Harry looked at the book in disbelief. Here was a way to escape both the war and Dumbledore in one go.
The only problem was that it required help from his uncle, who wasn't happy with him at the moment. He had arrived after Dudley last night, and had managed to break in around eleven.
Uncle Vernon had been waiting for him. With a bloody shotgun.
That was by far scarier than facing Voldemort and Death Eaters. Mainly because while it would take the Dark tosser a good ten minutes for him to finally get around to killing him, Vernon wouldn't take that long to shoot him.
Still, considering the fact that he could con his uncle into helping him, he would never step foot on his doorstep again.
Which made the odds of success pretty damn good.
Harry tentatively walked up to his uncle.
"Uncle Vernon? I need your help with something."
"If this is another thing you need for that freaky school you can forget it."
Harry mentally snorted.
"Hardly. What I need your help with has absolutely nothing to do with my school."
Now Vernon was interested. Harry handed him the form which he had printed out.
"I just need you to help lie about my age and sign this paperwork. Then I'll get out of the house and never come back willingly."
Apparently Vernon heard that last bit.
"Willingly? You mean those other freaks would drag you back if I don't allow this?"
"Dumbledore is the only person who even wants me to stay here. I would have stayed in the damn castle over the summer vacation if given half the chance."
Vernon seemed to take five minutes to think about this.
On one hand, if he went through with this, his freakish nephew would be out of the house a full three weeks early. But...if the other freaks caught wind they would drag him back. And then bother his family even more.
"You have a deal."
Two days later Harry convinced his uncle to take him to London for the day.
Harry had a Slytherin green shirt and black jeans on. He had a ball cap with the Slytherin symbol embroidered in silver. It was the perfect disguise. Everyone knew Harry didn't get along with Slytherins, so the last thing they would expect would be to see him wearing their colors and animal. It even had the words 'Slytherins RULE' under the snake.
His first stop was Gringotts.
"How may we help you today?" asked Griphook.
"Hello Griphook. I was hoping you could help me with something."
Griphook's eyes narrowed considerably. How did this human recognize him on sight? Then the kid lifted the cap and he saw the scar. He held back a gasp. The boy-who-lived recognized him?
"How may I help you today Master Potter?"
"Can we discuss this away from any prying ears?"
Griphook lead him away into his private office.
"Master Griphook, I wish to lock down my vault until I can return safely into the magical community. I plan on heading into the Royal Air Force for a while until that time."
"What of your other vaults?"
"Wait...I have more than one?"
Griphook's eyes narrowed even further.
"Your magical guardian should have alerted you to your thirteen vaults. The Gryffindor, Peverell, Pendragon and Potter vaults. As well as your trust which is what you have the key to. Nine of your vaults are sealed until you reach of age. Four you may access now if you wish."
"The only key I have goes to my trust."
Griphook waved his hand, and thirteen keys appeared.
"All keys have been retrieved and changed. Shall we look into the other vaults?"
Griphook honestly liked the Potter heir. Most goblins who helped him to his trust usually did, and it was simple why. Harry Potter treated them like equals every time he met with their kin. Even at the Quidditch World Cup, when the goblins ran into him he gave them a nod of equals.
A rarity in the magical communities.
Harry went into the other four vaults, and found things he could use. He took out a large sack which had an infinite storage. He put his school trunk into it. He also took out at least ten books, and a diary belonging to his mother. The last thing he took out was over a thousand galleons from his trust.
"There is someone who wishes to speak with you Lord Potter."
"The one in charge of acquisitions. Sharphook."
"Lead the way Master Griphook."
Sharphook turned out to be Griphook's father. He could see the family resemblance.
"Master Potter. I have been eager to meet you for some time."
"I was usually accompanied by an adult, so it was unwise for me to meet you in person, Master Sharphook. What is it you wish to see me about?"
"For some time the amount of acquisitions has become stagnant. I wish to correct this, if possible."
"What do you need?"
