Disclaimer: I do not own anything other than the story line . All rights belong to J.K. Rowling.
Author's Note: My thanks to dennisud for asking me to write this, and for agreeing to beta read it for me. You did exactly what I asked for, and I appreciate the time and effort you spent in helping me to develop the story line. I hope it turns out as well as I think it will. For a time frame this starts at the end of term of Harry's third year.
Isosceles: How Harry Potter Met His Destiny in Triangular Fashion
Chapter One: Home is Where the Wards Are
Hogwarts Express, 1330, 17 June, 1994
It had actually been a calm, almost boring ride back from Hogwarts to London. Harry, Ron and Hermione had grabbed a cabin when the train had first rolled into Hogsmeade, and the only ones to join them were Neville and Ginny. As the two of them tended to be quiet, especially Ginny when in the proximity of her greatest crush; Harry had plenty of time to doze during the journey.
As a thirteen year old boy, Harry put that time to good use, religiously studying the insides of his eyelids, getting in some undisturbed slumber for the first time in a very long time. It had been a very long, hazardous year, ending in yet another snubbing of Harry by the Wizarding World in general and Cornelius Fudge, the Minister for Magic in particular.
Harry and Hermione had undertaken a quest at the very end of the year to rescue his Godfather, Sirius Black from the dementor's kiss. Through a combination of fortuitous advice, copious amounts of luck, some extraordinary skills, powerful magic, and the ability to travel in time, they had managed to succeed not only in their primary task; but they had also managed to rescue Buckbeak the hippogriff as well.
Harry woke briefly as the train shuddered momentarily on its tracks for some strange reason. He glanced around and noticed that Ron, Ginny and Neville were all playing exploding snap quietly on the other side of the compartment. Since he couldn't hear any noises coming from them, he assumed that Ginny had cast a silencing spell so as not to disturb him. She was the only one of the three that he trusted to both think of others and to have the necessary skills to complete the task. Harry loved Ron as a brother, and Neville was one of his closest friends, but they were both pretty poor wizards, at least at this stage in their development.
It was then that he realized that the last member of their group wasn't playing with the others. He started to panic when he realized that she was there in the compartment, she just wasn't with the others. She had stretched out so that she could lie down on the bench next to Harry. Her head was on one of her arms which was on his leg, and her hair was spread out across his lap. She had wrapped her other arm around his waist and was hugging him softly. She appeared to be sound asleep, and Harry couldn't help but think that this was the most beautiful that she had ever appeared to him. He had always thought that she was pretty, but this took it to a whole new level. He blushed slightly as he realized the direction that his thoughts were taking.
He reached down and gently brushed a lock of her hair away from her face, admiring her soft features. He had never really taken the time to watch her sleep before, and he found it very soothing. She snuggled closer to him as he gently caressed her hair. He leaned back in his seat and closed his eyes, more content than he had ever been before.
Platform Nine and Three Quarters, 1500, 17 June, 1994
As they had been among the first to enter the train, they were among the last to exit. Harry liked to hang back, both to avoid as much of the crowds as he could, and to delay the inevitable confrontation with his Uncle Vernon. He let Hermione get off the Express first, and then followed her down. They waited patiently as Ron got the two of them trolleys for their luggage, and then the group started to separate towards their respective families.
As Ron and Ginny hurried to catch up with the twins so that they could meet Mr. and Mrs. Weasley, and Neville spotted his Grandmother's distinctive vulture hat, Hermione grabbed Harry's hand and led him over to meet her parents.
Harry could see right away where Hermione got her looks from. Hermione was almost a carbon copy of her mum. Mrs. Granger was just as pretty as her daughter, though she had more mature features; and where Hermione's hair was bushy and out of control, her hair hung in ringlets down her back. Mr. Granger was a large man, well over six feet tall, and massing somewhere between fifteen and sixteen stone.
"Mum, Dad, this is my best friend, Harry Potter," Hermione said by way of introduction. Harry smiled and stuck his hand out to shake Mr. Granger's hand.
