Harry jumped up and reached for his wand.
The wand flew out of Harry's pocked and into Lucius' hand.
"I think this will be a lot easier if you just cooperate," he said looking at Harry. "There is nothing you can do to stop us, now let's go."
Snape waved his wand and Hermione was floating in the air. Then they heard footsteps coming down the hall. Harry looked up to see Lupin, Cho and Su walking towards them.
"Lupin!" He called. "Cho, Su! Stay back!" They didn't seem to pay any attention to him though, and kept walking.
"It's about time you arrived, we were going to leave without you," Lucius said.
Harry just stood there in a daze, what was going on? He didn't want to believe Snape would betray Dumbledore but he could, he could not believe, however, that Lupin would.
"Professor Lupin, Remus, please answer me! Why are you doing this?"
Lupin looked at him for a moment and seemed almost confused for a moment, much the same way Hermione had, then he shook it off, as if Harry hadn't said anything at all.
"You will be quiet now or I will make you be quiet!" Lucius screamed at him. He gave Harry a very hard shove then and they all began walking. There were two large cloaked figures with them that Harry hadn't noticed before, shapeshifters. They left the castle and towards the Whomping Willow. One of the shapeshifters became a cat, and pushed the knob on the tree that would allow them to enter the passage underneath it.
Harry gave one last look at the school, before stepping down into the darkness.
They walked for over an hour and Harry was quickly losing hope. Many of the people he trusted seemed to be against him, but he didn't know why. He was walking at the front of the group, Lucius and Snape right behind him. Snape still had Hermione floating along beside him, and at the very back were the two shapeshifters. He was glad that Hermione hadn't let him wake up Ron or he'd be stuck in this mess as well, or worse. He knew that she must have been put under a spell, but he didn't know what one. The Imperius Curse could make you do things you didn't want to, but no one was close enough to Hermione to be using it until they were almost at Snape's office.
Thinking of Snape sent a sudden surge of anger through Harry. He should've listened to Ron and Hermione from the start, but he had been so sure he could trust him.
"Why did you do it, why did you betray Dumbledore?" he said before he could stop himself, glaring at Snape.
"Be quiet, boy!" Lucius snapped at him.
Harry continued to stare at Snape, but he wouldn't return the look. Snape kept his eyes in front of him and kept walking.
"What did you do to get all of them to come?" he said to Lucius while nodding at his friends.
"I didn't do anything," Lucius snapped at him.
"Well then who did? They aren't working for Voldemort like him," he said throwing a look at Snape.
"I think you better turn around and close your mouth now. I will not answer any of your questions so you can stop asking."
Harry glared at him, but turned around. He couldn't figure out how to help his friends if he didn't know what was wrong. He didn't even know exactly what he had done to break Hermione of whatever spell she had been under, besides talk to her.
Hermione started to stir all of a sudden and Harry spun around to look at her. Snape brought her back down to the ground and she looked for a moment as if she were very confused. Then she began to walk with the rest of them. He wanted to talk to her and opened his mouth to say something, but a glance at Lucius told him it was not a good idea. He closed his mouth and faced forward again. They were almost at the end of the passage now.
When they finally stepped through into the Shrieking Shack, Harry saw four more shapeshifters and several death eaters waiting for them. Lucius went to them and started whispering quietly then turned and looked at Harry.
"We will wait here until our master comes. He will be very pleased to see you," he said with a wicked smile. Harry felt someone grab him roughly from behind, and they steered him away from everyone. They shoved him hard into a tiny room and slammed the door behind him. Harry heard a lock click, then, he turned to look at his surroundings.
He was in a dark room with no windows, no furniture and no lights. The only way out was the way he just came in and even if he could pick the lock he didn't have any way to get past everyone on the other side of the door. He paced the room, he felt if he didn't do something the terror in his gut was going to consume him and he needed to think. Finally the exhaustion he was feeling at having little sleep and then the long walk through the passage overcame him and he leaned up against the wall and slid down to the floor.
He hoped his friends were okay and wondered why they were here at all and what spell they were under. Then something occurred to him.
