I'm glad It's OK Not To Be OK was well received. This story will cover Harry's fifth year. I try to keep most major events the same, but twisting them to fit my own ideas. I tried to put in as many details from the book as I could remember, but keep in mind that I haven't read the book in years, so all those details came from memory, and the hundreds of other stories I've read that included them. I apologize if I forgot anything major. Although there are some things that are intentionally left out, and will most likely appear in the next story.
I also apologize for the delay in posting this story. Writing it took a lot longer than the last one, not helped by summer classes, three jobs, and a dead computer (made worse by the fact that the apple guys misdiagnosed and I had to bring it back when it died again 12 hours after I picked it up). But I almost did it! My goal was to finish before classes started again, and I had my first class two days ago, so I was close.
Disclaimer: I only own the plot
Summer started off very differently for Harry than it had the previous year.
For one, he didn't feel the oppressing sense of dread that accompanied the train ride back to London.
For another, he didn't have to worry about how he would get his homework done, with all of his wizarding possessions locked up in the cupboard under the stairs until he managed to escape to the Weasleys.
Perhaps the best thing about this summer was that he wouldn't have to go back to Number Four, Privet Drive. It was good to have something happy to offset all the bad.
Last year, Harry's fourth year at Hogwarts School of Witchcraft and Wizardry, he had been entered and forced to compete in the Triwizard Tournament, a competition that was so dangerous, so deadly, that three ministries had agreed to an age limit of seventeen or older. Unfortunately, a previously thought dead Death Eater – one of Voldemort's loyal followers – had masqueraded as the Defense professor for the year, and entered Harry's name illegally, thus forcing him to compete or lose his magic.
Harry had done so, and entered the final task – a maze in which the Triwizard Cup was hidden – in first place. Unfortunately, the entire tournament was a trap, and both Harry and fellow Hogwarts champion Cedric Diggory of Hufflepuff house were whisked away by portkey as soon as they touched the Cup.
Taken to the graveyard of Voldemort's muggle father, Harry managed to keep Cedric safe while being used in a dark ritual to resurrect the Dark Lord. Fortunately, the two students had managed to return to Hogwarts relatively unharmed.
Many things had happened that night; Amelia Bones had been surprised but eager to re-arrest Bartemius Crouch, Junior, as the polyjuice potion wore off, revealing him to be an imposter, playing the role of Alastor Moody, Defense Against the Dark Arts professor. The real Moody had been discovered in the seventh compartment of his own trunk in the imposter's bedroom. Amelia had taken Crouch away for questioning, though not before Harry had told her of Voldemort's return.
Minister Fudge, on the other hand, had not been so quick to believe the two Hogwarts students. He refused to listen, though everyone told Harry not to worry, as Amelia knew the truth, and she would get things done. Harry chose to believe them, especially since he knew his guardians, Sirius Black and Minerva McGonagall, would make sure that he was taken care of, should the need arise.
As Minerva and Sirius had informed him, Dumbledore had also called up The Order of the Phoenix, an underground resistance group that had operated separately from the Ministry in the first war with Voldemort. Both of Harry's guardians, as well as his pseudo uncle Remus Lupin, were members, and would continue to act as such, even if they were less than pleased with the Order's leader. Dumbledore was still playing god with people's lives, and they were still trying to get him to leave Harry out of it. Needless to say, it wasn't working.
Sirius had even offered the use of his Ancestral Home at Grimmauld Place for meetings, as Dumbledore didn't want members to come to Hogwarts and possibly be seen by those who shouldn't be aware of their involvement. Kreacher had done an all right job of cleaning up the house; it was still gloomy, but the dark artifacts were locked up in closed off rooms waiting for Sirius to go through and either remove to his vault in Gringotts, or destroy. And it wasn't like the meetings took place throughout the house. Most of the time, members stuck to the kitchen, though Sirius had made a point to offer the use of the house if anyone couldn't get to their own home for whatever reason, and needed a place to stay. With the amount of wards in place, it was safer than most places in England. Though Sirius had drawn the line at Dumbledore putting it under the Fidelius, with himself as the Secret Keeper. Sirius didn't trust the old man enough to allow that, and as he was the Lord Black, Albus had no choice but to drop the idea.
The term had ended more somberly than it should have, though Harry and Cedric were happy to bring home a double Hogwarts victory in the tournament, both receiving a copy of the Triwizard Cup, and five hundred galleons. Harry had given his share to the Weasley twins before they reached Kings Cross, since he really had no need for more money.
