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: Alphard will linger in the story for a few more chapters, but he won't be important.
S/N 2: The theme of this chapter is changing, whether the transformation is magical, emotional, or mental in nature, and if people actually can change or not. After all, this is the theme of the entire book series: what's more powerful, your nature or your choices?
Chapter 29: People Can Change
On New Year's Eve, Harry and Bellatrix went to the Cannons vs. Wasps match with the tickets that Bellatrix had given to Harry for Christmas. While the attendance at the match was still high, Harry could see many open seats that went unused, presumably because of the fear that Voldemort spread throughout the country. Sure, he knew it was his first ever professional game, so he had nothing to compare it to, but his gut instinct told him that many people refused to leave their homes due to the Dark Lord and his Death Eaters, if the gusto that Ron rooted for the Cannons proved anything about a wizard's love for their quidditch team. Ignoring all of that, the pair got some snacks and some hot drinks and took their seats, excitedly watching as the two teams warmed up, flying around the stadium and loosening up their muscles in the cold night air.
Once the match started, Harry was unsurprised to see Ludo Bagman on the pitch, looking as fit as Harry remembered him from his time in Dumbledore's pensieve. Harry had to admit that Ludo was quite impressive, one of the best players he had ever seen, which made sense, considering how the members of the Wizengamot had treated him back when he was on trial in Dumbledore's pensieve—they looked at him and spoke to him as if he was a national hero, a treasure that was meant to be respected. As a skilled beater, Bagman more than protected his teammates from bludgers, hitting them away from his side over to the other team's players expertly, preventing the other team's chasers from getting into a groove with the quaffle.
Likewise, the other players on the Wasps were just as good, showing how dominant of a team they were. With their yellow and black uniforms, they truly looked like a pack of flying wasps, jetting from one end of the pitch to the other quicker than Harry had ever seen on the brooms that they were using. The chasers had a great rapport with each other, as they always made the right pass, the extra pass, allowing them to score one goal after another on the Cannons. By the time Harry knew it, the score was a lopsided 120 to 10 in the Wasps' favor, showing just how much better they were in comparison to the Cannons. In the end, the seeker for the Wasps caught the snitch, bringing an end to the game with the final score being 350 to 90, a complete blowout, but a fun match to watch nonetheless. When the match was finished, they hopped up from their seats and walked with the crowd out of the stadium, and when they were completely out and away from the public, they both apparated, separately, to the Leaky Cauldron, before starting the walk to Bellatrix's home on Dungient Street. It was a few blocks, and as they traveled, they saw the festive muggles celebrating the New Year, all of whom were filled with the spirit of the night, each wanting to welcome in the New Year: 1977.
In the distance they heard the familiar burst of fireworks, lighting the sky in a brilliant red color, illuminating the city streets below. Harry stopped and watched it for a few moments, a small smile on his face, admiring the pretty colors and the creative displays. From her spot next to him, Bellatrix's gaze moved up to the sky as well; she wore a neutral expression on her face, unlike the look of wonderment that Harry had on his face, showing their differing personalities. She did not understand what was so special about the fireworks, as she knew many spells that created similar results much more efficiently than the muggle practice.
"Happy New Year, Black," Harry whispered into Bellatrix's ear as he kissed her on the temple, earning her attention. She turned towards him and brought her lips up to his own, kissing him passionately as everyone celebrated the coming of the New Year. Bringing his right hand into her own left, she started to walk, continuing on towards her house in the distance, a small smile on her face all the while.
Eventually the Christmas break ended and Harry was on the Hogwarts express, racing towards Scotland on the Sunday immediately following New Years Day. Greta and Xenophilius were sitting opposite of him, as he snacked on a chocolate frog and watched the countryside passing by. Once the express arrived in Hogsmeade hours later, Harry made the familiar walk to the carriages, and entered one that housed many of his Ravenclaw friends. As the carriages carried them to the school, the sense of nostalgia overcame him as he realized that this would be the last time in the carriages, that this would be his last time taking the journey back to Hogwarts for school. With that on his mind, he enjoyed the welcoming feast with the rest of the students in a subdued manner and went up to his room, jumping into bed immediately. As soon as his head touched the pillow, he fell into a deep sleep, dreaming about what would be in the future, knowing full well that this would be his final time enjoying a welcoming feast of Hogwarts.
A day passed, which found Harry in the middle of a battle, his face red and his breath heavy. He was trapped behind a mound of snow, with Bertram Aubrey and Milton Curd sitting next to him, their breaths haggard, their legs tired from all the running they had to do in order to escape their attackers. They were cold and scared, the beginning signs of great fatigue—they didn't know how much longer they would be able to withstand the assault. "We can't win, we'll die out there," Bertram said nervously, as he looked between Harry and Milton, hoping that they had a plan.
"Don't give up," Harry replied, trying to ease Bertram's concerns and fears. He knew the boy was worried, and was searching for some comfort to make himself more confident in his chances of survival. "I've faced much worse odds than this and I've lived to tell the tale. We can still get out of here, we just need to think."
"What do we do?" Milton questioned, wondering if Harry had a plan to escape the fate that was coming to them. He could hear their enemies gathering strength from across the way, bombarding them with attacks as they waited for their prey to show themselves.
Harry looked around the area, keeping his head ducked under for safety, not wanting to be hit. His gaze moved over the environs, searching for something that could help them, searching for anything that would be of use, before, in the corner of his eye, he saw their saving grace. Gripping his wand in his hand, he looked to both Bertram and Milton, giving them a small smile, confident that his plan would work and they'd be successful in their attempt at getting to safety. "When I say go, run as fast as you can to that snow bank over there," He said, pointing to a hiding spot behind a snow-covered tree—the tree was large and wide, more than big enough to cover them all. "Ready?"