"Your signature and approval to pursue new venues."
"How about this. I give Sharphook full authority to pursue new venues and purchases that pertain to the accounts under my name. Will that cover it?"
Sharphook was amazed. Full control of all four accounts? This would probably be the last time he would be given such trust by a human.
"I hope I meet your expectations, Lord Potter."
"I wouldn't have the first clue about acquiring new stocks and companies. I may as well assign someone I know to be competent and trustworthy to do the job right. And right now I trust the goblin clans more than any wizard."
When Harry left the bank, he had been given a new magical signature since the goblins discovered several spells holding his power in check. They released them free of charge, which surprised him. He would have paid them whatever they asked to get rid of spells he never put on himself.
Next up was a major shopping spree. He hit the bookstore, apothecary, and pet store for owl food. He planned to drop off the map for a few years if he could. Then he spotted a certain alley which held a bad memory for him. Knockturn. Last time he went there he had to have Hagrid save him.
But they would have books that the Ministry didn't have. Would it be worth the risk of being seen?
After that disaster in Little Hangleton, bloody hell yes.
So Harry ducked into the alley, and practiced his pickpocketing skills. He was a little rusty. He hadn't really needed to use them since the coppers caught him when he was ten, right before he started Hogwarts. Guess he should be thankful that Dumbeldore needed him at his aunts house, because his Juvie record had been wiped clean the last time he went in. Harry even knew why it was always wiped clean.
Cops tend to notice bruises and his back used to be full of them. Every time he went in for pickpocketing he ran the risk of being sent to a home. Which was what he was trying to get.
It seemed his skills weren't that rusty after all. He managed to get over three hundred galleons and the idiots weren't even aware of it until it was too late. And it seemed that since he was clearly up to something illegal, the denizens of the alley left him alone. Too bad Dumbledore didn't know his precious boy-who-lived was more Slytherin than Gryffindor. Harry smirked.
Borgin and Burkes.
He ducked in, and found what he was looking for. A set of knives, spelled to curse whoever got cut with them with extreme bad luck. And a series of very old books long since put on the restricted or banned list. Harry picked up the lot, and went to the counter.
"Five hundred galleons, fifty sickles."
He handed them over without a word, and left. He had to duck into a side shop when he saw Remus, trying to recruit for Dumbledore.
Remus stopped, and sniffed tentatively. He must be imagining things. Harry was still at his relative's house. Why would he be in a Dark alley? He walked past a boy with Slytherin colors and didn't think twice. Once he got a stronger hint of the scent, and knew it had to be Harry, he turned.
The boy was gone! He felt something in his back pocket. Pulling it out revealed it to be a large bag of galleons along with the note 'Buy some better robes Uncle Moony'.
The next day Harry took the form to the post, and got a reply back. It included the address and directions to the nearest base.
Vernon waited until Harry packed, and then dropped boy and owl at the site.
"You James Black?"
"Follow me. Your owl will have to join the others."
"Go on, Hedwig."
Hedwig hooted and followed the nearest owl to a new perch. There were about ten others there already.
"How old are you really James?"
"I turn fifteen in a week."
"So you'll be taking your OWLs this year?"
"Which house are you in?"
Remembering the idiots which he had to deal with when he was a lion, he went for the first option the hat wanted to put him in.
"I was a Gryffindor, but the hat wanted to put me in Slytherin first."
"Honest, I like that. Alright, you have two choices. You can join Godric's Gryffins or Salazar's Snakes."
"What's the difference between them?"
"The Gryffins fly the BAE Hawk, the Snakes fly Grob G 109."
"Which goes faster?"
"Let me put it this way then. What broom type do you fly?"
"I used to have a Nimbus, but it was destroyed by the Whomping Willow. Now I fly a Firebolt."
"Gryffins it is. Depending on whether you pass the test in two months, you may find yourself joining the Royal Air Corps."
