Disclaimer: See Chapter . Reviews are welcomed, flames are not.
A/N: Please remember, when we speak of Percy in this chapter, we are referring to Percy Jackson.
Albus Dumbledore pondered as he sat in his office. Where had he gone wrong? He was certain that Harry was a horcrux! Now that Tom was back he should be seeing some sign of Harry being influenced by Voldemort. 'Should' being the key word. Unfortunately, it wasn't happening.
Instead, Harry was happier and more focused than ever this year. From what he could gather from Harry's little friends he was now more interested in studying than leisure pursuits. Not even Mr. Weasley could lure him away from his studies to go flying.
Where had he been all summer? Just who was he with; who helped him? He at first thought it was Sirius, but Black returned alone on Harry's birthday. He would never have left his godson, especially on that day.
Sighing, Albus popped a lemon drop into his mouth. There was nothing to it. He had to call Harry in for another meeting.
Professors Vector and Babbling were going over Harry Potter's test scores. The teen had stunned them with his work in Ancient Runes and Arithmancy.
What they failed to realize was that to Harry, reading runes was just like reading English. He'd proved it by reading very complex arrays with ease. He was well beyond NEWT level and headed for mastery!
Arithmancy was a different story. He could breeze through some of the more complicated problems, but he was nowhere near the level he was in Runes.
Both professors were appalled at both Albus and Minerva for almost ruining the boy with their unreasonable expectations of the Boy-Who-Lived.
So they agreed to keep to themselves what they were doing with Harry-and made a pact to keep quiet. They were soon joined by a third – Filius Flitwick.
The charms professor wasn't blind, nor was he oblivious. Flitwick had seen Harry Potter meeting once a week with both professors. So it stood to reason that the fifth year was getting extra tutoring, and he wanted in!
Harry trudged up the stairs to the headmaster's office. Just what did the senile old fart want now?
"Harry, my boy, come in, come in," the headmaster called, blue eyes twinkling. "Have a seat."
Harry sat on the hard wooden chair. "What did you want, sir? I still have to finish my potions essay."
"This won't take long, Harry my boy," Albus Dumbledore said, taking out his wand. "Lemon drop or tea?"
Harry's eyes narrowed slightly as he recognized the wand. It was the Elder Wand! How convenient, he didn't have to go looking for it after all. "Tea, please sir. Why did you call me up here?"
"Harry, I called you up here as you have been a bit distant to your friends," the headmaster started to say.
Harry inwardly groaned as Albus waved his wand and a tea service appeared. It looks like the headmaster was on a fishing trip and Harry was the 'catch of the day'.
"Actually, sir," Harry said, not touching the cup of tea. He was sure it was laced with something. "We really don't have much in common anymore." He noticed the headmaster wasn't looking him in the eyes and Harry wondered why.
"But you've been friends since you were eleven, Harry!"
"I know sir. But they haven't seen or done what I have. We have nothing in common anymore. And with the death of Cedric ... it's like I can't connect to them."
"I. . . see.. . " The headmaster said. Harry hid a smirk.
Of course they had nothing in common anymore. Neither were demi-gods. Besides, with Ron's jealous nature and how he'd acted last year, Harry no longer trusted the immature git. And Hermione wasn't much better with her possessive, nagging ways.
"But Harry, my boy, why can't you tell me where you were last summer?"
"I did, sir. If you don't want to believe me, I'm sorry, but I'm here now. Whole and healthy. Don't you want me to be?" he replied sadly.
"Of course Harry my boy! I am very happy that you are back safe and sound!"
"I still have that potions essay to finish, sir. You know how Snape is." He stood, the tea still untouched and ignored.
"Professor Snape, Harry. Yes, you may run along," the headmaster dismissed him with a shooing motion.
Harry left quickly. Not really seeing the shadow that detached itself from the corner of the Headmaster's office.
A shaking Severus Snape stepped out of the shadows. The headmaster had asked him to monitor the little tête-a-tête with Potter. The brat's mind usually was an open book, but this time…
Severus rubbed his forehead with a trembling hand. "Potter has somehow learned to block his mind. All I got from him were dark flames and shadows. It was most unsettling."
"Then Harry is going dark?" Albus gasped with startled concern.
The Potion Master snorted as a shudder racked his lean frame. "Hardly. I haven't seen anything that would make me believe Potter is going dark."
"Any idea where Harry was for the summer?" The old man pushed for an answer.