Bertram and Milton both looked over to the tree, before looking back at one another. "Ready," They both nodded in agreement, knowing that it was worth a shot and it could be successful. They just hoped that they had the energy to make it there before their opponents attacked them; if they didn't make it, they knew they would be done for.
"I hope this works," Harry sighed, muttering a spell and watching as a gigantic snowman across the way jumped to life and started sliding towards another snow bank, where their attackers had taken refuge. "Go!" Harry yelled, as he jumped up and ran through the snow to the tree that he had pointed out moments before, Bertram and Milton following closely behind him. They were slow to move as a blanket of thick snow had fallen the night before, covering the immediate area with nearly a foot of it, making them trudge knee-deep to reach their goal.
"There they go!" A deep male voice called out through the cold air, as Harry and the others showed themselves for the first time in a while. "What the…?" The same voice said, turning his attention away from Harry and his friends when, from the opposite side he was looking, the snowman crashed into the four attackers, covering them with ice and snow, giving Harry's group the time required to head for the cover they so desperately needed. Harry dove behind the tree, Bertram and Milton right next to him, each protected from the attackers by the large trunk, allowing them to form a counterattack.
Underneath where the snowman crashed, the snow started to move as the four started to dig themselves out, using their hands and feet to get to freedom. "Hey, no fair!" Greta Catchlove pouted as she dug herself out of the mound of snow that the snowman had dumped on her, grabbing her woolen hat from the ground and placing it back on her blonde head. "We said no magic."
"We said no magic in creating or defending ourselves from snowballs, not outlawing magic in general." Harry corrected with a mischievous laugh, as the three gathered as many snowballs as they could while their opponents were distracted. They intended on bombarding the others as quickly as they could, knowing that the time to strike was nigh.
"I knew I should have been on Harry's team," Xenophilius whispered, as he used his wand to get out of the snow—his wand tip burned with orange light, as if it was a blowtorch. He had taken the brunt of the snowman's attack, being covered with the entirety of the bottom ball of the snowman, which had been about ten feet tall before falling on them, a considerably greater size in comparison to muggle-made ones.
"We had them cornered," Gaspard muttered disappointedly, looking to the area behind the tree, where he saw his opponents gathering snowballs. His eyes flicked over to Derrick, who was starting to pile more snowballs into the small hole that they had created to protect themselves. "What are you doing?"
"They're going to come at us with all they have," Derrick said, gesturing his head over to the tree. He knew that Harry and the other two would attack them quickly since it would be what he himself would do in their situation. "I'm going to be ready for when they do."
Meanwhile, across the way, the others just finished crafting their snowballs, all of which were piled in front of them. "Ready?" Bertram said, looking at Milton and Harry as they all gathered up the snowballs into their arms. "Here we go!" They all ran out, spreading out with Harry going to the left, Milton going to the right, and Bertram in the center, sprinting towards the snow mound that the others were hiding behind.
Before they knew what was happening, before they could gather snowballs to defend themselves, Harry's team attacked the foursome, tossing snow on them in all directions. Greta ducked and covered her head with her arms, protecting herself from the onslaught, as Milton tossed a snowball gently onto her back, not wanting to hurt his girlfriend. Harry, meanwhile, used both hands to throw snowballs at Gaspard and Xenophilius, who mounted a weak defense in response. The most awesome of attacks, however, came from Bertram, who had accumulated the most snowballs before their attack, not wanting to be outdone by Derrick. One after another, he tossed snowballs at Derrick, who threw as many snowballs back as he could in a futile effort to counter the attack. However, he was quickly overrun, and had to take cover from the barrage that Bertram brought against him.
Derrick tried another measly defense, but it was beaten once more, leaving himself wide open for an even more damaging attack. "We give, we give!" Derrick yelled out as Bertram continually pounded him with snowballs, spraying cold snow and ice over his face, head, and body. One of them directly hit his ear, which made it sting a bit, but was otherwise unhurt.
"YES!" Bertram called out triumphantly, dropping the snowballs to the ground, where they splattered back into the snow.
"Bunch of cheaters," Greta giggled, as Milton helped her to her feet. They hugged each other, as they waited for the others to ready themselves to go back to the castle in the distance.
"We did not cheat!" Bertram said proudly, bringing his arm around Harry's shoulders. "Gamed the system, maybe, but certainly not cheat." He finished with a large smile, before helping Derrick up from the hole that he had hid himself in.
Eventually, they all walked into the castle, shivering slightly. "Anyone want to get some hot chocolate?" Greta suggested as the paused at the stairway that led to the Ravenclaw tower, looking at everyone, wondering if they wanted to come with her.
"Can't," Gaspard shook his head in the negative, frowning at the girl slightly. "I have some work I have to do."
"Sure," The rest nodded, saying goodbye and watching as Gaspard walked up the stairs, presumably heading back to the Ravenclaw common room.
"Dumbledore," A voice said from behind, making Harry turn to see who it was.
Harry spun and his gaze met the silver one of Sirius Black, who was making his way through the hall towards Harry. "Oh, hi Sirius," Harry smiled, pausing for his future godfather to catch up to him. Seeing that the group had stopped to wait for him, he shook his head and gestured for them to continue, not wanting to hold them up. "Go on, I'll meet you all there."
Once the group was gone, Sirius stopped in front of Harry for a moment, before continuing on down the wall, Harry following next to him. "How was your Christmas?" Sirius questioned as they walked, Harry not knowing where Sirius was going, but presuming that it was someone close.
"It was great, actually, what about yours?" Harry returned, flicking his gaze over to the wizard, hopeful that he had fun on his holiday.
"Okay, I guess," Sirius shrugged with a neutral expression, making Harry wonder whether Sirius did indeed enjoy his break. "Can we talk?" The younger wizard asked, hoping that Harry had some time to discuss something.
"Sure," Harry nodded, gesturing for Sirius to lead the way. "What about?" He questioned, wondering what Sirius had on his mind.
