This is my first HP fic that I'm putting on this site. I've been writing it for months, and debating on whether or not to post it, and decided that I would give it a shot and see if anyone would be interested in it. It's already WAY longer than anything I've written before, and I'm barely halfway there. I'm not sure if I'll do it in two stories, or keep it under this one, but we'll cross that bridge when we get to it.
As I truly detest flames, I have a very extensive author's note at the end of this chapter. Normally, I don't give anything away about my stories, as I prefer my readers to be a bit surprised, but I'd rather cut down on the amount of scathing reviews I might get. My notion? Don't like, don't read. Simple as that.
Well, I hope you all enjoy the ride. I'm not sure how often updates are going to happen, but I'll try to be at least somewhat consistent.
Disclaimer: I'm not going to do one of these per update, as they get very tired after a while so I'll be very clear on this one: I do not own anything in regards to Harry Potter, who belongs to the wonderful J. K. Rowling. What I am writing, I am doing for my own enjoyment, and am making no money off of it.
Harry ran, ignoring the pain in his leg; hell, the pain all over. He zigzagged between tombstones, weaving around the spells that were being cast his way. Only one thing mattered: get to Cedric and the cup. He knew that he only had moments before the shadows of his parents would blind him from the deadly aim of Voldemort.
He took a running slid across the grass, landing next to his onetime opponent. Just as he gripped the other teen's wrist, holding up his wand, he felt the air shimmer. A CRACK announced someone Apparating close by, and he whirled around to face him. His face contorted with rage as he saw Peter. This was the man who had betrayed his parents, who had caused him to suffer for years with relatives who hated him, who framed Harry's godfather which landed him in hell on earth for years. Now he'd helped to torture Harry, killed Cedric, and returned Voldemort to his body.
As though he was watching someone else right then, he felt his arm rise. "Stupefy!" he roared, knocking the man out. He fell right next to Harry, who realized the tiny shard of luck that he'd managed to retain for the evening.
With the last bit of energy that he possessed, he reached out , ducking once more as spells were being cast at him, grabbed both Peter and Cedric and raised his wand once more. "Accio!"
The cup hurtled towards them, and he grabbed it with his wand hand, careful not to break the precious piece of wood. He felt the familiar jerk behind his navel. They were going back.
When they slammed into the ground, Harry didn't move. He didn't want to, he just wanted to smell the grass and be thankful that he was still alive. But, he was in so much pain, and knew that this night was about to get longer. He felt more than heard or saw someone run and fall next to the three of them.
"Harry? Harry what is going on?" Dumbledore asked, and Harry nearly laughed at the idea of the headmaster being ignorant of something.
"Albus? What's happened?" Fudge demanded, running and panting over to them. "Is that Diggory? My God, he's dead!"
Harry kept his eyes screwed shut. He wanted to postpone this for as long as he could. But then he heard a very good question. "Harry, is that Pettigrew?" Albus asked.
The young wizard cracked open his eyes. "Yes, it is. He killed Cedric, and brought Voldemort back from the dead! I saw it, he's back. Cedric asked me to bring his body back." Feeling the emotions burning a hole in his throat, his eyes pleaded for understanding. "I couldn't leave him there! Peter tried to stop me from leaving, so I brought him back, too."
For a moment, there was complete silence, then everyone started talking at once.
"Harry, are you sure what you saw?"
"Albus, there is no way He-Who-Must-Not-Be-Named is back, preposterous!"
"Is that Peter Pettigrew?"
"What happened to Cedric?"
"Did he say You – Know – Who?"
Harry stumbled to the edge of the crowd, amazed that no one noticed him getting up and walking away. Well, maybe they noticed, but didn't dare stop him. After the night he'd just had, he was hoping that someone, anyone, would believe him, but it appeared no one did. Oh well. As a person back from the dead, Peter would be questioned, and that meant that nothing could be refuted. And Sirius would be free! His vision blurred, and he staggered slightly.
"Potter?" a gruff voice asked. Clunk. Clunk. Mad Eye Moody. The DADA professor hooked an arm around Harry, pulling him along towards the castle.
"Professor?" Harry asked, clutching at the arm that was helping him walk. "I need to talk to Dumbledore."
"Just come this way, Potter. I need to know what happened," Moody said firmly as he continued dragging Harry from the crowd that was gathering.
But Harry was thinking about Sirius, and how happy he would be now that Pettigrew was caught. He needed to find someone and tell them to get a hold of Sirius. "No!" Harry said, resisting even though he was still weak from the Cruciatus. "I need to talk to Dumbledore, right now!" he yelled, which caused a lot of people to turn in their direction.
