Disclaimer: I don't own Harry Potter.
Chapter 27: If these walls could talk...
The next morning Harry was bombarded by owls during his breakfast. The Gryffindors all seemed to groan in union before everyone grabbed the letters from the owls and threw them into a pile in front of Harry. He sighed as he saw the pile grow so high that they needed to start another. Harry could hear Pansy Parkison all the way from his seat making snide comments about his fan mail. Ten minutes before breakfast ended the owls were finally disposed of, leaving a mass of unmanageable paper in its wake. He had no desire what-so-ever to read them; maybe if he just left them there the letters would disappear before lunch?
Harry grabbed a piece of cold toast and began to eat breakfast quickly before the first bell rang. He was not going to be late for class because of his fan mail. Hermione was flipping through his mail and Ron was finishing last minute homework.
"What are you going to do with all this mail? I hope you're not planning on writing all these people?" Said Hermione inspecting one letter closely.
"Merlin, no. If you don't recognize the name incendo it."
She nodded absentmindedly and placed two letters next to his plate. "From Remus and Mrs. Weasley."
Harry nodded and ripped open Remus's letter first.
I was shocked and saddened by the article in the daily prophet yesterday. I know that you are a very private person and the thought of this being public knowledge must be very distressing for you. Please know that I am available if you need any help fending off the media.
I was wondering if you were planning on suing either the Dursleys or the prophet or both? I have a very good friend who works for werewolf negotiations that has some connections to experienced lawyers.
Please write me back and don't let the pressure get you down,
He smiled slightly at the end of the letter and placed it carefully down by his plate. It was the first letter from Remus since there new pact as friends. He paused before opening Mrs. Wealsey's letter. He had never received a letter from the Weasley matron before and was curious to see what she wrote.
I was shocked with the article in yesterday's daily prophet. It seems that there is no respect for privacy any longer. Let's just say that they will be hearing from me. I have also sent a lovely letter to Ms. Figg with my opinions on her conduct with the press.
Despite what utter rubbish it was I cannot help but ask if it's true that you'll be suing? I would gladly help with any legal action you choose to take. I'm sure that you know that I will be there with anything you need and very much regard you as a seventh son.
Ps: could you please inform both Ginny and Ron that it has been two weeks and I have yet to receive their letters?
Harry smiled at the post script and felt a tightening of his chest in regards to the last line of the letter. In many ways Mrs. Weasley was the closest thing to a mother he had ever had. Although many of the memories from his de-aging were gone, sometimes he had vague impressions of emotions. Harry was sure that for his time as a child she had treated him as one of her own.
"Ron, your mom says to write her. It's been two weeks."
Ron groaned. "She's such a pain. I'm of age and I still have to write her every two weeks? Don't my parents realize that exams start in a month and our teachers are working us to the bone? Schools almost out, I'll see her soon enough."
Hermione tutted. No doubt she never forgot to mail her parents the requisite amount of letters. Harry felt a sudden and unexpected stab of jealously. To change the subject he asked "What's this about Ms. Figg being involved in the article? I didn't read the whole thing."
Hermione looked intently at the letter in front of her as she answered. "Well we think the source that was 'close to you' may have been her. I'm sure she wouldn't give out information about you the press on purpose and she didn't really say all that much, just enough to back up their previous allegations against the Dursleys."
Both of his friends seemed to be waiting for him to rant, but Harry just shrugged. He couldn't work up the energy anymore, at least it was one less secret.
The bell rang and Ron cursed. The red head began scribbling faster on his parchment but Hermione ushered them to class. The letters lay forgotten.
That night at supper Ron sat composing his letter home so that it could make it to the Burrow in time for breakfast. He stuffed his face in time with his writing and Hermione flicked pieces of food that landed on the paper to the floor.
"Ron?" said Harry "I was wondering if you could ask your parents if I could stay at your place until I find an apartment? I'm not too keen on asking the Dursleys to put me up for another couple of weeks."
Ron face darkened and he nodded. " Course, mate. But you know you're always welcome."
Harry nodded but kept his eyes firmly on his supper. The Weasleys always said that, but showing up just felt... wrong. "I know but it's always better to ask."
Hermione cleared her throat from a seat over. "I didn't really want to bring this up, but I'm just too curious. Are you going to sue the Dursleys? Or have them arrested? I know you didn't want to before because you wanted to keep it quiet, but now there's no reason not to."
The sudden lack of movement around him let Harry know that others were listening to their conversation. Shifting uncomfortably he answered. "No I don't think so. It's over. I never have to see them again and I'd rather not have to read articles on the trials against them if possible."
Hermione and Ron both seemed unsurprised by his answer. Clearly they knew him too well. The conversations around him resumed in intensity and Harry smiled.
The month of May seemed to speed by. Harry felt lighter than he had ever had in his life. For once he was approaching exams without some sort of mystery to solve or a dark lord to fight. He was convinced that he would do better than ever on his exams. Although Harry hated to admit it, some of the lightness had to do with the conversation between him and Snape. The potions professor was never one to give Harry any slack, so if he did not blame Harry for Sirius death Harry figured it was about time that he let himself off the hook. Forgiving himself was a slow process, but everyday a little piece of him would mend.