"The shapeshifters!" he said aloud. "They're the ones controlling Hermione and the others!"
Hermione, Lupin, Cho and Su were all used by the shapeshifters to trick him at one point or another and for some reason that allowed them to have control of his friends now. Harry couldn't believe he didn't figure this out sooner, but it was the only explanation. Even Lucius admitted he did nothing when Harry asked him about his friends' behavior.
"That's why they've been returning the students alive," he said to himself.
The relief he felt at knowing his friends had not betrayed him was short-lived however. He still had no way to help them and he was very outnumbered. He got up then because he needed to walk again, but stopped when he heard a noise. Someone was at the door.
The door swung open and Lucius Malfoy strode in. He grabbed Harry's arm and dragged him out into the room where everyone else was waiting. Harry didn't see the reason he was brought out there so he asked.
"What's going on?"
"Quiet!" Malfoy spat at him. He turned back to the shapeshifter in front of him.
"What should we do with them?" the shapeshifter asked pointing to Harry's friends.
"Release them, for now. They shouldn't have enough energy to even stay awake after this amount of time. And you can't be using your powers to hold them under the shield."
Harry watched as the shapeshifter nodded and turned to the others. After a moment his friends all seemed to be coming out of a trance of some sort, but before they could even realize where they were, they slumped to the floor, unconscious.
"Now put up the shield," Lucius told them. The shapeshifters all got very close to one another, and began whispering something Harry couldn't understand.
"Someone's coming, aren't they?" Harry asked looking up at Lucius.
"Yes they are, but they'll be no help to you," Lucius said to him as Snape came up beside him. Harry could see the air changing; it was as if everything around him was under intense heat, though he couldn't feel it. He knew it must be the shield taking its form.
"You better do it now, before it's too late," Lucius said grinning at Snape and nodding towards the shield.
Harry looked back and forth between them and watched as Snape pulled out his wand and pointed it at Harry. He saw the shield flicker for a moment and in the next instant he was tied up on the floor.
"You're a coward," he said fiercely glaring at Snape, who bent down and shoved a gag in Harry's mouth. Snape stared at him, straight into his eyes, for just a second and then stood up and waited with the others.
The wait wasn't long, after only a few minutes, Sirius walked into the room.
Harry struggled against his bindings; he knew if he could make any real noise, he could get Sirius to at least realize he was there. But the feeble noises he was able to make were drowned out by the wind whipping against the house. Sirius was holding his wand out in front of him with the tip lit, searching all about the room slowly.
Harry looked around wildly for something to move, maybe kick over, anything, to get Sirius' attention. The only thing near him was a huge trunk on his right side. He tried pushing it by leaning into it with his shoulder, but he couldn't get it to budge. He decided to try moving backwards and using his legs. He was able to shimmy over away from the trunk and then swung his legs around so it was directly in front of him. He lifted up his legs and began to push. The trunk moved a bit, but didn't make much noise. Harry gave up and decided to just kick it, he leaned back raised his legs in the air, but felt someone grab him by the arms and pull him away. He was shoved against the wall and looked up to see Snape.
"Do you want them to catch him?" he whispered fiercely at Harry.
Harry just glared at him until what he said began to sink in. What had he been doing? If Sirius had found out then he would just be in this mess right along with him. He'd never be able to defeat a room full of shapeshifters and death eaters on his own. Harry stared after Snape feeling confused, and noticed that Lucius was looking at him the same way, but he turned his attention back to Sirius, and Harry did the same.
Sirius was now coming around to face the shield, he didn't appear to notice anything different even though he was staring at all of them. He kept his wand out in front of him and still kept moving it very slowly. When it was pointed directly at Harry, the tip of the wand, which was white, turned a very bright red. Sirius stayed there in that position, staring straight in front of him. Harry saw him look directly into his eyes, even though he knew Sirius couldn't possibly see him.
After a few more seconds, Sirius lowered his wand, turned and headed back towards the passage, never bothering to search the rest of the room.