"Who do you think?" Sirius said, before turning into a small alcove that was hidden away from the rest of the school, where no one could see or hear them.
Harry gave a smile at that, immediately knowing that he meant Bellatrix, his cousin. "What do you want to know?" Harry inquired, willing to answer whatever question that Sirius had for him about her—he knew the boy was confused, having been stymied from his questions by Alphard on Christmas.
"How did it happen?" Sirius asked quietly, the first of numerous questions that he wanted to ask the wizard in front of him. While he hadn't spent his break thinking about it, it was on the back of his mind ever since learning about their relationship and he wanted to ease the concerns that were festering inside of him.
"It just did over time," Harry shrugged, being unable to answer that question for himself, let alone for Sirius. He had no idea why or how his feelings for Bellatrix brewed, all he knew was that they did somehow and he ran with them upon realizing it. "We needed to learn from one another, so we became civil and eventually friendly, and then she came to visit me on my birthday which made us both realize just how much we were attracted to each other romantically."
"Just like that? No questions about her past?" Sirius asked, wondering if Harry knew about the past of who he was dealing with. He didn't care about their relationship in terms of Harry getting hurt by her dumping him; he cared about their relationship in regards to her dragging him down into her darkness, into her world of hatred and power craving, one that led to his prostrating in front of the Dark Lord Voldemort.
"I knew what kind of person she was, hated her for it when we first met, but we spent time together and…" Harry shrugged once more, knowing more about her actions than Sirius could ever dream about. She was an arrogant bully that believed in her own superiority and clamored for power, and he knew her ability to do the most deplorable of acts such as the ones that brought her to Voldemort's side and landed her in Azkaban.
"Do you know what kind of person she was? Still is, even?" Sirius questioned, emphasizing the word you, disbelieving that Harry did indeed know Bellatrix's past. "Are you sure you know just the depths of her misdeeds are? I grew up with her, I've known her since I was born, trust me, there are things about her no one would dare make up."
"Yes, and I hate it. Trust me, she's the first person in my life that I've ever given the chance to change and not immediately write it off as a lost cause. Draco, Pansy…people I used to know, I never would have given them a chance." Harry answered, knowing that he would have never given Draco a chance to show a different side in his own time—to him, Draco would always be a mean-spirited bully. "But for some reason, I gave her a chance, I gave her the opportunity and she hasn't let me down yet. She hasn't crossed a line—she's been bad, yes, I understand that, but she's never crossed a line and done something that makes her irredeemable. Trust me, when I first came to Hogwarts, she was the one person in the world I hated nearly as much as I hated the Dark Lord."
"Oh yeah?" Sirius said somewhat argumentatively, not understanding how Harry could know as much as he presumed about Bellatrix. "If she's changed so much, then how come she still hangs out with all of those Slytherins? They're the sons and daughters of Death Eaters, what do you think they talk about, muggle rights? Do you believe that they're conversing on how to make a muggle's day better?"
"It's a process, Sirius," Harry replied easily, not at all perturbed by Sirius' tone. "I don't like her talking to them just as much as you, but if I go to her and tell her that she has to distance herself from them, trust me, she will rebel. By doing that, I'll create a monster worse than you can ever imagine—cold, ruthless, powerful, she'll turn to the Dark Lord instantly, and that is not something that I will let happen. It's a process; when she's ready, I'll talk to her about it, but she's not ready yet. I've seen it with my own eyes."
"I don't buy it, and I'm worried," Sirius said, crossing his arms across his chest and biting down on his bottom lip. "I've seen her gallivanting around with wizards that will be Death Eaters the second they step out of Hogwarts, I know her parents and I know what they imparted to her when she was growing up, her changing does not seem as simple as you make it appear. It seems so unlikely that it's almost comical."
"I'm letting her do this on her own, if I see something that goes against everything she's been doing, I will step in." Harry assured Sirius, having decided on his plans on how to deal with Bellatrix months prior, before even starting a relationship with her. He had only broke those plans once before, after meeting with Alphard and being overly confident, he suggested seeing Andromeda, which was something that Bellatrix was not anywhere near ready for and Harry had to argue with her to smooth it over—it was a mistake that he wouldn't make again unless it was absolutely necessary, which wouldn't come unless he felt that she needed to decide once and for all which path she was going to choose. "You're a Black and you turned out great, didn't you? What about Andromeda? Or even Alphard, to a lesser extent? I trust that she can be good like all of you are."
"It's different for her," Sirius replied, closing his eyes and scratching his forehead, as if he was suddenly afflicted with a headache. He took a few deep breaths, his head down near his chest, before opening his eyes once more.
"Why is that, because she's not you?" Harry returned, a bit peeved that he was so arrogant as to believe that Bellatrix wasn't strong enough to turn to the side of good. "So you think you're the only one that can escape the Blacks?"
"Because I never once believed in blood purity, she did," Sirius answered, making Harry realize the difference—with Sirius, it was never an option to hate due to someone's blood, whereas Bellatrix went sixteen years of her life believing in it.
Harry stayed silent for a moment, weighing what Sirius had said, before he nodded, willing to concede that point. "Maybe so, but I trust that she will do what is right in the end," Harry said firmly, being confident that Bellatrix could do what so many people couldn't and change her ways.
"And if you're wrong?" Sirius asked, raising an eyebrow, wondering what Harry would do if Bellatrix stayed the course and became a Death Eater, willingly giving herself over to the Dark Lord.
Harry looked down at the ground, his heart skipping a beat at the idea of him being wrong and Bellatrix not being with him. "Then I will live with my mistakes and make sure to correct them." He whispered, though Sirius heard him clearly.
