Chapter 27: Accusations
Harry stood outside Bathilda's house, staring at the ground just a couple hours after Albus introduced him to Gellert. He was sure he'd never had a meeting so awkward before, not even when he saw his aunt again after he'd seen Snape's memories. Harry didn't know if he ever had a real conversation with her before that day, and that realization had been one of the reasons why his meeting with her had been awkward. The other reason was the fact that she tried to mask her feelings throughout the whole time.
Harry sat down by a tree in Bathilda's yard. He made sure his cloak was covering him completely before he relaxed and watched Dumbledore's house, waiting for Gellert to come out again so he could talk to him.
But, he found his thoughts wander.
He'd had to talk to her. Just a few days after Voldemort was defeated and he'd gotten the time of Snape's funeral, he'd had an impulse to talk to her. She was the only person alive who had known about his mother's friendship with Snape.
He had carefully knocked on the door after he'd apparated into the same alley way the Dementor's had attacked him in before fifth year and made his way over to 4 Privet Drive.
The yard looked the same as before. The flowers were flourishing well and he could see that Vernon's car wasn't in the driveway. Harry only vaguely realized it was the middle of the week.
She opened the door. At first, her face was friendly, ready to welcome whoever had knocked, but immediately, upon seeing her nephew, he features turned sour.
"What do you want?" she asked.
"I, er, wanted to talk for a moment. If that's okay?"
She studied him for a moment, her blue yes completely different from her sister's. Finally, she opened the door wide and let him enter.
"Voldemort's dead," he announced as soon as she closed the door. He glanced around, noticing boxes lining the staircase. Apparently they were moving back in.
"Yes," she said coldly. "That man, Dedalus, told us. He said we could move back in."
She moved passed him, dodging a box near the cupboard under the stairs and entering the kitchen where she'd obviously just been scrubbing the floors and counters of dust after a year of being away from her house.
"You're not asking to stay here, are you?" Petunia went on.
"No," Harry said, leaning against the doorframe as she picked up the mop again. "Dumbledore said I didn't have to anymore."
She glanced up, but said nothing.
"Why didn't you tell me you had been talking to Dumbledore?"
She blinked, panic rushing over her face in an instant. "I- I'm afraid I don't know what you mean."
Harry pushed his glasses up. "Yes, you do. You've had letters from him since you were 13."
She stiffened, her face shocked. "How do you know that, boy?" she asked, turning her nose up at him.
Harry swallowed and crossed the kitchen toward the backdoor. He stared outside for a moment, but as soon as he caught sight of the bushes outside, he remembered first seeing Dobby there so long ago. He wrenched his eyes away. "Did you know Severus Snape died?"
She remained stiff, but her eyes widened. "I don't-"
"I know you know Snape, Aunt Petunia."
She looked shocked, her eyes shifting back and forth as if trying to figure out what to say. Finally, she stood up straight and glared at Harry. "Get out if all you're going to do is accuse me of ridiculous things!"
She pointed toward the door, but Harry kept his ground. "Petunia, you said a couple years ago that an 'awful boy' had mentioned the Dementors to you. I-I thought it was my dad, but it was Snape, wasn't it?"
She slouched slightly and scrubbed the floors heavily, apparently taking her emotions out on the floor. "Wretched boy," she said, huffing. "Never liked him-" she paused, though, glancing at Harry. Her voice instantly went softer. "How did you know him?"
"He taught at Hogwarts," Harry said, looking down at the floor. "I had him for Potions for five years before he got the Defense Against the Dark Arts position. This year he was Headmaster."
"Headmaster?" Petunia spat. "Him? Because Dumbledore… died?"
Harry nodded sullenly.
"I can't imagine him being Headmaster or a teacher," Petunia said coldly, mopping the floors even more harshly than before. "Was he any good?"
"I hated him until a few days ago."
Petunia stared at Harry for a long time, as if expecting him to say more, but when he didn't, she started with her scrubbing again.
"When did he… die?" she asked, her voice going higher on the last word.
"The same night Voldemort died," Harry said, looking down at his trainers. "Voldemort's snake killed him."
Petunia swallowed, a lump growing in her thin throat. Then, she shivered. "Is that what you came to tell me? That's he's dead?"
Harry shook his head. "I just… I learned some thing about him and-and Dumbledore."
She huffed. "And what's that?"