Harry watched Sirius go and surprisingly felt relieved. He hadn't been thinking about what would happen if he had managed to get his attention and almost got Sirius trapped as well. Why had Snape told him? Did he really care if Sirius was caught or not? It was all very confusing and Harry had no idea who to trust. He watched as the shield slowly faded around them.
"Something happened with his wand, did you see it Severus?" Lucius asked Snape.
"I noticed it, though I'm not sure what it was," he answered.
"Well I feel that we are not safe staying here much longer. As soon as our master arrives we must be quick and get everyone out of here. We can't chance that muggle-loving fool Dumbledore showing up and ruining everything. And we can't use the shield during the ceremony."
"No we can't, can we…" Snape said absent-mindedly. He started to walk over towards Harry.
"Leave him. I want him where we can see him. I don't know what Black did at the end there that caused his wand to change, but I do know it was pointed at him," Lucius said looking at Harry. "If we put him out of our site and then he somehow gets free our master will be most displeased, now let's get back to work."
Snape looked as if he was going to argue, but nodded instead and followed Lucius over to a table on the opposite side of the room. Harry could barely see what they were doing, but it looked like there were ingredients for some sort of potion spread out all over the table. He was afraid to think about what the potion would be used for. He looked over at his friends, who were still unconscious and wished he hadn't gotten them into this mess, then leaned back against the wall and waited, not having the slightest idea how to escape.
Soon everyone in the house began to move about quickly, almost nervously. Lucius and Snape scrambled to finish what they were doing then turned and looked at the door.
"He's here," Lucius breathed.
Harry turned too and watched as the door slowly opened, and as it did his scar exploded in agony. He doubled over and pushed his head into his knees trying to do anything to soothe the pain. When he looked up again, he saw a dark figure standing in the doorway, with its fiery red eyes staring straight back at Harry.
Lord Voldemort had arrived.
"Harry Potter. We finally meet again," said a cold raspy voice. Voldemort was standing over Harry looking down at him. He raised his wand and Harry was floating upright in front of him. "We shall not be dueling this time, boy. I don't have time for games right now. You have something that I need and I will take it from you tonight."
Harry could barely keep eye contact with him, his eyes were blurring badly from the pain and he had to fight to keep his head up. Then he felt himself fall as Voldemort released his hold on him. He hit the floor hard and just lay there, not wanting to move.
"Is everything ready?"
"Yes my lord," Lucius answered, "everything is prepared, but we dare not do it here. I fear Dumbledore knows that we're here and he'll disrupt our plans."
"How would he know?" Voldemort asked, turning to Snape.
"Sirius Black came here tonight looking for Mr. Potter and his friends, no doubt. His wand was lit so he could see better but when he pointed it at him," he said nodding towards Harry, "it turned red. Then he left without searching anything else." Voldemort was silent for a moment as if considering this.
"I hadn't planned on having the ceremony here anyway so this changes nothing. Pack up everything at once, we will leave immediately."
They both nodded at him and began hastily putting everything on the table into sacks. Voldemort turned to look around the room, he glanced at Harry and then his eyes came to rest on Harry's friends.
"Your friends will come in quite useful this evening," he said mockingly. "They will die of course, but because of them I will live on. This potion we're doing, it requires sacrifices you see. I couldn't very well go killing off my loyal servants so I thought why not use them."
Harry stared at him, pleading. He knew his friends were being used to get him here but he never knew they would be needed for Voldemort's change. He was desperately trying to free himself now, to do anything, rather than just sit by and let this happen. Voldemort just watched him and laughed.
"Master, we are ready," Lucius said from behind him.
He leaned down towards Harry and put his finger on his scar. Harry felt the pain in his head increase tremendously and screamed through the gag in his mouth. He fought to stay conscious as long as possible but couldn't hold on. He felt himself fading out and slipped into darkness.
When he woke up some time later his head ached quite badly and it took him a few minutes to remember everything that had happened. He looked around wildly and saw death eaters moving about, but none of them were near him. They were in the same graveyard as last year, for the rebirth ceremony. Harry saw that he wasn't tied up anymore, and jumped up from the ground. His first thought was to just run, but then he remembered his friends and looked around for them.
"Looking for your friends?"
