Title: The British Reformation
Rating: PG-15, Some non-explicit sexual situations
Summary: After Sirius dies, Harry is isolated and feels betrayed by everyone who's been around him recently and leaves to figure out what he should do. An "old friend" is sent to look after him and try to bring him back. Together they search for a way to kill a Dark Lord and maybe fix society too.
(A/N: This story start just after book 5 ends; it's A/U so things will change from books 6 & 7 and characterizations will be different. Also, Harry is not a Horcrux. At the start of book 6 Bill and Fleur have just become engaged, indicating they dated all of the year before. In this universe, Bill spent the last year trying to get Fleur to date him and they just recently started. This plot bunny has escaped from my hard drive after nearly 2 years, I hope you enjoy. - Kevin)
(A/N2: This chapter was beta'd by DJ. Unfortunately, I've lost touch with him since we started this, so I've decided to start posting "as is" in order to get it out. That means this story may be a little "rougher" than normal … I hope you don't mind. Then again, it's not like you're paying anything for this. :-)
Disclaimer: The HP universe, characters, books, etc belong to someone commonly known as JKR and probably some corporations too. Anything that looks like hers is; the plot is about all that's mine.
The British Reformation
Chapter 1 - Betrayed
(Fri, 28 Jun 1996)
Harry almost dropped his trunk in his room. The memory of Vernon's warning to him to be unseen and unheard in exchange for being left alone was the only thing that stopped him and caused him to gently set it in the closet before silently dropping onto his old worn-out bed. The Order of the Phoenix had not done him any favors by trying to scare his relatives into good behavior, despite their good intentions. So he lay there in his continuing gloom from the last few days, considering what he had done to get Sirius killed.
Somewhere in his head he knew he wasn't the only one responsible, or even the main person responsible for his godfather's death, but he knew as sure as he knew his own name that he had played a large part and that he could have prevented the whole thing if he had only tried a little harder.
He could have demanded answers from some of the adults around him. He could have opened the present from Sirius. If he'd really been serious about it all, he realized he could have just gone back to Umbridge's office after she was left in the forest and then used the Floo in her office and arrived at the Ministry before it was late night and when there was Auror help available. He knew he could have tried harder at Occlumency too, as well as other things he probably hadn't come up with yet.
At least his relatives hadn't given him a list of chores upon their immediate arrive at "home", as they had done in years past.
Closing his eyes, he fell into a fitful sleep, one that did him little good.
(Fri, 5 Jul)
A thinner and bleary-eyed Harry crumpled up the parchment and angrily tossed it at the wastebasket to join the other very few useless responses he'd received from his "friends" over the last week. Sitting down on his bed, he ran his fingers through his hair and considered the situation again.
He'd written Ron and Hermione twice now and received replies that barely hit three lines. There wasn't a word on what was going on in the outside world; they had completely ignored his questions about that and even hinted they wouldn't tell him anyway for the same reasons as last summer. True, he hadn't shared the prophecy with them yet so they didn't understand his urgency, but why couldn't they have had the decency to write meaningful correspondence? This was so like last summer it hurt.
His letter to Ginny had been unanswered as of yet. That hurt a little, but he had just started to develop that friendship this last year, so if she was a little slow in answering, he didn't blame her too much. Neville and Luna had answered him once each and the best so far with a decent length letter, but even they didn't have much to say about the current news that he wanted to know so badly. Luna was about to leave for most of the summer as well, cutting off that avenue of information.
It was all so maddening.
Hedwig gave him a quiet hoot, causing him to look up at her. He couldn't forget her, as she was his most faithful friend. So he got up and rummaged in his trunk for the owl treats and spread what was left on his desk before feeding one to a happier Hedwig. His feathered friend mollified, he laid down on the bed and closed his eyes. Feelings of despair continued to wash over him as they had for the last week, only he wasn't sure if he cared anymore.
Should he care, he asked himself as meaningless images played on the inside of his eyelids. No one else seemed to, not even Dumbledore. The old wizard had told him he knew Harry was going to grow up in dark times at his aunt's house, hadn't protected him against all the woes he faced at school (that most other students could ignore or didn't need to endure), had ignored him all year, hadn't done a thing to prepare him to deal with the prophecy, and was probably the cause of his closest friends ignoring him (Hermione's last note had hinted at that).
The fact that no one in the bloody Order had made the slightest effort to contact him since the train station did not escape him, and that caused him to wonder if he could trust any of them.
When he considered it all, he wasn't sure why he even tried. Maybe it'd be better if he died, he thought morosely, as then he could be with his parents and Sirius.
His stomach rumbled again from having eaten very little since he'd returned back to Privet Drive. He hadn't felt like eating and his aunt hadn't tried to make him to eat, leaving him in his room. After a few more minutes, Harry slipped into a deep sleep as his magic tried to protect him.
(Sun, 7 Jul)
Hermione watched Ginny stare at her angrily while the brunette dithered over what to do. It had been Hermione that had caught Ginny trying to send Harry a long letter and brought it to Molly Weasley's attention. Deep down, Hermione knew she should have written Harry a long letter herself, but the Headmaster had come to her personally and told her it would be in Harry's best interest as far as safety was concerned, to not be stressed with news and to give him time to deal with Sirius's death.
There was no doubt Harry had not been dealing well with Sirius's death before they left school. He had been quiet and sullen, even for him. Still, she considered herself one of his best friends and wondered if this was the best course of action. Only the Headmaster's heart-felt request had caused her to follow this path.
Another forced breath with flaring nostrils from the redhead across the room from her made her wonder if there was something she should be doing about this. After arriving home and explaining this year to her parents, they had agreed that she could spend Monday through Friday with her friends at the hidden house for her safety, but they did want to see her on the weekends, even if that forced them to spend the time in a hotel somewhere so Hermione didn't have to go home, which was the plan. How did her life get so crazy, she wondered.
