Author's note. Big thanks to RUGoing2write that who wrote the part in italics for this chapter, it was a lovely piece. This came as a surprise but a really good one. So on that note, if anyone wanted to write a little piece for this story, they'd be welcome to.
Also, ClarriseLaRue-DaughterOfAres is doing a 'read the book' story of this fic. It isn't up yet but should be soon, if anyone is interested.
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Enjoy and please review.
"UH!" Harry exclaimed, his heart beating furiously against his chest as he came awake.
With his bed curtains drawn, he was bathed in darkness but his eyes could dimly make out the bed before him with a couple of sweet wrappers at the end of it. They glinted slightly from the very small light a crack in the curtains gave and Harry watched them as he tried to bring his breathing under control.
He'd just experienced his first nightmare in several months and his heart was pounding so hard, it felt like it might burst. Harry rubbed at his tired eyes; he'd been up late celebrating Gryffindor's win over Slytherin. It had been a very exciting game and although Harry hadn't swallowed any Snitches this time, he'd still managed a vertical dive for the Snitch from fifty feet where the Slytherin Seeker had been forced to pull out.
Harry had pulled out of his dive at just the right moment, lunging forward and snatching the Snitch while successfully flying forward off his broom and hitting the ground. Thanks to his training, he'd managed to roll and finish only slightly winded on his back, clutching the little golden ball in one hand.
It was the team pounding on his back that had probably given him the large bruise on his back rather than his tumble from his Nimbus. Oliver had been beside himself with glee, utterly convinced that this year they were going to win this year and Harry was allowing himself to be cautiously optimistic that they would.
But he had a lot more on his mind than Quidditch right now.
"Bugger," he muttered to himself, flinging his covers off and opening the curtains of his four poster bed, snatching up his glasses from the bedside table.
Ignoring the snores of the other boys, he trudged over to the window, only wincing slightly at the cold floor. With a sigh he sat on the wide windowsill and stared out into the grounds which were only just illuminated by dawn's first light. There were still some sweets scattered about so he grabbed a chocolate frog and started to eat it.
It was hard to forget the distorted dream he had had and the feelings he'd experienced. Unlike his visions which tended to play almost like films, this had been a series of jumbled images that had no real order to them and he was already forgetting some of them. But others were perfectly clear and he felt a little ill at the thought of them.
They all had a main theme, what if he couldn't handle seeing Sirius and even worse, what if Sirius somehow found out what he was? Sirius had always been there for him but he was expecting a much different Harry Potter to the one he was going to get. How could he pretend to be an innocently eleven year old when he desperately just wanted to confess everything to his godfather?
But what if Sirius took it really badly? He already felt guilt over Harry's parents, imagine how he'd feel if he heard all that had happened to Harry? Or perhaps he wouldn't believe him and think he needed serious time in a St Mungo's secure ward. Merlin, he really didn't want that.
He wondered how Sirius was doing. This they hadn't officially met, he hadn't sent any letters as he wanted their first interaction to be a face to face one. Each day that passed, his excitement at finally seeing his godfather alive and well had been building but now he couldn't help but feel a little scared.
He just hoped that nothing went wrong.
Much later that day with the sun already setting, a thin man, slightly haunted looking man entered the sitting room of the burrow.
"Hmm," the bespectacled man mumbled, lifting his head up, he'd been half dozing in his chair.
Sirius smiled and walked over to him, holding a cup of tea.
"Here, Molly instructed me to give you this," he said, offering it to the older man who took it. "You're going to work after dinner, aren't you?"
"Sadly yes," Arthur agreed, placing the cup on the table beside him so he could push up his glasses and rub at his eyes.
"They overwork you Arthur," Sirius stated with concern, settling himself another chair.
His physical progress had been amazing, even though he was still much too thin; he was looking less like a skeleton now. Of course, simply being clean with cut hair that was no longer matter did make a big difference, as well as decent robes. Molly kept giving him extra helpings and day by day, he was eating more.
"That's what Molly says," Arthur said with a small smile, now swallowing a mouthful of tea. "She'd like me to apply for another department."
"But you like where you are now?" Sirius questioned and Arthur nodded.
"I do, muggle objects are so fascinating," he said enthusiastically. "And it is a vital job, so many muggle objects get enchanted and deliberately or accidently, they can end up in muggle hands. The results can be utterly disastrous and you need someone like me to go and fix it."