"Listen up recruits! This is your first test into the Corps, so pay attention! Since you lot are rank newbies when it comes to flying planes, we'll have you go up with a senior pilot. This is to test your ability to handle the speed, inertia, and whether any of you are afraid of heights. The list goes up alphabetically!"
He got up and followed them. He was already outfitted with chute, helmet and a barf bag. He had been drilled in the safety instructions when it came to the chutes. Blue first, then if that failed red.
He really, really hoped he wouldn't have to use it.
Once they reached cruising altitude, the pilot gained an evil smirk. Harry recognized it immediately.
This guy was going to pull a few tricks to see if he could get Harry to flinch or worse. Harry grinned. Good luck with that! He had flown with the twins!
Fifteen loop-d-loops, spins, dives and sudden drops each later...
While he hadn't cried for his mother, barfed, passed out or screamed in pure terror, he had lost any sense of direction he had for a while. He would have to sit down on solid ground for a few minutes to regain his balance. The pilot was very disappointed.
Somehow Harry couldn't care less about that. The jerk tried his best to get him to break! If the Dark Tosser and the Death Muncher couldn't scare him, what the hell made this guy this his crappy flying skills would?
He said as much over the intercom built in the helmet when they were close to the ground. Once he regained his balance enough to walk without falling, he went to a seat. And saw the guy grinning wildly at him.
Why did that grin inspire more fear than the twins when they were in pranking mode?
The pilot talked to the instructor quietly while the plane was refueled. He pointed to Harry. The instructor nodded, and once the other ten had been tested (five were sent away, since they couldn't cut it apparently) he went to Harry. Somehow he knew something was up.
"Looks like you impressed Leon. And he is a difficult man to impress Black. Try to pass basic training, and you may find yourself in the Gryffins."
He stared at him.
"Who is Leon?"
"Leon happens to be in charge of the Gryffins. He always volunteers to fly potentials up in exchange for more time off base. So consider yourself warned."
Harry had cussed him out after the tenth spin. And he had used his most creative arsenal of words on the guy. Just his luck the man happened to be in charge of the same division he hoped to get into.
One of the recruits finally asked something that had been bothering Harry as well.
"Why aren't there any girls trying out?"
The man turned to them all, eyes serious.
"The female applicants are sent to the other base. They are going into a separate division entirely. Unlike Hogwarts we don't let hormonal teenagers run loose. You are here to learn how to fly first, and pick up girls second. The Helga Badgers and Rowena Ravens are not interested in anything other than joining their divisions. The last thing they need is a bunch of horny boys compromising their chances."
"Do we still take our OWLs while we're in training?" asked Harry.
The man looked at him, and smirked.
"Those who still wish to pursue a life in Britain's magical community can do so. If you pass the basic training you can choose which classes to take and we will make sure you pass your Ordinary Wizarding Levels on time. This brings me to another topic most people ask. Brooms are to be handed over and not to be touched until we start flight training. We keep a guard over all brooms, and we label each one so no one else uses yours without permission from you first."
"Why do we have to hand them over?"
"We train in a separate location for the planes. If you were to fly around here, even at night, the corps would be shut down and you would be thrown out without question. Once you pass your first month you are allowed to fly at night. This is to allow you a chance to acquaint yourselves with flight conditions without wasting our fuel."
Harry raised his hand.
"Won't conditions for broom flight and plane flight be completely different?"
"Yes and no. While you won't have to worry about gauges and birds on a broom, you would also have a harder time flying at night in a plane. Once you are comfortable with flying at night, we will let you take up a helicopter so you can get used to flying in one. If you want to try your hand at night on your assigned plane, you must get the approval of your senior pilot and a qualified pilot to go up with you."
"So basically you want us to get used to a limited field of vision while we are on something that doesn't go up too high and is easier to catch us from," summarized Harry.
"Precisely. If you still have your wand when you pass, then we teach you the charm to call an instructor who can catch you just in case. Also, we have a full Quidditch field in the second location, and we do allow people to play the game on your days off."