The brunette also wondered if Neville and Luna were following Dumbledore's orders, like everyone in this house. If only one of them didn't follow the communication blackout, then what the rest did wouldn't matter. The idea that Dumbledore wouldn't think to tell Neville and Luna not to write didn't occur to her.
Returning to the book in front of her, Hermione tried to work on her summer reading. Another angry mutter caused her to start the paragraph over, although a small part of her wondered what Ginny was planning. Hermione decided that Mrs Weasley had been wise to restrict all the owls, including Ron's Pigwidgeon, to the kitchen and away from the emotional girl.
(Thu, 11 Jul)
Remus Lupin walked into the kitchen of #12 Grimmauld Place and wearily sat down. The Weasleys were all there, as was Hermione Granger, Alastor "Mad-eye" Moody, and Nymphadora Tonks. As he grabbed a plate to help himself to dinner, he asked the unusually quiet bunch, "Has anyone received an owl from Harry lately?" Several heads shook.
"No," Ginny answered a little angrily and with accusing glances at several people, including her mother. "It's hard to get an answer from someone when you can't write them."
"Ginny, we've been over this many times," her mother said tiredly. "Please let it go. We're only following the Headmaster's instructions."
Ginny changed the topic. "If you haven't heard from him in over three days, are you going to go over and check on him like you said you would?"
Lupin slowly shook his head despite her stare to try to force him to say yes. "The Headmaster forbade it and turned our threat into a bluff." When Ginny gave a derisive snort for that answer, he mentally agreed with her, but he wasn't going to go against the Headmaster at his time. However, if there was another week of silence, he might.
The silence that followed the mini-debate was broken as Hedwig flew into the room, causing everyone to look hopeful. To the group's surprise, Hedwig carried no letter and as the predator she was, she swooped down over the table, snatched up a chicken leg in her talons, and left back out the window - never landing.
"What the bloody hell?" Ron hoarsely whispered as the group blinked and tried to figure out just what that meant. "Maybe this is like the second summer when Harry was locked up, but this time Hedwig is locked out of the house and he can't feed her."
"If Harry is no longer able to feed Hedwig, I think that means he's in trouble and we need to go check on him," Ginny said boldly.
Arthur noisily cleared his throat. "I, uh, I think she might have a point."
Molly frowned at her husband. "You know the orders."
"Yes, we know the orders," Lupin agreed, his sudden hope leaving him feeling deflated, almost listless. "Still, I think I'll contact the Headmaster about this and try to convince him that Harry should be checked on."
"Why can't the watchers check on him?" Ginny asked.
"Ginny," their mother reprimanded her in an exasperated tone. "You know they're not to be seen by anyone, including Harry."
The girl shook her head in disappointment while Hermione sighed.
— — —
Hedwig flew back into the room of her owner and dropped the chicken leg on the boy's chest - a chest that was barely moving. The owl looked at the boy and tried to reason out what to do, but was stymied by her limited intellect. If he didn't move by the morning sun, she would try to get another human.
Harry was now gaunt from his week-long coma. It was only his magic that was keeping him alive - barely.
(Fri, 12 Jul)
Remus Lupin sat down for breakfast the next morning and poured himself some tea in the quiet kitchen.
"Well?" he heard demanded. Setting his cup down, he turned and saw Hermione and Ginny looking at him with concern, as well as Molly looking at her youngest child with exasperation. He also knew without a doubt exactly what Ginny was asking.
"Professor Dumbledore said to give Harry three more days and if no one has heard from him by then, he would go check on Harry."
"So Harry has to suffer for three more days before someone will go make sure the Muggles haven't done anything to him or even killed him?" Ginny asked sarcastically.
"Ginny, that's enough!" her mother told her sternly. The girl obeyed, but obviously under protest.
"He did say that Mad-Eye went by and looked in on him last night from the street and that Harry was laying on his bed, probably asleep, but yes, that's the plan," Lupin finished a little lamely.
As Molly returned to the stove to finish cooking breakfast, Hedwig once again flew into the room. This time, she circled then dove for Lupin's arm that was stretched for the eggs.
Remus Lupin had always respected animals, being one himself once a month, but his respect for owls soared to new heights as the large bird landed on his wrist and dug her talons into the tender flesh of his wrist. As he screamed in pain, Hedwig flapped her wings mightily and lifted his arm as high as his shoulder would allow it. The owl then suddenly stopped beating her wings, causing her and his arm to fall to the table, only to just as suddenly resume trying to fly and take his arm with her and causing him to scream in pain again as the talons pierced deeper.
Hermione screamed in surprise and fell back off the bench to get away from the mad owl.
Molly stared at an event she would've claimed an hour ago was impossible.
Ginny stared too, but only until Hedwig's second attempt to fly away, then her Gryffindor spirit kicked in and she launched herself at the owl. "Hedwig! Stop, Hedwig!"
The owl stopped trying to fly way, causing her and Lupin's arm to fall to the table, and turned her head almost backward to stare at the redhead and gave a piercing bark - one that sounded very urgent.
"Hedwig," Ginny said more softly now and put both hands on the sides of the owl and gently caressed it to try and calm the obviously distress animal. "What happened girl? Does Harry need us?" She received another piercing bark for an answer as the last of the Weasleys who were staying there - Bill - ran into the kitchen.
Ginny looked at Lupin, who was visibly grimacing in pain as the owl still held on. "Hedwig, if you'll let go of his arm, we'll try to help you."
Hedwig gave another piercing bark before trying to fly again, still with Lupin's arm, and then dropping back to the table.
Before anyone else could do anything, a spell shot across the room and hit the owl, causing her to stiffen completely and fall over. Ginny caught the owl as her talons ripped out of Lupin's wrist and then glared at the caster. "Bill, you shouldn't have done that," she said forcefully over Lupin's pained moans as the main grabbed a napkin to put over his bloody wounds.
"I've never seen an owl go mad before, but that one clearly was," her oldest brother said as he walked over to the injured man. "How's your arm?"
Molly finally broke out of her frozen shock and rushed over to examine Lupin as well.