Harry spun around to see Snape behind him. He wanted to rush at him and hit him with all of his strength, but he didn't. He needed to know what was going on.
"Where are they? What has he done with them?" Harry asked forcefully.
"They are still alive, but not for long. He needs five people besides you for this potion to work. Once the first part is ready, he will take a few drops of your blood and put it in the potion; then he will drink from it, next your friends' blood will be drained, and put in as well. You will drink from it and it will kill you, and he will be free to enter your body."
"Why are you telling me this?" Harry asked him.
"So that you know what's coming, so that we can stop it."
"You want to stop it? Then why did you…?"
"Of course I want to stop it!" Snape cut him off.
Harry looked at him not really sure what to believe.
"I know it looked like I was betraying Dumbledore, and you. I didn't have any choice though, when Lucius came with the shapeshifters and told me what was happening, I had to go along with it. He would have killed me then if I hadn't and you'd be here still."
Harry stood there looking at him wanting very badly to believe him. He needed to know that he wasn't alone in this.
"Are you telling me the truth?" he asked.
"Yes," he answered without hesitation. Harry watched him for a few moments longer, then nodded.
"So we need to figure out a way to stop this and save the others," Harry said. "You said he needed five people to drain, and a few drops of blood from me, but he only has four of my friends. Who's the fifth person?"
"I don't know…"
"I can tell you that."
They both turned and saw Lucius Malfoy standing nearby.
"We're going to use the spy. The one Dumbledore planted with us a year ago. Severus Snape."
Harry looked back and forth between the two, as Snape looked at Lucius in disbelief. Lucius just stared back at him, with a wicked grin on his face.
"What are you talking about?" Snape hissed at him.
"You know what I'm talking about. You were sent to spy on our master from that muggle-loving freak! But the Dark Lord was too smart for you. He knew, because you didn't come last year after his rebirth, that he couldn't trust you. He made all of us treat you as though we believed you, until the time was right, and it is now."
They both stood with their eyes locked for what felt like an eternity, then, they both went for their wands. Lucius got his out, but Snape was faster.
Lucius hit the ground, unconscious. Snape hurried over to him and grabbed Harry's wand, he turned to give it to him. Harry reached out to take it but felt the pain in his scar rush back at him from nowhere; he fell to the ground on his knees and heard another voice speak.
Harry looked up to see Snape walking away from him, towards where the other voice had come from. He turned his head to see Voldemort standing nearby.
"Now we can't have you ruining everything, can we Severus? Give the wand to me." Snape held out the wand and Voldemort took it.
"Wormtail!" he shouted. Harry saw for the first time, that Wormtail was standing just behind Voldemort.
"Y-yes…My Lord?" he asked timidly.
"Hold onto this. Let no one near it, do you understand me?"
"Of c-c-course. No one sh-shall touch it, I swear it."
"Good. You boy, will wait here until we are ready," Voldemort said looking at Harry. "If you choose to run, I will kill your friends and find new sacrifices for when you are caught. And believe me, you can't hide. I will always find you." He turned away quickly with Wormtail and Snape following him, leaving Lucius where he was laying.
Harry sat down against one of the gravestones, the pain in his head subsiding a little. He couldn't run; he had to get his friends out of this. There seemed to be no options left though. He looked around at the death eaters and saw they were near a very large cauldron, but he didn't want to think about what was in it, so he looked away. His eye was caught by something laying a few feet from him, he moved closer to get a better look, and saw it was a dead baby rat.
A feeling of sadness swept over him for a reason he couldn't explain. It was just a baby, no chance at all in life before it was horribly killed. It was also done recently as the gash in its stomach was still bleeding freely. He stared for a few more moments, fixated, when he realized there was an unpleasant pressure in his side. He shoved his hand in his pocket to see what he'd been leaning on, and pulled out his father's pocket watch.
He looked at it longingly. Wanting so much to know his parents, and wondering if that would happen tonight. But then he thought of Cho and Hermione and all his friends, and how they didn't deserve this. Even if it cost him his life, he must find a way to save them.
Harry's thoughts were interrupted when he heard someone walking up to him. He looked up to see Wormtail in front of him.
