AN-I apologize for the wait for this chapter, RL and the working world has completely sucked up my time. Hopefully, the length of this chapter and the next one will make up for the wait.
Thanks for all the awesome reviews! I haven't been able to reply to them all, but each and every one feeds the muses.
This chapter will contain SPOILERS for Books 3 and 4 of the Harry Potter series, though it is mostly in chunks. I do not go over every thing that happened in books three and four, just the parts that matter to the future story line. The next chapter will be the beginning of the old story and the plot will actually start to make sense. I am NOT happy with this chapter, but after three months of rewriting several times, I just had to be finished with it. Several important plot points are brought up, Kudos to those who pick up on them, and hopefully the next chapter will be more enjoyable. All mistakes are my own, as this chapter has not been edited.
WARNING! The letters from Harry are awkward. They are VERY awkward. I know this, and they probably aren't the best written thing in the world, but it has been a very long time since I was thirteen, and I have never been a thirteen year old wizard finding out my father wasn't my father, so I'm working off what I think Harry may have written. If anyone has any ideas how to correct the letters, I'm all ears...err, eyes.
Disclaimers-Yeah, I still don't own any recognizable characters. No copyright infringement is intended nor implied and no money or profit of any kind is being made off this work of fiction. All copyrighted material remains the sole intellectual property of their owners in all ways.
"For God's sake Jim! I'm a Doctor, not your personal training dummy!", Bones griped as he waved his hand over the sensor on his door and let both himself and the infant otherwise known as James Tiberius Kirk into his quarters. He didn't know why he had allowed the boy to talk him into a sparring session in the Academy's gym, but he knew that he was going to feel it in the morningIf he didn't feel it sooner. Jim may talk a big talk, and 90% of what he said was complete and utter horse shit, but when it came to his fighting skills, he wasn't exaggerating. Jim just laughed and sat himself down on one of the barstools that Bones kept, reaching for the bottle of water he knew was waiting for him by the sink. "Oh hush, Bones. You need the practice, I know your practical is coming up. And lets face it," He gave the doctor a shit eating grin, "with moves like that you'll be lucky to pass." Bones flipped him off but helped himself to one of his own waters, unscrewing the top and downing it in one go.
"So, have you heard from Harry?" With timing too perfect to be anything other than planned, Jim asked the question just as Bones was drinking, causing the dark haired southerner to spew water across the room as he choked. Jim knew about Harry, had been an integral part of helping find Leonard's son, but they hadn't mentioned the boy in the three months since Bones had come back from leave with Petunia Dursley's' promise to let Harry know. Bones just assumed that Harry didn't want to have anything to do with him, and was trying to deal with that.
"God Damn you, James Kirk." Bones glared at the other man. "And no, I haven't." He really didn't want to talk about this, but he knew that Jim was going to push it. Jim Kirk couldn't leave something that caught his interest alone, no matter who it hurt. It was a failing, and one that Bones didn't think he would every be able to train out of the younger man. Jim frowned.
"Then what's that?", Jim raised a hand and pointed to the bed behind them, and Bones turned. Jim was pointing at the small pile of mail that had been dropped off while they were gone, and Bones immediately dismissed it as the usual threats from Jocelyn's lawyer, and his mother ranting about how she hadn't been able to see her grandchild, and maybe possibly his grades from last semester. Or he would have, if it wasn't for the rather large, yellow looking envelope lying on top of the pile, his name written in spindly black handwriting.
"I don't know Jim, I was with you remember? Its probably just something from a relative. There's nothing that says this is from Harry." He still wanted to choke up at the thought of his lost son, but he just knew that this was going to be yet another disappointment. So yeah, he wasn't very keen on opening it if he didn't have to.
"Except that it could be?" Jim pointed out, adjusting himself to lean back against the table behind him, watching the doctor with a calculating look on his face. "Are you scared to find out?" Bones scowled and stomped angerily towards the pile of letters, picking the one in question up and ignoring the other ones.
Dr. Leonard H. McCoy
℅ Starfleet Academy
Williams Hall Room 336A
San Francisco, California
It was written on a thick paper, rough to the touch. It didn't feel like anything Bones had felt before, and he flipped it over curiously. A large red seal graced the back flap, a stylized H in the middle of the seal with symbols Bones couldn't quite make out surrounding it. But that wasn't what caused his breath to catch in his throat.
Harry James Potter
Hogwarts School for the Gifted
Bones sat down, hard, barely able to maneuver himself to land on the bed instead of painfully on the floor. He had honestly thought that Harry was just going to ignore that Bones ever existed, and Bones honestly wouldn't have blamed him.
