Disclaimer: The characters, settings and all things recognizable from the Harry Potter series are the property of JK Rowling, Scholastic/Bloomsbury publishing and Warner Bros. studios. I'm not making any money or gain out of this, except for personal pride in writing, and hopefully I don't mess anyone's view of Harry Potter with this.
Harry was released from the Hospital Wing two days later, mainly because Madam Pomprey wanted to make completely sure that his magical core had fully recovered, though Harry thought that she had the idea that he was hiding injuries from her.
Upon release from the Hospital Wing, Harry stuck to the Gryffindor Common Room, the Room of Requirement and the grounds, only really been seen by anyone outside of Ron, Hermione, Neville or the twins in the Great Hall for meals. In which he would eat rapidly and then leave.
Dumbledore had announced that during the Leaving Feast, there would be a remembrance for Cedric Diggory. The entire Hufflepuff house seemed to have a dark cloud over them, even Professor Sprout looked crushed. But one person took the cake: Cho. She was distraught, inconsolable, letting no one aside from her curly-haired friend approach her.
The final evening of term seemed to mock the occupants of Hogwarts. It was a perfect early summer evening, warm with a balmy breeze that teased them all.
"Harry," Hermione asked softly as the quartet got ready to go to the Feast. "Are you ready to go?"
Harry looked up, his eyes were dimmed and raw emotion was burning in them. Even though he and Hermione had confessed their love to each other in the Hospital Wing, Harry couldn't help but still feel depressed about bringing Cedric along. But he nodded to Hermione and stood up. Reflexively, Hermione wound an arm around his waist and pulled Harry close, laying her head on his shoulder. Harry put an arm around Hermione, and buried his face in her hair breathing deeply, her scent calming his frayed psyche.
A hush fell over the Great Hall as Harry, Hermione, Ron and Neville entered the Hall. Black hangings adorned the Hall and the majority of the occupants were wearing badges with the seal of Hufflepuff, however there was a black bar splitting the seal. The quartet sat down halfway down the table next to the Weasleys twins, who looked unusually somber.
"Hey Harry," Fred said.
"How you doing?" George asked.
"I don't know, numb, its like this is just a dream or a nightmare," Harry said softly.
Dumbledore stood and the Hall fell silent. "Tonight should be a night of laughter and cheer, for I'm sure that you are all ready for your holidays. But tonight is one of remembrance and mourning. We all have lost something with the tragic events of three days ago. Cedric Diggory was a model student that valued hard work and fair play. He was a consummate Hufflepuff, a friend to all he knew and respected by those who knew of him."
There came a scoff from the Slytherin table, which Dumbledore ignored.
"The Ministry probably doesn't want me to tell you this but I feel that you all deserve to know the truth about how Cedric died. For you see, Cedric Diggory was killed by Lord Voldemort."
Gasps and cries of shock rang out through the Hall. Most of the students looked at their friends in fear. Yet in the middle of the Slytherin table, a group of students looked positively gleeful at Dumbledore's announcement. Harry noticed this and quickly memorized the students' faces.
"Yes, Lord Voldemort has returned. However, there is someone who I would like to recognize who was able to escape Voldemort and return Cedric. I am speaking of Harry Potter."
Many heads swiveled toward Harry who looked down at his plate. Hermione put an arm around his shoulders and gave him a hug. Ron and Neville were glaring at anyone who was gawking at Harry.
"This year Mr. Potter has faced multiple challenges that no one should have to face. He was forced into competing in the Tournament against his will, almost no one believed him. He fought against more than just dragons, merpeople and acromantulas this year. He fought against the worst that humanity has to offer and preserved. Harry Potter not only triumphed in the Tournament but over the darkness that inhabits us all. And for that I salute him."
Dumbledore raised his goblet, the rest of the staff, followed suit, Snape begrudgingly, as well as a majority of students.
"No!" Harry's hoarse voice broke the silence. "To Cedric," he said, raising his glass.
Dumbledore nodded his head, "To Cedric Diggory!" rang throughout the Hall. Harry sat down before anyone else did so that no one would see the tears flowing from his red-rimmed eyes.
The Leaving Feast continued on as normal as it could be. Chatter filled the Hall, though there was a heavy tension that could be felt. With Dumbledore's proclamation of Voldemort's return, it felt like the Dark Lord was hidden away in the Hall, watching them.
When the plates and goblets vanished, Dumbledore rose again and addressed the Hall. "Everyone in this Hall has a choice to make in lue of the approaching darkness. To do what is easy or to do what it right. Lord Voldemort has a great ability to spread discord and mistrust among his enemies. This can be fought through unity and bonds of friendship. The Triwizard Tournament was brought back to foster international cooperation between our three schools. I hope that you all keep in touch with the friends you have made this year. And to our guests, remember that our doors at Hogwarts will always be open to you."
