Helena Potter and the Half-Blood Prince
My name is Helena Potter, and I'm a witch.
For ten years, I didn't know about this, but when I turned eleven, I received my Hogwarts letter and learned the truth about my past. I was the Girl Who Lived as Lord Voldemort seemed to vanished after trying and failing to kill me when I barely a year old. I learned that my so-called relatives had known and tried to force the magic out of me and they failed miserably. I went to Hogwarts the following term, and felt at home for the first time. I gained three great friends, Ron Weasley, Hermione Granger and Cedric Diggory, and some of the teachers became my friend as well. At the end of the year, I faced Lord Voldemort again and barely escaped with my life and Cedric's and all four of us were rewarded as we were heroes.
During my second year at Hogwarts, I learnt more about my past and powers and about Lord Voldemort while rescuing my best friend, Cedric Diggory from some form of Lord Voldemort's sixteen-year-old self after he was possessed by Voldemort. Cedric took a while before he ever forgave himself for what had happened. However, I cheered him up by promising to tell the Dursleys he was my personal bodyguard with permission to use magic if they tried anything on me.
During my third year, I was nearly killed by Dementors until Remus Lupin, a friend of my parents, helped me become strong enough to defeat them. Sirius Black, my secret godfather had also broken out of Azkaban. He'd been wrongfully imprisoned for a murder he didn't commit and a betrayal done by another, Peter Pettigrew. I hadn't known about this until my friends and I had discovered the truth. Pettigrew had escaped and Sirius had had to run, but he always said he was safe in his letters and assured me he was happy with the fact that I knew he was innocent and cared about him. Still, when I worried about Sirius made me hold Snuffles, the stuffed dog he'd given me, closer at night so I'd feel better and not afraid.
During my fourth year, everything changed again, this time for the worst. I was forced to compete in the Triwizard Tournament alongside two rival schools and Cedric, who I secretly loved. I nearly got killed several times and then during the Third Task, Cedric and I were taken and Voldemort had returned. Cedric had been forced to watch me be tortured and then fight and nearly be killed by Lord Voldemort. Ever since then, I was more on guard as I didn't know when or where I might be attacked.
During my fifth year, the Ministry refused to believe mine and Cedric's word and forced an evil cow of a woman, Dolores Umbridge, to teach us, become High Inquisitor and headmistress, and she even used a Blood Quill on me during detention. Life at Hogwarts was practically a sheer misery until we students started up our secret Defense group called Dumbledore's Army. When the year ended after a battle at the Ministry, Fudge had been forced to accept the truth, Sirius was freed, I finally learned why Voldemort had wanted me dead in the first place and that one of us would kill the other in the end, Cedric took a job as part of Hogwarts security team, and the Wizarding and Muggle World were now on their guard.
While the Dursleys had been on edge as per usual this summer because not only were they scared of Cedric my "bodyguard" who had threatened Uncle Vernon, but they were even more terrified of my godfather who was a former wrongfully convicted murderer. They were somewhat more polite as they feared what would happen if they mistreated me and then Cedric or Sirius came after them. It was quite amusing, actually. They didn't know that Cedric was also my boyfriend since we'd confessed our feelings last December and I intended to keep it that way.
This summer, I was only staying with the Dursleys three weeks and then I was going to be picked up by Professor Dumbledore. I had yet to warn the Dursleys about this figuring they'd flip out no matter what. When the day came, my stuff was all packed, I was in the kitchen reading a magazine when there was a knock on the door.
"Girl, get that!" Uncle Vernon barked.
I sighed and opened the door. "Hello, Professor."
"Good-evening, Helena," he said, smiling. "May I come in?"
"You may. One warning, though. I didn't tell them you were coming. I thought they'd flip out either way or they'd try and stop you, sorry."
"Quite alright. But I need to speak with them and you for a moment and then we'll be off," said Professor Dumbledore.
"Potter, who's at the—you!" Aunt Petunia stopped short when she saw who was here and she looked furious. "What the blazes are you doing here? You've got some nerve showing your face after you dumped her on my doorstep!"
"Petunia, I'm here for two reasons. One, because I'm taking Helena away for the summer. And two, because there is a matter of which I must speak to all of you about concerning next year when Helena turns seventeen," said Professor Dumbledore, calmly. "If you could be so kind as to take me to your living room?"
Aunt Petunia looked as if she wanted to refuse, but didn't as she took him into the living room where we sat down.
"Vernon, Dudders, we have a guest," said Aunt Petunia, stiffly. "This is Dumbledore, one of Potter's lot."
Dudley looked frightened, having been at the wrong end of magic twice in the last five years when Hagrid gave him a pig's tail and he'd been attacked by Dementors, and cowered in his seat. Uncle Vernon looked furious and turned purple as he stood up and pointed a finger at Professor Dumbledore.