"I thought for a long time that the only reason why he hated me was because my dad bullied him in school," Harry said. "But that wasn't it at all. Dumbledore would never tell me why he trusted Snape, but I found out. He loved my mom so much that he actually turned sides. He was a follower of Voldemort before he found out Voldemort was after my parents. When he realized he was after us, he begged Voldemort to spare my mom, but Voldemort went back on his promise and killed her. The reason why I'm alive is because of Snape."
Petunia stared at him for a long time, then she turned away, placing the mop against the counter and grabbing her sponge to wipe down the counters. "What is your point, boy? Why are you telling me this?"
Harry sighed. Was he really not getting through to her? "I just… I just wanted you to know that he wasn't all that bad. He nearly saved my mom. Your sister would have been alive because of him if Voldemort wouldn't have gone against his word."
Petunia sniffed and scrubbed the counters harder.
"Snape's being buried at Hogwarts today," Harry said after too many minutes had gone by and she hadn't said anything. "I can show you around Hogwarts. I know you've always wanted to go."
She jerked her head up. Tears were slipping down her face. Harry wasn't sure for what reason, but he wondered if it was because of the talk of her sister.
"I don't think-" Petunia began coldly, wiping her face with tissue she'd grabbed from the box on the counter.
"Petunia, please. I'm offering to show you the place where your sister spent seven years. I know about that letter you sent Dumbledore when you were 13. You wanted to go and now I'm giving you a chance to go see it."
Petunia seemed to need to think about that for a few minutes. When she shook her head, he nodded slowly and said, "Okay. Well, I'm going now. I hope-"
"No, wait!" she said, pulling her gloves off and looking down at her clothes. "Let me change. I have a black dress somewhere."
Once she'd come back downstairs, he did a side-long apparation with her to Hogsmeade. She looked around at everything as they walked up the lane toward the castle. Once they got on the grounds, she stared up at the castle, her eyes wide.
"Do you see it?" Harry asked. "My friend told me Muggles only see a ruin."
She shook her head. "No. It's-It's beautiful."
"They're dong construction around here," Harry said, pointing to two people he'd never seen before magic up a rafter that had fallen from a tower. "The battle took place here, but it's safe, I promise."
As they walked up the front steps of the castle, Harry heard his name being called out. He turned, looking for the source, and saw Ginny running up to him from the direction of Hagrid's hut.
"Harry!" she called out again as she ran up the stairs and then smacked right into him, hugging him tightly. "Where were you? You just disappeared!"
"I was-" he began.
"Never do that again!" she yelled, glaring at him in a way that reminded him too much of Mrs. Weasley. "We were all worried sick."
"Ginny," he said, trying to calm her. "I'm fine. I just went to talk to my aunt." Then, he pointed to where she was standing, a few feet away with an appalled look on her face.
"Your aunt?" she asked, staring at her. "You brought her here?" She seemed stunned.
Harry shrugged. "Snape's funeral's today, isn't it? She knew him."
"Oh, yeah," Gnny said softly, looking toward her. "Well, hi, I'm Ginny."
Petunia didn't seem to know how to react, but she held out her hand, anyway, a slightly taken aback look on her face. "Petunia Dursley."
"She's my girlfriend," Harry said shyly, rubbing the back of his neck.
"Oh," Petunia said in surprise, looking between them. She seemed to hold her gaze on Ginny, longer, though. Harry wondered what she was thinking about.
Ginny smiled kindly. "It's nice to meet you, Petunia. Come on, Harry, my brothers and Hermione and are in the Great Hall trying to map out a search party for you."
Once Hermione and Ron nearly killed Harry after he'd disappeared, they met Petunia. Harry felt slightly awkward as they all introduced themselves. But after a while, he led her away and showed her around the castle. She seemed awed by the moving staircases and the pictures that talked to her. When they got to the Gryffindor Common Room, she seemed to stare blankly at it.
"It's even better than I imagined," Petunia said in a small way.
Harry smiled. "It's amazing, isn't it?"
She nodded dumbly. "I wish- Nevermind."
Harry didn't ask.
After the tour, they went down to the where the Hogwarts graveyard was. Dumbledore's grave was the furthest from everyone else's. Harry hadn't even known about the graveyard, probably because it was set apart from the castle, near the lake and Forest.