"Be careful, Dumbledore, I just don't want to see you go down with her," Sirius replied just as quietly, having recognized the emotion in Harry's voice. "And no, that's not a threat, it's a concern. You're my friend. You're a good man, a good wizard; I know firsthand of what the Blacks can do to people. Just be careful, okay?" He headed over to the alcove's entrance before stopping and giving Harry a smile. "I'm really not trying to be a git, I'm just…I don't want her conniving her way into Alphard's life just to hurt him, that's all. In my heart, I hope that she does turn it around one day, because I know the kind of witch that she is, smart and powerful—she would do a lot of good in the world if she just saw what was right and what was wrong."
"I understand that," Harry replied, biting his lip in thought, his countenance pensive, recognizing Sirius' concern. "I'll protect Alphard's interests, as well." He said, having taken a liking to the older wizard during the short time that they had interacted with one another.
Sirius nodded, staring right at Harry, their eyes meeting for just a moment. "See you," He waved, before leaving down the hall, presumably heading back to the Gryffindor tower. Harry stood in the alcove for a few silent moments, going over everything that Sirius had said before he too left, walking in the direction of the kitchens where he knew his friends were enjoying some hot chocolate in an attempt to warm up.
Harry awoke on Tuesday and tiredly walked down to his Transfiguration classroom for his first class of the new semester. He sat in his usual chair and took out his books, giving a small smile to Bellatrix, who raised an amused eyebrow at him in response. After she turned away and started talking to her cousin Evan, Harry bit his lip as memories of the conversation with Sirius the previous day came rushing back to him. He knew who Evan Rosier was: he was a murderer that had been killed during a struggle against Aurors in an attempt to escape imprisonment in Azkaban along with his friend Wilkes. He recalled how Evan had blasted off a piece of Mad-Eye Moody's nose in their duel, before Mad-Eye finally got the better of him and downed him for good, depleting Voldemort of a loyal Death Eater.
As Harry's mind drifted off, wondering how close Bellatrix was to her Rosier side of the family, at the front of the room, sitting quietly on top of Professor McGonagall's desk was a brown tabby cat. The cat stared at all of the students as they came in, tilting its head in seeming welcoming, silently saying hello to the young wizards and witches that walked through the door. Once the last student took her seat, the cat hopped off of the desk and changed into a human female in midair, whom landed gracefully without missing a step. The woman had black hair that was pulled into a tight bun and wore elegant green robes, along with a pair of glasses that were adorning her stern, aging face.
"Hello class," McGonagall said, straightening her robes with her hands as she stood in front of the students. "I trust you all had a pleasant break. This semester, as I informed you at the beginning of last term, will deal with human to animal transfigurations. Now, the reason why I changed from my animagus form into my human one just now was to give you an idea about the differences between transfiguration and animagi. If you will turn to page 140 in your book, you will see a chapter detailing the differences between the pair. Please, take this time to read that, and we will have further discussion after you have completed."
Tiredly, Harry opened his book and turned to the assigned pages. The first few pages was an introduction, which Harry paid no mind to, having already performed human to animal transfiguration during a duel with Rodolphus Lestrange a year prior. On one of the middle pages, however, he sat up in his chair, noticing that it listed the registrants to the animagus list at the Ministry of Magic for the twentieth century—there were only six up until then, with Harry knowing another one would soon show themselves, perhaps even someone he went to Hogwarts with. The first name on the list was a woman named Sheldonna Green, who had achieved the transformation more than a decade after the turn of the century in 1911. Sheldonna was followed closely by Arthur Barretts, who registered four years later in 1915. Next came Kingsley Crabbe in the mid-1920s, before Hopalong Wallis, who registered himself in 1943; next was unsurprisingly Minerva McGonagall, who had first registered in 1954, a year or so after she had left Hogwarts as a student; finally, the last name was Ariella Malkin, a witch that had become an animagus in the late 1960s.
Harry stared at the last name for a few lingering moments, inwardly wondering whether Ariella Malkin was in anyway related to Madam Malkin, the proprietor of the robes shop in Diagon Alley, if not the very lady herself. Outside of Malkin, he recognized some of the names that were on the list like McGonagall and especially Kingsley Crabbe, whom he assumed was an ancestor of Vincent Crabbe, a wizard who would become a large, stupid crony of Draco Malfoy in the future. The rest he had never heard about before then, but he presumed that they were powerful wizards and witches as becoming an animagus was a difficult skill to master, one unable to be performed by weak people, barring Peter Pettigrew, who was tutored through it by two exceptionally powerful wizards. Shaking his head, he returned to the page, continuing on with his assignment, hoping that the class would end quickly so he could take a nap.
Harry finished his reading in twenty minutes, and looked up at the professor, who was scanning the room to see how many were still reading. As Harry waited for the others in his class to finish their own reading, he pondered what forms the five other animagus registrants took, knowing that McGonagall was a cat herself. However, before he could think about it in any great detail, everyone was seemingly finished and McGonagall walked down the column of desks and began to lecture. "As you have just read, unlike animation, there is no known reason for why human to animal transfiguration was developed—animation was used as a defense by the Chinese Emperors in animating their army of terracotta warriors; conjuration was used to procure objects one did not have; inanimate transfiguration was used to secure things one could not afford. However, reasons for human to animal transfiguration's genesis are non-existent. The most common idea is that human to animal transfiguration was probably just used as a torture device or as a way to annoy people that bothered you, but regardless of its origins, you should know the dangers that the art possesses."
"The main danger, and the very difference between an animagus and transfiguration, is that being transfigured into an animal prevents someone from changing back on their own by their own free will—they need help to do that, unlike animagi, who can go back and forth between transformations under their own power. Because of that danger's presence, I will be taking a more active role in your lessons, surveying the room at all times in an effort to make sure that you leave Hogwarts the same way you came all those years ago, as humans." She continued, walking back up to the fount of the class and taking out her wand, making sure that everyone was listening to her intently. "The first spell we will try is the human to rodent transfiguration, a simple spell in comparison to the ones that we will be completing later on, but one that will show you all of the intricacies of this area of transfiguration. What I want you all to do now is pair up with another individual, with that person then being the one who will transfigure you and be transfigured by you for the remainder of the year."
