Harry Potter and the Turning of the Sun
Disclaimer: All JKR's, not mine.
Summary: AU After OOTP- After Harry is thrust back in time, he has to contend with surviving the rest of his years in Hogwarts and living his new life around people that he knows will one day become Death Eaters. Can he find the balance between giving people a chance and doing what he knows is right or will he crumble under the pressure that comes with knowing the future?
A/N: Thanks for the reviews everybody. Oh, and review again!
S/N: In an effort to appease some fans that wanted a longer chapter last time, here is a new chapter weeks before I intended on putting it up. Enjoy!
S/N 2: Many of you had the right idea on how Harry changed the future during the last chapter, but a lot missed another way that he changed the future, both of which will be subplots for the remainder of this story.
Chapter 22: The Lemon Drop Dispute
As Harry stared out the window at the passing countryside, he drifted off into the darkness of sleep, only to awake when the train came to a jerking stop once the Express arrived at Hogwarts hours later. At the front of the train, Bellatrix gathered her things and directed many of the younger students to where they were supposed to go, half-heartedly welcoming them and showing them the way to the boats. She said hello to a few students that she was friends with, and rushed the others along to the carriages, doing her duties diligently albeit without much enthusiasm. When she was finished, she headed to the carriages herself, her eyes moving about, searching for her group of Slytherins that included Rabastan Lestrange, Rosier, Mulciber, Snape, and Avery.
Harry, meanwhile, stayed in the comfort of his compartment for a few minutes, allowing everyone else to disembark first, wanting to be a little behind the rest of the students. During the journey, he had been incredibly lucky as not a single person entered his compartment, leaving the space all to himself to enjoy. The solitude allowed him to take a long nap, which was a nice change from the usually rowdy voyage back to school to which he had grown accustomed over the past six years. Even still, while he loved having the room to spread out and the freedom to not worry about anything, he was a bit upset that no one came to say hello, not even his Ravenclaw friends Greta and Xenophilius, both of whom he had seen often during the early portions of the summer.
Yawning, he got to his feet, grabbed his things, and exited the compartment. He followed the short line of students out of the train, and then stretched his arms up in the air as he stepped into the summer heat, feeling the warm breeze that was rushing through the Hogsmeade station. In the distance, he saw Hagrid wave hello and he waved back in response, but unfortunately, he couldn't go and speak to his large friend as the half-giant was already corralling the first years into one large group. Instead, Harry walked over to the carriages that would take him up to Hogwarts castle, searching for one that was empty.
"Dumbledore," A familiar voice said from behind, making Harry spin on his heels to see who it was. There, not a few feet away, stood Bellatrix Black, giving him a small smile, apparently happy to see him. In the month that they had not seen each other, she had grown nearly an inch and her hair was longer, being just lengthy enough to reach the small of her back. She had it pulled back into a neat ponytail, a change from her usual down and straight look that she wore.
"Black, what do you want?" He questioned with a large grin, happy to see her just like she was him. He moved to give her a hug, but stopped as the other Slytherins came gliding up behind her with scowls on their faces, making him wonder whether she wanted them to know about their friendship or not.
"We'll talk later," Bellatrix whispered with a wink as she and the Slytherins entered one of the carriages, leaving Harry to find his own carriage. He continued down the line of carriages, finding each one occupied by second and third year students, people that Harry knew would one day become the parents to the children he had gone to Hogwarts with in his own time.
After some searching, Harry found the carriage that was filled with many of his seventh year mates. They all said hello, but each seemed to be too tired to string together a sentence just yet, a fact that would be rectified with the big feast that was in their immediate future. Following the short trip up the path, they arrived at the castle, and Harry took a deep breath as he stepped out of the carriage, the realization that this was the last year at Hogwarts cropping up into his mind. Silently, they all walked into Hogwarts as a group, and soon enough, Harry found himself sitting at the long house table of Ravenclaw.
The Great Hall was decked out in the colors of Hogwarts, with the draperies and linens of each of the four houses hanging from the rafters. There were bronzes and blues, greens and silvers, reds and golds, and blacks and yellows, all representing the many traits and characteristics of the respective houses. The ceiling showed a brilliant late summer day, with a blue sky at sunset and little to no clouds of which to speak. The teachers at the front of the hall were all wearing wide, bright smiles as they waved to some of their students, glad that a new year of Hogwarts was just beginning. Harry's gaze moved over the teacher's table, and he immediately saw Professor Moonshine, which made him smile in happiness, relieved that she was doing better and had made it back to Hogwarts safely after her run in with the Death Eaters. Further down the line, he saw Pomona Sprout, the witch he knew as the head of the Hufflepuff house and the Herbology professor with a wide smile on her face, apparently being appointed to full-time professorship after the last Herbology professor, Herbert Beery, retired from Hogwarts entirely to teach at the Wizarding Academy of Dramatic Arts fulltime.