"Albus, why are you so obsessed with knowing? The brat has made it clear that he was safe and taken care of. . ." Severus spat, with familiar venom as he gathered himself. "The tan he is sporting gives testament to the fact. He is here now."
"Severus, with Harry having a connection to Tom, he'll need to have Occlumency lessons," Albus mused, stroking his beard. "You will start teaching him and while you are at it, see what you can learn."
The following day, Harry was sitting with his friends in the Gryffindor Common room when a note came to him from Snape.
"Come to my office after supper. –SS"
"Who was that from, Harry?" Hermione asked.
"Snape. He wants to see me after supper," Harry said, tossing the note into the fireplace.
"Whatever for, mate?" Ron asked, as he studied his next move on the chess board in front of him.
Harry shrugged and stood. "Don't know. Don't care. I'm for the library. You'll have me in two moves so I concede."
That evening Harry stopped first at the Come and Go Room to offer up his meal sacrifice and a bit of chocolate to Persephone. He needed all the help he could get dealing with the 'bat of the dungeons.' He thought he heard a woman's giggle as he made his way out of the room.
He knocked on the door to the Potions Master's office.
"Come in Potter and have a seat," Snape said without looking up from what he was doing at his desk.
"Yes, sir." He looked around at the eerie display of items on the shelves behind the desk. 'Yep, Snape's office hasn't changed much. Still reminds me of Grandpa's lab from the Munsters,' Harry thought, smothering a grin.
A clock ticking in the distance made a counterpoint to the scratching of a quill as Snape worked silently on the stack of papers in front of him. The old Harry would have started to fidget and wiggle as the silence ticked on, but the new Harry knew what was going on and Snape's intimidation tactic failed.
While Harry waited out the ploy by his snarky professor, he closed his eyes and started to mediate. He began reviewing what he could do to liven up Hogwarts. After all, he did have a legacy to uphold, being the son of a Marauder and the Trickster God Loki.
"Mr. Potter," came Snape's voice finally breaking the silence. "You will not do me the discourtesy of falling asleep in my office."
"Yes sir." He opened his eyes. "I was waiting until you were done, sir. I could see you were busy. And you were the one that asked me to come to your office, sir."
"You will not be cheeky with me, Potter!" the professor sneered, slamming a hand flat onto his desk. "I called you here to tell you that the Headmaster wishes for me to help you control your connection to the Dark Lord now that he has returned."
"Thank you, sir, and the Headmaster, but I don't need the help. I no longer have the connection. My Grandfather took care of it," Harry said with smile.
"DO NOT Lie to me, Potter. Everyone knows you have no living relatives expect for your mother's sister and her son!" The professor stood and came around the desk in a rage.
"And who's fault's that!?" Harry snarled, standing abruptly.
Snape came nose to nose with Harry and glared at the teen. Harry could feel the man trying to break into his mind. This time Harry allowed it.
An exultant Snape suddenly found himself in darkness, total and complete darkness. Loki was a god of illusions, and that included mind control. Harry inherited a small amount of that ability. If Snape found anything in Harry's mind, it was because Harry allowed it. However, Loki had other plans and Harry felt his sire take control of the situation.
The poor professor wouldn't remember what Loki did to him, but the man would never again be able to invade another's mind. Loki had no love for the greasy git who had tormented his son all his years at Hogwarts, and this was an apt punishment.
Harry pleaded with his sire not to take too much from Snape as he was a gifted potioneer. Plus, Harry had learned from his mother that the professor did love her at one time, and had sworn over her body that he would protect her son—and he had, for the most part.
Loki countered that he had done a piss poor job of it!
Harry agreed to that, but he did try. That was the only reason Severus Snape was still alive and in his right mind. Loki wanted to send him to the Fenrus Wolf!
An hour later, Harry walked out of Snape's office with a smirk.
"There are only two left, Father," Harry informed him. "I won't go after them until Halloween. It's only fitting, and I know where the Elder Wand is now."
"Well, don't keep your grandfather waiting," Loki said. "You know how he gets."
"Yes Father. I will do my best to make you and Grandfather proud."
"I already am." Came a second deep, echoing voice in his mind.
Needless to say, Harry didn't return for any 'remedial lessons', or detentions with Snape. And no matter how much Dumbledore demanded it, neither party were willing to comply.
Harry gave an extra offering to his sire thanking him for his help. Speaking of his sire, Harry knew he was letting him down for not living up to his pranking legacy. Once Harry finally got a handle on his studies, he decided it was time to deal with the ghosts at Hogwarts.
The first thing Harry did was seek out the resident poltergeist.