Hermione saw a Moody pulling a resistant Harry away from everyone towards the castle. She wouldn't have said anything, but he could tell how distressed Harry was, and hurried to where the headmaster was.
"Professor!" she shouted, having a hard time getting through the crowd of people.
Dumbledore turned around as soon as he heard someone shouting. His eyes narrowed in on Hermione, and he walked towards her.
"Ms. Granger?" he asked, hoping that this was important, as there were a lot of things to be done right now.
"I saw Professor Moody pulling Harry towards the castle, but he was trying to get away, saying that he really needs to talk to you!" she panted, having ran over.
Dumbledore thought about the implications. His friend would never have let Harry out of his sights after the events that had just taken place. Was this possible? Right now, though, anything seemed possible. "Thank you, Ms. Granger. Show me where they are now," he commanded, and they walked quickly to the Entrance Hall, where Harry was still struggling to stay upright, but trying to get back to the pitch.
Dumbledore was immediately glad that Granger had gotten him to follow, as he saw his friend pull a wand on the struggling boy.
"Stupefy!" he yelled, drawing his wand and stunning Moody. Without anyone helping hold him up, Harry fell to the ground, still talking to the air.
Albus hurried over, and took the wand from Moody, then knelt down next to the distraught teen. "Harry," he said quietly.
"Professor!" Harry cried, grateful that he was there. "I don't know what was going on, I tried to tell Professor Moody that I needed to talk to you, but he wouldn't let me."
"That is not Alastor Moody. The real Moody would never have taken you from me after the events of the night. Now, Snuffles is at Hagrid's right now. Ms. Granger, would you help Harry get there? Make sure no one follows you, and stay there until I come for you," he commanded, and the two fourth years nodded.
Hermione stooped down, and helped pull Harry to his feet. "Can you make it?" she asked, and Harry just nodded.
In truth, Harry wasn't sure he could, but he would make it as far as he could. He needed to tell Sirius what happened.
Just as they were leaving the Entrance Hall, Snape hurried up to them. "Where is the headmaster?" he demanded, holding his left arm tightly.
"Over here, Severus," Dumbledore said, gesturing to Moody.
"What on earth?" The normally unflappable professor's eyes nearly bugged out of his head as he saw Moody's body begin to morph into another person. Was this possible?
"I need you to get Minerva, please, and quickly. Meet me in my office," was all he would say, and proceeded to levitate the unconscious Moody towards his office.
Harry and Hermione walked slowly towards the hut, Harry leaning on Hermione as his strength was waning. They were almost at the steps when the last of his strength gave out, and he collapsed on the ground.
Sirius had been watching the events unfold from the garden, where he was waiting in his Animagus form. Seeing his godson collapse unmoving on the ground spurred him into action. He quickly looked around, and saw that no one was looking their way. He ran over and transformed.
Hermione was shocked at the sudden appearance, but didn't have a chance to say anything. "Quickly," Sirius snapped. "Let's get him inside."
The two grabbed his arms and threw them over their shoulders, dragging him into the hut, and Hermione quickly started making tea. Sirius laid Harry on the gamekeeper's bed, and saw the still bleeding gash on his arm.
He cursed, and also saw the puncture wound on his leg, which also seemed to be nearly broken. He looked around, but didn't see bandages of any kind, so he ripped off the sleeves of his rather tattered robe, and started binding the wounds, knowing that he would have the medi-witch look at them soon as he could.
Only then did he notice the jerking and shaking. No, Sirius thought, hoping that his godson hadn't been exposed to what he was thinking.
After a few moments, Harry stirred. Looking around wildly, he bolted upright, wondering where he was.
"It's alright, Harry," Sirius soothed, still kneeling by the bed.
"Sirius?" Harry asked. "Where am I? What's going on?"
"You're in Hagrid's hut. As to what is going on, I was hoping you could tell me," he said, trying to hold a smile on his face, and to keep his heart from pounding out of his chest.
"Cedric is dead," Harry whispered, blinking to keep the tears from falling. "Pettigrew killed him."
"You saw it happen?" Sirius asked, studying his godson's face.
Harry just nodded. He couldn't help the feelings of guilt that was welling in him, threatening to choke him.
"What is it, Harry?" Sirius asked. He could tell that there was something there. He remembered it from his own feelings that fateful Halloween night all those years ago.