"Boys versus girls?" guess Harry.
"Pretty much. Any of you decent Seekers? Our current one can't catch it unless the bloody thing is right in front of him."
Harry raised his hand again.
"Try to survive training. We can't take another defeat at the hands of Helga's Badgers."
Normally he would wonder if the Knight Bus was responsible for his sore body. But once he fully woke up around 4:45 every morning, he would remember the reason why he was tired as hell. He was the only person who ever woke up before the morning call each day.
He was also the only person in the barracks who always got a hot shower every morning. Something his bunk mates cursed him out for, because they had a limited amount of hot water. It always made him laugh, and he usually answered them by flinging a spoonful of scrambled eggs at the first person to start the cursing that morning.
Once they had their morning coffee though, the swearing dropped down to a minimum. He considered himself very lucky that they took their wands away before they even started training. Otherwise he would have been on the receiving end of more than one hex or jinx for stealing the shower every morning.
Next week they would be taken to the second location, where they would show them how to shoot and fly. They had spent the past three weeks learning to be soldiers, and given at least four different styles of hand to hand combat.
Harry was now proficient in jujitsu, boxing, taijutsu, and kendo. The basics anyway. It seemed he picked up hand to hand faster than most, since the instructors had him using some of the more advanced techniques last week.
On the plus side, he was now stronger than he ever was and able to disarm an opponent within seconds. On the down side...he was sore as hell each morning from stretching, blocking and taking hits from his fellow would be pilots.
This was the reason he set his internal alarm clock to 4:30 in the morning. It used to be on 5:50 when he lived in the Dursley house. It had taken some getting used to, but the hot shower more than made up for lost sleep.
The one thing he wondered about is the fact that not one of his so called friends had even bothered to owl him about where he was. They even forgot his birthday, which was unusual because he doubted his godfather would suddenly forget it.
"Listen up! Today is your first mail call! Come to the Owl Posts for your mail, if you have any!" yelled Leon.
Harry got up and went to the Posts. He usually went there every other day to see Hedwig. They were the only people who knew what his real name was. They headed into the back and brought out a large sack of letters.
"We go over each letter, and removed fifty port keys which had been hidden. We also got rid of quite a few howlers from Molly Weasly."
Harry winced in sympathy.
"Thanks. I hate port keys with a passion."
Harry found over twenty letters from Hermione, and twelve from Ron. The first half was full of non-information...but the rest seemed to be geared at demanding to know where he was. They accused him of not being a friend or not caring about them.
He found five from the twins. These were in the range of knowing how he was, and hoping he was doing okay, wherever the hell he was. They let him know about getting their license, and how their business was doing. Inside the last one was a flier and a way to order directly from them if he wanted.
Then he found the ten from Sirius. The first two was full of no info like Ron and Hermione. Then he asked Harry what he was doing in Knockturn. The one after that seemed to tell Harry that Sirius had copped to the fact that Harry was James' son, and stubborn as a mule. He wished Harry good luck at whatever he was doing, and only asked that his godson at least let him know he was alright and not in too much trouble.
The next letter was his Hogwarts. He ripped this one in half promptly. And was a bit incredulous at the one from the Ministry saying he performed the Patronus in front of his muggle cousin. This one he saved to take to the instructor to explain to the idiots in the Ministry that he had been in training at the time, in full view of fifty people.
The last letter was from Dumbledore. It was full of reproachful words, and it was clearly an attempt at guilting him into returning to Hogwarts.
Not bloody likely.
Once he put away his letters, he went back to the Owl Posts and asked for an owl. His was too noticeable, for obvious reasons. He paid the ten galleons and sent a letter to Sirius and the twins using Hedwig. The other went to Dumbledore telling him not to contact him again. That owl was instructed not to return for a week.
"Congratulations. You passed the initial training for the corps. You will now be sent to either the Snakes or the Gryffins depending on your test scores."