"Potty! Don't send Peeves on, Death's son," the poltergeist whined when Harry caught up with him.
"I wouldn't dream of it, Peeves and it's grandson," Harry said when he caught up with the mischievous spirit. "I have something for you." He held up a box of goodies.
"Potty got something for Peeves?"
"Sure did Peeves. Got to live up to my heritage," Harry said, handing the box off. "I am sure you can put these to good use. I would be very interested if you would use many of these around the DADA classroom. Also, I would be grateful if you didn't mention where you got this from."
"Peeves can do!" The troublesome spirit promised. "You won't send Peeves on?"
"Nope! Hogwarts wouldn't be the same without you Peeves. Come back to me when you run out. All I ask is you leave the firsties alone."
"Peeves will do!" His words faded into a cackle as he sped out of sight.
It was the last week in September and Hermione still couldn't figure out what was going on with Harry! He wasn't acting like the Harry she knew. He seemed more focused. And what was he doing burning food? She tried to get him alone to ask him, but he seemed to be dodging her! Well, she wouldn't stand for it any longer!
She finally managed to corner him in the Gryffindor Common Room after his failed detention with Snape.
"Harry. We need to talk," she demanded as she sat beside him on the sofa where he'd been relaxing in front of the fireplace.
Harry sighed as he set aside his book. "What do you want Hermione?"
"Harry what is going on? Why are you avoiding Ron and me? Why are you throwing food into the fire? Where were you last summer? How did you get Kreacher to act nice? What. . ."
Harry placed a finger on her lips, stopping the questions. "Breathe, Hermione. Breathe."
She pulled his hand away and scowled at him. "Harry!?"
"Hemione! Sheesh! Dial it back!" Harry demanded, using one of Percy's favorite comebacks.
She huffed at him. "You were out of the country, weren't you? That's why we couldn't find you!"
"Alright Hermione, I'll talk, but you can't tell anyone, not Ron and especially not Dumbledore."
"But Harry. . . He's . . "
"An old fool who decided to play god with my life. He doesn't have my best interests at heart," he said, bitterly.
"Of course he does, Harry..." She was gearing up for another rant when Harry stopped her again.
"Really? What about first year?" he asked. For the next hour Harry carefully led her through the details of his life, and Dumbledore's interference in it. She could see that he didn't want to speak of it, but she hadn't given him a choice.
"So you see, Hermione," he finished. "The Americans have a saying and yes, that was where I was for most of the summer. As for Dumbledore, he can kiss his own lily-white arse. I refuse to play it his way.
"Cedric died in front of me and what did he do afterwards? What has he done to help me? He would've sent me back to the Dursley without helping me deal with Cedric's death or what happened to me in the graveyard. He has never been there for me, why should I trust him? Because he's the 'Great Dumbledore'!? Oh please! That ship has long since sailed. He's no more than a senile old man with delusions of god-hood!"
Tears started to fall down her cheeks at the bitter way he spoke about her hero. Was what he was saying true? What if it wasn't? She'd have to do more research.
"I. . . I. . . "
"No Hermione. I won't tell you anything more if all you're going to do is run to Dumbledore and blab," he said, picking up his book and stalking away.
She looked around at the others in the Common Room. Many had shamelessly eavesdropped and knew what Harry had said was true. Last year they hadn't supported him, like they should've. To see it from Harry's point of view was an eye opener. Hermione could see in their eyes that many had believed the Prophet's lies, but now, with the facts laid out in front of them . . . .
She felt the sofa dip slightly as Neville Longbottom sat beside her. "Here Hermione." He offered her a handkerchief. "You know, my gran has never really trusted Dumbledore either. Many of the neutrals and a few of the Light families, don't as well. One of the reasons is his 'Greater Good philosophy.' Gran, in one of her snits, asked him, 'The Greater Good for Whom?' And he was unable to give her a decent answer."
"Hermione, you have to decide," Neville informed her. "Which is more important to you? Harry's friendship or your worship of Dumbledore? You better decide quickly, or Harry just might decide for you."
Harry dreamed that night of Dumbledore and Snape talking in Dumbledore's office.
"I need to know what is going on, Severus. This not knowing is hurting the war effort. You must try again," the headmaster demanded.
Severus shook his head. "No Albus. I don't know how he did it, but I can not break into his mind! Someone has helped the brat-and did a very good job of it. Find someone else, I refuse to try again."
Albus looked like a petulant child being denied a sweet as he sat behind his desk, stroking his beard. "This won't do, Severus. What would Lily say?"