Ron joined Hermione in looking at the owl cradled in Ginny's arms. "I think Bill's right, she's gone completely around the bend," he commented.
"Shut it," his sister told him, defending the owl. "Hedwig was only trying to get our attention and tell us it was urgent."
"While I wished she'd used a different method, I think I will agree with Ginny," Lupin said tightly, then winced as Molly cleaned his wounds. "As soon as I'm able, I'll contact the Headmaster and get him to go over, or I'll go over myself."
Bill walked over to look at the stiff bird and waved his wand over it a few times. "Interesting, I can't find any spell or other enchantments on it." Satisfied they were all safe, he took a seat and took a plate to get breakfast from the plates that had not been involved in the chaos a few minutes before. Ron joined him in eating, though he watched the unusual scene with interest.
When Molly finished bandaging him, Lupin gave her an appreciative look. "Thank you, Molly." The woman tsk'ed at the owl then started to clean up the mess it had caused.
Remus placed a Floo call and had his head in the fireplace for several minutes. Everyone was looking at him when he backed out and walked over to Ginny and the owl. "Hedwig," he said slowly and clearly, looking at the owl's slowly blinking eyes. "Professor Dumbledore is going over to Harry's house right now. He will check on him and help him." He felt foolish for speaking like this to an owl, but his mangled wrist was ample evidence that the owl was not a dumb beast. "If we don't know anything soon, I'll go over and check too."
As he moved to sit down, Ginny asked, "Are you going to release her?"
"I'm not sure that's wise until Harry is here," Bill replied from his seat. "Assuming that is the problem."
"Of course it's the problem," Ginny answered with exasperation as his obvious denseness. "Please?" she appealed to Lupin. "I'll hold her."
Remus slowly pulled out his wand and with careful movements because of his injured wrist, he ended the magical binding on the owl.
Hedwig barked at them and ruffled her feathers, but she didn't injure Ginny.
"That's a good owl," Ginny cooed to the animal. "We're getting Harry help. Maybe they'll even bring him here to you."
Hedwig got more excited and barked again.
"I've never seen Hedwig like this, but I think she likes that idea," Hermione said, shaking her head at the improbability of the situation.
Everyone else ate and Ginny fed the owl while they all waited as if on pins and needles.
— — —
Albus Dumbledore transfigured his robes into a solid black suit, as he'd done many times before when visiting Muggle homes. Apparating to the doorstep of the Dursley's residence, he rang the doorbell and waited, wondering why he had agreed to this fool's errand. He couldn't imagine why there would be a problem with the lad.
He did need to talk to young Harry about #12 Grimmauld Place now that Sirius was gone, but that could apparently wait since no Death Eaters had shown up. He had no doubt that Bellatrix Lastrange would have been over there the day after Sirius's death if she had been able. Since she had not, then the house and all of its wards must have transferred to Harry.
The door opened and he saw Vernon Dursley take one look at him and scowl. "I'm glad you've come to take him away. There's a smell coming from his room."
Shocked at the abrupt, rude, and alarming greeting, Dumbledore hurried into the house after the walrus-of-a-man and asked, "Where is Harry?"
"Upstairs, first door on the right," Vernon grunted, as he pointed over his shoulder with a thumb and made his way back to his favorite chair. "Be sure to clean up after him," the large man shouted at the old wizard as he hurried toward and up the stairs at his best speed.
Frowning at the three locks on the boy's door, he was encouraged to find they were not locked and hurried in. The smell of unwashed human body and something that smelled like rotting chicken almost pushed him back into the hallway. With a quick wand movement, he freshened the air with a charm and looked around the dim room, despite it being mid-morning.
There on the bed was a boy so thin, so gaunt, it hit the old wizard like a physical blow. Another wave of the wand opened the slowly flapping curtains wide and caused them to stick open and reveal all of the room. In a hurried glance, he noticed the thin layer of dust on everything, the bag of owl treats that had been ripped open with only few left on the desk, the open trunk by the closet door that looked like it had been dug through but not really unpacked, and finally an old worn bed that was still made with a thin boy lying on top - a boy that looked grayish and had a disgusting chicken leg on his chest. The chest barely moving was all that told Harry was still alive, but he didn't look like it otherwise.
"Oh my boy, what has happened?" he asked of no one with a breaking heart as he vanished the odorous chicken.
With a few waves of his wand, he packed up Harry's things into his trunk and then turned it into a Portkey, since he could leave via that method, having set up the wards at this house. Carefully, picking up the fragile looking boy, Dumbledore grabbed the handle of the trunk and was whisked away.
— — —
After receiving glares that would have killed most men from Poppy Pomfrey and almost being required to call his Phoenix familiar post-haste to flee for his life, he was assured that Harry would live before he hurried away from one danger and into another. Therefore, it was with much trepidation that Albus Dumbledore stepped out of the fireplace at #12 Grimmauld Place. Even his last battle with Tom Riddle didn't concern him as much as this morning had already and would again for the next half hour.
He was besieged with loud questions, but it was a piercing bark from an owl that stopped every human and brought silence to the room. Clearing his throat lightly, he looked right at the owl and spoke slowly and clearly. "Hedwig, Harry is being cared for and he will be fine and as good as new soon."
Hedwig gave a soft cooing hoot and spring from the table in front of Ginny; she was out the window before anyone could react, other than sigh in relief at the news.
"That's good news, Headmaster," Molly Weasley said, the first to recover her voice, "but what caused the bird to be in such distress? I've never seen one act like she did. I mean, really! She attacked Remus."
Albus nodded and motioned for everyone to sit as he took a place too. Grabbing a cup, he poured hot water for tea. "I'm afraid that Harry's owl had good reason to be concerned. I can't say how long, but Harry's magic put him in a magical coma."
Shouts of "What?" and "Huh?" stopped the explanation for a moment and let Albus steep his tea as he contemplated how to explain with the least risk to himself. As they calmed down, he decided that honesty was probably the best policy with this group - at least with the basic facts.
