well, and from what I've read, should help me master my form."
She nodded, "Very well, let me know before you attempt your transformation, Mr. Potter."
"Of course, Professor, I also have 85 percent Mage Sense, Andromeda Tonks has been looking for a tutor for me in that. Once I find one would it be better to meet them outside of Hogwarts, or have them come here?" asked Harry.
McGonagall blinked and said, "You aren't allowed to leave the grounds other than Hogsmeade weekends Mr. Potter."
"I'm sorry Professor, I thought that you knew, I'm emancipated and as the Head of Potter and Black, I'm exempt from that restriction," said Harry apologetically.
"Oh, of course, it slipped my mind, Harry, somehow I keep thinking of you as a boy when clearly you aren't, forgive me," she said with a sigh.
He grinned at her, "No problem, I'll be sure to let you know if and when I do have to be absent from the grounds, if at all possible."
"Thank you, Harry. I do appreciate that," she said, "As for tutors, whichever is most convent for you. Is there anything else I should be aware of?"
I've a bit of healing talent as well, and the book I have is a bit confusing. Do you think it would be alright to ask Madam Pomfrey for some help?"
"Oh, yes I'm sure Poppy would be delighted," said McGonagall, "To think you have three major talents."
Harry blushed and said, "Well the healing is minor only 30 percent but I have the parseltongue ability as well. Er, you won't tell anyone will you about my talents. I'd rather it not get out. I already feel strange enough."
"I won't share this with anyone Harry, you've a right to a few secrets. You will have to register your animagus form at some point once you've mastered it, but as I expect it to take some time, we can worry about it later," she said sternly.
"Thank you Professor," said Harry wondering just what she would say, if she knew how many talents he really had.
"I was pleased to see you taking an interest in the first years this morning, Harry, I think you would have made an excellent prefect last year but the Headmaster-- well that's neither here nor there," said McGonagall.
Harry scowled, "That fifth year prefect told the first years to be up at 7:30 for breakfast, but not to leave the common room by themselves, I brought them down a little after 8. I didn't think they should have to keep waiting on her."
McGonagall frowned a bit, "I would have thought that Miss Granger would have been with you."
"It is a little strange that I haven't seen Hermione this morning, I mean I knew Ron would have a lie in, but she's usually up pretty early," said Harry frowning himself.
"If you don't see her at lunch, you might ask Miss Brown or Miss Patil, if something is wrong please do let me know," said McGonagall.
"Yes, Professor, I will," said Harry standing up and taking his broom. "Thanks again."