Title: The Beginning of the End
Author: Casca Casccara@yahoo.com
Classification: H/G R/H, multiple POV
Summary: Spans the course of Harry's seventh and final year at Hogwarts, detailing Harry's struggle with the path that has been chosen for him and the roles his friends play to aid him in the ultimate defeat of Lord Voldemort.
Spoilers: Through Goblet
Disclaimer: All characters and names used in these fics are the legal property and creative work of JK Rowling and/or Warner Bros. We are not making any profit on these fics - just having fun. :) We will be forever grateful to Ms. Rowling for providing us with this veritable playground for our imaginations.
Author's note: For the sake of this story, it has already been established that Harry is the Heir of Gryffindor. Also, for the sake of this story, Sirius' name has been cleared; however, Harry was unable to live with him seeing as they were both targets of Voldemort. That's all for now. Enjoy! :D
The Attack on Privet Drive
Ron Weasley awoke on July 21st to complete chaos. He could hear voices coming from downstairs, loud voices yelling with panic and anger. He heard heavy footsteps thudding down the stairs, doors slamming, new voices shouting. At once, Ron was yanking the covers off his bed and flinging himself downstairs. The panic and fear gripped his entire body and seemed to squeeze his soul. His brain was screaming the name "Harry" over and over again, a feeling culminating the intense fear he'd felt all summer long whenever he thought of his best friend's safety.
The sight that greeted Ron was one of pandemonium. Bill was charging through the house, a look of fury on his hard face, swearing loudly; Mrs. Weasley was bent low, talking to someone's head in the fireplace; Mr. Weasley was running from the other end of the house to join a guest in the hall who Ron noticed was Remus Lupin. Everyone seemed to be in a complete panic.
"What's happened?!" he shrieked over everyone. "What is it?!"
Mr. Weasley took a step towards Ron, but didn't say anything. When he shifted, however, Ron could see whom Mrs. Weasley was talking to in the fireplace. It was Sirius Black.
Ron watched his parents exchange looks and he felt his heart drop into his stomach. It seemed that everyone had stopped talking. "WHAT IS IT?!" Ron bellowed.
Lupin clamped a hand on Arthur's back and looked at him expectantly. Arthur turned to look at his wife. "Molly, I have to go."
"Go," she breathed. "Go, take care of it, Arthur, Remus, Sirius. When you find him, bring him back here where he belongs."
"I'm coming, Dad!" Bill yelled, charging through the kitchen into the living room.
Mrs. Weasley looked panicked. "No, I don't think you should, Bill-" But she stopped at the look of determination on Bill's face. "Be careful, all of you," she said miserably.
Ron watched numbly as his father, his brother and Lupin Disaparated on the spot and Sirius's head disappeared in a swish of gold sparks. Ron turned to his mother and looked at her with pleading eyes. "Mum?"
At that moment, the back door slammed and Fred, George and Ginny came into view. George and Fred had broomsticks slung over their backs and Fred carried a Beaters Club.
"Oi!" shouted Fred. "I'm beat. What's for breakfast, then?"
Ginny stood perfectly still, staring back and forth from her mother to Ron. "Mum?" she asked in a small voice.
The twins looked up, suddenly sober. "What's happened?" demanded George in a harsh voice.
The war made it quite common for happiness in the house to diminish into fear within a split second.
Mrs. Weasley took a deep breath. "Okay, nobody knows anything yet, so try not to panic." She turned to look at Ron. "Privet Drive, the muggle street Harry lives on, was under attack today."
Ron's stomach lurched. "Harry?"
"Nobody knows anything, Ron. Remus Lupin found out in the muggle news early this morning."
"Well, what did the muggle news say?" George demanded. "Was anyone hurt?"
Mrs. Weasley looked at each of her children. "There were fifteen deaths, about thirty people injured."
At that, Ginny's eyes welled with tears. Ron looked positively nauseous, and Mrs. Weasley spoke again. "But that doesn't mean that Harry-"
"Of course, it does!" Ron shouted. "What do you think it means?"
"Ron, stop it," his mother said sharply. "We can't go assuming things that may not have happened-"
"They don't have the identities of who was killed, Mum?" Fred asked.
Mrs. Weasley hesitated. "Apparently, some of the victims were not able to be identified," she said evasively.
But Ron stared at her. "Well, why not?"
She sighed. "There was a lot of destruction to the houses of the street and some of the deaths were not caused by curses. At least, this is what Remus Lupin could put together from the muggle news. The Aurors are over there now, have been all morning. Ron, and Dad, Sirius and Remus are going to search for Harry so I suggest we all wait until we have any more news before thinking the worst."
But Ron didn't want to wait. It wasn't fair, why did he have to sit and wait to find out if his best friend had . . . He couldn't do it. He couldn't sit, he couldn't wait, so he got up and slammed from the house.