"I can't know what was going through Harry's mind, but it's not hard to guess that his godfather's death hit him very hard, harder than I believe anyone could have guessed, even myself. I'm not sure how long ago, but at least for a few days, Harry essentially fell asleep and never woke up. Though most people don't know it, a wizard or witch can go into a magical coma where their magic shuts down their body to the barest minimum when it's not well to try and keep it alive and hopefully heal."
"Like bears hibernate?" Lupin asked incredulously.
Dumbledore took a sip of his hot tea. "Not precisely, but close enough for this discussion."
"What's wrong with him?" Molly asked, but everyone was hanging on every word of the explanation.
"As you can guess from my explanation, he's very near the point of magical exhaustion, and that is the worst problem. Because he's been like this for at least a few days, he hasn't eaten and so he is very weak physically." He purposefully left out that Poppy Pomfrey had said the diagnosis showed he hadn't eaten for over a week and was very malnourished. "As to exactly how the situation became this way, we'll have to wait a few days for Harry to wake up and tell us." He let them all digest the news while he sipped on his tea.
"When is he going to be here?" Ginny was the first to ask, although several others nodded as they had wanted to ask the same question.
"He's at Hogwarts with Madam Pomfrey for the moment as there are only people there that I trust with my life and the castle is otherwise locked." At Ginny's stare for the non-answer, he added, "I'm not really sure when he'll be strong enough to go elsewhere, but I believe it'll be at least a few days and then I'll bring him here so that everyone may help him. I … I may have erred in leaving him alone."
"You did," Ginny said succinctly, much to the horror of her mother who looked on with wide-eyes and an open mouth for a moment.
Albus didn't bat an eye, however. "I will accept the condemnation, but it did seem like the right thing to do at the time." Taking the pain as self-punishment in addition to his self-condemnation, he hurriedly swallowed the rest of the still overly hot tea and stood. "If you will excuse me, I need to return to the school and be the guard while I do some paperwork. Remus, if you would, please pass on the message to the watchers that guard Harry's house and let them know that duty is no longer needed." To avoid further questions, he bid everyone good-bye and hurried away via the Floo network.
Ginny summed up the feelings of most as she muttered, "Stupid old men who think that locking people up and away from everyone else is supposed to help them." She hurried out of the room to go write another letter, hopeful this one would reach its intended recipient soon. Loud conversations broke out behind her.
(Mon, 15 Jul)
Albus stood invisible near the hospital doors and watched in sadness. The once mostly happy-go-lucky lad who had turned less trusting over the last year was now a very angry wizard. He only tolerated Poppy and barely obeyed her, while out-right spurning Minerva, who had paid him a visit this morning, driving her from the room while not understanding what was going on.
Sadly, Albus realized it was mostly his fault. Harry did have responsibility for his choices and reactions, but Albus knew he had allowed very poor situations to develop around the young man, offering few good choices and forcing reactions to very difficult circumstances with little life experience. While he didn't like to consider it, he wondered if he had just created another Voldemort, something he still blamed himself for.
While Harry was arguing with Poppy about taking more potions, Albus silently sent a sleeping spell at the boy, bringing quiet to the infirmary for the first time since Harry had awakened a few hours ago.
Poppy seemed to wilt in relief before she started looking around and calling, "Albus?"
He cancelled the Invisibility spell on himself. "Yes, it is I," he said as he walked over and looked at the young man and wondered exactly what had happened to him, and wondered how to "fix" him, to find the "old" Harry.
"How long have you been here?" she asked quietly as she cleaned up a few potions Harry had thrown to the floor and then grabbed another to administer to him to help his malnutrition.
"All morning, since he awoke," he answered calmly, still contemplating the young man.
"So you saw and heard it all?"
"I did." He looked at her for a moment. "Do you have any idea what he's so angry about?"
"You mean besides every adult in his life?" she asked, surprised at the question.
He couldn't help the small grin he felt. "Yes, his shouts did seem to make it abundantly clear that no adult seemed to be able to do anything right around him. In fact, I'm surprised Minerva didn't hex him for what he said to her."
Poppy snorted as she straightened up Harry's sheets from his flailing earlier. "She has too much guilt to do so."
"Why?" he asked with a furrowed brow.
"You don't know?" She was very surprised. At the shake of his head, she leaned over and with a free hand, turned Harry's right hand over, palm down. "Umbridge did that to him after Minerva told him to keep his head down. So he never told her, or you apparently."
Albus looked at the scar that clearly said, "I must not tell lies", shocked at this fact that had escaped his notice. He knew Harry had spent many detentions with Dolores, and the punishment had been logged as writing lines, and now he knew the truth: Harry had been forced to use a Blood Quill for many of those detentions. He turned and sank to the end of the boy's bed, distressed over what had been allowed in his school - by a high ranking Ministry official - right under his crooked nose.
Between the events he had let happen in previous years, what he knew had happened this last year, the death of his godfather, the releasing of the prophecy, and now the revelation of this torture, Albus felt he understand Harry's anger more clearly. However, he was at a loss as to what to do about it.
He felt a hand on his shoulder, and it wasn't until he looked up that he realized he had tears in his eyes.
"I know most people think you know everything that happens in this school," the nurse said gently and kindly, "but you don't, and you can't control others or you'd be a Dark Lord yourself. Don't hurt yourself over this, Albus. Find a way help him as best you can, but very little of it is your fault."
"Thank you, Poppy, but I've afraid most of it is my fault, through lack of action if nothing else."
"No one is perfect…"
"No, but I haven't even been close when needed and now I don't know what to do to help him."
She nodded. "Perhaps you should work like a healer, since he does need healing. Working on one thing at a time and make it the biggest most life impacting problem. After you get that solved, then handle the next biggest problem, and so on."
He gave her a smile since she meant well. "I'm afraid we can't fix the biggest problem at this time, but the second biggest is possible." With her encouraging look, he pushed away his doubts for the moment and forged ahead. "If you would, please give him a Dreamless Sleep potion to keep him asleep for a few hours and gather all the potions he needs for the next week. I shall take him where he can be among friends and watched and be safe. I hope that will restore some of his more normal outlook on life."