"Harry!" Greta Catchlove chirped loudly, earning Harry's attention, as she and Xenophilius Lovegood took a seat at the Ravenclaw table next to and across from Harry respectively. With her hair blonde and short, and her face rosy, she was a pleasant witch with a happy demeanor, whose very presence made many around her more cheerful. "It's great to see you."
"Hi guys," Harry replied, reaching his arm around Greta's shoulders and giving her a small hug. She returned the gesture, wrapping her arm around his lower back, pulling him closer to her and squeezing him tightly. "It's good to see you both."
"I tried finding you on the train, but I couldn't." Greta informed him, pulling back from the hug. She looked at him disappointedly, curious as to where he was on the train, or even if he was on the train at all. "I wanted you to sit with us. Where were you?"
"I was in the last cart," Harry replied, biting his lip, a bit comforted that his friends had actually attempted to find him, unlike what he had previously believed. "Like fourth compartment from last."
"Xeno!" Greta scowled, staring over at the blond-haired wizard, who was listening to the exchange from his seat on the opposite side of the table. "I thought you said you looked there."
"I did," Xeno said with a shrug, apparently not really worrying about it. "I must have missed him for some reason. Wrackspurts may have infected my brain this summer, which could explain it. I saw a nest of them behind my house about a week or two ago." He added, referencing the wrackspurt, which according to legend was an invisible creature that was able to infect people's brains, making their thinking fuzzy as a result.
"Good job," Harry smiled, knowing that Xenophilius probably did believe that wrackspurts had infected his brain. "I heard that wrackspurt infections have been going around lately. We should all be careful."
"Don't mind him," Greta shook her head in exasperation, seeing Xenophilius gazing off at the Gryffindor table. "He's love struck with that girl he fancied last year."
"So I see," Harry noted, presuming the Gryffindor girl at issue would become Luna's mother, as she looked a lot like Luna, minus the specific color of her blonde hair, which Luna had inherited from her father. "And what about you, are you still together with Milton?"
"Yes," Greta replied, peeking over Xenophilius' shoulder and seeing the Hufflepuff table, where Milton Curd was laughing with his friends. Then, looking back to Harry, she frowned and shook her head in seeming disappointment, her demeanor changing from what it had been a minute prior. "I met his mother this summer, Gerda, she hates me."
"Why do you say that?" Harry asked with a cocked eyebrow, wondering why such a nice girl would think someone disliked her.
"Well, she kind of made fun of my goal, you know, to write my book," Greta whispered, referencing her charm cookbook that she intended on authoring, which would help nascent magical cooks better their culinary skills by using magic. "She said that Milton deserves better than some witch who fancies herself a muggle cook."
Just as Harry was about to respond to Greta, he was interrupted by a booming voice and his gaze was drawn to the front of the hall. "Welcome one and all to a new year at HogwartsSchool for Witchcraft and Wizardry," Dumbledore's voice bellowed as a large, jovial smile took shape on his aged and lined face. He looked as potent as ever to Harry, having an aura of calmness that was near palpable, which was a much needed quality in a world filled with darkness and evil. "I hope you all had a safe and wonderful holiday. Let the sorting begin!"
As the first years were sorted, Harry disinterestedly gazed around the Great Hall, where his eyes fell upon his mother, whom gave him a smile in response. He smiled back, and watched as she went into a vivid discussion with a brunette witch that Harry did not know. Moving his vision down the table, he looked over to a group of Gryffindor boys that were quietly whispering amongst themselves, and he couldn't help but see his father and Sirius, whom he believed were crafting some prank that they would play soon enough.
He briefly wondered what exactly they were doing, and then remembered that they had accomplished their animagus transformation around their sixth year. There's my answer, he thought to himself, an even larger smile appearing on his face. He didn't know if they were animagi just yet, or if they were still finishing their work on it, but he knew that eventually they would be and they would have their dangerous adventures with Remus as a werewolf. When they were having those adventures, Harry hoped to be able to get a peek at his father's form, wanting to see with his own eyes how close his patronus actually was to it.
