Chapter 7

Harry was gliding along a warm current of summer air, circling the Hogwarts Quidditch pitch. It was something he'd longed to do, just fly around on his own and mull things over while the wind whipped through his messy hair. That line of thought got him thinking. He didn't have messy hair any more…

"Harry."

He was startled out of his musings by the sound of his father's voice and looked over.

"Dad! So this is one of those dreams again?"

James laughed as he reached out to steady is son with a solid hand on his back. "Yes, Harry, it's one of those dreams again. Come, let's talk." They flew to the Gryffindor stands and sat down.

"You're doing well, Harry, very well. Your mother and I are very pleased with your progress. Padfoot and Moony had the right idea with the tutoring sessions. However, there is one thing you need to know." James paused and Harry cut in.

"I thought you and Mum weren't supposed to give me answers."

"We're not, and I won't be giving you answers per se, but again I will be helping you in the right direction. Everyone is right about you not knowing basic theory, and for you I dare say it's not something you'll pick up by reading a book. I was like that in school as well. I had to learn it hands on, but that's not your only problem. There is a barrier guarding your magic. You can call your magic up and use It, but you can't reach your full potential until the barrier is removed. Without access to all of your magical power, you will never be the wizard you were born to be."

"How do I do that?" Harry asked while watching a lonely white cloud travel on the breeze across the crisp blue sky.

"You can't, Harry. You need help. There's a ritual that will do it, but as always I can't tell you what it is. You have to find the answer yourself. I can tell you the best place to start looking for answers is in your ancestral vault. You haven't explored it at all yet, and there are some things there you will find useful and a few you might just want to have for posterity."

"Okay. Dad, may I ask you something?"

"Certainly, Harry. You just did." James winked mischievously at him and Harry gave him a playful shove in return.

"Ugh, your humour is just as bad as Sirius's, you know that? But seriously, what's going on with Dumbledore, I mean why did he keep that ritual away from Moony and I? Is it really necromancy, and if it is, then isn't my talking to you and Mum the same thing?"

"You have to understand, Harry. Dumbledore is looking at your situation through… a filter, if you will; he is seeing your situation through his own experience with Grindelwald who, might I add, was a necromancer. He is very wary of anything involving communication with the dead. There is no grey area in his opinion. Technically what you and Remus did was not necromancy because Sirius was never really dead, just trapped within the afterlife. As for you speaking to your mother and me during sleep…I guess it could be classified as necromancy, but in reverse really because it is the living contacting the dead which is true necromancy. With us it's the other way around. Your mother and I are contacting you."

"So what should I do about Dumbledore?" Harry looked to his father pleadingly. He was lost as to what he should do. The Headmaster had always been a role model to him. Now he felt as if he had been mistaken in his steadfast trust.

"That's your call, son. I personally wouldn't hold it against him. Just keep in mind that he's trying to guide you as best he can but, he's doing it in light of his own experiences. The prophecy that tied him to Grindelwald specified that he alone would have to defeat his 'enemy'. The prophesy connecting you and Voldemort does not. In fact, your connection to friends and loved ones will make you that much stronger in the long run."

"So love is the power that Voldemort doesn't know about?" Harry looked at his father doubtfully.

"Well, that's part of it simply because he doesn't know how to love and sees it as a weakness, not a strength."

"What's the rest? Let me guess… You can't give me the answer."

"Right in one, Harry, you have caught on." James smiled. "You are his equal in magical strength, and you are gaining more knowledge as far as how to fight so you are on your way to knowing how to duel him effectively, but I dare say that when you find the way to unblock your magic you will exceed him in power. When he took your blood, he took your protection from Lily just as you inadvertently took some of his talents when he tried to kill you. You'd been blocked by then and had very little to give in return if that was how it worked. Luckily, it didn't. He got nothing from you. He knew nothing about your block and therefore decided for whatever reason that you were his equal; he marked you not knowing your full potential, thus making you the other subject of the prophecy. But, Harry, you have a cache of power that supersedes even Dumbledore's. That's where you're one up. He doesn't know about all that I'm telling you. And there I've done it! The powers will be breathing down my neck for that one!"