Harry had returned to his first real home – besides Hogwarts – feeling multiple emotions: fear, concern, determination, happiness. The last was mostly for the fact that he had something to go home to for the summer, and because of the stunning redhead he was proud to call his girlfriend.
Ginny Weasley had helped him more than he could ever begin to comprehend, and their relationship had deepened more than anyone knew. They were still trying to figure out what this bond was between them, but they knew that it was something they would never want to go away.
As soon as he returned to McGonagall Castle, Harry was introduced to his other Christmas present; Harry only hoped that his godfather and pseudo uncle had asked Aunt Minerva for permission first. They had taken a suite of rooms on the third floor and converted it into a muggle style game room. There was a rather large television, a pool table, couches and armchairs, a card table, stereo system, and what looked like the latest video game system, stocked with enough movies and games to keep Harry and his friends occupied for years. Harry knew that Dudley would have drooled over this setup.
Sirius and Remus had explained that the entire suite was warded against magical interference, and everything would work the way it was supposed to. Apparently, Lily had invented the spells in the course of her studying for a Charms Mastery. The research had been wonderfully accurate and successful, but as Lily had died before completing her Mastery, the spells had never become common knowledge. Sirius had found her research journal at Potter Manor, and had replicated the spells. Harry vowed to show the setup to Mr. Weasley, as he knew the Weasley patriarch would love to see what his mother had created. He rather thought Mr. Weasley may have done some of his own research, fiddling with muggle appliances to get them to work by magic. He did remember Ron and Ginny mentioning the inordinate amount of time their father spent tinkering out in his shed, as well as their mother's fond exasperation for his love of all things muggle.
The second item on the agenda was to strengthen the wards surrounding McGonagall Castle and The Burrow. Bill was key to those plans, and had managed to get a Goblin warding team to assist him, resulting in a Burrow and Castle that would withstand any Death Eater attack, as long as Voldemort himself didn't show up. And even if he did, the wards would give the people inside enough warning and enough time to get themselves out. McGonagall Castle was too large to place a Fidelius Charm around it, and it wouldn't be practical at this point to place the Charm around the Burrow – too many people would need to be informed. But shy of that, the Goblins warded both properties like fortresses.
Harry felt much better afterwards, knowing that his girlfriend would be safe; he also asked about the rest of his friends' homes, resulting in Hermione's parents needing to be informed of the situation, and talked into allowing a team to ward their house as well. The Bones Estate and Longbottom Manor were soon similarly outfitted, and Harry breathed another sigh of relief.
Several days after Harry returned to McGonagall Castle, Amelia came to call; forewarned, Harry had asked Cedric to come over, and the head of the DMLE sat down with the pair and discussed what had happened in the graveyard. Cedric had seen quite a bit while petrified, and was able to confirm Harry's story.
In return, Amelia told them what she had gotten from Crouch Junior. "He was quite out of his mind, we had to keep him silencio-ed when not questioning him. But he also confirms your story of the resurrected dark lord. Crouch was sentenced to the Dementor's Kiss for his crimes, including the murder of his own father." She also explained how Crouch had escaped from Azkaban with his parents' help, and his role at the Quidditch World Cup the previous summer – including his theft of her niece's wand.
Neither Harry nor Cedric were too cut up about Crouch's fate. They were both, however, furious that Fudge still refused to acknowledge the dark lord's return, saying that Crouch was too insane to be a reliable witness, and was actively repressing the information from becoming common knowledge through the Daily Prophet. Amelia didn't think it would last too long, as she was more trustworthy, and had a lot of allies at the Ministry, but Harry knew that most people just blindly followed authority, and would believe the Minister simply because he was the Minister.
Amelia also told Harry, once Cedric had left, that she had a colleague who would like to meet with him and his friends to test their Occlumency skills. They set up a time before Amelia left to get back to work.
At the beginning of July, Sirius finally managed to take Harry to visit his family home. It had been kept up by two of the Potter elves, Chloe and Fink – Harry did not relish the idea of Hermione finding out that he owned house elves – both of whom were in tears to be once more acquainted with Harry, and immediately bonded to their new master.
Harry had a look around, drooling at the library, and admiring the dueling room. They spent the whole day walking around the manor and grounds, Sirius telling Harry stories about his father, and the antics they used to get up to at the Manor.
While they were there, Harry also asked about the other properties he had learned he had in his possession at their meeting with his account manager Sharptooth last summer. In addition to Potter Manor, he also owned a cottage in Godric's Hollow, and a place called Lion's Castle in Scotland.