"We haven't done anything to you, so why are you calling your dogs on us?" he growled at me. "Why's he here?"
"Because he needs to talk to you and he's taking me away from this place for the summer," I said, glaring at him. "Now, unless you want to provoke a fight with the greatest wizard in the world, I suggest you sit down!"
Uncle Vernon fell silent, but looked furious.
"You are aware, I trust of Lord Voldemort's return?" asked Professor Dumbledore.
"Potter's mentioned it this summer once," said Aunt Petunia, stiffly. "Even though she knew she's forbidden to speak of her abnormality."
"I had to tell you so you'd be on guard in case he or his followers come here looking for me," I said. "Regardless of our cold relationship, I'm not heartless and nor do I want to see you dead."
"Very wise of you, Helena. Now, to get right to the point," said Professor Dumbledore. "When I left Helena in your care, it was because of Lily Potter's protection. Because she sacrificed herself for Helena, her sacrifice meant Helena would be safe from Voldemort if she was with a blood relative. I told you this in the letter fifteen years ago."
"That was why I was left here?" I said, shocked. I glared at the Dursleys. "You knew and for fifteen years, you couldn't find a spare minute to tell me?"
"Helena, do not blame them. I instructed them not to until you were ready," said Professor Dumbledore, gently. "However, it was also in that letter that I asked you to care for and love Helena as your own daughter, and yet you disobeyed me. You treated her with cruelty and prejudice because of what she was. However, I am glad she did not endure the mistreatment you placed upon your son there and made her like him."
"We have not mistreated Dudders!" said Uncle Vernon, indignantly.
"Next summer, Helena will be of age," said Professor Dumbledore, ignoring Uncle Vernon.
"No, she won't be," said Aunt Petunia. "She's a month younger than Dudley and he doesn't turn eighteen until the year after next."
"In my world, we're of age when we turn seventeen," I explained.
"Precisely," said Professor Dumbledore. "Now, when Helena's seventeen next year, the protection will break and she will leave here forever. Next summer will be her last one here. We'll also arrange for you to be placed in protective custody until such a time as Lord Voldemort's dead if you so desire."
"What if we refuse?" asked Uncle Vernon.
"Then you'll end up dead and your son just might be an orphan just like me!" I said, my patience wearing thin. "Is that what you want? Do you want Dudley to be killed because you were being too pigheaded and prejudiced to protect him?" It was a low blow, but it was a necessary one.
Uncle Vernon and Aunt Petunia turned pale and shook their heads.
"Alright," said Aunt Petunia. "We'll do it."
"Good," said Professor Dumbledore. "You'll receive a message by Muggle post when everything's all settled. Helena and I shall be leaving now. I'll just have her things sent away to the Burrow." He waved his wand and my belongings vanished.
We went outside and then he held out his arm. "Take my arm, Helena. We're going to Apparate."
"Sir, I can't—I don't have my license," I protested.
"Side-Along Apparation is allowed. Come."
I took his arm and then we Apparated.
It was awful. It was like going on the most intense rollercoaster in a split second. I felt dizzy and sick to my stomach when we'd landed. "How can people stand doing that?" I asked. "If that's what Apparation's like, I think I'll stick with brooms."
Professor Dumbledore nodded understandingly.
"So, why are we here and who're we looking for?" I asked, noticing we weren't at the Burrow, but rather at another's house.
"We're here because I'm trying to persuade a man by the name of Horace Slughorn to take a post at the school. He's gone into hiding ever since the Third Task and finding him has been far from easy. This will be my last attempt to persuade him. This shouldn't take very long."
When we walked up to the door, I noticed it was broken. Inside, the house was in shambles with furniture, glass, and décor all smashed to bits, and there was blood on the walls. It looked as if we'd been too late, but I had a nagging feeling we weren't.
"Something wrong, Helena?" asked Professor Dumbledore.
"Yeah, there is," I said, frowning. "Something's not right here. It looks like Slughorn's been attacked or taken by the Death Eaters, but if he had been, then wouldn't the Dark Mark have been over the house?"
"Precisely so. Good work," said Professor Dumbledore. "I believe Slughorn's right here as a matter of fact." He took out his wand and poked the armchair.
The chair then unfolded itself to reveal a fat man with a walrus mustache who looked quite displeased. "Did you really have to poke so hard, Albus?"
"Sorry, Horace," he said.
"How did you know I was still here?"
"As dear Helena pointed out, the Dark Mark would've been over your house."