Harry laughed then asked, "So why exactly is my magic…blocked up? What caused it?"

"Your mother and I had to do it. You displayed some very strong magical tendencies even as an infant and your accidental magic was rather explosive, to put it mildly. If we hadn't, you would've run the risk of harming yourself until you learned to get some control. We really didn't foresee dying before we could reverse the barrier. Just think, Harry, you have something hindering your potential yet you still manage to achieve great things for a wizard your age. Once you reach your full potential, you'll be stronger than Dumbledore."

"On a totally different note, how is it that you and Mum are able to contact me?" Harry changed the subject not ready to think of himself as being remotely as powerful as the Headmaster. It was bad enough that he was the Boy Who Lived, he didn't want to be thought of as the old man's successor as the most powerful wizard alive. It was too much pressure.

"Well the powers that be, for lack of a better name for them, saw the need after witnessing what happened at the Ministry in June. Sirius was not fated to die that day, and your defeat of Voldemort is the only way to regain balance between good and evil. We're to guide you in this battle, your mother and I. Our access to your mind is blocking Voldemort's, which is good on two counts.

First, it lets you gain time to build up your Occlumency shields, and second, you gain insight that will give you a chance to succeed. You can count on Voldemort doing anything in his power to get the upper hand. He is using necromancy to gain information about the future, but he doesn't have a link to the spirits he's contacting as powerful as you do to us, and that is where he is at another disadvantage."

Harry looked out over the verdant turf of the Quidditch pitch with it's towering stands and multi coloured flags fluttering in the gentle wind, mulling over what his father just revealed to him. "I appreciate this, Dad. I finally feel like I'm gaining some semblance of control over my life. If it weren't for you and Mum, I'd still be relying on Dumbledore. The Order members helping me now seem to understand what I need, and if I hadn't gotten Sirius back, I'd never have known how to gain their support. I don't think Moony and I would have been able to convince them on our own."

"I wouldn't be so sure. You'd be amazed how many Order members were and still are looking for a reason to distance themselves from Albus. He's not a bad man, he just doesn't understand what you need. I also think you'd be surprised the loyalties you inspire in people Harry. So many of your true supporters saw that you needed something more than what Albus was willing or able to provide. Your standing up for yourself gave them a reason to finally state their opinion. Just keep up what you're doing, the old coot'll come around. Just remember it's your life not his. Listen to his advice, seek it out even, but you have to be the one to make the final decisions."

"Thanks, Dad. How come you're being so straightforward with me? The last dream I had Mum was so vague."

"Well everyone always said I had a penchant for rule breaking. It's time for me to go Harry; I'll see you again soon." With that James Potter mounted his broom and flew off into nothingness just as Harry was waking from his dream.

"I had another dream last night,Moony. This time it was my dad," Harry told Remus as they were running around the lake that morning.

"You're still having them?"

"I had that one after we got Sirius back,but it was just my mum and last night it was Dad. He said that they were sent to guide me, help me defeat Voldemort. He also told me that there is a block on my magic. He and Mum had to do it so I didn't loose control as a baby. Once I find the ritual to cancel it out,I'll have more power than Voldemort. I have his powers through my scar and he has my blood protection through the blood letting after the third task of the Triwizard Tournament."

"That makes sense. Did he tell you where to find it, this ritual I mean?"

"Not in so many words, but he said I needed to go through my ancestral vault. It might be there or at least something to point us to the answer. He said I'd need help once I found it, that I couldn't do it myself."

"Well,I'd guess Sirius or I could do the ritual for you. We might as well take a trip to Diagon Alley today. You've got no lessons as it is Saturday, and Sirius was saying last night while you were out that he wanted to get some books to help with lesson plans. On a totally different note, I think it might be nice to invite Neville a day or two early, don't you think?"