"Are you going to open it?" Jim asked from his perch, an unusually serious look on his face, and Bones just scowled at him.
"Yes, infant, I am. Once you leave." Bones flicked his eyes pointedly from Jim to the door and back, raising an eyebrow. Jim was his closest friend at the academy, that was the truth, but there were somethings that he had to do by himself. And he didn't really want to have his son say he didn't want anything to do with him in front of someone else.
"Okay, I get it, I'm going." Jim gave him a grin and unfolded himself from his seat, heading towards the door and scooping up the other letters Bones had left to lay in place. Jim stacked them neatly on the desk by the door and waved a finger at Bones, "But I expect you at Doc Jones' tonight, either to celebrate or mope, don't make me drag you." Bones nodded and focused back on the letter as the door whooshed open and closed behind Jim. Did he really want to open this? Did he really want to have his thoughts cemented in reality?
"Dammit." Bones had never considered himself a coward, despite his many phobias, and he wasn't going to back down now. He leaned over from his shaky spot on the bed and pulled a letter opener out of his desk drawer, glad that his small quarters made getting up and walking unnecessary. At this point, he wasn't sure that his legs would be able to support him for even that short of a distance. He slid the blade under the flap and pried the seal up, pleased to see that despite the nerves and emotions flooding through his veins, his hands stayed completely wouldn't be much of a surgeon if he couldn't keep steady hands no matter what situation he found himself in. Bones opened the letter and spread it over his knees, surprised by both the thickness of the paper and the length.
If this was a 'thanks, but no thanks' letter, the boy had certainly drawn it out over multiple pages. Maybe there was a chance?With hope blooming in his chest, despite his attempts to smash it down, Bones began to read.
Dear Doctor McCoy, I..don't really know what to call you, to be honest. I don't really know what to do, either. I always thought my parents were dead, Aunt Petunia and Uncle Vernon said they were, and now...and now you're not.
Aunt Petunia said that the birth certificate you gave her is real, she had some test done on it or something, so I guess its not a prank. I still don't understand what everything means. I was adopted, according to everything that Aunt Petunia told me, but there are also some kind of paperwork saying that I was supposed to go to you, before my Aunt got custody of me. I guess what I'm asking is...why didn't you come get me? Was it because you didn't want me, or did something keep you from getting me?
I won't blame you if you didn't want me. Aunt Petunia and Uncle Vernon say its my choice if I want to get to know you, that they can't 'legally keep you from contacting him now that Starfleet has gotten involved', whatever that means. What is Starfleet? I didn't really pay much attention to the news before I came here, and Hogwarts doesn't allow outside interference so I guess I'll have to wait for term break to look it up. Hermione won't tell me anything, just looks at me like I've been living under a rock. Maybe I have been.
Bones felt his heart clench in his chest. There weren't any cliche teardrops on the paper, no outward signs of Harry's distress, but Bones could feel it like it was a physical wave coming out at him. He had no idea how Harry was feeling, wasn't even going to try and imagine the emotions the boy was experiencing, but he knew that it couldn't be a fun experience. McCoy sighed and continued to read, not knowing how he was going to explain to Harry why he didn't take custody of him. But he would make damn sure that Harry knew it wasn't because Bones didn't want him. Damn sure. He was also going to find out what Harry meant by Starfleet getting involved, other than letting the higher ups know that he was trying to find and gain custody of a son, he hadn't involved anyone from the Armada. That he knew of.
I've never really written a letter from school before, Aunt Petunia and Uncle Vernon just get my progress reports and stuff from the Professors, but I guess school has been going okay. Uncle Vernon wouldn't sign the permission slip I need to go to Hosgmede (Thats the village that's outside of our school, all the upper years say its brilliant. Maybe next year), said its too dangerous and my Headmaster agreed with him.
Hermione and Ron (They are my best friends, ever) are supposed to bring me back sweets from Honeydukes but its not quite the same thing as going myself. It gave me time to write this letter though, with the school cleared out of everyone but the younger years. You wouldn't believe the chaos that goes on in a school this size, you can't find a moment of quiet to save your life.
It's already October, but this is the first time I've been able to think of what I want to say. And I'm not sure I know what I should say even now.
I've been here since I was eleven, Mum and Dad...I mean Mum and James I guess, had me signed up on the rolls since I was born. I guess you can say my spot was hereditary, as long as I met the qualifications. I'm glad I did, I hated the school in Surrey. Aunt Petunia and Uncle Vernon didn't want me to go at first, but I'm glad they changed their minds.