"James Black, Alex O'Connell, Andrew Smith, Eric Randolph. You four are now Gryffins. Samuel Weber, Terrance Nicks, Harry Finnegan, you are now Snakes. Good luck gentlemen!"
Leon came in, and said "All Gryffins are to follow me. Try to survive the next month boys!"
It took them four hours to reach the next place. Harry gaped, in complete disbelief. He recognized that forest immediately.
"Our second location is on the other side of the Forbidden Forest?"
The others stopped and looked at him. How did he know where it was?
Leon turned to him.
"How in the name of Merlin did you figure that out? No one has ever known where we train before."
Harry glared at him.
"Clearly no one who has ever gone into that damn forest has ever been on the other side of it. I've been in and out of that forest at least once every year!"
"The Gryffins train on the land which was left by Godric Gryffindor to Hogwarts. It's still within the wards, so the Ministry can't find us. And it allows us to give magic lessons without setting off the sensors every damn day."
Harry nodded. That made good sense. Being this close to the school, the sensors would be hard put to tell who was casting. And it was already out of the way, so muggles would be unlikely to find them. It made tactical sense.
"Another thing. If you can survive the next month of lessons, you are allowed to visit the village. Just avoid the students if you can. The last thing we need is for that old goat who runs the castle to find our location."
Harry could see his point. Then he realized something.
"What if we could coordinate so that running into a student would go down? Have our days off during a weekend which didn't coincide with Hogsmeade visits?"
Leon turned to him, interested.
"You have a way into the castle? A way which wouldn't alert the old man?"
His answering smirk sent shivers down the spines of the other trainees.
"I have a map and contacts in the castle."
"See me later if you survive training. Find your bunks and get to dinner!"
Harry loved the feeling of flying on his broom. Even if it was during the night. Unlike the others, he took every chance he could get up in the air to get used to limited vision. Even on new moons. Leon was so impressed with his Map that he helped him contact the twins so they could coordinate their visits to the village. They even supplied the password to the tower so Harry could get in and out easier.
Even if this was made harder by the fact that Ron and Hermione had made Prefect. They knew to watch the One-Eyed witch passage. And the Willow.
Still, Harry managed to get in and out of the school with relative ease using a disillusionment charm and the map. He went into the tower and gave the twins a book that had a spell which linked it to another book in Leon's office.
He also left a present for Ron in his bed. The minute he opened that box left by Harry with his name written by him, he would find himself with over a hundred paper spiders crawling all over him.
The twins promised to take pictures of the results.
Harry didn't know whether to be excited or worried about his first Hogsmeade visit since he went into the Gryffins. He was excited because it meant that he could pick up a few things he had ordered with Hedwig which were being held for him at the owl post under his assumed name.
He was worried that someone would recognize him and tell Dumbledore or the others. Oh well, if he was recognized he could always spend his days off reading.
He flew his broom to the cave Sirius had hid during that disastrous tournament. The others took point, and they stashed the brooms in the cave. Once they reached the village they stocked up on everything while they took their day off.
Harry hit Zonko's and Honeydukes the hardest. He topped it off with a butterbeer at the Three Broomsticks. His scar was well hidden under his Slytherin cap, and he was wearing their colors. So if anyone looked at him they would assume he was a random Slytherin who happened to have sneaked out of the castle. Everyone knew Snape wouldn't bust his snakes for something that minor.
It was his best disguise yet.
He noticed a few people he recognized, like Moody and Remus nearby. Thinking about how he could get them without letting them know who he was, he grinned.
He had Madam Rosemerta send Moody a fire whiskey charmed blue and green. Remus got a butterbeer jinxed to turn him Hufflepuff colors. Moody was suspicious as ever, but Remus took a drink without checking his. He didn't know someone had just paid his drink for him.
The first moment he knew something was wrong was when Moody's spinning eye stopped directly on him. Then he went to the loo and yelped in surprise. A minute later he asked the barkeep who had tampered with his drink, and found it was someone who had gone by the name of Prongslet.
