So sorry for the incredibly long absence from this story! I have no excuse really, but know I feel quite guilty and that I won't eat any more chocolate during the Easter holiday as punishment! /Jules
Harry returned to Hogwarts for his fifth year with a small sense of loss, though he couldn't really understand the feeling. Perhaps because Cedric wasn't there, since he'd already graduated and was now working at the Ministry of Magic, courtesy of his father, something that pleased Tom greatly. He already had several followers working within the Ministry, but it couldn't hurt to have one more. Cedric were to report to them weekly with any updates, since he now held the position of assistant to the Minister of Magic, Cornelius Fudge. Cedric had told him that his father had used his title as winner of the Triwizard Tournament to get him so near the Minister, of course his son deserved such an important job as his assistant. Apparently, Fudge had listened, since he'd owled the Diggory heir a few days later, asking him to come over for a meeting. A few hours later, the job had been his.
Before they'd parted ways at King's Cross after leaving Hogwarts, Cedric had assured him that he'd come and visit Harry as often as he could, though not to the point of making Harry sick of his presence. Harry had chuckled and kissed him goodbye before heading towards the entrance of the train station. He'd use his portkey to Tom's manor when he got back to Privet Drive, just in case he was followed by any of Dumbledore's associates.
Harry politely clapped with the rest of his House when the newest members took their seats at the end of their table. No one of importance seemed to have arrived this year, so Harry didn't pay that much attention to them, or anyone else for that matter. He vaguely heard Malfoy brag about his newest broom to his 'friends', who seemed to hang onto his every word. Spoiled brat.
The summer hadn't been that bad, to be honest. Once he'd managed to get Tom away from his endless reports, they'd spent some time doing something they hadn't really done before: nothing. Being a Dark Lord and the Dark Lord's right man wasn't easy shoes to fill, and they rarely had time to relax, especially for Harry since he was still in school.
He had dragged Tom outside and practically thrown him down onto the ground before joining him, lying with his arms and legs spread out in the grass, gazing up at the blue sky and just breathed in the fresh air. Tom had complained at first, saying the grass itched, or it was too hot or too cold, before he'd quieted down. When Harry looked over to see what had caused the man to go quiet, he'd found him sound asleep.
When Marvolo had found them, he'd curled his lips in disdain and said the wizarding world was doomed, when Harry had silenced him with a flick of his wand, whilst pointing at the sleeping Dark Lord next to him. Marvolo had looked ready to skin Harry for daring to silence him, before joining them on the ground, much to Harry's surprise. Marvolo had removed the charm, with a glare in Harry's direction, and said that if Tom and Harry didn't have to work, neither did he. He'd lied down, and a few minutes later, Harry found the older man fast asleep in the grass.
Dumbledore still wasn't ready to let the Potter heir out of his grasp. It turned out he'd visited the house at Privet Drive during the summer, because that's what a headmaster do during summer holidays, only to find it empty, void of both the Dursleys and of Harry. He'd immediately sent a letter to Harry, asking where he was and with an indirect order to tell him of his whereabouts so that he could come and get him. And where were his relatives? Was he with them? Had they been gone long? When would they return? Harry had scoffed as he threw the letter into the fireplace, having no intention of ever letting the old fool know where he was. Although it would be fun to see his face when he'd learn that his Golden Boy had spent the summer at the Dark Lord's manor.
"Potter, the headmaster would like to see you in his office after the feast, the password is lemon drops", Snape said as he handed out the new timetables. "I do hope, for your sake, you have a good explanation for you and your relatives' absence this summer."
Please, as if Snape genuinely cared about him. He and Tom had decided to keep Harry's real identity a secret from his followers, at least for the time being. Tom would announce his return to the wizarding world before anything else were to happen.
"Thanks, sir", Harry said whilst skimming through his new timetable. Not too bad, he only had to endure Potions and History of Magic with the Gryffindor's, it could've been worse. Weasley and Granger were still as unbearable as always. After the death of his sister, Weasley had become even more annoying than before, shooting dark looks at everyone, especially the Slytherin's. With his prejudice, he was certain they'd had something to do with Ginny's death, all Slytherin's were evil, after all.
Granger was still as bossy as usual, having proclaimed several times to have read all the new year's assigned books, and to know all the spells necessary to excel in each class. Harry wanted to suffocate her with a book. That would be appropriate, considering how much she loved to read.
After the feast, Harry headed to Dumbledore's office, trying his hardest not to just grab his wand and end the old fool's life with a simple 'bombarda'. He'd love to see his head explode into tiny little pieces.
"Mr. Potter, please come in", said Dumbledore and gestured to the chair opposite his own, "please, have a seat."
After a quick glance, Harry noticed that the famous twinkle was absent from the old man's eyes. He had to quickly bite his tongue to stop himself from smirking at that fact.
"You wanted to see me, headmaster?" Harry asked, opting for a clueless tone and a small frown.
Dumbledore observed him quietly for a moment, before sighing and saying, with a sad tone Harry was certain was false, "I must confess myself to be very disappointed in you, Harry."
"I came to visit you and your family during the summer, at your residence at Privet Drive, only to find the place empty of any living soul. Care to explain that, Harry?" A disapproving glint in his blue eyes.
Harry adapted a puzzled frown and said, hesitantly, "Why would you visit me during my summer holiday, sir?"
"I merely wanted to see if you were alright, my b- Mr. Potter. I have to admit, I've been worried about you for some time", Dumbledore said and inclined his head forward, as if sharing a secret.
"Worried about me? Why?"
"Ever since you and young Diggory went public with your relationship, there have been talk and rumours about both of you, I wanted to be sure none of it had reached your residence at Privet Drive. But we digress. Please tell me of your whereabouts this summer, Mr. Potter."
Did he really think that to be a plausible explanation? Pathetic excuse to check up on him, more like.
"I wasn't aware I had to report where I choose to spend my summer holiday, sir", less puzzled, more annoyed. Let's see Dumbledore talk his way out of this one.
"Mr. Potter, you must by now have realized what an important role you have in our world. And you know why you must remain at Privet Drive, the wards will keep you safe from danger. To leave the safety of them, for all of two months and without a word to anyone, is quite foolish. Now, where were you?"
As if Harry would play along. "I don't think that's anyone else's business but mine, sir, least of all yours. I'm here, aren't I, whole and healthy? Considering how much my relatives' care for my wellbeing, you can be sure I was as far away from them as possible. Now, if you'll excuse me, I'm feeling quite tired and would very much like to go to bed. Goodbye, sir."
And with that, Harry got up, ignoring the spluttering from the shocked headmaster, and left the room, wanting very much to be anywhere but in the old man's presence.