"Yeah, that'd be good. I wanted to give him his own room like the rest of us. It would be awkward since everyone else staying for the party has to share. If he's here beforehand, it won't be so much of a bother to get him properly settled. I'll send him an owl once we're done with our run."

Harry sent Hedwig off with Neville's invitation to come as early as the next day,and then he, Remus, and Sirius took the Knight Bus to the Leaky Cauldron and proceeded to Gringotts. They were ushered to a vault that Harry had never been to. This one, like the one housing his trust for tuition to Hogwarts and school supplies, had an exorbitant amount of gold,but unlike the other had several antechambers filled with heirlooms such as weaponry and books valuable enough to be kept under Goblin protection.

Harry and Remus set themselves to the task of looking in the library section for books on rituals while Sirius took to looking for anything on Potter family history. After several hours,Remus and Harry were no closer to finding anything but were rather surprised to see Sirius sitting amongst a pile of dusty old tomes completely engrossed in the one on his lap.

"Find anything there, Padfoot?" Remus enquired.

"I think I might have. I've been looking through these journals,and it seems as though it was a common practice among your family to bind the magic of the family's sons,Harry. The ritual isn't named but the procedure is mentioned, however not in any detail. You might look at this,Moony. It seems this is more your area of expertise."

Remus and Harry sat next to Sirius and read the passage he was looking at.

"Yes,I think I do know of that one. If I'm not mistaken, it's ancient Egyptian magic. Bill's probably the best one I know who could confirm it,though. I'd imagine if I'm correct he'd be able to break the spell for you,Harry."

"Let's take some of these with us and we can go over them back at the manor. Now that I've started reading all this history, I'm a bit intrigued,which is saying a lot as History was never my subject in school," Sirius suggested.

"You can say that again,Padfoot. I rather remember you always needing to borrow my notes after your napped in that class," Remus ribbed.

"Fine by me," Harry said. "I'd like to go through the other rooms before we head over to Flourish and Blotts, though, if that's alright with you two."

"Sure thing,pup. We have all day," Remus agreed.

The three wizards spent a couple more hours picking books they wanted to peruse. Harry found his parents' old school trunks that they'd left in the vault before going into hiding,as well as a box of baby things that belonged to him. This warmed Harry's heart because he'd never had any childhood memorabilia while living at the Dursleys,and the only things he had before this summer that had belonged to his father were his invisibility cloak and the mirror Sirius had given him for Christmas the previous year.

Once finished, they shrunk their findings and proceeded to the bookstore where Sirius picked out the latest on Defensive Magic Theory and a few books on new innovations in the field of Defence Against the Dark Arts. Worn out from their day amongst dusty leather bound parchment, they floo'd home from the only connection from Diagon Alley: Fred and George's shop hearth. They wanted to keep floo travel down as much as possible,but after two cart rides through Gringott's and a one way trip to London on the purple triple-decker that was the Knight Bus,the floo was tame in comparison.

Neville's eager acceptance was waiting for Harry when he arrived home. He said he would be there after dinner the next day. With that in mind, Harry set the house elves to work at finding a suitable room for Neville, much to Hermione's chagrin. She kept her opinion to disapproving huffs and enfolded arms; obviously she was not beyond throwing temper tantrums even at sixteen. Harry chalked it up to being a spoiled only child. He suspected that was where most of her social problems came from.

The rest of the day went by slowly but not uneventfully. Harry went through his parents' school things with Sirius and Remus late into the evening. It was the most in depth the three wizards ever got in discussing the late James and Lily Potter. They found Lily's honorary copy of the Official Book of Marauder Rules and Regulations. This got the two remaining faithful Marauders reminiscing about James and his contributions to the book as well as all the pranks he orchestrated and how Lily would always be the one to assign him detention afterwards. According to Remus,she'd been secretly thrilled to get a copy the day of the leaving feast but never told James.