"It's time. You will come now," he said giving Harry a look of disgust. Harry just nodded and slid the watch back into his pocket. Wormtail began walking towards the others, and Harry followed him.
When he reached the crowd of death eaters, Wormtail shoved him to the front right next to the cauldron. He looked over and saw his friends were already there, and they had been put into the partial body bind so they couldn't run. Their faces were all fearful and Su was crying a little. Harry wanted so badly to help them, but had no means of doing so. Then for the third time that day, he felt his scar begin to burn. He forced himself to remain standing even though the pain was unbearable. Voldemort stepped into view and stopped right next to Harry.
"This is it Harry Potter. You will die today and in doing so you will ensure that I live forever." Voldemort looked directly at Harry then and laughed, a high, icy, wicked sound that pierced the air.
"You're wrong," Harry said to him. "You will die, even if I'm not the one to kill you."
"Perhaps you are referring to you're precious headmaster. Dumbledore is weak. I will have no trouble defeating him, which is why he hasn't come for me, I'm sure."
"He isn't weak and you know it! That's why you stay hidden. That's why you had to hold this ceremony away from Hogwart's! You were AFRAID he would show up and ruin everything!" Harry screamed at him.
Voldemort gave Harry a glare that would kill.
"Enough of this! We will begin now!" he yelled looking at Harry. Harry shoved his hands in his pockets and squeezed his father's watch. He wished there were something he had, anything to stop this from happening.
Voldemort turned away and took something that Wormtail was holding out to him, when he turned back Harry saw it was a knife.
"You are going to take some of your blood and put it in the cauldron," Voldemort said to him. "I am warning you not to try anything stupid, or you will regret it."
Harry looked at the knife and then reached up and took it, his hand brushed against Voldemort's skin and his scar seared with pain. He pulled back quickly and his vision cleared again. His first impulse was to just toss the knife away, but he knew that would do no good. He also couldn't fight a group of wizards with it so that wasn't even worth considering. He just stood there. Frozen to the spot.
"Do it now boy!"
Voldemort's voice made him react. He took his hand out of his pocket and closed it over the knife, then pulled downwards. When he removed the knife there was blood all over it and Harry just stared at it.
"Put it in…"
He moved his arm, almost mechanically and let several drops of blood fall into the cauldron. Then watched as it changed color from a dark green, to bright red.
Voldemort looked at it with what must have been happiness and his red eyes were glowing. Wormtail rushed forward and put some of the potion into a bowl, then handed it to his master and Harry watched, feeling sick, as Voldemort drank the potion.
As soon as he consumed what was in the bowl, he began to take on a dark red glow. He looked very eerie silhouetted against the night sky.
"I feel it working…" he hissed. Harry watched in horror, as Voldemort seemed to visibly grow stronger.
"Bring them forward," he said pointing at Harry's friends. "They must die so their blood can be put into the potion." Several death eaters grabbed hold of them and began dragging them over to the cauldron.
"Then you will drink the potion, and all will be complete," Voldemort said grinning at Harry. Harry stood there unable to move, fixated on what was going on around him. Then he saw something happen. Voldemort's face contorted with pain, and he fell to the ground. Several death eaters rushed to his aid but he pushed them aside.
Harry felt the intense pain in his head increase but fought to stay standing. He watched as Voldemort dragged himself to his feet and turned to face Harry.
"What did you do?" he asked in a deadly voice.
Harry just stared at him through the blinding haze in his head and then his mouth turned up in a little smirk. He held up his hand to Voldemort, covered in blood, then he took it and wiped it on his robes. When he held it up again there were no marks, cuts or scratches.
Voldemort screamed in rage as he realized the blood in the potion was not Harry's. He looked again as Harry reached his hand into his pocket and pulled something out. He tossed it in front of Voldemort who looked down and saw a dead baby rat.
"You will pay for this!" Voldemort screamed. Still bent over in pain from how the potion was affecting him, he reached in his robes, pulled out his wand and pointed it at Harry.