Sirius sighed. "I don't think the cottage at Godric's Hollow was ever repaired," he admitted to Harry as they went outside to view the grounds, including a Quidditch pitch that rivaled Aunt Minerva's. "I believe it was turned into a memorial, but we can go and check it out sometime, though I'm not sure when. It might be better to wait until it's a little bit safer. It does belong to you, though, so if you want, we can see about getting it fixed up."
Harry nodded. "I'll think about it," he replied. Truthfully, he wasn't sure what he wanted to do with the place. He didn't know if he could ever actually live there, knowing what had happened in that house.
As they headed in the direction of several greenhouses sparkling in the afternoon sun, Sirius continued speaking. "As for Lion's Castle, I have to admit I'm not sure what it is. Sharptooth probably knows, though, so we'll ask him."
The next day, Harry and his friends met their new Occlumency tutor. Jason Holding was a middle-aged man who seemed to have many secrets. He was pleasant enough though, and tested their defenses one by one. Harry and Ginny were deemed the furthest along, with Hermione right behind them. Susan and Neville were almost there, and Ron still had issues getting his shields to stay up.
However, it was a good sign that all six of them could tell when Holding had entered their mind.
Jason worked with them for several hours, going over their studies and correcting anything that needed to be corrected, showing them where the holes were in their shields. He also taught them a few tricks to help keep intruders out, and praised them for being as adept as they were, considering they were self taught. He was truly impressed with the way their minds were organized. These kids were very creative. When Harry had talked with them about it, he told them that it was easiest to create something that they knew well for their mindscape.
Hermione had created a library, with her memories placed in the pages of books. Neville had a greenhouse in his mind, using plants and tools to hold the memories. Susan had created a meadow that she had spent a lot of time at when she was younger, simultaneously adding underground caves to store her memories, while Ginny and Ron both created representations of the Burrow. Harry's mindscape was what truly boggled Jason, though. It was a maze, full of twists and turns, with nooks and crannies holding what he assumed to be memory vaults, all reinforced with steel doors. The only reason Jason had even been able to see the maze at all was because Harry had lowered his wall of fire surrounding it, to allow the Occlumency master access. When Jason retreated from Harry's mind, he actually had to steady himself for a minute, to wait for the dizziness to pass.
"Good job, Harry," he told the teenager, smiling. "Your mindscape is truly unique, I don't think I've ever seen anything like that. Can I ask what gave you the idea?"
Harry shrugged, grinning ruefully. "When I was thinking about it, I just wanted to make something that would confuse an intruder, even if they did manage to gain access. So I thought about what would be confusing, and I remembered the trips to my vault in Gringotts. The fire just seemed like a good protection. I'm still working on other defenses."
Jason chuckled. "Well, what you've got is pretty good, Harry, but I won't stifle your creativity." He turned to the rest of the group. "All of you have done incredibly well. I'm glad I didn't have to tell any of you to tighten up your mindscapes. A problem a lot of beginners make is that they create a scape that's too big. The bigger your mindscape, the more work it takes to protect it, and the more effort is required to keep your protections up."
They all nodded, and Jason pulled Ron aside to give him a few more pointers. He had noticed that, while Ron and Ginny had a common mindscape, Ginny had simply stuck to the house, while Ron had included the surrounding land, going out to their makeshift Quidditch pitch, and including Mr. Weasley's shed as well. Jason gave the younger man a few pointers for strengthening his walls, and a few tips to help him organize a little better. He had noticed that Ron was struggling the most, but he was certain that the youngest Weasley male would get there.
When Jason left, all six students felt much more sure of their ability to keep unwanted attacks from getting past their defenses.
Harry and his friends spent nearly every day together, either at McGonagall Castle, Longbottom Manor, The Burrow, or the Bones Estate. Usually it was at Harry's place, since he had by far the best library. They all agreed to work on getting into better shape – Harry and Ginny kept up their morning runs, and the other four started waking up earlier to get in that exercise; Ginny and Ron Flooed over before breakfast every morning so that they could use Harry's Quidditch pitch, as it had more open space than they had within the new wards of the Burrow. After Hermione's parents had been informed of the second rise of Voldemort, they finally agreed to get their house connected to the Floo network, so Hermione also went over to Harry's for their morning work out. Neville and Susan both had sufficient space on the grounds of their homes, so they would join the others after breakfast.
All of the adults were proud of their children for being so studious – they had made a deal with Sirius and Remus that if they finished all of their summer homework, the two would continue with the same lessons they had had the year before. With Voldemort's return, it was more important than ever for them to be able to defend themselves.
Molly was tearing up when she was informed that Ron was finished with his summer homework by the second week in July.