"Herald McGonagall," Minerva McGonagall, Deputy Headmistress and Transfiguration professor, called out for the next student to step forward, earning Harry's attention away from the Gryffindor table. A few whispers ran through the hall, each student wondering if the pair had any relation to one another. Harry stared up at McGonagall's face, trying to see if he could figure it out through her reaction, but her countenance revealed nothing, not a smile or a grin, though Harry did not know if that signified that she was not related to the boy or if she just didn't want to reveal anything.
Harry's watched as the hat took a few minutes to decide Herald's house, but eventually, it bellowed out, "Gryffindor!" As a result of the hat's proclamation, the Gryffindor table cheered and clapped, welcoming the newest member into the fold. Harry's eyes followed Herald as he took his seat at the table, noticing that the boy acted nearly identically to Professor McGonagall in his mannerisms, a subtle sign of their kinship with each other. Shaking his head, Harry continued to watch the sorting, welcoming in whatever new Ravenclaws came to the table in an effort to help their transition, remembering how nervous he was when he first arrived at Hogwarts.
"First years, as I'm sure the older students can attest, I want to warn and inform you that the Forbidden Forest is out of bounds to anyone not accompanied by a member of the Hogwarts faculty." Dumbledore's voice came once the sorting was complete, looking over to the new students of Gryffindor, whom throughout his long years at Hogwarts he had noticed always had a knack of getting into trouble. "Additionally, while the dark times we find ourselves in may seem endless, do not fear, for as long as you are under my protection, no evil can get to you." Dumbledore smiled at the students, hoping to ease their nerves should they have any. "Oh, and I would like to add a few words, and they are: Nitwit! Blubber! Oddment! Tweak! Thank you and let the feast begin."
Food instantly appeared on the tables, a wide assortment of meats, vegetables, starches, and sauces, all for the students to enjoy. Jugs of liquids also appeared, ranging from crisp water to sweet pumpkin juice, a common drink in the wizarding world. "What did you do this summer, Harry?" Derrick Jordan asked interestedly, piling mounds of mashed potatoes onto his plate as if it was candy.
"Just hung around," Harry answered, grabbing a roll from the basket and ripping it in half to eat. "I got my apparition license, met some nice people, did some work, it was great. What about you? Did you do anything fun?"
"About the same, I played quidditch a lot, though." Derrick agreed with a shrug, inwardly considering himself lucky that he did not have a run in with any Death Eaters. As a pureblood, he was safe, so long as they remained unaware that he and his family did not believe in blood superiority, which was a belief that he kept especially guarded as a result—at least for the time being, while he was still in Hogwarts and unable to truly protect himself. "I can't believe this is our last year at Hogwarts."
"Me neither," Harry replied with a sigh, as sadness stole over him, knowing how deeply he would miss Hogwarts when he left. "I still remember when I first walked through those doors, I didn't know what to expect. Heck, when I saw Hogwarts from the boat, I had never seen anything in my life so big before that."
From his spot next to Derrick, Bertram Aubrey silently listened to the conversation between the pair, raising an eyebrow at something that Harry had said. "It was only last year, of course you remember," Bertram reminded Harry, entering the conversation for the first time.
"Oh," Harry laughed it off, inwardly scolding himself for almost slipping up. "Yeah, I guess you're right."
"Did you get to pick your house or were you sorted like the rest of us?" Gaspard Shingleton questioned, wondering how Harry ended up in Ravenclaw, not having witnessed it himself like he would the first years.
"I was sorted privately during the summer," Harry recalled, referencing how he was sorted in the confines of the Headmaster's office an hour or so after arriving in the past. "It took a while for the hat to sort me, which was interesting considering that I thought for sure he would put me in Gryffindor."
"Why did you come to Hogwarts, anyway?" Derrick asked, grabbing the boat of gravy and dumping it onto his potatoes, making what seemed to be a volcano. Harry watched as Derrick played with the volcano, briefly wondering whether Derrick was going to eat the potatoes or he had just intended on creating the volcano.
"Why didn't you guys ask me any of this last year?" Harry laughed, trying to stall to think of something to say. After all, he couldn't just say, 'oh, my old Defense Against the Dark Arts teacher, who just so happens to be a werewolf, sent me twenty years into the past', could he?
"We didn't really know you," Bertram shrugged indifferently, admitting that he had basically ignored Harry the previous year. "We wanted to learn about you, rather than annoy you with stupid questions that you may not answer in the first place."