Hermione and Ron have been my friends since I started here, though Hermione was a little...bossy at first. She still is, but she grows on you. I don't know if I would have passed all my classes if it wasn't for her, she makes sure that Ron and I actually turn in our assignments. She's a first generation student, but she's top of our year so there's not doubt that she belongs here. Her parents are dentists, so they are always sending us sugar free treats. Don't tell her I told you, but I don't like them very much.
Ron loves chess, I don't think there's anyone in the school that can beat him, and that includes the upper years. He's brilliant, and has six siblings. I can't imagine having that many brothers and sisters, though his are fantastic. Classes are okay, most of the Professors are completely brill, but History and Chemistry are horrible.
Our History professor has been here for years, I think he was a professor when Mum was here, and the Chemistry professor was a student with Mum and Dad...Mum and James, and hates me. He had a problem with dad...James, and takes it out on me. But I'm passing the class, so I guess that's a good thing?
The letter rambled on, and Bones soaked up every word. There was a lot written about Ron and Hermione, Harry's best friends, and the Professors at the school. Bones got the feeling that there was a lot that Harry wasn't telling him, and there was a lot that that Bones didn't understand, but he was thankful for every word of it. It was obvious Harry was feeling awkward, talking about anything and everything that came into his mind, but it was something. And the last paragraph gave him hope.
I guess, if you want to keep in touch after this, you can write me? Maybe? We don't have computers here, so you'll have to write me on paper, but I think I'd like to hear from you. If you want to that is. Professor McGonagall, she's my head of House and the Deputy Headmistress of the school, gave me the address to give to you, she'll make sure I get any letters you send.
Harry James Potter
There was a hastily scribbled address written at the bottom of the last page that Bones committed to memory, before smoothing the letter out and laying it reverently to the side, leaning forward and resting his elbows on his knees. Harry didn't hate him. Harry was open to having a relationship, of some kind.
Bones had a chance.
Captain Christopher Pike leaned back in his chair and looked the Admiral on the other side of his desk straight in the eyes. Coming from anyone else, his forwardness would have been just this side of insubordination, but Pike had known Admiral Archer for years and this situation was too crucial to stand on protocol. The Commanding Officer had barged into his office ten minutes before, poured himself a drink without so much as a by your leave, and dropped into one of Pike's chairs.
"McCoy knows." It was a statement that wouldn't have made sense if you weren't in the know before hand, and Pike hadn't almost spit out what he was drinking at the statement.
"Are you sure we should have sent the letter on?" Pike was going to be blunt, there wasn't any point in bouncing around the subject like they were tap dancing, "Dumbledore isn't going to like it, I don't want to cause an international incident." Archer nodded and crossed his right leg over his knee, smiling brightly at the mention of Dumbledore getting upset. Pike really didn't blame him, no one on 'this side of the pond' like Dumbledore, and that went double for Starfleet. The Wizarding World was separatist, and elitist, and thought that no one outside their little circle was capable of doing anything that a wizard couldn't do faster and better. It was infuriating, especially to an organization that dealt with alien civilizations that could wipe out the Earth on an almost daily basis.
"That's the exact reason I sent it on, Chris." Archer smiled again, showing all of his teeth, "If Cadet Doctor McCoy's son is who I think it is, and every bit of intelligence that we have suggests it is, then allowing him to get in touch with his father, who by all rights should have had custody from the moment Lily and James Potter died, is going to do a lot more than simply upset our dear Dumbledore." There was more than a brief glimpse of teeth in the smile this time.
"Starfleet has a responsibility to every human being on Earth, and that includes those backwards idiots in the Wizarding World. Harry Potter," It seemed they were done playing the 'I know something you don't know and aren't supposed to know' game, and Pike could only grin back. He hated being kept out of the loop, "has a big importance to wizards and witches in Britain, though I haven't been able to ferret out exactly what that importance is exactly. We have to be ready to help him, if and when he gets tired of his treatment and tries to run. Having McCoy here, under our command, gives us the perfect reason to step in." He smiled again. "After all, if we can't help our own people and their families, how can we keep peace in the universe?" Pike laughed loudly and stood up, walking quickly across the room to pour them both a glass of neat scotch.
"Dumbledore is not going to like this, and that is a cause for celebration!" He handed the second glass to the admiral and knocked his own back in one go, biting back the laugh that wanted to bubble up from within his , Albus Dumbledore, and the next move they made would be Checkmate.
