A/N: This story, as a few in the world of Harry Potter fanfiction, stems from one of those many ideas of Rorschachs Blot, entitled "Nothing to Lose." One of the areas this story will explore is the possible impact on Harry Potter of the isolation that our dear old friend, Albus Dumbledore, always fed to it, it will make up its own reality.
Chapter One: The Committee
The sound of the hammer pounding down on the counter in front of DMLE Director Amelia Bones cut through the sound of conversation in the crowded hall. The Wizengamot chambers were full to overflowing as the committee hearings into the summer and fall fiasco of Harry Potter's ongoing treatment and actions were scheduled to begin.
"Let it be known that this special committee of the 586th session of the Wizengamot of Magical Britain is now in session. Under the special rules agreed to by this body last night, I will act as the presiding chair," she began.
Seated as witnesses were the bowed heads and sad faces of several of the members of the order of the Phoenix including Albus Dumbledore himself, Harry Potter's friends from Hogwarts and two surprising figures, Cyrus and Isabella Greengrass, figures normally associated with the pureblood agenda and not affiliated with Potter or Dumbledore in any way. Of course, Bones knew the reason they were there, as well as the fact that Harry Potter could no longer really be said to be on Dumbledore's side, let alone anyone else.
Her heart went out to the young man whose background she had begun to explore in the past few weeks following what was now being called the September Culling. There were several figures absent from the hall this morning: Harry Potter was an effective, if unorthodox, pest remover. Only in the inner fastnesses of her own mind would Amelia call those people who had escaped the death eater trials "pests"; she usually reserved stronger language for them. They were guilty, despite their pleas of being under the imperius curse, but she had no proof; at least not until the culling visits. Mr. Potter was very thorough in his methods, if a bit "final"; the evidence left behind with the bodies would have been more than enough to convict every last death eater killed.
Looking at the bent head and sad face of Albus Dumbledore, she realized she did not feel any pity for him. If what she had learned was true, this was a mess of his own making. She had always been frustrated with the old wizard's withholding of information and his pleas to forgive and allow others the benefit of doubt. But now, in the Potter boy's case, he had probably withheld too much and allowed the Boy-Who-Lived to draw the wrong conclusions as to what was going on.
Still, she thought she would not begin with Dumbledore. Allow Potter's friends to explain what they had been told by the Headmaster; explore their justifications: then let the old goat try to talk his way out of that.
"This commission calls Remus Lupin of Nottingham, England, to the chair," she intoned. As the shabbily dressed man rose and came forward, taking halting steps, Amelia was glad she had insisted that all the witnesses being called today be sequestered from one another. This was to ensure that everyone gave testimony not doctored or coached from the master manipulator.
"State your name and please swear on your magic that you will tell the truth, the whole truth and nothing but the truth...," she intoned as the young man took the chair in the center of the room.
"Remus Lupin, " he said in a tired voice. The full moon had only been two days before. "I swear on my magic that I will..."
Harry was beginning to get worried, every letter he'd sent out to his friends had been returned unopened. When he'd tried asking Hedwig what was going on she's just replied with a mournful bark.
"Neville," Harry said suddenly. "Do you think you could get something to him, girl?"
"Preck," Hedwig agreed.
Harry jotted down a quick request for information and attached it to the owl's leg. "Wait a few minutes for a reply, please."
Hedwig affectionately nipped Harry's outstretched finger for a few moments before hopping off her perch and flying out the window to accomplish her task.
Harry watched until his friend had faded from sight before going down to take care of his chores. He was in the middle of his yard work when the sound of someone stepping on a twig caught his attention.
"Who's there?" Harry demanded. There was no reply to his query. "Who's there or I'll start hexing?" Harry said louder, his fingers closed around the grip of his wand.
"It's me," Remus said as he pulled the hood off his invisibility cloak.
"Remus," Harry sighed in relief, "you scared me."
"Sorry about that, Harry," Remus said with a forced smile.
"What are you doing here?" Harry asked intently. "Are you here to take me away from the Dursleys?"
"I'm here to keep an eye on you," Remus replied. "Can't take any chances, what with 'you-know-who' being back."
"I guess," Harry said slowly. "What can you tell me about the war? What's happening?"
"I shouldn't even be talking to you, Harry," Remus looked uncomfortable at the admission. "Just ...just stay in your room for a couple more weeks and then we'll see what we can do, 'eh?"
"What about Ron and Hermione?" Harry persisted. "Do you know why they haven't been sending me any letters this year?"
"I really can't talk about that," Remus said slowly, "Just wait a couple of weeks, Harry."
"I understand," Harry said in a subdued voice. And he did, there was only one reason that his friends wouldn't write to him over the summer. He'd hoped that it wasn't true but Remus' response was confirmation enough for the boy. "I'll just...I'll just go back to my room then," Harry suggested. He turned his back and began walking back to the house.
Remus wanted to call out to the boy, wanted to tell him that everything would be alright and that he'd only have to wait a couple more weeks before he'd be with his friends again but he did not. In the end, Dumbledore's orders were more important than the duty he had to his dead friend's son.