"I see," Harry nodded in understanding, not upset by that answer—it was the truth, after all. "I came because I wanted to be closer to my family." Harry lied, aware of the fact that a lot people wanted to be closer to their families because of Voldemort. Many wizards and witches in the country did not know if they would come home and still have a family due to the terror of the Death Eaters, which Harry knew was a rampant fear while the wizarding world was at war.
Derrick furrowed his brows, trying to remember whether Harry was Dumbledore's grandson or an entirely different relation. "And Dumbledore is what again, you're great-uncle?"
"Yes," Harry nodded, taking a bite of his food as his stomach growled in hunger. He chewed it for a few moments, enjoying the taste, before he swallowed it down with a sip of water. "And Hogwarts is much safer than my last school, so it works out better for me."
"Which was?" Derrick prodded, wondering which school Harry had attended before Hogwarts.
"Not one of the big ones," Harry answered, realizing how foolish he was to even mention a former school. He remembered the time when he was in Hogsmeade with Greta and he had told her he went to a small school in mainland Europe so he made sure that his answer this time coincided with that previous one just in case Greta and Derrick mentioned it to one another in the future.
"I thought Europe only had the three," Bertram shook his head, turning his attention to a conversation that Greta and a few other sixth year girls were having across from him.
Eventually, after the students had their fill of food, the feast ended, and as Harry made his way out of the Great Hall, he heard a voice calling him from behind. He turned and smiled at the Transfiguration professor, Minerva McGonagall, who was walking towards him, her lips pursed. "Mr. Dumbledore," She said with a curt nod, polite but not too warm just as Harry remembered. "The headmaster would like to see you in his office."
"Sure," Harry nodded, more than willing to meet with the headmaster. "Does he want to see me right now?" Upon seeing her nod, he bid his friends goodbye and made his way towards the office of the headmaster, where he found the stairwell already down, apparently in anticipation of his arrival. He headed up the circular staircase and gave a slight knock on the opened door to announce his presence.
"Ah, Harry, good to see you," Dumbledore said, looking up from his work. From his perch behind Dumbledore's desk, the phoenix Fawkes gave out a sound of hello to Harry, following in his master's footsteps. "Come in, come in," The headmaster said, gesturing for Harry to walk further into the office.
"Good to see you too, sir." Harry replied with a smile, taking a seat in the chair that was in front of Dumbledore's desk. "It's good to see you, as well, Fawkes." He added, looking up to the brilliant phoenix, who stared down at the wizard, as if understanding what he had said.
"Did you have a good summer?" Dumbledore questioned, wanting to ease in to what he called Harry there to discuss, all the while putting his quill in its holder and capping the ink bottle.
"Absolutely," Harry nodded his head, a contented grin appearing on his face. "Speaking of which, I wanted to thank you for the gift that you gave me for my birthday, it was brilliant." He said in an honest tone, taking his pocket watch out from his pocket and showing it to Dumbledore.
"Have you figured out how it works yet?" Dumbledore smiled, knowing it would take even the smartest of wizards weeks to understand—it took him the same amount of time to figure it out upon receiving his from his mother back when he turned of age in the late 1800s. A Dumbledore family heirloom, it was a pocket watch that not only told its wearer the time, but also the time that his or her next appointment was, the time that they should go to bed for the best rest, and additionally told the wearer more esoteric things, like how they were feeling at that current moment, among others as well.
"No, not yet," Harry shook his head in the negative, only being able to tell time with it, rather than any of the lesser known options. "But eventually, I'll get it."
"Eventually," Dumbledore agreed with a nod, admiring Harry's confidence. He reached into the top drawer of his desk and pulled out a small silver tin, not bigger than a muggle wallet. "Would you care for a sherbet lemon?" He asked, opening the tin and offering its contents to Harry.
"Thank you," Harry replied, reaching in and grabbing a piece, before popping the small yellow candy into his mouth. His face twisted slightly at the sourness of the treat, but it passed almost immediately and became a sugary sweet sensation on his tongue.
"You know, in the States, they call these lemon drops," Dumbledore informed Harry, before he too took a piece and placed it in his mouth. He savored the taste, enjoying the brief interlude that conversing with Harry gave him from his war with the wizard named Tom Riddle.
"I didn't know that," Harry replied interestedly, staring at Dumbledore, thinking about what to say next as they silently enjoyed the candy. "I've never been there. Do you travel there often?"