It was Halloween, and Harry Potter was in a foul mood.
"Honestly Ronald! Crookshanks is a cat! Cats chase mice and rats!" Hermione and Ron were arguing over their respective familiars, yet again, and Harry was about sick of it. It had been like this since Hermione got the Bloody cat, and the Boy Who Lived wished privately to himself that one of the two would get rid of their familiar, just to keep the bloody peace.
It was only 8 in the morning for Merlin's sake, it was too early for anyone to be arguing.
Harry looked up from his plate towards the High Table, making noncommittal noises as Ron and Hermione badgered him to join in on their conversation and back one of the other, and met the eyes of Remus Lupin who gave him a sympathetic look.
By this point, every professor in Hogwarts knew that the feud was going on between the two, but not a single one of them was willing to step in and make it go away.
Harry thought they found it funny, though none of the students did.
"Harry? Harry are you even listening to me?" Hermione's voice cut through Harry's woolgathering, and he looked over at her, blinking carefully.
To be honest, he hadn't been, but he wasn't going to tell her that. Harry liked his head attahed to where it was, on top of his neck.
"Well, Hermione," Harry was cut off as the flutter of mail owls came through and he looked up, carefully looking for Hedwig or an owl that seemed to be heading for him. It had been three weeks since he sent off the first letter to Dr. McCoy, Harry being very careful to avoid thinking of the other title he could call the muggle, and Harry was waiting on the edge of his seat to see if he would get a reply back. The letter hadn't contained much, it had been mostly rambling Harry was not ashamed to admit, but it had been more than Harry had ever sent.
Meant more too.
"Harry, you don't really think he's going to write back do you?" Hermione's voice was condescending but he tried not to think too much into it. The muggleborn didn't seem to be very enthusiastic about the 'new father' Harry had found and had been attempting to turn him away from Dr. McCoy at every turn. She was always pulling out some fact or the other that showed this was all an elaborate prank.
Dumbledore as well, but Harry expected that much from the Headmaster.
"I don't know Hermione, but I can hope. Not that you even want me to do that." It came out more angry than Harry meant for it to, and the bushy haired genius flinched back like she'd been struck. Clearly, she had expected Harry to agree with her, or at least ignore her.
"Harry...Harry, I just don't want you to get hurt!" She sniffled at him, wrapping her arms tightly around herself, "You know you're James Potter's son, you look just like him!"
Harry ignored her. They had gone around and around this same subject for months, and Harry was frankly getting sick and tired of it. Ron had the good sense, or at least the good manners, to not say anything about it one way or the other.
With a flurry of feathers, an owl dropped down in front of Harry and extended a leg for him to take the letter tied to it with black string. Harry took it excitedly, while Hermione looked on with narrowed eyes as he unraveled it and read the address.
"He wrote back!" Harry didn't mean for the announcement to be as loud as it was, or get chuckles from the rest of the students around him along with some good natured ribbing from older students.
"Awww Potter has a crush!" "Isn't that just cute!"
Harry waved them off with a laugh and stuffed the letter in his bag, taking care to make sure it was stuffed in between his Defense book and his astronomy notes, disguised as another note.
He loved Hermione like a sister, but he wouldn't put it past her to dig through his bag to try and 'save' him from himself.
"I'll see you later guys, I want to go check on Hedwig before we have to be in class." Harry swung his bag over his shoulder and stood up quickly, cramming one last scone in his mouth before turning and walking rapidly from the Great Hall, not giving anyone the chance to stop him. Harry could feel multiple eyes on the back of his head, and knew that his actions were going to fuel the Hogwarts Grapevine for weeks, but couldn't bring himself to care.
Taking a right turn immediately once he left the Hall, Harry tucked himself into an alcove out of sight, counting to ten in his head, waiting.
He wasn't disappointed. He had barely made it to a count of 'nine' when Hermione can sprinting from the hall, bushy brown hair flying behind her, and stormed up the stairs across from him.
The stairs that just so happened to lead to the Owlery. She never looked back, though he could hear her calling his name until she was out of hearing range.
He just smirked and shook his head. Hermione was so predictable, and now that she was on a wild goose chase to the owlery, he would be able to read his letter in peace. Harry wandered out the front doors of Hogwarts, thinking idly to himself that he should have grabbed an apple to hold himself over since he hadn't eaten much at breakfast, and took his favorite spot underneath the tree closest to the lake.