"That was it, eh? Knew I forgot something, but I only had three minutes warning." He frowned. "Wait a moment, Helena who?" His eyes fell onto me and he somehow managed to look both cross and pleased at the same time. "Helena? Helena Potter? Is this how you intend to persuade me, Albus? Well, it won't work!"
"Excuse me, but I'm not a bargaining chip!" I said, angrily. "Nor am I here to persuade you to take a job at the school!"
"Quite right," said Professor Dumbledore.
"I still won't do it! Don't think I don't know what's happened to your other teachers over the past five years! Professor Quirrell died and had You-Know-Who on the back of his head! Professor Lockhart's still in St. Mungo's for Memory Re-modification! Professor Lupin was a werewolf and was forced to resign! Professor Moody was impersonated and locked in his own trunk for nine months! And Professor Umbridge was kidnapped by your centaur herd and locked up! So heaven alone knows what'll happen if I set foot in that school of yours!"
"The first four were accidents and Umbridge was taken after she called our centaurs 'filthy half-breeds,' and used an illegal Blood Quill on one of our students," said Professor Dumbledore.
"That's what she did, did she?" said Slughorn. "She always was an idiotic and barbaric woman. Never liked her."
"Join the club. Look at what she did to me," I said, holding up my hand and revealing the faded yet still visible scars from the Blood Quill, which made Slughorn's eyes darken with anger.
"Well, Horace, I don't suppose you'd mind some assistance cleaning up?"
"Gladly," said Slughorn.
The two waved their wands around the room and it began cleaning and mending itself with amazing speed.
"So, what kind of blood was that on the walls, out of curiosity?" asked Professor Dumbledore.
"On the walls? Dragon," said Slughorn, as they switched the lights on. "I'll be sad to leave this place. I rarely stay in one place for more than a week and keep hidden."
"Seems a bit extreme for someone wanting a quiet life," I commented.
"True enough," he admitted. "But it's better than the alternative."
"Horace, would you mind if I used the restroom before we leave?" asked Professor Dumbledore.
"Go right ahead," said Slughorn.
Once Slughorn and I were alone, he turned to me. "Forgive me for my rudeness before. It is very nice to meet you, Helena."
He smiled at me. "You've probably heard this a thousand times, but you look so much like your parents. You've got James's nose and hair color, but Lily's eyes and her smile. James and Lily were some of my favorite students when I was teaching so long ago."
"You taught my parents?" I asked, surprised.
"I did indeed. Come here." He pulled me aside to a table filled with dozens of pictures of students, but there was one that looked the best with the most polished frame and stood in front of the others. It was one of my parents and the Marauders when they were seventeen and standing beside Slughorn. "This was taken during one of my parties that year. James Potter, Lily Evans, Sirius Black, and Remus Lupin were some of my best students. I think I favored your mother more than the others, though. She was a Muggle-born, but she was astounding at Potions. I wished she'd been in my House."
"One of my best friends is Muggle-born and she's the best in our year," I said, softly. "And if I may ask, what House was yours?"
"I was Head of Slytherin House. But don't you go holding that against me."
"I won't." He seemed too nice to be anything like one of the Slytherins I despised. "So, who're the others?" I asked, pointing to the other photographs.
"That's Gwenog Jones, Captain of the Holyhead Harpies; she gives me free tickets when I want them!" He went on with the students. They were all well-connected, or powerful, or highly talented, and often came to him for advice or gave him sweets. He looked a bit sad when he said, "Of course, since I've gone into hiding, I've been out of touch with everyone for a while now."
"I'm sorry," I said, not knowing what else to say.
"Quite alright. So, I've heard all about you. All that business as the Girl Who Live and your school years and now you're 'The Chosen One!' Quite exciting. Ah, now here's one I'd almost forgotten." He picked up a photograph of Sirius and his brother. "Sirius and Regulas Black. They were amazing. It's a pity they were so split apart though. Hated each other, Sirius was a Gryffindor and Regulas was a Slytherin. Say, do you know of Sirius Black?"
"If you mean the fact that he's my godfather and wrongly convicted once, then yes, I know. Friends of mine and I helped him escape in my third year. We were the only ones besides Professor Dumbledore who believed he was innocent," I admitted.
"Aha, so that's why he got out. I always did wonder. So, what're your plans for your career later on?"
"Hopefully, I'll get to become an Auror."
"Well, if anyone can do it, it's you."
"Thank you, sir."
Just then, Professor Dumbledore came in. "Sorry I was so long, Horace. I got caught up reading the Muggle knitting patterns. Well, Helena, I feel we've trespassed on Horace's valuable time long enough. I know a lost cause when I see one."
Slughorn looked as if he'd been insulted. "A lost cause?"
"Indeed," said Professor Dumbledore. "Come along, Helena."