Two and a half weeks before Harry's birthday, Sirius and Remus started their Defense lessons once more. They were pleased with how much the students had improved, and soon moved on from the simple exercises they had used the year before, to more battle scenarios – dividing up the children in different groupings, or sometimes going against the adults, to see how they fared, and then discussing what they had done right and wrong afterwards.
Everyone was introduced to Nymphadora Tonks, Sirius' cousin, who informed them with a grin that if they ever called her anything other than Tonks, they would regret it. Tonks had graduated from the Auror Academy the year before, and her knowledge was a valuable addition to their study sessions. Tonks, for her part, enjoyed getting to know Harry and his friends, as well as her mangy cousin. They had seen each other a few times over the last year, as Sirius wanted to get to know his favorite cousin again, but she had been busy a lot, as she was a new Auror, and therefore at the bottom of the totem pole. Azkaban was truly in the past for him, and he was the same fun loving person she vaguely remembered from before his incarceration. The added bonus of getting on good terms with her boss' charge was just an afterthought – a happy coincidence. Susan was just as eager to learn as Harry and the others. The threat of Voldemort had spurred them forward more than anything else.
Tonks began to join them more and more, and Harry noticed with a grin that she appeared to be rather keen on spending time with a certain graying werewolf. Remus seemed rather oblivious, but a glint in Sirius' eyes told Harry that his godfather was also aware of the extra attention his cousin was giving his best friend.
The Auror was invaluable to their defense lessons, and Harry and the others began to both long for, and dread, the days she came to the lessons.
"Come on, it's not that difficult!"
Harry picked himself up, again, and groaned, shaking himself off and rolling his shoulder, wincing at the soreness. He shot his godfather a glare, which Sirius only grinned at.
Grumbling about sadists and how he must have a death wish, Harry set himself to go again. His teammates – Ron and Ginny – also seemed to be regretting their wish to continue these lessons, while Sirius, Remus, and Tonks just looked gleeful.
The next round started the same way as the previous one; Ron was taken out after a few minutes, and Harry and Ginny tried not to let that disrupt their concentration. However, Harry and Ginny had one advantage that no one knew of.
Harry, we're getting nowhere, very fast. I'll take defense, you drop back and go on the offense.
Harry gave her a mental nod and a grin. Give me the strongest shield you've got. I'll start with Tonks, since she's the most dangerous, so shield me against the others.
They had had to work to perfect their mental talk while still firing spells and dodging. It had taken a few days, and some rather spectacular losses, but they were definitely improving. It helped that Harry was getting better with nonverbal spells as well.
The next instant, all of the watchers were amazed at the way Harry and Ginny suddenly acted in sync. Ginny stopped firing and threw up a shield, while Harry took a step back and concentrated on Tonks, boxing her in with stunners. The Auror was unable to dodge, and had to resort to her own shield charm, backing up as the spells continued to fly at her.
Sirius and Remus tried to take the kids out, but they couldn't get passed Ginny's shield. It wasn't a Protego, as that would usually only last through a few hits before disintegrating, even if the caster was stronger, magically, than normal. Ginny and Harry had discovered the charm in the library the year before; it acted more as a spot shield, flaring up with each spell cast at it. It required more concentration and power than a Protego, but it lasted much longer.
It took Harry a little over a minute to take Tonks out, but he finally managed to get her with a disarming charm and a stunner almost simultaneously.
That's one down. How're you doing, Gin?
Ginny smirked mentally. They don't even know what hit 'em. Sirius next?
Harry shook his head slightly. Remus. Sirius is strong at first, but he tends to tire out faster. His spells are coming weaker now. Remus is the bigger threat.
Ginny nodded her assent, once more praising her boyfriend's observation skills, and shifted her shield slightly as Harry began to attack their former defense professor.
Remus held up almost as well as Tonks, except for the fact that he got taken out trying to dodge one stunner, only to step into another.
Sirius lasted about thirty seconds longer, before being taken out by a stunner of his own.
Harry and Ginny lowered their wands, panting.
Their friends instantly surrounded them, congratulating the pair, and asking how they had done it. Hermione revived Ron, and once he was filled in, also offered his congratulations, though slightly more bitterly, as he had been taken out early on, again.
Hermione was about to revive the adults, when Harry stopped her. There was a gleam in his eyes that reminded her of the Weasley twins as he walked over to the trio of knocked out adults and summoned their wands one by one. Somehow, he wasn't surprised to discover that Tonks had more than one on her person.
Once that was done, he and Ginny revived them.
Sirius sat up, rubbing his head and groaning. "Nice job, you two," he complimented, getting to his feet.