Hermione awoke on July 21st, dressed in casual clothes and headed into the kitchen to fix some breakfast. She was used to getting up on her own and fending for herself. After all, her parents kept dentist's hours and usually had to be at their respective practices rather early in the morning. She pressed the lever down on the toaster and poured a tall glass of juice, flipping on the small counter-top television to watch the eight am news. It had become a kind of second nature to do this on summer break.
Just then, she heard a tapping noise coming from the kitchen window and, glancing up, she ran to open it. A great tawny owl swept through the open window and dropped a large newspaper, made not of paper but of parchment, onto the table. The owl held out his leg, which was attached to a small pouch and Hermione scrambled around to find the proper wizard coinage to pay him.
Hermione barely had time to glance at The Daily Prophet lying on the table before the toast popped up. She stretched to press the lever back down, her eyes doing a double take at what she saw on the cover of the Prophet. It was a picture of Harry, one that had been taken three years ago as a publicity shot for the Triwizard Tournament. Hermione's heart sank into the pit of her stomach as she snatched up the paper and frantically scanned the article.
The Dark Lord strikes again and this time he has chosen to go after the one and only person who has ever defeated him- Harry Potter. Harry Potter has been proclaimed one the safest wizards in the world with the avid protections placed upon him and his residence by none other than Albus Dumbledore. However early this morning, it appears young Potter's safety wore short. The muggle street on which Mr. Potter takes residence over the summers was taken under violent attack, culminating in the deaths of several muggles. Mr. Potter was nowhere to be found at the scene and since there have been no confirmation of the identities of the victims, it may be assumed that our young Potter has been a victim as well…
Hermione threw down the paper as if it had burned her hands. No such thing could be assumed, she thought wildly. How dare they print something so misleading? Harry knew how to take care of himself; he was a wonderful wizard, he would know if something were about to happen. She was sure that he was absolutely fine, she would almost swear it. Her hands shook as she buttered her bread and she tried very hard to swallow the tears that welled up in her throat. Harry was fine, she would not assume anything until she heard the truth from someone she trusted. She knew that she would see Hedwig or Pig flying down her street any minute now with news on exactly what had happened and where Harry was. And if Harry were indeed in danger, Ron would not keep her in the dark; he would get word to her strait away. Hermione knew it and she refused to believe anything until she heard the truth. Hermione grabbed the plate, turned to walk to the table and froze. She stared in horror at the smartly dressed reporter speaking into a microphone on the television. The woman appeared to be standing on what looked like a battlefield where ruined houses, black ash, and billows of smoke was the backdrop.
"The Fire started at around five am this morning and the source is still unknown. Since the flames shot down the street and destroyed many houses on Privet Drive in Surrey, it may be assumed that the fire was caused by a gas leak, which went out of control. However, our own Peter Glen commented that if the cause was indeed a gas leak, he certainly had never seen the likes of one this big and this destructive. Peter, are you there…?"
The plate slid from Hermione's hands and fell to the floor with a clatter. She sat down in a kitchen chair, put her head in her hands and prepared to wait.~Harry~
Harry Potter, Heir of Gryffindor, sat in a large, cushioned chair staring blankly at the roaring red flames inside the small fireplace. He closed his eyes against the fatigue and found it helped slightly, and made him so drowsy, he could imagine sliding off to sleep within seconds. But Harry didn't want to go to sleep so he opened his eyes again and when he did, he found himself looking at the towering figure of Albus Dumbledore. Harry didn't make a move, he simply stared up into the eyes of the person who had saved his life only hours ago. He watched Dumbledore walk to the corner of the room, pull a chair and sit down across from Harry at the small circular table within the room.
"Your aunt, uncle and cousin are fine, Harry. Your aunt was injured and taken to a hospital but it's not serious. The house was destroyed. I'm sorry," Dumbledore said.
If Harry had to explain the feelings that raced through him, he wouldn't be able to. He felt relieved to a point, but wondered what he was relieved of. He didn't care about the Dursely's, they meant nothing to him. Or didn't they? As for the house, well, it had been his enslavement for the last seventeen years. But he couldn't ignore the fact that something inside him was aching for it. Harry remembered the bedroom Ron, Fred and George had rescued him from in the dead of night, the countless owls with letters and birthday presents he'd opened on his bed, the living room where he'd stood while hundreds of letters poured through the fireplace, addressed to him. He hated most everything about that house from Aunt Petunia's spotless windows to the freshly painted garage door. But it had been home and now he had no other.
Dumbledore continued to speak about the Dursleys. "Their memories have been modified, they think the damage was caused by a fire, they don't suspect you at all."
At that, Harry gave a dry laugh.
