Disclaimer: I do not own anything other than the story line . All rights belong to J.K. Rowling
Author's Note: This is the sequel to "Harry Potter and Love's Triumvirate." If you haven't read that one, much of this one will not make much sense. Please, for the sake of your sanity and my reviews, read that one first. Thanks.
Harry Potter And Destiny's Shadow
Chapter One: Riding the Depression Express
Depression and despair were two subjects that Harry Potter knew very well. To be depressed during the summer holidays was nothing new to him. It was, perhaps, the most familiar sensation in the world. When you grow up living with the Dursleys, you cannot help but be depressed during the summer.
The Dursleys had done everything in their power to make Harry's life miserable. They saw in Harry the representation of everything that they hated. He was the son of Aunt Petunia's sister, who was a witch. If there was anything that the Dursleys hated more than magic, Harry was yet to find it.
For many years, they kept him locked in a closet under the stairs at night. Harry had grown used to living with spiders as his only companions. He was given all of Dudley's old clothes to wear. Since Dudley often needed his own postal code, and Harry was quite skinny, It was rather comical looking to see him trying to wear these.
After Harry had started attending Hogwarts School of Witchcraft and Wizardry, he at least got to use Dudley's second bedroom. This was only done out of fear of reprisal from the wizarding world, however. He was generally kept locked in the room. They had put bars on his windows, and fed him one tiny meal a day through a tiny cat flap installed in the door. He was let out once a day under guard to use the bathroom.
So, Harry was used to being depressed during the summer holidays. What he was not used to was the reason why he was depressed this time. He was approaching his seventeenth birthday. He would be legally an adult at that time in the wizarding world. He no longer lived with the Dursleys, since Uncle Vernon and Dudley had been killed by Death Eaters during the spring. The same attack had left Aunt Petunia a catatonic vegetable in St. Mungo's Hospital for Magical Maladies and Injuries.
Harry had since come to live in his own home, left to him in his Godfather's will. It was a beautiful, sprawling Tudor Estate in the countryside about forty miles north of London. He now lived in the lap of luxury, having been named the sole heir of Sirius Black. Sirius was a very wealthy man, and that, combined with the small fortune left to him by his parents, made sure that Harry would never want for anything again.
Anything material, at any rate. He had only been here for one week, and already he was more miserable than he had ever been at number four Privet Drive. He wished fervently that his friends were with him. He had been lonely before, you couldn't live with the Dursleys and not be lonely. This, however was different. He longed for his friends, most especially Ginny. His heart ached so much he swore that he would die anytime now when it exploded.
He had never felt anything like it. It was as if all reason for living had been ripped out of him. He knew that he would be seeing her soon. He knew that the rest of his friends would be back soon enough. He just wasn't sure that he would survive long enough to see it happen.
Dobby was there for him, though. The house-elf had insisted on being there. He was quite taken with Harry. You see, when Harry was twelve years old, Dobby had tried mightily to discourage Harry from returning to school for his second year. Dobby had been enslaved to the Malfoy family, and had overheard a plot by Lucius Malfoy to open the Chamber of Secrets in an attempt to bring back the Dark Lord. Ginny Weasley had been manipulated by this plot, and it almost cost her her life. Harry had found a way to rescue her, though, and almost died as well. After it had ended, Harry ended up freeing Dobby from his enslavement.
Now, Dobby was busy fretting over Harry everyday. "Mr. Harry Potter doesn't eat. Mr. Harry Potter isn't taking care of himself. Mr. Harry Potter is pining away," he would say, at least twenty times a day. The problem was, Dobby was right. Harry was pining away.
With that thought, Harry stood up. He would have to do something about it. He was a Gryffindor, after all, and Gryffindors much preferred action to waiting around. First he would check the post. Then, he would take care of business. He looked around, but there was Dobby, holding out a letter for him. Dobby had taken on the irritating habit of having what Harry wanted before Harry knew what he wanted. It was a little disconcerting.
Harry looked at the letter. It was addressed to him, but he didn't recognize the handwriting. He opened it to see what it said.
Dear Mr. Potter,
We are writing to you about our daughter, Hermione. She has been miserable thus far this summer, and we cannot get her to tell us why. She mopes around the house, usually with tears in her eyes. The only thing that we can think of is that she is missing you and your friend Ron. Might there be a way that she could come and spend some time with you and he? While we miss her terribly when she is away, her happiness is the only thing that matters to us. Please respond as quickly as possible. Thank you so much for being Hermione's friend.