The Gryffindor pulled out the letter and smoothed it over his knees, taking a moment to trace the handwriting addressing the envelope.
'Come on Harry, just open the bloody thing.' He had to give himself a pep talk before he was able to force himself to open the letter, sliding his wand back in his pocket when he was done.
It was long, was the first thought that came to his mind. Three pages of lined paper, covered in a script that would have been almost unintelligible if it hadn't been so similar to Harry's own, and Harry felt his heart thumping in his chest.
Maybe...just maybe...this could be a good thing.
Hermione Granger, Gryffindor Know-it-all and Muggleborn, tapped her foot in agitation as she waited for the gargoyle to finally decide to let her in. She had already tried the password the Headmaster had given her last week, and gotten no reaction. If she didn't know better, she would say that the Gargoyle had actually sneered at her as she spoke, taking perverse pleasure in denying her entrance.
Of course, it was just a stone statue, and couldn't feel a sick sense of pleasure. Even in the wizarding world, some things just weren't possible.
At least, that's what she told herself.
"Miss Granger! Why are you not in class?" Hermione spun on her heel and tucked her hands behind her back, staring up at Professor McGonagall with wide eyes.
"Ummmm..." For the first time in her school career, Muggle and Wizarding, Hermione didn't know what to say to a professor. Professor McGonagall just frowned at her, eyebrows arching as she examined her student.
"Well Miss Granger? I am waiting." Hermione gaped again, her usually bright mind whirring over a reason that she would be waiting outside the Headmaster's office, a room that she should by default not know the location to unless she was called to it.
"Its alright, Minerva." Albus Dumbledore appeared over McGonagall's shoulder, his blue eyes twinkling as always, and squeezed his old friends arm. Hermione breathed a sigh of relief, knowing that not answering the Deputy Headmistress would have resulted in another mar on her record, once again related to Harry James Potter. "Miss Granger was waiting on me, I was held up by Sinstra."
Professor McGonagall eyed her employer carefully, before nodded and straightening her robes carefully, giving the other two standing in the hallway with her a stern look.
"See that you aren't late for my class, Miss Granger, without a note." Without another word, the Deputy Head turned and swept down the hallway, clearly not mentioning what had brought her to the head office in the first place.
Dumbledore transferred his look from his oldest friend to the young student standing in front of him, the twinkle disappearing and a more serious look taking over.
"He has received another letter hasn't he?" Hermione nodded mutely, and walked quickly to catch up to the Headmaster as he swept towards the gargoyle, the stone statue leaping aside without a word being spoken as the resident of the tower it guarded advanced towards him. Hermione couldn't keep herself from shooting it a dirty look as she followed the Headmaster.
"Were you able to get it from him?" Dumbledore sank into his chair and steepled his hands on top of the desk, fixing Hermione with a stern glare as she perched on the edge of the single chair sitting in front of him.
"I...I tried, but Harry is so stubborn!" Hermione blurted, clenching and unclenching her fists in the fabric of her skirt. She couldn't understand why Harry just wouldn't let her help him! "He disappeared with the letter, I couldn't find him anywhere!"
The headmaster sighed, and shook his head.
"I'm very disappointed in you, Hermione. I thought we had an understanding when you started at our great school." His voice dripped disapproval and Hermione cringed back into her seat. She knew how fragile her standing at Hogwarts was, and it made her blood boil that Ron and Potter had it so easy at Hogwarts, they knew that they belonged without a thought in their small little minds to the contrary, while she had to work harder and longer at every subject in order to keep her spot.
Hermione was not stupid, and she knew that Dumbledore would only allow her to stay as long as it was prudent and in his best interests.
"I'm...I'm sorry, Professor. I'll do better, I swear I will!" Hermione jumped up from the seat and stared at her Headmaster, determined to do everything she had to in order to keep the amazing gift the man had given her three years before.
Dumbledore nodded and fixed her with a steely glare.
"See that you do, Miss Granger. See that you do. Harry Potter must not be allowed to contact this muggle, at all costs."
Hermione understood, and steeled herself.
She would prove herself worthy of the great gift she'd been given. Harry Potter would fall in line, and quickly. It was all for the Greater Good.
Four Days Later
Petunia Dursley thought she was going to have a peaceful day at home. Dudley was back at Smeltings, Vernon was at his office most likely yelling at an underling (or reading a Michael Crichton novel, not that he would let anyone know that.), and she had number 4 completely to herself.
It was a nice feeling, and she could help but smile to herself as she curled up in her favorite arm chair and turned on Doctor Who.