"I'm not able to travel as much as I would like, given the circumstances," Dumbledore said, gesturing to the window and, presumably, the outside world, where Voldemort and his gang of thugs known as Death Eaters were spreading fear throughout the country. "But I am good friends with the headmistress of the Salem Institute of Magic, and she often sends me the treats as a present. She always teases that the proper name is lemon drop, not sherbet lemon, which elicits a spirited debate between us. My belief is that it's a different candy altogether, but alas, the dispute still rages." He relayed with a smile, recalling fondly his relationship with the headmistress. Just then, Fawkes gave a sound out that Harry could only describe as a hoot, which gained the attention of Dumbledore. "Alright, alright, Fawkes, here you go." The headmaster laughed, taking a piece of the candy out from the tin and tossing it up to the phoenix, which nimbly caught it in his beak and swallowed it in one gulp.
"Likes sherbet lemons, does he?" Harry grinned in appreciation, knowing how intelligent of a bird Fawkes could sometimes be—he vividly remembered the time the pair shared in the Chamber of Secrets during his second year, cognizant of the fact that if wasn't for Fawkes, he would have died and Tom Riddle would have been reborn.
"Oh yes," Dumbledore nodded, having learned about Fawkes' affection for treats when the pair first formed their bond decades prior. "Speaking of Fawkes, I want to thank you for writing to me this summer. It was good to hear from you, and Fawkes certainly enjoyed collecting and delivering our letters as it allowed him to get out and stretch his wings."
"I enjoyed seeing Fawkes, as well." Harry said, recalling how Fawkes and Hedwig would share in owl treats whenever Fawkes would apparate into his room at the Leaky Cauldron in a flash of flames.
"Apparently so," Dumbledore noted, noticing the bond that Harry and Fawkes were developing, which was unusual for Fawkes as he didn't take to many strangers. Then, seeing Harry looking at him expectantly, he continued, "As I am sure you are wondering about why I brought you up to my office, Harry, I will answer that question immediately." Dumbledore whispered, giving Harry a small, aged smile that held so much wisdom and joy for life. "Now that you are of age, I feel that we can finally discuss what I saw inside your mind when you first came to my office one year ago without giving you any undue burden that a wizard your age does not deserve."
"Yeah," Harry nodded, having wanted to discuss it with Dumbledore for a while. He wanted to use what he knew about the future to the benefit of the Order of the Phoenix, to put it to good use in saving the lives of countless of individuals, both muggle and magical.
"And because we have much to discuss now that you are of age," Dumbledore spoke, his face losing his characteristic smile and his demeanor turning more serious. "I intend to hopefully, with your acceptance of course, see you every Wednesday night. Consider it personal teaching lessons from your old headmaster."
"Absolutely!" Harry answered in a happy tone, thrilled to have the opportunity to work with the older wizard. He knew he had a lot to learn, and by being tutored by the great Albus Dumbldore, the greatest wizard of the age, he knew he'd learn all the things he needed in order to defeat Voldemort once and for all.
"In those sessions, we will talk about your traveling to this time, happenings around the country, as well as some magic that I know you'll be interested in learning," Dumbledore explained, wanting to flesh out what he intended on doing with Harry.
"I'm excited," Harry smiled, thrilled at the opportunity to be taught by Dumbledore and eager to begin. "What do you want to know?"
"There was a prophecy, yes?" Dumbledore questioned, and upon seeing Harry's nod, he continued, "What did it say exactly?"
"The one with the power to vanquish the Dark Lord approaches, born to those who have thrice defied him, born as the seventh month dies. And the Dark Lord will mark him as his equal, but he will have power the Dark Lord knows not, and either must die at the hand of the other for neither can live while the other survives. The one with the power to vanquish the Dark Lord will be born as the seventh month dies." Harry recited the prophecy word for word, the memory of that fateful night in Dumbledore's office forever ingrained into his mind. It was the night that changed his opinion of himself, morphing from a normal boy who had been attacked as a child by mistake to one that was destined to fight the darkest Dark Lord of recent memory.
Dumbledore furrowed his brow, going over every sentence, every word, trying to gather precisely what it meant. "And what do you think that says?" Dumbledore questioned, wanting to know what Harry thought of the prophecy, knowing that the boy probably had a different idea about it than he did.
"Well," Harry pondered, looking over to Dumbledore, trying to voice his beliefs as accurately as he could. "Basically that I have to either kill him or he'll kill me and become invincible."
"It's not like that, my boy." Dumbledore shook his head in the negative, not wanting Harry to think that he didn't have a choice in the matter. No matter the prophecy, no matter how definitive it may seem, a prophecy could always be wrong because people had free will, they had the right to choose what to do with their lives, a fact that Dumbledore was all too aware. "You could have always walked away from it, Harry, and Voldemort would have been defeated some other way in your time."