Harry was thrown to the ground and the pain he was feeling in his scar combined with this was almost too much to take. He screamed louder then ever before and prayed that it would just end. Finally, as he was losing consciousness, it stopped. He lay there with his eyes closed taking long shallow gasps of air.
He felt someone step close to him and opened his eyes slightly to see who it was.
"Get up," a cold voice said.
Harry didn't think he had any strength left, but forced himself to move. He stood up slowly, barely able to support his own weight, and looked at Voldemort.
"You think you're funny, do you? You have ruined my potion, which takes far too much time to prepare. The only reason you're still alive is I need you, though the same doesn't apply to your friends," he said with an evil grin. "We will do the potion again and you will stay with me until it is ready." He turned and looked at his servants.
"Kill them," he said pointing to Harry's friends.
"No!" Harry cried, but no one heard him. There was a flash of blinding light and everyone shielded their eyes.
When Harry's vision came back into focus he looked around to see Dumbledore standing next to him. He almost cried with relief! He looked over to Hermione and the others, and saw Sirius, McGonagall and Arthur Weasley freeing them from the partial body bind.
"How did you…?" Harry started.
"Not now, Harry. I will explain later." Dumbledore cut him off. He looked up at Voldemort who was staring back at him.
"You are a fool to come here old man. Now you will all die, and there will be no one left to stop me!" Voldemort said sounding quite smug.
Dumbledore did not reply but instead raised his wand at Voldemort; Harry's wand flew out from Voldemort's cloak and into Dumbledore's hand. He handed it to Harry then raised his wand again.
"Retrievo!" he spoke quickly and Harry felt a strange sensation come over him. Before he could say anything there was another blinding flash of light.
When the light faded again, Harry was shocked to see they were in Dumbledore's office. Harry barely had any time to think before he saw Ron running towards him.
"Harry!" Ron cried. "You're alive!" He stopped in front of him and they looked at each other awkwardly, then they embraced in a brotherly hug and backed away quickly.
"Where are the other's?" Harry asked looking around quickly. He noticed for the first time that everyone was there with him in the office. He ran over to Hermione and the others and asked if they were okay.
"Harry, are YOU okay?" Hermione asked.
"Never better!" Harry said, even though there was no part of him that was not in pain. He was too relieved that they were all alive to care.
"That was simply amazing the way you tricked them Harry!" Cho spoke up. Harry smiled at her and started to say something, but Dumbledore started speaking.
"I'm very glad that everyone is okay. I need you to tell us what happened earlier. We know some of it but we need to know everything." Everyone found a seat and Harry started telling about what had happened since Hermione woke him up earlier that day. He and Snape did most of the talking, as the others couldn't remember much of anything while they were under the control of the shapeshifters. Sirius did not look pleased about anything, but stayed silent. But when Harry explained how Snape had stopped Harry from getting him caught, his expression softened a little.
He continued on and told about waking in the graveyard and Snape being taken away. He wasn't sure how to explain about the baby rat though.
"It was like I just felt compelled to take it. Like I knew something was going to happen and I needed it. I don't know why I got that feeling though I'm glad for it now." He kept going and told how he got the idea to use the rat's blood at the last second and how it had affected Voldemort, and finished when everyone else arrived.
"So, how did you know how to find us?" Harry asked looking at Dumbledore.
"Well, it wasn't I who was responsible for that," Dumbledore answered. "It was Sirius."
Harry looked at Sirius in shock.
"How?" was all he could say.
"Remember that Christmas present I gave you?" he asked Harry
Harry thrust his hand into his pocket and pulled out the pocket watch.
"Well, I didn't just give it to you because it belonged to your father. That watch has an everlasting enchantment on it. It's called a retrieval charm. You can use it to find it if you misplace it, or to bring yourself directly to where it is. But because it is a watch, it's all based on time."
"So how does it work then, how do you trace it?" Harry asked anxiously.
"When you saw me in the Shrieking Shack I was using the spell to find the watch. That's why when I pointed my wand at you, the tip changed color; you had the watch in your pocket. I knew you were there, but I had no way of knowing who else was, so I had no choice but to leave. The only option we had now was to bring ourselves directly to the watch and therefore, to you. Even if you were still in the shield at that time it would have worked. This unfortunately is something that can only be done when the time is 5:09am, and even then only for one minute. That's why we didn't come for you right away."
