{Chapter 1: Escaping to Closure}

"As I looked out over the small mob of black robed figures surrounding the abomination responsible for everything horrible and dark in my life I realized the sad fact that it was over.

Every life that was lost protecting this generation wizards and witches. All the sacrifices made in the first war. All the blood that was shed, and all the tears that fell only ransomed a measly thirteen-year reprieve.

Now I stood there bound by the magic of the same rat who sold out my parents, while I was forced to listen to the great 'Heir of Slytherin' gloat about the inefficiency of my mother's sacrifice and how it was worthless. With that being the current state I clenched my jaw and gazed with unadulterated hatred at my capturers.

That monster touched my scar and I heard the hiss escape my mouth. I focused on the pain as a way to forget the situation but all it did was unleash a flood of memories. I remembered the cold nights spent in a freezing cupboard, the time Petunia pushed me down the steps, the pain I felt as I burned Quirrel to death with the power of my mother's blood sacrifice, the basilisk fang piercing me and sapping my life out of my body. Its hand left my scar but the memories still flooded my senses. The rush as I stabbed Riddle's diary, I drew some satisfaction from that memory of my tormenter's demise. I felt the memory of Quirrel and Voldemort's shrieks as I burned them within a hairsbreadth of the afterlife. I remember watching from the shadows as Fawkes butchered the eyes of Slytherin's great monstrosity, and I remembered stabbing the basilisk to death shortly after that. I remember the rush as my patrounus annihilated some three hundred dementors. And then I remembered I am alone and I smiled at that.

Voldemort seemed slightly unnerved by my smile but recovered face enough to tell me that no one was coming to save me. I couldn't help it, I laughed. He didn't understand at all. I was glad no one was there to save me. Anyone who showed up then would be killed just like Cedric was.

Voldemort was outraged at my laughter and when I didn't answer his questions he launched a spell at me. I missed the name of it but the color was identical to the Crucio Moody cast on the spider. I felt the spell and the world filled with pain. As the pain leaves me I am reminded of the time Petunia had me try and jump-start the car. Actually that had been worse because the shock from the battery actually fried my hands and melted a patch of my shirt into my skin. I still don't know why Vernon believed that I tried to light myself on fire but I chalk it up to dearest Petunia's wild imagination and creative storytelling.

I was pulled out of that reverie by a high-pitched voice. The curse disoriented me because it took me a moment to remember what was going on before the curse hit me.

Then I remembered, I was alone, surrounded by enemies, bound to a tomb unarmed and injured. The realization wasn't particularly terrifying, looking back on life I realized that, for the most part, I do save myself. Escaping Riddle, Quirrel, Dementors, dragons, merpeople, and Dudley.

"Dudley! "

I almost shouted as I remembered Harry hunting, how when I was 9 I accidentally apparated onto the school roof to escape. I desperately tried to remember how I achieved that feat. I had wanted to get away and I had looked at the school roof and... I was there. I frowned at the simplicity of it. Had it really been that simple? Did I just need to have a destination in mind and be determined enough to be there. I glanced over to look at Wormtail holding my wand about five paces away. I was ripped out of my thoughts as I hear Voldemort shouting a Crutiatous curse at me for my refusing to pay attention. In a split second decision I forced myself to apparate in a crouch in front of Wormtail as I heard the crack as the statue that had held me moments prior shatter from the impact of Voldemort's Crucio. I lunged from the ground and uppercutted Wormtail, who was already startled by my sudden appearance. After the punch connected I snatched my wand from his loosened grip and barreled through the death eaters and dived behind a large monument, just as a series of Green lights flew overhead. Voldemort's shout to seize me sent me into a cold sweat. I bolted to the side with speed I didn't know I had as the stone monolith exploded. I dodged and ran as I yelled every spell I could think of (Including those I only knew the names of) shooting at anything that moved. I didn't recognize most of the spells they used, but the ones I did left me in a perpetual state of terror. I rolled under a bolt of iron and jumped out of my roll to get over a wave of fire. I dodged out of the way of a hex but it exploded instead of continuing past me. The blast threw me into a cross shaped tombstone and knocked the wind out of me. A curse hit the tombstone I was leaning on and it exploded ripping holes through my robes and embedding shrapnel into my now bleeding back. I fell to the ground to avoid a trio of curses that emitted a roar as they passed overhead. I saw a Death Eater move to my left and I fired a cutting charm at him and watch in shock as his the white mask glowed and the spell was canceled on impact. Were I not rolling on the ground as he sent a series of silver razors at me I would have been impressed by what I now assume was a portable ward in the Death Eater masks. As the situation stood, I was trying to avoid being crushed by a freshly summoned Golem currently trying to hit me with earthen fists the size of couches. I cast a sideways glance to see Cedric's body as green lights shot at me from all directions and for the second time in two minutes I apparated, this time to Cedric's side. As I did I remembered a spell from my History of Magic class this year. The spell created by Reagis Visgar to slaughter the entire army of Lord Vicieux.