Harry just basked in the warmth he felt from his two guardians. It was the first occasion he'd had in a long period of time to sit with them and hear about the parents he was just now getting to know in his dreams. Talk of their fun with James inevitably led to talk of James and Lily and their relationship,which led to Harry and his decision to not pursue Ginny as he had first wanted to.

They were disappointed that it did not work out as he wanted it to but were proud of him for making a very mature decision on his own. Harry was still disappointed as well,but he resolved to think of it as a good thing. Remus pointed out that he wasn't going to lose any friendships over his decision,so Harry tried to look at it in light of that. It was well into the morning and after quite a few butterbeers before they called it a night, which suited Harry just fine.

Morning brought with it the unwelcome sound of Remus' much too cheerful voice insisting that Harry get up and run with him. Normally he'd be all for it,but the late night was enough to hinder any enthusiasm Harry had for getting the day started. He grudgingly did,however, and was grateful afterwards as he felt much more awake after a hard run and a refreshing shower.

Molly had breakfast on the table for them when they got back; or rather she'd supervised the elves on what to cook and for whom. Harry was amused at how she'd handed the real work over so willingly to the elves when in the past she always chased everyone out of her domain. He figured it was a welcome respite for the matriarch of the Weasley clan and the den mother of the Order. A respite he was glad he was able to provide her.

Everyone spent the day lounging about and making last minute changes to the tournament schedules to compensate for the last minute invites to Harry's party. Harry noticed Ron turned a little pink every time Daphne was mentioned and wondered what was going through Hermione's mind,as he noticed that it had not escaped her attention either. Obviously she was not thrilled. She seemed a bit cold towards their mutual best mate after it happened the third time.

They all took a trip to Diagon Alley to pick up birthday presents for Neville and Harry. Harry was sequestered to shops that specialized in Herbology as he only needed to pick up something for his dorm mate whereas the others had to get his presents elsewhere.

He found a rather rare Herbology text written by Helga Hufflepuff and a few exotic species of flora that were good for use in Healing Arts, as well as a few dangerous ones that would thrill his friend to the core. It was predictable getting him items to aid in his favourite subject, but Harry didn't think anyone would go out of their way as he did to find the best there was to offer in the study of the subject. After the arrangements were made for delivery to one of his greenhouses,he met up with the others.

As expected,Neville arrived after dinner and was immediately taken on a tour by the young Gryffindors. He settled into his room still a bit in awe at the gardens, orchard, ball room greenhouses, game rooms,and the billiards halls the Elves were in the process of constructing for the celebration later in the week. They all enjoyed the Muggle telly Tonks had charmed to work in the house and they spent a few hours watching a couple movies she brought along with it.

The day that the guests were to arrive was the same day Hogwarts letters arrived with book lists and OWL results. The adults,as well as Harry, were not pleased to see that Duelling was being offered for the first time in decades. They saw it for what it was; a ploy to keep students out of Sirius' DADA class, the option to do either one or the other could be nothing else.

Shortly after that, everyone started floo'ing into the opulent main hall. The walls were covered by tapestries depicting different members of Harry's family doing various Gryffindorish deeds; some with their wands aloft fighting some dark foe, others were taming wild magical beasts. There were also wall-hangings that portrayed the quiet side of the Potter ancestors with small branches of the family surrounding new arrivals or sitting by the fire just being together.

The students were greeted by one of the many house elves who worked for Harry and led up the grand staircase to the room they would reside in. They were then introduced to any other elves that would be of their particular service during the party. Many of the students were shocked to see Harry living in such splendour as he always seemed a humble young man. He was nothing like one of the rich Purebloods that usually came from old money, like Malfoy for instance.

Daphne and Blaise cornered Harry once they arrived to discuss the letters and what they knew that everyone else did not.

"Here,Harry, you might want to take a look at this. We know your Godfather is taking the DADA position so we decided to reserve judgement on whether or not to take Snape's not so subtle suggestion." Blaise handed Harry a letter covered in scratchy handwriting.