"Hello, sir, ma'am," he said softly. He was startled when Mrs. Granger pulled him into a hug. I guess I see where Hermione gets it from, he thought to himself.
"Hello Harry," she said as she stepped back. "We're so glad to finally get a chance to meet you. Hermione's letters always seem to include more information about you than anything else, so it's good to be able to put a face to the name. We met briefly a year and a half ago, but you've grown considerably since then."
"Yes, ma'am," Harry agreed.
"Mum, did you remember the books I owled you about?" Hermione asked.
"Yes, dear, your father has them, I wouldn't think of trying to heft that load all the while that we had to wait for you lot," her mother answered. Hermione took the bag from her father and turned to hand it to Harry. Harry looked at her quizzically and she just smiled at him.
"I know that your family is going to be just ghastly to you, Harry," she said, "so I thought that you could use something to take your mind away from your surroundings." At Harry's gob smacked expression her smile got even larger. "It's just a few of my favorite classic stories, I thought that you might like them, and by reading them you might come to understand me a little better," she said with a slight blush. Harry wondered why she would color at the thought of him knowing her better.
"Thanks, Hermione," Harry said as he gathered her into a brief hug. "I've really got to get going though, or Uncle Vernon's going to be really mad." He turned to leave, and then stopped and pulled a bit of parchment out of his pocket. He handed it to Hermione. "Here's my uncle's home phone code. I doubt he'll let me call out, but you should be able to call me once in a while." He shifted from foot to foot for a moment. "I'll miss you this summer," he whispered to her, and then spinning on one foot he made his way towards the exit before she could spot the tell-tale coloring of his cheeks.
As he was almost to the exit he spotted movement out of the corner of his eye. Sure enough, he spotted Draco Malfoy's pale blonde hair. He figured quickly that whatever it was that the Malfoy scion was up to, it could lead to nothing good. Deciding that his Uncle could wait a couple more minutes, he followed his nemesis around a corner.
It turned out to be a good thing that he had, as the Slytherin had a small witch with even paler blonde hair than Malfoy had, as well as large, protuberant eyes pinned to a wall. Harry glanced around, but it seemed that his two goons, Crabbe and Goyle, had already left for the summer.
"Poor little blood traitor, caught here all alone, where's your mummy and daddy?" he said with a slur in his voice. The blonde girl didn't answer; she just tried unsuccessfully to squirm out of his grasp.
Harry didn't even think twice. He stepped quickly up behind him, ignoring her wide, startled expression as he did so, and swung the book satchel that Hermione had just given him with all of his might. The satchel crashed into the side of Malfoy's head. He went down like a ton of bricks, crumpling unconscious to the floor of the platform.
"Alright there?" Harry asked the girl. He could see now that she was in Ravenclaw House, and that she seemed to be slightly younger than he was. She had a most peculiar necklace that appeared to be made of butterbeer corks, and he noticed that her earrings seemed to be made of radishes. He tried in vain not to stare.
While he was staring at her, she was staring placidly back, her unblinking eyes and platinum blonde hair reminding him of a bizarre caricature of Hedwig, his snowy owl. "You're Harry Potter," she said in a strangely lilting soprano voice.
"I know I am," he replied rather more sharply than he had intended. He hated his fame. "And you are?" he continued, trying to soften his tone.
"Someone who is now in your debt, Harry Potter," she replied as she appeared to spot someone. She waved to whoever it was behind Harry and then skipped right past him. Harry just shook his head and wondered why he always seemed to find the strangest of people. Not that this one wasn't cute, as she was most definitely very cute, but she was about as strange a bird as he had ever met before.
Deciding that he was going to be in a lot of trouble if he didn't get out to meet his uncle, he gathered up his stuff and quickly left the platform.
Number Four Privet Drive, 0800, 18 June, 1994
"BOY!" Uncle Vernon bellowed, waking Harry from the rather sound sleep that he had been experiencing. It was something of a novelty for him, and he was actually rather upset over having been disturbed; sleep was a precious commodity for him.