A few minutes later, Albus called his phoenix to him, and with a shrunken basket of potions and a shrunken trunk in his pocket, he held Harry to him and used his other hand to grab Fawkes's tail feathers and they flashed to Sirius's old house. Fortunately, he had been in the upstairs rooms before and no one was there now. Without any guilt for the loss of privacy, for he felt he really needed to keep an eye on Harry for the near future, Albus made the boy comfortable in the room Harry used last year, the one with Phineas Nigellus Black's portrait. The fact that Ron also slept here and could help Harry return to a more balance perspective seemed an added bonus to the old wizard.
After setting Harry's trunk in place for the boy to find later, Albus walked downstairs with his phoenix on his shoulder, surprising everyone who was in the living room at the moment.
"Did you bring Harry?" Ginny asked expectantly, as it had been hinted that today was the day.
Albus held up his hand to stop them all. "Harry is now upstairs and sleeping with the aid a Dreamless Sleep potion for a few hours. I strongly suggest that you let him wake naturally."
After a nod from everyone, he pulled out the small basket of potions, resized it, and handed it to Molly. "Poppy said Harry should have these and she put instructions inside, assuming you can convince him to take them."
Molly's eyes narrowed slightly. "What do you mean by that?" she said, sounding like she would make him take them if need be to make him well.
Placing his hands behind his back as if about to give a lecture, which he was, he very carefully looked at each one of them, staring all but Ginny and Molly into submission. "Harry is very unhappy at this moment and he has every right to be. I've recently found out that I've made some rather large mistakes concerning him and I'm trying to work out how to fix them."
"But surely, Headmaster…"
He stopped Molly's objections with an intense look. "Harry is correct to be rather cross with me, and by extension, every adult in his life, without exception."
"Yes, even you, Molly. It was my mistake for isolating Harry this summer. I thought it best for him, but that was not true. Harry will see that as you caring more for me than for him, and from his point of view, he's correct."
"Yes, I know there are extenuating circumstances and other things he doesn't know about, but from his point of view, he is actually correct. I would also suggest you keep your distance from him for a time." Albus was pleased Molly stopped objecting. Then his next concern hit.
"Will he see us that way too?" Hermione asked worriedly.
"I honestly don't know, Miss Granger, but I believe there's a good chance that will be true. You should not be surprised if he's angry at everyone. However, I hope that by being here and around all of you, his friends, and you must have patience with him no matter how hard it is, that he will slowly heal. He may appear to be a little unbalanced at the moment, but care, love, and time from all of you can help him." It saddened him that all of Harry's school friends looked very sad at what he'd told them.
— — —
Everyone looked at each other for a few minutes after Dumbledore had left. Molly took charge and said, "Let's see what Madam Pomfrey has left for us." She looked in the basket and was surprised. "There are so many," she said softly.
"It's almost time for lunch, maybe we should take him up some of that in a few minutes," Ron suggested.
Half an hour later, Ron carried a tray of food up the stairs while Hermione carried the potions and Ginny tagged along, two long letters in her pocket. As they reached the top of the stairs to the second floor, they heard a voice and bumps on the wall.
Rounding the last corner before the room, they saw what looked like a portrait go flying out the door of the room and heard another bump on the wall. They now understood what they had been hearing.
"Hey, that's all my stuff," Ron exclaimed louder than he had meant to when he saw many of his possessions lying in the hallway on the floor.
Harry stuck his head out of the doorway and looked at them, his expression instantly changed. "Aww, now the traitors decide to come find me."
"Harry?" Hermione called out hesitantly.
"Go away, all of you!"
Ginny grabbed the tray from Ron and held it out in front of her, offering it to him. "We brought you lunch…" Nothing else could come out of Ginny's mouth; Harry's stare simply froze her.
"What about my … things…" Ron stopped in mid-gesture at the pile of his clothes when Harry's look turned to him.
"You're traitorous and stupid," Harry said insultingly. "What part of 'go away' didn't you understand?"
"Where's he going to sleep?" Hermione asked timidly, but determined to know.
That brought Harry up short for a moment, until his sneer returned. "I don't care. Now leave or I'll make you." He disappeared only long enough to have taken one step in the room. When he reappeared, he had his wand in his hand and he seemed to be radiating power that could physically be felt.
Deciding this was a battle they weren't going to win now, Ginny hastily set the tray down on the top step, almost spilling the drink, and fled down the stairs with tears starting to leak down her face. She stopped out of sight on the landing below to catch her breath and emotions when she heard a caustic, "I guess only one of you has any brains."
Footsteps came down the stairs quickly and loudly as she was joined by Ron and Hermione. Noticing the brunette's empty hands, Ginny whispered, "Where are the potions?"
In tears herself, Hermione whispered, "I left them next to the tray," before leading the retreat the rest of the way back down.
Molly wanted to storm upstairs, but Remus and Bill held her back and convinced her to be patient, as Dumbledore had advised.
Ginny dried her tears and considered what to do next. An hour later, she snuck back up the stairs and found the tray of food to be empty and the potions gone. Ron's stuff was still in the hallway, but Harry and his things were no longer visible in Ron's room when she peeked in. Deciding not to push things, she gathered up the tray and returned to the kitchen still thinking how to convince Harry that she was his friend. "Oh, Harry," she sighed wistfully as she left.
She never saw the boy under the invisibility cloak who was watching her.
(very early Tue, 16 Jul)
Harry wasn't sure what was going on with his supposed friends. They had ignored and betrayed him this summer, or so he felt, but now they were acting like they wanted to be his friends again. A small part of him wanted to accept them again, but most of him could only think of how they'd pushed him away - betrayed him. So for now, he pushed them away.
At the moment, it was late and he thought everyone else was in bed. If they knew where he was, they had been smart enough to leave him alone as he was certain he would have hexed them, the Statute of Underaged Wizardry be damned.