"We got to the cup at the same time. He told me to take it. I said that we should take it at the same time, since it would have been a Hogwarts victory either way. I told him to take it with me," he said, still whispering. "I killed him." A single tear trailed down his cheek, and his throat burned. He wanted to scream at the world that would let this night happen.
Sirius closed his eyes. Every day for thirteen years he had struggled with guilt, feeling responsible for the deaths of James and Lily. He did not want a fourteen year old to have that, especially not Harry. "You didn't kill him."
"He wouldn't have been in that graveyard if I hadn't insisted he take the cup with me!" Harry tried to shout. But his voice was nearly gone from all the screaming he had done already.
"Harry," Sirius started gently but firmly. "You were being a friend, and a good person by offering to share the victory. If you had any idea of what was going to happen, I have no doubt that you wouldn't have let Cedric anywhere near that cup."
"But he's dead! The last thing he asked was for me to take his body back to his parents." As soon as he said that, he remembered who else he brought back. "I brought him back, but I also brought Peter back."
Sirius thought he may have had a heart attack right then. "What?"
Just as Harry was about to explain, Hermione came back in with three cups of tea. Harry tried to lift his, but he was still shaking and jerking, not able to lift the cup. Sirius put down his own, and helped tip the cup into Harry's mouth.
Harry's face burned in embarrassment. He had never needed someone to help him like this, not even his family had done that for him. It was either feed yourself or go hungry. "Thanks," he whispered, still blushing.
Sirius looked at him strangely, wondering what was causing the embarrassment; but before he could say anything, the door to the hut opened, and filled with people. Dumbledore, Snape, McGonagall, and Ron all walked into the room.
"Black!" Snape yelled, hand going for his wand.
"Severus!" Dumbledore snapped, and everyone stared, never hearing the headmaster speak in that tone. "He is here at my invitation, as are you. He has my full trust, so no one is to attack him," he said to the room at large. Then he noticed Harry on the bed – Ron was talking with Hermione behind the teachers – and walked over. "How are you feeling, Harry?" he asked quietly.
Harry nearly laughed at the question. However, he didn't want to go into that right now, he needed answers. "Professor, why was Moody wanting to talk to me so badly?" he asked.
The professors' faces darkened. "That was not Alastor Moody. You have never known him. It was Barty Crouch Jr."
"WHAT?" Sirius yelled, standing.
"Sirius, calm yourself. The real Alastor would never have tried to take Harry from the pitch after tonight. I have just questioned him under Veritaserum. His father broke him out of Azkaban years ago and placed him under the Imperious curse. After several years, he was able to break it, and put it on his father instead. He transformed the cup into a portkey to take Harry to the graveyard to help Voldemort return." The last part of this was nearly a question, and every eye in the room turned to Harry.
Harry sat up, still shaking slightly, so Sirius helped by putting pillows behind him. He shot his godfather a grateful look, then turned a grave face to the headmaster. "He was right. Voldemort got his body back tonight. He's returned."
The room was deadly silent, and McGonagall conjured chairs for everyone. "I think we are going to need to hear the story, Mr. Potter," she said as gently as she could.
Sirius was the first to object. "Look at him, he can barely sit up. Let him be healed and take a rest. Then he can answer your questions." In truth, he understood that people needed the information immediately, but all those thoughts left when he saw his godson lying so weakly on the bed.
Dumbledore sighed. He couldn't let Harry sleep just yet, but he knew that Sirius wouldn't let them talk to Harry just yet. "Severus, do you have any potions on you that would help Mr. Potter?" he asked, eyes boring into the younger man, stating that this was not a request.
Snape snarled. There was a lot more going on right now other than the pampered prince in front of him, but he clearly didn't have a choice. He stalked over to the bed. "What do you need, Potter?" he demanded.
"Something for pain?" Harry asked.
"You will have to be more specific," he snapped back, not wanting to waste time playing nurse.
"I think my leg is broken, and there's a puncture wound on it from a giant spider. Wormtail sliced my arm, I think it's still bleeding, and Voldemort used the Cruciatus a few times," Harry said, looking at his hands, not wanting the glances of pity he was sure to get.
Snape started. He had been cursed more than his share of times by the Dark Lord, and wasn't really expecting it to be used on a child. He hurried through the potions he kept on his person, and pulled out the vials he would need. "Blood replenisher, numbing, and a classic pain potion," he said to the questioning look the brat gave him. "There's no potion to counter the Cruciatus, but the numbing and pain potions should help for a while until you can sleep."
Harry just nodded in thanks, and downed the potions quickly. Almost immediately, he felt the pain vanish. Not completely leave, but he certainly felt better. "Poppy is better at healing than me, so I shall leave your leg and arm to her."