"I've already made my decision not to walk away, though." Harry replied in a resolute tone, unwilling to give up his vendetta against Voldemort—the Dark Lord would go down even if it was the last thing he did.
"That prophecy does not exist in this time, not yet at least, but you still wish to defeat him on your own?" Dumbledore asked in a somewhat surprised tone, astonished by Harry's moral compass and caring nature—it was unlike anything he had ever seen before. Harry's ability to love was the complete antithesis to Voldemort's inability to love, making the pair opposites from one another in a poetic way.
"Of course," Harry nodded in decision, knowing that he wouldn't have it any other way at this point. He had not cloistered himself off from the outside world, ignoring news about the war and abstaining from gazing at the Daily Prophet, reading and learning everything he could over the past year in an effort to better himself as a wizard to stop now: he would help Dumbledore defeat Voldemort anyway he could, even if he had to face Voldemort directly himself. "I can…I can still see what he sees, feel what he feels, sometimes when my mental defenses are at their weakest, when I'm asleep. I've prevented this by learning Occlumency as best as I can, but if I drop my mental defenses, even for a single night, I enter his mind without intending or desiring it."
"Yes," Dumbledore spoke in a hushed tone, as he furrowed his brows a bit in thought in an attempt to give Harry an answer. "The magic that connects the two of you is, in my opinion, unfathomable. Even I, in all my admitted cleverness and smarts cannot figure out how you two are still connected, even though Tom Riddle has not marked you in this time." Dumbledore opined, before his gaze moved to an instrument on a table across the office, which gleamed in silver brilliance as moonlight bounced off of it. "Unless…" He whispered, flicking his eyes over to Harry, specifically the lightning bolt-shaped scar that was on the boy's forehead. While everyone else saw Harry as the person with green eyes speckled with blue, brown hair, and no lightning bolt-shaped scar on his forehead, Dumbledore always saw Harry for who he really was via his magical half-moon spectacles, which he had enchanted to allow him to see through weak glamours and enchantments such as the ones placed on Harry.
"Unless what?" Harry questioned, raising an eyebrow, wondering what the great wizard was thinking.
"I'm not definitively sure yet," Dumbledore admitted, and then seeing Harry's face, he motioned with his hand, knowing exactly what Harry was feeling at that moment. "I will tell you when I know, but right now, it's just a passing idea that may have some weight, one which I do not feel confident about enough to publish."
"Okay," Harry nodded in understanding, willing to be patient for the time being. While Dumbledore had been secretive in the past, an action that had both angered and disappointed him, he knew that it was for a reason those times and he did not doubt Dumbledore's reasoning in this case—it was just an idea that Dumbledore needed to contemplate some more before revealing. "There are things that you left me from my real time; I've been going through them since I arrived." Harry started slowly, not really knowing what Dumbledore wanted to do with the information accumulated so far. "Trying to figure out what they mean, why you left them to me, and how you thought they would help me defeat Voldemort. You also left me some memories, but I haven't viewed them in my pensieve yet."
"Oh," Dumbledore raised an intrigued eyebrow, interested in what Harry was left by his future counterpart. "And what are the items about?" He questioned, inwardly hoping that the information may reveal something about Tom Riddle's past after Hogwarts, an all too elusive subject as Dumbledore had found out over the years.
"Something called horcruxes," Harry replied, making Dumbledore's eyes go wide, as if the older wizard had won a great prize. Harry had never seen the expression on Dumbledore's face before, save perhaps the time when Harry returned from the graveyard in his fourth year and he thought he saw a triumphant gleam in the headmaster's blue eyes after informing him that Voldemort had used Harry's blood during his revival, a curious response that Harry did not understand still.
"Horcruxes, you say?" Dumbledore questioned, trying to keep his composure, trying to keep the immense relief that he was feeling from overcoming him. He knew that Tom Riddle had sold himself out to the darkest of dark arts, the most evil of all magicks, but to hear it from someone who could definitely tell of its truth was something that would help him immeasurably, as it would allow him to start the search for the horcruxes in earnest. He couldn't search for them before then due to the fact that he didn't know if they were real or not, and he did not have the time to waste in searching for imaginary items, should Voldemort not have used horcruxes in his quest for immortality. While he had gathered fragments of Voldemort's life before and after Hogwarts from eyewitnesses of various important events, there were very few people who knew about Riddle's life at all, and even less that were still alive after having had a run in with Tom Riddle, which made it hard for him to truly do some research on the subject and gather the information that he needed.