Sirius nodded, he could easily imagine how easy it would be to bewitch innocent looking objects and slip them amongst an unsuspecting muggle crowd. It was a safer way to mugglebait with the decreased risk of getting caught. All they had to do was observe at a difference and feel smug and superior.
"How many people are in your department?" Sirius now asked.
"Including me?" Arthur asked sardonically. "Two, the second is Perkins."
"Two?" Sirius said in disbelief. "You mean there's just two of you to deal with all those muggle objects that get bewitched?"
"That's about it," Arthur said. "And sometimes I am requested to help Magical Law Enforcement cover raids, in case they run into anything that might fall under my jurisdiction."
"Do they pay you extra for that?" Sirius asked, already suspecting the answer.
"Not much," Arthur shrugged. "The present government does not see much importance in the department, it's only exists because no one else wants to bother with muggle enchantments."
This made Sirius scowl; no doubt his family loved this position. Those of his family tree not dead or in prison probably encouraged this view for all they were worth.
"That's not right," he declared and Arthur shrugged.
"I'm just lucky I can do a job I love," he said, smiling slightly.
Sirius glanced at a piece of parchment in his hand; it was a list of things Molly had gotten for him using his money, robes, food, ect. She was not going to allow anyone to say that her family was taking advantage of the fact that Sirius had authorised them to withdraw gold from his vault. Sirius didn't believe for a moment they'd take advantage of him, you only had to spend a little time with them to know how honest they were.
Frankly, he wouldn't mind if they spent a bit on themselves, not only where they looking after him but it would feel so good to think about what his mother would say if she knew. As the Black heir, he now had control of the family fortune and it's asserts, meaning he could spend it on whatever he wanted, including helping so called 'blood traitors.'
"I guess at some point I'll have to think about getting a job," Sirius mused. "I don't fancy sitting around doing nothing, especially as Harry's in school most of the year."
"I'm sure you'll find something," Arthur said with a smile. "I believe we should have a few leaflets lying around of jobs available out there. Bill and Charlie left some and Percy brought some home when school broke up for summer."
Sirius let out a bark of laughter.
"I remember those leaflets," he chuckled. "McGonagall handed them out to everyone in fifth year."
He sighed reminiscently.
"I think I'll need a few remedial lessons before I start applying for anything, if anyone will have me," he mused to himself. Right now, he wasn't overly worried, he had a lot to sort out before he started looking for a job and he had enough money to live on. It was more the social aspect of a job that he craved, being able to talk to others, joke and laugh.
Then he remembered that he still didn't know if he'd need to go back to the Ministry for a hearing because a certain Potion's master hadn't made up his mind yet.
"Snape's taking his sweet time," Sirius now grumbled as Arthur gave him a knowing look.
"You didn't get on with him in school, did you?"
"That's putting it lightly," he snorted. "Do any of your boys?"
"Bill achieved a Newt grade in Potions," was the reply as Arthur smoothed the cover of his old book. "And Percy fully intends to do the same as Bill, Charlie wasn't interested in pursuing a Newt grade. It's a little early to say if the twins or Ron will take the class in their sixth year, Professor Snape only accepts an O in Owls."
"An O?" Sirius exclaimed in disbelief.
"Bill says he only wishes to teach the very best," Arthur said lightly. "And in a way I can see the argument, if you can come out of his class with a Next grade, then you clearly have a talent for the subject. I've heard that he is credited with producing the very best Potioneers in the whole of Europe and quite possibly beyond."
"Oh, he was always good at the potions," Sirius stated rather dismissively. "But only taking O students is ridiculous, Slughorn at least took E's."
"It's his choice," Arthur stated simply. "I believe his standards are a little higher than Slughorns. Not that he wasn't a good teacher but..."
"But at times he was more concerned with his students prospects and connections," a voice declared and they turned to see Molly standing there with a flour dusted apron, a batter covered wooden spoon in one hand.
Sirius had a feeling the way Slughorn had operated was something of a sore spot for Molly and it probably involved her husband.
"At least Professor Snape has no time for that nonsense," she continued briskly. "He might be a little strict but no one can argue that some of our boys don't deliberately cause trouble at times."
"The twins," Arthur said simply to Sirius, hiding a smile. Sirius hadn't met the infamous Fred and George but he was reasonably certain he was going to get on with them.
"Besides," she said, swooping in to take Arthur's empty cup of tea, sprinkling a little flour onto his book. "From what Ron's said in his letters, Harry seems to get on quite well with him."