Harry looked at Bertram next to him, who smiled back, accepting the silent question and agreeing to pair up with Harry. Harry's eyes flicked over to Bellatrix, who paired up with Evan, a more than decent wizard in his own right. Frank Longbottom, meanwhile, joined with Alice, who was a bit more skilled than Frank was when it came to transfiguration, though the both were exception in the craft. Everyone else seemed to pair up with the person next to them just as Harry and Bertram had, and before they knew it, their desks were off to the side and they were trying to turn each other into rodents. Only a few were successful during the first day, but McGonagall saw promise in all of them nonetheless.
The next day came, Wednesday, which found Harry making the familiar trek up to Dumbledore's office for the first time since returning to school. He had a pensive expression on his face as he walked up the stairs, thinking about the various topics that he wanted to discuss with the great wizard. He had researched a bit over break, but he spent much of his time with his friends and Bellatrix, which prevented him from detailing many of the things he wanted to accomplish, like learning more about the Peverell brothers and their connection to the Deathly Hallows. However, that didn't bother him as he knew that it was finally time to get answers, rather than questions, at least on some things, so with that in mind, he gave the door a loud knock and entered after hearing the muffled voice from behind.
"Harry!" Dumbledore grinned, rising from his seat behind his desk to greet the younger wizard. He had not seen the boy for nearly two weeks, and if he was honest with himself, he missed his company. "How are you, my boy?"
"Great, sir, thanks," Harry returned, shaking the great wizard's outstretched hand before they both took a seat in their respective chairs, each across from the other. "What about you?" He questioned politely, hoping that Dumbledore wasn't too busy or tired from all of the work in the fight against Voldemort.
"No complaints, except for the obvious," Dumbledore smiled with a shrug and a gesture to the window, where the wizarding world was in a war against tyranny and fear. "I appreciate the gift you gave me for Christmas." He said as Fawkes hooted over his shoulder, referencing the box of candies from across the globe that he had received from Harry. "As did Fawkes, it seems." He added with a smile, as Fawkes cooed in appreciation, showing just how intelligent of a bird he was.
"No problem and I liked your gift to me, as well," Harry replied, having received a silver instrument that he had yet to understand fully. It was something that seemed as if it would be quite at home in the headmaster's office, which made Harry assume that it was a powerful magical device that had unknown powers, ones that would hopefully show themselves to Harry one day. "Thank you for it, sir."
Silently, Dumbledore rose from his seat once more and grabbed two glasses from the wooden cabinet before pouring an amber colored liquid into both of them. "Merry Christmas, Harry," Dumbledore smiled, handing of the glasses over to the younger boy and clinking them together in a toast.
"Thank you and Happy Christmas to you, too, sir." Harry grinned, taking a sip and appreciating the flavor of the drink. "Truly, thank you for the present, it meant a lot."
"It was nothing, Harry," Dumbledore nodded, coming back around and regaining his chair. He gave the boy a large smile, as he leaned back in his seat, his gaze moving over Harry's face, noticing how much older the boy appeared since the last time he saw him. It was as if Harry had matured a year or two in the span of a few short weeks, as instead of a teenager, he now appeared like a young adult, one ready for the life that was ahead of him.
"Did you have a good break?" Harry questioned, as he held his glass in his right hand, taking a sip every now and again.
"It was busy, but yes, very insightful." Dumbledore replied vaguely, not revealing what he did during his time off from Hogwarts. "I hope you had the same."
"I did," Harry answered in the affirmative, having enjoyed his vacation just as much as he had enjoyed the Christmas a year prior. "I met Alphard Black." He added, filling Dumbledore in on one of the many surprises that his vacation brought him.
"Did you now?" Dumbledore raised an eyebrow, wondering what the boy thought of the man. "He was always very cheerful while he was in Hogwarts, if I recall. Not at all like most others of his kin of his time."
"He's still like that," Harry nodded in agreement, remembered how jolly and jovial Alphard was on Christmas. "Maybe a bit lonely, but he seemed happy."
"Age does that to a person," Dumbledore sighed, staring out the window, knowing full well the effect that the passage of time had on older people. "Loneliness is the bane of old age, but I'm glad to hear he is still the same way as always."
"Very much so," Harry agreed, as he took another sip of his drink. They stayed silent for a moment, each enjoying their time together, a relaxed feeling in the air. "Professor," Harry started, knowing that his time in Hogwarts was drawing to a close and he needed to start preparing himself for his time outside of school. He needed to start learning more from Dumbledore, instead of letting the old headmaster give vague, non-specific answers to all of his questions. "When I first came into your office the first night of my seventh year, you said 'unless' when you were thinking about why Voldemort and I are still connected in this time; I was wondering, can you explain that some more?"
"Are you sure you wish to hear it?" Dumbledore asked, sitting up in his seat, surprised by the sudden turn in conversation. He knew that Harry would ask him about it someday, but he didn't think it would be while the boy was still in Hogwarts. "You may not like what you hear."
"Yes," Harry nodded in the affirmative, steeling himself off from whatever he might hear, whatever dark answer he would receive. No matter what Dumbledore said, he wanted to know about it as he felt that he was ready to know about it, even if it was something that a normal seventeen year old shouldn't be informed about.
"You have a piece of his soul inside of you, Harry; you were like a horcrux for the Voldemort of your time, but not exactly a horcrux." Dumbledore answered bluntly, getting to the crux of the matter without pause. "However, that piece of soul is reaching out to the current Voldemort, giving you a one way connection into his mind—he is unconnected to you, and appears to not know about it at all." Dumbledore continued, having spent many a night thinking about the matter privately in order to best understand Harry's dilemma. "You do not serve as a horcrux for him in this time, at least I don't think, but you are a liability to him, a weakness of which he is unaware."