With that, Dumbledore dismissed the Hall. Harry, Hermione, Ron and Neville walked back up to the Gryffindor common room, using the many secret passageways on the Marauder's Map to avoid the stares coming from their fellow students. The common room was crowded when they arrived, and the room fell silent when Harry walked in.
The quartet walked through the room without a word, muttering and whispering followed them up the spiral stairs. They entered the fourth year boys' dorm, shutting the noise from the common room out. Harry fell onto his bed, Hermione lying next to him.
"Harry," she whispered. Harry grunted to show that he was listening. "Are you all right?"
Harry was silent for a moment. "Not sure. I'm sad about Cedric, terrified that Voldemort is back and furious at Dumbledore for trying to put this incident on me."
"What are you talking about? Dumbledore didn't do that," Ron said.
"Did he really honor Cedric like he should have? Harry growled. "He talked about Cedric true but he wanted to toast me rather than Cedric. Dumbledore wants me to be his figurehead against Voldemort."
Silence met this. "What are you talking about?" Neville asked.
"Dumbledore could have beaten Voldemort before he really got strong but didn't. And why is it always me that has to face Voldy, I've done it four times now in fourteen years. I don't think anyone can say that, even Dumbledore. But why me?"
None of the others had an answer. They knew that Harry had survived encounters that no one should have even been in. Meeting Voldemort usually meant death, though Harry had survived four times.
"So what are we going to do this summer? And do you think that the Ministry will announce that You-Know-Who is back?" Neville asked.
"Neville, if you're going to hang out with me, you'll have to say the name or at least say Riddle, cause that'll piss him off," Harry said. "And that goes for you two as well," he added, turning to Ron and Hermione, who nodded sheepishly. "And in answer to your question, Neville, no Fudge will live among Muggles before he announces Voldemort's return."
"From what I saw of Fudge, he's too entrenched in his ways to do anything helpful. We need a Minister who isn't afraid to take action even if it means making people angry," Ron said. Harry's eyes flew open and a devious smirk grew on his lips.
"I've seen that look," Neville groaned. "You've got some crazy idea that will never work aside from the fact that you're Harry Potter, in which said crazy plan will somehow work."
"I have no idea what you're talking about," Harry said with a twinkle in his eye. "And my plans always work."
Silence met this, then Neville snorted which broke the silence as the room filled with laughter.
"Well almost always," Harry said sheepishly. Then his face turned serious. "But seriously, with myself, Sirius and your grandmother, Neville, we have three of the Most Noble and Ancient Houses in a close relationship, I'm not very close to Susan Bones…"
"I wouldn't say we're close but we talked and spent time together before coming to Hogwarts," Neville said.
"Good because if we can get all four families together, we might have enough power to get rid of Fudge before he does too much damage," Harry said.
"I would contact her now but I think we should wait until the holidays begin because she's probably still grieving. She was pretty close to Cedric." Harry nodded.
"Are you sure that's a good idea?" Hermione asked. "What if you don't succeed?"
"Mione, I honestly don't expect us too but if we can get the families together as well as their allies, we might have enough to make a stand against the Death Eaters. We need to know where people stand."
Hermione nodded. "So aside from trying to overthrow the Ministry, what else do you have planned?"
"Like I said, train in which ever way I can. Riddle seems to have this obsession with killing me," Harry said. "Actually, I need to talk with Sirius and Remus about something important."
Harry stood and walked out of the dorm. He found a hidden corner of the tower and pulled out the enchanted mirror that Sirius had given him over the holidays.
"Sirius Black," he said clearly. A moment later, Sirius' face filled the mirror.
"Hey pup, how's it going?" Sirius asked.
"Hey Sirius, you remember telling me about the Order of the Phoenix?" Sirius nodded. "Yeah, well I'm guessing that Dumbledore will want to use Grimmauld as the Headquarters…"
"How'd you know that? He asked me that last night," Sirius interrupted.
"Just a guess, he knows that I'm living there and he probably wants to keep me under thumb," Harry said. "And we can't have that, so why don't we move house? I'm sure that my parents had more houses than just Godric's Hollow?"
"Of course they did, the Potter's are one of the wealthiest families in the wizarding world."
"Well, then we should move to another house and put up the Fidelius. I have a feeling that Riddle isn't going to be happy that I got away, so I wouldn't be surprised if he tries something to my friends or me. I was thinking of having Mione and the Weasleys stay with us…for protection."
"That's not a bad idea, but what about Molly and Dumbledore? I'm sure that they've realized that the marriage contract they set up has been voided, and knowing Molly, she's sure to try something," Sirius said.