"Apotéfrosi óla Sárka, FIENDFYRE!"

When I asked Professor Bins about the spell he said it was a dangerous curse that required both emotion and power to summon and that the one using it often becomes consumed with the emotion used to summon it and was often consumed in the spell because they lacked the will to control it. I'd gone to the library that day in hopes that the spell might help against a dragon.

As I uttered the final two-syllables of the death sentence I knew what emotion to use and there was more than enough hate in me to power the spell. I watched the fire explode from my wand tip and I felt my own hate fusing into the monstrous flaming mass in front of me causing it to take form. The flaming Hydra that emerged attacked without hesitation and as I watched it incinerate the graveyard I was compelled to continue adding more memories and feelings until the beast held all my wrath.

It was only after the monster fully took form that I realized that I was loosing control. The spell latched onto me and drained me and pulled forth all of my darker feelings. Fear, Loneliness, and Desperation gripped me in the same way they do when I was surrounded by the dementors. That would probably be why in that moment of desperation I tried the one spell I know that actually protects someone from such a psychological attack. I yelled the incantation,

"Expecto Patronum!"

I didn't use a memory for it. No, I used the same thoughts that drove me to desperately try apparaition. I remembered my parents sacrifice, I remembered that no one would know that Voldemort was back unless I told them, I remembered that everyone I care about will die if they aren't warned, and that I need to tell them, and to tell them I needed to Survive!

Given how 'different' my casting of the spell was I should have expected something other then prongs to blast out of my wand. However, I did not expect silver flames flow out of my wand and encase my body. Right after the flames appeared my Fiendfyre froze in place and dissapated. It was at this point that I realized I should have never even bothered trying to dispel my creation, as the moment I reined in my monster, I heard a high-pitched voice hiss one word into my ear.


Then I collapsed in agony and screamed myself hoarse. When Voldemort ended his fun I was lying on top of Cedric's corpse coughing on my own blood.

As I looked up I saw the glint of the Triwizard Cup about 5 feet away. In a panicked effort to escape I screamed the summoning charm, the cup hurtled towards me. As I reached out to grab the portkey, Voldemort caused it to explode and I felt the metal fragments rip through my skin. Before I could cast another spell Voldemort summoned my wand out of my hand and snapped it. Staring into his eyes I felt fear overflow me like never before and I wished I could escape more than anything in the world. As he leveled his wand at me and began to intone the killing curse I'd wished I could have been anywhere else, even being stuck in my cupboard under the steps at Number 4 private drive. As I saw the green light of the curse race towards me and I closed my eyes waiting for the curse to hit me.

But it never did.

I opened my eyes and realized that it is dark and cramped. I tried to stand and hit my head, before tripping over something on the ground and falling into a wall, which swung out and opens. I fell onto the floor and from my position on the ground I heard an unmistakeable scream. I managed to get out a:

"Hello Aunt Petunia" just as the world went black.

And thats the last thing I remember" Harry finished

Albus Dumbledore was officially having his worst day in at least the past decade. Admittedly he had expected something. But the past four years since Harry's re-entry into the wizarding world had been completely ridiculous:

During Harry's first year, Voldemort possessed Quirrel and came within an arms-length of getting the Philosopher's Stone. Albus still had to suppress the urge to throttle Flamel whenever he saw the legendary Alchemist. Really what kind of man would lie to his colleague, trick him into putting a fake artifact inside a school at the risk of over three hundred childrens' lives? Well it worked, as much as Albus hated to admit it, it worked; and Tricky Nick was still the indisputable deceptive genius of the magical world.