Dear Slytherin Students,

This letter is to inform you that I will be taking on a new position at Hogwarts. Instead of being the Potions professor, I will be taking on the responsibility of Duelling Professor. Do not fear, this does not affect my position as your Head of House in any way. It would benefit you to take this class if you are entering your third or sixth years as it will be upgraded to a core class by next year. I expect to see you all in my class if you know what is good for you. Times are dangerous and promise to become more so. You will need my expertise in preparing for the days to come.

Severus Snape

Head of Slytherin House

Hogwarts School of Witchcraft and Wizardry

This was just another nail in Dumbledore's coffin, so to speak, in Harry's opinion. He asked Blaise if he could show it to Sirius, and if they would be willing to discuss what they thought of the situation with him briefly,to which they agreed. Sirius and Remus both read the letter, finishing it just as Minerva McGonagall floo'd in. She had just attended a short staff meeting with Dumbledore and the few members who came to the school early to prepare lesson plans and their classrooms for the upcoming year. She too brought the same news,as well as her perspective.

"So he's trying to pit me against Snape then in hopes that I won't be as big an influence on the students?" Sirius asked from his favourite chair in the main sitting room.

"I believe so. He thinks that the students not involved in the DA will be more open to choosing another option and therefore not under your influence," the stern Transfiguration professor answered. She was daunting in her tartan robes and severe expression. She was not happy with the machinations of a wizard she had long thought was above such petty manoeuvring and in a fit a pique decided to inform her students, current and former, of what was going on.

She had increasingly found herself lamenting her decision to let Dumbledore leave Harry with the Durselys. She knew they were never good to him and every time she brought her concerns to the old man he fobbed her off. The mistreatment of any child was abhorrent to her and justified, in her mind, her decision to defect from her one time mentor and side with her student.

"Well,what do you think those students will choose?" Harry asked from his place on the couch. He gestured for her to sit in the chair opposite Sirius.

"Some may choose both along with another elective,but I doubt that many will drop Defence. It's too integrated into the requirements for so many Ministry jobs that it won't be very effective. Ultimately I think he wants to offer a class in which he can have you monitored. He wants to know how you're being trained by all those he has fallen out of favour with. He believes Severus is the best to evaluate your progress and inform him of it. He is not entirely sure where my loyalties lie, and I would not be the best candidate for such a job anyways," she responded after making herself comfortable.

"What would you say is the best course of action?" Remus wondered. He was pacing behind the couch Harry and his newest friends occupied.

"Don't play into his games. Sign up for anything but Duelling. You can learn enough of that elsewhere, you don't need to learn it from Severus," she addressed Harry and then turned to Remus. "The other Professors either don't know of the power struggle or are actually more inclined to support Harry if they know about what is going on. He's taken too many liberties with the safety of students lately in their opinion."

It was necessary for Harry to cut the conversation short as it was time to start the festivities,but he asked that McGonagall, Sirius,and Remus speak to him about it later.

The cake that the house elves baked under Molly's supervision was the largest Harry had ever seen and was decorated in Neville's favourite colours: green, yellow and blue. They reminded him of the greenhouses at Hogwarts. Everyone was generous in their gift giving,even if they didn't know the birthday boy very well. Harry decided to wait to give his gift until things settled down. The plants he'd purchased were rather sensitive to stimuli and would become stressed around so many people so they were waiting in the greenhouses.

The game room was opened to everyone,and those who were not familiar with billiards stayed to get extra lessons from the twins who had both taken to the game rather quickly and were fast becoming experts. That was Harry's cue to show Neville what he had picked for him. Ginny and Ron joined in,as did the Slytherins who had gotten tutoring from Gryffindor's resident Herbology expert and a few of the D.A. members who had gotten to know Neville the previous year.

"I know it's not the most unique gift I could have come up with,but I figure you'll appreciate it all more then say a book on Quidditch or something." Harry gave a self depreciating smile.