Another part of his new freedom was due to the article in the prophet. After a week of annoying looks of pity, something else had come up and the drama of Harry Potter was forgotten by all but his friends. Because he no longer lied about his home life Harry realised how many little white lies he had been telling. Small things like misdirection or outright fibs were no longer necessary. Most of his friends simply didn't direct those questions at him anymore. Two of the most unlikely people were also helping him work through his past: Neville Longbottem and Draco Malfoy. Harry didn't get to see Malfoy all that much, but when they did meet they got into conversations about being bred to hate and how hard it was for Malfoy to look at his parents as the 'bad guys,' opening Harry's eyes to things about his cousin that never before past him mind. Neville and Harry hung out daily and sometimes Neville would talk about feeling like an outcast in the wizarding world and feeling like he could never measure up, things that Harry could more than relate to.
In no time it felt like exams were over and it was time to say goodbye to Hogwarts. Harry was sad to leave the only home he had ever had, but he knew that it wasn't goodbye forever. Hagrid had already invited him over for a visit in a month and McGonnagal had extended an invitation to come whenever he felt like it. Still Hogwarts would never be the same. Part of what made Hogwarts home was the presence of his friends and they were all going away.
There was also a restless feeling of excitement. Harry planned to stay at the Burrow for a few weeks and then move into his own apartment. His own home to make. He had no intentions of living in Grimmauld place or Grodrics Hollow even though he did own them. He was going to start fresh and live his life however he wanted to for the first time.
"I can't believe we're done Hogwarts." Said Hermione in a whisper as they took in there last look at the majestic castle. There were no graduation ceremonies at Hogwarts and nothing at all was done to mark the end of a chapter of life. The only thing done to mark the ending of wizarding schooling was to have the seventh years leave Hogwarts in the same boats they had rode in on in their first year. The boats were much smaller then they had been at age eleven and only three people to a boat were able to fit. Ron and Hermione sat squished on one side of the boat and Harry spread out opposite them.
"Yeah." Said Ron "I spent so much time worrying about dark lords that I forgot it wouldn't last forever."
Hermione giggle and slapped his are playfully. "Honestly. Without Hogwarts I would have been so different. I would have never discovered I was a witch and I would have never fought against Voldemort and I never would have met two of the best friends ever."
She was holding back tears, but for once Harry felt the same. That was exactly how he felt. Hogwarts had taught him who he was in almost every way possible. Hogwarts had taught him his heritage, his emotional limits and his power. Ron rolled his eyes and Harry could tell that the complexity of Hogwarts went over his head. Things had been different for someone who knew that he was destined for the wizarding world.
The train ride was different from any other years. Harry attempted to memorize everything. What was the color of the seat he sat on? What was the food sold on the trolly? What were Ron and Hermione fighting about? Neville joined them in their cabin and they spent the whole way to nine and three quarters reminiscing about less peaceful times.
Mr. And Mrs. Wealsey were waiting for them at the train station. Mrs. Wealsey hugged them like she hadn't seen them in seven years and quizzed them on their exams all the way to the Burrow. The new car they had bough was small but newer and more gas efficient then the old one. Mr. Wealsey whispered the 'special features' of the new car to Harry when his wife was busy talking to Ginny.
When they got to the Burrow it was a surprise to find the whole Weasley clan (minus Percy) waiting for them. Even Fleur was there, looking as beautiful as ever. When asked about the company Mrs. Wealsey humphed "You just graduated from Hogwarts! If that's not an occasion to celebrate then I don't know what is."
They ate the most delicious supper Harry had ever tasted. He sat between Fred and George and spent the whole night helping them prank various people around the table. When the feast had wound down and everyone was lazing back in their seats with a glass of tea, Harry stood to go get his trunk and place it in Ron's room.
"Harry dear, where are you going?"
"To put my trunk in Ron's room Mrs. Wealsey."
To his surprise she jumped if from her seat as if burned. "Never you mind that. Let Charlie take it. I have something to show you."
She took his arm and led him up the stairs. The whole family seemed to follow, chattering excitedly amongst themselves. They stopped at the door that led to Percy's old room.
"Go on in dear." Mrs. Wealsey urged.
With one last bewildered look Harry pushed open the door and froze. The room was painted a Gryffindor red and had a few quidditch posters hanging on the walls. On the snitch bedspread sat a stuffed animal that Harry distantly recognized as the toy Ron had told him he had carried around with him during his time as a child. There was a desk under the window that had a couple of pictures framed of him fooling around with the twins in the backyard and him with Ron and Hermione by the lake.
"There's just one thing missing." Said Mr. Weasley before hanging a sign, just like on Ron's door, on the front of the bedroom door that said 'Harry's room.'
Harry felt tears prickle at the back of his eyes and to his horror a couple pushed their way down his cheek. "I-I- Thank you. You-You didn't have too."
He was wrapped in a bear hug from all sides and that seemed to be the only thing holding him up.
"You are as much my son as any other Weasley." Said Mrs. Weasley and Harry could tell that she was crying. "And no more of this Mrs. Weasley or Mr. Weasley business, Please call me Molly. You had no problem calling Sirius by his first name and I would like the same honour."
"Okay." Said Harry dully.
In one day he had lost a home and gained another.
A/N: Thanks so much for reading this story, I hope you enjoyed it. This story evolved in to more then I ever thought it would. I still have ideas for it bouncing around in my head. Not to give anyone a false hope, but I am concidering a sequel, so drop me a line about your thoughts on that. Thanks again!!!! Please Review!!!