Harry's second year, the Chamber of Secrets was opened again, and he had to spend most of the year hunting for Riddle looking for unknown passages in and out of the school and walking around the corridors with a rooster trying to kill the basilisk. Fawkes had one burning day every 503 years and he had to be on his period during the year he needed him to help find out if the chamber existed or if Riddle was in the school again. Then Cornelius and Lucius showed up and removed him from the school before he could finish searching for the chamber. He then spent the next few months in the back-room of the Hogshead with a time turner brewing Felix Felicis, before downing three times the recommended maximum dosage. Aberforth force fed him three bezoars, and luckily enough he recovered. To this day Albus was amazed at how he could find a loophole in any rule of magic. And so the end of the year concluded with his reinstallation, Harry luckily surviving a bite from a basilisk, no casualties, Hagrid getting a full pardon, Fawkes was reborn as a female pheonix, and if his most recent guess were correct then Tom's horcrux was destroyed.

Third year, Sirius Black escaped. Peter turned out to be a traitor. Fudge proved himself to be thoroughly in Death Eater pocketbooks. And of course no year was complete without losing a Defense Against the Dark Arts Teacher. That wouldn't have been to bad had the teacher in question not been the first one to actually produce O students on the NEWT for the first time in four years.

Finally there was the past nine months of mayhem. Death Eater activity at the World Cup, hosting the Triwizard Tournament, the Wizengmont trying to get restrictive legislation through while the media was occupied, and disappearances of ex-order members and ministry officials. The finishing touch just had to be Tom's resurrection. As if that wasn't enough, Cedric Diggory was dead, and Fudge refused to even hear about the Voldemort's return.

It was about a half hour after Harry and Cedric's disappearance that the wards on Private Drive activated clueing Dumbledore into Harry's location. When he, Mad-Eye, Severus and Shacklebolt had arrived they found Petunia Dursely in the process of locking her injured nephew in a cupboard with the corpse of Cedric Diggory. What followed was chaos. Mad-Eye threw a Necrosis Curse at Albus, who instinctively sidestepped, causing the curse to hit Shacklebolt (who stopped it's effect by slicing off a chunk of his shoulder.) Snape stunned Petunia, and Albus hit Mad-Eye with a wandless banisher which knocked out the latter's fake eye and peg leg.

Following the brief confrontation, Mad-Eye(who proved to be Bartemis Crouch Jr.) and Harry were both interrogated, both under Veritaserum, in front of five Aurors and the Minister. Fudge promptly accused Harry and Bartemis of being insane and had the latter receive the Dementor's kiss.

After having dispatching Order members and Severus to their respective duties, Albus returned to Harry and with the youths' permission preceded to relive Harry's recollection via Legilimency. And now the Grand Mugwump was sitting in his office with a still injured Harry Reclined on a conjured couch while Fawkes healed the remaining injuries of the Boy-Who-Lived.

All things considered the Grand Sorcerer could honestly say he was justified when he reached into his desk pulled out a bottle of Cognac and conjured two glasses. Harry who was stretching his recently healed back looked over questioningly at the Aged man in front of him. In response the old man walked over and handed Harry the glass of liquor before walking over to an open window and letting out a sigh of exhaustion. After a few minutes of silence Albus turned to the raven-haired youth and spoke for the first time since their mental cross-examination began.

"Harry, you no doubt remember when you asked me in your first year why your parents where targeted by Voldemort"

Harry nodded mutely

"Well in truth there was no logical reason for Voldemort's attack that night; however, there is an extremely depressing explanation" Albus turned and stared very sternly into Harry's eyes "I will have to ask that you not interrupt me until I have finished, this is a painful story for me in more ways than you could imagine."

After Harry's nod of affirmation, Albus turned to the window and let out another long shuttering sigh before continuing