He had been spending the last hour or so going through Sirius's bedroom and things. Twice, he'd had to stop and weep for his godfather. Finding the communication mirror on the man's bedside table had been the worst and fueled his anger, mostly at himself but also in general.
Then there was the book, a journal of dreams really, and two letters. The book contained thoughts and ideas of what Sirius wanted to do and so many of them contained adventures and trips with Harry, causing him to sob yet again.
The smaller of the letters was his last will and he had left literally everything to Harry, even making him his legal heir. Harry could call himself Potter-Black if he so desired.
The other letter was a work in progress, he realized. It was obviously not finished and had several sentences crossed out. However, there was no doubt that this was Sirius's last message to him. It contained an idea that pulled at Harry. He wasn't sure if it was just his present state of mind or if because Sirius had written it - probably both. Wiping yet more tears away on his already damp sleeves, he deeply considered what his godfather had written, what his godfather had desired.
Looking around the room, he took in the shambles of the place. Then there was the shambles of his life. He laughed bitterly and quietly. When thought of like that, he belonged here in this rundown house; but he also knew he couldn't stay here. It was too painful. Returning to the letter, he thought about the idea there one last time and how much it appealed to him. He wished he could change the part where Sirius couldn't go with him, but that wasn't possible, so he started on Sirius's idea - his last wishes to some extent - as best he could.
The elf popped in. "What does filthy half-blood master want?"
Harry's blood boiled. "I command you to freeze and to listen very carefully."
The elf looked up at him and then stood completely still, almost as if like a statue.
Harry grabbed the other letter. "This," he shook the letter, "is Sirius's Will. He gave everything to me and made me his legal heir. I am now Harry James Potter-Black. I am your master now. You will treat me with the respect due me as the Head of the House of Black. You will treat me with the respect you gave Sirius's father, do you understand?"
Kreacher bowed to him, although Harry could see the struggle that the elf didn't want to, but his magic made him.
"I should kill you right now because your lie to me led to the death of Sirius Black." Harry practically growled, barely containing his anger but not his magic which leaked out and was felt by the elf. "You caused a member of the Black family to die and that is not something you are allowed to do. Only the head of the house can make that decision. However, I have need of you, so your punishment will be to serve me and to serve me well. You will also never lie to me again. Do you understand?"
"Yes, Master," Kreacher said respectfully, the first time he had ever done so.
"Very good. Now, Sirius mentioned a Portkey to the family holiday island. Go get it and bring it to me quickly."
Instead of popping way, Kreacher walked over to the desk in the room, reached into the bottom drawer, returned with a smooth black rock the size of his palm and just as flat, and handed it to Harry before standing quietly.
"Are there trunks in the house, especially oversized or multi-compartment trunks?" he asked the elf.
"Then you are to get those and pack up anything in the house that is valuable and belongs to the Blacks, starting with the library. Can you shrink items before packing them?"
"I would suggest you shrink them as much as possible. If it belongs to the Blacks, is useful or valuable, and is in this house, I want it packed - except for that portrait of the old Headmaster, it says here. When a trunk is full, bring it here to this room. I will pack this room. You have three hours and will not tell anyone about this, go."
The elf popped away and Harry went to his trunk and started pulling out all of the things he didn't want before shrinking those things he did want to keep. Then he started shrinking everything of value and anything he couldn't identify and placed those items in his trunk.
By the time he finished, there were two other trunks already in the room and a third one magically appeared. With a smile, Harry picked up a quill and some parchment and began to write.
Two hours after the command, the elf returned with a sixth trunk and a painting, panting slightly. "Kreacher had to put some thieves to sleep and take what is ours, but all that is ours is packed and here."
"Very good, Kreacher." Harry eyed the portrait and walked over to it slowly, as it watched him back. "I am now the Head of the House of Black and the House of Potter," he said with a steely voice. "Do you have a problem with that, Mrs Black?"
"Tell me what you are doing and I'll answer your question, young man."
He took a moment to consider what to tell her, or even if he had too. There was the possibility that she could be useful. "I am taking a holiday to regroup and plan in safety before I put things the way they should be. The details are for me only at this time. Now, do you plan to behave yourself and come, or continue your rude ways and stay? I am the master."
Kreacher sucked in a sharp breath.
Walburga Black examined him carefully for a long moment. "It will be as you wish, my lord."
Harry inclined his head slightly in respect. "Very well then." He turned to a much relieved looking elf. "Can you get all of this to the island before 6am?"
"No master, the island is too far away," the little creature hung his head in shame.
Harry was amused that he'd finally found a limit to house-elf magic. "Do you have a place outside of this house that is safe that you could move it to before 6am?"
Kreacher looked up much happier. "Yes, master!"
"Then I want you to take all the trunks and your mistress to that place. When they're safe, I want you to cause panic here in this house to get everyone to leave quickly, then when everyone is out of the house, I want you to put their things outside and completely seal the house. Doors, windows, Floo, seal it all so no one but you and me can get in and that it is safe until we return."
"When they are outside, give this note to Lupin," Harry handed his farewell over and a sack of money. "Finally, bring all of our things to the island and use the money to buy food for us. Oh, do we have any trunks left over?"
"Just one, master."
Harry fished in a pocket and handed two Gringotts keys over. He'd found Sirius's key on the desk. "Also, go to the bank and empty both vaults into the trunk and bring that along too. If it all won't fit, clean out mine first and leave what you have to in the Black vault. If you do empty them out, tell the Goblins I won't be needing them and to stop charging me for them. I'll see you on the island."
Kreacher gave him one last, "Yes master", before Harry touched his wand to the Portkey and left with his own trunk.
After the longest Portkey ride of his life, Harry landed in darkness with a large leaf of some sort hitting him softly in the head as the wind blew it. The air was thick with humidity and the only sounds were the wind, some insects, and some constant sound so low and unfamiliar he couldn't make it out.