"He had seven of them in my time, but by the timeline that your notes have laid out, I gander that he'll only have four by now." Harry said, having meticulously gone over Dumbledore's notes to figure out a timeline of how and when Voldemort created his horcruxes. He still had yet to understand what exactly a horcrux was, but he knew that it dealt with a specific object and killing someone.
"Seven? That's what he meant by 'I have pushed the boundaries of magic further, perhaps, than they have ever been pushed…'" Dumbledore muttered in thought, losing himself in the memory from over two decades prior that had Tom Riddle returning to Hogwarts to ask for the Defense Against the Dark Arts position. "This is news that I have not previously thought about," Dumbledore admitted, having always assumed that Voldemort would have no more than two or three, which was already pushing the soul to the breaking point as it was. "I want you to continue reading whatever notes from me that you have been reading. Of course, do not let it get in the way of your studies, but by the looks of it, you have been handling it quite nicely."
"Do you want to see the notes for yourself?" Harry questioned, believing that Dumbledore reading the notes would be more productive than him reading them by himself.
"Not yet," Dumbledore shook his head in the negative, understanding of the fact that Harry was left the notes for a reason and he had yet to fulfill that reason. "I want you to go through them all first and then we will discuss it."
"Okay," Harry agreed, knowing that he still had things to learn and figure out, such as what Dumbledore's scribble of ancient runes in the Tale of the Three Brothers had meant. What significance did 'deadly relics' have to Voldemort or the story itself? Further, he also needed to learn what exactly a horcrux was, as every time he looked for the term, his search came up fruitless.
Just then, there was a knock on the door and a man appeared, one that looked familiar to Harry, but he couldn't quite place the face. "Ah, is it that late already?" Dumbledore questioned, giving the newcomer a welcoming smile. "I'm sorry to cut this short, Harry, but I must take this. Let's say we meet up here immediately after dinner next Wednesday?"
"Very well, thank you, professor." Harry said, rising to his feet and readying himself to leave. "Goodbye, sir."
"Bye, Harry," Dumbledore nodded to the younger wizard, having appreciated the time spent with him. Then, remembering something, he said, "Wait, I have your potion for this month. I believe you know what to do with it." He spoke cryptically, reaching into his drawer and pulling out a vial of a milky white substance before handing it over to the younger wizard.
"Thanks," Harry replied as he tucked the vial into his robes, securing it until he took it later that night. He gave the newcomer a polite nod and exited the room, closing the door behind him in an effort to give some privacy to the two occupants. Before walking down the stairs, Harry looked back at the door, trying to figure out the identity of the newcomer. He had a rather bland face, with unmemorable features and relatively common looks, which made it difficult for Harry to remember who it was or even where he remembered him from. After a few moments of thought, he shook his head and shrugged his shoulders, giving up without success. "Oh well," He whispered to himself, taking a few steps forward until he reached the stairway and started the walk downwards to the hall below.
As Harry stepped off of the stairwell that went up to the Dumbledore's office, he was hit in the chest with a paper airplane that was folded from a piece of white parchment. Unrolling the plane, he saw that it was a note from Bellatrix, telling him to meet her at the classroom that they had used for their lessons together. With a large grin forming on his face and a hop to his step, he headed towards the classroom and arrived minutes later, where he found Bellatrix already sitting on a desk, waiting for him come. Harry walked in and took a seat next her, hopping up onto a desk, with his feet dangling an inch or so from the floor. They stayed silent for a few moments, each being comfortable with the other, something that Harry had noticed a couple other times they were with each other.
"Did you enjoy your time at the Leaky Cauldron?" Bellatrix started, staring at the wall across from her, not meeting his gaze yet. She had sent him the airplane in an effort to see him secretly, unwilling to allow the other Slytherins to see her meeting with him for his own safety. She knew that many in her group disliked him for his duel with Rodolphus during the previous year, and she doubted those feelings had subsided much over the summer.
"It wasn't that bad, believe it or not. I met some nice people, some strange people, and some people I never thought I'd meet, so it was fun. I had a lot of time to work, which was nice, too." Harry grinned, having thoroughly enjoyed his summer and its relatively peaceful environment. Barring the attack on Diagon Alley, he spent many a day with friends, and the rest working on his magic, reading the many books that were left to him through his inheritance from Sirius. "What about you, did you like your sister's wedding?"