Dumbledore shifted his gaze to Harry's eyes. "You can see them, if you like. They are at the hospital just outside of-" Dumbledore broke off as Harry shook his head. "Very well. Harry, I'm going to check downstairs and see if Sirius has arrived. Would you like anything?"
Harry shook his head again.
Dumbledore walked to the door and opened it, turning when Harry spoke.
"Thank you, Professor," he said in a low voice and Dumbledore nodded deeply. Harry could see that the meaning behind the words was not lost on him. Alone, Harry stared into the fireplace that sparked calmly and closed his eyes. The morning came back to him . . .
Harry slept very fitfully, dreams haunting his slumber. At once he awoke to an earsplitting scream and scrambled out of bed before cursing himself mentally. There was no one there, as always, no Voldemort peeking out from under his bed or hiding in the closet. It was, as it always was, just a dream.
His watch read five am, it was still dark out, just before the sun made its ascent. Harry lay in bed, tossing and turning restlessly. He spent most nights this way so he was quite used to not being able to sleep. But he couldn't help feeling that something else was keeping him awake. Something-
At once, Harry heard a loud noise from outside, he sat up and looked and what he saw made his heart stop. A huge fiery bird was flying strait for his window. Harry watched in fear as the creature swooped inside his room and landed on his bed. He gasped.
"Fawkes!" he breathed.
Fawkes the Phoenix flapped his massive wings and Harry looked frantically around. "What it is, Fawkes, what's happened?" he asked, as if expecting the Phoenix to start talking to him. But Fawkes simply held out a claw-like foot and Harry saw that there was a letter attached to it.
Opening up the letter furiously, Harry scanned it, surprised by it's short contents. The letter simply said:
Take what you can carry and leave Privet Drive at once. Fawkes will guide you. Stay hidden, be quick. We'll do our best to keep you're family safe.Albus Dumbledore
Harry was breathing very fast. He folded the letter with shaking hands and opened his trunk. He grabbed the only two things that mattered most: the invisibility cloak to keep hidden and his Firebolt, his only form of transportation. Fawkes was perched on the windowsill, calmly waiting for Harry. Invisible, Harry raced downstairs, opened the front door and took off into the night, following closely behind Fawkes.
For hours, they flew towards London and at last, Harry had arrived in front of The Leaky Cauldron where Dumbledore sat awaiting him. But Harry didn't need to hear explanations. He already knew in his heart what had happened. He listened numbly as Dumbledore told him that he'd received word that the Death-Eaters had planned to attack Privet Drive. Harry didn't ask how Dumbledore had found out about this. . . Harry already knew who had helped save his life.
It was quite a few hours before Sirius arrived at The Leaky Cauldron where Dumbledore had arranged for Harry stay in a room. Sirius walked into the room followed by Mr. Weasley, Bill Weasley and Professor Lupin. Harry and Dumbledore were sitting in silence around the table, Harry staring into the fire again and Dumbledore reading the Daily Prophet.
"Harry," Sirius said. He stood at the doorway and his whole appearance exuded relief. "Thank goodness."
Harry stood as Sirius approached him. "I'm fine," he told him, meeting his gaze. Harry had grown quite tall in the last few years, almost, but not quite, reaching Sirius' height.
Sirius placed both hands on either side of Harry's neck, looking at him intently. At last, Sirius nodded.
Lupin cleared his throat and when Harry turned to look at him, he saw Lupin and Bill were floating something inside. It was Harry's trunk.
"We were able to salvage this from your house, Harry. It all seems to be order," Lupin said kindly.
"Thank you," Harry said, surprisingly relieved. He didn't have much in the way of fortune in the trunk, but there were many things of value to him in there and it had caused him much pain to leave his only belongings behind.
Mr. Weasley turned to Harry. "Harry, I just sent word to Ron, and let him know you're okay. They're waiting for you at home."
Harry felt a surge of relief so strong, he closed his eyes. He noticed Mr. Weasley had said "home" and not "the Burrow" and Harry knew he'd done it on purpose. The Burrow had been like a second home to him since his second year at Hogwarts and he knew the door would always be open for him there. However…
Harry did not answer Mr. Weasley and instead, looked at Dumbledore. "Will he find me there?"
"The Burrow will be Unplottable after tonight, Harry. You won't be found there," Dumbledore assured him.
Harry held his headmaster's gaze and felt Dumbledore willing him to believe it.
It was Mr. Weasley who stepped forward and put a hand on Harry's shoulder. "Let's go, Harry. Ron's waiting for you, he's sent Pig to Hermione to let her know you're okay. You'll be able to have a rest at home."
Harry closed his eyes again at the word "home" and turned to follow Mr. Weasley and Bill out of the room. A sudden noise made him turn back. Harry's heart soared. "Hedwig!" he exclaimed and watched as Lupin let her in through the window. She'd been gone for almost a week and Harry had been worrying.