Obsession with normalcy or not, she loved the Doctor, in all of his forms. There was just something about the time lord that drew her in.
Just as she was watching the Doctor and his Companion run from the Daleks for the nth time, the data pad sitting precariously on the edge of the coffee table began to beep wildly, the vibration nearly shaking the slim silver square off the piece of furniture.
Scowling, Petunia reached over and glanced at the number popping up, planning on sending it to message and getting back to her show.
"Why on earth would he be calling?" she hit the ignore button, waiting until her screen saver popped back up, and turned the sound on the TV back up, cursing under her breath as she realized that she had missed The Doctor's brilliant idea of a plan to defeat the Daleks again.
Well, at least it was a rerun, and she already knew what happened. Still, calling at such an hour was just rude. Americans never did have the sense that God gave them.
"Now that's just rude!" Petunia threw the remote down on the table next to her and reached for the pad as it rang again, the same number on the screen.
Someone out there was determined she not enjoy her day off, and she knew exactly who's fault it was.
Petunia tapped the button to answer the call, ignoring the urge to straight and fluff her hair, glaring at the American on the other end.
"What do you need, McCoy? The Lawyers are working through everything and Harry is not here." She was being short with him, she knew that, but dammit! Why was someone always interrupting her when she tried to get five minutes to herself? First Vernon, and then Dudley and the Boy, and now this man! It was maddening!
"Well good morning to you too, Mrs. Dursley," Doctor McCoy mocked her, his voice hoarse and stubble lining his cheeks worse than she had ever seen it. She frowned at him but bit back the retort that she wanted to give, "I'm sorry to have interrupted your glorious morning, but I wanted to know what your plans are." He looked at her over the electronic screen, and she found herself blinking.
This was why he had interrupted her? To ask what her plans were? He already knew what the plans were, and he knew that they couldn't and wouldn't be advanced until Harry asked for it. She may not have been the greatest aunt in her nephew's life, but she wasn't going to uproot him from the only family that he knew on a whim. It would be his choice, dammit, and she wasn't going to give in on that.
Not this time.
"You know very well what the plans are, McCoy. Your starfleet lawyers were very thorough." She sniffed at him and leaned back into her seat, moving the screen so it was more comfortable for her. She wished dearly that Vernon would indulge her wish for a bigger, wall mounted screen so she wouldn't be craning into a padd all the time, but he wouldn't give in. Muttered something about the boy destroying it like he had that flat screen Television he bought when the boys were young. She had to admit, he may have a point, Lily had certainly destroyed many electronics when she was younger in a fit of pique over something or other. "Nothing can be done until at least summer, at the earliest, and knowing Harry I expect it will take much longer before he is willing to change the circumstances he finds himself in."
That was an understatement, the boy was nothing if not stubborn. Another quirk he inherited from his mother.
McCoy spluttered at her, outraged. His eyes were bloodshot, but quite able to aim a glare at her that would have her shaking if she wasn't made of sterner things. She was an Evans, and Evans women never quailed.
"I'm talking about what are your plans to get Harry out of that school until that madman is caught? Christ, an escaped mass murderer gaining access to a school full a children? When he's after Harry?" He blinked at her as she just stared at him with an open mouth, "Good God woman, you have to know? Harry wrote me the night it happened! Attacking on Halloween, we're just lucky none of the students were hurt!" McCoy took a deep breath.
Petunia's mouth opened and closed as she tried to figure out what to say. Why hadn't Dumbledore let them know? He had never been quite on things of this nature before, he was always the first to write them when Harry got himself into some kind of trouble or another, usually praising the way they had raised him. Petunia wouldn't lie to herself, she knew that the way they'd raised the boy hadn't been the best, but they'd had their reasons, and she would continue until he either left completely or it worked. They were too far in to give in now.
"This is the...first I've heard of it." Petunia said, a hand going to her throat as she thought about the situation. Harry had been in trouble before, had even been in danger, but nothing like this. A mass murderer? Knowing...those people, it was the most danger that Harry could be in, and Petunia didn't like the pit that was growing in her stomach. "Harry and his Headmaster failed to inform us."
He slammed a hand down on something out of her sight, and stared at her in shock.
"You weren't informed? What kinda damn school is that man running up there?" Dr. McCoy muttered under his breath in a very rude manner, and then fixed her with a glare. Petunia returned it, not liking the presumption behind that look.
"But now that you know, you'll be taking steps right?" She raised an eyebrow, but nodded her head.
Of course she would, not that she would tell him what those steps were.