The funeral was small. Petunia sat there beside Harry dumbly, watching silently, though she gave a little screech when Snape's body was magicked into the grave.
Harry felt sad after he'd taken Petunia back to Privet Drive. He wondered why she was so guarded. She didn't want to speak of her sister at all.
Harry became aware of where he was when a door closed. He looked up toward the Dumbledore's house again and saw Grindelwald leave.
Harry smiled and stood, pulling the cloak off. Then he watched Grindelwald walk the road before he looked up.
He spotted Harry and immediately smirked. "Well, hello, Harry Potter. What are you doing here?"
"To see you," Harry said.
Somehow, his smirk got even wider and he nodded. "Well, why don't you come in and we can talk over tea."
Harry nearly refused, but after deliberating in his head, he nodded and followed him inside.
Bathilda Bagshot was sitting in the living room, a stack of paper's in her hands.
"How's the book coming, Auntie?" Grindelwald asked.
"Nearly done!" she said happily. "I have one chapter left."
"What's that about?" he asked, picking up one section held together by a magical binder. He flipped through it.
"Goblin Rebellions," she said. "I talked to Professor Binns just a month ago. He can go on and on about that."
She looked up at Grindelwald and spotted Harry standing behind him. "Harry, dear! I had no idea you'd met Gellert or that you were even here."
"I met him officially today," Harry said.
"Excellent," she said. "Would you like tea and biscuits?"
She stood before Harry even answered and rushed off to the kitchen. Grindelwald sat down in a chair opposite her and slouched, reading through one of the chapters.
"Hogwarts," he muttered, rolling his eyes, but he said nothing else as he threw the paper back onto the stack.
He looked toward Harry, then. "Well, sit down. Might as well."
Harry took a seat in another chair near Grindelwald's.
"I don't see why Albus wanted us to meet," Grindelwald said, sneering slightly. "I didn't even know he was in contact with you. Why are you around here?"
"Just visiting," Harry said.
"The Potters or Albus?"
"Both," Harry said.
"Hm," he said, growing silent. He stared down at the fireplace where a small fire was boiling a cauldron. "What were you playing at, telling him about me being expelled? How did you know I was expelled, anyway?"
"I hear things," Harry said, shrugging. "Why didn't you tell him? You do know he considers you a friend, right?"
"Of course I know," Grindelwald said. "I just didn't think it mattered, you know? School is school. Who cares if I graduate? Actually, why do you care what I do? You haven't finished school, either."
"How'd you know that?" Harry asked, surprised.
"You just told me."
Harry stared, but then shook his head. "You know how Albus feels about school. He thinks education is important."
"Yeah, I know," he said, waving that off with his hand just as Mrs. Bagshot came back into the living room with a tray. Grindelwald reached for a cup and the sugar. "Thank you, Auntie."
"You're welcome," she said, sitting back in her chair. Harry took a cup, too, and took the sugar, too.
"Thanks, Mrs. Bagshot."
She nodded, picking up her manuscript again.
Grindelwald and Harry were silent for a while. Harry, starting to feel uncomfortable with the staring he was doing to him, nearly left. He was just wasting his time.
"Why do you care about Albus?" Grindelwald asked, placing his cup down on the tray. "He was only your student last year."
"He has a heart," Harry said, looking up at Bathilda. He could remember her telling him that when they'd met a couple months before. "I think he's more interesting than you give him credit for."
Grindelwald laughed lightly. "I think he's brilliant. He's interesting enough. He has some fantastic ideas. Have you read his Transfiguration Today article on Trans-Species Transfiguration? It was excellent."
"That one was written years ago," Bathilda said. "It's one of the reasons why I began talking to them. I know I mentioned to you that I'd seen them around, but I knew about Albus's articles."
"He's been writing for that long?" Harry asked, surprised.
She nodded and she nearly opened her mouth again, but suddenly Grindelwald stood up and gestured for Harry to follow him. Confused, Harry was led upstairs to a small bedroom. He looked around, noticing all the parchment stacked around the room. He had obviously been doing just as much research as Albus.
"Look," Grindelwald said. Harry jerked his head up at him when he heard the door closed. He stared down at him. "I know what you're up to. You're so easy to read it's pathetic."
Harry stared, surprised at the sudden turn of Grindelwald's mood. When had he made him angry? He glared down at Harry, his blue eyes dark. Harry stepped back.