"Probably but I'd rather have them all under thumb so to speak, and I can always eject her if need be, though I'm not too sure how that would sit with the others."
"Ok, I think the best place we're looking for would be Potter Manor outside of Edinburgh. It's huge and well warded. If you want me and Remus can go by tomorrow while you're on the train to check out the wards, they might need some work."
"That would be perfect Padfoot. I'll talk with everyone about the idea but I'm going to leave out the Potter Manor part, I don't trust Dumbledore to try something if he catches wind."
Sirius nodded. "Good thinking pup. Moon and I will go first thing in the morning. Later pup."
"Bye Sirius," Harry said before cutting the connection. He left his hiding spot and found the others where he left them, though Ginny had joined them as well.
"So what did you have to talk to Sirius about?" Hermione asked when Harry sat down.
"Well, I needed to run an idea by him," Harry answered.
"And what was it?" Ron asked.
"With Voldemort back, I figured that he's gonna to ticked and might go after my friends. So I was thinking that you guys might like to come spend the summer with me, Sirius and Remus?"
Hermione, Ron and Neville looked stunned, Ginny did as well, though it came a spilt second after her eyes lit up with something akin to greed and lust.
"And Hermione, I'd like your parents to join us as well," Harry said. "If you guys agree?"
"Harry, I'd love to spend the summer with you," Hermione cried. "Do you mind if I use Hedwig to send them a letter, asking them?"
"Sure Mione, you can use Hedwig anytime. I think she like you more than me sometimes."
Hermione giggled and kissed Harry quickly, before dashing off, missing the furious look on Ginny's face.
"So Ron, Ginny, Neville, what do you think?" Harry asked.
"I think it's a great idea but I don't know if Mum will go for it," Ron said.
"Well, it can't hurt to ask Ron," Ginny said. "I'm sure if we told her the reasons, she'd allow it."
"What about you Neville?"
"I appreciate the offer Harry, but the wards at my place are strong and I doubt that my Gran will want to leave it. But I'll send her a letter."
"That's all I ask. Look it doesn't have to be right away, just tell me as soon as you all know and we'll work something out," Harry said. The other three nodded.
The next morning was hectic as usual and Harry was anxious to leave the castle. It seemed that everything was a constant reminder of Cedric. He wanted to get away from the pitied or adoring gazes that seemed to follow him everywhere in the castle. It also didn't help that Malfoy and his cronies were strutting around like they owned it. Harry was sure that they had been told of Voldemort's return by their parents, even before Dumbledore's announcement.
"Oh Harry, they said yes!" Hermione cried as she came barreling into the boys' dormitory, clutching a letter.
"Who said yes?" Harry asked.
"My parents, they said I could come and stay with you over the summer. They just me want to spend a week with them, while they get their affairs and practice in order."
"That's brilliant Mione," Harry said, scooping her up in his arms and spinning her around.
"What about the Weasleys?" she asked.
"Not sure, we'll probably find out on the platform. Speaking of which, we better get going, we don't want to miss the train."
Hermione grabbed Harry's hand and pulled him from the dorm. Chuckling, he let Hermione lead him down to the Entrance Hall where Ron, Neville, Ginny and Luna were waiting. The sextet climbed into a carriage, the ride to the station was quiet as nearly everyone was in his or her own world. Ron and Luna were talking quietly, while Harry was talking with Neville about the duties of a Lord of a Most Noble and Ancient House, since Neville's Grandmother had drilled the duties into Neville since his father was out of the picture. Hermione was reading a book.
Ginny was the only one who was doing nothing. She was sitting in the corner of the carriage, her arms crossed over her chest, a childish pout marring her face. harry noticed that the youngest Weasley was shooting Hermione glares that Harry thought would give Snape or even Riddle a run.
"So Ron, Ginny have you heard back from your parents?" Harry asked when they reached Hogsmeade Station.
"Mum said she'd tell us when we get to King's Cross," Ginny said.
Harry nodded, though he did catch that Ginny only mentioned her mother as making the decision rather than both Mr. and Mrs. Weasley. 'Then again, Mrs. Weasley does seem to be the one who runs the Weasley brood,' Harry thought.
The group found an empty compartment about halfway down the train. Harry soon found himself laying his head in Hermione's lap while she threaded her fingers through his hair. However it wasn't long until their peace was broken by the now customary arrival of Draco Malfoy, and his two deputies of dumb Crabbe and Goyle. Harry also noticed that Pansy Parkinson had tagged along and was starring at Draco with a slavish look that disturbed and disgusted Harry.
"Yes Malfoy," Harry said without looking up.