Harry had been long gone the moment Remus went to the loo. He was the first to the cave and he waited five minutes for the others to join him. It was almost time to head back anyway.
Once they were there, Leon inspected each of them. Whatever he was looking for wasn't there, since he let them in.
"I got a report that someone got Alastor Moody and Remus Lupin with hexed drinks. Anyone want to claim responsibility for that one?"
Harry didn't bother faking innocence. He hadn't hexed the drinks, but he did order them hexed by the staff. Madam Rosemerta wasn't too happy about Moody being so suspicious of her cooking apparently. And Remus...well it was a rather harmless prank, so they went along with it. The fact that Harry had paid them five galleons for each drink didn't hurt either.
Leon was a tad annoyed, but he let it slide. Moody hadn't found the one responsible, and none of the trainees had come back with any spells on them.
"No more pranking Ex-Aurors who know what they are doing, alright?"
"Training tomorrow morning!"
Harry went to eat dinner and found himself with Leon on his other side. Somehow he knew this wasn't going to end well.
"I have a feeling it was you who got Moody and the werewolf. Am I mistaken?"
"I don't know what you're talking about."
Leon gave him a look. Harry could not pull off the innocent look to save his life. So he went for confused instead.
"James, you were the first back to the brooms, and you happen to have contacts in the school. Did you really think you could hide who you were...Harry Potter?"
"I knew who you were. I recognized you immediately. You look just like your father with your mother's eyes. I didn't say anything because I wanted to see how far you could go as a normal pilot. But if you continue pulling stunts like the one with Moody I will have to tell the General."
The General was the one who lead all four Corps, and to be sent to him usually meant serious trouble. No one knew what his real name was, or what Corp he originally went into, but everyone agreed he was a hard-ass with no time for pranks.
"Are you going to tell him I came under a fake name?"
"No. You only lied about your age and name to get in. I read the Prophet, so I know that the Ministry would try anything to hang you out to dry. Like that stunt with the under-aged magic use. They dropped the case when I went to explain to Madam Bones, but if they are willing to break their precious Statute of Secrecy to get rid of you, then you must be in big trouble."
Leon sat back, and looked at him in the eye.
"Besides...you were the only recruit who has ever cursed me out for my little trick with the maneuvers. And you are the only person in this lot who didn't break after the third trick. Which would make you the best flier of the lot."
Harry let go of the lump in his throat. Leon wasn't going to send him away or get rid of him.
"Now...what code name do you want on the side of the plane we're assigning you?"
"My dad's old nickname. Sirius and Remus always call me Prongslet, so I might as well live up to the name."
"Okay, Prongs it is. Now what classes do you plan to take?"
"Arithimancy, Ancient Runes, Care of Magical Creatures and advanced Defense."
"Which ones were you taking in the school?"
"Divination and Care of Magical Creatures."
"So we need to catch you up on two years of classes."
"I'll make the calls."
The next two months was spent between magic lessons for Harry, Eric and Alex, and learning the ins and outs of an F-22 fighter plane. Harry had the least experience with planes, as the entire choice to sign up had been made at short notice.
Yet he was a quick learner, always asking the mechanics about parts and how they reacted to others. Because he bothered to ask, he could fly within a month of starting planes.
The only problem he seemed to have with them was actually hitting something when he used the guns. Even in the simulator he had trouble hitting things. He kept wasting bullets for some reason.
While he was the best pilot of the lot, he was the worst at shooting. He could hit things while on the ground just fine, but shooting midair was difficult. He had absolutely no clue why.
The fact that he was a crappy shot in the air actually endeared him to the other pilots. Since he couldn't shoot worth a damn, they put him in a Black Hawk helicopter instead. He wouldn't be shooting down other pilots, but he would certainly out-fly them.