Mr. and Mrs. Granger.
Harry took a couple of minutes to respond, assuring the Grangers that Hermione was welcome in his home as long as he could draw breath. The invitation extended to all his friends and their families. Any of them could be there at any time. He had plenty of room, and he would enjoy very much having them there. He would be delighted to meet them in Diagon Alley at their convenience to pick up Hermione.
That completed he stood and thought. How was he going to take care of the rest of the situation though? He had a need beyond anything he had ever had before. There had to be a way. There was, he had just never done it before. But, since when had that ever stopped him before. He had received the most intensive training of his life last summer at the hands of Albus Dumbledore. Harry didn't think that even Dumbledore understood the things that he had released in Harry that summer. Harry had been very careful to keep a tight lid on it since then. Only Ginny knew what abilities he now had, and she would never talk. Now was the time for him to open up a little.
He strode out the door, and while in the middle of a stride he disappeared with a little 'pop.'
Hermione was miserable. She hadn't been home for long when the depression that she thought she had beaten threatened to overwhelm her. She had no idea why she felt this way. It was almost as if something had been ripped out of her.
Her mother had come in a little while ago, and said that she had written to Harry about her. Her parents were very worried about her. She had barely eaten since she got home, and she was wasting away before their very eyes. Her mother also told her that they had asked Harry for permission to bring her to him.
This had set her off in another bout of tears. It was so sad, really. They just didn't know how to handle anything dealing with her anymore. She had passed beyond their understanding. Now she had lost her parents as well.
She was sinking further into despair, when she heard a faint 'pop' behind her. Having neither the strength, nor the inclination to turn, she just sat there instead. If someone had come to kill her, so be it. She didn't really want to live anyway. Not if it meant being away from her friends.
"Hermione," a soft voice whispered, "it's me, Harry"
"Now I'm hearing things, too," she muttered, not bothering to look. "I guess I'm really losing my mind now."
"Not this time," came the whispered reply, as two strong arms wrapped themselves around her from behind.
She let out a little squeak, and turned her head sharply. "Harry?" she said in a tiny voice.
"Yes, Hermione, I'm here," he answered.
"I felt your need. We're all feeling it. It's like we're being pulled apart. I've been feeling it since we parted at the station."
"But Harry, how did you get here?"
"I don't really know, myself. I felt your need for friendship and it drew me here. It's not really apparating, more like what Dobby does, I think."
"Are you really here?" she asked reaching out to touch his cheek. "I guess you are. What do we do now?"
"First, you get your parents. I need to speak to them. Then, you and I are going to round up the others. Their need is almost as great, although, at least they are in pairs, which I'm guessing is making it somewhat easier. You and I were alone."
"Why is this happening, Harry?"
"I don't know Hermione. Maybe it has something to do with that prophesy. I think we're all tied together somehow. The prospect of being apart for the summer is tearing us up. Now, go get your parents. I'll wait here. I think it could come as a nasty shock if I were to go walking out to meet them."
Luna and Neville walked around the small pond. It was situated in the middle of a large backyard, at her Aunt's house in Denmark. It just didn't feel right, this place. Neville was constantly feeling like he was going to break down in to a quivering mass, as if all his molecules were going to come apart. He just felt so down all the time. The only thing keeping him going was Luna.
But even Luna seemed out of sorts. She was going through this too, Neville could tell. Whatever was affecting him, was also getting to her. Her head seldom came up off of her chest. Every once in a while Neville could swear he could see tears start to form in her eyes.
Every time he asked her if she was OK, she would give him a small, forced smile and nod. He finally tired of asking her. He just grabbed her hand, and led her over to a long, low seat set back under some trees. They sat there, the two of them, heads together, trying to take comfort in each other.
"Having a hard time, you two," came a girl's voice from behind them. Neville picked his head up, wondering who had come to see them, and why he hadn't noticed them coming down from the house. He turned and did a double take. He prodded Luna. She looked up slowly, and with dawning recognition she got up and practically tackled them.
"Easy, Luna. I'm none to steady right now," said Harry, fighting to keep his balance.
"Harry, Hermione, when did you get here? Is everything alright?" Neville asked.
"We just got here, and yes, everything's alright now. I'm just a little weary. I'm not used to traveling like this, and I'm definitely not used to bringing someone with me. Luna, I need to see your father, as soon as I can, oh, and if possible, could I get something to eat? I'm starved."