"Yes, Vernon and I will contact the Headmaster tonight. But, I will remind you Dr. McCoy," Petunia almost sneered the title, the ending credits for Doctor Who fueling her anger almost more than the danger her nephew was in did. "I will remind you that until this issue is resolved, you have no legal standing to question how we handle situations such as these."
It was cruel, she knew it as it came out of her mouth, and McCoy reacted like he had been struck, rearing back from the screen and his nostrils flaring, but she said it anyway.
It was only the truth after all.
"I...understand your position Mrs. Dursley," The drawl was back in the American's voice, and he looked at her more formally and coldly than ever, dark eyes glittering at her, "I hope you keep me updated though, so I don't have to rely on Harry's letters alone."
He disconnected the call without another word, leaving Petunia to stare into the emptiness of her living room, before picking up the phone and calling Vernon.
Why could she never get a decent day off?
Hermione had to wait for the perfect moment, and she was almost out of her mind with nerves and impatience when the opportune moment finally presented itself. Things with Harry and Ron had been tense since Halloween, Ron determined that Crookshanks was trying to eat his stupid rat and Harry suspicious of her. On top of it all, she had the Headmaster reminding her of what she owed him every time she turned around.
It was enough to drive anyone mad, and Hermione would freely admit she was beginning to feel resentful.
Harry Bloody Potter should do as he was told, and be grateful for it.
But of course, he never did, and Ron just egged him on.
"No way!" Hermione shook herself out of her mental wanderings and refocused her attention on the tree and presents in front of her, sharp eyes quickly latching on to the forms of Harry and Ron in the center of the room, half the Gryffindor house who had remained over the holidays crowded around them and reaching out to touch the object Harry held reverently in his hands.
"Is that a firebolt?"
"We're going to CREAM Slytherin this year!"
"Who sent it Harry?"
Hermione's eyes narrowed as she took everything in, her mind beginning to whir as Harry admitted he didn't know who sent it.
This might be her chance...if she could get someone to take the Firebolt, she would be able to take the letters as well, and the Headmaster would know what the two had been saying.
It was all to protect Harry, the Headmaster was just worried about him, and this Muggle was not working in Harry's best interest.
Harry's parents were dead, they had never been anything but faithful to each other, and it was cruel to tell him otherwise. Harry needed to buckle down, and prepare. He knew more than others that Voldemort was back on the rise, it would only be a matter of time for the War to break out again.
For the Greater Good should be at the front of his mind, at all times.
"Where are you going, 'Mione?" It was the first time that Harry had spoken to her with any kind of friendliness at all in the last two months, and she almost stopped in her path the door and getting McGonagall, turning to look at him and taking in the bright eyes and the happy smile that had been missing for so long.
She almost regretted what she had done, seeing that smile, but steeled herself and gave him a cool smile, before continuing on her way out of the portrait hole.
It was only a few hallways down to the Deputy Headmistress's rooms, and Hermione shifted from foot to foot as she waited for the Professor to answer the door.
"Miss Granger! What is the meaning of this?" Hermione bit back the urge to jump as Professor McGonagall finally pulled her door open and stared down at her student, pulling her tartan robe around her tightly. "You should be in your common room opening your gifts." The Professor's face was cold, and the familiar lack of warmth that had become common place when Hermione was speaking with her Head of House was more commonplace than normal.
"Professor, I think Harry...I think Harry just opened a gift from Sirius Black." Hermione gulped as the words flew out of her mouth in a flood, mentally saying a prayer to the Virgin Mary for lying, but pushing on. "Its a Firebolt, I just...I'm worried he could get hurt!"
McGonagall's face changed, and her wand appeared in her hand quicker than Hermione could follow. She was envious of that speed, and promised herself that she would one day be able to match the Pureblood Witch in speed and power.
As long as she did what she was told.
"Thank you for letting me know, Miss Granger. I will take it from here." It was a clear dismissal, but Hermione followed closely behind the Professor anyway, taking the chance to steal up the boys stairs and into the third year dorm room.
Hermione could hear the commotion rising up downstairs, but knew that her time was limited. She slammed to her knees in front of the trunk that she knew was Harry's, and thanked his Muggle upbringing that he didn't have one charmed to only open to him like most purebloods did. She threw socks and clothes over her shoulder as she searched for the letters she knew had to be in it somewhere, growling in disgust as a loud whine and bright lights came through a particularly disgusting pair of socks, but she was unsuccessful.