"I wasn't planning on telling you this until you were older; but, tonight's events have shown me that I was foolish to think you could ever have a happy childhood. I will start at the beginning, fifteen years ago when the war with Voldemort was still escalating. I was interviewing teachers for the open positions in an upstairs room at the Hogshead. I had almost finished with the interviews when I was interviewing Ms. Trelawney. I admit that the only reason I had even considered offering her the position because of her distant relative Cassandra Trelawney's notable skill. As our interview drew to a close, I was about to conclude that she was a fraud and end the interview there; however, fate had other plans. As the interview was ending Ms. Trelawney went into a trance and began to reveal a prophecy. As the prophecy started my brother Aberforth found Severus Snape eavesdropping outside the door threw the snooping young man out of the pub. Sadly, Severus had already heard a part of the prophecy and ran to his master. The segment of the prophecy that Severus told Tom was '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...' Now the full prophecy continued to state '...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...' When Tom heard the prophecy he deduced that there were only two children that fit the description. The first candidate was yourself and the second was your friend Neville Longbottom. When Severus found out that Voldemort intended to kill you and your family he rushed to me and begged me to protect your family offering anything in return for their safety. And that is when your parents went into hiding at Godric's Hollow, Severus became my spy, and the rest, as the muggles say is history. What the History books don't tell is that after that, on that fateful Hallows Eve, as your Father valiantly stalled Voldemort, your mother prepared an ancient blood magic ritual that, through the willing unnecessary sacrifice of her own life, she used to bind a shield into your very blood. When Voldemort's Avada Kadavra and your blood shield reacted and your skin split causing your uniquely marked face, as the wards on the house cascaded destroying everything but you. Following that, I placed you at your aunt's residence and tied the blood shield (which would have dissipated in a week had I not bound it to something more stable then your small and fragile body) to the blood of your aunt and by extension to all who lived at Number 4 Private Drive. The ward held because of love, not the love of your aunt, but the love of your mother. Your mother never truly could stop loving her family, before she went into hiding she tried desperately to get your aunt to flee the country or at least accept an emergency portkey. So I doubled the wards target and caused your mother's protection to feed off of your aunt's love for her son and husband and strengthen the protections on the house and on you. The ward is still strong because it must have nullified the anti-apparition ward around your house in order to let you apparate into that cupboard. That is the end of my story, a story about how in my foolishness, about how in my stupidity I left you alone with people who hated your mother, and about how I failed to protect you from Riddle by allowing a piece of prophecy to fall into that his hands."

Dumbledore turned around to face Harry looking like a truly beaten man. his shoulder's slumped, his face ruddy and glistening tears framed his dulled blue bloodshot eyes.

"There isn't a day that goes by that I don't feel regret for how I dealt with the whole prophecy debacle. I was blind, and the only thing left for me to tell you is that I am sorry"

Harry was in shock, there were no words to describe how torn he felt. One thought was to just nod dumbly, or to go to sleep and hope to never wake up, another much more appealing idea was to get up and smash everything in the office. However, before Harry acted on any action Fawkes let out a long sad trill, startling both the room's human occupants. Harry looked at Fawkes who had flown over to Dumbledore and was trying to cheer her chosen companion. The more Harry thought about it the clearer it became. Dumbledore had been trying to do right by Harry, granted the aged sorcerer had made some grievous mistakes. If what Albus said was true then he had made the mistakes with the best of intentions, and all the slights had been accidental.

"Prove it" Harry's voice came out colder than he had meant it to "Swear on your life and your magic that everything you just said was the truth"

Albus pulled out his wand and intoned "I, Albus Percival Wulfric Brian Dumbledore, swear on my life and my magic that everything I have told Harry James Potter this night is the blatant, unabashed, uninhibited, and unaltered truth"

After a brief flash of golden light, Harry gave the old man a small half smile.

"I guess I would be the biggest hypocrite on Earth if I didn't forgive you, who didn't mean to hurt me, after I already forgave Ron, who consciously meant to hurt me with his words and actions."

For the first time that night the twinkle returned to Dumbledore's eyes.

"Even if I forgive you I still have a question"

"Ask away Harry"

"Why did Professor Snape care about my family if he hated my dad, and how do you know you can trust him" Dumbledore smiled

"As sharp as ever Harry, well I would like to tell you that he had a change of heart but I think we both know better. No, I am afraid that the truth is actually a far more dissatisfying answer. You see, when Severus came to me on that night all those years ago I swore an unbreakable oath to never reveal his reasons for his betraying Voldemort. But, if it is any consolation Harry I can tell you that I made him swear an unbreakable oath of loyalty to me, so that he cannot willfully betray me no matter the circumstance. But, he might tell you his reasons Harry, if you ask him when you do not resemble your father"

Harry was about to try and push Dumbedore for more information after receiving that cryptic hint but decided against it.

"Now Harry, I know you've had a rough night but I have a small favor to ask you"

"Certainly sir, what do you need"

"Well, I would be most grateful if you didn't tell anyone that you and I were drinking in my office, Cornelius is in a state as it is and the last thing we need is for me to be accused of getting my students drunk in my office."