"Well Pothead, the Weasel, Weaslette, the Squib, Loony and of course the…"
"Silencio!" Harry barked. "Malfoy, I told you to not use such language but I guess you still need to be taught a lesson," he growled. "Scourgify!"
The compartment roared with laughter as Malfoy's mouth filled with bubbles. "Now that I've cleaned that filthy mouth of yours," Harry sneered. A jet of red light struck the three Slytherins. "I trust that you remember that useful little hex I used at the World Cup, well this version cause your wand to disappear whenever you try to use it."
The compartment filled with laughter again, Ron and Neville had fallen out of their seats, while Hermione and Luna had collapsed into giggles. Ginny was laughing as well, though she kept her seat.
"Now why don't you go bother someone who actually cares Malfoy," Harry said. With a flick of his wand, Harry sent the four Slytherins out of the doorway and down the hallway.
The rest of the ride went smoothly, Fred and George had stopped by to praise Harry for the spell he put on Malfoy, and to plead him to teach them. Harry agreed on the condition that they use it on Snape, though this did bring up a horrible mental image too scarring to comprehend.
Sirius and Moony were waiting for Harry when the train pulled into King's Cross, alongside them were the Weasleys, though Sirius and Remus didn't look to happy about being near Molly, and the Grangers.
"How you doing pup?" Sirius asked when Harry reached the adults.
"As well as I can be, though Malfoy did provide some entertainment," he said. Hermione, Fred, George, Ron and Neville snickered behind Harry.
"What are you talking about?" Molly asked, her eyes narrowing.
"Malfoy decided to be fresh with us, so I washed his mouth out with soap and I took away his best friend for a while."
The other students burst out laughing.
"I used a variant of one of Mum's payback charms on Draco Jr.," Harry answered to the questioning looks he was getting from the adults.
Sirius and Moony exchanged a glance. "You mean the one that makes it impossible for a bloke to shake his own 'hand'?" Sirius asked. Harry nodded, which sent the two Marauders to the floor, howling. It took nearly ten minutes for the group to get Sirius and Remus to stop laughing.
"So is everything ready at the house?" Harry asked.
"Yes, the place is warded up tighter than a Gringotts vault," Sirius said.
"Great, Mr., Mrs. Weasley, have you made a decision on whether you'll spend the summer with me, Sirius and Remus?" Harry asked the elder Weasleys.
"We would love to spend the summer with you at Grimmauld Place Harry," Mrs. Weasley said. "Though we'll need sometime to pack. How about we meet you there in a week?"
"Nonsense, we'll come pick you up," Sirius said. "How about next Sunday around three?"
Mrs. Weasley narrowed her eyes but nodded. "Come along you lot," she said to her children. Harry shook Ron, Fred and George's hands but skipped Ginny, something that didn't escape the notice of Mrs. Weasley.
"See you all in a week," Harry called as the Weasleys vanished through that barrier. "You two catch that as well?" he added to the two Marauders. They nodded.
"What are you talking about Harry?" Hermione asked.
"I never told any of the Weasleys where I lived, in fact only four people should know its address. Myself, Sirius, Remus and Dumbledore."
"Then how did she know?"
"It seems that the Headmaster has been giving out some interesting information," Sirius said.
"That's a first," Remus said. "Him actually giving out information."
"Before you interrupt Mione, read this and memorize it," Harry said, handing her a slip of parchment, which read, 'Potter Manor can be found at 17 Gryffindor Way.'
"What's this?" Hermione asked. "What's…"
Harry clapped a hand over her mouth. "Not here. It's where I live, it's under the Fidelius Charm because I don't want Dumbledore to know where I live. I'm only allowing Mrs. Weasley to come because if I didn't, she wouldn't let Ron or the twins come. Molly and Ginny have one chance, and if they mess it up, they're out."
"I understand Harry," Hermione said.
"Show that to your parents then burn it. I'm glad that you're spending this week with your parents," Harry said. "If you vanish too quickly, Dumbledore will think something is up. Mrs. Weasley has probably already told Dumbledore about me inviting them and you to spend the summer. He'll probably tell Molly to try and control me or try to find some other way to get me under his thumb. We'll pick you and your parents up next Sunday after we get the Weasleys."
Hermione threw her arms around his neck, burying her face in his neck. "Ok Harry, just be careful," she whispered. Their lips met in a soft kiss before Hermione slipped out of Harry's arms and followed her parents through the barrier.
A/N: Well that's it, Rebirth of Darkness is finished. I will be posting a sequel at some point, but like with Darkness, I will handwrite it first then type. I'm also planning on to start posting the first few chapters of The Silent Partner just to see how people like it. Thanks for all the reviews and also send me any title ideas for the sequel, cause I have no idea what to call it. Thanks, Phoenixflame