"Can you describe what you were doing at Mr. Potter's residence the last day you saw him?" Bones began. She could see Dumbledore flinch at the question. She knew he did not want it out in the public sphere that the Order of the Phoenix was 'guarding' Harry Potter.
Lupin looked at Dumbledore for a moment, but at a gesture from Bones, turned back to the Wizengamot panel.
"I was there on guard duty," Lupin admitted slowly.
"Guard duty against what?" Bones persisted.
"Guard duty against possible Death Eater attacks."
"Was that all? Remember, you are under a magical oath. We can supply veritaserum if we need to."
"No...also against owls and people trying to get in contact with Harry."
"Why would you need to guard him against that?" Bones sounded incredulous.
"Albus said that Harry needed a quiet place to grieve the events of the past year and to gain some perspective on things. People contacting him or owls with messages would distract him and hinder the healing process."
"Based on what I have heard happened during the past year, the last thing that Mr. Potter would need would be to be alone," Bones snapped. "If one of my aurors had experienced a fraction of what that young man had experienced, he or she would be off for some serious down time and some counseling."
"Albus told us that time away from the wizarding world would help Harry to heal by not having him constantly hearing about the events, the speculation, and the continual bad news about the war," came Lupin's reply. It was obvious that he was reluctant to say anything about Dumbledore's instructions.
"What about his friends?" came the next question from Augusta Longbottom. She had wrangled a place on the tribunal and was determined to get to the truth of things regardless of which anthills she would turn over.
"Albus advised us that the no contact rule with the wizarding world would include his friends as Harry needed time away.
"So no contact, no letters, whether by owl or muggle post," Bones interjected. "No care or question on what Mr. Potter really felt or needed."
Lupin puffed out his chest in indignation. "Albus told us that he was making the best decisions possible for Harry, that he cared for Harry as a son or grandson. He is Harry's magical guardian after all."
"We'll get back to that," Bones said. "To continue, what was the nature of your last conversation with Harry?"
"He wanted to know if I was there to take him away from his Muggle relatives and what news was out there from the war and from his friends," he replied.
"Why could you not answer him, even just to give him some idea of what was going on and what the future plans were to be?" Augusta asked.
"Albus had made it very clear to those of us helping out at Harry's home that we were to say nothing to him. I wanted to say something, but I believed that Albus had Harry's best interests at heart."
"How did he take your answers?" Bones asked.
"He nodded his head, and returned to the house."
"Did he seem accepting of your answers?
Lupin's face reflected several emotions as he took a few seconds to consider his answer. Then, in a low voice, he said. "No, I would have to say not."
"I'm sorry Mr. Lupin, I'm afraid that I did not hear your answer," Bones said. "Could you repeat that please?"
"No, I would have to say not."
"How did you think he took your answer?"
"Badly, I'm afraid. But...it would only have been two more weeks," he said quickly. "He was safe where he was and in two more weeks, he would have been with his friends."
"Did you specifically tell him that he would be with his friends?"
Lupin hung his head at the question. "No, I said nothing about his friends," he said softly.
"No further questions." Bones said. "We now call Auror Nymphadora Tonks to the chair.
Harry returned to his room and waited until late that night for Hedwig to return. It wasn't until the sun began to turn the sky red that he sadly concluded that he's sent his owl to her death, one more friend gone.
He really didn't have much to live for, Harry thought to himself as he stared at the wall dully, not anymore anyway. In the beginning, Hogwarts had been wonderful because of the promise it offered to learn magic and to have a relatively Dursley free year. After the first year though, after the first year it was the friendships he'd made that had caused his eagerness to go back. Friendships that had come to an end, friends that had died because of their relationship to him. What other reason did Voldemort have to target them so soon?
Harry let out a deep breath. Voldemort had deprived him of his main reason to keep on going. Harry thought it only fair to reply in kind, to destroy everything that Voldemort had spent so many years building up, to send a hundred Death Eaters to tell his friends that they hadn't been forgotten, to have his revenge.
He had his purpose, now all he had to do was figure out what he needed to make it happen. Harry spent another twenty minutes staring blankly at the wall before he had a sudden burst of inspiration. He knew what he needed, he knew how to make it happen.
Apparition can't be too hard if mediocre wizards like Dung could do it, Harry thought to himself, and it wasn't like he hadn't already done it once before. Harry's eyes unfocused as he concentrated on his destination. For a few seconds, nothing happened, then with a large pop, Harry disappeared.
Tonks looked up in alarm as her trained ears caught something that sounded like magical transport. A quick check of the wards confirmed that her ears had to have been playing tricks on her and she soon settled down to wait out the rest of her shift.
A/N: Obviously we leave our story on a bit of a cliffhanger, but hopefully you can guess who the next witness will be before the Wizangamot. As always, reviews, are greatly appreciated :) They're what inspire us. Also, if you ever find any factual or gramatical errors, please tell us so we correct them ASAP.