AN: So this is the first time I am writing a fanfiction, so bare with me, and I'd appreciate any reviews :) I'm not sure how fast I'm going to write these chapters, as I am on summer break now, hopefully that gives me a chance to post them fairly quick! This story will be following fairly canon-style, starting with the summer after Harry's fifth year, although ofcourse there will be some twists in which I will not mention now, or it will ruin the story! :) enjoy!
Chapter 1: Reminiscing
Three weeks since he had left the Hogwarts Express at King's Cross Station, doomed to spend a summer with his only living relatives: a sad, selfish bunch christened as the "Dursleys".
Three weeks staying to himself in his room, going over the memories of the battle at the Ministry. Of battling alongside Sirius. Of watching him die...
He shook these thoughts out of his head. It wouldn't do himself any good to just wallow in self-pity. Everyone kept telling him that it wasn't his fault, it could've happened to anyone...but they didn't understand. It didn't. It couldn't. Only Harry Potter was graced (or "cursed", as he liked to think of it) with this strange connection to Voldemort, which allowed him to be able to see into his thoughts and feel his emotions, unconsciously. And being the foolish Gryffindor he was, only he would follow an unclear path that almost lead to his death. Sirius had died protecting him. It seemed like a lot of people were doing that for him.
It just wasn't fair. If it wasn't for that damn prophecy, destining him to be either to be murdered or to be a murderer, he would be able to live a relatively normal life...well, as normal a life as The Boy Who Lived could live. But now, when he tried to look into the future, he could only see the war ahead, and no future behind it. He almost felt like he had only lived to fight this war. That he had been raised to destroy the Dark Lord...he shook his head again, as these thoughts were starting to create this clenching, hopeless feeling in his heart, and he could not afford to be too emotional now.
Thanks to the Orders' confrontation with the Dursleys those very 3 weeks ago about their treatment of Harry during the summer, the family pretty much steered clear of him, except to make him do some chores that they could not bear doing themselves. It helped that Harry had pretty much stood clear of them as well, not wanting to bothered, seething in his own thoughts.
And this was the state he was in when there was a knock on the door, a bright summer morning. Harry was brought out of his thoughts, a little startled, as no one usually visited the Dursleys, except for perhaps Mrs. Figgs occasionally, and Harry smiled in spite of himself, wondering how Vernon and Petuinia would react if they knew that Mrs. Figgs was a Squib, associated with the wizard world, and had been watching over Harry for some time now.
But Harry didn't take too much notice, as he lay down on his bed, his thoughts starting to consume him again, when he heard a voice that was unmistakeably familiar, one that he would probably recognize in his sleep.
"Why hello Petunia, and might I say that you look quite wonderful this morning," Dumbledore's voice wafted up to his room, and Harry sat up in surprise. What was Professor Dumbledore doing here? He had been receiving regular owls from Hermoine, Ron, and quite a few of the Order members, but no one had mentioned that Dumbledore was planning to make a visit.
Harry got out of his bed and walked down the stairs to the living room. When he arrived, he found Dumbledore, Vernon, and Petunia sitting, Dumbledore drinking what looked like tea from a pink teacup, and Vernon and Petunia sitting on the sofa across from him, looking rather annoyed and a little frightened, as they always seemed to feel when they were in the vicinity of a wizard. There were two more teacups that were filled with tea sitting on the table between them, steam rising from them, and figured that these were meant to be for Vernon and Petunia.
The Headmaster turned around and saw Harry standing in the hallway just before the room. "Hello Harry," he said kindly. He gestured to the spot beside him, and Harry went over and took a seat, while Dumbledore conjured another cup of tea for Harry. Harry took it in his arm, reveling in the warmth coming from the tea, and took a sip. He had had a small dinner, as the Dursleys never felt it necessary to properly feed the thin boy, and was grateful for something to put in his stomach.
There was a moment of awkward silence as Dumbledore sipped his tea, seeming unfazed by the tension coming from the Dursley parents. He finally put his cup down and gestured to the two.
"I daresay I must apologize for coming unannounced. I'm sure you ALL must have been surprised by my presence at your doorstep this morning, but I have a matter of discussion that would be better spoken in person than through owl." Dumbledore emphasized the "all", as Vernon and Petunia were glaring dangerously at Harry, as though they believed he kept this visit from them on purpose. As it was, Harry had no idea that the Headmaster would be coming by.
"And what exactly would you like to...discuss with us?" Vernon kept his tone level, as even he couldn't deny the authority that Dumbledore's presence seemed to hold. What power did Dumbledore have, that even mere muggles dared to question him, Harry did not know. But at that point, he was quite grateful for it.