"Coming Uncle Vernon!" Harry yelled. He knew better than upset his uncle first thing in the morning. Uncle Vernon could be nasty when he hadn't yet had his morning coffee. He quickly slipped on his few meager clothes and cinched up his belt to hold the walrus sized trousers that were his only clean pair. Once that was done he quickly made his way to the stairs. Best to risk Uncle's anger over not having his hair brushed (like that would help, anyway), than to anger him over making him wait.
Harry cautiously made his way down the stairs, making sure to stop at least ten feet away from his uncle. "Yes, Uncle Vernon?" Harry asked politely.
"We're going on holiday, boy, and you're going to have to fend for yourself for the time that we're gone," Vernon said gruffly. Harry was astonished. Did this mean what he thought it meant? He stared amazedly at his uncle. "We couldn't arrange for anyone to watch you while we're gone and since you now have a… Godfather to care for you, well, you know…" He huffed for a moment. "Don't touch anything, no watching the telly, don't call anyone, and for God's sake, don't leave the back garden." He shook his beefy fist at Harry, and even though the lad was ten feet away, he still shrunk back. "All the chores had better be kept up, or so help me, you'll regret it, Godfather or no…"
With that the Dursleys marched out the front door. Harry guessed that they had already packed the boot, and wanted to be away from his unnaturalness as quickly as possible. As he heard the car pull out of the drive, he couldn't believe his luck! An entire fortnight with out the Dursleys! He spun in place for a moment with the sheer joy of it! He then made his way into the kitchen and looked in the fridge and the pantry. It was stocked, not full mind, but at least twice what he would need to feed himself for the time that they were away.
He went back upstairs and decided to look at the books that Hermione had let him borrow. Reading in the back garden (Dursley free) with a pitcher of iced tea sounded lovely to him.
He opened the satchel and shook it out on his bed. A rather large bunch of books tumbled out, looking much worn, but obviously treated with great affection. He smiled at the memories he had of his best friend when he would catch her curled up in the squishy chair next to the fireplace, enjoying one of the novels in her spare moments. Those had been few and far between for her this last year, and he hoped that she would drop some of her classes so that she might have a little more free time.
He piled them up by author and took a look. Eleven books by someone named Edgar Rice Burroughs. Almost every title had something to do with Mars. He checked the inside of the books for when they were written. He may have had to act stupid around the Dursleys, but he actually had a very sharp mind, and given his choice, he really didn't mind reading if he could find any interest in the subject matter.
Also in the stack were a lot of books by Robert A. Heinlein. Judging by the covers, some of these were a little bit racy. Looking inside the covers he found that Hermione had carefully numbered them. He smiled at his friend's thoughtfulness. Starship Troopers, Methuselah's Children, Stranger in a Strange Land, Glory Road, Time Enough for Love, The Number of the Beast, Friday, The Cat Who Walked Through Walls and To Sail Beyond the Sunset. Harry supposed that he had a lot to occupy his time. He intended to enjoy the time that his family was away, and if that meant losing himself in an imaginary world, courtesy of his best friend, than so be it. He was going to have a great two weeks.
He grabbed the first book, A Princess of Mars, went down to the kitchen and made himself a pitcher of tea. In the back shed he found an old lawn chair and a small end table. Setting everything up he sat down and made himself comfortable. He placed his wand next to his hip, and grabbed the book to read:
I am a very old man; how old I do not know. Possibly I am a hundred, possibly more; but I cannot tell because I have never aged as other men, nor do I remember any childhood. So far as I can recollect I have always been a man, a man of about thirty. I appear today as I did forty years and more ago, and yet I feel that I cannot go on living forever; that some day I shall die the real death from which there is no resurrection. I do not know why I should fear death, I who have died twice and am still alive; but yet I have the same horror of it as you who have never died, and it is because of this terror of death, I believe, that I am so convinced of my mortality.