"Voldemort is inside of me?" Harry whispered with wide eyes, shocked at that revelation. When did he make me a horcrux? He questioned to himself, inwardly trying to figure out when Voldemort would have the time to perform the spell. Perhaps when I was in the graveyard…wait, no, he tired to kill me, that doesn't make sense, he continued his thoughts, before Dumbledore's voice brought him out of his stupor.
"A piece, yes, but because I was not there, I cannot explain to you how it happened exactly, I'm sorry. I would imagine that his soul in your time had become so tarnished and unstable that when the Killing Curse rebounded back on him and destroyed his body, a sliver of his soul split apart and attached itself to the closest living thing, you." Dumbledore replied pensively, sorrowful for the fact that he couldn't distinguish how exactly it happened without having more knowledge on the subject than Harry knew about it himself. All he knew about it was what he could find out from Harry himself, and as such, he was forced to put the pieces of the story together while missing much of the background information, leaving large holes that could not be filled unless one was to guess. "By learning and employing occlumency, you're not keeping him out from your mind; instead you're keeping that bit of soul from reaching out to him."
"Wow," said Harry, dumbfounded, not really knowing how to reply. The idea that a sliver of Voldemort's soul, dark and evil as it was, was inside of him made him a bit uneasy, and brought about many thoughts that he could not comprehend.
"There is more," Dumbledore started, not wanting Harry to think that was all the information he had on the matter. "Now that that piece of soul has nowhere to go, it is trying to reach out, but is ever so slowly merging with your own soul. I'm sure you have seen your abilities grow ever since coming into this time. Before it was simply attached to you, like a wart on a toad, but now it is becoming a spot on a dog, a piece of your own soul and part of your very own being. Eventually in time, it will be as much a part of you as your nose is or your green eyes are."
"Merging with my soul?" Harry questioned, jerking his head at Dumbledore's words, taken by surprise by their message. "Does that mean I'm becoming more like Voldemort?"
"Of course not," Dumbledore shook his head, believing it to be an almost laughable suggestion. "You're too pure for that piece of soul to even change you just a little, to corrupt you even just a smidgen, instead the qualities that you have received from that piece of soul will become your own. Unconsciously, you already call upon these powers, but now, they will simply be your own as if you had been born with them."
"So I won't be different?" Harry asked, wanting to be reaffirmed that nothing about him would change, that he wouldn't transform into a different person, one more similar to Voldemort.
"No," Dumbledore replied tenderly, hoping to ease the younger wizard's concerns. "From the moment I saw you, I knew your scar was a mark from a curse, and an evil one at that. It wasn't until we discussed your past more deeply did I understand it fully. You will not be any different than the boy that came through my door a year and a half ago, saying that I was dead and he was from the future, except for the aforementioned abilities that are now thoroughly yours."
"And what abilities are those?" Harry asked tentatively, grimacing at the thought that he was only getting better with magic because of Voldemort—he wanted to know which accomplishments were his own and which were induced by the piece of Voldemort's soul inside of him.
"I believe you have the ability to speak parseltongue, yes?" Dumbledore said with a raised eyebrow, trying to recall whether he had seen a memory of Harry as a child talking to a boa constrictor at what seemed to be a muggle zoo or if he had misinterpreted that memory. "That is now yours forever."
"What about my ease at learning new magic now?" Harry inquired with a raised eyebrow, wondering if that was why he grasped magical concepts much more easily now than he had in his own time. "What about my ease at learning quicker and more easily than I did in the past?"
"Hard work and dedication, each aided perhaps by your natural talent for magic," Dumbledore replied calmly, making sure not to damage Harry's confidence in himself. "You're the very same person that you've always been, because of the choices that you have made. Nothing has changed. Remember, it is our choices that define us, Harry, not our abilities."
Harry gave a small smile at that, having heard a similar speech from Dumbledore after battling the basilisk in his second year. "Okay," Harry eventually said with a sigh, a bit relieved at the information.
"You are a smart boy, Harry," Dumbledore said quietly, having witnessed the boy's wit many times in the confines of his office. Sure, he probably wasn't the most brilliant of scholars, but his responses and reactions to situations were some of the best he had ever seen; Harry had something that not many wizards possessed, something that would protect him well beyond books ever could—common sense. "Have confidence in your own abilities, rather than search for a reason for them. You're humble, and humility is a great magic in its own right, but having confidence in yourself does not betray your innate humility, so long as that confidence does not become arrogance."
Harry nodded and bit his lip, silently thinking about the implications of being a horcrux for someone would be, trying to decipher what exactly would happen if he truly was a horcrux for Voldemort. "Wait," He started slowly as a thought popped into his mind, one that chilled him to the core. "If I were a horcrux, hypothetically, that would mean that I would have to die in order for Voldemort to die, wouldn't it?"
"Not necessarily," Dumbledore replied, sitting straighter in his seat as if he hadn't expected that string of questioning. "There are ways to extract the piece of soul without killing the holder. But to answer your question, if you were to have died, that piece of soul would have died along with you, yes."
"Has that ever happened before now?" Harry asked curiously, not knowing whether it was a common practice or not. "I mean, a human being a horcrux for someone?"
"Not that I am aware," Dumbledore answered with a shake of his head, not recalling a single instance of a human being a dark wizard's horcrux before meeting Harry. "While a sliver of a soul may be enough to control animals, small mammals, it is most likely not enough to completely overpower a human for an extended period of time, which makes having a human be a horcrux a risky proposition since that human has the ability to destroy the piece of soul inside if he or she so chooses. Of course, an exceptionally weak willed person may be susceptible to long term control from the sliver of the soul inside of them, but I have faith in people being able to fight it if they so desire."
Harry furrowed his brows as a thought popped into his mind, spurred on by something that Dumbledore had said. "Do all horcrux creators have the ability of possession, or is that just a skill that Voldemort learned?"