"It was pretty," Bellatrix nodded in the affirmative, thinking back to a few weeks prior, when she watched her sister marry Lucius Malfoy. It was an elegant affair, with beautiful scenery and extravagant decorations that dazzled those who attended the wedding, which were all wealthy pureblooded families like the Blacks and the Notts or otherwise powerful Ministry Officials. "Well worth the galleons it took to pay for it, I think. That Malfoy estate makes the Blacks look poor."
"I bet it does," Harry sighed, knowing how Draco always bragged about how rich and wealthy his family was in an effort to make Ron feel bad about his own family's lack of a fortune. He remembered how Lucius had bought Draco's spot on the Slytherin quidditch team by purchasing the entire team the state of the art Nimbus 2001s, which individually cost more galleons than many families had in their entire vault.
"They have peacocks just walking around on their land," Bellatrix informed Harry, recalling the large white peafowl that she saw immediately upon entering the gated estate. "I guess that's what happens when your family was the reason why William the Conqueror became King of England in the first place. The Lestranges were involved in that too, now that I think about it, but they don't have peacocks, last I checked."
Harry grinned as she rambled, happy that she was opening up to him more than she ever had before. He didn't know if it was a common occurrence and she consistently went off on tangents with her friends, or if it was special for him, but either way, he enjoyed it. "What's that about William the Conqueror?" He questioned with a cocked eyebrow, wondering what made her bring that up.
"I'll tell you about it later," Bellatrix shook her head, not wanting to discuss it at that moment. "It has to do with each family trying to outdo each other, so I hear stories about who did what and when they did it all of the time when I have to tag along to parties with my parents. Anyway, were you there when the Death Eaters attacked Diagon Alley a week or so ago?" She asked, wanting to know if Harry was present or not, having both read about the attack in the Evening Prophet and heard about it personally from a few Death Eaters with whom she was acquainted.
"Yes," Harry nodded in the affirmative, sighing a bit at the memory. "I fought a few of them off myself, it was terrible. I knew a lot of people who were injured or actually died."
"Oh," Bellatrix said, not really knowing where to go with that. She was interested in the subject only to make sure he wasn't hurt in the attack, not because other people were injured themselves. "I'm glad you're safe then."
"Me too," Harry agreed with a smile, though still a bit bothered with the other deaths that he had witnessed. He had spoken with many of the victims the very day of the attack while buying everything for the school year, so their perishing was especially troubling to him, perhaps more than they would be to another person. "Or else I wouldn't be able to bug you all this year."
Bellatrix smirked at that, turning her head towards him and finally looking up into his green and blue-speckled eyes. "I thought about you all summer long, especially after I left you on your birthday." She muttered, being honest with her feelings for the first time in her young life.
"Oh yeah, did you?" Harry questioned, raising an intrigued eyebrow, trying to prevent the smile that he knew was forming on his face. He hoped that she would say something like that to him, which justified the same thoughts he had about her.
"Did you?" She asked back in a voice that Harry couldn't help but think that her walls were down, that her heart was open.
"Very much," Harry answered, leaning back onto his desk, relaxing a bit. "Before I came to Hogwarts, I never would have thought I would have though, if I'm being honest with myself."
"Hm?" Bellatrix asked curiously, confused by what he had meant by that. She hoped that he didn't mean what he was implying, that he didn't feel the same way about her that she did him.
"What time do we have to be in the common rooms?" He questioned, looking at her, a plan forming in his mind. If he was going to go through with pursuing her, in trying to be with her for real, he was going to do it right. And in order to do it right, he thought to himself, I have to do this first.
"I'm not certain, but I think about an hour and a half or so, why?" Bellatrix replied, wondering why he was acting strangely all of the sudden. She had just revealed to him that she thought about him near constantly during the summer, which basically amounted to her admitting her budding feelings for him, yet he seemed to want to change the subject completely.
"Will you do me a favor?" Harry asked, his gaze staying on Bellatrix, who nodded quizzically in response. "Meet me up on the seventh floor in the left corridor, across from the troll tapestry in twenty minutes, okay?" She nodded tentatively, and with a smile, he jumped off the desk and rushed out of the room, leaving her to her own devices. Shaking her head in utter confusion, she continued on her rounds for the night, before making her way up to the seventh floor, where Harry had told her to meet, a strange feeling in the pit of her stomach in anticipation for what was about to happen.
A/N: Everything will change after the next chapter. The entire dynamic of the story is going to transform all because of the next chapter, and many of the people that have reviewed, asking me about something, are going to have their questions answered. Next chapter is going to be confusing, but I'm going to work hard to try to limit the confusion. Be ready for it. Any ideas on what Harry plans on doing?