"What are you really here for, huh?" he asked, stepping closer. "You think you can stop me?"
"Stop you from what?" Harry asked.
"Do you think I'm dumb, Potter?" he asked. "I know more Dark magic than you can even think about. And somehow you know that. I can see it when I look at you."
He paused for a moment, surveying him. Harry tried not to look into his eyes. "You know me. I have no idea how since I've never seen you in my life until a few weeks ago. Yet, there's something about you…."
Grindelwald wasn't nearly as scary as Voldemort, nor did he seem as terrible as Voldemort had when he was Tom Riddle in the orphanage. But, the look in his eyes and the way he was trying to corner Harry made the hairs on the back of his neck stand up and his heart pound.
"Look, I don't give a damn what you think, Potter," he said in barely above a whisper. "I know you think something's wrong with me, that I'm manipulating him in some way, but he has the free will to do whatever he likes. Got that?"
Harry blinked, then he narrowed his eyes. "You are, though. You're trying to manipulate him."
"Keep out of it," Grindelwald said, poking his chest with his finger. "You don't know me like you think you do. Nor do you know him. I can see that you used to think of him as some type of saint, but your opinion of him got skewed in some way. I don't know how, but I know you're now scared of him, scared that he'll do something that'll hurt people."
He smirked. "Stay the hell out of it, Potter. You can't control him."
"And you think you can?" Harry asked, eyes narrowing.
He smiled. "Me? I've got him wrapped around my finger," he said softly, drawing a circle in the air with his index finger.
"How can you be so sure?" Harry asked, looking him up and down. "He's smarter than you."
"But he's on the side of the good," he said, laughing. "He doesn't know how to perform a speck of Dark magic. He knows of it, of course. But who are you to think he doesn't want to learn?"
"I never said that," Harry said, his heart pounding too fast.
"Didn't you?" Grindelwald asked. Harry felt his back press against the back of the door. "I've asked him, indirectly of course, if he has. He said he wouldn't touch it. What would you say if I could get him to?"
"He wouldn't," Harry said, glaring at him. "He has a better heart than you."
"Heart has nothing to do with it," Grindelwald said, placing his hands on the wall and the door on each side of Harry. "Everything is power. Don't you get that?"
"He doesn't believe that."
"He doesn't?" he said, laughing again. "I'm sure."
He paused for a moment, looking straight into Harry's eyes. Harry could feel him trying to probe into his mind, but Harry pushed him away.
He stepped back, chuckling some. "Hm. Has he tried that on you? He must've. He's done it on me before." He smirked again.
Harry glared at him, and refused to look into his eyes after that.
"What do you want, Grindelwald?" Harry asked.
"Just stay out of the way," he said, waving his hand and turning around. He sat down on the bed in the corner and smirked at him. "You're worse than his brother. At least you seem a little intelligent. But, honestly, Potter, this has got nothing to do with you. You can tell him whatever you'd like. He wouldn't believe what you say about anything we just talked about, anyway. I could just lie."
He picked up a quill and a sheet of parchment. "Now, get out. I have theories I need to write."
Harry stepped toward the door and looked back at Grindelwald. He thought for a moment about the visions he'd seen of Voldemort questioning him in his cell in Azkaban, how he'd died there after fifty years of being trapped.
"I think I do know more Dark magic than you think," Harry said. "After all, I did just teach half a year of Defense and I'm actually an Auror."
"You're not an Auror," Grindelwald said. "I know the names of all the Aurors. The only Potter in there is Cadmus Potter and I know you're not disguised as him. Get out and don't come near this house again."
"I never said I was an Auror currently," Harry said. "Think about that."
Then, Harry opened the door and walked out.
As he passed by the Dumbledore's, he could see Albus sitting out by the tree again, writing. Aberforth was near the ground, studying a bug that was walking across the sidewalk.
Albus had no idea, did he?
Harry sighed and walked further down the road until he was safely out of anyone's range. Then, he apparated out of Godric's Hollow for real this time.
A/N: I know that whole Aunt Petunia thing never happened in canon, but it's for contrast toward Gellert and Harry's scene in this chapter.
Sigh. Writing this was a good break from all the schoolwork I have to do… School is tough right now. Can it just go away? I was also reading over some of this story before I wrote this chapter… I think I need to read it again. I forgot I'd written some things. Anyway, thanks for the reviews and favorites and alerts and everything! :)