We'd barely set foot out of the house when Slughorn yelled, "Oh, alright, Albus, I'll do it! I must be mad, but I'll do it. Satisfied?"
I bit back a laugh. Reverse psychology, it worked every time.
Professor Dumbledore smiled. "Thank you, Horace. Helena, take my arm."
I did and then we Apparated just outside the Burrow and he pulled me aside. "Helena, this year, things are going to be very different."
"I know, sir. Security measures and whatnot? I got the Ministry flyer explaining about that along with the Inferi."
"Good. Now, have you thought of the prophecy at all?"
"Quite a bit. I know the final battle's not far off. Sooner or later, one of us will kill the other and the war will be over."
"Are you scared?"
"I am scared, but not as much as I used to be," I admitted.
"I know," said Professor Dumbledore, gently. "But without fear, there cannot be courage. You've come so far from the little girl who first arrived at Hogwarts. I'm very proud of you, Helena."
"Have you told anyone about the prophecy?"
"Just Ron, Hermione, Cedric and Sirius. They won't tell anyone else."
"Good. Now, you'll be pleased to know that you won't need Occulumency anymore."
"Good. Sir, if I may ask, how is Professor Snape? He never responded to my letter." Two weeks ago, I'd sent him apology letter for my reaction after our last dismal lesson and thanked him for getting the Order to the Ministry when I'd tried to save Sirius, but he'd yet to reply.
"Professor Snape's fine. A tad concerned about you, but otherwise he's fine," said Professor Dumbledore. "Now, I trust Horace showed you his photographs?"
"When Horace was teaching, he often favored students who were well-connected, powerful or highly talented. He 'collected' them more or less. Helena, I must ask you to let yourself be collected as it will play a vital part in our lessons this year. Now, what say we get you inside?"
I nodded. We walked up to the house and knocked on the door.
"Who is it?" said Mrs. Weasley, on the other side of the door.
"It's Albus Dumbledore bringing Helena Potter," said Professor Dumbledore.
The door swung open to reveal Mrs. Weasley looking both concerned and relieved. "Oh, Albus, you gave me a fright. You said not to expect you until morning!" said Mrs. Weasley. "I am so glad you're both safe."
"I'll leave you now, Helena, and I'll see you when term begins in September," said Professor Dumbledore.
I nodded and waved good-bye as he Apparated and I was led inside. Mrs. Weasley instantly began fussing over me as she sat me down at the table.
"You're so thin. If I've said it once, I've said it a thousand times; the Muggles don't feed you well enough! Hungry, dear?"
"Yeah, I'm starving."
"Some of my cooking will fill her up," said a flowery voice. Fleur, my friend from the Triwizard Tournament appeared from the kitchen with a bowl of tomato soup, a sandwich, and a butterbeer. "Helena!"
"Fleur?" I said, stunned yet pleased. "Holy cow, it's great to see you! What brings you to the Burrow?"
"I have been visiting with my fiancé," she said.
"Oh, pardon moi, I have forgotten that you do not know yet. I've been so busy, I forgot to write," She smiled. "Bill and I are getting married next summer!"
"Fleur, that's so wonderful!" I said, as I got up and hugged her. "Congratulations to you both. I'm so happy for you."
"Merci, Helena," she said, smiling.
I wasn't that surprised by the fact that Bill and Fleur were getting married. They'd taken a liking to each other when they'd met at the Third Task and it'd only been a matter of time after Bill had started giving Fleur private English lessons.
"Will you be one of my bridesmaids?" she asked.
"Sure, I'd love to."
Mrs. Weasley looked displeased as if she didn't want Fleur for a daughter-in-law. But who was she to choose her son's wife? Her displeasure vanished after a moment and she smiled. "I don't know if Ron's told you, but Arthur's been promoted to the Head of the Office for the Detection and Confiscation of Counterfeit Defensive Spells and Protective Objects. And Fred and George's shop is doing splendidly! I didn't approve at first, but they've got a real flair for business."
"That's fantastic!" I said, smiling. "So, where's everyone else?"
"They're all upstairs, asleep," said Fleur. "But Fred and George are living in their flat above their shop now. Cedric tried to wait up for you, but he was so tired that he fell asleep on the couch. That boy of yours is so stubborn and devoted to you, so sweet."
I nodded as I finished up my food and failed to stifle a yawn. I checked my watch. It was nearly two o'clock in the morning. Where had the time gone?
"It's time you were in bed, Helena," said Mrs. Weasley. "You can see everyone else in the morning. Come along. Fred and George's old room's been prepared for you."
I just nodded, too tired to argue and then went up to bed. I changed into my pajamas and fell asleep as soon as my head hit the pillow.