"Where are the blasted things?" Waving her wand to send everything packing back into the trunk, Hermione surveyed the room, anxiety coursing through her. The noise from the common room was still loud, and she hoped she had a few more minutes to search before the boys started their trek to the dorm to bitch and moan about losing their 'chance at Quidditch Glory'.
It wasn't in his bedside table, it wasn't in the desk against the wall (though she did find some questionable material that Seamus Finnigan certainly wasn't old enough to be reading, her cheeks glowed at the mere thought of what she saw on those loose bits of parchment), and she couldn't think of another place that a boy Harry's age would hide anything.
He wouldn't have any reason to hide anything from anyone, it just didn't make sense. Hermione groaned and turned to walk away, the position putting her in just the right angle to see it. If she had turned just a little bit further, she would have missed it.
The edges of an envelope peeked out from under the bed, and she pulled it out with shaking fingers. It was thick, and she recognized the writing on the front as Dr. McCoy's from her brief glimpses when Harry received them.
Hermione stuffed them inside her robe, close to her skin, and ran towards the door, hoping to slide down the stairs withoout being seen.
McGonagall was just taking the broom and heading towards the door, ignoring Harry's cries of outrage with tightly pressed lips, when Hermione stepped into the common room. The bushy haired muggleborn followed the transfiguration professor out, ducking her head as the recriminations of her housemates spewed at her. She couldn't help the tears that flowed, fleeing out the door and rushing past the professor.
Who made no move to stop her. McGonagall was loyal to her lions to a fault, and as far as she was concerned, Granger was conducting herself as more of a Snake that a Lion.
Harry stared out the window of the Hogwarts Express, watching the passing scenery with disinterest. Ron and Hermione were talking stiltedly behind him, their relationship never having gotten back to what it had been before the Firebolt incident. Hermione was trying, the Boy Who Lived would give her that, but he couldn't bring himself to care.
Not when she had done the unthinkable. Harry had no proof, but he knew, he knew with everything in him, that she was the reason the letters had stopped.
Harry didn't know how, and he hadn't been able to make himself ask, but she had given them to Dumbledore, and Dumbledore had done something to force the letters to stop.
Sirius had understood, Sirius had backed up everything that Dr. McCoy had said, and Dumbledore took him away too. Sirius had been glad the man got in touch, though Harry had seen sadness in his eyes when he encouraged Harry to reach out to the Muggle.
But Dumbledore hadn't allowed it, Dumbledore had denied it all and said the holding of his mail was for his own good. As the Boy Who Lived, Harry had a responsibility to the Wizarding World as a whole, not just to his own wants and desires. One day, Dumbledore claimed, Harry would understand that and support it.
The Boy Who Lived, how Harry hated that title. Everyone said it with such reverence that it was a weight hanging around his neck, dragging him further and further down with their expectations until each and every day was a chore.
And he was expected to smile, say thank you, and lay his life and happiness on the ground to save them. To give up everything for them.
It was this thought that went around his head as he climbed off the train and walked into the Muggle station without stopping to speak to anyone, dragging his trunk behind him.
It was that thought, the knowledge that an entire community expected him to sacrifice himself for them while they did nothing but cower in the corner, that followed him throughout that summer, and into the worst year he had ever experienced yet at Hogwarts.
It was that knowledge that followed him like a ball and chain attached to his neck as he portkeyed back to Hogwarts grounds, with Cedric Diggory's lifeless body clutched in his arms, only to be faced with recriminations on why had hadn't been fast enough or strong enough to save the other boy, on how he was a failure and a liar once again.
It was that thought that led him to stand before Uncle Vernon, his wand laying in his hands, before it snapped in half under the strength of his grip. Harry threw the pieces on the ground with a sneer and looked his uncle clear in the eye.
"I don't want to be a Freak anymore." He almost snarled the words, Uncle Vernon almost stepping back at the anger in his nephews voice...before giving him the first smile the fourteen year old could remember in the thirteen years he had been living under their roof.
"Welcome to the Family, Harry."
AN-Well...I really don't have an excuses for this chapter. It sucks, its unrefinied, its rough, and it probably makes about as much sense as a Duckbilled Platypus, but it is what it is. After three months of continuous rewrites and more frustation than I care to admit, I finally decided to put it up so I can focus on the next chapter and the plot that I am more sure about. This chapter may be edited as I get time and more inclination than I have now, but for now, it is what it is.
Any criticism for this chapter will be justly deserved, and I welcome it. Hopefully, the next chapter won't take me as long to post, and will be more enjoyable.
Please read and review.