"All of them have it in some form or another, maybe not up to Voldemort's abilities, but they do have it." Dumbledore replied knowingly, fully aware of the fact that possession was one of the benefits that horcruxes bequeathed to the dark wizard that created them as it allowed the broken off piece of soul to flit in and out of the horcrux. "Possession itself is a dangerous situation, as you imbibe that who takes you on with all of the weaknesses that you yourself have."
"That's why Quirrell couldn't touch me," Harry nodded in understanding, putting the facts together. "But you also get the strengths, correct? I mean, for instance, let's say a horcrux came into the possession of an individual, and that piece of soul within the horcrux flitted out and managed to possess that individual, wouldn't they get all of the strengths of that piece of soul? Like, let's say that soul piece had the ability to speak parseltongue…"
"And all of the weaknesses at the time of its creation, yes," Dumbledore added, conveying that point with emphasis. "If you develop a weakness after the horcrux was created, you would be safe, but if that weakness was inherent at the creation, then you would get the weaknesses and the strengths at that time."
They both stayed silent for a few moments, each lost in their own thoughts, with Harry going over everything he had learned that night. Dumbledore rose from his seat and poured himself another glass of the amber liquid, before returning to his seat and sloshing his drink around the glass, a happy aura about him. It was peaceful, Harry noted, which made the next thing he wanted to ask much more difficult than it probably would have been. Harry's gaze stayed firmly on the desk in front of him, but then he looked up and caught Dumbledore's attention, and he gulped down the lump that was appearing in his throat.
"Can I ask you something, sir?" Harry started slowly, hoping not to offend the aged wizard with what he was about to say. "I don't want you to take it out of context or take it the wrong way or anything like that, though."
"I will keep that in mind," Dumbledore nodded, turning his bespectacled vision to the younger boy. "Go on."
"Why are you talking to me, professor?" Harry questioned simply, wanting to know why he was in the man's office every Wednesday night and why Dumbledore had begun seeing him so regularly. "Last year, you basically ignored me, though ignoring isn't the proper word since you didn't do it purposely, but I never saw you. Now, this year, I see you every week? I'm just wondering why. What changed?"
"I didn't ignore you, I wanted to give you time to adjust first," Dumbledore said in a neutral tone, not at all upset by Harry's inquiry. "But I always made sure you were in the best position to succeed in this time, even if I wasn't seen doing it."
"But still, why are you talking to me?" Harry prodded cautiously, attempting to learn why exactly Dumbledore would take time out of his Wednesdays to discuss whatever it was that came up through the natural course of conversation. "And I don't want you to think I don't appreciate it, because I do and I intend on continuing it, but…"
"Because I care about you, Harry, and as one of the only people in the world that know the true you, I knew that I would be someone that you could trust." Dumbledore interrupted, answering more precisely this time. "I felt, and still feel, honored to be part of your life and I want to make sure that you know that."
"I do know that," Harry replied quietly, knowing that Dumbledore would not have given him a family heirloom such as his pocket watch unless he cared deeply for him. The watch that had been given to Harry was the pocket watch that had been given to Dumbledore by his mother, the one that he himself had used everyday before acquiring his father's old watch and using that one instead.
Dumbledore gave a small smile, before taking a sip of his drink, putting the glass back down on his desk and staring back at Harry. "Do you know why I suggested the name Arold all those months ago?" He asked conversationally, wanting to know what Harry thought about the name.
"No," Harry shook his head in the negative, having wondered about the strange name but never questioning it out loud. He had never heard the name used prior to Dumbledore suggesting it, but had seen it mentioned once or twice in various wizarding history books since adopting it as his own.
"It was the name of my grandfather: Arold Dumbledore." Dumbledore sighed with a small grin on his face, remembering his late grandfather fondly. The man had died a few years after Albus had entered Hogwarts, but Dumbledore could still hear his grandfather's voice whenever he closed his eyes, which was surprising, considering it had been almost a century since his grandfather had last drawn breath. "He hated his name so much that he made sure to give my father a name that sounded noble or honorable, hence my father being named Percival." He finished with a laugh, missing his family dearly in that moment. "Apparently Percival sounded normal back in the mid-1800s; or at least more normal than it does today."
Kind of like Tonks, Harry smiled, as a vision Tonks' pink hair jumped into his mind, reminding him of the energetic and fun Auror in the future who refused to be called by her first name, Nymphadora. "Interesting," Harry said, honored that Dumbledore gave him the name of a grandfather. It was a stupid name, he knew, but he still felt honored by it.
"Yes, he was a Ravenclaw just like yourself," Dumbledore informed him, giving him more detail about the Dumbledore family than what many knew, barring of course his family friends like Dedalus Diggle and Bathilda Bagshot. "He was a skilled transfiguration master, perhaps from whom I inherited the talent, but he was incredibly skilled nonetheless—an animagus himself."
"What form did he take?" Harry asked, wondering if it would be a phoenix or something. He had no idea if people could become magical animals by way of an animagus transformation, but he couldn't help but think a phoenix would be quite fitting for a Dumbledore, even if it wasn't the Dumbledore in front of him.
"That of an eagle," Dumbledore replied instantly, as if it was on the tip of his tongue before the question was asked. "Don't ask me what specific type, because my aunt Honoria never told me."
Harry nodded, biting his lip, having never known about an Honoria Dumbledore. Were there more Dumbledore's out there than he knew? "Why did you never become an animagus, sir? I know Professor McGonagall is a tabby cat, but I've always wondered why you, the greatest wizard of the age, hadn't learned the art."
"What makes you think I didn't?" Dumbledore questioned with an eyebrow raised in amusement, contemplating why Harry would think he wasn't an animagus.
"Because you're not registered in this century," Harry replied, furrowing his brows in an effort to recall the names that he had read of the animagi that were registered in the twentieth century. "I checked yesterday, and the name Dumbledore didn't appear—Green, Malkin, Crabbe, McGonagall, Barnaud or Barretts or something, and someone else I can't remember, but no Dumbledore."