Neville's eyes widened at the sight of all the rare flora situated on the centre table of the greenhouse. "Harry,you shouldn't have, really!" Harry just smiled. "No,I mean it this is too much!" There were small seedlings of Devil's Snare, Venemous Tentaculas, a tank full of Gillyweed, as well as several healing plants Harry knew very little about. The prize specimen: a Venus Dragon plant that was spitting fire as it flicked its tongue out at non existent bugs and small vermin in its secluded corner.

Harry had picked some of the more rare and dangerous plants knowing that his shy friend had taken to them in his last year just as Hagrid took to dangerous creatures.

The rest of their friends had edged toward the doors, ready to make a hasty retreat if the overactive Venus Dragon plant got too excited. Neville had a rapturous look upon his face. The teen could have very well been in heaven rather then one of the greenhouses on Potter Manor.

"Looks like I did well then," Harry commented at seeing the blissful look.

"I'll say you did," commented Ron. "The question is how are you going to get them moved back to Neville's house after the party's over?"

"I already arraigned for that," Harry responded.

"How,Harry? Gran hasn't let me put any greenhouses up."

"Oh, lets just say that that's being taken care of as we speak." Harry just grinned as his dorm mates eyes widened at the implication. Harry was happy to think that he would have a hand in helping Neville's Gran see just how talented her grandson was. To him,that was more important then anything he could have given his friend. He was just glad that he was able to use his fame for something good. He had no qualms laying it on thick to Mrs. Longbottom when asking her permission to have a greenhouse built at Longbottom House.

"This is all very interesting,but what say we all find a safer place to converse. That Devil's Snare is starting to look a bit ravenous even if it is a seedling." Blaise eyed the plant with distrust.

They all convened in one of the smaller sitting rooms and proceeded to discuss the upcoming school year and Harry's plans for the DA. The moon was waning as they all made their way to their respective beds.

Everyone got a late start the next day, but the Quidditch tournament was started with great excitement on everyone's part; even the adults who were sequestered to play on teams with the exception of a few. Talent was evenly distributed among the teams so that no one team had more advantage over another,which was a fair strategy on the twins part for setting up the teams.

The first half of the tournament was played during the second day of the party while the evening was devoted to the billiards tournament,which would be concluded the following evening. Everyone was taken with the game,especially the wizard-born teens who were rather inexperienced with it. No one took it nearly as seriously as they did Quidditch.

Everyone was once again shocked by Molly's cooking prowess. She had produced another cake of the same calibre of Neville's but decorated in Gryffindor House colours and had an animated frosted lion on the top tier. After the candles were blown out,Harry opened the heaping pile of presents he had received. Most of them were Defense or Quidditch related but all useful or fun.

Sirius and Remus both took their young charge aside to give him their presents. Sirius had found a vintage motorbike in London and had added charms to it so that it operated like the one he'd lent Hagrid the night Harry was whisked away from Godric's Hollow. He told Harry that once Hagrid returned his bike later that summer, they would both take them out and he would teach Harry to ride.

Remus' gift was a little less dangerous and exciting, but made up for it in thoughtfulness just as he normally did in all things compared to his marauder friend. He had compiled a history of the Potter family using the information from the books that were in Harry's ancestral vault. He'd also told Harry he and Bill had found the ritual to break the block on his magic,and they would perform it the day after the party was over.

They planned another trip to the Gringott's for the same day his magic would be set to rights. Remus said that Harry would need to visit the subterranean vault after reading all that was contained in the book he had compiled. This got Harry's curiosity piqued and vowed to himself he'd stay up all that night and the next if need be to read through it all. They joined the guests shortly after that.

The adults had a surprise for the teens that they knew Harry would have vetoed if he had been told of it. The ballroom was decorated in all the house colours of Hogwarts and there was a muggle disco ball floating in the centre of the room casting small squares of light over the teens. There were high pitched squeals and clapping from the girls and torturous groans from the boys as music was emitted from an invisible sound system.

Eventually the boys caved, and they all started pairing off. Harry saw Ron turn a bright pink when the ever graceful Daphne Greengrass asked him to dance with her,but he was not slow in accepting. They eagerly joined the others under the reflective globe. As this was taking place, Blaise approached Hermione, who was standing near Harry at the refreshments table in the corner.