"Are you two OK?" asked Molly Weasley to her two youngest children. She was horribly worried about them. Ever since they had arrived home, they would simply sit in the den, usually with Ron holding Ginny in some manner. They were in such a position right now. Ginny was lying on the couch, with Ron sitting next to her on the floor, holding her hand. It looked like silent sobs were wracking her body.
"We'll be OK, Mum," Ron said quietly. "We just don't feel up to much right now."
"I don't like this Ronald, it seems like there's something working on you two. I'm going to floo Dumbledore." She turned on her heel, and worked her way toward the kitchen. Half way there, she stopped. She had heard something out there. She wasn't expecting any of the family home. Pulling her wand out, and steeling herself for a fight, she inched towards the kitchen.
Coming around the last corner, her wand held at the ready, a hex ready on her lips she entered the kitchen. With a small shriek she dropped her wand and started to sway, feeling everything start to spin. A pair of strong arms caught her in mid swoon.
"Mrs. Weasley, are you alright?"
"Neville? What are you doing here? What are all of you doing here? Oh dear, Harry are you OK?" She had spotted Harry, leaning up against the table, his complexion pasty, his knuckles white where he gripped the edge.
"Never… done… this… before…" he murmured, before tumbling backwards into the waiting arms of Hermione and Luna.
"Ron! Ginny! Come quickly!" Molly screamed. There was clatter from the other room. In a moment Ron's bright red hair appeared in the doorway. He broke into a huge grin, and threw himself at the group. He was soon joined by Ginny, who fell upon Harry with a shriek of pure joy.
Harry opened his eyes to see the one thing he most wanted to see in the entire world. "If this is a dream, don't wake me," he whispered. His eyes flew wide open as Ginny crushed his lips with hers. Wrapping his arms around her, he found that he was having a hard time seeing. Some strange liquid seemed to be impairing his vision. He figured that just lying there was the most wonderful thing in the world.
"How did you lot get here?" a confused Molly Weasley had to ask.
"I honestly don't know how I did it, Mrs. Weasley"
"Harry, you're family now. You don't have to call me that any more."
"Well, I know what I'd like to call you, but I don't know if you'd let me," he said with a little frown. Beside him, Ginny snapped her head around, a shocked smile lighting up her face. She gave his hand a little squeeze, and nodded at him so slightly that only he noticed. With that encouragement he plunged on. "I'd really like to call you Mum, if you didn't mind."
Molly clapped her hands over her mouth to stifle a gasp. Her eyes welled with tears, and she shook slightly. Finally, after what to Harry seemed forever, she lowered her hands, and with a quavering voice said "Are you sure, Harry? I could never take the place of your mother."
"Don't you see? You've already been the only mother I have ever known. Now with things the way they are between Gin and me, I can't help but feel like you are my Mum. So, is it OK?"
"Of course, Harry dear. I always hoped that you and Ginny would get together. All those nights that she would spend pining away for you. I know you didn't know that I knew, Ginny, stop looking at me like that. I'm your mother, it's my job to know. Oh, just wait till I tell Arthur. He'll be so happy. It's what we've been hoping beyond hope for. We always hoped that we could find a way to bring you officially into the family."
"There's one other thing. It really isn't that safe for us to be outside of the protections set up by the Order. Mum, I think it might be better if we could get back to my house. I think I can do it, but I need a little rest first. I only learned how to do this today, and I haven't attempted it with this many people before. Have you been told how to find my place?"
"No, Harry. We haven't been told yet."
"Let me use your fire for a minute then." He walked over to the fireplace and grabbed a pinch of floo powder. Throwing it into the fire he said "Potter Estate." Sticking his head in, he looked around. "Remus! Are you there? It's Harry! I'm in the fireplace!" Shortly he saw Remus coming at a dead run.
"Harry, thank Merlin you're alright. Where are you?"
"I'm at the Burrow. Molly tells me that she doesn't know how to get to our place. I need you to tell her, oh, and tell Arthur too, when he gets home. I would, but you know as well as I do that I can't. Also, is there any way we can arrange for transportation for all of us to come home? I don't know if I can handle that many people, or if the charm will let us all in, in any case."
"I'll handle it Harry," said Lupin, giving Harry a strange look. "Let me talk to Molly…"
Author's Note: And thus it begins. Harry has many abilities only hinted at. He starts to discover them here. His ability to travel is indeed like that of a house-elf, with all that it implies. Thanks to all who have read and reviewed my prequel to this: Harry Potter and Love's Triumvirate. I hope that you enjoy this one as much as the last.