"What makes you think every animagus plays by the law and registers?" Dumbledore supplied with a smile, knowing that a good number of animagi in the world's history wanted to avoid punishment through their animagi forms, and therefore did not register like they were supposed to do—or were born before the registry was put in place. "Or even that I didn't register last century?"
"Good points," Harry agreed, knowing it was a private question, though he knew that Dumbledore wasn't an unregistered animagus like his father and Sirius were—he seemed too honorable for that, even if his father and Sirius were honorable themselves. However, he did not think about Dumbledore being registered during the last century, a list that he had not read for himself and could very well show one Albus Dumbledore on it.
"To answer your question, though, it's simply because I wasn't interested in it when I was younger." Dumbeldore shrugged, having not really spent much time thinking about it as a youth. While he did indeed love transfiguration and was fascinated by many of its facets, the animagus transformation was never something he was drawn to, though he never knew why. "And now it seems a bit unnecessary."
"Oh," Harry nodded in understanding, realizing that changing into an animal perhaps wasn't for everyone. After all, some people might not find turning into a smelly, hairy animal as majestic as Harry did, which was probably a normal response. "Why is it so difficult to achieve?"
"For one, because you risk transforming into a full on animal without anyway to change back on your own if you start the process too soon." Dumbledore lectured, having personally informed Professor McGonagall on how to go about the transformation during the younger witch's time at the school. "Additionally, you could do something similar to splinching yourself in apparition if you don't have the resolve or know all of the details in the process; you can transform partially, which brings about a great and terrible pain. You could transfigure your brain into an animal one, limiting your intelligence, as well, which could be incurable. There are a whole slew of things that make it very, very dangerous, but most importantly, you have to be prepared in mind, body, and magic before you can transform—if not, you are in for trouble and should prepare for a long stint in the newly named Janus Thickey ward of St. Mungo's."
"That's why it takes so long?" Harry asked, realizing that people probably took more time preparing themselves for transformation, rather than researching about it.
"Yes," Dumbledore agreed, experienced in the profound side effects that could potentially happen if one was to try the transformation too soon. "The length of time and the amount of hard work that it takes acts as a deterrent, which is why not many even attempt it. After all, it would be quite unfortunate to go through all the work to transform and find yourself as an animal that can't do anything because of its size or lack of natural abilities."
"That would be a downer," Harry laughed, grimacing at the idea of someone wasting their time only to turn into an elephant—while it would be interesting to do such a thing, its size would be extremely problematic.
"I remember when Professor McGonagall came to me during her fifth year asking me about the art," Dumbledore supplied in a fond tone, as if he was wistfully remembering better days. "She wanted to broaden her research in transfiguration and inquired if I could help her. I procured for her a few books that she would have been otherwise unable to read and watched over her as she began her endeavor. It wasn't until a few months after she left Hogwarts that she was able to achieve the transformation for the first time."
Later that night, as the moon was full high in the sky, Harry sat on the window sill next to his bed, the Marauder's Map opened up on his lap. He looked down at the moving dots on the piece of aged parchment, watching as a group of three rushed out of the main doors of the castle and headed towards the Whomping Willow that was planted just outside of the castle in the courtyard. Other dots bustled about the three as they made their way, presumably hidden from view by the magic of the invisibility cloak that James possessed. His eyes moved from the map up to the moon that shone bright with an eerie silver light that illuminated the ground below.
The conversation that he had with the headmaster an hour or so prior, specifically when Dumbledore spoke about his animagus ancestor, put a thought into his mind that he hadn't given time to since first learning about his godfather: exactly what type of dog was Sirius while transformed as an animagus? During the summer between his third and fourth year, he briefly tried to figure that out, but with only seeing Sirius in his dog form after years of bondage inside the halls of Azkaban, he could not make out his godfather's breed. It looked similar to a much larger, black version of a mountain dog, perhaps a Great Pyreenees, but he doubted one could ever get as large as Sirius was in dog form.
As such, that led him to believe that Sirius was a mutt, with no other dog on earth having the exact same traits that Sirius had, as if he had taken a couple of characteristics from a few dogs and combined them into one giant dog that was perfectly suited to fight off a werewolf should the need ever come up. He hoped that he would get a look at Sirius as a dog in his prime, when he was healthy and happy, maybe then he would be able to discern the breed of dog. Additionally, he couldn't help but it funny that, if Sirius was indeed a mutt, it would run against Sirius' purebloodedness, which would further catch the ire of his parents. After all, a pureblooded wizard who disagreed with blood supremacy becoming a mutt while in dog form was poetic justice at its finest.
Shaking his head with a smile, he looked down at the map once more and noticed that the dots had disappeared, presumably going through the passage that led to the Shrieking Shack. He gave one last gaze over the grounds of Hogwarts, wondering what his father and his group of friends would be doing later that night, before clearing the map and jumping off of the windowsill. With a yawn, he fell into his bed and closed the curtains around him, intending on getting a good night's sleep. As his head rested against the pillow, he looked up at the top of his bed, his mind drifting off to the conversation that he had with Sirius about Bellatrix the day before until he fell asleep, his dreams littered with the black haired teenager that had captured his heart, the witch that would have to make a decision about her life soon.
A/N: To the anonymous Spanish reviewer that asked about Rabastan, unfortunately he will not be playing a part in this story. While I enjoyed writing him in Power of the Past, and I do like what I did with him there with his love for Despereaux, to bring a similar storyline for him into this story would be too repetitive, I feel. Similarly to Grindelwald, who will not be in the story either, as of right now and probably forever. That also goes for the older Rosier (Evan's father and Bellatrix's uncle), who will be a Death Eater through and through, unlike in Power of the Past, where he was a spy. I haven't made up my mind yet about Regulus, however.
A/N: Funnily enough, Wednesday, January 5, 1977 was actually a full moon in real life.