"Well, we would just like to inform you that we would like to take Harry into our care for the rest of the summer," Dumbledore stated calmly. Harry was caught by surprise at Dumbledore's blunt response. As he looked towards his aunt and uncle, Vernon looked like he wanted to throw the cup of tea in Dumbledore's face. He had enough sense to just sit seething to himself though.
"You think you have the sense to just come into my house, and demand to take Harry from us, without any explanation?" Vernon roared, standing up, apparently forgetting to stay calm in front of the Headmaster.
Dumbledore raised an eyebrow, but didn't look fazed. "Now, now, Vernon, let us not jump to any hasty conclusions. If you give me 15 minutes of your time, I will gladly explain to you my reasons. It has come to my attention... that you have not been treating Harry with the utmost love and care that a growing boy like him needs." As he spoke, Vernon started to turn red, until he was close to the colour of a ripe tomato, and Petunia stood up and put a hand to his shoulder, in an attempt to calm him down.
"Are you suggesting that we don't take care of our children?" Vernon stepped forward, the table obstructing him from walking right up to Dumbledore and punching him in the face.
"I am quite sure you are capable of taking care of your own offspring, but Harry is hardly your child is he? I am sure you would be the first to admit that." Dumbledore spoke with a level voice of authority, almost daring Vernon to speak back." Therefore, it seems that you have thrown some of Harry's essential needs out the window, for lack of better words, such as adequate food, clothing, and nurturing love."
As Petunia tried to keep Vernon from strangling Dumbledore, Dumbledore turned to Harry and gave him a bright smile.
"Why Harry, I haven't really greeted you properly yet. How has your summer been? Have you heard from Ron and Hermoine?" Harry almost laughed at Dumbledore's very quick change of subject, and managed a small smile.
"Yeah, they've been sending me owls every couple of days. They've been doing pretty well." He decided not to mention that they've been talking only about small conversational stuff, not wanting to mention anything really serious, especially after what had happened at the Ministry.
"That's very good. I believe Hermoine is on vacation right now, isn't she?" Dumbledore asked, studying Harry.
"Yeah, Ron told me she left at the beginning of the week," Harry confirmed, wondering what his aunt and uncle were making of their little side conversation.
As if Vernon had read Harry's thoughts, he spoke up, "Hello, I believe I am still here!" His voice shook the teacups sitting on the table.
"Yes, I believe you are, what gifted eye sight you have, Vernon," Dumbledore raised an eyebrow when he said this, and Harry barely kept himself from laughing out loud.
Vernon turned an odd shade of violet, and Harry wondered if the man was actually gonna suffocate.
"Fine!" Vernon exclaimed. "Take the bloke! He only causes us problems anyways! God forbid we go through one summer without him causing glass to disappear, my sister to be blown up to the size of a helium balloon, and ordering mad demonic monsters on our family!" He paused, seeming to have run out of breath.
"I am greatly sorry that these unfortunate events have happened to your family, and I can assure you that none of them were Harry's purposeful doing. Sometimes, one's magic is uncontrollable when put in...extreme circumstances," Dumbledore stated, looking at Harry, a bright twinkle in his eye that Harry had come to recognize over the past 5 years: one that appeared when he was pleased about something. This time, Harry gave a real smile, though lasting only for a second once he glanced at his uncle's face. His aunt seemed like she had no idea how to respond, frozen with an expression of shock and fear, although from the presence of Dumbledore or her husband's anger, he was not sure.
Dumbledore then stood up, gesturing to Harry to do the same. "Well, I will be writing to you when Harry is safely transported to where he will be staying for the rest of the summer." He smiled. At the Dursleys. "I do hope you have a wonderful summer."
Before any of them could respond, Dumbledore grabbed onto Harry's hand and the Dursley's sitting room had disappeared in a blink.
Where they had apparated, Harry didn't know at first. But when the feeling of being squeezed through a tight, suffocating tube had left him, he looked around. He was standing in a little village, in which he could see a small post office in the corner of the street. He walked around, noting the quaint little houses sitting alongside the street as he walked. He knew this place. It was familiar.
He looked at the Headmaster, who seemed to be gazing around the place with an abandoned look in his eyes, as if it was a long lost memory. Harry didn't want to disturb his thoughts, but he had to ask. "Professor...where are we?"
"We're at Godric's Hollow, Harry. It is the place where my house resides." Dumbledore looked at Harry for a second, and then abruptly started to walk along the narrow pathway, causing Harry to need to run to catch up with him.
"You lived here?" Harry was shocked. Now he knew why he recognized this place. This was his home. He may have only been one year old when he had been taken away from it, but no one ever forgot their first home. And he was greatly surprised to learn that Professor Dumbledore used to live here as well.