Remus also gave them his approval, though Tonks was a little slower to rise.
"That was good spell work and teamwork," she said. "Though you should never let down your guard, even after you've taken out your opponents." Her hand inched down into her boot, and she froze in shock for a moment, before looking up at Harry, surprise evident.
Harry was holding up two wands, while Ginny held the other two. "Looking for these?" he asked, smirking.
Tonks sighed and stood up. "Good job," she said ruefully.
The group spent the next half hour discussing what Harry and Ginny had done, and why it had worked. Then, they spent another hour going three on three – Harry, Ginny, and Ron against Neville, Hermione, and Susan – using the tactic the couple had employed. One person would be on defense, while the others took offensive positions.
When it was time for supper, everyone Flooed home, happy but exhausted.
That evening, Sirius and Minerva had to leave for an Order meeting, so Harry spent some time exploring the library.
The next morning, Minerva informed him that she had asked his friends to not come over until after lunch, as she and Sirius wanted to speak with Harry about something important.
Harry sat down in the chair she indicated, rather nervous.
Minerva sighed. "Albus does not wish for us to tell you anything, but I think you need to know what was discussed at the meeting last night."
Harry swallowed, looking between the two adults. He nodded, ready to hear whatever it was.
Minerva and Sirius both settled themselves for a long conversation. "One of the things the Order is doing, Harry, is guarding something that Voldemort wants," Sirius began, and both he and Harry ignored the flinch Minerva tried to suppress at the name.
Harry looked at his godfather. "What is it?" he asked.
Sirius and Minerva shared a glance. "A prophecy," Minerva said bluntly. "Shortly before you were born, there was a prophecy made about You-Know-Who."
Harry stared, trying to process. "What does that mean for me?" he finally asked.
Sirius leaned forward. "Dumbledore believes that the prophecy links the two of you together, and that is why he came after you and your parents."
Harry looked down, considering what he had just learned. Finally, after so many years, he knew why he was an orphan. He looked back up, his eyes blazing. "Do you know what it says?" he asked quietly but intensely.
Sirius and Minerva shook their heads. "Albus won't tell anyone," Minerva informed him regretfully. "But he has set up a guard duty so that someone is always watching the Hall of Prophecy, in the Department of Mysteries, just in case You-Know-Who sends someone to retrieve it for him. Albus believes that he wants to know the prophecy badly."
Harry nodded. "Why are you telling me?" he asked. Both adults looked a little confused. "If Professor Dumbledore doesn't want me to know, why are you disobeying him?" he elaborated.
Minerva and Sirius shared a look. "I'm through with listening to Albus simply because he's Albus," Minerva said bluntly. Sirius and Harry smiled. "As for why we are keeping you informed, we discussed it, and truly believe that it is the better course. Albus may want you to remain ignorant for his own reasons, but I believe that if you know why things are happening, you will be able to make better decisions. All we want is for you to be safe."
Harry nodded again, not trusting his voice, but thankful beyond words that his guardians actually trusted him enough to be able to be a part of the decision process. He gave them both a hug, before heading off to grab his broom. His friends wouldn't be coming over for another couple of hours, and he wanted to think; his best thinking always seemed to take place on a broom. Something about flying had always just spoken to him.
Harry wasn't surprised when he was joined less than an hour later by Ginny. She convinced him to land, and the two headed over to one of the trees that surrounded the pitch, where Harry set up some basic privacy wards, before he immediately began to tell his girlfriend of his conversation with his guardians.
Ginny did her best to offer comfort, but she knew that it would be a slow road. Harry had just learned the reason for his parents' deaths. She could feel his emotions and sense his thoughts, causing her to quickly sit back, giving him a slap on the shoulder.
Harry James Potter, how dare you think that! Harry jerked, surprised, but Ginny was just warming up. It was not your fault. Voldemort killed your parents, so blame him. You had nothing to do with it!
Harry grimaced. But he came after my family because of me. Because of that stupid prophecy.
Ginny lifted a hand to slap him again, but stopped when she saw Harry's expression. His eyes were so haunted and pleading, she couldn't stay angry with him.
She sighed. Harry, you can't keep doing this to yourself. You're an amazing person, but you're too damn noble for your own good. Harry smiled a little, and Ginny moved closer, wrapping her arms around him. I love you, and I will stand by you until the world comes to an end, but I hate how you take on all this blame. Just add it to Voldemort's tab, and let me help you when you go to collect.
Harry chuckled a little, and nodded. Deal, he promised, leaning in to kiss her.
How's that for chapter one? Please let me know what you think!