Harry soon found himself transported away to Mars, also known as Barsoom along with Captain John Carter, to meet the most beautiful woman on two planets: Dejiah Thoris. He decided that perhaps Hermione had managed to make this his best summer holiday yet…
Number Four Privet Drive, 0315, 22 June, 1994
Harry thrashed and turned on his bed, obviously caught in the grips of a powerful nightmare. He had thrown his pillow off the bed, and Hedwig was almost apoplectic with worry for her human. She hooted softly, hoping that he would break whatever evil had him in its grip.
He woke up with a scream and sat bolt upright, sweat pouring off of him. He could clearly remember the high-pitched voice that had been talking to Peter Pettigrew, better known as Wormtail. He had listened as the pair had discussed what had seemed to be a plan to kidnap him during the school year, and then he had witnessed when the ugly, child-like thing had callously killed the old Muggle for no better reason than that he was in the wrong place at the wrong time.
Harry would have blown it off as a product of his imagination, except that his scar was throbbing, and that only happened when he was in the proximity of Voldemort. He grabbed his wand and crept over to the window, moving the shade just enough to see the front garden and street below. It seemed to be quite quiet outside; there was no sign of the Dark Lord or Wormtail. Harry sighed in relief, but he thought furiously for a few minutes.
In the end he decided to write three letters, one to Hermione, one to Sirius, and for good measure, one to Dumbledore. He decided for to not write to Ron about it; after all, the redhead really wouldn't have much advice for him, now would he?
It took him about twenty minutes to write the letters, and another ten to assure Hedwig that he would indeed be alright without her here to see to him. With a last ruffle of her feathers he opened the window and ushered her off to deliver the notes to the others.
Number Four Privet Drive, 0930, 22 June, 1994
Harry decided that he would do a little exploring, as he had just finished the last of the Barsoom books that Hermione had let him borrow. He was both thrilled and saddened that he had finished them, but he still had the other books to read, and these were much longer than the others. He had also managed to finish all of his summer homework. He couldn't wait to tell Hermione when he saw her next. He was sure that she would be very proud of him.
It took a little ingenuity, as he was rather short to reach the chain, but he managed to eventually get the trapdoor opened to the attic. He had never been allowed up there, and since he was all alone, he felt that what his aunt and uncle didn't know couldn't hurt him. He quickly ascended the stairs and went for the first time in his life into this uncharted territory.
Most of what was up there were more of his aunt's nick-knacks, and what appeared to be a complete tool shop of his uncle's. He was amazed at the sheer complexity of the tool set. There were things there that he couldn't even imagine what they were used for, let alone figure out why they were up here in the attic. He recognized a few of the drills his uncle used at Grunnings with a shudder. He stayed as far away from those as was possible. Just the thought of a whirring drill was enough to make him sick to his stomach. He fought back the bile which threatened and ruthlessly suppressed the memories which almost overwhelmed him. His relatives had much to answer for.
He was just about to go back downstairs (it had been rather a waste of time) when he spotted a small, odd looking box in the far corner. Curiosity getting the better of him, he went over and opened it up.
There was a small baby blanket, covered in broomsticks and snitches on top of everything. A small thrill went through Harry. He closed up the box and carried it with him down the stairs and into his room.
Under the blanket he found a few pictures in very bad condition, a couple of what appeared to be wand cases, and a dusty old book. He took up the pictures and looked carefully of them. They were of his parents! One of them had his parents, Padfoot and Moony, and himself in it! He happily clutched it to his breast for a few minutes while tears streamed down his cheeks. What a treasure! He carefully set the pictures down and looked at the cases. He opened them and found two wands.
One was about eleven inches and made of a pliable mahogany. The other was made of willow, and he gave it a flick. It was just as Olivander had described: swishy. His parents' wands were now in his possession. Anger seemed to explode within him. Harry contemplated how he would get even with his aunt and uncle someday for keeping these things from him as well as all the myriad other things they had done to make his life miserable..