Then came the infamous Poker incident. Leon and the commanders of the other Corps challenged the rookies to a game of poker. This group included Harry of course. Most of the rookies dropped out within five rounds. Harry was the only rookie left after fifteen. Now the other rookies stayed around to see how long he would last.
Harry ended up beating the Corps leaders and left them owing him a sum of a thousand pounds each. They were cursing out him and Leon for bringing in the rookies. Said rookies were either laughing their asses off at the sight or gaping at Harry outright.
Harry however kept up his innocent look even when the game was finally over.
Ever since this incident the commanders have been rather embarrassed when someone brought the game up. Something the rookies took full advantage of. Harry had become the man to beat at the game, and had run up a winning sum of five thousand the last time it was played.
He mostly used the games to buy favors with the other pilots in exchange for forgiving the dept. It worked out, usually.
Christmas. They were being given two weeks leave to go home for the holidays. Halloween had been spent pranking the commanders with tips from both the twins and Harry. The Halloween feast everyone had spent as one corp, sharing a meal and jokes with each other. Harry compared it to the Hogwarts celebrations and realized he preferred this way. The corps inspired a camaraderie that the castle was missing.
For one thing, the tests and homework they were given was far more interesting and usually didn't involve a load of studying beforehand. And they never bothered the other corps in between classes.
It was impossible to hold an inter-corp grudge simply because of some conception of a certain type of plane. Like the Slytherins and the Gryffindors. Or the Ravenclaws and the Hufflepuffs. Both houses usually had an unfriendly rivalry going on that really got to a broiling point over Quidditch.
But here it was impossible to bother the other side. They trained in a location separate from each other. And the girls trained on the other side of the boys. The only time they even saw someone from another division was during the visits to the village or holidays on base. And they didn't bother to have passwords, since if they accidentally discovered another base they were allowed to visit during days off. They hid nothing from each other...though boys were restricted from going to the girls base and vice versa.
Harry had no clue where he would go. Usually he spent this holiday in the castle, but he was avoiding the old goat so that wasn't an option this time.
Hedwig landed on his shoulder with a note.
Harry, why don't you spend Christmas with me? The address is Number twelve Grimmauld Place, and the floo is active. Just use the powder to say Grimmauld Place and you'll get there. Oh, and watch out for the twins. From Padfoot.
Harry was relieved. He would love to spend his leave with Sirius. He told Leon his plans, and got a port key for the return trip. Just in case Dumbledore found him and erased his memory, they had it password protected. Inside was an engraving with the words 'Say the nicknames of the Marauders out loud.'
The password was Prongs.
Harry took the floo, and landed on top of a certain werewolf when he came out. Sirius was laughing his head off at the sight of Remus being knocked out by a fifteen year old.
Add to the fact that the same fifteen year old got behind Moody and knocked him out cold with a well placed hit, and he was on the floor trying to breathe.
"Harry, where did you learn that?" asked Remus in shock. (He had long since forgiven the incident at Hogsmeade, though he wondered how he pulled it off.)
"I left the Dursleys for the Royal Air Corps. I'm currently the top rookie in the Gryffin division."
Remus stared. Everyone had heard of the Royal Air Corps mage division. It was the only part of the British military which had four separate divisions and the newest weaponry. Once something had been field tested and proved, the Royal Air Corps were upgraded no matter the cost.
Rumor amongst the creatures held back by the ministry claimed they had a secret training facility for new members.
Apparently that particular rumor was true, since Harry had been missing for months. Not even secret port keys worked. Dumbledore was furious over the whole thing.
Then Harry shows up for Christmas like nothing happened. Even though Remus knew he had been in Knockturn and Hogsmeade when it wasn't a scheduled weekend.
"Harry why were you in Knockturn?"
"I was shopping and reacquiring some old skills Remus. Nothing to worry about."
"What old skills?" asked Sirius.
"Why don't you ask Remus? He must have gotten an inkling after I left those galleons in his pocket to buy some decent robes."