"Hang on a second, Mr. Weasley," Harry said and bent over the table, grabbed a pad and pencil and quickly scrawled a note. He attached the note to Hedwig's leg and then stroked her snowy feathers gently. "Take this to Hermione for me, okay? Be really quick."
Hedwig hooted softly and nipped his finger. Then she took off outside.
"It'll take Pig forever and a day," he said giving a dry laugh. "She'll be worried," he said simply, referring to Hermione. Then Harry followed Mr. Weasley out of the room and prepared to go home.
Around mid-afternoon that day, Ginny Weasley came inside the Burrow through the kitchen door, her arms full of flowers. She laid them on the table and reached up into a cupboard to get a plain white vase. At once, she started sheering the ends of the long blossoms with her wand, finding it enjoyable using magic at home. Since the war had begun, fifth, sixth and seventh year students were aloud special privileges to practice magic at home. The slow and monotonous task allowed her to think calmly about the events that had transpired early this morning.
Things were settled now. Dad was at the office, Mum had gone to buy groceries, and Ron, Fred and George were outside using Quidditch to settle down. And Harry was upstairs sleeping in Ron's room. He'd been asleep for almost an hour and Ginny was glad for it. When he'd arrived at the Burrow a short while ago, he'd looked as if he'd been through an emotional war and Ginny knew all too well that he'd had. Mum had gone to him immediately and hugged him as though he were her own son. Ron had clapped him on the back with a huge look of relief and happiness on his face. Fred and George had made a lighthearted joke and broken the tension. But Ginny had taken a step back and left the room before Harry could see her.
It was a very tough thing to deal with, watching Harry go through so much. Ginny wanted to be there for him, to comfort him with a hug or even a joke. But it wasn't her place. Over the years, she had somewhat come to deal with the fact that he didn't see her at all and had actually managed to forget about it every now and then. But when something like this morning happened, her feelings for Harry would come flooding back and Ginny knew there wasn't anything she could do to suppress them. So she'd left the room and went outside to pick flowers.
He just didn't see her. And that was fact.
Satisfied with the rather large bouquet she'd created, Ginny picked up her wand and peered at one of the flowers, which had started to wilt. She muttered something softly and touched her wand to the stem of the flower. At once the blossom filled with intense color and opened up. She did this to three other wilted flowers and then, satisfied, pushed the vase into the center of the table. The absence of the arrangement made her view to the doorway clear and she glanced up at the person standing in it.
Harry took a step inside the kitchen and Ginny's heart thudded in her chest. His black hair was mussed from sleep, his clothes were wrinkled and he was looking directly at her. His piercing green eyes had that same flat look that had gotten worse over the last three years. It was almost to a point where Ginny could see the windows closed over them.
He gave her a small smile and her heart almost broke. "Hi," he said.
"Hi," she said in a surprisingly clear voice. "Did you have a good sleep?" She watched him shrug his shoulders and pull out a chair at the kitchen table to sit down.
Ginny went to a cupboard. "Something to drink?" she asked him and pulled out a pitcher of pumpkin juice.
When he didn't answer, she turned to look at him. He was watching her in the most peculiar way. Ginny didn't know why, but the cautious look on his face made a huge giggle bubble in her throat. "What?" she asked with amusement. "Do I have leaves in my hair or something from the bouquet?" She lifted her free hand to her hair that was pulled back in a simple ponytail.
He rewarded Ginny with a tiny hint of a grin. "No, no. You sound different, that's all."
"Oh." Ginny stood in the middle of the kitchen, the pitcher of pumpkin juice still in her hand. She turned abruptly after a moment and grabbed two glasses from the cupboard.
"Thanks," Harry muttered after she'd handed him the glass. He downed it in almost three gulps.
They sat in silence for a while, with Harry refilling his glass once and Ginny pulling a magazine from a shelf and flipping through it. She knew he didn't want to talk, so she forced herself to appear comfortable in his presence, which would make him feel comfortable that they weren't talking. It appeared to be working until Ginny caught Harry looking at her again. This might have been great news to her because Harry never looked at her, really looked like he was doing so now. However this was not the look she'd always dreamed of. He didn't have a foolish grin on his face or appreciative eyes. He was looking at her face very thoroughly and … he was frowning at her. For a split second, Ginny's eyes flew back to his and met his gaze. But Harry broke the connection immediately. Gone was the comfortable stillness. They sat in silence again, however the air was thick with a tension neither of them understood. Ginny returned to her magazine, Harry returned to contemplating his juice. But it was she who raised her eyes ever so slightly to look at him once again.
To Be Continued…
Feedback is welcome!
More Harry Potter Fanfic by Casca at:
The Hidden Tower
And ER Fanfic by Casca at:
Between the Lines