The book proved to be even more of a find though. His mother had been something of a prodigy, and this was her private spell book. There was so much in it that he had never heard of. He decided that the Heinlein books could wait. He was going to read his mother's spell book this day!
A few minutes later Harry was settled down in his favorite lawn chair, spell book in hand. He opened the book and a couple of pages in a piece of parchment fell out. He picked it up and looked at it. It was written in what looked to be a feminine, somewhat tidier version of his own scrawl.
Saturday, 24 October, 1981,
Just had a visit from some very dear friends, the Grangers and the Lovegoods. Robert and Jane haven't been over since before we went into hiding. They had to be told the secret by Peter; so did the Lovegoods actually. We also hadn't seen Xeno and Selene for a few months. Selene had her baby, and it was a delightful baby girl! Little Luna is just over a month old, and she's adorable. The strangest thing happened though, when she and the Granger's girl, two year old Hermione both snuggled up next to our Harry, there was a brilliant flash of pure white light. Everyone noticed it, but it faded quickly. All three of the kids seemed really comfortable with each other, and they ended up falling asleep together. It was so cute. I hope that they can make it back sometime soon after Halloween. It's been really lonely here while we've been in hiding…
Harry read the note over and over again. His parents knew Hermione's parents! This was incredible! He would have to talk to her about it. He wondered briefly why it was never brought up that the families knew each other, but he had other things to consider. He had a spell book to read.
A few hours later he set the book down. If he had read this last spell, well, a ritual really, correctly, then he could unlock his full magical potential. He thought furiously. Who could he contact about this? Who could be trusted to not give him away to the Ministry or anyone else for that matter? Who could shield him from the Ministry's underage magic detectors? It seemed hopeless, and he flopped back in his seat in frustration. As he did he smacked his head against the metal crossbar. The pain spurred a memory though. He sat back up. "Dobby!" he called out.
With a loud crack the excitable little elf appeared next to him. "Harry Potter Sir is calling Dobby?" Harry almost jumped off of his chair.
"Erm… yeah," Harry replied. He placed his hands on the elf's tiny shoulders. "Dobby, I need your help. I remembered that last year you did some magic that was detected by the Ministry, and some that wasn't. Why was that?"
"House elves is being able to control whether or not their magic is detected, Mr. Harry Potter Sir. Dobby was being a bad house elf when he got Mr. Harry Potter in trouble before…" He looked around for something to punish himself with, but Harry was faster.
"Don't worry about that, Dobby, I forgive you for it. You were only trying to help me." The little elf gazed at Harry with a look of pure hero-worship. Harry sighed. "I need you to get me all these components." He pointed to the list in the book. "Then, tomorrow night, I need you to help me by putting up a ward to block the Ministry from detecting when I perform this ritual. Can you do that for me, little friend?"
"Dobby would be happy to do this for the great and mighty Harry Potter! Never before has Dobby been treated so well by a wizard, except when Harry Potter himself has done so." He snapped his fingers and was gone with a loud pop!
Number Four Privet Drive, 2355, 23 June, 1994
Harry had spent the last four hours preparing the back garden for the ritual. It had to be performed at midnight on the new moon. That was just a few minutes from now. He had been transcribing the runes and the magic circle for most of the four hours. He looked at it, checked it in his mother's book, and figured that it seemed to match what she had drawn in it. He grinned at the thought that it was his long dead mother that had shown him how to do this, when he had no experience at all in the subject.
Just before midnight he nodded to Dobby, who cast the wards to block the Ministry's underage magic detectors. Harry sat akimbo in the middle of the circle and pulled out his wand. He started chanting the words that the ritual required, while tracing the wand movements described in the book. For ten solid minutes he did so with nothing happening. He was almost ready to give up, when everything went pitch black. It had been dark before, but now he couldn't even see his hand in front of his face, let alone the silhouette of his house.
There was a loud crack, and the sky lit up as a burst of brilliant white hot lightning crashed straight down and struck the middle of the circle. Harry's screams were drowned out by the clap of thunder as magical fire coursed through every fiber of his body…