"Thank you," Harry said quietly. He took another moment, still feeling the pain from the torture, but he took a deep breath to steady himself, and started talking. He explained about how his way to the cup was almost empty, and then about convincing Cedric to take it with him. He went into detail about the graveyard, and how Voldemort got his body back. Then he said about the Death Eaters returning, how Voldemort punished them, and then he got to their duel. He mentioned the curses, but hurried past them, not wanting to think about it. He tried to explain the connection that occurred between their wands, and how he saw a few strangers, Cedric, and his parents.
After hearing about how his godson saw his parents for the first time in living memory, he gave his hand a squeeze. Harry looked at him gratefully, cleared his throat, and continued.
"They surrounded him so that he couldn't see me, and I ran towards Cedric's body. I was there, and Peter apparated right in front of me. I didn't even think, I just stunned him, grabbed him and Cedric with one hand, and Summoned the cup to me, and landed back here," he said, and blinked back the tears that came back to him after telling the story.
Complete silence once again covered the room, everyone thinking about the implications of the night. "Where is he now, Headmaster?" Harry asked, and there was no need to say who 'he' was.
"He is in Ministry custody. I shall make sure that they interrogate him. We can get Sirius' name cleared at long last," he said with a small smile, but the customary twinkle was gone from his eyes. Then he stood, the teachers standing with him. "I've said it before, Harry. You have shown more bravery than I could expect or hope for. You have faced Voldemort more times than anyone else, and you have lived to tell the tale. If you would like, I'm sure Hagrid would let you stay here for the night, or you could go to the Hospital Wing. I do not want you returning to your dorm room tonight."
Harry looked at his godfather. "Are you sure Hagrid won't mind me staying here? I don't want to see anyone else tonight."
"I will talk to him myself," Dumbledore promised. "I'll send Poppy out here to heal your wounds and give you a dose of Dreamless Sleep. Please come see me tomorrow, Sirius. Harry, I will need to speak with you again in a day or two, as well," he said, then left, McGonagall and Snape leaving with him.
Ron and Hermione came over. "You alright, mate?" Ron asked hesitantly.
Harry chuckled. "I've certainly been better, but I'll live. Look, I want to talk to Sirius about something, and I bet your mom is having a panic attack about now. Why don't you let her know I'm ok? And Bill, too."
Ron nodded, and the two left. Sirius turned to Harry. "You really want to talk to me about something, or was that just a way to get rid of them for a bit?" he asked with a smile.
Harry smiled back at him. "I wanted to talk to you. So, assuming the Ministry isn't as horrible and corrupt as it was thirteen years ago, you should be free in a few days," he started, wondering how to phrase it.
Sirius smiled. "That's right. Not the most important thing, considering everything else that's happened tonight, but certainly big. I can actually buy some new clothes without freaking people out!"
Harry laughed this time. "Well, considering people have grown up hearing horror stories about you, you can probably count on scaring them for a while, yet."
Sirius nodded. It made sense. "But the most important part of me being free is that I can fulfill my job as your godfather."
Harry's heart stopped. It was what he wanted to ask about, but hadn't expected Sirius to be the one to bring it up. "What do you mean?" he asked to give himself some more time.
Sirius looked him in the eyes. "Last year, I offered you a different home, and you said yes. Is that still…"
"You mean it?" Harry asked, hardly daring to believe it. "Your offer is still there?"
Sirius laughed. "Of course. You think I would take that back? It's been the only thing on my mind all year!"
Harry sat back with a smile. He would be able to leave the Dursleys! "I would love to, Sirius."
The end of the year came slowly. Students alternated between avoiding Harry completely, or mobbing him with attention and pity, which he didn't like.
The day before they were going home, Dumbledore called Harry to his office.
"Harry, thank you for coming. Lemon drop?" he offered.
Harry took the seat offered and shook his head at the tin. "No thank you, professor."
"Well, I'll get right to it, then. I know you have had a trying year. Sirius is at the Ministry right now, they are giving him the trial he should have had years ago. The trial should be completed in a week or so. I'm afraid you are going to have to return to your relatives for a while this summer, and then you can be with your godfather. I have something for the two of you to do together this summer, which he will be able to fill you in on later this summer."
Harry was filled with dread at the idea of spending any time with his relatives, but there was something the headmaster was hiding that made Harry uneasy. "Do you not want me to move in with Sirius?" he guessed.