Sirius twitched at this. Ever since Dumbledore had told him that Harry actually got on with the greasy git, he'd been worry about what could mean for their relationship. Until Lily dumped the bastard, she'd never wanted to the Marauders the time of day, except for Remus. What if Snape oh so subtly started to plant things into Harry's mind, turning him against his godfather.
"Dinner will be ready in half an hour," Molly said briskly, bustling back to the kitchen.
"What's that?" Sirius questioned as Arthur lifted his book up to brush the flour off it.
"Hmm...oh just a Muggle book I once picked up, on dreams and things," he said, gazing at the volume. Recently, he'd been consulting it a lot more often and it was all due to an incident over the summer.
Molly had slipped a little dreamless sleep in to Ron's hot cocoa. After he fell asleep, she put him to bed. She was worried.
"Oh Arthur, for him to have such a vivid dream…" said Molly. She didn't know why it worried her but it did. Something wasn't right; her mother's instinct was telling her that her baby needed to be protected but she simply didn't know what from and it was frustrating.
"Molly…um…well, it might not have been a dream…not exactly…" said Arthur. He'd been thinking. Ron's dream was too vivid, too specific. Dreams weren't like that. They were random and didn't make a whole lot of sense. They were the brain's way of dealing with stuff, he knew that much.
A few years previously, he'd been sent to a Muggle 'charity shop' due to reports of a wizard's possessions accidently being donated there. Apparently, the deceased wizard had been a muggleborn and thus, certain relatives hadn't known what they were giving away. After being given a budget of galleons to convert to muggle 'pounds', Arthur had gone to said charity shop to recover the enchanted items.
While he was there, he saw a couple of books on dream interpretation, astrology and divination and bought them; he'd believed they were wizard books because one had a crystal ball on the front. It turned out muggles had something similar to divination. He showed the covers to his boss, who'd thought that they looked like wizard books too, so he didn't have to pay the ministry back for the books. That was a lucky break he still remembered fondly.
If he could have, he'd have taken a muggle course on Psychology when he first graduated from Hogwarts. It was fascinating. He read about dreams and what they meant and the theories behind them including the one that stated a dream was simply the brain's way of processing daily events and rarely meant anything. This was too vivid to be a simple dream.
Then Arthur remembered. His Great Uncle Percival Weasley was a seer. He kept a dream journal and almost every single dream came true, even to the rise and fall of Grindelwald. If his Great Uncle Percy was still alive, then he'd contact him, but Percy had died a few years before Voldemort's rise.
"What do you mean Arthur?" asked Molly.
"Well…my great Uncle Percy, the one we named Percy after, he was…a seer. He had dreams; vivid dreams like that, and well, most of the time…his dreams would come true. Ron may have inherited a portion of his seer ability. I know my brothers and I didn't get any but…well, Seer traits are tricky. They can manifest once in a person and never manifest again or, like my uncle, they can be so strong they manifest daily. His dad, my Great-Great Uncle Billius had one vision when he was ten and never had another vision. So, it is entirely possible that Ron may have had a vision instead of a dream…" said Arthur.
"But Arthur, Ronnie fighting He-who-must-not-be-named…Fred dying…Percy hexing someone…" asked Molly, "It can't be…"
"That's the point though Molly, his dream was too specific. The Joke Percy told, Fred's reaction, the Death Eater Thicknesse who killed the previous Minister, and other details are just too specific. And how, how could Ronald have said that name without fear…we have never mentioned him by name, only by his titles. Sure, Ronald could have and even would have heard it from his brothers, but he would also have learned to fear the name too, much like we do. His reaction, his ability to say the name without thinking…that cannot come from a simple dream," said Arthur, "I'll tell you what we'll do. We'll write Dumbledore and tell him about the dream and our suspicions and then we'll push Dumbledore to do everything in his power to make sure that it doesn't happen that way. I'll speak to Amelia and even Cornelius on Monday and…"
"No. You won't speak to Cornelius. He hates you. Speak to Amelia, speak to Rufus, and make plans. Then…we'll contact Dumbledore so that if what Ron dreamed is a vision, we'll be ready," said Molly. She knew that Fudge hated her husband and if he talked about what Ron saw in his dream, he'd be fired and Ron might end up being sent to the Unspeakables.
Arthur had agreed with his wife, while Fudge seemed harmless, he had a tendency to listen to the likes of Lucius Malfoy a bit too much. It was unlikely he'd take the revelation that a young boy was having visions of You-Know-Who returning in the near future well.