"I did not get the pleasure of dancing with you the other night,and I was wondering if you would do me the honour?" Blaise asked in a rather formal tone, his dark chocolate eyes entreating her to say yes. Usually he was a very laidback sort and somewhat shy, never one to single anyone out. This night he seemed emboldened by the atmosphere. Harry thought he saw his best friend tremble a bit when the tall, handsome boy pulled her close, and he didn't think it was from anything but excited anticipation.

Harry did his best to stay off the dance floor,but Sirius and Remus would not hear of it and insisted he dance with as many young ladies as they could come up with. First it was Ginny, then Daphne's cousin Adria. They then made him dance a waltz with Mrs. Weasley. After the slow song with Molly, he was pulled out onto the middle of the floor with Tonks who, surprisingly, did not lose her balance until the song was over. By the time the dancing had come to a close,he was thoroughly worn out.

Later that night as, they convened in one of the smaller sitting rooms, the subject of Defense class came up and most guests were a bit shocked to hear the Slytherin students take on the whole thing. They were not at all fond of their Head of House, so the rest of the students warmed up to them a bit easier after that. Hermione seemed especially taken with Blaise, who hovered around her like a moth to one of her blue bell flames. He later revealed to Harry that he had harbored a secret crush for the intellectual girl but could never act on it while under the scrutiny of other Slytherins. He also told Harry that the days of him towing his house line were over. He had every intention of wooing her away from Weasley. Harry told him he didn't think it would be too difficult, as his other best friend was currently besotted with Daphne, with her blond corn silk curls and azure eyes that fluttered each time Ron clumsily tried to compliment her. He felt a little pang of regret that things had not worked with Ginny, not because of any strong feeling for her but just the desire for that kind of companionship. After speaking with the shy Slytherin,Harry invited him and, by association Tracy and Daphne, to join the DA, something they'd shown interest in the night before.

It was another late night and another late morning. But it was met eagerly enough with the end of the Quidditch tournament in sight, as well as the billiards tournament. Harry had stayed up until nearly dawn and was halfway through his gift from Remus before he nodded off. He thought he felt the now familiar presence of his parents in his mind as he drifted off and got the distinct impression that they were excited and very proud of him

Later that day,Harry was revelling in a decisive victory over Ginny's team. He was champion of his own birthday tournament. Charlie's team came in third, but everyone had a good time whether they were on the winning team or not. It bode well for the Gryffindor Quidditch team that all the players on the team did well in their own right.

The billiards tournament was won by the Creevy brothers who later revealed they were in a Muggle billiards competition every summer. This was a bit of an encouragement for Colin who was on the losing team for Quidditch. The prize for doing so was an innocent kiss from Ginny and a pair of tickets to the next Falmouth Falcons game against Puddelmere United provided, generously, by Oliver Wood.

It was with a light heart that Harry's schoolmates, past and present, left for their homes. A few adults stayed behind, such as Keegan and McGonagall, to discuss the upcoming year. As they all sat around the large table in the kitchen enjoying a pot of Darjeeling tea Keegan revealed that he was going to apply for the position of Potions Professor,as he was a master in the field and wanted to do more to help the war effort, namely continue to train Harry. He was an unknown quantity to Dumbledore who was unaware of his relationship with Harry thus far,which would get him farther in the interview process than if the Headmaster knew he was Harry's friend. It would give the young wizard another advantage by having someone vested in his success and fair treatment in the school. He also brought news that they were able to get the support of Amelia Bones in regards to the Magical Theory class they were proposing.

It was decided that Molly would not apply for the position of Theory Professor but that an old friend of McGonagall's would apply instead. It would have the same advantage with Dumbledore that Keegan had. Serene Leerah would not be well known to Dumbledore but would secretly be in support of Harry, having been a mentor of Lily in her training as a Charms Master.