Remus thought back to that day. The only thing that stuck out was the fact that he had caught Harry's scent on a boy about his age. The boy had bumped...
"You bumped into me. That was you, wasn't it?"
"What better way to hide the boy-who-lived than by donning Slytherin colors? You never even suspected me until you caught my scent. And even then you didn't realize I had just passed you on the street."
Sirius stared at him.
Harry smirked, and then did his favorite trick of all. He walked past Sirius, not even stopping.
"Check your pockets Sirius."
Sirius did just that, and his look of confusion grew to surprise...his wand was missing.
"Looking for this?"
Harry held up a wand, exactly thirteen inches long.
"How...?" said Sirius, dumbstruck.
"You're looking at a master pickpocket. The only reason you didn't know about it is because Dumbledore wiped my juvie record clean each time I let myself get caught. You can blame the old goat for crappy child placement."
A week later Harry woke up to a nightmare of Arthur Weasly being attacked. He told Sirius and the man was saved from a nasty snake bite. Over the next week he had to deal with glares from Ron and Hermione. But mostly Ron for the paper spiders trick.
Both of his former friends demanded to know where he had been all summer. (Which is probably why he stole their wands.)
Harry on the other hand enjoyed his leave, and prepared to go back once it was time.
Which is when Dumbledore and Snape made their appearance. Harry knew the old goat would try to find out his location through his mind, so he projected thoughts of his first month of training.
It worked. Snape left with the location of the Corps initial site, and they prepared to drag him back once he left via Port key.
Harry crash landed on top of Leon. Unfortunately for him, the cameras caught the entire thing on tape. (Said tape was distributed throughout the bases and replayed over and over for weeks after.)
For the next few months, Harry studied and flew almost every day. When the OWLs started, he went through each question methodically and wrote down the best answer he could. For each practical he took his time and got it done right. He even earned a few more points on his Advanced Defense for summoning a corporeal Patronus when asked.
It was after his final OWL that he had the vision. And it worried him greatly, since the last one he had came true. So he told Leon.
Leon signed off on the night flight and came with Harry. Since they were heading to London he had Harry practice using the stealth function on the helicopter, and some more advanced maneuvers.
It calmed him down and taught him something new to practice. They reached the Ministry an hour after he had the vision, and Leon gave him the code to enter the building.
It was completely empty, and they made their way to the Department of Mysteries.
Leon used to work for the ministry a long time ago, before he joined the corps. He was a former member of that department, but he grew sick of the games Fudge played and the fact that muggleborn students rarely got higher than a secretary. So he left.
Fortunately they hadn't changed anything since he left.
Leon lead them into the hall of prophecies, which is where Harry had seen Sirius being tortured.
He wasn't there. The hall was devoid of life, and no one else was in the place. The whole thing reeked of a setup.
Then the Death Eaters began appearing, and everything went to hell. For the Death Eaters that is.
On his right wrist was a charm bracelet with different things on it. One was a parachute, ready to put on at a moment's notice. One was a helmet, with intercom. One was a series of knives. But the one Harry pulled out was a gun. The same one he was assigned once he passed his marksmen test.
He dropped to a crouch, and said clearly, "Leave now or I shoot."
Lucius Malfoy was unafraid of the muggle weapon. He prepared to fire a warning curse at the brat instead.
"Don't say I didn't warn you."
Bellatrix Lestrange fell to the ground, dead. MacNair was next, followed by Nott, Avery and Rudolphos Lestrange.
Malfoy ducked, and went to hex Harry. Harry rolled to the side, then came up with his knife and pinned it against the man's carotid artery.
"You move and this blade goes into your neck, and you bleed out in less then two minutes. Now tell the others to leave, or I will cut your artery. Am I clear?"'
Lucius hissed as the blade cut into his neck, and said "Fine, Potter."
Harry grabbed the odd orb which the DE's were after and they apparated back to the helicopter. They were back at the base before breakfast.
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