Disclaimer: I do not own Harry Potter.

Author's Note: This fic was inspired by an author on here named Corwalch. I definitely plan to make my version different from yours. Thanks for inspiring this!

Warning: Harry bashes Dumbledore in this. Ron and Hermione try to defend him. Things get ugly! I don't mean to offend anyone by writing this.

Please review, everyone! I'd love to know what you think!

Where Your Loyalties Lie

By: ChoCedric

"In here, dear," Mrs. Weasley said as she led Harry to the door to the room where Ron and Hermione were. "The meeting will be over in a couple of hours. I'll call you for dinner when it's time."

"Thanks, Mrs. Weasley," said Harry, quietly knocking on the door.

Seconds after Mrs. Weasley walked away, the door opened, and Harry was immediately bowled over by a figure with thick, bushy hair. "Harry!" shrieked Hermione, extremely thrilled and relieved to see him. "Oh, Harry! It's so good to finally see you! We were so worried!"

"Hermione, let him breathe," said Ron, coming to join her. "Hey, mate." He pounded Harry on the back. "It is good to have you here. We did worry about you."

And suddenly, a feeling of complete, all-consuming anger swept over Harry. Ron and Hermione were acting as though nothing had changed, acting as if this was just another day where they could greet him and expect things to be okay between them. But as the fury simmered and bubbled inside him, Harry knew this was not definitely the case.

He looked back and forth between his two friends, and their faces paled as they saw his expression. "You were worried about me?" he said in a low voice. "It sure didn't seem that way to me."

Hermione hurried to explain. "We were!" she exclaimed. "When we heard the news about the dementors attacking you, we were terrified! We know it's been an awful summer for you, after all you went through at the end of the school year ..."

"You were terrified, yet you couldn't send me a simple note," said Harry, his tone laced with bitterness. "I must not mean that much to you, no matter what you say."

"Oh, Harry!" Hermione said shrilly, her face horrified. "That's not true at all!"

"Dumbledore made us swear not to write to you," said Ron, his voice heavy and dark. "He was afraid our letters would be intercepted. We tried really hard to convince him otherwise, but ..."

"Voldemort isn't out in the open yet, you know." Harry was speaking to them as though they were two very stupid children. "Why would Dumbledore think someone would intercept my lletters? And you could have always sent it the Muggle way. But instead, an old wizard who let me get hurt last year, let me watch Cedric die, who proved himself to be less competent than he claims ... following his orders means more to you than your best friend," said Harry, glaring at them. "Tell me I'm right."

"You're wrong!" Ron yelled, his face growing heated. "You mean the world to Hermione and me, and you know it!"

"Do I?" Harry asked, not lessening his glare in the slightest.

"Yes!" said Hermione tearfully, and Harry turned away, not wanting to see her cry pathetically into her hands. "Your actions prove the opposite," he said quietly. "I was the one who had to watch Cedric die last year. It was my fault. I couldn't do anything to protect him. And if Dumbledore had known what he was doing, if he knew his friend Moody as well as he thought he did, none of it would have ever happened."

"Harry, Diggory's death was not your fault!" cried Ron passionately.

Hermione's face softened as more tears streamed from her eyes. "Harry," she whispered, "Harry, I know you've been blaming yourself for what happened to him. But Ron's right, it's not ..."

"Save it," spat Harry, turning back to them and glaring again. "You can try to convince me all you like, but I know that in the end, it was my fault. And every death Voldemort will cause in the future ... he used my blood to come back! Don't you understand? I allowed him to return!"

Hermione was sobbing now, her hands over her mouth. Her stricken brown eyes stared into Harry's angry, blazing green ones, and she knew she had lost her best friend. "Harry," she repeated over and over again. "Oh, Harry."

"I'm not a child anymore, Hermione," said Harry, his face contorted. "And I haven't ever been one. Do you know what it's like, to be starved and told you're nothing but a freak, and then to come into a world where everyone adores you for something you can't even remember? And the reason everyone adores you is because you got rid of some Dark Lord, but your family, the only people who loved you, died trying to protect you? My parents are dead, dead! And they died trying to save me! That's my fault too! "Oh, Harry!, you have your father's spirit, oh, Harry, you have your mother's eyes!" I'm so sick of that!" he snarled, pacing up and down. "Don't they think I'd rather have them back than hear all about their noble exploits?"

By now, Ron had an arm around Hermione and was looking at Harry with sympathy. "We know, mate," he said softly. "Harry, we're so sorry. We never should have listened to Dumbledore."

"No, you shouldn't have," said Harry stonily. "But it's too late to make amends now. What's done is done, and your actions throughout the past few months show me that following the orders of an incompetent old fool who doesn't know a friend from an enemy means more to you than your best friend who watched another student die. You have shown me where your loyalties truly lie. Thank you very much."

"Harry!" Hermione shrieked through her sobs. "Where is this coming from? You can't blame Dumbledore for this! Barty Crouch had him fooled! It wasn't his fault!"

A red-hot hatred seized Harry as he faced the sobbing girl. "Yes, it was," he said in a quiet, dangerous voice. "It was his fault, and it was mine too. He is the headmaster of a school, and he should not allow students to get hurt or die in his care. And he did. And you two have proved that you trust him more than you ever did me."

And with that, he stormed to the door and slammed it open. A bout of recklessness took hold; he was going to go down to the meeting, and he was going to confront the old man, the old man who had told his friends not to contact him at all, the old man who wanted him to stew, isolated and lonely, for months, with people who couldn't stand the sight of him.

And with that thought, he slammed the door closed again, leaving Ron trying to comfort a still-weeping Hermione.

Harry, their best friend, had truly changed. And they were convinced there was nothing they could do to ever earn his trust again.