"Damn it! Leave her out of it! This has nothing to do with her!" Snape shouted at his mentor. "Harry's mind is closed. Find someone else or do it yourself!" With that he stormed out of the headmaster's office.
Harry cackled in his sleep.
Ron knew he wasn't the brightest of the Weasley brood, but even he knew something was up. Hearing Harry cackle in his sleep sent a cold shiver up his spine. It didn't take a chess master to know he'd screwed up with Harry last year. He also knew that Harry never really trusted him again, even if he did forgive him.
Harry was like that. Harry didn't hold a grudge but if you lost his trust, it was very hard, if not impossible, to regain it. In Ron's opinion, Harry was going dark! He could see it! Why couldn't anyone else?
October saw Harry as busy as ever. He took to his classes like a duck to water. Since he had no one to hinder him this time, and didn't have to hide his intelligence, he began to excel.
Hermione still tried to get him alone to demand answers, but he ignored her. He would continue to ignore her until she could prove to him that she wouldn't go to Dumbledore.
The nagging, bushy-haired termagant finally caved and left him alone. The old Harry would've long ago told her everything, but this new Harry was beyond anything she was able to cope with. He had been her best friend since first year and she finally realised she had messed up big time. She didn't know what to do now.
As for Dumbledore, he was busy dealing with Fudge and several educational decrees the minister insisted on enacting. Harry just sat back and watched while, as Percy would've put it, 'Dumb and Dumber' battled it out.
Auror Dawlish was proving to be an interesting instructor. He tried several times to get under Harry's skin by goading him into rash behavior, but so far had failed. Honestly, Dawlish had nothing on Clarisse and her sibs in Ares Cabin! Even Dudley had better quips! Harry proved that he could-and would-take anything Dawlish dished out in class.
Of course, Dawlish was further upset by Peeves' constant pranks in front of the DADA classroom. Seems the poltergeist had taken a liking to pranking the surly auror.
Professors Vector, Babbling and Flitwick were very pleased with Harry finally taking his studies seriously. To them, Harry was showing more and more that he inherited his mother's intelligence.
However, not all of the professors were pleased with this new Harry. Professor McGonagall called him into her office in the middle of October.
"Mr. Potter, have a seat," she said, pouring herself a cup of tea. "Care for a cuppa?"
"Yes please, milk with two sugars," he said, making himself comfortable. "Uh Professor? What is this all about?"
She smiled at her favorite student as she passed over the steaming cup. "I have been going over your grades, Mr. Potter and am a bit surprised at them. Why didn't you show this kind of ability in your first years?"
Harry frowned in thought for a moment. "Well, Professor it's like this. . . "
He went on to explain how he was kept back at the Dursleys and was often punished for doing better than his cousin.
"Why didn't you bring it to anyone's attention?" she asked with frustrated concern.
"I did but no one would listen! So I stopped trying, as it only brought on more punishment," Harry informed her, setting down his untouched cup. Although he trusted her more than the headmaster, he wasn't fool enough to drink something he was unsure of. "If I might ask, why now Professor? You never really cared before?"
"I assure you, Mr. Potter, I did, and do, care."
Harry shook his head. "I am sorry Professor but I don't believe you..."
She reared back as if struck as he continued, "... I came to you back in first year, but you dismissed me with a scowl, telling me to mind my own business. As for my grades, by the time I realized that no one really cared about them but me, it was too late. All the professors had me pegged as a lazy, mediocre student. It didn't help that Ronald Weasley, one of my first friends, scoffed at studying and dragged me down with him. Well this being my fifth year, why bother hiding it? It'll come out when I take my OWLS."
She was seething inside. She knew she was clearly at fault, but for him to be so matter of fact about it…! Well, she would have something to say about that!
Damn that Albus! He was the one pushing for answers, well, he's not going to get answers from her! He can do his own dirty work!
"I see Mr. Potter. Do you still want to be an Auror?"
"No Professor. I have some thoughts on that, but for now I'm waiting to see what my OWLS bring," he told her.
"You may go, Mr. Potter. I have to think on this."
"Yes, Professor. Good Evening."
There is only 1 and a half chapter left.
Someone asked me if we hate Dumbledore that much. We don't hate him. We hate the fact that he turned a blind eye to Harry's growing up. We see him as a senile old man with delusions -nothing more and try to convey that in our writing.
GF is working on a Spirited Away and xxxholic cross atm. Stay tune.
Until next time. -GF