"Harry, when your mother died for you, it created a blood ward if you can call the place where your mother's blood dwells 'home'. That protects you as well as your relatives. I am loathe to attempt to break that ward, but your godfather is insistent on taking guardianship of you, and the Ministry will back him. After the summer is over, we will have to find a way to protect not only you, but your relatives as well."
Harry had never considered that the Dursleys may be in danger because of their relationship, but it made sense. As much as he didn't care about them, after having experienced the Torture Curse first hand, he didn't want that to happen to them. "Understood, professor. You said that Sirius and I will be doing something over the summer?" he asked.
"Yes, but I will let him give you the details on that when he goes to pick you up."
Feel free to skip this A/N, but don't say I never warned!
Okay, so this story is obviously VERY AU! There will be parts of OotP that have stayed the same, and I won't copy anything word for word, though I might paraphrase if I don't want any of it to change, or I might alter certain events slightly to better fit the premise of my story, and others will be pulled from the story completely. Some may say that the characters are OOC, which is possible as they are my interpretations.
Some of the things that this story will NOT have:
Poor, misunderstood Snape and Slytherins. There will be good Slytherins, but I'm going to try and keep Malfoy and Snape as in character as I can. For those of you who might have a problem with my portrayal of Snape, I will quote the wonderful Rowling herself: "Is he a hero? You see, I don't see him, really, as a hero. He's spiteful, he's a bully. All these things are still true of Snape." She never shied away from the fact that he is a bitter person, and neither will I, though I might make him and possibly Malfoy redemable in the end, though I haven't made up my mind on that yet.
Immature Sirius. Okay, these always tick me off, and I'll give you my reasons: Sirius Black grew up in an abusive household, went to school during, graduated during, and fought in a war, lost his best friend, was framed for murder, forced to spend 12 years in the worst place on earth, and spent 2 years on the run. If that doesn't make someone grow up fast, then nothing will! My interpretation of his behavior in OotP was that he regressed several years due to his 'imprisonment' in Grimmauld Place, and not that he was an immature person. I absolutely ADORE his character, and he will play a major role, but as a mature, reasonable adult who has managed to put the past behind him.
Weak Harry: I don't mind reading stories of Harry being a bit weaker than he was canon, but I'm going to write him as I see him, which is a kid who grew up too fast, and faced a lot of challenges, making him mature quicker than others.
Bashing of Weasleys, Dumbledore, Remus, Hermione, etc: Again, I don't mind bashing, but I'm not going to do it. It might seem like it at some points, but those are going to be genuine concerns from the minds of the characters, and fights that all good friends eventually have. I will not intentionally bash any of the 'good guys'.
Romantic Relationships: I haven't decided on relationships between main characters yet, and they might not be those in canon, simply because of where the characters are taking me. In regards to slash, I have two words: Hell. No. :-) Sorry guys, but I would feel far too awkward trying to write any kind of slash. Added to this, is that I won't write smut. Again, I would feel too weird writing it.
Horcruxes: I haven't fully decided where I stand on the issue yet, but as of right now, I doubt I will have them play a role.
Now, some things this story WILL have:
Father/Son relationship between Harry and Sirius. I'll admit that my favorite scenes so far in this are those between these two, and Sirius has the immense job of helping Harry understand his role during the war, so we will see quite a bit of him, even during the school year.
Umbridge and Fudge: Yeah, sorry, couldn't get around throwing them in there. Hey, they at least add some extra conflict for our heroes, right?
Abusive Durselys: I always saw them as being abusive, and that's how I wrote them. As a crisis advocate who has the DCFS hotline on speed dial, I DO. NOT. advocate violence against any child, regardless of the circumstances. The Dursleys will play very minor roles, and only be mentioned on occasion.
OCs: Yes, I will be adding a lot of characters, both students, staff, and foreigners. I won't throw too many at you at once, and it will be easy to tell who is new to the story line.
American idioms: I know the story is British, but I'm American, and I might throw in something that they wouldn't say, but it'll be on accident, promises!
A few last minute things:
There will be violence, as they are at war, hence the rating. If people believe that I need to up the rating to M, I will.
Right now, I am allowing anonymous reviews, and I'm hoping that no one makes me regret that. I love reviews (who doesn't?) but flames really irk me, especially if I can't PM you about what was said.
There are over 600,000 HP stories on this site alone, and while I will never steal someone else's story, I can't guarantee that there won't be similarities, but I will try to have this be as original as possible.
Whew! Thank you for taking the time to read this, and I hope you all understand why I felt the need to include all of this. Now, I might include a warning at the beginning of a chapter here and there, but there will be nothing of this length again, I hope :-)