Pulling his wand out, he cast, Lumos, and looked around. He was on the front door step of a plain looking small house, or so it appeared from what little he could see in the darkness. The door wasn't locked, so he went in. The inside was dusty but looked like it would provide a pleasant stay when cleaned. A wave of his wand turned the lights on and confirmed his initial impression. He was also quite sure there were space expansion spells at work here.
A short tour allowed him to find the master bedroom. A few spells and the bed area was clean enough for the moment. Tired from the long emotional day, and the fact that he wasn't completely well, Harry kicked off his shoes and laid down. He was asleep almost instantly.
— — —
The Blacks had another small house in England from a dowry. It wasn't well known however. Kreacher checked on it and found that it was empty and hadn't been disturbed for some time, so he took all of the Black possessions - as he thought of them - and put them in Mistress Dorea's house, or Mistress Walburga mother's house.
With everyone still asleep, he packed up everyone's things, except for the few items people would miss, like wands, glasses, slippers, and the like, and moved them to the front garden but out of sight from the front door.
Then with a smile on his face, he created smoke in the entire house and started yelling, "Fire! Fire!" Without a doubt, he accomplished his new master's plans admirably. People ran every which way trying to get out of the house. As each left their room, usually to check on someone else and get them moving too, Kreacher went in behind them and removed the remaining items to the stack in the front garden.
The moment the last person was out of the house, Kreacher knew it and locked the doors before clearing all the smoke out, as that would have caused everything to smell by the time they returned. Then with elf magic, Kreacher pushed his magic into a specific ward on the house and it started sealing itself. Mission accomplished, he popped out to the front garden for his last task.
Seeing the werewolf, Kreacher pulled out the note from his master and a hat pin. While the dark creature was busy trying to get back into the house, now that it was obvious there was no fire, Kreacher held the note to the man's thigh while he was not looking down and stabbed the hat pin straight in to deliver the note. With a feral grin at the scream he'd caused, Kreacher popped way to carry out the rest of his tasks.
— — —
Remus Lupin felt a sharp stabbing pain in his left leg and couldn't help the scream that escaped him. Looking down, he saw a note pinned to his leg. He also thought he might have seen the bloody house elf that was supposed to be here and helping them, but wasn't; however, he wasn't sure about much since he'd been suddenly awakened a few minutes ago.
He didn't know what had caused the smoke, but he was now fairly certain there was no house fire, now that he was outside and could think a little more clearly instead of running for his life. Fortunately, Arthur had kept his head, and with Bill to help, was Side-Along Apparating each of the children away to safety while Molly tried to keep the remaining children together and quiet so as not to attract attention from the rest of the neighborhood.
Pulling the long pin from his leg, one that looked suspiciously like a hat pin, he grabbed the note and held it such that the faint street light would illuminate it.
Since you didn't want anything to do with me, then I don't want anything to do with you. Go away. Sirius left it all to me, go find your own house. HJPB
Remus closed his eyes and sighed while he mentally cursed fate and every other name he could think of that might be associated with this disaster, starting with Sirius Orion Black.
An Apparation crack caused him to look up and see that Arthur had returned, so he went over to talk to the man. "Where did you take them?"
"Back to The Burrow, it looked safe enough, at least for the night. Bill is there with Hermione and Ginny. There is no fire, is there?" Arthur asked, pointing to the peaceful looking house.
"No, but I'll explain later. The biggest problem I see now is that our clothes and such are inside." Lupin gestured helplessly at the house.
"Dad?" Ron called quietly a short distance from the front door.
Arthur and Remus walked over and joined the last child who hadn't been transported yet. There, stacked in a haphazard pile were all of their possessions from the house.
"But…" Arthur had trouble forming a coherent question.
"Yes," Remus answered quietly so only the three could hear, "Harry kicked us out. I'll show you his note when we arrive at your place."
The few others who had stayed the night were called over and everyone picked up as much as they could carry before Apparating away, except for Ron, who Arthur took.
At The Burrow, Harry's note was shown around, but no one really understood what Harry was thinking that drove him to this. There was also mixed opinion on if Harry was still at #12 or not. All they could really do for now was to try to sleep for a little while longer then show the note to the Headmaster later in the morning.
When Arthur stopped by to see the twins at their small flat above their shop to tell them the news about Harry, they looked at each other, each thinking furiously.
"Royally. We need to write a letter of apology and send it immediately."
However, their owl looked distressed and wouldn't take the letter anywhere.
— — —
Harry woke to light hitting him in the face. He blinked for a moment and wondered where he was this time. The memory of his "escape" returned and he grinned like a loon. All the pressure was behind him for now. Maybe he could put his life back together and find a way to return - maybe. If he did, it would definitely be when he wanted to.
Putting his glasses on, Harry looked around to see a pleasant, luxurious even, bedroom. Honestly, this was how he thought Grimmauld Place would have been when he first visited the old Black home, given the reputation he'd heard about the Blacks. He also noticed that the entire room was clean, courtesy of Kreacher, he assumed.
Searching more than he had last night, he found the bathroom and took a shower. Wearing only a towel, he continued his search and found the closets had clothes that had been in his trunk - definitely the work of Kreacher. More searching allowed him to dress in shorts and a T-shirt that mostly fit him, probably from Sirius's younger days. Ready to face his new world, Harry went out to find breakfast.
The house looked even better in the daytime and was every bit as wonderful as Sirius had made it out to be in his writings. A plate of warm food was waiting on him at the dining table so he sat down to eat while he took care of a little business.
"Master called?" the elf asked, walking through a doorway that looked like a kitchen from what Harry could see.
"First, good job on getting everything here and cleaning up the place. Second, where are we?"
"It has always been known as Black Island. It is off the coast of a place known as Morocco and for many generations, it has been hidden from all eyes not of the Black family."
Harry noticed a bit of a glare from the elf, but he ignored it. In his mind, he was the Head of the Blacks. "What happened at Gringotts?"
"I brought all of the money from your vault and closed it, and a little money from the Black vault. It is not closed."