"Ah yes. It was the place where I spent the greater of my childhood. A lot of good memories stored in this village...and some not so great." Harry wanted to question this revelation, but eventually decided against it. They walked briskly, a chilly wind biting against them, even though it was the middle of the summer. After 5 minutes, Dumbledore stopped suddenly, Harry bumping into Dumbledore from behind. Dumbledore turned around and gave Harry a sad smile.
"I'm sorry Harry, I should have given you further warning," Dumbledore apologized. There was something in the tone of his voice, as if just being at Godric's Hollow caused him some unspoken pain. It was a tone he had heard once before, when Dumbledore had finally revealed the prophecy that had connected Harry and Voldemort, and destined the two to have to face eachother one day, where one would live... and one would die.
Harry followed Dumbledore as he walked towards a house that was made of gray stone. He examined some carvings that were etched into the stone right beside the door. They seemed to be written in a different language Harry could not identify. Harry stared at it while Dumbledore walked up to the handle of the door and muttered a quiet "Alohamora", and unlocked the door. As they stepped inside, Harry chuckled.
"Couldn't a wizard just walk into any muggles house if they chose to, as they can get past their locks with a simple spell?" Harry mused for no reason in particular.
"I believe they could, Harry. However, those alarms that muggles have ingeniously installed into their homes' anti-break-in systems are rather annoying, as I have heard," Dumbledore smiled at this, as they stepped deeper into the house. It looked like it hadn't been entered in for awhile, and the way the Headmaster was gazing around all of it's details, it probably hadn't been. Dumbledore quietly cast a "Lumos" charm and they both walked through the house, examining the dark corners and turned-over chairs. A broken picture frame lay on the floor, the picture still inside, looking yellow from age. It was a picture of a young girl that had quite a resemblance to Professor Dumbledore, yet her eyes were black cold, hopeless.
"Harry," Dumbledore brought Harry out of his thoughts. "Please do make yourself comfortable upstairs, in the room just to the left of the staircase. Call me if you need anything." Harry nodded towards the Professor, and made his way up the staircase, noticing the absence of light from anywhere in the house. He wanted to cast a Lumos charm, yet feared the restriction against underage wizardry, and settled for grasping onto the railing until he made it upstairs and into the room. Once he did, he groped around until he found a light switch, and flicked it on. He didn't take very much in of the room, which looked the same gray as the rest of the house, as he collapsed on the bed that was there. He had other things on his mind.
He was mad. He was still mad. Though he had taken out a large amount of his anger on Professor Dumbledore's possessions in his office, Harry still felt a pent-up bottle of anger rising through him. He had been kept in the dark for so long, and everything had just been thrust upon him at one moment, as if everyone had just waited until the last possible second, wanting to prolong it as long as possible. Yet if they thought keeping all this from Harry as much as possible would have helped him better to cope, it was having just the opposite affect: Harry felt completely overwhelmed, hopeless, and mournful. He had an urge to take the vase that sat on the night table beside him and throw it out the window, but instead stood up and made his way back down the stairs.
Dumbledore was nowhere to be found in the sitting room, so, following just his Gryffindor instinct, he opened the door and took off to the chilly evening outside.
He just walked. And walked. And walked. Away from the house of the man in which he had trusted most. From the man that he believed to be the best and most powerful sorcerer that ever existed. Away from someone he had considered his mentor, even as much as his protector.
In a small corner of his mind, he realized he was being rash, but a voice in his head said he could be spared a rash moment or two. He felt like he certainly deserved it. The Golden Gryffindor could not always be perfect.
He came across a small, deserted playground, and he went over to one of the swings and sat down, seething. It distinctly reminded him off the time he had run away from the Dursleys, the summer before his third year, after blowing his Aunt Marge up. He had been so angry about her insulting his parents, that he had stormed off and come to sit on the sidewalk right in front of the playground at the end of Privet Drive, where the Knight Bus had finally found him and returned him to safety.
But this time, he didn't think he would be taken to a safe haven. And he had run away from someone who had always given him care and hospitality. Harry bit away the feeling of guilt that had started to lodge itself in him. He did not want to feel guilty. He wanted to feel upset, as if his whole life was unfair. For once, he wanted to feel like spoiled, bratty child, thinking that the whole world was doing an injustice to him.
Although he didn't have much time to dredge up these horrible feelings before his scar erupted in pain.
He slid off the slide, holding his hand up to his forehead, trying to breathe while he saw stars in his eyes. He moaned as the blasted scar seemed to pulse with an overwhelming ache that Harry couldn't bear. In his peripheral vision, he saw a shadow pass by, but he didn't seem to care as he lay down on the floor, trying to control the pain that was taking him over.
He faintly heard rapid footsteps in the background, growing louder as the person came closer to him. He barely had time to register the feeling of pressure on his arm as someone grabbed on to him, and he heard a thick crack as they were apparated away.
Unlike the summer before third year, however, Harry didn't know if he was going somewhere safe this time.