"So you used the watch to find me first, and then to bring yourself to me? How does that work? Do you apparate?"
"No it isn't apparating. Anyone who has the retrieval charm cast on them is transported, much the same way a portkey will do for you. I cast it on everyone before it was time, so we were all transported to you, then we cast it on all of you, so you were able to come back with us. We needed to be fast, though as we only had one minute to work with. The bright light you saw when we came gave us time to split up, unseen by anyone for a few seconds, Dumbledore stayed near you, while we freed the others."
Harry looked at him for a few moments trying to process all of what Sirius had just said. Then he heard Hermione's voice.
"Why 5:09am? What's so special about that time?"
Sirius smiled and looked at Hermione and then at Harry.
"That's when you were born, Harry. When you're mother gave this to your father it was an ordinary watch. They only enchanted it after you were born. It was something they had planned on giving you long ago, their own little precaution, so they would always be able to find you."
"Well it's a good thing they did or we'd all be dead right now," Hermione said.
"We'd still all be dead right now if Harry didn't come up with the idea to use that rat's blood," Lupin said.
"You saved all of their lives today, Harry, as well as your own," Dumbledore said then. "And as much as you're trying to hide it, I can see that you are still in a great deal of pain. I want you to go to the hospital wing, all of you need to be checked for that matter."
Harry knew he would be spending another night in the hospital wing, but didn't mind this time. He was still so shocked at how everything turned out that he was too happy to care. When he got to the hospital wing, Madam Pomfrey immediately made him change into pajamas and get into bed. She checked over the others but said they wouldn't need to stay. When Harry was the only one left, she got him a potion to let him sleep. He didn't think he would need the help though, as after all the events of the evening he was more than exhausted. He drifted off into a dreamless sleep.
As the last weeks of school flew by, Harry thought more about that night. Everything had happened so fast by the end, that it never fully hit him how close he really came to dying. Voldemort was still after him, for the same reason, and he had Mrs. Figg so Harry didn't even know if he was safe at the Dursley's anymore. It was very hard to put these things out of his mind for exams, but somehow he did it.
They also got the results from their O.W.L.S. as well. Harry and Ron both got 11 and Hermione got 14.
"That's even better than Percy," Ron told her. Hermione, for once, was speechless when she got the news and just beamed at Ron.
"Wow, this is a definite improvement," Harry said grinning at Hermione. She ignored him and went off to find others to share her wonderful news with. Whether they would be glad to hear it or not is another story.
They spent the week leading up to the feast just having fun. They played chess and exploding snap and practiced quidditch and just anything they could think of that wasn't work. Harry spent more time with Cho as well, and got to know her a little better. He felt much closer to her by the time the week was through.
The feast came much too quickly but it was much better than last years. Gryffindor had won again and their colors were hanging from banners throughout the great hall. And all too soon after, it was time to go home. Harry finally had to ask Dumbledore something he didn't want to think about.
"Is the Dursley's House still safe?" Harry asked from the entrance to Dumbledore's office.
"We have reason to believe it is, for the moment. I do not intend on leaving you there for the entire holiday, other arrangements will be made as soon as possible. But for now it is still the safest place."
Harry didn't see how he could argue with this. At least he knew for certain it wouldn't be the entire summer. He said goodbye and then made his way down to where his friends where waiting for him, and they took carriages across to the Hogwart's Express.
The ride home went by very fast and Harry wished he could stay on the train forever. One difference about this ride was Malfoy and Co. didn't bother them at all, almost like they were avoiding them. Harry didn't dwell on it and was just happy for the change. When the train pulled into King's Cross, he had to force himself to get off.
He waved goodbye to Ron and Hermione, who promised to write as often as possible. Then followed his uncle, who was looking just as cross as ever, out to the car. He wouldn't let himself dwell on things that he could do nothing about, he would just have to wait and be as ready as possible, for whatever the future might bring.