Harry wondered just how much money was in the Black vault, but then again, perhaps the trunk had not been all that big and he'd had a good size mound of gold in his vault. "What happened at the house?"
"I did as you ordered. I created smoke to make them think the house was on fire. When they left, I threw their things on the front lawn and commanded the house magic to seal it. I am now the only one who can get into it. The werewolf has your note."
He nodded and considered that he'd have to get the elf to teach him how to unseal the house too. Still, his present goal of being left alone, while in a bit of an extreme way, was now accomplished. "Very good, Kreacher, you do your house proud. After you eat and clean up the kitchen, rest until it's time to fix dinner. I'll fix my own lunch."
"Yes, master," the elf said just a touch more politely.
It seemed that a combination of the right commands and acting like the elf thought a master should made him respond better, or so Harry thought as he finished his breakfast.
Taking a deep breath, he smelled clean air and a few things he couldn't identify, so he went out the front door to check out the island.
Turning around, he looked at the house and found that on the outside, it looked like a medium sized house, perhaps only slight bigger than the Dursleys. However, he knew it had four large bedrooms that had their own bathrooms and a large living room and dining room. Sirius had been right, it was a pleasant get away spot to recover from difficult times, whether it was twelve years in Azkaban or worthless friends.
Heading down a path, he soon came to a beach of light pink sand and blue water. To the left, the water went into the island a short ways into what he thought was called a lagoon. To the right was more beach and a good sized hill. Between him and hill looked to be dense vegetation. A dog might have traversed it easily, but Harry knew he wouldn't on foot. With a grin for the various ideas he had, he headed back to the house.
A few minutes later, he was flying on his Firebolt, which McGonagall had returned to him just before he left at the end of the year - a year he really wanted to forget. Soaring in the bright sun, he looked down and smiled. There was water as far as he could see, and a slightly oval island about a mile or so long and about half as wide with a narrow beach all around the edge except for where the hill was. In short, it was paradise and all his.
It didn't take long for him to start feeling hot, so he returned to the house for a cold drink. By the time his thirst was gone, he noticed that he had a light pink tinge to his skin. He'd have to ask Kreacher for some sun lotion next time he went out, or maybe look in the books for how to make one.
That gave him an idea for a good project, something to make him forget about his troubles.
Looking around the house again, he selected the smallest bedroom to become the new library. He shrunk the furniture that he didn't like down for storage, and the other things he didn't like were transfigured into bookcases. It took him several tries, but eventually he made one that he liked, and used it for the pattern to make the rest. That done, he searched for the extra trunks and the one that held the books.
The rest of the day, with a break for a sandwich, Harry enlarged the books from the Black library and organized them. He thought Hermione would have been pleased with his work, but the memory of his supposed friend brought angry thoughts back.
To get his mind away from his betrayers and onto something else, Harry went to explore the island under the cover of the trees until dinner.
— — —
After dinner, a weary group of people met at The Burrow. For the first time, Ron, Ginny, and Hermione were not asked to leave, although Molly Weasley kept glancing between them and the Headmaster. They also had a first time visitor, whom Albus Dumbledore talked to alone for several minutes before the meeting started.
Albus stood by the fireplace and cleared his throat to get everyone's attention. "Greetings, this evening I'd like to introduce a new member before I start on the main topic of conversation."
All eyes swiveled to the new blonde girl sitting beside Bill, although Ron, Hermione, and Ginny already knew who she was.
"I'd like to present Miss Fleur Delacour, originally from France and a Triwizard Champion from two years ago. She is a friend of Mr Bill Weasley and a co-worker of his at Gringotts. Please welcome her into our group as she helps us to save our society from a band of dark wizards and witches." Albus led a small round of applause.
"Now, to our main topic." Dumbledore looked somewhat sad and very serious. "A young man that we need to protect has spurned our help and has gone missing. To those who had time to look today, does anyone have any news to report?"
Remus Lupin held up his hand. "I believe I do. I spent some time examining the, uh, old house, and I don't believe he's there. The place seems to be magically sealed in a way that I can't determine, so probably with some old family wards. I also checked where he normally should be, and he hasn't been there either. I believe he's some place we aren't going to find easily."
A short chuckle caused everyone to look over by the doorway and see Severus Snape with a small smile, the first many had ever seen on him. "My apologies for the interruption, please continue."
"Do you have anything useful to add, Snape?" Lupin added with a hint of irritation.
"No, I'm just enjoying the moment, do carry on." The potion master's smile faded, but he still looked pleased, the only one in the room who was.
"If I may?" Everyone turned to look at Fleur, who had her hand raised slightly and waved hesitantly for a brief moment. "What has happened and who are we searching for?"
"Do you remember Harry Potter from when you were in the Tournament?" Albus asked her.
"Who could forget?"
"Yes, I don't think many could," Albus agreed good-naturedly. "Harry has been targeted by Lord Voldemort, a continuation from what happened when he was a small child. Apparently, Harry has not dealt well with the stress of that and the stress of losing his godfather just a few short weeks ago. Last night after everyone was asleep, he seems to have left the house he was staying in and sealed up the house. It is very important that we find him, not only to protect him, but because he may not be thinking clearly."
"I see, thank you."
"You're welcome, Miss Delacour." He turned to the rest of the group. "Does anyone else have any news?"
"Professor," Hermione spoke up, "I haven't seen Hedwig either, and Harry's owl is never far from him when it's possible. Also, I tried to send a letter to Harry with Ron's owl, but he wouldn't take it. Does that mean that he's far away?" she asked a little fearfully, not really wanting to ask if he might be dead.
"It could mean he's far away, but the more likely explanation is that he's in a shielded area or he's found a way to do magic to prevent owls from finding him," Dumbledore explained to her. "Unless anyone has anything else of importance?" he paused and looked around. "In that case, please keep your eyes and ears open about news or even rumors of activity from Voldemort or his Death Eaters. Have a pleasant evening."
(A/N: There's the setup for this story and all of the players are present.)