Things were continuing to look up for Harry. But the next big challenge would be facing Umbridge in court. He had to get ready for that and was feeling rather uneasy about the whole ordeal. Keegan and McGonagall both tried to quell his fears about the trial by letting him know that the inquiry made it all but impossible for the woman to get off.

"I would not be surprised, Harry,if Minister Fudge is taken down with her. She was his Undersecretary and could not have passed all her educational decrees if he did not know what she was up to. She was his pawn inside the school. He was just as responsible for the crimes that went on there as she just by association," McGonagall said.

"I know you're right, Professor,but I still can't help but be nervous about it all," Harry answered.

"I understand that,Harry, but you will be fine. Dumbledore may not be acting wisely in your case,but he is just as outraged by what those two did as we all are,and as the head of the Wizengamot,he will be overseeing the trial along with Madam Bones," McGonagall replied to her student.

"Well, that's something. He was just as affected by the underhanded tactics of the two of them as the rest of us at Hogwarts were,so he won't have the wool pulled over his eyes." Harry was somewhat mollified.

"The barrister is a real spitfire,Harry. Nothing will get by that man so you needn't worry. He's the best there is." Keegan tried to encourage Harry further.

Harry went to bed shortly after the conversation, anxious to be able to free his inherent magic from its bounds and visit his vault again. He'd gone through the entire history Remus had compiled and was surprised once again at the extent Dumbledore had kept him in the dark. Granted there was much more that Remus had not discovered while perusing the Potter histories. Had he been able to go through all of it one of the greatest legends of Wizarding History would have been confirmed.

He now knew that the Potters had always held high positions in wizard politics, as well as in the governing of Hogwarts. There was a Potter on the Wizengamot as recently as his Grandfather,and his father been eligible for a position on the Board of Governors of Hogwarts before he, Lily,and Harry had gone under the Fidelius Charm. As these positions were passed from antecedent to successor,he would be eligible to occupy them once he left school.

Harry also learned that as the last descendant to a pureblood family, muggleborn mother or no, he had a great deal of responsibility to uphold and was eager to take up the mantel of Head of the Potter family. He was descendant of a long line of Light Wizards and felt a strong urge to live up to that heritage more than anything else. In his opinion, vanquishing Voldemort was just part and parcel to his responsibilities, more so than his fate. He knew in his heart of hearts that the only reason that it had fallen to him was that everyone else was too scared,or in the case of Dumbledore blinded,by a prophecy that was not the cause of his involvement but just stating the obvious.

The fact was he thought that with the same attention he was getting Neville Longbottom could very well do the same thing he was expected to. He certainly had a similar heritage to Harry,and if he had been raised differently, he might have had the same determination as well. After all, he had been placed in Gryffindor for a reason.

So it was with a very full head that Harry finally drifted off to sleep. He was totally unaware of all the preparation that was going on for the ritual he would have performed on him, but he knew beyond a shadow of a doubt that after it was done he would never be the same again,and others would never look at him the same way again; he just did not know to what extent. He was in for the next big shock of his life.

He rose with the dawn despite not having slept more than five hours but felt a sense of elation he had not felt since he knew it was himself that had produced a Patronus large enough to save his and Sirius' lives from over a hundred Dementors or when he was aware that he and Remus had brought Sirius back from beyond the veil and he would no longer be living with the Dursleys anymore.

He joined the two wizards who were set to unblock his magic in a rarely used cellar off the main thoroughfare of the house and they set to work.

AN: I decided to allude to the Deathly Hallows in this chapter as I want to keep the possibility of using them and thus the Horcrux plotline if I think it all fits with this story. Either way Harry will still be much more powerful and much more independent of our favourite headmaster as I first intended when starting this story back in 2005, man has it really been that long? On a side note, I know the birthday party thing has been done before but I wanted to write one for Harry. It was also a way of establishing some of the key characters who were not featured in the first few chapters and their relationships with Harry. I also wanted to make the fact that the D.A. participants are important to Harry clear, why else would he invite them all to his home?