"Looks like Divination," Sirius said, making a face. "I never understood that subject and I'm glad I never took it. Too wishy washy."
Arthur chuckled, he had to admit when he was in school, he hadn't been interested either. However, as he'd read both wizard and muggle books on the subject, he was being drawn into it. He only hoped he could work out what Ron's dream really meant before it was too late.
"It's a shame Remus's secret's out," Harry said wistfully as they exited the castle and walked down the stairs to the grounds. "Do you think we'll ever get him as a teacher?"
"Who knows," Ron shrugged. "Lucius Malfoy won't be happy about him teaching his precious son."
"Draco doesn't have to go," Harry muttered.
After Sirius's trail, there had of course been a lot of news coverage with reporters splashing as many juicy details across it as they could muster. And one of the details had been the fact they'd become Animagi in order to assist their werewolf friend. The Daily Prophet eagerly explained to its readers that the Wolfsbane Potion, which allowed werewolves to retain their mind, had not yet been invented meaning that the werewolf in question had not been safe when he transformed.
Harry was very annoyed that Rita Skeeter had jumped upon this like a starving dog upon a bone and had started enthusiastically declared this clear proof that Dumbledore was senile and should start looking for his replacement. And the media storm was only gathering momentum; Harry suspected that even the Quibbler might end up running a piece about it.
He'd known that at Sirius's trial, it would come out. After all, how could Sirius possibly explain why he and Pettigrew were Animagus without talking about Remus? Barely anyone took the time and effort to become Animagi, they had only done it for a very specific reason. Anyway, even if Sirius had tried to keep it quiet, there would have been nothing stopping Pettigrew blurting it out to the world. It was one of those really unfortunate but unavoidable things.
"I've been thinking," Hermione said as they walked to Hagrid's hut. "It would be a really good idea to have some Polyjuice Potion handy, for any missions we might need to take on."
"Sounds good," Ron agreed. "But where will we get the Bloomslang skin and stuff? Snape's office?"
"Well...," Hermione said slowly. "I was actually thinking that it might be better if we buy it. I have a savings account but my parents might question if I took a lot out of it but I was considering trying to get a summer job."
"A summer job?" Harry questioned.
"Yes," she said with a nod. "I've been thinking recently, I want to keep closer ties to the Muggle world. You know I always loved being with you guys but...I don't want to drift away from my parents again."
The boys weren't silent, when they'd been younger; it hadn't really struck them that Hermione spent less and less time with her parents. And Harry knew that it was mostly due to him that she'd sacrificed precious family time.
"Hermione," he began guiltily but she cut him off.
"It's alright," she said with a small smile. "It's in the past, there's no point in dwelling on it. The best thing we can do is move forward. Besides, I was only planning to find something part time, we could still spend time together. You both need to come and stay at mind; we can go to a funfair like I said before. There's also the cinema, the beach that usually has a waterslide, bowling alley..."
"I've no idea what most of those are but they sound good," Ron said with a grin. "Do you guys have a fireplace, we could floo over."
"I'm afraid not," Hermione said as Harry asked.
"What about side apperation? Maybe Sirius or Ron's parents could take us over to yours?"
"That could work," she said with a slow nod. "You can always talk it over at Christmas; we'll be in contact with Hedwig at the very least."
"Maybe we could meet up with you and your parents," suggested Harry. "Let them see a bit more of the wizarding world."
She smiled at him, she liked that idea.
"I also thought that a paper would be a good idea...the wizarding world needs a paper that isn't so controlled by the Ministry of magic," she continued.
"We've got the Quibbler," Ron reminded her.
"Yes but most people only read it for amusement. Let's face it; the majority of the stories are conspiracy theories all about goblins being cooked in pies, the Aurors being controlled by Nargals and other nonsense like that. I know it published Harry's stories and it got a lot better but as a one man operation, it was vulnerable to intimidation," she explained.
"You got that right," Ron grumbled a scowl on his face at the mention of Xenophilius Lovegood. He had not forgiven the man for betraying them to the Death Eaters. "Idiot."
"You're not going to say that to Luna?" Hermione asked with concern, knowing from past experience that the young Ravenclaw did not like anyone casting doubt on her eccentric father.
"What? No, why would I?" he said in complete innocence. "But he is."
"Perhaps but not to her," she said knowingly as Hagrid came round his hut and waved at the sight of them.
Afternoon tea with Hagrid, what could be better?
Author's note. In the next chapter, Harry confronts a certain student but how does that go? Find out next time, until then.